4 weeks ago

Bedside Table: What is Sarah Crossan Reading?

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Sarah Crossan has just finished her two-year tenure as Laureate na nÓg (Children’s Literature Laureate). Here is the Beehive is her debut novel for adults which details a three-year affair no one knows about. Then the unimaginable happens and Ana, the central character, shoulders the burden of loss, desire and secrecy.

My daughter is insisting I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to her at night, and despite having previously read this book with schoolchildren, I still come away feeling completely confused. Luckily I have my own reading to occupy me too!

I’ve just finished Happiness As Such by Natalia Ginzburg which was delivered by post recently, though I’ve no idea who sent it! In any case, it’s utterly wonderful, in an understated way that I can only compare to Elizabeth Strout. It is written as a series of letters in which the characters are often outrageously honest, though also unaware of their own complexities. I found myself tearful at the end, without quite knowing why, so it’s a book I’ll be re-reading.

In lockdown I found myself jittery with anxiety when it came to my daughter’s home-schooling and helping her adjust to our new life, so I delved into The Danish Way of Parenting by Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl. I’ve come away from that book understanding much more about my own fears when it comes to motherhood and reminding myself on a daily basis that play is vital and shouting never works!

I’ve been dipping into Devotions daily, a collection of the best poems by Mary Oliver. I have loved her writing for more than ten years, first being introduced through her poem “The Journey” when I was going through a hard time, and feel so joyful when I hear others have discovered her too. She’s the most comforting poet I know, and her interest in the natural world makes her a perfect companion to my newfound love of Danish hygge.

Here Is The Beehive, Bloomsbury Circus, £12.99, is out now.

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