Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Category: 2016 Books

Do Pidgeys taste like chicken?

Enquiring minds would like to know. Pinsirs, despite looking a bit angry bull like are insects and thus not very tasty. And Goldeens and Magicarps are definitely nasty fishy things. Enquiring minds like to discuss all manner of interesting things when one is driving in the car. Including the ins and outs of Harry Potter and what to do when one is ready for Book 5 and it’s a hard cover and it will probably be too heavy to bring to school each day (his teacher will let him read his copy at school. Win)

Aside from the Pokemon Go-ing (and endless debate about what different Pokemon would taste like), I too have been reading rather a lot. One of my (many) ongoing Personal Challenges is to read two books a month. I am being a success at this challenge, having read 27 books this year (in just under ten months).

I’ve managed two most months this year, and in August, I managed three (albeit two were on the short side) In September, however –  I READ FIVE WHOLE BOOKS. This reading frenzy I embarked on was aided and abetted by several journeys on public transport – Four trains, two buses, a couple of trams, two planes and a selection of taxis and hire cars. Aside from the last two, all provide ample opportunity for whipping through copious books. (The last two options would have involved spewing if I tried to read.)  But you don’t really want to hear about my travails with the Stinky Cabbie, or the Most Racist Cabbie, or fitting four comfortably built ladies into a Prius (I’m sure you can imagine that for yourself.) And I’ve read one so far in October. On to the books…

The first two I read are the second and third of the Laundry Files by Charles Stross. I would probably call this urban fantasy – magic and stuff interacting with the Real World, but in this series, the protagonist is ostensibly an IT dude but accidentally ends up being some kind of secret agent. I didn’t read them in order, which was a bit of an accident. I didn’t realise Book One was actually one book. I am old and blonde. These things happen. Then, for something completely different, Death Without Company by Craig Johnson. I got onto these after watching the Netflix series Longmire. Now, the Netflix Longmire is quite dark and angsty. The book Longmire is not so much. And has really ordinary taste in women. The characters are similar to the telly series, but some are obviously an amalgamation of two or more of the book characters. I do like both the book and the telly Longmire, but they’re so different, it’s hard to see the connection between the two. The books are quite soothing and nice.

I also read the new Val McDermid (Out of Bounds). This is the fourth Karen Pirie novel – this is more of a police procedural than the Tony Hill ones, and Karen herself is easier to relate to than Carol Jordan. She has her share of problems, and yes, she’s a bit mouthy. But I find her more human. Anyway, the story was good and the tangled ends were sort of more or less sorted out. Really enjoyed it (also, paid actual cold hard cash for a paper book. This is Quite Unusual.) At the same time, I also read The Red Road by Denise Mina. I didn’t realise before, but Alex Morrow has a similar ‘voice’ to Karen Pirie – I suppose because I was reading them simultaneously it was more evident, and maybe once or twice I got confused as to who I was reading about (and may have mentally looked for the odd person before realising I was reading one and not the other). Tip for young players, don’t read two books about mouthy lady Scottish police people simultaneously.

The last one I read was another of the Ruth Galloway books by Ellie Griffiths (A Dying Fall). These are nice, and a bit samey samey. This one was a bit different in that stuff that happened will change stuff that happens in future books. Plus, she started off being quite together in a vaguely disorganised way, but she’s become a bit of a whinyarse. I know having kids fundamentally changes you, because it can’t not; but srsly Ruth, get yer hand off it. Anyway, the historical stuff is interesting and there’s um. Another four left that I shall read at some point.

So there’s six books. In six weeks. That’s some kind of miracle really.

 

Happy Democracy Sausage Day

I missed out on a Democracy Sausage today. The sausage sizzle at the primary school where I voted had a Sausage Emergency at 10.30, necessitating a run by my good self to Coles for a selection of their finest mystery bags and tasteless white bread. Strangely enough, the blandness of the home brand bread, coupled with the mysterious content of the sausage compliment each other. So, while I did my duty for the school (my kid goes there, I’m not *that* altruistic), I missed out on a sausage. Bummer. The queue to vote was enormous – when I got there, the queue was just past the end of the multi-purpose room, by the time I went in, it was half way across the school yard, and when I came out – curling around past the gate. No wonder they ran out of sausages. There was a bloke who wasn’t from round these parts (judging purely on a) his accent and b) his total bemusement) who kept saying “I can’t believe it” and “it’s supposed to be serious –  there’s kids and dogs and sausages and cakes”. Which is as it should be. And yes, he had a sausage AND a dog while he waited for his friend to vote.

Anyway, politics is NOT what you’re here for. Nor are you here for the sausages. Well, I assume you’re not here for the sausages or the politics. If you are, sorry about that*. I write about books and housework mostly, nothing too deep and meaningful.

Orright. Books or housework? I think books, seeing as I’ve just finished two. I set myself a goal to read (and finish) two books a month, and I am taking this as June’s two, even though I finished one of them today! Now, I was struggling a bit with reads in June because I was being a moody fucker and trying to read something that was a Bit Deep. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but when one is being In A Mood, one is better off leaving the challenging shit to a better day. Technically, I read two books in two weeks.

Book the first was Nightshift (Book #3 in the Midnight, Texas series by Charlaine Harris. She of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series. Please don’t judge me.) It is proper Trash – the kind that comes with a capital “T”. It’s light, fluffy, angsty, weird as fuck and I’m pretty sure there were issues with the continuity, although that could have been down to my falling asleep reading it and forgetting what I was up to. Suffice to say, it all worked out in the end and they lived happily ever after until Book #4 comes out, anyway. It’s supposed to be a trilogy, so we’ll see how that pans out. I wonder if Ms Harris would consider writing one decent length book instead of three bits of books? If you took out all the re-capping and ‘splaining, there’d probably be a decent 450 page novel. Although, if she did that, I’d only get one book instead of three. As you were.

Now, Book the second was a bit LOT better – this one is called Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel. I picked it up from a review from Ben Aaronovitch who wrote the Peter Grant series (wizard detective. Win.) when I was sniffing around his website looking for the publication date for the next installment (September, maybe. Or not. Depends. Ahem.) Anyway, I have liked a few other books Mr Aaronovitch has thrown out as reading suggestions, so I gave it a whirl. I am glad I did. It was fun. It’s about a bloke who makes a living buying and re-selling rare and interesting vinyl records, who goes off on a mission to find a particular exceedingly rare 1950s jazz pressing. There’s quite a lot of derrings do, a bit of sexy times and a few drugs. It’s a cracking read and I definitely recommend it. I still have my vinyl record collection (I can’t seem to get rid of mine. They’re very alluring. And I spent a LOT of pocket money on that collection. I don’t think any record collectors with valves on their record players will be looking for my selection of Hits Hot 1977 and Ripper 1978 to pay me a lot of money though. My musical taste was (and is) a little eclectic).

I’m also reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (that’s the one that was too deep for my cranky arse), John Birmingham’s How to be a Writer and a book about lying (The Honest Truth about Dishonesty – for work, it’s about behavioural economics which is quite fascinating. About how people basically do a quick cost benefit analysis on every decision they make, and that lots of little lies are way more costly than one big lie. I’ve only read three chapters. It’s probably more complex than that).

Anyway, there’s books for the last month for you.

 

(*If you’re interested, I cast my vote with a mind to making my very safe seat marginal and for a feral senate to keep the bastards on their toes. See what happens when I miss out on ma sausage!)

Gosh, it’s been a while…

I’ve just realised it’s been a month since I last posted. Crikey. However, I have totally been reading like a total reading machine. Srsly. Reading a LOT. Well, a lot for me. I suspect I’ve actually read four books in the last month.

Firstly, I finished The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson. I liked it, I think. The books form the basis for the Longmire series on the Netflix. I loved that series, so I was really keen to read the books. The books are different to the telly series, the characters are different, but at the same time they’re the same. And they’re sort of funny. Not uproariously HARHARHAR funny, more of a quiet snigger here and there funny. I haven’t had the burning desire to read the next one yet (although I am currently in the midst of upgrading ma teckernologies and I haven’t shifted over books from the old beast of burden to the new whiz-banger (which has a weirdarse keyboard and I keep mis-fucking typing all the things). Anyway, I probably will read the next one as I did like it enough to read more.

The secondly, I read another of the Ruth Galloway ones –  The House at Sea’s End. I really like these ones. They’re sort of cosy police procedural type books with a bit of history and a bit of lovey dovey action and enough of a mystery to be quite soothing, really. I’m not sure whether I have the next one on the trusty e-reader, so I shall have to persevere with my reading list.

Yes, I’ve set myself a reading list – I keep getting all zomfg what the fuck am I going to read next, get side tracked definitely not acquiring books by nefarious means (I do in fact acquire books legitimately as well, I am not all bad.) and end up with some trash or other that I don’t want to read. So, yeah, went through the books, downloaded about 15 or so and I am going to read them before I read anything else.

THEN I read Stalin’s Hammer: Rome by John Birmingham. It’s another installment in the Axis of Time series. This was me reading it on the train… Oooh. OH. Nooo. Ow. Ohhhh. NO WAY. No Way. Hehehahehehaheheha Oooh, no. Ow. etc. The Axis of Time series is classified as alternate history science fiction. It is in fact all that. However, that doesn’t give you the whole biffo schmako that goes down in the delivery of said alt.history. Prince Harry is in this one, and he totally is and was Granny’s favourite. Anyway, if you’re into history, don’t mind a fucking excellent stretching of your imagination, and good dose of the “what ifs” do yourself a flavour and get on the Axis of Time bandwagon. Is Don. Is very very Don.

Finally was another by Denise Mina (Gods and Beasts) I am doing a lot of series reading this year – doesn’t matter – it’s reading and that’s the main thing. I had a couple of hours on public transport last week, and slammed through this afterward. Again, I’m not sure about it… don’t hate them, just not sure. It’s only book two, so eh, I’ll persevere.

So yep, that’s four books in four weeks. I’ve set myself a challenge to read two books a month, so that’s not too bad… I am reading a book that’s more on the literature side than the trash side for a change. Nowt wrong with trash, just sometimes a girlie needs a steak. And also to stay awake long enough to consume said steak and not nod off in three point two seconds! I’ve also been crocheting like I am the Queen of Crochet (patently not, however… also, this damn keyboard is taking a bit longer than I expected to be getting used to… it’s slightly narrower than the old one, and much narrower than the one I use all the time at work. I’ve also not been using it much – too much crochet and reading =/= typing on fancy new laptop!)

Two books in a week!

Yes, on holidays. Therefore, copious reading has taken place in between refereeing children, tidying shit, carting children to places so they don’t kill each other, tidying more shit, making a fancy pants bullet journal and um. Yeah, refraining from killing my kids (in fact, I did threaten to send them both to the holiday program and go back to work because feral as. Seriously. Who would have children and voluntarily stay at home with them every single day?* Crikey.

Anyway, I’ve read a whole two books this week. I read The Crossing Places and The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths. They’re book one and book two in the Ruth Galloway series. She’s an archaeologist and gets called in when bones are discovered (this happens in both books, so yeah). They’re written peculiarly – not so much second person but sort of. It was slightly disconcerting at first, however the story was interesting enough to keep me reading. I liked Ruth Galloway, she’s strong and feisty and intelligent, and she’s also not reed thin and drop dead gorgeous and describes herself as on the fat side (she still pulls the odd bloke despite her lack of thin and lack of gorgeous. The reed thin and drop dead gorgeous woman in the books is a bit of a silly bint, to be honest.)

The two books I’ve read are set in and around Norfolk, with lots of Roman and Iron Age ruins and the like to be poking around withThe stories are predictable in that you can certainly pick the baddies (I’ve only read the first two, and the second one was marginally harder to pick. If this continues, it will be nigh impossible by the end of the series), but they’re twisty enough that you’re not ever 100% sure that the baddies are whom you think they are, and the goodies are only about 75% good. This makes it worth reading. The two I’ve read have followed on relatively close to one another, and from what I’ve read, the rest of them do as well. So, they’re easy to read back to back. They’re also quick to read as well. Perfect if you want something mildly twisty and quite interesting.

I’m looking forward to book three and four, anyway, and it means I have now read TEN books for 2016 and the year is barely 14 weeks old.

I’m reading the first Walt Longmire book now (for something completely different…) it’s a Western with cowboys and Indians and everything. The series “Longmire” on Netflix is based on the books. While I’m not sure whether I like it or not, it keeps making me laugh so I think I’ll persevere.

*Yes, I realise it appears I am yet again bagging people who are making life choices that are different to mine, however, while I do love my children dearly, I love them MUCH more when I don’t see them every waking moment.

Reading stuff

Well, Reg was making me watch the footy, so I’ve been reading and fiddling about with my Kobo. It appears I can’t do what I want on the damn Kobo – I used to be able to sort books into reading lists on the old Sony e-reader I used to have – this was awesome, it meant I could have my to read selections in a virtual ‘pile’. Now I will have to try to remember what I want to read next, damn it. This annoys me inordinately. I am inordinately annoyed.

Ok, where was I… Right, reason why I was fiddling about with the Kobo is because I’ve read another book. This is is a minor miracle in itself, and facilitated by my spending about three hours on public transport today. Not that I could read for all of it – I’ve got to watch the train stations on the Metro to make sure I don’t get lost, and reading was not possible on the sardine can tram on the way back to Southern Cross. However, copious reading was done on the other trains I was on (five trains and a tram today. I am a legend at public transport.)

Still Midnight by Denise Mina is a Scottish police procedural. I wasn’t sure what I was reading and or why until I was about a third of the way through. The characters are all fairly abrasive and annoying (and stay that way for the entire book to be honest); and I felt as though I’d accidentally picked up book #3 in a series because there was Something going on with the interactions between the police characters that made me feel as though I was missing something (hence my desire to make folders so I can make sure I have the book in the series I am up to in one folder and move it over laters). However, something happened about a third of the way through that made me go “oh. That’s interesting.” The story was a bit whack, but hey – it was a suitably mindless diversion and I get to tick ‘read something’ off my {ahem} new habits check list. A lot of the abrasiveness of the main character becomes less murky about half way through, and clears up toward the end. As does the story. Which really is a bit peculiar. There were a couple of snorts of amusement (not actual laughs, per se – more Ha! than hahaha) when a couple of things happened. There was also a weirdarse Hallmark-y bit in it that was  – yeah. Nah. Bit like the Unicorns in Bladerunner. Anyway, I’ve popped book two on the Kobo so it wasn’t total garbage, and it was written well enough that I was interested in the characters (sort of) and the story (ditto). If I was the star giving type – probably three stars. Not shit.

Not sure what I am reading next – but as I’m actually on holidays for TWO WHOLE WEEKS and I have nowhere to be… The world of books is my oyster. There will be crime. There will be death. And maybe a history of Sydney.

Eh. Where was I…

Farmer Wants a Root is finished for 2016, so let me see…

  1. Reading (that’s why we’re here, yes?) reading has been a bit more excite than the books about tidying up (more on that later, you know you want me to!) I finished The Magician’s Land this morning  –  I actually really enjoyed the trilogy. It’s – well, it’s not all Hogwarts meets Narnia with sexy times – although, that’s a pretty damn good summary if I say so myself. There is more to it than that. Not much more to it, to be honest, but enough that it was a pleasurable read. Quentin grew on me in the end. He was still a massive dick, but any bloke who woos a lady with bacon (a little crispy) and champagne is probably alright. Apparently it’s on the telly. Might be worth a watch.
  2. Knee – well, I know you want an update on that. It’s been um seven months now. The nice bit is my patella tendon is now speaking to the rest of my body and I no longer have a slightly numb patch on the front of my shin. This is a win. The knee bone is still not really talking to me – however, will tolerate my weight on it when I crawl into bed. No more throwing myself into bed like I’m five. Although it’s fun. I might just do it occasionally.
  3. Watching the telly. Why yes, yes I have been. I have been watching Farmers try and get laid (various degrees of success would be my guess. The bloke that looked like a good looking version of Austin Powers hooked up with a girlie that looked just like him. They’ll be at it like. Assorted farm animals, probably.) Plus, this is the time of the year that all the shows I like are on the television, so I am recording loads of things. Right now, I am liking:
    1. Jack Irish (don’t normally like Guy Pearce, long story, I am old. He’s good in this.) I am an episode behind. No spoilers plz.
    2. Wanted. Well, I’m actually hate watching that. It shits me to tears. It’s so fucked up. Couple episodes behind now, not sure if I’ll catch up.
    3. The X-Files. DISAPPOINTED. Not saying any more. I haven’t watched the last couple of episodes. I really don’t know that I can watch the rest.
    4. Elementary – It’s pseudo Sherlock Holmes. It’s trashy and I like it.
    5. No Offence. It’s British police procedural stuff and it’s on after Jack Irish. Piss funny and pretty good.
    6. Accidentally watched a lot of the second half of “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here”. I was pretty sure I knew who’d come in the top two and I was right.
    7. Wallander (on the Netflix) I watched all three series. I liked it. It’s sort of mildly depressing but soothing at the same time. Very Scandinavian.
    8. VERY EXCITED that series two of Daredevil is out on Friday. I *hope* they’ll dump the whole lot again.
    9. Blacklist is recording again, but I’m not sure if it’s new episodes.
  4. I went to see a movie! Chaos wanted to see Deadpool desperately. He’s 13. It’s MA15+ so I wasn’t going to let him go on his own or with his mates. I may be a Bad Mother, but I do have some limits. We loved it! It’s very funny and meta and the gratuitous sexy times are vaguely comic-book and not too harsh for a 13 year old boy who still thinks boobies are gross, man. I am definitely NOT a Bad Mother – there was a little kid in the cinema as well, and by little, I mean under seven. Maybe five or six. Ahem.
  5. I’ve started crocheting again. I stopped for a while because it’s been so fucking hot – sweaty hands are not good for crocheting. I have four squares to go and a hell of a lot of ends to do.
  6. AND I HAVE BEEN OUT LIKE A YOUNG PERSON TWO DAYS IN A ROW. Yes. I’ve had a wee social life. I went out on Saturday night and drank the equivalent of about three months worth of beer and watched some bands. Some were awesome, some were crap. Some may have been more awesome because of the quantity of beer consumed. Having consulted Mr Google, I suspect some were in fact rather good. I went back again on Sunday. I didn’t have beer. I found more ace bands and more meh ones. I had donuts. Mmm jammy donuts are good for slightly hungover people. I didn’t spew. It was a good night and day. And you have no idea how pleased I am that today was a day off.
  7. OOH, I nearly forgot. I’ve been Complaining. I am such an Old Person. So far, I have received free sausages and a $15 voucher for a packet of dodgy taco shells. No wonder old people complain!
  8. Diet – going ok until this last week, when I hurt my back again (picking up the fucking BATHMAT of all things. Bloody hell.) so I have been s-l-o-w walking, and the whole parking close to work thing because when you’re walking like a geriatric cowboy with a foot long carrot up your clack, walking 1.5km to and from the car is best described as out of the fucking question. So, slow walking, beer and jam donuts are not conducive to weight loss. I am not expecting great things. However, today is another day and there’s been more fucking donuts because donuts are awesome. Ahem. Tomorrow.

That’s about it, really. I’ve also been doing some more tidying but separate post for that, and I have two weeks off in two weeks. I am most pleased. I have told the kiddies to come up with a couple of things they’d really like to do in the holidays. What I’d like to do is re-paint the laundry. Weird, hey. And finish all the squares for my blanket.

Scatter-gories or where I mix up KonMari Maudy style

Well, I finished reading the second Marie Kondo book, Spark Joy, (six books in seven weeks, yay me!) and I have to say it was a really quick and easy read – You sort of do need to read the first book first, although you can probably get away with just reading this one (I bought the two of them after skimming through this one in a posh little bookshop. The wench behind the counter was giving me the stare of death because I was woman-handling her books, so I put it back and bought it somewhere else. Take that, you pretentious wanker. Try paying the rent with nowt but bad attitude. Muttergrumble, old woman shouts at clouds.)

Anyway, the two books are like a text book and practical manual really – the philosophy is strong with Life Changing Magic and not so much with Spark Joy – as an aside, I read some of the reviews for Spark Joy – um. Did they not actually pick up the book and look at it before they bought it? Ahem. Someone is whinging because it doesn’t go through every single type of thing in their house, like you know, art… Someone else wants to know how to organise her kitchen because she doesn’t like the KM way. The rules are pretty easy to understand – does it make you happy? Yes, keep it. Does it shit you? Chuck it. Simples. Some people seem to want too much from the books, I think. Me, I’m happy with the inspiration to do something at least about the crap about the place.

I’ve so far gone through my clothes (twice – last time round, I chucked a skirt that I’ve been glaring at every time I look at it, and a frock that I really loved the fabric – but hated every single other aspect of it from the cut onward (it was a fat chick size, and while I am actually a fat chick, I’m not  standard fat chick shaped. Particularly in the arm department.) I kept a few things that may not make the cut next round –  specifically, I still have five items that do not spark anything remotely resembling  joy taking up valuable space in my wardrobe – however, if I discard them now, I will have no winter work pants, no winter coat and only one winter skirt. I live in Victoria. It could be winter next Tuesday. No winter work clothes is not optimal. So, despite their lack of joy sparking, they be staying until I find some replacements. And seeing as I’ve been desperately seeking a new winter coat since um. The winter before last winter. I’m not holding my breath (although I am refusing to get the bloody thing dry cleaned on the off chance I find a new coat before it does get cold. Are you listening, cosmos?! Nice woollen coat, classic style, mid thigh length would be nice. Mid calf would be damn awesome) The work pants are another dire mission (big girls aren’t supposed to have long legs, apparently) – at least replacing my work skirts will be relatively easy.

I did also attack my books and culled ten boxes of books that are headed to the school fete and at the same time, discovered I sort of already keep my stuff in categories. Books are either in the book case, or in the cook book book case, or beside my bed because I am still reading them. I don’t think KM is much of a reader to be honest. She doesn’t get the simple joy that is books and their potential. Anyway, around 300 books gone and I only cleared out two shelves (out of 12) on a 2m x 3.5m book case. My books needed some culling.

I’ve had a crack at paper, too – now, I cannot conceive the idea of collecting every bit of paper in the entire house and looking at it all at once. It strikes me as a bit ridiculous, to be honest. I’d need to keep putting it away to do stuff like, you know, eat, live, fold the damn washing. Plus, family of four, kids who are one step away from an episode of Hoarders, and a couple of hobbies that are either paper based or have a fair bit of paper involved. However – as I do in fact keep shit in loose categories anyway, albeit all about the house, I’ve done the pull out and cull a couple of categories and chucked (you guessed it) copious paper already.

The Paper categories I have are:

  1. Need it now – lives on the fridge, gets gone through whenever I notice something is no longer relevant
  2. Action stuff – bills that are to be paid, or need filing or whatever, miscellaneous stuff I need to do something with. I should deal with this more regularly. It takes fuck all to go through, but I just get swamped by the idea of it. Ok, I pay bills once a week – I’m not completely silly!
  3. Keep for a while but not for ever – warranties and receipts, etc. Old bills, that sort of thing (I keep bills/statements for two years because that’s as far back as I’ve ever needed to go check something) Quite frankly, I prefer a paper instruction book. It’s nigh impossible to print the fuckers out, and hey have you tried to balance a laptop on the stove while you work out how to change the light globe in the range hood? Much easier with the instruction book on top of the coffee machine. This is an annual job. Did it in January (see, I have always had a small, cranky Japanese lady inside me!)
  4. Keep for ever –  important stuff like birth certificates, passports etc. You can’t chuck them

I’ve ‘done’ one and two completely, and did #3 in January. I probably should get into the filing cabinet – but that might have to wait until I can sit on the floor without stressing about how on earth I’m going to get up!

I keep having little dips into other categories in a fairly half arsed and scatty fashion (scatty-gories, get it. I’m here all night) and I am continually surprised about what I can throw out – like that bottle of body wash that smelled weird and stung like a mofo when it came into contact with more delicate regions, half a bottle of hand sanitiser that nobody uses, all the miniatures I’ve acquired from hotels over the years, gone. That was another garbage bag of crap.

Basically, I’ve been eyeing off areas of my house (ZOMG, MAUDY. YOU DOING IT WRONG! Categories not rooms. Eh, shaddup.), and diving into what shits me the most, and when I have the time – combo Fly-Mari here, although I consider an hour a suitable amount of time to do a wee tidy mission, rather than 15 minutes. My laundry is shitting me at the moment. I think it’s days in its current state are severely numbered.

Essentially, I think the main message I’ve taken from both books is “hey, it’s ok to get rid of shit you don’t like or want” and just because someone you love gave it to you, you don’t have to keep it.  But the thing is, you don’t *have* to do all the things in the book to end up with a less cluttered life. I have a lot of stuff I like a lot that I don’t want to get rid of, but if I get rid of some of (if not all) the crap like clothes I hate, appliances that don’t work, books I can live without, that sort of thing, I will have somewhere to keep the stuff I do love. Which is most of my stuff really! But hey, work in progress right? And if the manly wardrobes can stay more or less tidy for six months without much intervention from me, I am so far ahead even if I go no further.

Do or do not. Tidy or don’t. Don’t whinge about it. Keep it if you love it, chuck it if you don’t. And keep your damn screwdrivers. And (I totes stole this from somewhere else, but it’s awesome) if you can’t decide whether something is useful and should be kept or not – if you can replace it in 20 minutes for less than $20, chuck the fucking thing out.

Reading reading

Yep. Doing some of that, I am.

So far this year, I have finished two books and am half way through #4 and a third of the way through #3. I am enjoying reading a bit more so far this year for some reason – whether it’s because I’ve just picked the right book to read and not picked anything I hate, or whether I’m just in the Mood for Reading. Whatever it is, it would be nice if it keeps going. I’m not going to set any goals for reading this year – just that I should. I’m also taking the Offspring to explore our new library during the week, and I might end up re-visiting borrowing books again. (Although, my spooky cousin who has purple hair works there. We haven’t spoken for nearly 20 years aside from the odd mumbled ‘hello’ when we cross paths – she was working in the building next door for a while. Embarrassing. Families. Ahem.)

Plus, I can’t read while I crochet, and as my crochet buddy is at the joining the squares phase of our project, and I am still about to finish Square #10 (out of 14) and all the ends (may have mentioned ends before – 14 sets of nine squares, each with five colours, and each colour has two ends. Crikey. That’s a lot of ends), I sort of want to keep up with that as well. But I like reading, so here I am.

Book #1: Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith Now, I started reading this series before I found out who actually wrote it, and thought the first one was a decent first novel. Then, by the time the second one came out, the cat was out of the bag and everyone knew it was JK Rowling. This was sort of unfortunate, although I think people had got used to the idea she can write about things that aren’t child wizards. BUT the other unfortunate bit was that the editing got a bit looser – like, OMG JK ROWLING CAN’T TELL HER TO CHOP BITS. So, number 2 wasn’t as good as #1. It was still readable, and still a decent holiday read. Career of Evil is #3. It starts off well, although I found myself mildly irritated with the story (and for fuck’s sake, we know Coromoran is hairy, you don’t need to describe how goddamn hairy he is every five pages. He’s a one legged hairy gorilla. Ok. Got it.) for almost the first third. There was also a bit of ‘need to suspend disbelief’ here and there as well – Robin was being a bit pathetic – ok she did get delivered a leg in a box, but seriously. However, we did find out a bit more of Robin’s back story, which was useful. Somewhere a bit before half way through, it started to get REALLY good, like I’m not crocheting because I am reading. Ahem. The viewpoint switched between the killer and the story – not sure that was great as the writing in those parts seemed really stilted and clunky. But it certainly got going after the 40% mark. The end was a bit race to the finish, then a bit WTF. Like really WTF. But I’m looking forward to #4, and I’d really like it if the hairy was mentioned less than once.

Book #2: Hester and Harriet – Hilary Spiers. This was one of those random pick ups from Target while I was waiting for Chaos to get his act together. So, an actual book made of paper. Weird. Anyway, this book is everything I hate – it’s a cosy, and it’s written in an odd perspective. It’s not second person, but sort of. Like reading a play (the author is a playwright, that splains that). Anyway, despite my predilection for hard core crime and death/serial killer-y type books, this was pretty cool (although, many suspensions of disbelief required about some bits. They’re in the middle and toward the end of the book, you’ll know which bits I mean when you read it.) I liked the characters – one of them I imagined as looking and sounding like Vera from the telly show of the same name. I’m not sure that she really did, but there was something about her… Anyway, it was a nice read. I enjoyed it a lot and handed it over to my mum to read.

Book #3: The Road to Little Dribbling – Bill Bryson I’m a bit over a third of the way through this one. I’ve loved Bill Bryson for ages. Even if I did try to kill him once. Long story. I picked this up when on holidays a couple of weeks ago after sniggering like a loon reading the first couple of pages. He got hit on the head by a boom gate in a car park, and it’s hysterical. Also, something that could happen to me anyone. Reading Mr Bryson is like listening you your favourite old uncle tell stories in front of the fire. Funny and affectionate and a little close to the wind sometimes. He likes to take the piss, but he’s very gentle about it.

Book #4: The Magician King – Lev Grossman I had an epic trip to the Big Smoke last week, and because I had to lug a fuck-tonne of crap with me, I didn’t want to drag Uncle Bill up the highway because hardback books are heavy as fuck. So, I popped this one on the Kobo and got stuck in. I’m a bit over half way, and I suspect I’ll finish it before I go back to Uncle Bill. It’s the second book in a series (I read the first one last year – Harry Potter goes to Uni with alcohol and sexy times). This one is more or less what happens next. There’s a feeling that getting what you always wanted is a bit disappointing, although Quentin Coldwater is a whinger. He is probably the kind of person who can never be content. The book is enjoyable (even with the moaning) and the characters are interesting, and I whizzed through almost half of it on the train. So yeah. Looking forward to what happens next.