Saturday, 23 July 2011


Not much to do this weekend. Yum cha tomorrow which will be delicious. Otherwise I think I will spend the afternoons reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, playing some WoW and drinking more of our the latest discovery, known around our house as Wood Fairy Juice:

It tastes like these guys (from Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairies Book):

EDIT: To fit with the Fairy theme, we sat around for an hour to witness the Easter Egg in the Trisfal Glades of Fey Dragons dancing around a mushroom ring and a beautiful piece of music.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Mediocre Australian Post about The Great American Novel

I finished The Great Gatsby early last night but wanted to digest before I posted, and am slightly annoyed it has taken me so long to read it. I had a slightly different idea of the story from popular culture than the actual story. This was great as the twists in the plot were still surprising for me. I liked Jay Gatsby. I thought I wasn’t supposed to. But I do, even with his slightly dodgy past and naivety, however this like is probably helped as I imagined him as Jude Law. I found myself despising most of the other characters instead. It’s short but fantastically written. Definitely a book to recommend, even if you’re not a classics reader read this (and The Picture of Dorian Gray, my two you have to reads).

The Great Gatsby has been described as “The Great American Novel”. Why, I’m not so sure. As described above though, I think it was brilliantly written and a great read however what is it that makes it more Great or more American than the rest? One could also argue at only approx 110pp long it may not even be a novel at all. But besides that, what constitutes the “Great American Novel”? And why do Americans have the need to call everything that is good writing the “Great American Novel”? (Mind you, the person who called The Corrections that deserves to be stabbed in the face repeatedly with a pen.)

And it seems to be an American phenomenon. I promise I am not getting on my anti-American high horse here, this is honestly an observation. There seems to be this need to define writing as exceptional, without letting the writing speak for itself.  I am happy to be proved wrong here and am actually really interested to know. Does anyone else know of another book described as “The Great ....... Novel”, that is not American? Australian, British, French, Russian, Indian, Japanese, Canadian, etc. Please let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Tortoises are cynics. They always expect the worst.

From 14 July 2011:

Finally finished Small Gods last night. Stupid work cutting into my reading time drew it out a bit. Ever notice this always happens towards the end of the book, when you just want to keep reading with the momentum? Or is it that we only notice then because the want to read is so much greater.

But I enjoyed the book immensely. I must say as much as I like Ankh Morpork, I prefer his books set outside it such as this one and especially Good Omens (co-written by Neil Gaiman). The Pratchett outlook and analysis on religion, ritual and philosophy was refreshing. The stupidity of it all was cleverly displayed, without Prachett smacking you over the head with it. And the idea of how much we influence and change the gods to fit our moulds was fantastic, with the example of Patina – goddess of wisdom who was supposed to have owls to do her bidding but now had penguins due to a crappy sculptor’s representation of the bird in a statue. Philosophy didn’t get away unscathed, with the quip by the philosopher Didactylos standing out - “logic is only a way of being ignorant by numbers.”

So onward I go, leaving the Great God Om behind (although my attempts to be allowed to buy a tortoise as a pet and name him Om are still occurring. They are being met with a resounding “No” however). I’m starting The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald at lunchtime today. We’ll see if it’s as good as everyone says it is.

One Book Down, Fires and Turtles

From 8 July 2011:

Finished Hand Me Down World yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised. However, I will not discuss it here. I get in trouble for discussing Book Club books before Book Club. I recommend it however, and promise I will talk about the embargoed opinions at some stage.

I’ve been slower out of the blocks on this "Challenge” than I would have liked. However, I do need to remind myself I am not Mrs Langford, who inhales books. I shall focus on actually reading instead of meaning to and then rarely doing it.

With the weather at the moment I remember a winter holidays in Uni, where we were living in a house where the central heating broke for June/July (the fact that we had no oven in the house for 6 months is another story).  Luckily we had a slow combustion fire, and it was in front of this, I plonked myself for those 6 weeks with book after book. I got up from my leather chair to sleep, work, wash, cook and eat. I think I need one of these again. Not sure the gas heater is the same, and I think my partner would be grumpy with the leather chair plonked in the middle of the room and corridor.

Here we all are...

So I have no idea what this blog is going to be about really. I think it will end up being an amalgamation of so many things in my life that I am interested and passionate in and about. Books, food, music, science, politics, video games and much more I've forgotten.

Two reasons for doing this. I started blogging on our Novel Challenge website and kinda enjoyed it. However there are no comment abilities so if people did want to debate with me they can't. I will post the first two real posts up here in a sec.

The second is that I am sure my Facebook friends are completely and utterly sick of having all my rants and soapboxing directed to them. This may give them a break.

So welcome to the unknown. I hope that it evolves into something readable and something I actually update.