Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
The beautiful are forgiven; no matter how egregious their shortcomings , they are forgive.
Most of us, if pressed, are made uneasy by change. We recognise its importance in our lives and there are occasions when we persuade ourselves that it's for the best - which, of course, it often is - but at heart we are concerned that, if change comes, it will bring with it regret
'But we all waste opportunities,' said Domenica. 'Every single one of us. Every young person does it. It's because we think we have so much time, and then, when we realise that our time is finite, it's too late.'
'Indeed' said the professor. 'But we are all fortunate in one way or another. The task for most of us is to identify in what way that is, would you not agree?'
Monday, July 15, 2013
In speaking of the school groundsman - a former farmer - he says: "It (soil) was his creation following many hours of honest toil by a man who had grown old in the bosom of nature and measured time in the changing of the seasons."
It having been agreed that a fortune teller known to the school Caretaker, Ruby, would be asked to tell fortunes at the school fete: " 'Will you let her know please, Ruby?' asked Anne. 'Perhaps she knows already' said Sally mischievously".Librarian's review is here.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Friday, December 7, 2012
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The cover note says that this is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective and narrator is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger’s Syndrome [although that is not mentioned in the text of the book]. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.
“This will not be a funny book," says Christopher. "I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them." But that’s not altogether the case. It is a book with humour and pathos. I am acquainted with people with Asperger’s Syndrome and to be able to gain an appreciation through this book of how they see the world was a challenge and an education.
The eyes of a child are often used to portray the frailties of adults and human life in general and this not only uses the eyes and mind of a child but it strips everything he sees of emotion and narrates it in a cold and logical format which I found at the same time both simple and hard to read.
I’m not sure that this can really be described as a murder mystery novel but it is a book which I found hard to put down and impossible to ignore. I also learned quite a lot about maths!
My only reservation is that when the author got to the end of the book it was as if he suddenly just gave up and finished writing.
Would I recommend it? Without hesitation. Even if you don’t enjoy the story you will learn about a human condition and that will help you to understand an alternative view of life. That has to be a Good Thing.
Because time is not like space. And when you put something down somewhere, like a protractor or a biscuit, you can have a map in your head to tell you where you have left it, but even if you don’t have a map in your head it will still be there because a map is a representation of things that actually exist so that you can find the protractor or the biscuit again. And a timetable is a map of time, except that if you don’t have a timetable time is not there like the landing and the garden and the route to school. Because time is only the relationship between the way different things change, like the earth going round the sun and atoms vibrating and clocks ticking and day and night and waking up and going to sleep , and it is like west and nor-nor-east which won’t exist when the earth stops existing and falls into the sun because it’s only a relationship between the North Pole and the South Pole and everywhere else, like Mogadishu and Sunderland and Canberra.
People believe in God because the world is very complicated and they think it is very unlikely that anything as complicated as a flying squirrel or the human eye or a brain could happen by chance. But they should think logically and if they thought logically they would see that they can only ask this question because it has already happened and they exist.
After posting this I remembered that Scriptor Senex had read it when he was here last year. See his blog entry at A Book Every Six Days.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I have absolutely no idea how or where I first saw this book. All I can remember is that Julia Stewart’s book caught my eye when it was published in 2007 and I knew that I had to read it. Perhaps it was because I am acquainted with the Périgord region of France (and in particular the real towns mentioned in the novel although I was unaware of that before I read it).
I received it as part of a Christmas present and it was waiting for me when I returned from New Zealand. I finished it a few hours ago over a leisurely lunch. As I was reading it (which I managed in a matter of a few days – a record for me when not on a plane?) I was occasionally reminded of Tom Sharp’s Blot on The Landscape (1975) and Porterhouse Blue (1974) which I read in the ‘70s. I enjoyed them but I could never get into any of his other books and abandoned the attempts.
As soon as I started it I needed to know how it ended. On occasions it irritated me. On occasions I just enjoyed the style and prose which borrows from the same school as Alexander McCall Smith when it comes to describing things. The Matchmaker, for example, never wears plain ‘sandals’ but always ’supermarket leather sandals’ It is, however, an absolutely delightful read with not a nasty thought to be found on any page.
‘I’ve never eaten frogs in my life. Nobody in their right mind would. Have you?’ ‘Of course not! Only tourists do.’
Love is like a good cassoulet, it needs time and determination. Some bits are delicious, while others might be a bit rancid and make you wince. You may even come across the odd surprise like a little green button, but you have to consider the whole dish.
Without love we are just shadows.
Once the villagers had settled their argument as to whose limbs were whose, they got to their knees and it wasn’t long before they were able to stand. Eventually they found they could focus, and even remembered their own names. When they staggered out of the bar and saw the frightful state that the village was in, their hearts immediately soared, knowing that the chances of the English buying homes in Amour-sur-Belle were now even more remote.
…the Comité des Fetes announced that the celebrations to mark Patrice Baudin’s recovery from vegetarianism would be held that afternoon.
However, possibly the best quote of all is the last two sentences of the book and to get there you’ll just have to read it. I think it was worth it.