Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Month: August, 2013

Time and place

I may have seen part of Big Brother tonight (no, I really wasn’t watching it – I wouldn’t do that sort of thing, I am a nice, literary type with much higher standards in that sort of thing) and one of the characters asked the others what era they would have liked to have lived in…I don’t know what the other characters thought because I wasn’t watching  (I think the token lesbian quite fancied the 50’s) . Anyway, that got me thinking while I was doing other stuff like dishes and cooking, chasing children, and definitely not watching Big Brother.

So what era would I have preferred? While I like the fashions and the style of the forties and the fifties – not sure I approve of the morals and the mores of the time. Wasn’t a great time to be a woman – well, not the type of woman that I am, anyway. Don’t mind the music from that period, but imagining life without Thai food and decent coffee. (Yes, I know the cafe scene started in Melbourne in the late 1950’s but in all seriousness, halfway decent coffee has only made it to the country in the last ten years. OK, five years. Maybe three years… I digress)

The more I thought about it, the more I think I wouldn’t change a thing. Grew up in the eighties (true eighties child… born, born to be mild), might have been the decade that fashion forgot, but they still have Eighties Nights and the music is still cool. Daggy, but cool. I spent my twenties in the nineties – ditto for the music, and man – has to be the single most comfortable era of clothing ever – Blunnies went with everything, frocks and socks and boots was so cool and so comfy. And chuck on a flannel shirt when it was cold. I grew up a bit in the noughties – didn’t bother getting sensible until the turn of the century.

Now, the best part of spending my WIcked Youth in the late eighties and nineties was that I could (and possibly did) get up to all manner of shenanigans – probably not unlike the Wicked Youth of today, actually.

However, unlike the Wicked Youth of today, every inappropriate pash, every drunken spew, every inadvertent bosom reveal, and the odd deadset flash was not captured on smart phones and posted on the interwebs for all and sundry to see. There’s probably photographic evidence somewhere – but who keeps blurry, out of focus strangers you don’t really remember? Unlike the interwebs with tags and sharing and all manner of indiscretions are there for everyone to see.

We didn’t even get mobile phones until the late 90’s – and all they did was make and take calls. VOICE calls. No texts, definitely no sexts – perhaps the odd dirty phone call, but nothing saved for posterity or future employers! And the only interaction I have with past inappropriate pashes is when I wander past them in the supermarket, kids in tow, wry smiles that say “I think I know you from somewhere, but it was probably the nineties” and we leave it at that.

So yeah, happy with the time I have had. And I wouldn’t change a thing – although I may just purchase a couple of fabulous frocks…

 

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Well I never.

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch is the fourth book in a series about a wizard detective called Peter Grant. I picked up the first book in the series because, well – I liked the cover. And the premise sounded alright. And the story was pretty good, so I got hold of the second. Then I read the third. And waited with great anticipation for Book 4.

Not disappointed, I gives you the tip. Ok, the first 200 pages were a bit slow, but there was a thread running through them so that you knew you were heading somewhere. Just, you weren’t sure where you were going or whether something was going to happen when you got there – or whether you’d just be tucking into a nice kebab and staggering home to bed.

Then the ends started coming together thick and fast and stuff happened. There were a satisfactory number of explosions and a couple of cracking fights. And there was a Twist. Quite frankly, I did not see that coming. Although, in hindsight, it really made sense.

If you’re thinking of reading the series, you have to start at the first one because there’s quite a lot going on in the background that is Important, even if it just seems like wallpaper. Even with book four, I can’t help but wonder what Mollie is up to, and whether The Nightingale is going to spill a bit more…

Guess I will just have to wait…

Now, because I have just started reading A Dance With Dragons, might be a while before my next book post. May post about other stuff. Or that.

Bird watching

I’ve just finished reading “The Cuckoo’s Calling“. Yes, I picked it up because JK Rowling wrote it – and after the hullaballoo after A Casual Vacancy came out, I fully understand why she chose to go incognito for this one. After I finished reading A Casual Vacancy, I read some reviews of it – one in particular spent more than two thirds of the review complaining that it just wasn’t Harry Potter and the other third rambling about a different book.

All that aside, it was pretty good. And if JK Rowling had chosen Roberta instead of Robert, she probably could have maintained the illusion for a bit longer. The book had a definite feminine voice.

It was the kind of book I’d think about when I wasn’t reading it (wondering what was going to happen next), and looked forward to reading to find out what was in fact going to happen next. The interplay between the two main characters was believable (although I didn’t pick up on the bird theme until umm. Just now, believe it or not!) and I liked that Robin’s fiance was a slightly morose and slightly dull background creature – I could totally see him as an accountant or an actuary. In fact I henceforth visualise him as a slightly dull background accountant that I used to know. Because there’s going to be more books featuring Cormorant Strike and Robin Endacott (I could be misremembering that). They make a good team, and I would like to be seeing and reading more of them! Robin was a proper old school secretary (with an emphasis on secret, I think) the absolute soul of discretion, quick with a pain killer and an antacid when required, and a dab hand at the interwebs – always useful for the 21st century detective.

Not going to say too much about the story, although there were a few obvious Clues. Like – “Look! A Clue!” I didn’t work it out until more or less the end (I thought it was someone else for a fair while), and I like that in a book. It’s always a bit disappointing to get to the end and realise that it was someone you’ve never come across before who’s responsible, or even worse, have the villain be blindingly obvious to all but the detective.

One issue I had was the constant reference to how HAIRY Mr Strike is. Man, I kept thinking of that Cadbury ad with the gorilla. That hairy, hey? And I saw Lula’s boyfriend more as a Russell Brand type (most other people think Pete Doherty, but I found Evan to be nicer on the whole.) And I’m pretty sure that Cormorant could have come clean about the whole wooden leg thing a lot earlier. I couldn’t see why he’d necessarily hide it, and it wasn’t even needed as a plot device. 

Looking forward to the next one with great interest – there’s bound to be enough crime for a one legged gorilla in London.

 

Danish pastries

We went On Tour a few months ago, and were away for almost three weeks – before we left, I made myself a wee reading list with a mix of books I wouldn’t normally read as well as a few tried and true favourites. One of the ‘new’ books was Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen.  I’d not delved into Scandinavian crime fiction before so I wasn’t sure what to expect – bit of sleuthing, bit of crime solving, bit of satisfactory endings was what I thought. And was more or less what I got, although I worked out who dunnit (and why) a fair way before the hero did, and the ending was a bit rushed. Plus, there’s a load of backstory that sometimes seems more interesting than the main story, and I really would like to know what happened with his two partners…

Anyway, I liked it enough to pick up Disgrace not long ago. Now, Disgrace was a bit different in that the reader knew who it was wot dunnit right from the very start, so there was no need to work it out – this made it more of a chase story than a mystery. Not saying I didn’t like it – I did. Some bits were a bit silly, but that could have been lost in translation. (Actually, that seems to have been a common theme through other reviews, and there’s a new translator for Book 3, so I’d say I wasn’t imagining the clunky/weird bits).

I found the tone of this book to be a lot more morose than the other one – the relationship between Morck and the ‘new girl’ Rose, and Hafez Assad was funny but strained and sometimes painful. Hopefully this will work out in Book #3, and hopefully book three is more straight crime solving  and colours in a little more of what happened before the books started.

It was a good winter read, though – page turning without being the kind of book that keeps you up all night. This is not a bad thing as I have a bad habit of staying up later than I should when I have to get up at ridiculous o’clock in the morning. And I will be looking for the translation of Book 3 which will be due for release soon (I think).

 

 

 

Lalalala…Look! Over there! (while I quickly write a post or two to catch up)

Ahem.

Where was I?

Ah, yes. Reading, and telling you all about it (and possibly whinging about housework).

Alright then. Life and stuff (and not to forget that) has been tripping along nicely so I’m a bit behind. However, I have been reading so that’s alright then. I’ve read two and a half and a bit books since I last posted – the ‘and a bit’ being a book in .pdf format that didn’t go well with the e-reader. However, the bits of it I could read were bloody brilliant, so I will be doing my best to get ahold of it in an actual book-type format so that I can enjoy the amazing illustrations and not get tangled up with the font not being resizable and having to scan around the page to read it. Wasn’t working for me, I give you the tip. I read the first two chapters though, and I would really like to read the rest.

(The book is A Cotton Candy Autopsy by Dave Louapre. It’s part of the “Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children” series. The only version I can find is on Amazon, and it was $90! The book is brilliant, but umm. Not brilliant enough for me to spend that much on a comic! I’ve tried reading it on the laptop, but again – not really working for me. I may have to acquire a tablet of some kind. How tragic for me, yes? Upshot is, I will keep an eye out for it and hopefully find a way of reading the damn thing!)

Not so much of the whinging about housework though – after four weeks of spending half a day in the laundromat dealing with the washing (and reading while I waited for towels and sheets to get dry) I finally have a decent washing machine. Now to get a new dryer… I could whinge about the treatment of my football team and the whole election campaign thing but I’ll save your eyes. Suffice to say they’re both been a bit of a joke (of the particularly unfunny kind); and attempting to explain the difference between The Greens and greenies was best described as painful.