Ramblings from my pages… #4

Welcome to the fourth instalment of Ramblings from my pages… – a weekly feature here on Keeper of Pages. This post was inspired by It’s Book Talk’s “5 on Friday: Things I’m Loving Lately” – it differs slightly, similar in that it will feature bookish and non-bookish topics, but different in that I will ramble about things I’m loving, hating, wishing for, links I’ve enjoyed, life updates – you name it, I may just ramble about it. The only staple feature of this post will be concluding it with a cool link I found around the web.

In this week’s ramblings, I’m talking about: Mental health days, The Good Daughter on audio, Mary Shelley and her monster, and #Quercus2019. Whether you read the entire post or jump to the section(s) you’re interested in, I hope you enjoy my ramblings. Note: if it’s green, it’s a link, click it!


For those unfamiliar with the term, you may be wondering what a mental health day is. In brief, it’s a term usually associated with work, most notably in the United States – a person will take a day off work sick for reasons not associated with their physical health. The idea behind it is that the person feels their mental health is suffering, and to prevent becoming ill, they need to take a break/day of work. This notion of a mental health day isn’t so popular in the U.K. – as a nation we’ve got quite a way to go in accepting and understanding mental health conditions.

Dream, courageHowever, I’m hearing the term used more and more outside of the workplace, and I think this is brilliant. It’s often overlooked just how stressful, not only work can be, but how stressful life can be! I’ve seen on Instagram, some people will post on Friday that they won’t be active on social media over the weekend because they are taking a mental health break, if you’re a blogger and have ever felt burnt-out, then I’m sure you understand this need for a break from social media – it’s all about looking after your mental health. What’s important to remember, during your mental health days, do what works for you, whether you go to a spa, for a walk, to meet with friends, spend some time alone, with family, whatever, you know yourself, what can you do to, if not to improve, then at least prevent your mental health from deteriorating. One day off won’t solve all your problems, but you’ll be surprised with how much it may improve your mood.

I know I sometimes feel like I’m living my life on the brink on sanity, and what I’ve started doing is recognising when I’m there! Which is scary, but also a positive as it lets me know it’s time to look after my mental health, I usually find I’m trying to do too much, and neglecting my own health. One of the things I’ve started doing is pilates, funnily enough I signed up to a course because of a physical health problem, but I’m finding these classes are also beneficial for my mental health. Pilates is much, much harder than I thought, but something about it calms me, the focus and the breathing, maybe.

Now, where was I going with this, oh yes, mental health days, take them, whenever you can, whenever you feel you need them. I understand it’s not always possible, but the mind is fragile, so don’t be afraid to do what you gotta do to maintain your mental health.

Jadakiss Quote

Also, remember, different people have difference tolerance levels, different stress thresholds, so it’s important not to judge others, but instead, encourage people to look after their mental health. But equally important, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed, like you should be able to cope with xyz because ‘so and so’ copes. Everyone is an individual, and everyone experiences things differently.


The Good Daughter - Karin Slaughter AudioYou probably gathered from the above, and the fact that I haven’t blogged since last Sunday, that I’m trying to slow down, and not do too much. And clearly this includes reading, because I haven’t finished a book since October 1st; I’m not in a reading slump because I am still reading, I guess I’m just reading slower. Anyway, for the second time this year, I’m listening to an audiobook! I’m listening to The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter and it is amazing! It’s narrated by Susie James, and this woman can narrate! I will review in full when I’ve finished but I love Slaughter’s no holds barred writing, which is being brought to life by James, I’m hooked!


Frankenstein - Mary ShelleyOne of the books I’m currently reading is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and I’m obsessed. Before I started reading this book, I found out there are two editions of this novel; the original published anonymously in 1818, and a heavily revised [by Shelley] version published in 1831. Naturally, I had to find out why there were two versions, and what the changes were, and what version I should read, etc. During my google search, I found out that the changes were made for two reasons – to make the narrative more socially acceptable, and also because Shelley experienced certain things in her life, which caused her philosophies to change. Then I had to find out what experiences Shelley had lived through, and I found it all fascinating.

Luckily, the edition I’m reading is the revised 1831 text, but contains an appendix of the original text, so I am able to see the changes. However, I still want to buy a copy of the original 1818 text, because I image reading it through will be a completely different experience to reading parts of the text in an appendix. I’ve also searched for a biography of Shelley’s life, and then ‘Making the Monster’ was recommended to me, so now I need to buy the following three books:

I hope I don’t have this same obsession when I read ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker later this month, these obsessions are expensive!


That tweet is in the process of becoming a full length blog post, so I can tell you all about my first book event, and all the exciting upcoming releases from Quercus! But this event was made all the more special as I got to meet Beth @ Bibliobeth for the first time, and she is an awesome person who I feel very honoured to call my friend!


BAME Prize 2018: Swimmer of Yangtze by Yiming Ma

The winner of the Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize 2018 is Yiming Ma for his story, Swimmer of Yangtze. I really enjoyed reading this short story, I hope you do too.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it, and you’ll join me next Sunday for some more ramblings.

40 thoughts on “Ramblings from my pages… #4

  1. I think in my office mental health day is not a thing. Not officially anyway. :/

    I quite liked the Good Daughter. Read that last year. I’m reading quite slowly as well. The Outsider took me 2 weeks to finish 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They should be, I think they’re a brilliant idea. Within reason, they could help to cut down long-term sickness, which would benefit employers in the long run.

      Glad to know I’ve got company in the slow readers club. It’s really weird, it’s like this change of season has thrown me out of balance, even though I love autumn!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great insights on the topic of mental health! In the US, we place so much stress on workers that it’s important that individuals take heed of not only their physical well being but the toll taken on our psyche. I’m glad that the term is now used so liberally, continuing to de-stigmatize mental health issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That intense level of stress on employees is true here in the UK too, I think it’s probably the case for much of the world, unless you have an incredibly understanding employer! Which I was lucky enough to experience when I worked for a carer’s charity for 2 years. I absolutely agree, that we all need to work together to continue to de-stigmatize mental health issues, and promote mental health awareness ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved your ramblings, too, Janel! And I think you and Beth are both pretty awesome! ♥️ So fun you were able to meet, and I’ll be watching for the full length Quercus post! We, too, in the US, have a long way to go with the mental health stigma. I think part of the reason why we may have coined the term here is because the standard amount of vacation time for a worker is one week- maybe two weeks for someone who is long-term employed. Thus, the need for some mental health days to be worked in for sure! It’s just not enough time away from work. To take a mental health day, we take one of our allotted sick days, and depending on your work situation, you probably wouldn’t tell your supervisor it was a “mental health day” because he or she may not approve it. It’s more of a term we use amongst our friends, but I am most definitely grateful to be able to take those days when I need them. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! ❤️
      Ooo I didn’t know that, one week, even two, is nothing, barely even counts as a holiday. In a lot of professions in the UK, it’s round about 28 days and I think that’s way too little, especially when you think about how many days are in a year – we basically spend half our life at work!

      There’s still a long way to go around raising awareness for mental health, people are much more likely to say they are physically unwell so cannot coming into work rather than admit to needing a mental health day is the perfect example of how far there is still to go! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The Good Daughter is fantastic, at first I was a little concerned about the audio being 15 hours, but I’m hooked. I think I’m going to see if more of my upcoming TBR are available on audio, as while I’m not reading as much, I am really enjoying this audio. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post Janel. I think looking after your own mental health is so important, something I am starting to realise more and more as I get older. I am finding that blogging when I have new job and the second year of my uni course starting means I have lot going on in my brain at the moment. Something as simple as taking a day off from social media can be such a benefit. Noticing the signs of mental fatigue is so important and something I can recognise in myself. Luckily I now have a more positive attitude to life, it has been a long struggle from the depression I was suffering from several years ago. Being positive is something I still and always will work at 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Yvonne! I’m so glad you can relate, I think some people often take for granted that some of us are fitting blogging in around other commitments (jobs, study, raising children, etc), so if I’m late to review a book, or cannot share every single blog post, etc, it’s never personal.

      I’m happy to hear you’re in a better place now, and coming out the other side of depression. It’s under-acknowledged just how hard it is to be positive, that’s something I struggle with, but, like you, I’m working on it.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment because so often people have similar/shared experiences and don’t even realise it because everyone keeps it quiet (and that works better for some people) but when it’s keep quiet for fear of being judged, then that’s upsetting.

      I could talk on this topic for ages, but let me not ramble on even further. Have a lovely Sunday ❤️


    1. Thanks, Clair! It was a lovely evening. Since blogging, I have realised just how many literary events take place so I’m sure our paths will cross at one, soon, hopefully! Otherwise we’ll just have to arrange a mini bookshop crawl for a group of us and make it happen 😂❤️


  5. Thank you so much for what you wrote about mental health days. There’s still so far to go in terms of being open and accepting about mental health issues but everything helps and progress seems to be happening. I’m glad to hear Pilates is working so well for you! I did it years ago and loved it (as hard as it usually was for me!!), I’ve been wanting to get back into it. You’re inspiring me! 🙂

    And I’ve read Frankenstein a few times (always for college classes but I really liked it) and I somehow had NO idea there were multiple versions!! I love that you immediately tracked down all the details! I can’t wait to hear what you think of her biography and Making a Monster are…might need to acquire those myself! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been in a weird place these last few weeks and I have starting thinking more proactively about my health. The pilates course I took was an introductory one, so we wasn’t even doing the full moves, and I was struggling, but I love it, I’ve got one more class next week, then I move on to the next program (still for beginners, lol). I’d like to incorporate yoga into my life routine too, but baby steps.

      I think it’s so important to look after our mental health, especially as we get older. Also working in the mental health field, as you can imagine, I’ve seen/learnt about some things that have really opening my eyes. My understanding of myself is a work in progress but I’m getting there 😊

      We’ve come a long was in our understanding of mental health, from the days of asylums, but still have so far to go!

      Haha, when something interests me, it INTERESTS ME 😂 So you can imagine how much research I do when you review a true crime book with an interesting case! I had no idea about the multiple version of Frankenstein either, I’m in a group chat on Instagram as a few of us are reading it, and someone commented asking us what version of the text were reading, and it all started from there! Luckily, I bought a good edition so I at least can see the changes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so sure you’ve seen and learned some trying and eye-opening things. I really admire and respect your work in that field. I’m sure it’s difficult but it’s incredibly crucial. You’re helping to bring about that change in better understanding mental health, that alone is something wonderful!

        I think taking care of physical health and being proactive can be an important aspect of mental health too. I’ve also been focusing on taking care of myself more physically lately for the same reasons. I hope it’s doing good things for you! I think pilates must get easier as you do it more, right? Honestly, when I did it, it was at home with a DVD because I was too embarrassed to try it in a course in public, lol. I know that sounds silly, but seriously, baby steps in whatever you can manage for yourself and enjoy it!!

        I’m actually astounded, both times I read Frankenstein was in college and this other edition never even came up! I guess I should’ve been more proactive in researching on my own. And I’m the same, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole so many times on true crime cases, that can be dangerous. So looking forward to your writeups on those 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I love what you wrote about mental health days. I have severe anxiety disorder and sometimes doing too much of anything on top of having chronic pain from my Lupus and fibromyalgia and just everyday stress can make me feel like I’m about to fall apart. Life can just feel like an overwhelming chore and then it’s so important that I take a mental health break. I think everyone should since mental health affects physical health too.

    I’m so glad you are loving Frankenstein! It’s one of my top 5 all-time favorite books! Shelley was just an amazing woman; she was a bit wild for the Victorian era!! I hope you enjoy reading her biography.

    Love your rambles! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad your enjoying these posts! And yes, it’s so overlooked just how much mental health and physical health are interlinked, one cannot flourish without the other. We have come a long way, in terms of views on mental health but have so much farther still to go. I think talking about mental health is key in breaking the stigma, so thank you for sharing your experience. And yay, you you for taking mental health breaks when you need (and are able to take) them!

      As for Frankenstein, I’m still reading and still enjoying. I think Shelly being a bit wild for her era is the very reason I find her so interesting! Have you read both versions of Frankenstein, do you have a favourite version, 1818 or 1831?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do love them, and we all need mental health days…I’ve been taking some the past few days and will be on and off the next few weeks since my dad is having surgery and I’ll need them for my sanity as I help take care of him. But yes, thankfully the stigma of mental health is not as bad as it used to be but it definitely needs to get better!

        Yes! I teach Gothic Lit and Horror at the University level and my PhD dissertation was on Gothic lit, so I had to read both. I teach and prefer the 1818 edition since that is the original. Shelley changed the 1831 edition quite a bit to conform to societal conventions of the day, and it, at least for me and a lot of professors, takes something away from the essence of the book. Shelley being the nonconformist and feminist that she was really comes through in the 1818 version with Elizabeth speaking her mind and being more her own person than in the 1831 version, you can compare some of the dialogue (it has been changed by Shelley) and she is more complaint , docile, etc-like a sheep. Rumor is that Shelley revised the original version in 1831 because it caused such an outrageous sensation and was causing her to be ostracized in society and in turn causing problems for her young son Percy Florence to be accepted in schools, etc. A mother’s love and all that…Both issues are definitely worth reading though!! Sorry for all the info! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No worries, I love an in-depth comment! And I love that you teach Gothic Lit and Horror, that is so cool! I did read that she made the changes to conform to social norms, I’m so interested to read a biography of her life. My edition is 1831 but does have an 1818 original appendix at the back so I have been able to see the changes but it’s not the same as reading the complete text so I definitely plan to do that at some point. 😊


  7. Ahhhh lovely, lovely Janel. You know how much I enjoy your rambles (coz I told you IN PERSON!). Still so excited that we got to meet and delighted you were just as wonderful as you are online. I was really interested to read about mental health days at work, maybe if the NHS took that into consideration we’d have a much happier workforce with less sickness? It would certainly help those suffering with work related stress which I had time off many years ago for. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, it’s great that we can use that’ in person’ line now isn’t it 😂 I’m scaling for more events so I can entice you back into London, and on a weeknight too!

      The NHS is one of the more generous employers when it comes to sick leave, but omg yes, there is a huge issue of long-term sickness, and I think mental health days can really help to alleviate that. Especially shift working, it can be so draining! I’d be interested to know how many staff within the NHS are actually looking after themselves, eg. having physical health checks etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I really wish mental health days would become more commonplace in the UK. I have a friend who’s a teacher and his job is insanely stressful. He hardly has any time to just “be” and when he has taken mental health days in the past, he’s always had to say he’s got a bug or something because people seem reluctant to accept that everyday life can have a massive impact upon your mental health.
    I’m pleased you’re enjoying pilates! I’ve just started doing yoga because I’ve been having issues with anxiety and like you with pilates, it’s been amazing for my mental health. A couple of years back, I was going through a real rough patch. I wasn’t eating properly, I wasn’t sleeping enough and I was so depressed. I began incorporating yoga into my morning routine and the change in myself was amazing! I felt so much more positive.
    Awesome post ❤ Enjoy 'Frankenstein' ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It’s such a shame that your friend feels he has to say he has a bug for fear of being judged – in the UK we have come a long way in regards to mental health awareness but we still have so far to go. I think having this conversations all year round, not just on mental health awareness day, for example, will be massive in reducing stigma.

      I just finished a 6 week introductory pilates course, and have signed up for the progression 7 week course, I find it so relaxing to do at home, and look forward to the weekly class for that little bit of socialisation. I’m actually hoping to incorporate yoga into my routine too, do you attend a class or do it at home, if at home, is there a DVD or YouTube vid you follow?

      Physical health and mental health are so closely linked, so I think when you look after one, without even realising it, you are looking after the other. I’m sorry to hear you were in such a dark place, but it good to hear you’re coming out the other side and feeling much more positive! I’m working on myself and finally accepting that it’s a work in progress, so to be patient.

      And I’m loving Frankenstein! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry for my insanely late reply. I agree with you, I think talking about mental health needs to become an everyday thing and I honestly think talking about it needs to begin in schools. There’s been a rise in reports of children, some as young as 10 or 11, committing suicide and I imagine they perhaps felt that that was there only option. If workshops promoting mental health discussion could be organised by schools, perhaps future suicides can be prevented because young people especially will know where to turn for help.
        Congratulations on finishing your introductory course! I’m glad that you’re enjoying it so much. I’m looking at beginning a local yoga class perhaps so I can, like you, get some socialisation. Currently, I just do yoga from the comfort of my lounge. I use a YouTube channel called Yoga with Adriene and I really cannot recommend it enough. There’s hundreds of videos for every level and Adriene is just so chill about everything. She really sets my day off to a good start!
        Hope you’re having a great week ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I completely agree it needs to begin in schools. But I also think there needs to be support for parents, because some parents just don’t know how to respond when their child does confide in them.

        And thanks for the youtube info, I’ll have to check it out! 😊xx

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I am so glad you mention mental health days in this post! I have been thinking about them a lot lately, maybe because I actually need one myself, not ashamed to admit it. I have noticed a pattern with my stressful work situation that once I made the conscious decisiont o not try an do too much and please everyone at the same time, some of my anxieties shrinked… shrinked? as in, I see the as monsters and now they’re smaller… and recently I had a crazy couple of days, and the monsers came back in full force and I was like- you know what, I think I see a pattern here!
    It so completely is important to take that time for oneself and not feel guilty about it… that one day can really, truly help, as you say, improve the mood!

    Oh, so glad youre enjoyign Shelley and Dracula is one of my favorites so I do hope yu get obsessed with Dracula, too 😀 albeit it being an expensive obsession 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s fantastic that you are recognising a pattern, knowing triggers and stressor is a key way of, if not avoiding them completely, then being able to manage them, and knowing when you need a break.

      I recently recognises a need for a break myself and the need for a few days to myself, to get my head together. I’ve been all other the place lately and even missed a blog tour stop on Monday 🙈 I was horrified and posted on Tuesday, but it was a clear sign that I wasn’t on top of things.

      I’m not sure I’ll fit Dracula in this month, so I’ll carry it over to next month, it’s been such a weird reading month too, but I’m slowly getting back to normal.


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