“Gracie’s Special Reading List” is for self-published or independently published books, often by authors who have sites here at WordPress. (This particular book is more for adult readers, but my chickens did enjoy the parts which I shared with them.)
Trains are like chickens. They both bring up memories of bygone days. When I meet someone and they find out I have chickens in my backyard, so often they will tell me about their own connection to chickens. Either they or a relative had backyard chickens when they were growing up. Just as many people have “a chicken story” to tell, many also have “a train story” to tell.
When I was growing up, the grandfather of a classmate owned a restaurant named The Virginia Diner. It started as a discarded railroad car and was added on to over the years. To eat at a table in the actual original car is still considered something special.
“Something special” also describes this book by Wendy Fletcher who grew up in a house made from two discarded Victorian railway carriages. Her unique voice as an author comes through beautifully on each page, and while reading, it is often easy to be carried away to a different time and place.
Although describes as a memoir, this book feels most like a conversation you might have with someone while rocking on their front porch. You hardly notice you have been transported to the past in Oxfordshire, England. Specific details are woven in when needed, and I never felt like I had received a huge “data dump” before the real story began. Instead, I was quickly immersed in a fascinating life with details added when helpful. I was always eager to read more, and yet I did not want the story to end.
“What is not to like about this book? There are chickens on the second page! You don’t get that with every book. Even the dedication page was interesting. Part of it read, ‘To Ian Bridge who met the ghost of Granny.’ That caught my attention. Especially since it is getting close to Halloween and we are having a ‘Scariest Halloween Costume Contest’ this year.” – Gracie
“I thought it was fascinating how they turned railroad cars into a house for people to live in. I wonder if anyone ever thought of doing that for chickens. It might not be a bad idea. Chickens like having fun houses too, you know!” – Bessie
“My favorite part was when Wendy’s mother would dress Wendy all in white, just like my feathers, and then Wendy and her father would go for a walk. Wendy loved to explore everywhere, and that was just like me! And sometimes when I go exploring, my white feathers get messy too. Like just this past Sunday when I got out and had fun being chased around the back yard. Nobody realized I knew exactly what I was doing. But I was grateful for being rescued, just like Wendy.” – Pearl
“The wonderful photographs, particularly the one on the cover, were my favorite part. They really helped me imagine the story much better. I also liked the glossary at the end of the book. It explained words that were unique to the part of England where Wendy lives. Someone should maybe put a glossary of words in Chicken and English in our next book. (Hint. Hint.)” – Emily
“Wendy is a wonderful writer. It’s not easy for me to imagine what a person’s life is like, mostly because I am a chicken. So I only really know what a chicken’s life is like. But Wendy did a very nice job of making me feel like I was right there in her neighborhood with her.” – Amelia
“The Railway Carriage Child” is available through Amazon in the UK for roughly $20.00 U.S. This includes the cost of the book and shipping across the Atlantic. (Amazon Prime in the U.S. does not apply.) After the first few chapters, I felt I already had my money’s worth. This book is that good.
Wendy is one of several writers in the same writing group named The Whittlesey Wordsmiths, and many have websites. You can find Wendy at “Wendy Wordsmith” and her writing friends Cathy at “Writing Wrinkles” and Phil at “Fenland Phil’s Blog”. Take some time to visit their writing websites because I think you will enjoy them.
The Whittlesey Wordsmiths have also published an anthology of short stories and poems titled “Where The Wild Winds Blow.”
Cathy Cade, who first introduced me to these other authors through her “Writing Wrinkles” blog, has her own book titled “A Year Before Christmas” which just may be the next book on “Gracie’s Special Reading List”!
Just so you know, “My Life With Gracie” isn’t getting anything from sharing any of these books with you. We don’t collect anything if you click the Amazon UK links here. Some websites work that way, but for us, it’s about supporting independent writers even when it’s not what we write! Best wishes to all of the Whittlesey Wordsmiths!