thoughts on having finished eleanor catton’s “the luminaries”

August 6, 2014 8 comments


what am I meant to do with myself now?


these writers, they write these books and then leave us cold. is there any planning? here, have some heroin. ah, that’s all I have. there isn’t anymore. sorry.


not that I feel quite like that about the book. but it’s that thing of having lived in it for so long (even with breaks in between).


I can’t say I know exactly what I think of it now, but it is rhythmically impaired, that I know for certain. having that last scene is sweet, yes, but it doesn’t justify the preceding appendix.


also, really, the one moment which we were all most interested in (crosbie’s murder) is the one bloody moment in the entire hashing and rehashing that isn’t described.


still, I do like the story and the people. well, I don’t like anna, she annoys me and is a little pathetic, and for all the screentime devoted to her, I find her ill-drawn, somehow. I’m probably being overly critical. but I like every single one of the other characters. love to love and love to hate, and all the in-betweens. in fact, I don’t think her female characters terribly well-drawn. maybe it’s her way of writing? or my way of reading, which means that I easily fill in the gaps with the male characters? but, no, I think she paints them far more, pays more attention to them.


shepard’s wife? can just about picture her, thanks to her buck teeth, but then only in cartoonish terms, so it’s not really helpful.


lydia wells, who is initially fantastically drawn is treated very slapdash afterward. miss catton, just a few more touches of descriptive prose here and there. it was a bit too spare for me with her. for someone as duplicitous and conniving as her.


that’s perhaps why, really. she goes into interminable detail with all the male characters, all of whom (except for crosbie and emery) are essentially straightforward. even pritchard’s oh-so-conflicted psyche is actually just a simple dichotomy.


the female characters are much subtler and complicated and I feel she flounders with them a little. I simply, could not picture anna. maybe she tried to make her too many women at once? or impossibly mysterious and unfathomable and paradoxical, to the extent that she became unpicturable? whereas lydia and buckteeth are at least familiar types.


but, yes, anna got on my tits with her constant anguishing and her frail obstinacy.


all the others I loved. and hokitika. I’ll miss you.

Categories: general

what i’m reading

August 29, 2011 15 comments
Categories: books, vlog

stir of echoes – richard matheson

July 26, 2011 3 comments

this one i didn’t read because of the film that’s based upon it, although i did see the film. i actually can’t remember too much about it, except that i pretty much enjoyed it, and that it had kevin bacon in it. i remember the atmosphere, though, or at least a kind of image of it – lots of naked light bulbs, casting shadows.

anyway, i liked i am leg-end, so i thought I’d give this a try. it was quite fun, although unexpectedly weird. the premise, if you haven’t heard of it, is that at a party this guy gets hypnotised, which awakens latent psychic abilities. cue murder mystery, psychic turmoil &etc.
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Categories: books

lathe of heaven

July 8, 2011 4 comments

so, i’ve been writing posts, but not getting round to publishing them…! oh well. anyway, i’ve finally got round to this one!

I recently read the lathe of heaven. I read it mostly because of a made-for-tv version I’d seen with lucas haas, james can and lisa bonet (I don’t know if anyone else has seen it). I really enjoyed the film and was looking for a similar kind of thing – which is something of a theme at the moment, as I’m busy reading the bourne identity for the same reason!

well, the book is quite different. most people who’ve seen the film after having read the book don’t like it too much, as it simplifies the plot too much. they feel that it isn’t essentially true to the story. I was rather caught off-guard by the extra stuff, and actually felt that the film was pretty true to the essence of the book.

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Categories: books, general Tags:

we can remember it for you wholesale

April 14, 2011 15 comments

I love dick and i’ve been wanting to go into his short story catalogue ever since (like many of you) I first discovered so-and-so film is based upon a story by philip k dick – and then that-other-film, and yet-another-film, and then oh-this-film-too.

I’d only read 2nd variety, having tracked it down in a best of sf collection, so I decided to go for we can remember it for you wholesale (try telling someone that’s what you’re reading. it’s a very hard title to understand when said out loud), which is of course what total recall was based upon. I got the dick collection the preserving machine, and wasn’t familiar with any of the other stories in the collection at all.


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Categories: books

neil gaiman’s bookshelves

September 4, 2009 10 comments

so neil gaiman posted a link to his bookshelves on twitter and guess what i’ve been doing, bookshelf perv that i am…

uncle neil has been very gracious and allowed shelfari to post big ol’ closeups of his shelves so that we can actually read the titles on the spines. and the coolest thing happened to nymeth, she spotted her favourite book on his shelf! her favourite author has her favourite book! 😀

i wonder if you guys can spot any of your favourite books? in fact, shelfari have addressed that very issue by creating a forum for discussing which books you and neil share and any other thoughts that you might have about his bookshelves. you can even add the ones you spot to a virtual bookshelf!

hooray for bookshelves!

Categories: books

the end of mr. y

September 3, 2009 8 comments

the end of mr. y by scarlett thomas is a novel about ariel manto, a lonely phd student who stumbles upon an extremely rare 19th century novel. claiming to be a true account, the book describes the discovery of a tincture which transports the drinker to the troposphere – a victorian cyberspace where you can access the mind of any person. ariel is fascinated by the troposphere and as the book contains the recipe for the tincture she is curious to try it, after all, what’s the worst that can happen? it’s only fiction isn’t it?

isn’t it?

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Categories: books


August 20, 2009 7 comments

most of you probably already know about this book but in case you don’t here is a brief description of the premise:

rebecca is about a woman who marries a widower who apparently can’t get over the loss of his first wife just one year ago.

initially everything seems fine but once they return to his country estate in england the spectre of rebecca starts to loom large. she is ubiquitous – everyone talks about her, the servants seem to have preferred her, the entire house appears to be laid out to her specifications and even the garden is arranged according to her wishes!

our narrator is hugely intimidated and is made to feel very inadequate, but as she learns more about rebecca she begins to realise that something about her doesn’t add up and starts to discover that below her squeaky-clean image there are darker secrets lurking.

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Categories: books

my summer so far

August 6, 2009 10 comments

friends, shamanism is not without its responsibilities, so i am sorry that i have been invisible for so long again. to put it simply, i have been working my arse off. and then, on top of that, we are still without the internet at home.

we have managed to arrange a new computer, though, which is currently at charlotte’s mom’s house – but its been there for over a month now and we haven’t had a chance to go and get it!

apart from working i have been having some fun too. i’ve been to the movies a few times, which is about 3 times more than I did last year! i saw watchmen, star trek and terminator salvation. i thought watchmen was okay but too much of a fanboy movie. i loved star trek and enjoyed terminator quite a lot. in terminator i particularly liked sam worthington’s performance – he was the perfect mix between vulnerable and capable. capable seems an odd word to use, but that’s the word that was going through my head the whole time. he just exuded capability – i thought to myself, “now there is a man!”

of course, i’ve been reading lots too and have read some good books and some less good books. i’m planning to blog about them very soon – come hell or high water (the latter being surprisingly likely with our english summers!). i’ve decided that i will take a gonzo approach to my book reviews as part of the reason that i post so few is that they take me so long to write. so I hope you don’t mind the change in style!

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Categories: cricket, general

June 26, 2009 3 comments

Categories: general

the great god pan

June 21, 2009 4 comments



the once upon a time challenge ends today and i’ve only posted one review in all this time! so with today being the final day I thought I’d make a push to get at least one more review out there! 

before i do that, let me just list the books i read for the challenge. i did the read 5 or more from any sub-genre challenge – although, for the first time, i think i could actually fit a book into each of the four sub-genres. i read:

  1. courtney crumrin and the night things, a gothic fantasy comic book by ted naifeh
  2. barking, a comic fantasy novel by tom holt
  3. wizard of earthsea by ursula le guin
  4. the time traveler’s wife, which i see as a modern fairy tale (aside from primarily being a romance, of course)
  5. the end of mr. y, a sort of urban fantasy sort of psychadelic, novel by scarlett thomas
  6. the great god pan by arthur machen

i thoroughly enjoyed all of them and hopefully i’ll be able to review more than just two of these! okay onto the great god pan:

this would probably fit into the mythology bracket but also has elements of horror and folk tale in it. written in the 1890s the story starts off with a typically cruel victorian experiment in which a scientist of some sort does some surgery on a woman’s brain in order to enable her to see the god pan – an experiment which leaves her feeble-minded. many years later high-flying and influential londoners start committing suicide and a mysterious woman appears on the social scene. before long it becomes clear that the woman and the suicides are definitely connected.  

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Categories: books

i am now a shaman

June 4, 2009 6 comments

well, sort of. well, not really. in the warcraft sense.

some of you may remember when i posted about being a peon two years ago. that was when i was quite new to my job. the good news is that i’ve slowly moved up a bit, but very sneakily.

i wanted to post about becoming a grunt or a headhunter or a witch doctor, but my elevation was never as clear-cut as that. i was sort of like that little unit you have when you sometimes play, who ends up doing little extra jobs that you don’t expect – like the villager who takes up arms, or the lone marine who defends a structure when really you need a tank there or something. and then you play on and play on and surprisingly that little lone unit survives.

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Categories: general


April 30, 2009 8 comments



imagine that. r2d2 in your kitchen. just that sentence makes my mind whirl!


i’ve seen this a few times from the street as i walk by and each time it puts a smile on my face.


i took quite a risk taking this photograph, though! you’re not even allowed to look at people in the street – never mind through the windows of houses! if i’d been spotted i’d have been drawn and quartered.


seriously! you think i’m joking? i mean it. so, i had to be very surreptitious and pretend i was sending a text or something.

Categories: photos

courtney crumrin and the night things

April 22, 2009 6 comments

courtney and her family have moved to this rich neighbourhood to live with their uncle, professor aloysius crumrin. the good bit is that aloysius lives in a gothic mansion. the bad is everything else – courtney hates her parents, the new town she’s moved to and all the stupid rich kids at her new school. luckily for us, and for little courtney, uncle aloysius isn’t all he seems, and the gothic mansion is exactly what it seems!

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the stars my destination by alfred bester

April 6, 2009 12 comments

this is one of those big science fiction books, one of the classics (for those of you who have already read it or know the premise, feel free to skip through my intro).

shipwrecked, for months gully foyle floats in space, alone, merely surviving until he sights another spaceship nearby. frantically he lets off numerous flares to attract its attention – it sees him, goes toward him and then, inexplicably, flies past.

galvanised by his rage at being left for dead foyle escapes from his predicament and with his newfound freedom single-mindedly focuses all his attention on one objective: revenge for being left to die.

at its heart the stars my destination is simply and purely a delightful revenge story. there is much to it but its for being a revenge story that i like it first and foremost.

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Categories: books


March 27, 2009 7 comments

i love this photo!

and people think cricket is boring…

Categories: cricket, photos

cupcakes and marzipan mice

March 24, 2009 8 comments

to my good fortune charlotte is still happily baking away! since the last cake she has made three more forays into the kitchen and she promises there are many cakes still to come! 😀

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Categories: general

the count

February 25, 2009 10 comments



that old vampire, he’s been creeping around in my mind more and more lately. very subtly – much like he does in the book.


i really enjoyed it the first time i read it but it didn’t stand out as one of the best books i’d read. but its a creeper. its one of those that stays. that floats in your subconscious. that grows.


i find myself thinking about it more and more. not voluntary thoughts, mind, just thoughts.


i finally realised that i love the book when i had one particular thought – the thought that is a pure giveaway that a book has become one of my favourites. i was about to recommend it to a friend when, suddenly, i felt incredibly jealous!


i envied him so much for being in that position of not having read dracula. of not knowing that wonderful world he was about to enter. for that first meeting with stoker’s wonderful novel… and the count’s warm embrace.


Categories: books


February 17, 2009 9 comments




we’ve had a lot of snow here in england recently and it’s been quite exciting! it’s also caused chaos! while it does snow here once or twice a year it’s always very light and if it settles its barely a few inches thick. this time it was about 6 inches thick and britain came to a standstill!


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Categories: general


February 3, 2009 6 comments



so, this 1000 books to read before you die has got me thinking. ignoring the debate about what is and what isn’t “good” and even having a list recommended to one, what has really got me thinking is discovering how few of these books everyone has read.


does that mean that all these people aren’t well-read? even nymeth, bookalactus (the devourer of books), the most well-read person I’ve ever encountered? hell no!


and yet, all those books seem good. i’ve heard of many of them and those that i haven’t heard of i’m discovering are highly rated too. so they’re all worth a look.


what this list has highlighted for me, then, is that we have to adjust our parameters regarding what we consider to be well-read.


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Categories: books