Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Month: July, 2013

Over and over and over…

I’ve long been a fan of Kate Atkinson, starting with Behind the Scenes at the Museum and all the way through the Jackson Brodie mysteries, so it was with great anticipation I opened up Life after Life.

Have to say that it was wonderful. It tells the story of Ursula Todd through the many threads of her life, she ‘dies’ over and over again; when she’s born, she falls out a window, she catches influenza… and is reborn and lives her life again and again.

It’s extraordinary and I really don’t want to go much more into it as I don’t want to ‘spoil’ the story. But I will say that it shows the impact different decisions can make on how your life pans out, and how even the most trivial thing can make a dramatic difference – butterflies in Japan, anyone.

Shamelessly stolen…

What are you reading right now?
The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen. It’s one of those Danish crime stories, so it’s all dark and moody and gloomy. Perfect winter reading.
Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
It’s a toss-up between Book 5 (or 6, depending how you count) of A Song of Ice and Fire and The Ocean at the End of the Lane (which I’ve ordered and it hasn’t arrived yet)
What 5 books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?
Hmm. I don’t think there’s anything I’ve always wanted to read but not read yet. I’m the kind of person who generally reads what I want to read. However, I do have about ten books waiting to be read… does that count? And there’s books I feel I should read – sometimes I buy them, but I don’t always read them.
 What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
None in the bathroom last time I checked, and in the lounge room, there’s a craft magazine. One. I don’t buy magazines often – just a few cooking ones and the odd craft one. I also tend to rip and chuck. Not a huge amount of storage space, so I’m a bit more think-y about magazine purchases.
 What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. 920 pages long, I read close to 900 pages, flicked to the end to see if they died, the two main characters were still alive so I chucked it in the bin. I NEVER do that. I will pass along or donate before I would ‘waste’ a book. That book needed wasting.
 What book seemed really popular but you didn’t like? 
Cannot stand Jodi Picoult. She’s the creator of Misery-Lit and I hold her personally responsible for ALL the wall of pain in most bookshops. Oh, and Danielle Steele. Never got the attraction.
What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, The Eight by Katharine Neville, and Skallagrigg by William Horwood. They are all wonderful and I know there’s three but I may or may not be a statistician so hey. I can’t count.
What are your three favourite poems?
Not a fan of the poetry. However, if song lyrics count – Paul Kelly – pretty much everything. He is such a story teller. I also liked William Blake, ee cumming and a couple of angsty feminist poets when I was an angsty feminist (instead of not angsty).
Where do you usually get your books?
Mix it up a bit… sometimes the local bookshop, sometimes online. I switched to an ereader (space issues) about 18 months ago and while I still read proper books, the ereader totally rocks.
Where do you usually read your books?
Mostly in bed, sometimes on the couch, sometimes in doctor’s waiting rooms…
When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
I read my way through the library based on what I could reach without using the step – until the librarian realised I was reading from the adult section using a kids library card. Oops. back to the Junior shelf for you, missy.

I read all the Famous Five, the Secret Seven, school stories (obsessively –  I still like them. Shh.) Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Kiddie crime and school stories were my obsessions. I discovered science fiction early on as well – Robert Heinlein in particular. Now I like grown up crime stories, science fiction, still like school stories (think I mentioned that), and the odd ‘literary’ type.
What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
Lordy, can’t actually remember. I know I stayed up way too late reading Song of Ice and Fire more than once. Probably that.
Have you ever “faked” reading a book?
Hells yeah. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad springs to mind. I loathed it. Still wrote a lengthy essay about it in an exam. I passed.
Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. The cover is gorgeous. The book is pretty damn good as well (ordered the fourth as a hard cover so that I can have all the books and admire the covers!)
What was your favourite book when you were a child?
Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Loved that book with many hearts.
What book changed your life?
Skallagrigg. Brilliant. Made me cry quite a lot. I was young and impressionable.
What are your top five favourite authors?

  • Kate Atkinson
  • Lee Child
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Neil Gaiman
  • William Gibson

What book has no one heard about but should read?
Skallagrigg It is seriously wonderful. Read it.
 What 3 books are you an “evangelist” for?
Not really any I don’t think.
 What are your favourite books by a first-time author?
Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson. Ok, she’s no longer a first time author but man, that was good.
 What is your favourite classic book?
Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges
Five other notable mentions?

  • Meditations – Marcus Aurelius
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Taming of the Shrew – William Shakespeare

(Four is almost five… did mention the count-y issues, yes?)

First world problems… (are still sodding problems, so shuddup)

Today was one of those days. A conga line of minor irritations that, individually, would amount to no more than a mild eye roll and/or a shrug of the shoulders. However, in a seemingly endless line of one teensy little thing after another, today amounted to a slithering slimy pile annoyance.

Must have been the wind.

A misplaced dry-cleaner, who, once located, managed to misplace dry-cleaning. Well, a third of it, but still. Irritating.

Late breakfast of coffee that was not only luke warm, but under caffeinated, coupled with yesterday’s bun. Disappointing.

An important document left on the printer, three floors away from a meeting. Annoying.

Cancelled another meeting (which wasn’t too bad in and of itself) but had to reschedule. Rescheduling took the combined efforts of four people, and the best part of an hour. Frustrating.

An express lunch that took more than an hour to arrive. Vexing.

A letter that had to go in the mail today missed the post by less than the amount of time it takes for the post office staff to walk back to the counter from locking the front door. Maddening.

A forgotten errand, a missed deadline, chaos and mayhem at home (both literally and artistically speaking)… no chocolate in the cupboard. The list just goes on and on. Trivial irritations, every single one.

It’s Friday. A new morning dawns in a ridiculously short period of time, and it cannot possibly be as irritating and tediously frustrating as today.






Oddly specific.

A well dressed man, wearing a crisp white shirt with French cuffs and exquisite enamelled cufflinks, attends the deli counter of the supermarket and orders 140g of sliced ham. The deli assistant says “150 ok?” No. It must be 140. Would you like anything else, sir? I would like ten slices of tasty cheese. No. Make that nine slices. He was later seen bemoaning the availability of eggs only in increments of six.

Fashionably bound.

A young lady, negotiating a cobbled street in ridiculously high heels and wearing a long, tight, straight skirt while carrying a ridiculously large bag on one arm and texting ferociously with her only free hand. Astonishingly, she didn’t fall or stumble.

Ethical dilemma

While purchasing work boots for Chaos at the local Kmart, he chanced upon a flannel shirt. Made in Bangladesh. Shirt was required. And there in front of me. But encouraging the proliferation of ridiculously cheap clothing that falls apart in three washes sits poorly. Not the least because of the treatment of Bangladeshi workers, but also for the wastefulness of such throw away commodities. Paying $8 for a shirt that will need to be tossed in six months and replaced with another $8 shirt seems inappropriate, when one can buy a $20 shirt, that will last at least year and be able to be passed along to Mayhem when the time comes. But the shirt was there now and required now so it was purchased. Reluctantly.

Childish behaviour.

The events of last week would have been less displeasing had Mr Rudd not chosen to wear a blue tie. Lemon juice into a paper cut. Equilibrium seems to have returned to the media with two middle-aged Anglo chaps battling it out again, rather than that upstart Ranga wench. Still, don’t read the comments.

Waiting room.

Right next to the fattest man in the universe, who chose that one vacant chair in a room full of similarly vacant chairs.