Aku-Aku – Thor Heyerdahl

Everyone has seen the statues on Easter Island and had a bit of a wonder about the who, how and why, but what of the rest of the secrets that the island holds?  There is a lot more to Easter Island than meets the eye.

Aku-Aku sees intrepid Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl hunting out the secrets, history, legends and myths surrounding Rapa Nui (the inhabitants name for Easter Island). For a book written in the mid fifties, it doesn’t particularly feel like it has aged.

Some of Heyerdahl’s conjectures have been disproved and some of the language is though, inevitably dated.The photos too, show their age, yet strangely, this just adds to the time warp sensation the book exudes on every page. Reading this you really do feel like you are on an island at the edge of the world.

So that’s the negative points out of the way, if indeed they are of any significance in the first place. This is a book very much of its time and yet has lasting appeal in any age.

A key element of all Heyerdahl’s books, is the way he is quite happy to risk life and limb for the sake of knowledge, this curiosity leads him to describe what is the most harrowing cave expedition I have ever read. Although sitting in a big airy room, I was nauseated by the sheer claustrophobia he was describing. Continue reading “Aku-Aku – Thor Heyerdahl”

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Choosing Your Next Book, An Eccentric Way

  After having bought a new horde of books, the inevitable sense of guilt comes over me, what about all those books i’ve had since I was 18 that I haven’t read yet?  So the new books get subsumed into the mammoth to read pile to take their chances with all the other hopefuls. Then the fun begins.

First off, I do a few stretches (as this is a very tense situation), having limbered up I relax my mind and let my eyes slide over all the gloriously coloured spines, like a gull on the ocean waves, anything that appeals to me I pull out, usually the pile can be as many as thirty five books or as little as three. For the example’s sake I shall limit it to fifteen in this instance.

The hopefuls are then perused with the practised eye of the hoarder that I am. I read the back of each book (or inside flap, if you will), anything that seems agreeable will be put in the yes pile, and the negative pile also forms. Any maybes are instantly dismissed as I like to polarize this sort of stuff.

Taking it steady, I put back all the no books and start round two. Now down to around about 12 books, I flick to a random page and read a sentence or two.  If I have just read a particularly factual or book of the classics variety, I may be dissuaded from anything to heavy again unless the chosen sentence combined with the ‘blurb’ sways me. discarding books in the usual way, I am probably at about eight books now. Continue reading “Choosing Your Next Book, An Eccentric Way”

Buying a Book, An Eccentric Way

Can it really be that hard to just go into a shop like a normal person and just pick up a book? I suspect most of you, like me have their own idiosyncracies when it comes to choosing which book you fancy buying.

First off, I refuse to internet shop as I don’t trust technology  and have a near obsessional worry about broken spines and creases etc.  Living in a market town you would assume we may at least have one decent market stall but alas no.

The closest bookshop within easy reach is probably Waterstones (having bought everything of quality WH Smiths had to offer, which after the Classics section doesn’t leave a lot to choose from), in Nottingham, although getting increasingly commercial these days,  I had to wait for Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to die to get his book The Gulag Archipelago which I knew would be in stock to cash in on his memory. Cynical yes but still they have to make a profit at the end of the day I guess.

To start with I write a list of books I want, usually things added recently to the wish list or ones that have been on there for ages, then I plan my route through each floor (always missing the ground floor out to begin with) having memorised the layout long ago, each floor is sub categorised into genre, then subdivided again to an A-Z list of author or period/country for history etc. Continue reading “Buying a Book, An Eccentric Way”

Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

 I love a good tragedy, King Lear was fantastic, so ignoring all adaptations in any other medium (except for all those trailers that always come on the BBC every time they have a new drama season starting), I commenced reading this classic with high hopes as it seems many people are big fans.  It wasn’t what I was expecting.

This novel is no Romeo and Juliet style romance as I have always been led to believe, forget the romance Hollywood claims it to be about, yes the book is about love and relationships but descends into obsession, rejection and revenge, blind passion and one impenetrable yorkshire accent that you have to say out loud to get what the old codger Joseph is on about.

The books setting, the Yorkshire Moors, are a purgatory sort of place. When characters leave, for whatever reason,they seem to disappear from the small insular reality of the created universe. This sense of dislocation adds immeasurably to the isolated atmosphere.

The pervading sense of bleakness (bleak like the Yorkshire moors that the story is set upon, clever eh.), really gives this book a sense of brooding, you really get the idea there will be a lot of bad stuff happening to the interconnected families. Continue reading “Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë”

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

 ‘This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this uncontrollable force, Henry and Clare’s struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable’.

I may as well be brutally honest from the outset, this had no impact on me whatsoever, it wasn’t moving in the least and was not entirely unforgettable because I remember predicting the ending with half the book to go, in short leave your brain at home for this one.

This may be seen as an overly harsh way of doing it, but I spent time on the book and I don’t want to lose too much on the review as there are many more books more worthy of your time than this. I’ll split this into a good points bad points review, partly to mix it up from the usual style and partly so you can see my overwhelming negativeness at a glance:

Good Points Continue reading “The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger”

30 Gorgeous and Innovative Bookshelves

After browsing through random WordPress pages I came across this awesome article on erdilielsfavourites blog.   This is my ideal job I have just decided.  Only the designing though as my attempts to make stuff at school were laughable, except for the magazine and cd holder, which Continue reading “30 Gorgeous and Innovative Bookshelves”