Sunday, 22 May 2011

Friday, 20 May 2011

Friday, 29 April 2011

Sometimes its the spider that gets caught






'I mean it's not lady-like.'

Mavis always acted lady-like. She loved the disappointment in men when her twentieth century body followed nineteenth century rules.

Sadly, Rob proved to be a gentleman. She'd so wanted him to say then don’t be a lady.

Rob smiled, and left - the plan was working.




Random Word:Tight-laced.

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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

a kiss away

I saw a castle broken into bones of grandeur, scratched with screams and clatter, damp with the mist of autumn rain. Strength still for protection but a kiss away from love. I turned to her, eyes filled with fluttering flags and looked.

rainy grey
moor cold

And saw nothing.

Random word: Mismatched

Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (2009)


Well some good bits first. It did help me understand more about car racing. And yes I liked the title as the theme for the story – we can get through the bad times etc. But the characters are flat and boarding on cliché – the kooky, brave loyal wife, the cute kid, the in-laws from hell , the silent strong hero struggling to do the best for his loved ones. In short, classic TV movie fodder.  The use as a dog as the central narrator does allow for some interesting takes on the events but it gradually beggars belief – he can bark twice as requested to urge speed but can’t work any other code out in his time with the family? Then its downhill for me as the plot unfolds. The wife suffers months/years of a mega serious illness but loving husband and in-laws from hell don't get her to the hospital ( so why no coven of friends fighting her corner?) But once in and the consequences known, wife and child go to live with in-laws from hell and so create the added complications of the plot. And he’s working in some vague back office job yet manages to raise the serious levels of sponsorship needed for professional racing almost in passing. I suspect that as a spoken book and a film with the right cast it might work as character depth could be injected but for me it’s the first abandoned book of the year.

Amazon_2_star: Disappointing - fine if nothing better to read but sell or swap ASAP.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

On a quiet day

While the world watches a wedding, a fairy tale for little princesses, I sit and wait. The silent street with trees gnarled and spring green leaves. In each house a party, this one sedate and mocking, that one beer swigging and tearful.

bunting fluttering
reflected on each car
and one blade

Random Word: Watches a Wedding

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon (2006)

Story of a weekend that goes very badly wrong as Grady Tripp, a writer stuck with a book he can’t finish, and relationships he can’t stick to, manages to get drunk and high in all the wrong places, as wife, girlfriend, best friend, new rising writer, Jewish-Korean in-laws are caught up in ever shady dealings and shock revelations. And yes it’s now a film! The story unfolds from his point of view and memories with clearly delineated characters with their own voice from the mid 90’s. My only hmm moment with the plot is a drunk, pot smoking professor has a female student lodger from his own course and gets drunk with one of his male students, getting him laid. Were USA colleges that liberal back then? Leaving that aside, the story builds a fast and jaw dropping set of events with a wonderful light and shade of farcical humour and subtle loss.

Amazon_4_star: Good - read it again and loan it out or give to friends when shelves full.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Just another love song

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'Do you know what soundtrack you are?'

The question caught my attention, which is more then she did. I liked them blond and pretty – young was only an option. I had some morals.

Nodding for a refill, I asked, 'Which?'

She leant over to hum some old song.  I missed the warning by laughing.


Random Word: Old Song

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Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (2004)


The book is a popular history of the politics leading up to 1893 Chicago world fair and the opportunities it gave to a local serial murder( mostly woman – burnt or flesh bleached off for sale as medical skeletons). The context was the launch of the Eiffel Tower on to an astonished world and the growing myth of Jack the Ripper. The stories are interwoven, which works fine for about 2/3rds of the book when it begins to flag. These world fairs reflected the industrial and economic power of the host country but the wider political implications are not explored. Instead we have a hero Daniel Burnham whose drive and vision made the World Fair and a villain H.Holmes, the mass murder, who together reveal the daily life of late 19th century America. Burnham in common with the period provided exploitative pay and work but came to accept model contracts that shaped 20th century labour conditions. The Fair also gave AC electricity a boost over its DC rival and of course the Ferris Wheel. But however, nasty the villain, he seems unknown to a 21st century UK audience so this unbalances the story as does his final capture, which is outside of the main story arc. It does show how unsafe it was for women when it was the norm to lose contact with people even in the same town due to poor communications or the whims of husbands.

  Amazon_3_star: Decent - share with readerholics but don't promote, and sell or swap when shelves full.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Tara, tara boom de ay

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Tara was up-tight. But drunk, she turned pink and fluffy with panties to match. As a stay-at-home-drinker, who would know - or so you’d think. But thanks to her ex’s hidden cameras, she was the girly-girl you loved too…well get to know.

On discovery, Tara exploded but pocketed the money - to sue the son-of-a-bitch!




Random Word: Tara

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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

One Day by David Nicholls (2009)


The title is the clue as to the novels theme and structure as it is a love story explored on one day - the anniversary of when Dex and Em first meet – over 20 years. You soon despair and root for them as they struggle in the cultural and economic changes of the period getting ever nearer that one day. Think of when Harry met Sally to grasp the novel’s approach but with different and unexpected twists. The characters allow for strong emotional engagement due to the trick of changing point-of-view between the main and some minor characters so along with the writer’s voice this makes for a rich weave of characterisation. David Nicholls background is in film and TV work so the film adaption is done and dusted. And yes, I laughed and cried throughout so turning the last page left me in mourning.

Amazon_5_star: Exemplar - Its a keeper for reading again. Rush out and buy copies for friends.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Life develops before living

desktopThe windowpane shattered. As always the shards cut her as they reintegrated. Mals looked out but the street, with its abandoned shops and cars, was empty as usual.

Once she had fought back – all her kind had but who remembered that.

Outside the last immortal knew he wasn’t lonely yet.


Random Word: hope has many hues

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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Spiral Staircase – Karen Armstrong (2005)



In this book we follow her failures (as a nun, an academic, a TV presenter and finally a teacher) as steps towards the revelation that spiritual experience is wider then Christian belief and practice. Yet this helped her get to the heart of Christianity as she unlocked what the mystics and teachers of other faiths mean through reflection and practicing an idea or argument until its emotional centre is experienced. Her writing is at the heart of the approach  that attempts to move Christianity away from rational literalism and belief to a praxis of compassion and the liberation of myth.



Amazon_5_star: Exemplar - Its a keeper for reading again. Rush out and buy copies for friends

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Church of Dead Girls – Stephen Dobyns (1997)



Slow build up of tension as three teenage girls disappear from a small town. The story’s focus is on the town folk whose behaviour becomes as extreme and immoral as the killer. The narrative character is a school teacher, a local loner, whose behaviour the reader mimics as we spy into characters thoughts and motivations.




 Amazon_4_star: Good - read it again and loan it out or give to friends when shelves full

Friday, 18 February 2011

Alien Probe

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Staggering under the gravity as the humanoid halo tingled his hide, Yatz struggled with the broken transbox.

‘Sir, could you try touching your toes,’ PC Royston said, sniffing for alcohol.

Sadly,  the polite Obeasins response of, ‘May your sun sticken the dark,’ was mistranslated.

PC Royston subsequent use of his truncheon caused years of misunderstanding.


Random Word: Long forgotten

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