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Finding time and opportunity to read is still a challenge with a newborn, but I am beginning to now get into the habit of reading at night again. Even if it is just for the ten minutes when we play the ‘is Órla really asleep  so I can go to bed or is she just faking it and will start crying the moment I put my head on the pillow?’ game.

Here are the last two books I read:

Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice by Matthew Syed

‘What are the real secrets of sporting success, and what lessons do they offer about life? Why doesn’t Tiger Woods “choke”? Why are the best figure skaters those that have fallen over the most and why has one small street in Reading produced more top table tennis players than the rest of the country put together.

Two-time Olympian and sports writer and broadcaster Matthew Syed draws on the latest in neuroscience and psychology to uncover the secrets of our top athletes and introduces us to an extraordinary cast of characters, including the East German athlete who became a man, and her husband – and the three Hungarian sisters who are all chess grandmasters. Bounce is crammed with fascinating stories and statistics.

Looking at controversial questions such as whether talent is more important than practice, drugs in sport (and life) and whether black people really are faster runners, the mind-bending Bounce is a must-read for the hardened sports nut or brand new convert.’

I actually read this book a couple of months ago and forgot to put it in the last Book Bag post. I had ordered ten copies at work for an A Level class in Sport and read the blurb at the back and was intrigued. I was allowed to borrow the book and read the whole thing in a week; which is good going for me and a non-fiction book!

Bounce is an excellent book. The balance between studies, statistics, theories and stories is well thought out and keeps you turning the page. Syed carefully builds his argument using Sports Science evidence but soon applies the conclusions to other areas of life too. The central argument; that it takes deliberate and intelligent practice to become excellent at something rather than innate talent is very inspiring.

I adored this book so much that I ordered three copies in December and gave them away as Christmas presents! If you are looking for something to motivate you to keep going with your goals I would really recommend this book.

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan

Were you a sherbet lemon or chocolate lime fan? Penny chews or hard boiled sweeties (you do get more for your money that way)? The jangle of your pocket money . . . the rustle of the pink and green striped paper bag . . .

Rosie Hopkins thinks leaving her busy London life, and her boyfriend Gerard, to sort out her elderly Aunt Lilian’s sweetshop in a small country village is going to be dull. Boy, is she wrong.

Lilian Hopkins has spent her life running Lipton’s sweetshop, through wartime and family feuds. As she struggles with the idea that it might finally be time to settle up, she also wrestles with the secret history hidden behind the jars of beautifully coloured sweets.

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreamsa novel – with recipes.

I finished this book today after dipping in and out of it for a month. It was a sheer pleasure to read, and is as sweet and sugary as the wares in Rosie’s shop. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I really enjoyed the happy and funny story. I am not really in the mood right now for anything sorrowful or hard hitting so this was perfect. It’s also made me look forward to my next visit to a cute village sweet shop!