I remember studying the Battle of Hastings in history. We were told that because of weather conditions, William the Conqueror was delayed in setting off from France. Harold thought he wasn’t coming and dismissed some of his armies before William arrived, and that’s why our meat is named in French. Continue reading “Chapter XVII: To be a lonely lighthouse keeper”
This has been fairly low down on my ‘to read’ list for a long time, and I’ve kind of been putting it off. I think I was vaguely intimidated by it, because I’d read so many reviews saying how great it was. I was worried it was going to be either too clever or too grim for me.
It is neither of those things. It is extremely clever, but it’s also very readable. It’s similar to ‘1984’ or ‘Farenheit 451’ in that the complexities of world-building are conveyed entirely through the plot, which is gripping in its own right; and it’s absolutely as well-written and as original as either of those.
I am very aware that there’s not much point in writing reviews if you never write a remotely bad one; and I feel really mean writing bad things. Maybe I’m not cut out for this.
Instead, I think I will write a good review of a different book.
Yes, she gets two chapters named after her. She is That Good.
This chapter is peculiarly alien in culture, and at the same time I feel closer to John than ever before. Continue reading “Chapter XVI: The best of all natives”
Out of the ashes of ‘Friends’ rose a new comedy drama about a group of young adults hanging out in Manhattan.
Actually, from the ashes of ‘Friends’ rose a completely unwatchable travesty (‘Joey’) which even I, the die-hardest of die-hard ‘Friends’ lovers, couldn’t bear to watch. Until I started writing this and went to look up the source, I was fully convinced that ‘How I Met Your Mother’ came from the same writing and production team. I can find absolutely no evidence of this online, not nowhere. Apparently it is a completely separate and original show of its very own.
(I will probably do spoilers, at least in terms of overall structure and feel. I will try to be a bit vague)
I am planning a presentation-workshop at the moment, which will focus on themes from YA fiction and film. As such, this was a bit of a duty-read, and it’s possible that that has influenced my perception. At the same time, I really do enjoy the genre in general. I didn’t love this. (I didn’t hate it, either.)
There will be spoilers.
My Christmas treat to myself was to allow myself to read two Pratchett books in a row. And a treat it was! I don’t think I’m alone in feeling extremely comfortable and at home in Pterri’s head – he feels like a favourite uncle whom I haven’t quite managed to meet, and almost everything he writes makes me breathe: “yes, of course, that’s right, that’s how it is”.
If there is one thing I really really don’t like, it is being Falsely Accused. Especially the kind where you can’t say anything in your defence and nobody will listen and they will never know that you are nice really because they won’t let you tell them and there’s nothing you can do and it’s all so unfair. The end of this chapter makes my insides all cold and explodey.
But there’s lots of lovely stuff first.
2016 is over at last, and I know that a lot of people are very pleased to see the back of it. We have seen a chain of celebrity deaths which, while statistically no more numerous than in recent years, has felt particularly cruel in terms of the individuals involved and the values they represent. Millions of people have died as a result of war or natural disaster, and terrorist attacks have spread across Europe. Meanwhile, the ‘jungle’ camp in Calais was disbanded, leaving thousands of refugees even more vulnerable than before; Britain voted to leave the European Community; and Donald Trump was elected president of the USA.
It feels as if things are falling apart, and a lot of people feel justifiably scared of the consquences for themselves, as well as horrified by the atrocities which have already occurred. In many ways, this is an appropriate response. We should be frightened, angry, outraged. But… perhaps we shouldn’t be quite so surprised. Continue reading “We’re not there yet”
“The Swallows were back in real life…”
Enough of this escapist charcoal burning. Serious stuff is afoot, and it’s time to get real. Actually, this bit is hyper real: there’s an acknowledgement that this isn’t, in fact, virgin territory if the Amazons got there first. Next, we’ll work on how it wasn’t empty anyway if the natives / savages / tribal charcoal burning witches were there…