Saturday, 30 October 2010

A Lifetime Burning

So, we’ve established by now that I have become quite a fan of Linda Gillard and her writing. I went back to visit her second book that I had not read yet. It’s called A Lifetime Burning.

When you realise what it is about you should cringe and shudder and most probably put the book down. But that would be a mistake.

The main topic is one that most of us would never dream to talk about, especially so openly. The main topic is about Incest.

There are a whole handful of characters in this book, all centred around the one family. And in some ways the whole family is centred around one family member called Rory. He is an amazing pianist. He also has a twin called Flora. And they love each other. Nothing unusual there I grant you but I think it would be more accurate to say they are in love with each other. And this is where you think it would get weird. And it does. The topics covered are very disturbing, but Linda’s writing brings such a realness to all her characters and everything that goes on that you can’t help but be intrigued. Not in a sick way but just the whole story unfolds and you find that you need to know just what is going to happen to this family.

The book is full of ups and downs and twists and turns. I didn’t have the luxury of reading this book from start to finish in one day but I had to read it over time – dipping in and out – and anyone that can keep me still really feeling the characters when I have to do that, well I know their writing is of another level.

The families acceptance of what is going on is what I think helps to slightly dilute the weirdness and disturbed angle of the subject matter, but don’t think for one minute that by acceptance I mean that family is ok with what is going on.

Running throughout this book is a very heavy reliance on music. There is a beautiful phrase used ‘If this play was being broadcast in Russian you wouldn’t have the option of interpretation. The meaning would stop at the actor’s mouth. But I could play you music in Russian and you’d understand it as well as a Russian! Well, you wouldn’t,’ he said scornfully, ‘but you see- they only work if you speak the language. But music works in any language because it doesn’t have a language. It’s faster, more direct. Like mainlining.’

This has been my theory for years that music takes over where words fail.

The music is just one theme of the book though, you have a vicar struggling with his sexuality, children born into the incestuous family, the trials of an every day life, struggles with money, family tragedy….it’s all here, wrapped up in very disturbing themes but so beautifully written about I would defy anyone not to be moved to some level whilst reading this book.

There is even a comment in the book about how easy it would be to accidentally commit incest, that really got me thinking about the ways of the world and some of the troubles that could lie ahead. But you’ll have to read the book to work out what I am talking about there.

Friday, 29 October 2010

It's another yep yep!

Rescue Me by Melissa Wareham

The book cover alone could sell me this book – maybe it even did – but the content obviously had to be good enough to keep me reading it to the end. It was part of my lost weekend of being sick in bed and catching up on some reading.

I think it was a very good companion.

Now, I’ve read a few reviews that have been a bit unkind to Melissa Wareham, saying she’s tried to make out she was holier than thou and how she did this and she did that…..but this is a story about her time at Battersea Dogs Home and the things that happened and the animals that she met…, um, how could you not think it was going to talk about the good deeds that she did as Battersea Dogs Home is all about good deeds is it not?

It is quite breathtaking just how many dogs pass through the doors of Battersea every year. These days there is a trend to own terrier types, as in Staffy’s and anything that might look like one. The poor dogs are given a death sentence from the minute they are born at the moment. These dogs are very good care dogs, but sadly irresponsible owners and bad breading has led them to be a muscle bound bullet just waiting to shoot out at someone. So, sadly the irresponsible owners can’t look after their dogs and give them up, these poor dogs can’t be rehomed as you just can’t trust their behaviour anymore, so sadly there lies the end of their life. It can’t be nice to be the vet in charge at Battersea Dogs Home.

I thought this book was going to make me cry, a lot, but thankfully Melissa really focuses on the good work that Battersea do, and the lovely animals that come into the home and manage to find good new parents. It’s an uplifting story with the naturally sad bits in, but at those moments you just say that you have something in your eye.

Definitely one for any dog lover to read.

It really is a passing trend.

Sorry for the quality of the pictures - I was multi tasking.  In other words I was eating hot soup and a bread roll whilst only having my low grade camera phone with me........

Very glitzy glam boots from a high street store naturally with a high street price - which kindof shows you don't need to spend a gazillion pounds - as lets be honest - boots like this make a statement the first few times you wear them then it's like oh she's got those boots on again.........

hideous....I just do not get this coat - it's like a mismash of all sorts of old nasty fur type coats put together and stitched up any which way you want.

And yet this - there is a touch of grandma to it and a touch of miss marple to it but somehow I am thinking it looks cosy and cute.  And winter clothes don't very often do cosy and cute.

Ugg boots.  The name is not much removed from Ugly - I've been saying it for years - and they can 'jazz' them up as much as they want, I am sticking by my original statement.

Oh literally seconds ago I said how cosy and cute aren't very often used for winter fashion - well H&M didn't disappoint me now did they.  Shapeless and dull jumpers can be yours for £19.99

Blurgh blurgh blurgh - these horrible based on the LV logo bags are making a comeback.  Why? There are plenty of ways to make bags looks interesting and lovely - none of these do it.  Most of them are a fair few hundred pounds as well....why oh why!

But with matching tights - it sounds so kindergarten - but there is something very very cute about these.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Lost and Found

We've all been lost and longed to be found at some point in our life.

I’ve read many books that involve our loving canine friend. Up until now they have been true stories or at least heavily based on true stories.

I took a gamble and read Lost and Found by Jacqueline Sheehan. Not such a huge gamble as it was about doglets but it was a novel, a made up story.

And I loved it.

I read the book over a weekend, barely putting it down until I had finished. I was gambolling to the end, almost needing to know how the story went but also wanting to savour it – one of those lovely books I have spoken about before.

There is a time in everyone’s life that I think they become aware of their own mortality and then they become aware of those around them. Dying has never scared me – but being left behind whilst others around me die does. And in this story Roxanne Pellegrino finds out about this the hard way when her beloved husband suddenly dies right out of the blue. Roxanne is left reeling – she’s trying to come to terms with how to continue in life whilst also feeling very guilty for not being able to save her husband.

Roxanne tries to shut herself off from the world but it doesn’t really work. She’s moved away for a year long break from her old life and ends up meeting some wonderful quirky characters and a dog called Lloyd. Or rather they find each other. Both hurt and hurting. And together they help to fix each other. Quite literally as Lloyd is found with an arrow sticking out of him. Roxanne is led to an Archery instructor – which tangles up a story of a girl who has appeared to have killed herself and her mad ex boyfriend.

The story unravels at a pace that keeps you hooked from start to finish, you feel the characters, you become part of the story and cling on to the hope of a happy ending....this is another book that is going back on my book shelf to be read again!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Ablom

Now I may have missed something, once in a while this does happen.  But I don't remember this book being so HUGE in the UK as it is in the USA?  I've not really met many people that are UK born and bred that have read this book.  And what a pity. 

I feel quite blessed just lately to have found such lovely books to read.  I have a habit of going into a book store and just staring at the shelves and one or two books will really jump out at me.  This can be very hit and miss but thankfully I've had more hits than misses.  Those that are misses are donated to the charity store or left on the tube for someone else to read, thus giving me a good dead of the day as well.

Now Tuesday's with Morrie is an amazing and moving book.

So many people are really scared of dying.  But it's the only sure thing in life that is going to happen to you.  Ok so now you are thinking this book is going to be depressing.  Wrong.  It's incredibly uplifting, moving, educational.  In one way it's a very simple read.  It's about an old man who is dying and an ex student who visits him on a Tuesday.

On the other hand this book is a very complex read as it will challenge some of the ways you think or have been brought up to think.

I don't fear dying, I fear those around me dying far more.

This book may not change that fear in people but it shows you how you can be graceful and appreciative right up until the end.  That you don't have to feel bitter or hard done by.  How you can see everything as a gift, a chance to learn and a chance to teach.

It's no secret that I've been feeling a bit, well, a bit put out by what life has to offer.  It's a beautiful world but somewhere something about a lot of aspects of human nature has gotten really ugly.

I know of people who bully because they can't deal with their own insecurities.  I know people that are bitter and twisted and hateful purely down to jealousy.  I know people doing such awful things because they think the devil looks after his own so forget it they are going to do whatever they want and you can like it or lump it.

Needless to say I don't spend much or any time with such people.  I've made some choices to distance myself from some people because the paths we were walking together were not healthy.  It made for a lonely time but it's led to a much richer time.

And this book can sum all that up in a far more eloquent way than I have just done.

You'll learn about the lovely side of human nature, the unfairness of life but how you can keep smiling and keep feeling like a lucky, rich and fulfilled person.

I made so many little markers in this book for great quotes and sayings that Morrie came out with.

It's one of the books that is not being passed on, it is going back on my bookcase to be re-read again and again.  I'll tell people about this book and buy it for them as a gift.  As that is what it is - a lovely gift, a glimpse into one man's life through the eyes of another.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Rar blar rarrrrrrrrrrr

The age we live in has been brought up to expect a car and a house and holidays once, maybe even twice a year.

Now I was brought up to know this is possible if you work for it.

Many people think they can just sign on and get benefits – or find a way to fiddle someone’s books to make it look like they are working, or pretend they have some disability so they can get as much in hand outs as possible. This costs the state HUGELY and um whatever happened to self respect and instilling good things in your children…….anyway I’d like to say each to their own BUT our government is on about cutting benefits to help the countries deficit. I tell you what they should do….crack down on the people that should not be claiming benefits – that would save them millions.

Now back to the house issue, um now to buy a first time property – and buy that we mean little flat in London – you need a deposit of about £27,900 um not really possible on today’s wages.

We need to be paying about £10,000 more each year into a pension fund…….most pension funds won’t let you pay that much into it each year. After tax most people don’t earn much more than that each year!!!

The world became easy to travel around, so people moved. You don’t get the community that you once did. The local stores have shut down. But suddenly the government is making owning and running a car really expensive but the communities can’t support everyone living and getting all their ‘stuff’ from the local community.

So, what? We get the train? Oh that will be the trains that are too over crowded, that are not reliable and are about to go up by maybe as much as 37% each year.

Hmmmm, doesn’t take a genius to see a problem here.

The car? Well the world can’t really afford to have many more people driving, the roads can’t really take many more people driving but people need to as the public transport is too rubbish and expensive, so um what does that leave? Push bikes? Yeah don’t even get me started about the safety issues and security issues about that one. I still have my boyfriends broken bicycle downstairs thanks to an ignorant motorist and careless bus driver. My only thanks is that it was just his bike that was broken………

So where was I? Oh yeah – money and jobs……… are being cut, which will put more people on benefits, but benefits are being cut so that makes what, more homeless people? But the mayor would like to stop all homelessness on the streets of London by 2012……yeah……………

Education is going up……..a 5 year University degree course in London could set someone back by £120,000 but there are job cuts and benefit cuts so, um, yeah……………so less people will go to University meaning there will be more people looking for jobs, but oh yeah, there have been lots of job cuts and many more planned, which what? Means more people on benefits……………..

Oh yeah I forgot to say – not only are their job cuts, and rocketing house prices, and unreliable transport which will result in people being stranded almost and losing jobs for being late to work and and and, pause for breath, there is also going to be a cut in wages for many, the cost of living is going up in a ridiculous fashion and VAT is going to go up, so that is less jobs, less salary, more tax, less money to spend on way more expensive things.

Yeah – what are people worried about.

I am not rolling my eyes and quietly cursing someone called David.

The poor will be thrown a bone, the rich will be able to afford the things being thrown at them as proportionally it’s hardly anything, as for the majority – yeah sorry to tell you – you’re kindof pretty damn well screwed. By the Government. Shudder.

Now the bankers caused this latest down right bloody mess and what is happening to them? That’s right, they got given the ‘peoples’ money to help them out and what have they done in return since then, yes rewarded themselves with £7,000,000 bonuses….because they did so well!!?!! Sorry, I think I started choking there.

Soooooooo the Government are spending how much again? Wasting what was it again? Just something as little as about £1,700 per laptop……….deciding to make MP’s take the tube instead of private cars to cut down costs, but then sending their paperwork home by said cars, so now it’s actually costing more as there is now the tube fare on top, which lets not forget is going to go up by how much was it – oh yeah way too freaking much is what.

All in all I think the big deficit is coming from the Governments ridiculous expenses. Sorry but if I live too far away for my job, tough shit – I have to commute or pay to rent somewhere else or move. And that is just the start of why the general public should not be paying for so much that they have to.

And lets not forget the expense of that little thing called war.

I believe we could live a happy and sweet life, without the need for so much ‘stuff’ without all this sadness, without the world being quite so unsafe.

But sadly someone invented money, Governments, classes and ego.

Every man is equal my arse.

At least I can sleep easy at night………. That ‘dude’ called David, can you!?!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Emotional Geology

By Linda Gillard.

How to write a review of this book without giving away the whole plot? I want to tease you with enough of it to make you go out and read it for yourselves, but without giving too much away.

I was too ill to go to work yesterday so between sleeping I read almost the entire book. Which should say something in itself.

Sometimes I felt like I was almost reading the authors diary. In a way I hope I wasn’t as I wouldn’t want to think that she had a ‘Gavin’ in her life. Safe to say I didn’t like this guy too much.

Callum, well I felt a little heartbreak when he was explaining what had happened to Chris. Now this is a fictional character but with such realistic dimensions I felt a little heart break!!

The scenery again is amazing and makes me long for the short bursts of time I spend in Scotland. If it wasn’t so cold and rainy I’d be there in a shot.

There were times when I almost felt like I was reading a manual on how to write. Not in a patronising way but I learnt a little as I ploughed through the pages.

I am studying a writing course but seem to not be following the instructions being given to me. When I am writing I don’t find I need to know the ending of the story, just the start. Then I almost let the story tell itself with me being the medium to allow the story to be told. In the book, I almost read the same thing.

I suppose this book is a woman’s book, I am not sure how much men would get out of it, or admit to getting out of it. Maybe it would be like the woman’s magazines, men call them piffle then sneak a peak when you are not looking.

The characters dance out at you from the pages of the book and you feel for them, all sorts of emotions, some good and some bad, and that’s life. It’s another book that grips into you and when you finish the book, when you get to those longed for last pages, the hunger to know the full story makes you not want to put the book down. Then you get there, you know it’s the end but you turn the page all the same hoping there will be more.

When I close a book and am silent for a while I know it’s been good.

I hope I have given you enough to want to go out and read it now.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

My, my I think she's cracked it!

Emotional Geology the first book that Linda Gillard wrote has found it's way to my house and into my hands for me to read.  I've only just started this book, and quite like the other one I've read (see my review of Stargazer here) it's grabbed me with it's beautiful use of the English language already.

"I wanted to die!"
"You no longer wanted to live"
"Is there a difference?"
"Oh, yes, a great deal of difference....We can do very little for those who want to die."

And this is just the beginning.  I will be back to review this book properly, I just thought I'd give you a little teaser/taster.

Linda Gillard lives in Scotland, having pretty much packed up her previous life to go and live there and write.  My last trip to Scotland I said the very same thing.  The scenery is so out of this world amazing that I felt more inspired than I ever had been, I think I even made the comment about how come everyone in Scotland isn't a writer, painter or photographer.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Super Lou

The wonder dog.  Although that's not really what this book is called.

The book is called Last Dog on The Hill by Steve Duno.

Lou is found by the side of the road a little worse for wear and covered with ticks and fleas.  He's the son of a rotweiller that is being used to guard a marijuana farm. 

Steve takes the dog home with him and so begins this wonderful story.  It's not just about companionship.  It's not just about Lou's life, or Steve's.  It's about a unique journey.  The wonderful friendship a man and a canine can have.  The trust they have in each other, especially strong when Steve becomes a dog trainer with Lou helping to train some of the most fearsome creatures.

Lou even helps out when a young girl gets attacked in their apartment block, he captures the attacker in quite spectacular fashion.  Lou, in many ways is a very special dog, he seems brave and fearless with such a huge aptitude for learning.  An intelligent dog beyond most.

The story is beeautiful.  You find out right at the beginning that Lou has since passed, so you know that this will be coming.  By the time that stage of Lou's life is upon the reader you will be in tears.  Even in the written form Lou's immense personality leaps out at you sucking you in.

One book that I would recommend to anyone.

Monday, 4 October 2010

If you have just one moment to spare.......

Please sign this for tougher sentancing on animal abusers

And if you want to know why I am peed off about it right at this very moment in time click here.


I am not being lazy I just want to find the right source writing course if drawing to an end. So far so good. I am even planning on the next course as we speak. In the meantime I really want to start stretching my writing and not just writing for myself. i have a few thoughts and ideas as always but I figured many minds are better than one, so does anyone know of any good little papers or blogs that would be interested?  I would be grateful for any advice!

Thanks muchly.

I think Hannah is cool

I saw a really pretty card yesterday and actually remembered to have a look on the back at how had designed it.

click here for Hannahs website

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Charlotte's web

One of my all time favorite books.  The films not bad either but then, oh dear, I stumbled across Charlotte's web 2.  I should've known better but the thought of Charlotte's children and Wilbur was too great a thing to be able to avoid - but how I wish I had.

In my front garden I have my very own Charlotte.   Now I don't particularly like spiders, but I don't hate them either.  I don't love them enough to not break their web up when a butterfly is attached to it when I was a child - there was no dilemma for me there but the work they do to create that web amazes me.   It's crochet and engineering like no other.