Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Reading Habits Regained

My reading habits have changed drastically over the past ten/fifteen years or so and I 'm trying to put my finger on exactly why. I used to live for books, I could read novels at the rate of ten or a dozen every month - as a teenager it was probably double that, I read my way through the entire science-fiction sections of two public libraries before I found real boys were more engaging than robots and dystopias...but what teenagers do is a different story.

Over the past five-seven years my novel reading fell to about zero. I'm trying to rectify this. January  illnesses (mine and another's) kept me largely indoors, so I've begun to make a conscious effort to get off facebook, get off the news sites, get off-screen entirely (if briefly) and to read fiction - read actual books made of paper. I've got enough of them, what's the point of keeping them if I don't read?

Found I still like Barbara Vine, The House of Stairs was completely compelling, finished it at three in the morning then couldn't sleep. Come February I had to travel north, a long train journey there and back to see how far it is - just as far as I remembered but I can read on trains.

I actually bought a new novel, Gail Honeyman's prizewinning Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, expecting a Bridget Jones type scenario and finding something better, darker and much more unexpected. If I get around to putting it into my Goodreads listings it will go onto my 'might-read-again' shelf. It's currently sitting on a bedside table in a place too far away to care.

So back to the south, back to Barbara Vine.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Haiku in October - only one day late!

Sun shines on small children      

in Greenhead Park, muddy boots

bounding through leaves.

Sun glints on Greenhead

drakes, who float on silver pond   

and wait for spring.

Sun glows through oak trees,

 slow without warmth, raining gold

 and bronze at dusk.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

'Dead Famous' by Ben Elton, Book Review

There's been a murder in the Big Brother house, only it's not called the Big Brother house, because the fictional TV show is called House Arrest. The plotting is clever, keeps the reader in suspense, but apart from the inevitable, cynical old cop, the characters are not sufficiently different to always know who is speaking.

But my main objection to the book is nothing to do with how well or badly it's written. It's just that, I thought of it first!  Big Brother was obviously asking for a murder, or even several!  I'd conceived a parody of an Agatha Christie style murder mystery, but hadn't committed anything to paper before Ben Elton came along with Dead Famous... dammit!

Is it worth reading? Maybe not. This isn't Ben Elton's best book and Big Brother became a true parody of itself long ago so, really, who cares?

Monday, 25 September 2017

Four Haiku in September

Instinct makes the first

fine web; young spider waits

for the world to come.

Driven by luscious rains,

as the heat dies down

sudden grass grows greenest.

Swallows, ospreys fly South.

Night comes unready,

streets light up;  Equinox.

Raucous grey gulls cry

into soft, moist skies

where the summer sun has fled.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

London Suite by Neil Simon

I saw Neil Simon's play London Suite at the Stables Theatre in Hastings. A quartet of short plays all set in one suite in a London hotel. Well worth seeing, there's sufficient variety, from slapstick and verbal comedy to pathos and tragedy, for a wide appeal. The third of the plays, 'Diana and Sidney' came out the best of the four, with excellent casting - Jenny Lloyd-Jones and David Morley as a divorced couple who meet again in desperate circumstances.

Well worth seeing if you're in Hastings, it's on till the 29th.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Haiku on the Beach

Living near the sea is beginning to help my waning creativity.

Haiku on the Beach

Flashes of soft grey, white

Stabbing yellow

Gulls fight over a fish head. 

Bathers, splash-happy in the surf;

The lone black crow

Picks flies off seaweed.

Pebbles sunbathe along

The vast, bright beach,

With memories of mountains.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

More Haiku in July

Bright light sheets behind the hills.

A stone trough cracks,  

There is no rain.               

The third osprey chick, 

Grown fat on trout, soars

Joy-high on new-found wings.

When earth is brown, sandy

the knowing slow-worm slips

beneath hot, white stones.