Monday, 16 May 2016

Spring Shenanigans

Clevedon Pier 
Well it's been a long time since I've posted. I'm officially back from my holiday, a very 'glamorous' and very extended camping trip around the south east of England. The charity shops in that area had some real bargain books and some beautiful views. I now have internet access, an essential tool for using Blogger. It was a nice break to recharge my batteries and very well-timed to co-incide with a mini-heatwave (though, admittedly, I packed for cold weather).

I've stopped running due to hip problems. I've taken time off but I'm really annoyed as it was just when I hit the 5k mark so I'm going to have to start all over again. In better news, I had my latest postgraduate essay back... an amazing 88% on my Shakespeare essay! I'm very chuffed and it's a great inspiration to work hard. Currently, I'm studying J.M. Coetzee and the more of his work I read, the more I am in awe of his talent.

I've been reading a bit about feminism recently, most notably The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer. It's definitely piqued my interest and I've started to pick up some more classics, such as Kate Millet's Sexual Politics. I've been working on a review of Greer and I hope to put it up soon. My stay at Tewkesbury and seeing the Abbey reminded me of Imber court from Irish Murdoch's The Bell. I read it last year but seeing the Abbey really encouraged me to write that review. It's a great book by an under-acknowledged author.

Tewkesbury Abbey at sunset

Crosby beach

Visitors drop by

Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim | Top Ten Tuesday

Each week The Broke and The Bookish provides a topic for a Top Ten List.  This week it is:

Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

1. Gender Troubles by Judith Butler
I was really surprised to see this in a charity shop as Routledge Classics aren't cheap but they are usually high quality. I'm not sure when I will get around to reading it but it's good classic text on feminism to have around just in case I need it for my studies.

2. The Blade Artist by Irvine Welsh
I struggled with Welsh's classic Trainspotting; I just couldn't understand it. Hopefully this will be a more accessible introduction to Irvine Welsh.

3. New Selected Poems 1966-1987 by Seamus Heaney
Another charity shop find. I don't read any poetry and I thought having Heaney around might inspire me to give it a go. After a quick scan, here is something I found evocative:
The royal roads were cow paths 
The queen mother hunkered on a stool 
and played the harpstrings of milkinto a wooden pail. 
With seasoned sticks the nobles 
lorded it over the hindquarters of the cattle.
Taken from 'The First Kingdom' 
(I have no idea what it means though)

4. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Recently I've really been fascinated my the notion of gender and the effect that society has on who we are. Woolf's biography of Orlando examines his relationship with gender and provides an opportunity for Woolf to examine the nature of biography.

5. Jacques the Fatalist by Denis Diderot
I don't really know why I picked this up. I saw a reference in passing to Diderot once and when I saw this book, I gave it scan and saw the various styles of dialogue used e.g.:

MASTER: And why, in your opinion, is he so worthy of respect? 
JACQUES: Because he attaches no importance to the good works he performs and must therefore be of a naturally kind disposition and have a long-standing habit of doing good.

I am really into fiction that is unconventional, innovative and challenging. I find the experimentation with literary styles really inspiring as a wannabe writer.

6. Death in Venice and Other Stories by Thomas Mann
I've been looking for The Magic Mountain but thought I'd give this a try in the meantime.

7. The Engineer of Human Souls by 
I don't think I've read a Czech author before but the blurb grabbed me with it's talk of an emigre professor hounded by the Czech secret police.  

9. A Little History of Literature by John Sutherland
I saw this in my local library and thought it would make for good bedtime reading but it's a bit boring so I've given up with it for now.

10. Homintern by Gregory Woods
Another whim. It promises to be a landmark discussion on the effects of homosexuality on our culture but that might just be marketing.

Those are my whimsical books. Have you read any of them? What books have you picked up on a whim? Get in touch :-) 

twitter  |  facebook  |  goodreads  |  bloglovin 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Ten Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads | Top Ten Tuesday

Each week The Broke and The Bookish provides a topic for a Top Ten List. This week the theme is:

Ten Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads

I'm not sure about anyone else but whenever I'm asked, 'What have you read recently?' my mind always goes blank. Thank goodness for Goodreads! So... here are my ten books that deserve five stars and more. What are your most recent five star reads? 

The Godfather by Mario Puzo
Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Antigone by Jean Anouilh 

The Chimp Paradox by Prof. Steve Peters

Audiobooks: Fiction
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, read by Colin Firth
American Pastoral by Philip Roth, read by Ron Silver

Audiobooks: Non-fiction
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari