Thursday, April 28, 2011

Learning How To Read

It's a little bit squint, but that is indeed my name up there. On a poster. For a reading. Live. Live event.

At the moment I anticipate five minutes of sweating, shaking, and tripping over words. Public speaking isn't a problem, I'm a hog for the karaoke mic, but reading out my own work is a daunting prospect. I'm freaking out a little. Or, a lot. But I'm practising, learning how to breathe. Pronunciate and annunciate, as my singing teacher used to say.

Help.


It'll be alright on the night. A friend has recommended rescue remedy in wine.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

For Review: Bad Dirt ~ Annie Proulx

A second installment of Wyoming stories, and I loved them. I picked Close Range because of 'Brokeback Mountain' and when I came over for my Germany holiday, my mum had taken Bad Dirt from the library.

Proulx is just brilliant. Pretty sure I said that before. Reading Bad Dirt was like taking a trip home; a community and landscape that I knew and loved, but still with so much left unsaid, more characters to discover. Proulx knows character - every one of them is fascinating in their own way, and she manages to make the reader feel sympathetic and disgusted all at once; much like our real opinions of people can be!

But wow, that landscape. I've got a cowboy's yearning for the land and the cattle after reading these short stories. Proulx really knows how to work a short story. She can use a paragraph to describe an entire character and his background, but it doesn't feel like forced exposition. Somehow, she crafts her sentences into mini snapshots and pieces of information. The stories are short, but by the end of each one, the reader is closely involved with the character and his or her relationships. It's some feat to move someone so effectively in such a short space. But then, each of the stories feature characters, places, and circumstances that are overlapped and repeated; typical rural community.

Yes, I'm impressed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Frohe Ostern!

Happy Easter from Germany!
Jesus is risen, I have a mountain of chocolate, the sun is shining, and later I'll have my first roast dinner in ten years! So happy, happy easter everyone! Hope you all have a great day! xo





Wednesday, April 20, 2011

For Review: Let the Right One In~ John Ajvide Lindqvist

Dark Swedish film with horror themes? Oh, yes please. Once again, it was only after watching the film that I realised that Let the Right One In was even a book. Straight on the TBR. Soon after, I found the odd book review, and realised that it might not be a piece of rubbish horror read. It wasn't.

Let the Right One In follows young Oskar and his friend Eli, who turns out to be a two hundred year old vampire. Normally, I would ick a bit at this, but Lindqvist really knows his game - this vampire mythology is based on traditional folklore and tales; want something that shimmers? Want lovey dovey unrealistic relationships? Look elsewhere. Let the Right One In creates a mythical world that comes across as very authentic.

The book follows Oskar, Eli, Hakan, and the point of view of various characters, people, animals, undead. Lindqvist somehow manages to weave a story through several pairs of eyes without being confusing. It's almost like a camera pan, just drifting from scene to scene to character to place. It's good stuff; all the more reason why it's a shame that Lindqvist has been compared to Stephen King so much. Even in its translated version, Let the Right One In far outshines King. Broad statement, yes. But I cared about Oskar and Eli, and the story was really about love and rejection - that vampire bit is really just subplot.

This was good. Just really enjoyable, funny in places, heartwarming in others. Let The Right One In is unashamedly human in the most bizarre of ways.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

This is Germany Calling

It's been very quiet here this last week. After the readathon came a lot of resting and sleeping, then I had to get ready to leave for Germany the following Wednesday. A huge, huge thank you to everyone who helped spread the word of my fundraising, and an even bigger, more grateful thank you to everyone who contributed towards the funds. I made a total of £120 for the Scottish Association of Mental Health and I am so pleased; really over the moon that I managed to raise money for a very important charity!  

It's lovely being in Germany with the family all together, and I've been basking in beautiful sunshine while reading Let the Right One In. Bit of a contrast there, but it's keeping me cheery! Naturally, I had the usual dilemma of what books to take with me in my hand luggage. So I brought: Let the Right One In and Middlemarch. I'll be amazed if I can read those both in two weeks, but I've got The Silver Chair to read too as part of the Narnia readalong.

Mmm...Reading in the sunshine with tea and cake. I've needed this break!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

24 Hour Readathon

Time: 00.00

Progress:


The Voyage of the Drawn Treader ~ C.S Lewis
Gypsy Boy ~ Mikey Walsh
Playing With the Grown-Ups ~ Sophie Dahl
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society ~ Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

My Dear I Wanted To Tell You ~ Louisa Young (37)
Tiny Deaths ~ Robert Shearman (103)

Total pages: 1199!

[12.22: Wow...that's kinda lame. But I have been fighting sleep SO BADLY the past couple of hours!]
[15.48: Urgh...all that junk has given me a sore tummy :( I don't feel good!]
[21.02: Oh....Whoa. Attack of the sleep again! Really struggling. Last three hours! LET'S DO IT!]

2 bags of sweets.
2 bags of crisps.
5 energy drinks.
2 cups of tea.
Chocolate.


ETA: It Is Finished! Four 1/2 books and then some complete. 1199 pages. My eyes are falling out, but it's totally worth it! Thanks everyone for helping out with my funds for Scottish Association for Mental Health.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Gladiators...Ready!~

24 Hour Readathon starts in just over an hour!  

My tools:

Energy drinks - 2ltrs
Sweeties - 3 bags
Chocolate - Easter egg

And, I also have a small pile of books.

So how is this gonna work?

I'll make a blog post for the readathon that I will update every few hours with important statistics such as:

What books I have read/I am reading.
How many pages.
How many cups of tea.
What snacks have been consumed.

I'll also be updating my Twitter from time to time so you can be sure that this is all still going. If I'm not dead, I might even make a little video at some point!

I've made my £100 target for the Scottish Association of Mental Health and I am over the moon. It's spread the word of the charity, while also raising some money. I am so pleased with my efforts thus far - and the event is yet to begin! Take a look at my fundraising site if you'd like to know more: My 24 Hour Readathon

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Too Close to Home

One Day by David Nicholls ended up on my TBR list purely because the book begins at Rankeillor Street. I can see the street from my living room window, and I've known several people that have lived there. The summer I graduated, it was my second home.

I'm at page 60. So far it has been raw and honest; qualities that I need to be able to really enjoy a book. But Emma's 1991 post-graduate early twenties life is too similar to my own 2011 post-graduate early twenties life. I can't read her thoughts without being deeply reminded of how I often feel myself. Suffice to say, it's too difficult to read.

I'll come back to this book once I'm in a better place.

Unless someone can promise me that there's redemption for her at the end? In which case, maybe I should give it a try.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

24 Hour Readathon

09 April - that's one week away. This time next week, I'll be just over half way in my twenty four hour readathon. As much as I'm excited by the event itself, I'm particularly excited at the prospect of raising awareness and, hopefully, money for the Scottish Association of Mental Health.

From the Scottish Association of Mental Health:
One in four people in Scotland will have a mental health problem at some point in their life. This means that you may know someone with a mental health problem, or maybe you're worried about your own mental health.
At SAMH we believe there is no health without mental health. We're here to provide help, information and support; to campaign on behalf of people with mental health problems and to raise money to fund our vital work. We're here for everyone, and we're here for you.

You can take a look at why I'm doing it here: click, click!

From there you can support me by Liking on Facebook, or Tweeting on Twitter. Better still, if you can give any donations to this cause, I would be incredibly grateful.

Thanks for you time x

Friday, April 01, 2011

White Rabbit

01 April
Rabbits and April Fools
Instead, my flat had sea monkeys and presents (it's the boy's birthday today!)

Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday with a question from the literary blog hop:

Do you find yourself predisposed to like (or dislike) books that are generally accepted as great books and have been incorporated into the literary canon?

Well, no. That's just silly and being a bit ahead of yourself, isn't it?

If something has been labelled 'great' I'm wary. Best selling book charts? It's probably not worth it. But 'great literature' has two things to live up to - it has to be great, and it has to be great. Generally, the word 'literary' attaches with it some credit, so of course I will have certain expectations. But I don't just like everything because someone says it's 'literary', says the girl with major issues towards Henry James, William Golding and Ernest Hemingway.