Holiday Reading


I have just got back from a break in Corfu with my daughter which consisted of three activities – reading, eating and laughing. In terms of reading I probably overstocked slightly for a four day break but I wanted to make the most of the opportunity to sit in the sunshine and read a good book or two or three. My holiday reads all had one thing in common, New Scientist. All of the books were bought at New Scientist Live last September. Four were New Scientist collections which gathered together New Scientist articles under a range of themes and my big read was Decoding the Heavens by Jo Marchant who also writes for New Scientist and was one of the brilliant speakers at New Scientist Live. So brilliant in fact that for the first time in my life I queued at Jo’s book signing, proffering my newly bought book when I finally reached to Jo, for her to sign.

Decoding the Heavens is the enthralling story of the ‘Antikythera mechanism’ an artefact retrieved from a 2000 year old shipwreck in the early 1900’s. The story revolves around the quest, by a range of dedicated and some would say obsessed individuals, who worked on solving the puzzle of what this incredible mechanism, which resembled the workings of a modern clock rather than a 2000 year old relic, was for. I can’t recommend it enough. I read it in less than a day purely because once I’d started I couldn’t put it down.

One of my main objectives for the holiday was to unravel all the ideas that are bubbling away in my head. My strategy was that by reading such a range of diverse material, in such beautiful surroundings and in such good company, my brain would have the chance to get it’s thoughts in order. It sort of worked. By reading on topics from neural plasticity to ancient treasures my mind was taken away from its current concerns a strategy which is proven to help with creativity. It certainly worked but not quite as expected.

Instead of putting my existing ideas in order I came back with lots of new ideas. But most of all I came back reenergised, so much is happening, new logo, new website, new programmes. Even more importantly whilst I hope I’m not quite a 2000 year old relic, just like the ‘Antikythera mechanism’ I completely relate to sometimes feeling lost, not being ‘put together’ and being unsure of my purpose. I left Corfu after having a brilliant time with my adorable daughter, feeling hugely motivated and aware that whilst I still had more questions than answers and more ideas than time, I have the most essential part of reaching your goals. As Jo’s narrative revealed what it takes to achieve your goal alongside knowledge, dedication and motivation is support from family, friends and colleagues who even if they sometimes aren’t clear where your headed, nevertheless, stand by you.

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