A word from Mandie … On turning 50 in a turbulent year.

At the start of the year I had so many plans to celebrate (commiserate) turning 50. These plans had started to formulate at Bloody Scotland in 2019 as Jen and I sat waiting for one of the events to start and as we also realised that 2020 would be the 5th birthday of Orenda Books, one of our favourite independent publishers. So, while I was always good at buying all the books, at that point I had only actually read four of them. We chatted and decided that as part of my challenges for my 50th year I would try to read 50 Orenda books. Between us we hoped to read and review every Orenda book that had been published in book form by the end of 2020, just in time for my actual birthday. Added to this I would make my 50th book read by my birthday the 50th book published by Orenda Books. After some investigation we found out what that was, and this is when hilarity set in as, almost as though it was meant to be, the title of that book was The Old You (no comments needed thanks). We planned to attend as many book events that leave, and finances, would allow, as well as sneaking in a much needed 2 week break.

The year started well and we managed to get up to Edinburgh for a couple of book launches and between us Jen and I even managed to get to every event on the Orenda Roadshow. Little did we realise that this followed by one further book launch in London would be the last real live book events we would get to this year. This has not stopped us though. Despite all live book events being cancelled, thanks to some fab organisers we have still managed to do virtual events and even get some signed books along the way from some brilliant authors.

Like a lot of you, I have struggled with reading during the various versions of lockdown and I am not the fastest reader at the best of times, but in a way the books have kept me going and I have not only kept up with my challenge, I have actually exceeded what I originally set out to do and have enjoyed every moment of it. I have even managed to catch up on another of my favourite authors books along the way. I have decided that as my birthday plans are delayed until hopefully only next year, I am also delaying turning the big 50 until then too which means I have another challenge for myself. Next year I plan to read the rest of the Orenda books that are out there including all the titles that will be published in 2021, and Jen and I have decided we are doing the Year of Orenda mark 2.

Hopefully at some point we will all be able to meet up at real live book events but until then I hope the zoom versions will continue as they are a real tonic for us readers and I suspect authors too. In the meantime I will keep filling up my kindle with eBooks (the OH has no way of knowing how many of them there are) and my house with book books to feed the habit that keeps me sane (or my version of it before Jen pipes up) and support the authors and publishers I love.

6 thoughts on “A word from Mandie … On turning 50 in a turbulent year.

  1. This reading of yours, Mandie, what an incredible goal to set and achieve 🙂
    Until you will celebrate officially, let me wish you:

    *laughter, people to share it with, and occasions to sprinkle it over, abundantly;
    **love, to color your cheeks, warm up your heart, and fill up your arms.
    ***books, let them be Orenda, and let them be from independent authors too 😉 and let them be plenty, for a house filled with books is always homey.

    Virtual hugs 🙂


    1. Thanks Patricia. This year has been strange but I love being able to disappear into books and I have read so many genres this year that I may have avoided before. Hope you have a safe and happy christmas

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