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Town Encounter

It begins, as it always does.  A sudden recognition of my situation, this time sitting outside on a bench in the sun.  The bench is one of those metal ones that retains its coldness despite how long you sit there and has a lattice back, it’s also blue but the paint is flaking.  At right angles from me is another bench and a man sits there, he has long blonde hair and for some reason I know he is Australian.

Treemendous

Looking at my surroundings, there are plenty of shops lining the thoroughfare, it’s quiet here despite that, perhaps it is not one of the main arteries of the town.  There are trees at regimental intervals with lush green leaves which seem to revel in the sunshine they bask in.  I have a book naturally,  and it rests on my knees open, the ideas of page leafs and tree leaves amuses me.

I hear a bang above me and look up, the buildings rise three stories and one of the windows opening has startled the peaceful scene.  There is a lady there  with dark hair, she waves at me, well I assume its me but in these situations you never know, so that mortified do-I-acknowledge-said-person-or-not worry kicks in.  After waving back like a reckless fool, a bit of paper is thrown from the window which flutters towards me which I expertly snatch out of the air. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 23/02/2015 in Blogging, Eccentricities, My Writings

 

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The Sword in the Stone – T. H. White

47-1For those of you who don’t want a complete plot summary in the synopsis avoid the below brightly coloured writing, I will say though that the plot and its inevitability is secondary to the whimsical nature of the story.

Probably only the magician, Merlyn, knew that his pupil, the Wart (to rhyme with “Art”) would one day be the great King Arthur.

For six years Merlyn was the boy’s tutor and the Wart learned all manner of useful things; such as what it is like to be a fish or a hawk or a badger.

Then the King Pendragon died without heirs.  And King Pellinore arrived at the court with an extraordinary story of a sword stuck in an anvil, stuck to a stone outside a church in London.  Written on the sword in gold letters with the words Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of this Stone and Anvil is Rightwise King Born of All England.

The last person anybody expected to pull out the sword was the Wart but then he had had Merlyn as his tutor for six years…

Having grown up with the Disney film, I couldn’t leave this book resting unloved on the shelves of a second-hand bookshop, I assumed a fun and magical tale which would provide some escapism and nothing more than an amusing diversion.  It did more than that, it made me smile and introduced to me to some really big words as well.

What sets this story apart from other Children’s books is its denseness, by which I mean the number of interesting facts and the language, which add layers to the nature of its plot.  It has all of these in abundance and is a book that adults will enjoy as much as children.

I say plot, it’s a less a singular story rather a selection of scenes which offer lessons about nature and life lessons to the character of The Wart (to rhyme with Art, of course).  In fact the title is almost an afterthought but that makes sense as the understanding and attachment to Wart has to be built for the books that are to follow, this being book one in a series of five.

For children, there is am amiable story, which is a different take on the parentless boy coming of age being around magic theme and it is perhaps no surprise that J. K. Rowling cites this book as one of the inspirations for the ‘arry Potter series.  The world is populated with comical and eccentric characters and religion, nature and time are all touched upon in the adventures, it is a book that will certainly intrigue the younger mind with the mysteries of the world and its philosophies.. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 20/02/2015 in Children's Literature

 

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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions – Edwin A. Abbott

FLEAAEdwin A. Abbott’s droll and delightful ‘romance of many dimensions’ explores this conundrum in the experiences of his protagonist, A Square, whose linear world is invaded by an emissary Sphere bringing the gospel of the third dimension on the eve of the new millennium. Part geometry lesson, part social satire, this classic work of science fiction brilliantly succeeds in enlarging all readers’ imaginations beyond the limits of our ‘respective dimensional prejudices’. In a world where class is determined by how many sides you possess, and women are straight lines, the prospects for enlightenment are boundless, and Abbott’s hypotheses about a fourth and higher dimensions seem startlingly relevant today.

There are those books that sit on your shelves for years, patiently waiting for you to come to your senses and devour them and this is just such a book. It brings together the joys of maths, philosophy and fun all in one easy and entertaining to read combination.

It’s a fantastic abstract journey, something akin to Gulliver’s travels or Allan Quatermain, giving you a chance to consider something totally alien yet immensely easy to visualise realities.

Taken at face value, this tale is a wonderful jaunt around a two-dimensional world in which you will get to understand such things as how the inhabitants can distinguish each other when they all appear as lines, as well as learning about the hierarchy, politics and history of Flatland.

For those of you who love a bit of subtext, the book is a razor-sharp satire on Victorian culture, its morals and ideologies.  Naturally women get a raw deal, although Abbott, a supporter of Women’s rights makes some salient points throughout the book on the position and the almost parallel culture the two sexes led at the time.  The politics of keeping the masses docile against the rich and the lack of a decent education system both come in for a fair bit of parody as well, the absurdity of such a system would be amusing were it not a mirror for real life.  That all of the above still goes on in the world today is genuinely a chilling thought to my mind. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 17/02/2015 in Classics, Philosophy, Sci Fi

 

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Mail High Club

There is something exciting about being greeted in the morning by a package, an international package no less.  Naturally I had to go share this with other people but with everybody being at work and having a day off myself I did the next best thing.  Wandering into town, found a public place, sat down, cleared my throat dramatically and a little too loudly and made sure my index finger was pointed at the word priority.

The PackageAssured of absolutely nobody paying attention, it was with gusto that I ripped the envelope open like some sort of animal, a book loving wolf possibly.  My prize was an exciting new book (courtesy of the folks at New Shelves Distribution), that I am looking forward to getting my teeth into.

Word PlayFinally, this year the feeling of focus is coming together and from now on the blog posts will start to become more frequent, as will the visits which have been wholly lacking in your general direction so far.  As it stands there are six books to review on the pile and plenty mo e on the shelves that I should reacquaint myself with from my reading past.  The blogging year definitely starts here…

 
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Posted by on 13/02/2015 in Languages

 

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Square Wheels

An impromptu trip out is always a pleasure, especially when it leads to a blog post.  My latest jaunt to Nottingham started happily enough, I made sure I was there about two hours earlier than needed,  just to have a walk around and soak up the day without needing to rush.  I’ve grudgingly admitted before that there is something a little bit romantic about towns and cities if viewed in the right way and even my latest book didn’t get a look in when a chance encounter with inspiration struck.

When out pottering, I like to use all my senses to appreciate something, a touch of old stone, a deep breath welcoming various cooked food smells to my nostrils, the sounds of cutlery and all that, lends me the feeling of being anonymous, almost out of time.  I get to see the magic of the day, as everybody else passes by oblivious, heads deep in their coats trying to avoid the biting wind.

Meeting at the Old Market Square is always a pleasurable pastime, being the hub, hive and plughole around which everyone seem to gravitate and swirl making it ideal for letting the thoughts gather and recede, leaving me to potter slowly along putting the good ones in a bucket whilst getting – to ridiculously stretch a metaphor(?) way too far – grains of revelation between my toes. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 06/02/2015 in Life

 

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Mama Cried – Talia Haven

Tali HavenJenny was enjoying herself on the swings when Azula, one of the guardians of the playground came to take her away.
Together they journey to a cinder building where Jenny must make a powerful decision.

I have a bit of a conundrum with this review, the story runs for just 12 pages and for the first third relies on mystery, how then, can I review a book without giving anything away to anybody wishing to read it?

The story starts strongly putting you into the immediacy of the moment and really it could go anywhere, there are hints that all is not quite as it seems but due to the length of the story,  you have no need to worry about being in the dark for long.

At first I thought it was going to be a children’s book but it deals with some very strong and poignant themes.  The story relies on touching the feelings of the reader, the emotive impact is, perhaps one we could all imagine finding ourselves dealing with.

A lot of detail is left to the imagination throughout, unsurprisingly.  There is plenty to speculate on and that is, of course the most interesting part of any book, to discuss and to open up new avenues of thought.

For its size this book won’t take long to read, even if you take your time, it does manage to pack in a fair amount of detail and leave enough hinted at for the reader not to be left puzzled by what has transpired.

For the $0.99 price point, this is worth taking a look at,  perhaps more specific details would have made for a more substantial and affecting encounter but overall it is a story that has enough strong themes to make you ponder for a little while.

Once again apologies for not being around your blogs for a while (there will be a post on it at some point soon I expect), I will be round yours soon.

 
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Posted by on 03/02/2015 in Fiction

 

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In Which: Raffles, Anagrams, Cruising and Going Backless Are Discussed

Bear with me here, I have a lot to say on nothing in particular, just some bits of thoughts that probably go on too long.  Just like normal really but with less direction:

I am sad to admit that recently I have been doing nothing, wasting away my days without aim or inspiration.  Work has taken up a lot of time but the job I have is not exactly conducive to letting the mind wander and be creative, which is a shame as I could do with a lightening bolt to get my blogging year on track.  A couple of things that have been occupying me of late though are technology and history and the football of course but I have always been a sucker for a huge database of ever-changing statistics, it makes me happy.

Notts! 122Looking for something to get my thoughts going, I came across the above photo that I took a while back whilst, unsurprisingly waiting for a bus on a really cold morning.  it’s one of those scenes that would normally give me the impetus to write a blog post but as nothing was forthcoming decided to save it for just such a time as this.  I noticed today and very belatedly that jiggling the letters of ‘Stop’ around, you get post and there it was all the time staring me in the face, all the prodding I needed to write around a subject.

I like taking the bus, even when the route is familiar, there is always something to have a nosy at, I always wonder where all the streets lead and most of the time I will the bus to take an unexpected turn and just wander around for a bit in an uncontrolled flight of fancy.  I willed a train to do the same thing once but quickly stopped when I realised the limitations that would bring that experiment to an uncomfortable end.

I never read whilst travelling in case I miss something but will read whilst waiting for the bus to leave the station which probably makes me seem odder to fellow passengers but then again you never know what public transport will throw up in terms of people.  It’s like a nightmare version of a raffle sometimes.

On those long distance bus trips, I wouldn’t mind a chat then but as it always seems to be 2AM when travelling,  talking is not usually what most people have in mind.  In amongst the sleepers, the few of us left are usually alone with our thoughts looking at the empty streets and imagining everybody warm in bed, I confess it is a nice feeling, early morning melancholy, an adventure about to be embarked on. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 28/01/2015 in Blogging, Life

 

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