Hey gang! Another week, another Weekly Balance. Let’s have a look back at the past seven days in my life and what I’ve learnt from it.
What I’m thinking about…
The 2020 US election. Yesterday, it was announced that Joe Biden is officially the President-Elect of the United States of America, with Kamala Harris as the Vice-President Elect. I’m pretty sure most of the world breathed a gigantic sigh of relief and hope at their win – I certainly did. As a US citizen (Boston born, and lived there for the first five years of my life), I was really grateful to be able to use the privilege of a vote in this election to support the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign.
I think, for me, what this duo represents, is hope. Hope for unity, for science, for reason, for a new beginning, for better times. I’m particurlarly ecstatic about Kamala Harris succeeding as the next Vice President – she makes history as the first female Vice President, and first woman of colour elected also. This, for me, is what is most special about this election’s outcome. Her motto is inspiring, one she took from her mother – “You may be the first, but make sure you’re not the last.”
And a quote from her speech last night gave me goosebumps, filling me with excitement, and hope for the Biden-Harris administration, and the possibilities it can bring.
‘While I may be the first one in this office, I will not be the last – because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.‘
What I’m reading…
Last week, I finished Just Like Us by Nick Hornby. I think this was the first book I’ve read by Hornby – he is probably best known for About A Boy, and High Fidelity – I’ve seen About A Boy but not read the book. Just Like Us is a story set in 2016 London, on the cusp of the Brexit referendum. It is told through two protagonists – Joseph, a black British man in his early 20s, trying to figure out where he wants his life to go, and Lucy, a white woman in her early 40s, working as a teacher, separated from her husband and living with her two young sons. A few encounters in a local shop lead to Joseph beginning work as a babysitter for Lucy’s sons, and Lucy and Joseph find themselves drawn to each other, neither sure why, but sure of their attraction. They begin a relationship, against the backdrop of the judgement of their families and friends, and the story follows their lives together and apart before, during and after the referendum.
I really enjoyed this story – it’s a sharp, witty and also poignant story of the highs and lows of love, in the face of age, race and class differences. A slow-burner, but one I looked forward to returning to each evening.
As always, let me know what you’re reading in the comments below! My current read is The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult.
What I’m listening to…
This week I finished one of my audiobooks – Holding by Graham Norton. I loved his last novel Home Stretch (reviewed here last week), and I so enjoyed this one too. Holding is a story set in a small sleep villege called Duneen in Cork, Ireland, told through the eyes of several characters, but chiefly seargant PJ Collins, and two women living in the village, Bríd Riordan, a woman unhappy in her marriage and life, and Evelyn Ross, one of three sisters who live together as a tight knit trio. PJ Collins is a man who has reached a stage in his career as a policeman where he isn’t quite sure if it’s what he thought it would be, when human remains are found on an old farm, and this becomes the case of his career, the first serious one of his life. The remains are suspected to be those of former village resident Tommy Burke, who was a former lover of both Bríd and Evelyn. As the case progresses, the secrets and buried stories Duneen’s community have hidden begin to emerge and unravel, with PJ at the centre of it all, trying his best to be a hero against the odds. Graham Norton is a really fantastic narrator, and I can’t wait to read his first book, A Keeper, next!
My other current audiobook is Green Lights by Matthew McConaughey, his memoir, and it is SO FUNNY. Full of great anecdotes, hilarious stories and memorable quotes. Definitely one to try, especially in audio format since he narrates it! Hopefully I’ll have a review of that next week for you guys.
Plus – podcasts I loved this week were – James Clear (author of Atomic Habits), and British Olympic diver Tom Daley, on the Power Hour podcast. I also LOVED Jamie Doran being interviewed on the How To Fail podcast with Elizabeth Day – this was the best episode I tuned into this week.
Recipe of the Week
The recipe I’m loving this week is my Mixed Bean Chili Pasta Bake, a quick dinner recipe favourite for me, with a good few veggies packed in there too! You can find the recipe here.
And that’s a wrap for this week gang! If you want to get in touch, you can find me @theirishbalance on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I hope you have a lovely week ahead folks – remember, stay informed with the advice from your local health authority, stay safe, wash your hands, keep your distance and be kind!