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Tag Archives: Time travel

Travel, Embryos and Brandy

Being curiously relaxed about undertaking such a long journey is certainly not the typical British state when just about to go about a holiday.  Most of the time it takes us a day or two to get over the stress of travelling but such was my whimsical mood that I started to ponder (in Leicester, no less) why nobody really talks about or even notices weathervanes anymore.  It seems strange when so many are created in such an arty way.

The view from my adopted home, with a special cameo from my drying towel.

Even the prominent display of the book The Crash Detectives (replete with an aeroplane and separate flaming wing falling off on the cover) in the expectedly poor excuse for an airport bookshop couldn’t dampen my ‘enthusiasm’ for a 14 hour flight.  My mind was well and truly blown to experience Philippine Airlines, who board the passengers at the back first, we were all seated in about ten minutes, much more efficient and professional than the other way…Delta Airlines I’m looking at you.

Planes are always interesting, the mishmash of emotions you see people going through; those going on holiday, coming back from holiday, the grind of work trips, the back packers off for months at a time.  Each one has a fascinating story to tell no doubt, not that anybody was particularly willing to talk with the length of the flight and I had my book my book to read so priorities… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 26/05/2017 in The Philippines, Travel

 

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Boston Books Too

It feels good to round-up yet another book haul, two of which I have already read due to my recharged batteries and also because I find it hard to sleep before 2am, when I can sleep at night that is.

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The Ghosts We Know is a graphic novel which I found really interesting but you’ll have to wait for a review to find out why, it will be added to some reading lists though hopefully.  Why I Read and A Magnificent Farce are two books that come from my favourite shelves in any bookshop, the books about books section., nothing is going to get the readers back in like a book reiterating why a person loves to read. Such bliss will be saved for a rain day…if I can avoid temptation.

Hellenica is a collection of essays on Greek poetry, philosophy, history and religion and has a fantastically almost brand new feel to it and bringing up the rear in this photos pleasures was a book that will force me to read another book beforehand.  The Tangled Chain is a study on the structures and anomalies of the medical/scientific/philosophy work The Anatomy of melancholy.  Sometimes I need a push myself to the more challenging works and if buying another book helps it’s a bonus. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 05/07/2016 in Boston, Lists/Ephemera

 

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Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes

NEOHitlerBerlin, Summer 2011. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed – no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman.

People certainly recognise him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen. But the Führer has another programme with even greater ambition – to set the country he finds a shambles back to rights.

The premise seems fairly amusing and from that alone possibly worth a decent read, although mainly I was wondering if it would be just a novelty exercise and/or fall into the poor taste trap.  Books like this need to have an underlying message, something they wish to achieve and although this book had some interesting points, it was on the whole forgettable.

It will come as a relief to know that the story has no real explanation for Hitler’s predicament which is still better than the one in that stone cold classic film of the time travel genre, Hot Tub Time Machine.  The story does at least move on in a pacy way without this obstacle and soon gets into its stride.

There is the standard amusement in the form of our narrator being constantly perplexed with modern life and seeing the world through his eyes is interesting up to a point, with all the big chain stores, the internet and different nationalities now inhabiting Berlin and so forth.  Sadly the jokes lose their impact and quite quickly become repetitive and predictable.

Vermes does well to avoid any sympathy one may have for Hitler’s loss of wife and his closest allies which is a relief, as there is a danger in humanising the dictator so that he becomes almost a lovable old grandfather type set in his ways, which just happen to be racist and disagreeable to the modern sensibilities.  Luckily all the characters are two-dimensional and although there is occasion when the story does sail close to the wind, it never becomes particularly offensive unless you are one of the new fangled PC crew that get offended by everything, which I am sure you are not. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 02/03/2016 in Fiction, Humour

 

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Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut

SH%Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller – these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse. Slaughterhouse 5 is one of the world’s great anti-war books. Centring on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.

The blurb doesn’t give much away but how to describe this book, it’s been a challenge for this reviewer but I persevered after much thought and have scraped the surface in a bid to whet your appetite…

Upon starting to read the story I hoped it wouldn’t be another Catcher in the Rye, a book I loathed and found extremely overrated.  I can imagine this book splits readers’ opinions as well, with its often repetitive phrases and cynical outlook.

I feared reading this book, as it is a big hit with students and so for that unreasonable reason alone I have avoided it but having read the reasons why people keep trying to ban it  – and finding them all laughable – I succumbed to its prose.  People seem afraid of good literature and messages contrary to their own but why censor something (with simplistic argument) when you could talk about like reasonable adults?  Probably because the would be ban mongers are not those sort of people.

As far as conflict books go, this is up there with the razor-sharp satire of the magnificent Catch 22 as anti-war material.  I find it interesting that the US has some of the best anti-war literature of the 20th century, widely read all around the world yet still finds itself mired in conflicts around the world, it’s a case study begging to be written methinks.

Billy Pilgrim is an awkward and pathetic protagonist whose not always likeable but is extremely fascinating, there are strong hints to him having a psychological disorder suffered after witnessing the aftermath of the Dresden bombings. However that would be to over simplify a man whose can move through time and lives his life in a different order, real or imagined, his attempt to cope with life and just stagger through passively,  powerlessly accepting his fate should endear him to everybody as we’ve all been there at sometime or another.  Billy is at once likeable and unlikable and trying to quantify the life of the man from the jigsaw pieces is endlessly fascinating and is perhaps best looked at through our own actions. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 06/05/2015 in Fiction, Sci-Fi

 

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Tom’s Midnight Garden – Philippa Pearce

toms_midnight_gardenThirteen! proclaimed the clock, and then stopped striking.  Tom’s mind gave a jerk: had it really struck thirteen?

For Tom – angry and alone – the stroke of thirteen brings an escape to another time.

A magical, secret time and place, where friendships await and nothing is as it seems…

Look at this particularly fantastic cover it just screams out ‘read me’, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to do just that.  It wasn’t until I’d read the ending that I realised I had actually watched the wonderful BBC version in the 80’s, back when kids TV was made to be sinister and engrossing.  I may have to do a post on that….

I have long been a firm believer that silence challenges the reader’s imagination and as ever I chose that medium in which to immerse myself in this wonderful book, a masterpiece the cover says and in its genre it most certainly is that.

The book involves our titular hero Tom and revolves around a midnight garden (also titular), I know you had all ascertained that (as my readers are the most intelligent readers out there) but I am loath to say too much more other than that this is a beautiful book with elements of history, a coming of age story and even a bit of love.

Exploration, adventure and imagination are the key things for a book enjoyed by the young, if that can be combined with a sense of freedom, timelessness and an element of mystery, then you have something like this book which is very well written and slowly draws you in.  The pacing is constant and gradual, never rushed and allows enough time to see the beautiful characteristics of nature and feel the anguish and wonder of our hero in his struggles…okay as a cynical adult probably a little less than a child would but I am working on my emotional side… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 23/04/2014 in Children's Literature

 

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End Of Part Two, Part Two (Part Two)

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The place where my thoughts pour forth.

It’s been a while since I have attempted to bring to a conclusion the musings on my USAdventure . I have found it tough to bring forth the words and summing up is difficult to do unless you are Greek brain box Euclid or one of those number inclined people.

Attempting to put three months of thoughts gleaned in the US into a decent number of paragraphs is, quite unexpectedly, not to mention perplexingly, a challenge.

The days really did – as is customary with rollercoaster rides – have plenty of ups and downs. I completed the full set of times: the happy times, some sad times, the odd worrying time and many hilarious times. There was the time I ate a bit of dog food – which tasted for want of a better word, sideways –  saw tumbleweeds and cheesy films galore,  said hello to a new cat and waved goodbye to a sadly passed on cat.  The signature trademark of lots of books was predictably in evidence and then to top it all off, strangely I did not get any jet lag on my return whatsoever.

So what more can I add to all my previous posts from the US?  Well, three months over in another country, another continent, has certainly taught me a few things, not least of all how easy it is to book a ticket and just go.  The world is a frighteningly small place these days and there are copious experiences to be had, so many in fact that I failed to record them except for in my head…which is now my third favourite place to live. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 28/01/2014 in USAdventure

 

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End Of Part Two, Part Two (Part One)

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It turns out I’m not the only one who reads the phone book…

As flights go, things were pretty standard. Uncomfortable stilted chatting to the person in the next seat – who was amazed that her back pack didn’t fit under the seat, when it usually does – sleeping for forty minutes and then spending three hours worrying at the debilitating neck pain followed by spotting the football stadiums as we came upon London and into land for the smoothest landing I have ever not felt.

After disembarking from my winged chariot like some sort of scruffy Norse God, I was brought down to Earth for a second time by the passport lady asking me where I’d flown from.

Which saw me changing my story several times, as sleep deprivation had left me as deeply confused about anything logical.  I wondered if I would have to live in the airport and wait for Tom Hanks to make a film about me but said lady ruined my chances of fame and stardom by letting me back into the green fielded and white-ish cliffs of Dover land.

That’s when it all – somewhat predictably – fell apart.  First there was the catching of the bus, well all the buses were full but if I transferred down a terminal I could get one in an hour and a half’s time.  I did so and after a three hour wait…followed by motorway queues, a broken bus door, rush hour and then traffic for the Leicester City match (a 4-1 win against Derby will have pleased my travelling companion who had joined me off the same plane to get home) I finally made it to the city nearest home.

It’s worth pointing out I got the express three-hour service from Heathrow which took four hours fifteen minutes, add on all of the waiting and I spent a healthy seven and a half hours suffering.  By this time my phone credit had run out and I had established that in November my bank card had expired so I couldn’t check out the times of trains and buses leaving Nottingham. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 15/01/2014 in USAdventure

 

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