localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
In 2014 I read 54 books and watched 24 films. This is a sad decrease in books- last year I read 61- but a slight increase in films- last year I only watched 24.

Books

Best book I read for the first time in 2014 was:

Night After Night by Phil Rickman. This latest offering by one of my favoured authors is a continuation of characters that appeared in two of his earlier books, originally published under the pseudonym Will Kingdoing including the BEST FICTIONAL CHARACTER EVER Cindy Mars-Lewis. Genderqueer, Cross Dressing Ventriloquist, Shaman.

The worst book I read in 2014 was:

Living Dangerously by Katie Fforde. It was just meant to be some little frothy fluff to read in my downtime but the characters were dreadful and the sex scenes were not only suprising and off-putting they really should be candidates for the 'bad sex' awards. Comparing a man's ...bits...to "like a greek statue" is not necessarily I think what the author meant.

The funniest book I read:

Ratbags and Rascals by Robin Klein. It's a re-read but never ceases to make me smile. Especially Brother Ninian's Blot.

The Most Poigniant/Moving Book:

This is quite hard actually. John Boyne's The History of Loneliness was very poignant, exploring the experiences of a Priest in Ireland in the 70s.

Then, also was Miss Carter's War by Sheila Hancock. I JUST KEPT CRYING.

For a full list of my books of 2014: http://listography.com/localfreak/books/books_of_2014

Films

The best film I watched:

X Men: Days of Future Past

The worst film I watched:

Muppets Most Wanted.

It wasn't horrendous, but was a big let-down from the previous one with no catchy songs at all.

The Most Uplifting Film: The Muppet Family Christmas (Henson, 1987)

I love this film and have found out that it is unlikely to ever be widely released which is such a shame as I had on tape from childhood and it is one of the best Muppets films ever- including a cameo from Jim Henson at the end!

I also really liked Chef and Frozen new this year.

For a full list of films: http://listography.com/localfreak/movies/films_of_2014
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
It is a true fact in life that whenever I start to seem remotely adult and confident either something looms on the horizon to make me a gibbering stress-wreck hiding my whitening hair under a rather Drop-Dead-Fred dye job (it was called 'Ultra-Violet' but came out a lot more Gryffindor-at-Night) or I managed to make a total and utter wet fool of myself and get caught blubbing like a baby and needing to be comforted.

Or both. Mostly both, let's be real. So there's a big conference in work I am nightmaring about until it happens on Monday after which I intend to get on with the business of Advent in a way my poor wobbling brain simply can't cope with until it is over. And my goal for the next month will be not to be in the room when people debate/discuss/argue anything- and certainly not contribute EVEN IF I FEEL THAT SOMEONE IS WRONG because all that happens is I argue my point as sanely as I can manage, walk out, and burst into toddler-choking sobs and frighten the horses- or, in this case, the workmen who came to the window to tell me they'd managed to fix the pipe.

Twenty-fucking-eight years old and I still can't behave like a fucking adult.

The way I react to argument/debate/whatever you want to call it is so totally out of proportion that I'm sure a casual onlooker would assume some terrible dark things in my childhood- of which, of course, there is nothing. I have always been thus. If I hear a man and a woman shouting at one another in the street I hunker down as if shots will be fired and feel sick and shaking. When Question Time comes on the radio I have to leave the room and nothing sends me so swiftly to bed like the political debates of Newsnight following the 10 o'clock news.

Anyway. Enough.

Went a bit mad online on the Christmas present front fuelled by a worried concern that there are still people I didn't have anything- or enough- for, and that some of said people are those who require more organisation because their presents need to be posted/delivered. Of course now I am stuck waiting for parcels and there is still a possibility that part of one present will not arrive in time for posting but at least I've tried.

I must confess I went a bit mad for myself- said online shop had all of Hilary Green's Follies series as part of a book offer- but even without the offer, were selling them for £2 each as opposed to other shops' £5.99 each. So I may have bought myself a Christmas present. Hee hee.

I've got Mum's big present hidden away at Nanny's but I have a plan for a little something for Christmas morning if only I can concoct some believable way of getting out and buying the damn things! But, as said RE Conference, until I have survived that higher brainpower is lacking for various reasons- the stress of 95 delegates who need organising, feeding, watering, presentations loading, tables re-arranging etc etc etc, but also the conf. is on a topic that is incredibly upsetting in its own right- to me personally- and so checking all the content is really not helping my wobbly brain.

Reading Stephen Fry's More Fool Me very good so far, am hoping to get it finished before Saturday as I'm in the library then. I still have three more books out to get through- including the new Anne Rice- although I had to send the new Ben Elton back unread as I didn't get round to it. Did read Sheila Hancock's Miss Carter's War which I requested partially for the interesting blurb but also for the amusement factor that somehow no editor had thought writing about a post-war experience of a woman called Marguerite Carter who had worked for the secret service during the war 'Where have I heard that name before?' Obviously demonstrating the whole comics and recent film sensations have passed by some corners of the country (*cough* PEGGY CARTER *cough cough cough*. But the book- it wasn't like that at all. I COULDN'T STOP CRYING. I learnt so much about the social and cultural understanding and impacts of the war in Britain on people and their lives but it is most certainly not a read in the vein of the aforementioned Hilary Green's books. Miss Carter's War BREAKS MY HEART AND STOMPS ON IT IN A MISANTHROPIC FOREVER.

So: good book.
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
I've had a busy time of it lately, a trip to York and then last weekend to Oxford till last Tuesday for a friend's wedding. Both trips have been wonderful (I have many anecdotes). I have travelled so much lately I am bombarded by emails from bookings.com who now think I am the type of person to want to book last minute breaks (not quite sure how they decided that I mean, yes I have travelled quite a lot the past couple of months but I booked all my hotels and train tickets WELL IN ADVANCE). No more big journeys planned for a while now which is a bit of a relief really- I feel like I haven't seen home apart from when I was ill.

On Thursday our little poetry group did a reading for a local parish guild which went quite well- I ended up using all my funny ones as I was the last one to read and it's always good to finish on a laugh. It was the first time I've read my own poems in public since writer's guild so I was glad they seemed to enjoy it.

On Friday I went to a dance rehearsal for extra lessons for the musical I'm in next year. Sadly I was the only one from the acting crew who attended which meant that my complete ineptitude was horribly obvious BUT then again so was my commitment- I know I'm crap at dancing that's why I'm doing the extra lessons. Lesson again tomorrow night thoguh, and poetry on Thursday so I'm still feeling totally rushed about!

I'm also trying to do Nano but I have to say I am shocked at how difficult I am finding it- I mean, I usually at least manage to keep liking my characters and plot until week three and I started late too- but the people are okay it's the writing that's getting me down. I was trying for a simple story but everything feels very- messy. Scruffy writing and a lot of telling rather than showing (so David lived in the flat above the shop with his Gran all his life. He kept it just the same way she always had it) instead of SHOWING that through you know things that should be obvious and easy like describing said flat above the shop.

So yeah. Very frustrating at present. I think it's probably the starting late- I am basically failing the deadline every day watching the pretty bar that I love to keep steadily increasing pull further and further away from me and that's hard.

I need to get my act together though- if nothing else I've ordered the newest Phil Rickman and I want to be able to get time to read that too (I'm so excited, it's a link in to his Will Kingdom books which means I'm holding out for Cindy Mars-Lewis, drag artiste and psychic shaman extraordinary running the show. Love Cindy so much. SO MUCH.)
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 continue to surroung myself with books. I have read Educating Peter by Tom Cox, The Shopkeeper's Daughter by Lily Baxter and Cold Christmas by Nina Beachcroft since I last wrote. I have another two from my Lady Heyes pile left and another one on order from the library that hopefully will come soon.

I'm working there on Saturday anyway so I'll be able to see where I am in the queue and also probably acquire more books. I know I need to start getting down to hard academic tomes again, but they are not quite as comforting- one zones out of them more easily, when I need to be sucked in.
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.

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