Sunday, 27 June 2010

Next Stage

I cannot believe it is almost the end of June. This month has zipped by, probably because I have been busy. This month I have:
    • Gone on holiday to Yorkshire for a week
    • Avoided my dissertation
    • Went to a local writer's group 
    • Found a new flat to move into with Him Indoors
    • Put in a fair bit of overtime at Work Wot Pays Me
    • Started putting some work into my dissertation
Alas my reading record for June has not been very good. Only five books read so far and two WIPs. My WIPs are:

Both are quite big volumes. I started Wolf Hall when on holiday and have been slowly making my way through it. Its size makes it unsuitable for a commute/work breaktime read and I have been reading it in bed. I love books about the Tudor period and Mantel has done an excellent job of this one. She takes established historical figures, such as Wolsey and Cromwell, and makes them into living, breathing people. Only 170 pages in and I can see why she won the Booker Prize for this.

On another note, the booking for the Edinburgh Book Festival opened yesterday. Surprisingly I managed to get access to it at 10am and booked tickets to see the almighty Lionel Shriver. Funds this year mean financially I could only afford to attend one 'paid' event. Shriver won hands down. Cargo Publishing is hosting a free showcase of new Scottish writing one evening so I may venture through for that. Unfortunately the Book Festival is a tiny bit too close to the dissertation hand in date (31st August) so I might be limited for time to play.

This afternoon I'm going to watch the England v Germany match at a friend's house. Alas I am working early tomorrow so it will be a tame time (for me anyway). Him Indoors has volunteered to make a complex dinner (Leek and Cheese Souffles) so there might be time for some book reviews later on. Cannae wait.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Mailbox Monday

OK, a bit of a cheat because these were books awaiting on me when I got back from my holidays:

Dystopian fiction is working for me at the moment. Before I went on holiday Spook Country by William Gibson arrived at my local library via an ILL.

This one is a bit iffy. A couple of weekends ago I was watching Cabaret and I popped onto the IMDB boards. Cut a long story of wading through posts and I came across this book. It is the true story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf who was born a boy in Germany. Alas this was post-Weimar and pre-Nazi Germany so having a queer identity was not a good idea. Charlotte is, apparently, one of the few openly gay individuals who survived the Nazis' cull of atypical individuals within their society (or boundaries of what being atypical was). von Mahlsdoft received a lot of criticism because her wealth came from helping clear out Jewish homes after they had been deported. Still, the book looks like an interesting read and the historian inside me will enjoy comparing the book with the facts.

And the final one, the latest Sookie Stackhouse adventure. I started it yesterday morning and finished it over my morning coffee. More characters are being introduced but Harris has a helpful knack of introducing or re-introducing characters with helpful tid bits such as "Claude loved guys. And he's a fairy. Literally. Not just because he's a homosexual." All fun and giggles.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Holidays & Writing

After promising to update more; I go off and disappear. Last week I was on holiday in Yorkshire with Him Indoors. Saying in such a public sphere that I am leaving my home empty does not appeal to me. Of course I am not suggesting anyone on my friends' list has a history of breaking and entering but you can never be too careful ;)

The holiday was lovely and was spent doing things such as: ambling along at the local market, pints, good grub, reading and making coal fires. I took lots of photographs and am toying with trying to keep a camera on me at all times. Mind you, I've said that often enough about keeping a notepad on me yet I'm always scrabbling around, writing things on bus tickets. Then getting annoyed when I find them, months later, and have no idea what "Badgers, tuna and a time travelling towel" means. A post on Southside Happenings alerted me to the foundation of a new writers' group on the south side. I enjoy writing but do need a kick up the bum to get things done. I shall go along to this meeting and see what it's like. Alas my experience of the writing scene in Glasgow has not been terribly positive so fear. Fingers crossed this does not go down the same U-bend.

Another writing venture I like the sound of is Write In For Writing's Sake which encourages participants to write 1, 000 words of fiction based on the 'word of the week'. A fellow blogger has been participating in these ventures and I quite fancy giving it a crack myself. In my writing class the tutor liked doing off the cuff exercises. Such as "You have 20 minutes to write a piece of fiction involved pineapples, the Moon and Harry Potter." Classmates groaned at this and many dreaded these assignments. The tutor would pick on people to read out their unedited pieces at random. Personally I am a bad editor and very rarely re-write my work; including university assignments. There's the odd re-draft here and there but the differences between that and the original piece of work are very limited. Oh to have my own editor who can tell me where I'm going right or wrong! Perhaps when I win the lottery.

Whilst I was on holiday, the latest Sookie Stackhouse book arrived. Tonight I plan to stay up late and finish gulping it down. Nothing like some guilty McDonald's literature to end a holiday.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

May Reads Round Up

May 2010

1. After the Fire - Karen Campbell
2. The Tin-Kin - Eleanor Thom
3. The Declaration - Gemma Malley
4. Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger
5. A Perfectly Good Family - Lionel Shriver
6. Plan B - Emily Barr
7. The Mobile Library: Mr Dixon Disappears - Ian Sansom
8. So Much For That - Lionel Shriver

Sadly I stayed up a bit later on Monday (last day in May) to finish off my last read, So Much For That. My lack of reading n' reviewing activity should pick up after the lack of activity that was May. After my exam I reverted to my usual lazy state. May saw more social invitations and overtime at work so I haven't been at home too much.

I'm quite pleased that I am sticking to my rule of only reading female writers. The exception is Ian Sansom, purely because it was a ILL. There's an outstanding Library Loot post I should really get round to writing. It may not surprise people to know that one of my library requests includes a time management book.