localfreak: (Mr Toad in Rehearsals Cosgrove Hall)


A couple of weeks ago I read this book. It is one my mother owns that had somehow been shuffled to the top of a pile in the move, rather than being hidden between books about chemical injuries and respiratory hazards in the workplace. I didn't really want to read it: my affinity for Wind in the Willows is well-known and I dislike using them as allegory. As a child any book that contained a character called 'Toad' 'Mole' 'Rat' or 'Mr Badger' automatically became the Toad/Mole/Rat/Badger (which of course it one of the many reasons why Badger's Parting Gifts is the most traumatising book ever).

I couldn't put this book down. It's an allegory written for psychology students and as a story doesn't always work out- there are plotlines which are left unfleshed and era/timeline issues that don't quite follow (including reference to 'pets' which were problematic) but still I couldn't. I read it, then read the ending chapters again, then read the whole thing again all in one day.

I don't know how much I have got out of it. But I am trying to acknowledge now that my already vaguely neurotic tendencies have been quietly going haywire pretty much since our kid died last year. Cooking, something I enjoy doing, has become stressful as I somehow become incapable of getting on with things without consistently asking questions- suddenly I will find myself unable to remember whether I should salt the pan for peas or how best to chop peppers or how long to roast a tray of vegetables. Another book I picked up encouraged me to examine my anxious behaviours by writing down my thought process every time something overwhelmed me. I am honestly suprised how many times a day, a week, even on 'happy' events that my though processes end with 'I will disappoint everybody and they will think I am stupid and I don't want people to be cross with me'. I've never claimed not to be an anxious person, but I think with everything else I'm just making myself worse because of an inability to make the world be rational for me. I can't make things better or fix things so instead I flap about being impotent and then feeling unhappy because I can't fix things and people are upset and I'm rubbish.

I am as hot a mess as Tony Stark most days, and I don't even get to be Iron Man out of it!

But I'm trying to find out how to stop being a ridiculously anxious mess of stress and worry and stuff. I just haven't got it worked out properly yet.

And that book was good. It's just...haunting me a lot. A lot.
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
I didn't post this yesterday because I had a wonderful time visiting my friend for a New Year's Eve gathering. Mum and I have never done anything on New Year's Eve before and it was so very lovely we had a wonderful time and today we were straight out again to take Nanny to Mass and then spend the afternoon with her, walk the dogs and get drenched to our underthings in the showers. Lol. Auspicious start to the year, anyway!


In 2013 I read 61 books and watched 21 films

This is, for the first time since I started recording, an increase in books (last year I read only 40) but an absolutely enormous drop in films (last year I saw 44). There are many reasons for this- buying the house and family commitments that have kept me away from the television, and equally a need for the comfort and escapism that books provide much more thoroughly for me than films- you can't 'drift off' in the same way from a book because the story waits for you to return your eyes to it.

Books

Best Book I Read for the First Time in 2013 was:

I've read several marvellous books for the first time this year including The Opaque Garden by Anna C. Jones, Kalmari 1 by H. Stilwell and The Black Land by M. J. Wesolowski, but I think overall I shall have to say 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. I have wanted to read this book after hearing an article on BBC Radio 4 about the story about five years ago. Only trouble was? I couldn't remember the title or author, only that 'it was a street in london and about a bookshop' so I was in PAROXYMS OF GLEE when I found it in the library and realised that THIS WAS IT. I have re-read it again since then because it's just wonderful.

The Worst Book I Read in 2012 was:

I cant decide between The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim by Jonathan Coe which was just MISERY MISERY ALL IS MISERY FOREVER OH HOW CAN IT GET ANY WORSE? OH LOOK IT JUST GOT WORSE. Or Black Cat by Martyn Bedford which had a good premise but was quite hard going and then just turned terrible by CUT FOR BIG SPOILER )


The Funniest Book was:

You Made Me Late Again! by Pam Ayers. It's Pam Ayers, she's awesome.

The most poignant/moving book:

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt I SOBBED INTO MY BATHWATER but it was very very beautiful.

Favourite Re-read/Old Favourite:
I did a lot of re-reading this year but probably The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens but I did also re-read for the millionth time On Writing by Steven King I owe such a lot to it.

Full List of my Books for 2013: http://listography.com/localfreak/books/books_of_2013

Films



The Best Film I Watched in 2012:

Not much to choose from this year but probably Iron Man 3. Sorry, Wolverine, I liked you in parts but the plugged 'bullet train' was really a bit dull.

The Worst Film I watched in 2012:

Hercules I never saw it when it came out, although our Prawn loved it. I see my childhod instincts were correct, it is SO BORING.

The Funniest Film Was: either Iron Man 3 or Paranorman. It's a bit weird to look back though because we watched the latter on the campsite for Nanny's 80th birthday party which, of course, is now the last time I saw the kid alive. :-( so it's hard to remember really,but I think we found it hilarious and I was going to lend it to him.

The Most Uplifting Film Was: The Muppet Christmas Carol

Favourite Re-Watch:

Same as above. I love Muppet Christmas Carol.

Full list of my films for 2013: http://listography.com/localfreak/movies/films_of_2013
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
I have being surrounding myself with books. One forgets, it seems at times, what a wonderful haven just the smell of an old book can be. I am transported to the trips to the library of my childhood, imagining myself devouring the entire section (sans the picture books, naturally, which even at five or six I felt had too few words) just like Roald Dahl's Matilda. I used to fight tears when Nanny would tell me we had to go because the library would be closing soon and I must choose my six to keep me for the week.

To many, I'll be talking nonsense, I always have books. Surely, I have never turned away from them? And I suppose not, never entirely, but I had somehow forgotten, apart from brief moments quite what a comfort books are. That they transport, redeem, hold and embrace. Thinking about them, breathing them in, makes the Wide World stop at the locked door and slink away for a time.

I have re-read Stephen King's On Writing since last Saturday. I clung to its weight in my bag even when I had no time to read more than a paragraph, the little library book has been near my hand, a hand-hold itself for dealing with the funeral and everything. I have also finished re-reading, for the millionth time The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, my childhood comfort blanket. I am grateful for both of these.

On Friday, which was my mother's birthday, she, I and [personal profile] still_lycoris went to Lady Heyes and whiled some happy time looking at the bizarre and the shiny and the tat in the shops, before whiling away some hours in the amazing, towering second hand bookshop. There was an offer- buy 2 get 1 free. Even up to a few months ago I would have resisted, decluttering after all buying when I already have books on my to-read pile and so on. But right now I need books, I crave them and concerns about hoarding and mess can go hang when it comes to reading more.

I have just finished House of Tribes by Garry Douglas Kilworth. It is a story about a mouse named Pedlar and his adventures from Hedgerow to meet the house mice and unite the tribes and factions within. I said at the time, after reading the blurb, it would either be rather good or dreadfully tedious. It was very good. The pace is lightning-quick and the book thoroughly un-put-down-able. I liked it very much and am very glad to have bought it. I have five more on the pile from that trip, plus two or three rather more weighty tomes in my to-read pile. I also have a longing to re-read some others: Harry and the Wrinklies, Rowan of Rin maybe even Swallows and Amazons or the entire Harry Potter series.

There just aren't enough hours in the day for all of the books. I am so very grateful for them all right now.
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
Super Suprise Party for Nanny's 80th? SUCCESS :D.

I am very impressed with my crazy, crazy Family after last weekend, for the party and the suprise both succeeded. Uncle Peter and John had invited her to stay at the same park where their Retreat is but she had no idea that Uncle Paul & Auntie Janet were coming to stay in their caravan and Mother and I had also booked another of the statics to stay. On Friday as we arrived we then found out Mum and I were staying next door to her! Luckily it was easy to find as the twins & their SOs had arranged with the cleaners to get in early and festooned Nanny's caravan in banners, balloons and streamers. She was just settled in when the door opened and THE WRONG TWIN walked in to the one she expected, followed by Auntie Janet and Mum and me. She was so surprised! Then, for the soiree the next day I'd got a big poster printed and Uncle Peter and John had a giant carboard cut out of the queen which we glued Nanny's face to and put it in the window of The Retreat, again festooned in bunting and things, and so Nanny arrived to see not only that but my other Aunties, Uncles and also my cousins Zog and Bean (sadly, Prawn couldn't come as he had an exam on Monday). She was so happy! And just generally spoilt all weekend we ate delicious food and talked, drank tankards of tea and it was really, really great.

Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief that we pulled it off! Trying to keep a secret for so long that was this big was driving us all potty towards the end- I was worse than most as whilst the brothers and sisters conspired I kept getting sent to keep Nanny talking!

So yes, it was lovely and very relaxing to be in the middle of the nowhere with exceedingly limited mobile signal. I re-read Second Hand read The Graveyard Book and watched ParaNorman.

But back to work I am now. I have to give a very important presentation tomorrow evening. At the moment I am only mildly concerned, mostly because I'm too tired to work up to a full-scale panic I think. It'll be fine. As long as no one heckles.

The other reason my head has been up my rear for months is that I have been buying a house. This is a HUGE THING and very scary to someone who has lived in the same house all his life (truly, Mum actually told me "I got the keys for the house on Saturday and you arrived the following Tuesday"). All things being well I get the keys soon, although we aren't moving all in one go, Mum and I, as we have the luxury at the moment of not having to, so I can get into the New House and decorate and arrange for various workmen to come and Do Things to it before I have to actually put all the big furniture in. So that's good. Terrifying, but good.

*collapses in a heap* *only not really because I need to email the solicitors about some last minute stuff*
localfreak: (Drunken Sailor)
I broke my Lenten promise yesterday. I am SO STUPID. I’ve been doing so well even with daily emails from archive of our own that fics I’m subscribed to are updated, let alone another throwdown on tumblr and [personal profile] copperbadge posting a list of recs. But Mum has been recently motivated to go through some of the boxes of papers in The Hovel (I know!) and when I got in from work yesterday I thought I’d show solidarity by going through the Last Unopened Plastic Wallet in my room, the first page of which was an innocuous hand-out from a parish sing-a-long with lyrics to songs like My Old Man’s a Dustman and Maybe It’s Because I’m A Londoner. Underneath? Ahahahah.


When I was fourteen we had a dial up internet connection that was rather pricey considering how little money we actually had coming in, so I was only allowed a very short amount of time per week on the internet. What I would do, then, would be to click as many pages as possible in my allotted time and then read through them via the history buttons when I was offline. Sometimes, particularly in the case of fics where the sites’ history didn’t always save, I put them on word and printed them off, for enjoyment and/or distribution among friends. In this folder, discretely hidden away, were three such fics: two Savage Garden onesand a Bucky O’Hare one. I read them through and made the executive decision to recycle them, so I brought them downstairs, popped them in the recycle bin and sat down. Then realised what I’d just done. DAMMIT FANFICTION. DAMMIT SELF!

I spent the evening re-reading last November’s failed attempt at Nanowrimo. I still like it, I still think I have something of a story there, even if it isn’t as strong an idea as some of my others, but I’m also still stuck on how Gerry (my main character) is actually going to find out (and stop) the blackmailer before he ruin’s Mask and Ophelia’s lives forever. I know who the blackmailer is, but trying to find a way for this to be discovered still eludes me.
I started reading another of my library books Mobile Library Mystery #1: The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom it was blurbed as humorous but I’ve had to give it up after a few chapters. Some of it was funny but I found it very frustrating as the ‘humorous’ disasters that happened to the main character went on, and on, and on. Not really my kind of humour. I’ve started re-reading Charitable Getting by Sam Starbuck instead.

But I need to stop all this for now and get on with some uni stuff.
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
I've given up fanfiction for Lent. I am trying to make this even include those fics on Archive Of Our Own which email direct to my inbox when they're updated. The Blind!Tony one in particular is KILLING ME. But then, it's meant to be hard and horrible and difficult to give up, otherwise it wouldn't be a Lent thing.

I've just finished reading Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I am the first person to have it out of the library, I've had it on reserve since I knew a copy was being ordered.

I can't actually seem to stop sobbing. It was so very beautiful.

Life has lots in it at the moment also, which is possibly making me a little oversensitive.

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