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A little tea, a little chat

I've been a compulsive reader, writer and theatre goer all my life. My book blog is here: http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/ Mostly food at the moment but also knitting is here: http://cathyingeneva.wordpress.com/

Currently reading

Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism
Sheldon S. Wolin
The Temptation of Saint Anthony
Gustave Flaubert
Nebula Award Stories 3
Harlan Ellison, Gary Wright, Samuel R. Delany, Michael Moorcock, Fritz Leiber, Roger Zelazny, J.G. Ballard, Anne McCaffrey
Cosmology and Controversy: The Historical Development of Two Theories of the Universe
Helge Kragh
Max Frisch

Pattern Recognition

Pattern Recognition - William Gibson

As goodreads is Amazon, I am taking my reviews off goodreads. Nonetheless, I hope by providing links along with this ongoing message about why Amazon should not be part of our lives, this message is kept alive. I include some text from the beginning of each review because goodreads has been removing my reviews from places they can be seen and apparently this may make it less likely for them to do this. Read my lips, go on. Whilst a semblance of free speech exists on goodreads. FUCK AMAZON. It is so obvious why it is bad. And yet it is hard to wake up in the morning without seeing its encroachment into more of the world. As it happens, this is an apt introduction to this particular book.

Mentioned one day by my friend Margaret, I happened to spot a copy in an English bookshop cafe in Grenoble just a couple of days later. May I describe it as a bookseller must? Hard cover in good nick, dust-jacket, 5Euros. Bargain.

I have to say it rather depressed me, reading this. It described a world I don’t live in and would not want to. The obsession with brand which bizarrely meant not that this girl eschewed brand in her own life, but that every bit of her life consists of the high snob factor of brand. Brand nonetheless. I found it completely mysterious that although labelling made her break out in spots and panic and so on – an allergy to the notion – nonetheless she lives in Starbucks. I thought we were going to have an explanation of that at one point, when a character actually asked her what gives, but no. She just stares at him and they move on. Well, they might have, but I couldn’t. Starbucks gives me the willies and I don’t vomit on sight of Michelin Man, the childhood start of her issues. So why was she immune? She has a well paying job as a consequence of her weirdness, telling companies whether or not a proposed logo makes her chunder. Nice work if you can get it.

Here for the rest.


Source: http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/pattern-recognition-by-william-gibson


Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov What can I say, when Marilyn Monroe has already said it all.


The Strange Case of Dr. Simmonds and Dr. Glas

The Strange Case of Dr Simmonds & Dr Glas - Dannie Abse Abse has a hard act to follow here. Doctor Glas, which I've discussed elsewhere, is a superb existential story of alienation, told from the point of view of a doctor who by virtue of his position in society is both especially connected to people - he is privy to their secrets - and especially disconnected - he is privy to secrets. The very fact that his job is to be privy to their most private thoughts means that the nature of his social relationships is compromised and ambiguous. He finds it hard to understand what his relationship is to individuals and that is connected up, of course, to his relationship to society.

Abse continues on this theme with the profound understanding that comes of being both a doctor and a poet. He is at the time of penning this, furthermore, an eighty year old Jewish doctor and poet.

The rest is here

Ariel - Sylvia Plath This isn’t rocket science. Poetry isn’t written to be read. It’s written to be said. There is nothing like listening to the poet himself but that’s not to say that others can’t do a brilliant job. I can’t imagine McGough being better done than by Mitchell, for example.

Here Rampling held the audience in rapt attention....


Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference - Cordelia Fine
18 Sept Update: some stories reading Karen's review brought to mind from my childhood....



Message on my secret diary. See that lock? That means if you read my diary you'd dead. I mean, not really dead. I'm a girl, it's not like I mean dead dead. But.

My secret diary while reading Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine.

Day one.
I was going to read lots of this book today, but Manny said we had to go to see the History of Lingerie exhibit at the Grenoble museum. Boring. Why do men think women's underwear is interesting? And after I got lost and found Manny again he was watching a video of girls who had nothing on. I'm like 'What's that got to do with underwear?' And he replied in his lofty tone 'You wouldn't understand, you don't have the right sort of brain.'
Day two.
There's all those little things that get in the way all the time. You think you are going to sit down and read properly and then it turns out you have to do the cooking. And then there was getting a cushion for Manny's feet, which wasn't like a sexist thing to do or anything because I wanted to, he didn't ask me, I just thought of it on my own. That's how my brain works. And reading all his reviews. Apparently I'm not cooking enough rhubarb. Could it be true?, I wondered to myself as I knitted later on while watching TV and thinking about things like rhubarb. Maybe girls do have different brains. And before you know it, it's...
Day three.
I was so determined to read this PROPERLY today. NO interruptions. No, I'm not going to have sex, I'm going to read this book. What do you mean you don't believe I'd rather read this book than have sex. No. No. NOOOO!!!!
Apparently my 'no's really sound like yes. Everybody tells me that. Apparently when I say 'no' I need a new persona for it. Somebody who sounds like I mean it.
Day six. I never stick to these diaries, I'm just no good at being a girl. A secret diary should be practically the most important thing in my life and it isn't. At least I finished the book.

My review:

Doctor Glas: A Novel - Hjalmar Soderberg Having trashed Camilla yesterday, I’m going to try to redress the balance...



Book read, more to say here:

The Lost Boy (Patrik Hedström, #7) - Camilla Läckberg Note that I have not put this on my 'better written than Harry P shelf'. Sometimes you think thirty million flies must be wrong....


Strange Interlude - Eugene O'Neill Looking at these two works now, one is so struck by the similarities, it is remarkable to consider their differing fates at the time of their appearance. As it happens I finished reading The Awakening the same day as I went to see Strange Interlude, so the points of comparison stood out. Both are American, experimental in form, controversial in content. Continue here:

The Awakening - Kate Chopin Looking at these two works now, one is so struck by the similarities, it is remarkable to consider their differing fates at the time of their appearance. As it happens I finished reading The Awakening the same day as I went to see Strange Interlude, so the points of comparison stood out. Both are American, experimental in form, controversial in content. Continue here:

The Family Fang - Kevin Wilson



In Praise of Prejudice

In Praise of Prejudice - Theodore Dalrymple One of the things I like about Dalrymple is that he knows how to rant in a succinct way...requiring a like-minded review.

Etiquette For Dummies - Sue Fox I got two mails on goodreads from the same guy the other day. The first was a marriage proposal. The second was the friends request. Seriously. Surely part of the modern guide to manners should include this basic point. Friends request first, then marriage proposal. Possibly rethink the proposal if the friends request is turned down.

And do I need to state the obvious? You are a much better chance if you've voted for one of my reviews. Fair dos.

Having said that, I do admire the way Ayub came straight to the point. None of this Victorian dilly dallying for him. The subject of his proposal was 'marry' and the text said just this:

Hi how r u can we marry

I dunno, Ayub. I'm throwing this one out to my friends on goodreads. What are friends for if not to give caring advice at such a time as this?

The next thing is for all bots to read. I was once described as 'blatantly heterosexual' by a girl who wanted to try it on. So, to all the dyke bots out there, please stop, I'm not going to change. Of course, male bots are welcome. But you'd be best off following the procedure described in paragraph one.

The new face of goodreads.
The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family - Peter  Byrne http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/the-many-worlds-of-hugh-everett-iii-multiple-universes-mutual-assured-destruction-and-the-meltdown-of-a-nuclear-family-by-peter-byrne/

The Last Tycoon

The Last Tycoon - F. Scott Fitzgerald http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/the-last-tycoon-by-f-scott-fitzgerald/
On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan A dud if ever there was one....

Le perfezioni provvisorie - Gianrico Carofiglio A bout of flu with a bronchitis chaser saw me struggling with the history of science and such like that I’m trying to focus on at the moment....