Tuesday, 26 August 2008


In case you hadn't heard the release of the latest Harry Potter movie has been postponed until next July and the movie of this book, Twilight, is being released in its place. I'd not heard of the Twilight books, but having heard that this series is 'the next Harry Potter' I thought I would investigate.

I love vampire stories, yes I am a Buffy and Angel fan, but I am not really a fan of romantic fiction and that caused me problems in reading this book as its essentially an overblown romance peppered with the kind of language I would expect from a Mills and Boon, but without the sex, apparently Mills and Boon allow their characters to have sex now! As tortured lovers Bella and Edward mentioned in the text, Edward has no problems touching or kissing Bella - he can carry her for miles - and his 'family' accept her role in his life very readily.

If you want tortured romance done with depth and emotion watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Angel and Buffy, as vampire and human, had more depth and emotion in their little fingers than Bella and Edward have in this entire book. As I'm not a fan of romantic fiction all the 'I love yous' got a bit wearisome, but I can see why that for certain teenagers and women this novel (and the sequels) have been so successful. But its derivative, Bella and Edward are a younger, less tortured version of Buffy and Angel and the vampire collective of Edward and his family is reminiscent of Lestat, Louis and their little family from Interview with a Vampire, but without the homo-eroticism, or any eroticism for that matter. Also I have to say that J.K. Rowling is a much better writer than Stephanie Meyer, who just doesn't have the finesse to have fun with her characters, in the way that Rowling sometimes does and that Charlaine Harris has with her Southern Vampire series.

Monday, 25 August 2008

OU Anonymous

I'm finished with the OU, honest. I've signed on for this Birkbeck course in novel writing which starts in September and the plan is to spend the next eight or so months trying to find out if I can actually write a novel - a novel that someone else wants to read and, ideally, someone else wants to publish and other people want to buy. So why why why do I keep popping onto the OU course website and keep clicking on the Shakespeare course? And its got an exam and I am hopeless at exams, my school actually drugged me with tranquillisers to get me through my A'levels and I always dropped at least 10 points on my course work on every OU exam I ever took.


Random Book Reviews

Due to the great Agatha Christie reread, 50 down 33 to go, I haven't been posting my thoughts on any books up here recently, although I have been adding my reviews on Library Thing - god I love that website and I have been accused of infecting others with my enthusiasm. Anyway I thought I would post some thoughts on some random books I have read recently, so here goes.

I have to write about this book because it is probably my favourite Christie novel, and is the perfect Poirot as he investigates a murder in retrospect. Sixteen years ago Amyas Crane was poisoned by his wife - but in her last letter, from prison, to her daughter Caroline Crane protested her innocence. Now her daughter, Carla wants to find out what really happened. The five little pigs of the title are the five main witnesses to the crime, any of whom could have really killed Amyas. The plot twists and turns and is full of information and disinformation. I am not going to tell you who dunnit, because that would spoil this for you, but the plot explores the good and terrible aspects of love and how time and emotion distort memory. Perfection.

Alexander McCall Smith seems to be one of those authors you either love or hate. Personally I love the deceptive simplicity of his writing and Precious Ramotswe is an endearing character whose wise optimism and stoicism is a philosophy more of us should follow. She is perceptive - when she hears of a woman imprisoned for killing her husband, who beat and abused her, Mma Ramotswe acknowledges that her first marriage could have ended the same way - and engaging, her kettle seems to be permanently on the boil ready for a nice cup of redbush tea.

I love the Artemis Fowl series of novels, Arty, the teenage criminal mastermind, and his sidekick and bodyguard, Butler, are the perfect team. One of the things I have really enjoyed about these books is the development in Artemis's character as he grows up and becomes a much more likeable character. This is something explored in this book, as Artemis goes back in time to battle his 10 year old self, and discovers what a maddening little know-it-all he was. Artemis needs to stop his younger self selling the last of a species of lemur to a group of mad extinctionists in order to save his mother's life. He travels back in time with Holly and meets up with old, new friend, Mulch Diggins. This book has come in for some criticism for not being as funny or as good as some of the previous in the series, which I think is a little unfair. I think that Colfer is aging Artemis with his readers, just as J.K. Rowling did with Harry Potter. This book is much darker than the first ones in the series as Artemis really seems to have an understanding of the consequences of his actions, whereas in the first books he was determined to save his father no matter what - now he is determined to save his mother but understands just what this may cost.

I'm now off to read the first in the Twilight series of books. Depending on who you talk to these are either rubbish or better than Harry Potter. But are they as good as Philip Pullman I ask?

Friday, 22 August 2008

Small Rant

Why is it that some drivers think that using their indicator is an optional exercise? Grrr.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Huge Decision

Don't you just hate it when events prove that you were right about someone.

My most difficult, demanding client flounced on in a huff earlier this month - it was an early birthday present and I am convinced that the flouncing was caused because I told this person that I wasn't working on the weekend of my birthday as I had other plans, which were lovely - and now this person is refusing to pay my account. Its not a surprise, I've been here before and I know others who've been there, its a sad reality of being self-employed and its seems that it is always without fail the companies and individuals who are very demanding and full of their own importance who have difficulty in making payments. Ultimately I should have walked away from this company months ago, but as this person is a friend of a friend I felt that I couldn't just drop them without finding someone to replace me. I am confident that I will be paid, eventually. But the best news is that since this company flounced out of my life and the daily round of demanding calls, emails and manufactured crises - without I might add any thought or respect for me and the other companies I work with - I've actually had space to breathe and enjoy my life and catch up with my other work.

After the months of cashflow issues and constant work, this is the final straw, so I've decided that I'm finally ready to get a JOB! This isn't going to happen immediately, I have a contract to fulfil which takes me round to next June, and I need to find the right job, one that interests me and pays me enough... Hmmm.

Friday, 1 August 2008


This time last year I was working just as hard as I am now and trying to finish off my degree, but I wasn't as stressed out as I am now. Its been a horrid week, where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. The week has been rounded off nicely by the failure of the memory board on my main laptop for the third time in less than twelve months. Somehow I think a new laptop is on the cards, as soon as I can afford one. I've been trying to work just why I am so stressed, apart from the broken laptop of course, and although I am busy I think its down to dealing with lots of difficult and demanding people.

The main effect of all this stress is that I can't read anything new as I'm just not taking it in. So the great Agatha Christie re-read continues - I've read 39 of her books in the last few months, all in publication order. The good newsw is that I've hit Christie's golden period when she wrote classics such as Murder on the Orient Express, Death in the Clouds, ABC Murders, Dumb Witness, Death on the Nile and my personal favourites Appointment With Death, Sad Cypress and Evil Under the Sun.

I'm reading Miss Marple, The Body in the Library, at the moment to be followed by probably my favourite and, to my mind, most perfect Poirot story, Five Little Pigs. I can hardly wait.