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The Desert and The Sea
utopia, dystopia or somewhere in between?
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4th-Jun-2009 06:16 pm - Reading and thoughts
Flaming June
I'm helping someone put together a 'feminist notebook' for their girlfriend, and it is all in aid of her reaction to reading Doris Lessing's the Golden Notebook. She wasn't very inspired by it - and so i thought i'd look into it myself. I've found this site where a few women are reading the text and (making their comments as notes in the margin) - and its an interesting way to read a text - online - along with other people, and seeing their reactions as you read the text.  I'm just reading the preface now and i found this to be very interesting/ very illuminating. 
I say to these students who have to spend a year, two years, writing theses about one book: ‘There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag — and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty — and vice-versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you. Remember that for all the books we have in print, are as many that have never reached print, have never been written down — even now, in this age of compulsive reverence for the written word, history, even social ethic, are taught by means of stories, and the people who have been conditioned into thinking only in terms of what is written — and unfortunately nearly all the products of our educational system can do no more than this — are missing what is before their eyes. For instance, the real history of Africa is still in the custody of black storytellers and wise men, black historians, medicine men: it is a verbal history, still kept safe from the white man and his predations. Everywhere, if you keep your mind open, you will find the truth in words not written down. So never let the printed page be your master.

Never let the printed page be your master - good point that. Certainly true in the case of religion. Letting a set of words which someone has told you is from God - become your God, is Idolatry indeed! (ok, not that i think idolatry is bad in itself, but considering in the Islamic context it's meant to be bad, i find it quite ironic i suppose)

Anyway, that's how i read books really, i always have. If a book doesn't grab me, i don't stick with it. (even when i was reading it for class, or especially rather. Oliver Twist: eugh). I started reading Tolstoy's Crime and Punishment recently - I took it with me to Tobago. It started off well, and I had heard a very interesting acount of it from someone at a cafe, which piqued my interest really.  The premise of the book was a really interesting one (particularly for me, with my many guilty consciences), and I felt for the narrator, but I don't think i really like Tolstoy's style. Very soon, i couldn't remember who was who with all the different names and i  wouldn't read anymore. I can't force my brain to read anything it doesn't like, that's the problem. I haven't any discipline.   But perhaps it doesn't matter, as Doris seems to be saying.

3rd-Nov-2008 07:44 pm - rebirth, hopefully?
Flaming June
well it's been exactly a year since my last 'public' posting, + quite a while since i have written, fullstop. i don't think i had the mental energy to cope with doing that perhaps because it was such a struggle just living. Well let's a toast to renewed reflection: a lot has changed, I am trying to lead a 'new' life, many things are different and have been different, i am no longer 'employed' and am trying to live by my wits freelance (in 7 days it will be 1 month of 'freedom' to celebrate) hopefully i will still have some money, hopefully i won't be panicking. it's all an adventure and what's the worst that can happen right?

right! i can't even remember what happened to my poor little book journal (i mean when the hell the last time i posted was!

4th-Nov-2007 11:27 pm - updating my booklist
Flaming June
another big gap! at this rate, i don't think i'll be meeting the 50 book challenge this year!

29. Agatha Christie: An english mystery  - Laura Thompson.

A biography of my favourite author so I read this with great interest, it's a good complement to agatha's own writings about her life ( she published two sets of autobiographical writings) - and goes into a lot that Agatha doesn't reveal about herself. the disappearance in 1926, her first marriage etc.)  I particularly enjoyed reading about her early life, i always do about people's lives and the minutiae of everyday life in a bygone era.
"..wistful memories of her serene upbringing in the late-Victorian and Edwardian Torquay of villas set among rose gardens and impeccable lawns, retinues of servants, seven-course dinner parties, tennis matches, fancy-dress balls, dance cards, picture hats and sedate flirtations over the clack of croquet mallets."

30. Desertion  - Abdulrazak Gurnah

Published in 2006, by a man who is an english lit professor at the univ. of kent - originally from zanzibar - i found this really fascinating, if only for the details and insight into life in zanzibar, that wonderfully exotic sounding place, in the 50's, and Mombasa, at the turn of the century. two sets of tales are intertwined.

31. You can't keep a good woman down - Alice Walker

Short stories: Sharp and Poignant. I read that this never got the kind of acclaim that The Color Purple received..ah well.

32. Dancers in Mourning -
Margery Allingham

perhaps because i spent my childhood onwards devouring Christies, Margery Allingham was a crime writer i didn't bother to delve into very much. i found an old penguin edition in the library, and having heard lots about Albert Campion over the years, picked it up. I found the narrative interesting, and sparkingly amusing, but i can't remember much else about it..

33.  Miss LonelyHearts and  A Cool Million - Nathanael West

this man clearly had a wicked sense of humour, and a ripping sense of satire. black comedy about the Depression years. thankfully, they were short pieces, i think i would go insane if i read too much of it. but i must admit to needing to read small amounts of fiction like this, it makes me feel much better about myself..
1st-Oct-2007 03:55 pm(no subject)
Flaming June

I read Laura Thompson's biography of Agatha Christie this weekend - i thought it was brilliant. it really affected me too, there i was crying buckets of tears.
26th-Jul-2007 04:04 pm - Time flies off again..
Flaming June
26th july..And more rain..!

Sigh. Need to Book my flight to Los Angeles - boy am having a  tough time finding anything cheap, the cheapest so far is £560..gulp.  (and i bet it rains when i get there).
Things have been so hectic i haven't had any headspace and ive fallen into what i now call 'those black holes' again: ah well.
Too much work to do, but let's not think about that now - one thing at a time.

get a few things done here, then was planning to nip off to a magazine launch party i've been invited to. if the rain stops that is.. ah well its only in islington. it looks like one of those spiritual-y mags so not sure if i will be able to deal with too many happy clappy conversations. anyhow, won't stay out too late seeing as i have to be at Euston tomorrow morning for 7:50 - the thought of which is killing me already.

need to get my head out of the sand.

oh good the sun is shining now. have arranged to meet gloria at the launch so i suppose i'd better get some stuff done..

25th-May-2007 05:07 pm - Sigh! Long weekend
Flaming June
finally the long weekend is in sight.. !

saw Patricia today which was really nice - went to the Dof Sussex pub at lunchtime and had a natter, with S. as well. P is funny.. i'd forgotten how much so. good to see her, i hope she feels better soon.
manic day..going down for some drinks on the river in a bit with the colleagues..don't think i'll make it a long nite.  T is supposed to be off cycling around town as part of Critical mass.

barbeque tomorrow on hampstead heath has been added to the list - its growing a bit too long now - seeing as im now going to be doing some revising as well as everything else on the list. went for a swim last night which felt really good.

aha the sun is out..
23rd-May-2007 01:43 pm - Sunbathing
Flaming June
Have been indulging in more sunbathing and lounging around in the grass again..what joy!  have flung the windows wide open and have my plants around me as well.  have been randomly assigned to turn up at the Waterloo Quarter Alliance's BIDs meeting that afternoon, which is all about putting Waterloo back on the map, and emphasising the 'cultural quarter' aspect.  Seeing as I'm so fond of Lower Marsh I don't want to go and work anywhere else..!  Well it does feature one of London's few remaining old-style daily street market, so no suprises there.

 I need to sit and read these papers before I go, very difficult what with all this sun shining business!

Last night I was naughty and slunk off to Alhambra - great fun - interesting random conversations about server rooms and riding across Africa in motorbikes. So no swimming, no housekeeping and all the other things on the list. I shall save them - and the swim - for tonight. Heh.

22nd-Apr-2007 07:33 pm - Weekend
Flaming June
Enjoying a nice relaxed weekend.  Watched the marathon runners go by all hot and thirsty earlier and had brunch beside the river.
had a nice day yesterday doing things out and about, hanging out at alh* cafe in the afternoon, speaking to family etc. and today have managed to get a list of people we want to invite for december. took a long time to do! have also managed to do some cleaning and now must get on with my huge pile of to-do's...

read 'love in idleness' which turned out to be an interesting book with a clever theme of midsummer night madness running through it.

i heard that people take their clients to Starbucks for corporate meetings nowadays!
19th-Apr-2007 03:52 pm - Almost Friday
Flaming June
i'm starting to notice most of my posting occurs around mid-afternoon if it's during the day - sigh i just cannot get past this lack of siesta ! almost 12 years now since i had that luxury on a daily basis..  I can just about manage to stay at my desk but i need to give my brain a change and do something like ..post rambling sort of things on lj..and drink my coffee. after all - this is what lj is for!  then i need to have a walk around and a 'change of scene'. but today i haven't even got that much of an excuse 'i've been stuck at my desk all day' - i've been out for a long lunch in the glorious sunshine. problem is if it's too long i find myself not wanting to come back in.  Still i can't complain .. we have huge windows at work and lots of fresh air is blowing in.

it's teletubby's 2n'd birthday today! must remember to ring gulu..have not posted his card yet what  a terrible aunty i am still better late than never. i was speaking to G the other day and I mentioned i might go see them in july/august as my 'summer holiday' - if i don't it'll be 3 years before I get to see them etc. and I don't want it to be that long. Plus we can swing up to SF and see Adit +Manse so it could be a plan. I could also be more organized this time and see some  old friends in LA as well as visit good old annenberg.

oh and i had an email from Amit saying he's getting married in november - what wonderful news! i don't think i'll be able to make it though..seeing as the festivities in dhaka are in december - to which i am writing back to invite him to.. heh a good swap.
18th-Apr-2007 08:53 pm - More things and plans
Flaming June
Watch The Namesake this weekend: saturday afternoon. I enjoyed the book.

See the Atlantic trade and Identity season at the British Museum and a trip to the Italian Prints room
There's also 2 films on to choose from - also on saturday afternoon! - one on Roanoak and the other on Sir Walter Raleigh and the Orinoco disaster

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