Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Summer Holiday

This time tomorrow we'll be on the way to Gatwick, as we're off to Kosova for 2 weeks R+R. Had a nice relaxing day yesterday, did a bit of cooking - made a courgette, leek and lemon risotto, with asparagus on top, served with a salad of rocket, avocado, black olives and sundried tomatoes, with a side dish of roasted butternut squash (can you tell I'm using up the stock of the fridge before I go away?!). T'was very yummy, if I say so myself. Especially the avocado, which I can't seem to stop eating at the moment (let's hope Kosova has a regular shipment!).

Book-watch: Have plumped for The Time Traveller's Wife, and either The American Boy or Cloud Atlas, whichever the library has on the shelf this morning (what to do if they have both tho??! OK, OK, I'll go for the American Boy!!) And I bet you any money that if I go to the library for opening time (about 9.30), that dodgy crackhead bloke will stop me in the street yet again with his 'hey lady, can you spare any change'... feck off. If I had the money to support anybody's crack habit, I'd be on it myself. Ask at your peril, crackhead blokie, or feel the wrath of the pregnancy hormones!

Weather-watch in Prishtina - looks to be hot and sunny, hurrah!

Right then, I'll sign off now, back online on the 16th June (if I can find my passport, that is).....

Monday, May 30, 2005

Man alive

Why oh why have I been up since 5am on a ruddy bank holiday?

As wednesday's holiday looms, the potentials for the holiday read list are perplexing me. A definite is The Time Traveller's Wife, but I am undecided as to which other book to take. Hitchhiker's Guide? Brick Lane? Short History of Nearly Everything? That Kate Adie book I've been meaning to read for ages? or something else? aargh. What to do?!

Had a rather productive first day of leisure yesterday, although it didn't get off to a terribly leisurely start. We had a tumble dryer delivered (yes! on a Sunday!) and due to the biggest space being next to the cooker, some industrial-style cleaning was in order before we could put it in position. After mucho scrubbing on me hands and knees (and much puffing and blowing!) said floor was sparkly bright, and the kitchen looks beautiful, if I do say so myself. Then went for lunch with a girl who I used to go to high school with, so it's been 12 years since we last saw each other. The meal's entertainment value was cranked up by the addition of a 'comedy waiter' - some poor bloke who was on a trial shift and trying way too hard. Think over-exaggerated arm movements at every word and you'd not even be close.

Also stumbled upon a rather good writing forum yesterday.

Sweet baby Moses. That fecking crazy frog tops the charts.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Lazy of Leisure

Last day at work later today yay! Feels a bit weird to think I will not be in the realm of the employed for the next year at least (and hopefully longer), but I'm sure I'll learn to live with it ;op Long lazy summer days spent reading in the park with an ice lolly here we come!!!

What happened when Charles Dickens met Hans Christian Andersen?

Interview with Chris Martin

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Sling yer gun

I started reading Stephen King's "The Gunslinger" (from the Dark Tower series), but have now abandoned ship, 74 pages in. Being from the 'fantasty' section, I thought I might not like it, but I'd heard such good things about it that I thought I'd give it a go. In the 74 pages I read, there wasn't a great deal happening, I didn't care much for the characters, so time to go. So, I've now started reading Chuck Palahniuk's "Diary", which seems more my usual brew.

Lady-of-Leisure Countdown: 4 more shifts to go!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Sudoku?

I'm addicted!! I have just downloaded this free program, it's fab!

Monday, May 16, 2005

On Writing

I am just over halfway through reading Stephen King's "On Writing", which is half autobiography, half tools and tips for budding writers. I've only read one of his books, but have had this book recommended to me a few times by various people / writers. And he does speak a lot of sense. Having always been from the "plot in advance" school of writing, and having not had much success with it, I tried one of the exercises King recommends, which is essentially situation-driven, rather than plot-driven. And it's MUCH easier / more motivating / the writing just comes more naturally.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

I'm just about to start getting ready to meet some other 'spherical ladies' from Mumsnet. We are all due in September, and decided to get together for lunch and a pedicure. Very chic.

If anyone is interested in taking part in a 'paperback club' thing where you have to send one book to someone, send a letter / email to 6 people you know who like reading, and will get 36 back in return, please leave a note in the comments.

1984 the musical? Surely not. [via Bookslut]

Wonders will never cease: the shocking news that in two months, over 300 African boys have disappeared from London schools.

The Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

"Rabbit, Run" by John Updike: A Review

I found at the start of the book that I quite liked the main character of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, and disliked his alcoholic, pregnant wife Janice. However, as the book went on, I found my dislike spreading to both characters, although feeling more pity than disdain for Janice.

The way that Harry treats the women in his life (with little respect or concern) made me dislike him, yet at the same time being fascinated by him and his motives. I found his "running" away from the responsibilities in his life very real, yet quite sad. His life is a mess, largely of his own doing and it's fascinating to gainan insight into how he ticks.

The way Updike writes in the present tense makes the book read like a film, the events playing out in real time. His use of language is excellent, for instance when Janice is drunk in the house with the new baby, yet again abandoned by Harry, and is trying to make everything presentable for her mother coming round: the language is long, rambling sentences with no pucntuation, stream-of-consciousness style. This really gives an insight into her state of mind.

While, in terms of plot, the story is not exactly 'page-turning', th epsychology between the characters certainly is, as is the desire to understand Harry's motives. This has been one of those books which when you finish it, leaves you jealous of the way it's written. Despite it being one of the darkest books I have ever read, it is definitely one of the most interesting in terms of language and characterisation.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Bump

Phew! The time is really flying by now... on Monday I will be 22 weeks' pregnant. Scary! At least in three weeks' time I will be a Lady of Leisure, and can get stuck in to the things that matter, like reading, writing, and, erm, eating... Seemingly ordinary things are now becoming more challenging, such as picking things up off the floor, and putting shoes on. Oh, and working. Still, managed to waddle round Oxford Street for three hours this morning

Ordered a few books on Amazon this week - in a bid to do a bit of writing before Ms Baby comes along (yes, it's a girl).

Stuff Nick Hornby's been reading this month (interesting to note he read "In Cold Blood" by my favourite, T.C.).

Best bookshops around the country.

Help with cryptic crosswords (at which I have never been any good).

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Bookworm

As I'm reading "Rabbit, Run" at the moment, here are some links all about John Updike.

Review of Nick Hornby's new book.

Can watching TV boost your intelligence? Surely not.

Sunday politics

In 30 mins, the UK Leaders Live radio broadcast starts. This is a simultaneous broadcast on around 200 commercial radio stations, and it's all 3 leaders of the 'main' political parties answering questions put by listeners. I shall be tuning in on LBC...