Two Books for Mention on a Sunday

41057294._UY2115_SS2115_After several days of absolute pouring rain we are finally having a couple of lovely winter days with full sunshine.  Ollie and I went to the dog beach yesterday and he had a lovely time.

Books:

I finished Normal People by Sally Rooney. Our book group was to have discussed it last month but we are not meeting now so I was late reading it. I didn’t really want to read it as I’ve heard both negative and positive reviews about it. It’s not a long book so I picked it up to see what all the fuss is about it since I had it. I have to say it was not a book I loved but I can see why some others loved it. The story is about Marianne who is a rich high school/college girl who lives in Sligo, Ireland then goes to Trinity college in Dublin. She comes from a wealthy family of her mother who ignores her and her older brother who is quite abusive. She lives in her own world and has no friends and states she doesn’t need them. She doesn’t care of about high school or the people in it but she is very bright.  She meets Connor. Connor’s mother Lorraine cleans for Marianne’s household. Because Marianne is so ostracised at school Connor does not let on they know  each other much less see each other.  They develop a very long standing intimate relationship but nobody knows about it except Connor’s mother who likes Marianne and leaves him to it.

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There are two sections to dog beach separated by a thin stream of water. However we have had so much rain there was water everywhere.

The story continues. Both are well read and exceedingly bright and though Connor comes from a poorer background he gets a scholarship to go to Trinity and their saga continues in Dublin. Then we get new boyfriends and new girlfriends although the two of them always seem to love each other.

I grew very weary of this relationship.  Some of the positive points of the book to me were I liked Connor’s character and his mother Lorraine. I think they were the best developed characters.  Marianne annoyed me beyond belief.  We begin to see her mental instability as the book continues and even understanding that I didn’t feel anything for her. I could say the book is plot driven because all of the other characters including friends at Trinity and back in Sligo were not really developed.  It becomes more apparent as we continue Marianne wants to be physically and mentally hurt by her boyfriends and then by others as well. She doesn’t have much self esteem by the end.

The main things that bothered me about this book:

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This is the far end of the dog beach. I like all the rocks. This beach is on the Derwent River that runs out to the Tasman sea on the east side of Tasmania.

The writing in the first half of the book was poor. I kept thinking “where on earth was the editor” with these sentences?   I thought the writing became stronger towards the last of the book. It settled. There were so many inconsistencies with the book. Marianne seemed strong in herself at the beginning. By the end she is like an entirely different person. I know everyone changes during that age group but her basic nature wasn’t the same.

The store of the relationship of Marianne and Connor drags…..and drags…..and drags….. It is very repetitious. It is very predictable. I was going to give it up about 60 or 70% of the way through but I was curious how this book would end. When the ending came it is incredibly unsatisfying and open to interpretation as to how one feels about the entire story. I kind of thought, “right, they have left the way open for a sequel.”  That was my first thought. My second thought is if there is a sequel I won’t be looking at it.

A series has evidently been made of this book and some viewers in the United States have viewed it. I haven’t seen it here on any thing I have access to but I don’t think I could bare to watch it.

My other thought was if I was in the ages between 16 and 25 I’d probably have loved the angst of this story and the relationship and wondering about all the options available to them and how it would work out. I wouldn’t have cared that the writing wasn’t that great. There are a couple of vloggers I came across on You Tube that are in their 20’s and they rave about it. In fact three of them got together and had a Normal People day where they all sat down in their respective homes one day and read it together then talked about it that evening.

But as an older person I found the book tedious and done before a hundred different ways and I expect and enjoy better writing these days. I guess you could say I’m much more discerning as you might expect a person to be who’s been reading more than 60+ years.

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We are at the far end of the beach. In the distant horizon is where the location of the first photo I posted is. In the sun. A lovely sandy beach.

Would I recommend this book to others?  No. There is plenty more out there to read that’s enjoyable unless you’re 16 and having boyfriend problems as there are many lessons one that age could learn as to what a relationship should be about. As there are so many examples in this book about what a relationship shouldn’t be about.  If that makes sense.

I was going to share a second book with you today but I won’t as I think this post is long enough and I don’t like to make them too long.

Instead I will post up a couple of photos from Ollie and I at the beach yesterday. I’ll write about the second book I received from the library this week in a day or two. I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

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Now! Off to find another book to read.

Rainy day in Hobart

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7 Mile Beach- Hobart, Tasmania on a very grey day.

This will be short as I need to go get some groceries but when I went to start the car the battery was dead. I’ve most likely left the overhead light on again as the garage is so dark during the dark days and forgotten to turn it off. The RAC-T (Royal Auto Club of Tasmania) is on the way with the cables so I thought I’d write while I wait.

It’s been grey and rainy here for the past couple of days, today and will be again tomorrow.  So much rain and all the rivulets are running wild down Mt Wellington.  Two days ago I took Ollie out to Seven Mile Beach. It is about a 25 minute drive just east of Hobart out past the airport. It channels into the Derwent River that eventually goes out to the Tasman Sea.  It is a nice beach and very few people on it when it is very grey and dark. Our photo club was challenged to do solstice sunrise or sunset shots but with the heavy cloud cover and fog I decided on an afternoon photo shoot. Besides I had to get Ollie out as he was full of beans and we needed to get rid of a few of them. I have told our vet she is not allowed to ever operate on him as all his beans may fall out.  A bit of a run on this beautiful beach sorted out a few of them.

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Bookwise- I finally finished the 37th hour of selections of The Diary of Samuel Pepys. What a long haul it was but overall I enjoyed it very much but by the end I was truly tired of him. The way he treated women as if everyone of them was manufactured from Mattel and always thinking about his own work, his own days, his own pleasures. But I did enjoy the stories of London and hearing about the September fires in 1666 and the plague year the year before. People’s lives were so difficult and desperate and it made me happy I was here in Tassie during our own pandemic.

41057294._UY2115_SS2115_I have a couple of new books on the go but not sure I’ll stick with them. My mood changes from day to day. I’ve started Normal People by Sally Rooney. I’ve been hearing a lot of good about that book. My other book is called A Time of Birds by Helen Moat. This book is newly published also and is a tale of Irish woman, Helen and her older teenage son’s bike ride from England to Istanbul. She is a school teacher who suffers from the same depression her father had and she thinks this bike ride might give her a new perspective on life. She has an old clunky bike that some lycra clad bicyclists in the Netherlands had a real go at making fun of but her son is more modern. Her father spent his later years studying birds and she wants to continue that tradition on her trip across Europe. However she hasn’t mentioned any of them yet.

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I do like this cover.

So far she talks a lot about her dad to the point of dwelling I’d say. Have you ever been around that person, maybe at work, who does nothing but talk about their friends you don’t know and that friend’s relatives or experiences and you still have no idea who they’re talking about but they just never stop?  We all talk about family members to our friends which is fine but there are some people who are more acquaintance who continually go on and on and on as it begins to wear a bit. I’m hoping as she gets into this trip she focuses on the present and not so much of the past but we’ll see.

I’ll let you know how I go with the books. In the meantime I’ve posted some photos of our day at the beach. Remember it is winter here.103551374_3290431614324618_4941826444125954385_o

Until next time.

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Books and Photos about Houses

Screenshot 5It’s a funny day. I wonder what all my blogger friends are doing and I imagine you’re all quarantined at your homes.  Isn’t it odd to think of the whole world (almost) doing the same thing!

I’ve been reading and playing with Ollie.  I read today that pet adoption as soared as people adopt shelter animals to get them through these often boring times. I just hope they keep them in loving homes once this is all over.

I’m currently reading a book called The Maximum Security Book Club by Mikita Brockman. She, being British, begins a book club for inmates in a maximum security prison in Maryland, USA. As I love books about books and book clubs this tickled my fancy so to speak. I’ll write more about this as I get into it further.

In the meantime I am watching quite a few you tube videos on how to edit photos in Photoshop and Lightroom applications. It is a never ending process. Today I dipped into the photo archive of photos of houses (homes) I’ve taken in various places. I have quite a few books with the word ‘house’ in it.

I’ll share the photos and books here and include Good Read blurbs about the books.

The Books:

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1897. This book and it’s prequel are available on the Gutenberg site.

An early Sherlock Holmes pastiche. The book is dedicated to A. Conan Doyle, “With the author’s sincerest regards and thanks for the untimely demise of his great detective which made these things possible.” A sequel to “The House-Boat On The Styx,” in which Holmes (who finds himself in Hades thanks to his death at Reichenbach Falls) helps the spirits of famous people (Sir Walter Raleigh, Captain Kidd, Socrates, Sir Christopher Wren, James Boswell, Samuel Johnson, Dr. Livingstone, etc.) and famous characters of literature (Baron Munchausen, Shylock, Hamlet, etc.) to search for their missing house-boat, which has been commandeered by the villainous Captain Kidd.

house of snow

HOUSE OF SNOW is the biggest, most comprehensive and most beautiful collection of writing about Nepal in print. It includes over 50 excerpts of fiction and non-fiction inspired by the breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage of this fascinating country.

Here are explorers and mountaineers, poets and political journalists, national treasures and international stars such as Michael Palin and Jon Krakauer, Laxmi Prasad Devkota and ManjushreeThapa – all hand-picked by well-known authors and scholars of Nepali literature including Samrat Upadhyay, Michael Hutt, Isabella Tree and Thomas Bell. All profits from sales will be donated to charities providing relief from the 2015 earthquakes.

dormer forest house

Dormer is an old house with Elizabethan origins, much added to. It sits, very isolated, in a cup of the Shropshire hills, surrounded by forest. The Darke family have lived there for centuries. Solomon Darke is a squire farmer who tends to unthinking conservatism; his wife Rachel is harsh, fierce and uncompromising. They have four children – the eldest is the sensitive and original Amber, who feels, at thirty, that life has passed her by. Her brothers Jasper and Peter are more strong-willed – Jasper questions all around him in a determined but romantic way, while Peter has no time for any fuss and forcefully seeks simple pleasures. Their younger sister Ruby is biddable, na ї ve and full of laughter. 

Rachel Darke’s ancient mother lives with them, a harridan remnant in ringlets and flounces, dominating this already intense family with savage outbursts and calculating glances. Completing the family is Catherine, a young relative of Rachel and her mother, whose icy beauty has entrapped Jasper, and whose cold passions equal in power the heat of the Darkes’. 

A complex web of personal desires and long held antipathies becomes activated in the first instance by Jasper’s return home, having been expelled from college for his rejection of religion.

like-a-house-on-fireFrom prize-winning short-story writer Cate Kennedy comes a new collection to rival her highly acclaimed Dark Roots. In Like a House on Fire, Kennedy once again takes ordinary lives and dissects their ironies, injustices and pleasures with her humane eye and wry sense of humour. In ‘Laminex and Mirrors’, a young woman working as a cleaner in a hospital helps an elderly patient defy doctor’s orders. In ‘Cross-Country’, a jilted lover manages to misinterpret her ex’s new life. And in ‘Ashes’, a son accompanies his mother on a journey to scatter his father’s remains, while lifelong resentments simmer in the background. Cate Kennedy’s poignant short stories find the beauty and tragedy in illness and mortality, life and love.

salvation creekContinuing the story of Susan Duncan’s much-loved memoir, Salvation Creek, this book picks up after Bob and Susan marry and, two years later, move from her Tin Shed into his “pale yellow house on the high, rough hill,” Tarrangaua, built for the iconic Australian poet, Dorothea Mackellar. Set against the backdrop of the small, close-knit Pittwater community with its colorful characters and quirky history, this story is about what happens when you open the door to life, adventure, and love. But it’s also about mothers and daughters, as Susan confronts her mother’s new frailty and her own role in what has always been a difficult relationship. Where Salvation Creek was about mortality—living life in the face of death—The House is about stepping outside your comfort zone and embracing challenges, at any age. In turn funny and moving, Susan Duncan’s beautifully written sequel reminds us to honor what matters in life, and to disregard what really doesn’t.

Houses I Have Photographed (copyrighted to PSParks)

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Government House- Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

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The home of Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda, Valparaiso, Chile
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Hillside Houses at Lake Titicaca, South America
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Houses at Cuenca, Spain
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Houses in Windhoek, Namibia, Africa

 

Such disparity in the way people live. It’s why I love travelling so much and I hope to get back to it once this virus has a vaccination available.

To be further entertained please view the following video that lasts for only a few seconds entitled:

After Ollie’s bath today.