Saturday, November 17, 2007

Book Stuff Pinched from Azahar...

Four childhood books -

1. Susan's Secret Garden. I used to demand this again and again and 'read' it aloud at the same pace as my parents were telling it to me. What a fucking annoying child I must've been. Found it for sale at a car boot sale a couple of years ago and almost weed myself with excitement. Read it aloud to my parents during Sunday dinner and almost got a pasting.

2. Polly of Primrose Hill. Originally in a fusty smelling slightly furry pale green hardcover, I bought this from abebooks for my own children recently. I read it to them, and the descriptive passage about the orphan Polly shopping for her first party dress (pale lemon and fluffy like a chick) still had the power to make me sniffle a little. My children loved it too, which just goes to show that little girls will always be thrilled by stories of invalids, grandpas, secret tunnels, orphans and evil housekeepers. Sigh.

3. Helen Keller's Teacher. A badly written, indulgent, shmaltzy tale about the life of Annie Sullivan, the woman who 'rescued' Helen Keller from her 'life of darkness'. Passages from that book stayed with me for years, until (finding it on amazon) I read it to my own daughters (are you spotting a trend here dear readers?). Annie and her brother Jimmy, cast out by a cruel distant relatives after the death of Just About Anyone Who Ever Loved them, are sent to a poorhouse where they shared beds with foul smelling old women with no limbs or eyes or ears (or something like that). Bonny loves it so much she sleeps with it under her pillow. It gave me the bleddy nightmares. Kids are weird.

4. What Katy Did. More invalids. I fear I'm a bit sick myself when I analyse this lot.

Four authors I will read again and again -

1. Milan Kundera. Especially Laughable Loves. Made for the loo.
2. Slavenka Drakulic. Especially... well no. All of her stuff.
3. Ted Hughes. Poetry counts, right?
4. Pat Barker - but only Union Street.

Four authors I will never read again -

1. Jodi bloody Picoult for starters.

2. Jackie Collins.

3. Emily Bronte. Yes yes, I know. Shut up.

4. Joseph Conrad. Bleurgh. Even if he was Polish, he's rubbish.

The first four books on my to-be-read list -

I have a wicker picnic basket by my bed, stacked high with two wobbly piles of books I have yet to read. The four top ones...

1. Patricia Highsmith x 2. The names escape me, but I am recommended them, and lent them by a dear friend, so I shall. Soon. The writing is just so bloody small and my eyes arent what they used to be. (Pass my pension book and ear trumpet)

3. Magda Szabo, The Door. I'm a whore for east/central european books/writers. I want to read this, but still it sits there. I might move it to the top.

4. Iain Banks, Dead Air.

The four books I would take to a desert island

Hmm. Difficult.

1. Slavenka Drakulic - Taste of a Man.

2. Nicholson Baker - Vox.

3. Ted Hughes, Collected Works. I love him.

4. Shakespeare- Collected Works. And I'd learn to love him.

The last lines of one of my favourite books -

"She's never found peace since she left his arms, and never will again till she's as he is now!"
(the exclamation mark rather ruins it, but Arabella always was a hysterical type)*

*(that last was me incidentally, not Hardy)

take it and run dear readers...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Old Prune

Today will mark my fourth day in a row, pruning the runners off the strawberries that grow on the tabletops by the farm shop that I work at during the summer months. I cannot tell you how cold it is there - coast road, November. The next person I overhear in Tescos remarking on the unseasonal warmth with feel the wrath of my secateurs I can tell you.
The day before yesterday, severely berating Wibs for leaving her art book at her dads, I managed to leave the house without my coat or my wellies (flip flops are not ideal in wet mud). Luckily my dad came up trumps with a pair of workboots and a rather fetching lime green anorak (with oil stains) so I didn't freeze to death. (It was hard to see where I should be pruning mind, with the paper bag I wore in case anyone drove past and recognised me). Yesterday I managed to trump even that, grabbing the wrong kagoul as I legged it out of the house, I ended up pruning in a kagoul aged 10-11, with a 32" chest. At 2.30 I had to leave, what with the pins and needles taking over my whole torso.
No lav either in the field... imagine me, arms straight out either side because of massive jumper (and baps) stuffed into said kagoul, bent double, running along the plants making very fast very tiny baby steps to get to the car (and find a lav) before I peed myself.

On Friday, I have an interview. At a school no less, teaching English. Please, please God I will be successful, and I can finally get out of the part time farm/part time medical work that I've been doing for the last few months. Fingers crossed. And legs again today no doubt.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I Like.

As much for me, as for anyone else. I shall keep this as a work in progress. To start, Billy Collins.
And this too. I love this.