Saturday, 29 November 2014

When you start a book and then forget that it exists...

This has sort of happened to me. I noticed that this had happened last night when I accidentally kicked my huge pile of books over. It was a bit of a loud crash, the intrusive sort. What made the whole thing even more unfortunate is that it happened while EG was trying to tell me a story. EG already doesn't like the stack of books - she thinks that it is ridiculous - and was so disgusted by the collapse that she walked out of the room.

While I was picking up the books I noticed one that I hadn't seen for a while. It was Intuition Pumps and Other Thinking Tools. I can remember starting it, and maybe I was liking it, but I honestly have no idea. What worries me is that I might just have to start it again. In my mind there is nothing worse than that.

In other news EG and I may have underestimated how many stars we would need for the chart. It looks like we are going to run out soon, may have to get some more in. EG is now on 54, only 12 more for her to read to reach her target. We have extended our deadline to the end of the year - mainly for my benefit so that I can catch up a bit. EG is adamant that I won't catch up, and as I have only read 29 she may have a point.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

For all my American friends out there, Happy Thanksgiving!! For one day only will I overlook the events of 1776. In terms of what I have been reading this week nothing could be less American! I've been dipping in and out of The Real Jane Austen.

This is a book that you have to read if you want to get a feel for the world in which Jane Austen lived. I am hoping that I will finish it either this weekend or sometime next week, so I don't want to steal my own thunder, but I can't help telling you a little bit more about it! I think EG is despairing about how obsessed that I have become about it.

I think the reason that I like it so much is that it has a wider scope than just Jane Austen's life. Bryne puts her life into the context of the time that she was living and I find it interesting to see what events may have influenced her novels. The thing that blew my mind the most was the house that may have actually inspired Pemberley, and it isn't Chatsworth. Check out the link below to see the suggestion that Bryne makes. You will have to read it to find out why she thinks it is a candidate. 

Last weekend we also went to see the Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1. I have to say that I enjoyed it, and for those of you wondering I think that it was fairly faithful to the book. My favourite part was when there was a scene that made a lot of people jump. EG was sat on one side of me and she jumped, as did the people we didn't know on the other side of me. I was not shocked by what had happened, but ended up jumping anyway because everyone jumping made me jump! What a sheep I am!

In the film Katniss sings a song that I have become a little bit obsessed with, and I have discovered that I only have to sing the first line for it to get stuck in EG's head. Oh how it annoys her. Anyway if you haven't seen or read any of the Hunger Games trilogy make it a priority to do so at once. Eating is optional, reading the Hunger Games is not.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

All Work and no Play?

This week I picked up How to Find Fulfilling Work for the first time in a long time. I am very close to finishing it so I will do a proper post on it hopefully sometime next week. But thinking about work got me thinking about some of the silly things that I have done whilst at work.

By far the silliest was when I managed to get myself stuck in the loft. I was trying to be helpful and save time for my colleague, but it ended up causing more problems than it solved. Getting up there wasn't a problem, nor was finding the stuff that she needed. It wasn't until I was trying to get down that I realised that I had a problem.

For some reason I hadn't noticed that I was semi afraid of heights, and that the gap between the loft and the ladder was more than I was comfortable with. After a great deal of procrastination I summoned up the courage to get myself out and was very glad that I didn't need to take my colleague up on her offer to catch me!

Other silly things that I have done include stapling reports to my sleeve and sending large quantities of envelopes to the wrong address. Thankfully both of these mishaps were fixable.

I have heard some embarrassing work related stories that are considerably more funny than the above. If you have one to share and want to give us all a giggle, comment below and tell all.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

It's all about the French Literature

If you've seen the latest What's on the Shelf you may have noticed that a few books on the shelf were originally written in French. By sheer coincidence a couple of them are set at around the same time. So Les Miserables has a character that is a veteran of Waterloo. (I know this because I have just put that book down and in the part I was reading he was shouting about his experiences at Waterloo.) But then I'm reading The Neapolitan Lovers which features Admiral Nelson as a character.

In true Dumas style The Neapolitan Lovers is shaping up to be comedic, and unbelievable yet convincing all at the same time. It defiantly has something to do with the way Dumas tells. There is a classic scene about a counsel for war with a King who would rather be hunting and a Queen who wants to get her own way. My favourite character at this point would have to be the brave huntsman who stands underneath the window and sounds his hunting horn, much to the aggravation of the King.

I do worry that come Christmas I will have a very mixed up idea of French history. Well the military side of it anyway.

Monday, 17 November 2014

How a cat took a shine to my feet while I was reading

This weekend I went to EG's home, partly to watch the Christmas lights being switched on, but also to enjoy her mum's amazing cooking. (There is no understatement there, it was brill). Given how much EG raves about how she loves to sit in her  house and read, I thought it would be rude not to experience for myself this wonderful reading location. And she was right. It was perfect. Apart from the couple of times Merlin tried to pounce on my feet. I successfully removed my feet from the over ambitious cat.

As far as Christmas lights went they were pretty good, although Santa was a bit over zealous ringing his bell. And the lantern parade looked as though every child in the world had got their parents to make two lanterns. At points I didn't think it would end, but it was a fun afternoon all the same.

When I've not been reading I have been stitching. Below is the badger that I am working on, although earlier last week it was mistaken for a squirrel. I can't think why! It has to be said that it is not my favourite stitching project. When I started I thought it would be quick because it was only small. How wrong I was! This is my third week of working on it!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Why Short Chapters can be a Blessing and a Curse

What I like about Les Mis is the short chapters, but what I also hate about Les Mis is the short chapters. Let me explain. A short chapter is good when you want to read only a small amount, but bad if that means that you think to yourself, "it's ok I'll just read one more chapter - they're only short". Because when you fall into that trap you end up staying up far too late, and also I seem to forget that I am reading other books. 

Last weekend, my copy of Les Mis had a tour of York. It didn't see much of York (or the three different Cafe Neros that we visited) because York was just too interesting. It did however witness the three of us having problems getting to our travel lodge because the one road to it had been closed. This is us being escorted by a highway maintenance vehicle, because that was the only way we could get there: 

It took us two hours to do a journey that should have taken ten minutes! And EG and I were worried that we would arrive at the travel lodge too early and be bored due to lack of entertainment. If only we had known. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Family Trees and all that

I didn't read much/anything on Saturday. Which sort of shocked me to the core, as my plan had been to read as much as possible. But I got very distracted, both by war and ice cream.

Saturday morning saw me investigating my great uncle who died in France in 1918. I've always known that there was a great uncle who died somewhere in France, but I didn't know anything about him. Turns out he was Lance Corporal Herbert Frederick Lawrence and he was killed in action May 1918 aged just 21. This sent me on a bit of a research maze and I found out that his battalion had only recently arrived in France after spending some time in Italy.

Later in the afternoon we have a letter through the door informing us that the house we live in was a house that lost someone in the first world war. Seems to be the day for WW1 one research so I have a sneaky look at a census to see if I can figure out who lived here back then. Found out that seven people were living in our house in 1901. There are three of us living here now and we feel cramped, also we have an extension that they wouldn't have had!

After all that research (including boring EG to death with most of it) ice cream was required by all. Beautiful. Spent the rest of the evening drawing up my family tree, because if ever there was a day for family history it was Saturday.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Book of the Month - October '14

This month has only been marginally better than September as I managed to finish three books this month:

Possession - A. S. Byatt
The Cross of Christ - John Stott
A Book of Narrative Verse - compiled by V. H. Collins

Neither A Book of Narrative Verse or Possession did much to change my life, however The Cross of Christ did. Thus is makes to book of the month for October '14. You can find out why I liked it so much here, but the best thing that you can do is to read it for yourself.

What I will say about it is that, although the book is a doorstop, it is rammed full of good stuff that it is well worth working through. The good thing about this book is that it is so well written that you can forget that you are reading a book that is full of serious material. But it does mean that thinking about how Christ's life and death affects you is unavoidable.