Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Janet

Janet's Log - Stardate 2017

Recommended Posts

The book is sort of on hold until my health gets more under control Janet, thanks for asking!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

023-2017-Mar-09-The%20Testament%20of%20M

 

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

 

The ‘blurb’

From the author of Brooklyn, in a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son's brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change.

 

As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.

 

A friend recommended his as a good introduction to the work of Irish writer Colm Tóibín.  Heading towards the end of her life, Mary recalls the life of her son, Jesus – the way that she remembers him, which is not necessarily the way the people writing down the story of his life do.  She reflects on his birth, the miracles he performed from turning the water into wine at the wedding at Cana in Galilee through to the raising of Lazarus from the dead and then, of course, on his death on the cross.  Two men (disciples, I think, but as ever I'm behind with my reviews and my memory is hazy!) are interested in Mary's recollections, although sometimes they are angry with her when they don't agree with her version of events…

 

From a story point of view, I suppose it is quite controversial (if you believe in the usually accepted version of events).  It was nominated for a Booker Prize back in 2013 and although it didn't win, it was shortlisted.  I can't say I was mad about the story, but from a writing point of view, I enjoyed Tóibín's style and may look out for something else by him. 

 

The paperback edition is 112 pages long and is published by Penguin. It was first published in 1908. The ISBN is 9780241962978.   

 

3/5 (I quite liked it)

 

(Finished 9 March 2017)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a new person sitting opposite me at work.  He's very nice, but I'm feeling really uncomfortable. 

 

This is an odd feeling, as I would generally describe myself as a quiet extrovert!  I'm not bothered by new people/situations normally, but I'm not an extrovert in the same way as my husband is - I don't do being the centre of attention.  Not that I think he's looking at me, but it just feels like he is.

 

One thing... he never eats!  This makes me uncomfortable even though I only have a wholemeal roll and a yogurt and fruit, it makes me feel like I'm always eating.  :roll:  We have a panel between us, but I wish it was higher!!

 

I know this is not book related, but I felt the need to tell someone!  :giggle2:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know what you mean!  I'm sure you'll get used to him, perhaps he's one of those people who has a big breakfast, or a big dinner!  As long as he's nice and you get along is the main thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh no, that's not a good situation, Janet.  I hate having new people in the office, and I probably come across as a bit snooty, as I never introduce myself and will only talk to them if the talk to me first, at least for the first few months anyway.  Hopefully, once they get used to me, they realise it's not them, it's just that I'm shy, but if they don't that's their problem. :giggle2:

 

Hopefully it's just new job nerves on his part, and you'll find you'll get used to him soon.  :hug:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh no, it's especially awkward if they are right in your eye-line when you look up. :unsure: I had something similar in my old office - a girl was sitting opposite me, and every time she looked up at her notice board (on the partition), I would see her out of the corner of my eye and assume she was staring at me. It was only when I finally looked at her to see what her problem was that I realised she was reading her noticeboard, and not watching me. :lol: I'm overly aware of other people around me (mostly at work) and it sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable even though they are probably oblivious. :blush: So take comfort in the fact that you aren't alone in your thinking. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry you felt uncomfortable, Janet. I would feel uncomfortable too in that situation, I think.

I hope you'll feel more comfortable around him once you're more used to him and get to know him :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, bobblybear said:

Oh no, it's especially awkward if they are right in your eye-line when you look up. :unsure: I had something similar in my old office - a girl was sitting opposite me, and every time she looked up at her notice board (on the partition), I would see her out of the corner of my eye and assume she was staring at me. It was only when I finally looked at her to see what her problem was that I realised she was reading her noticeboard, and not watching me. :lol: I'm overly aware of other people around me (mostly at work) and it sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable even though they are probably oblivious. :blush: So take comfort in the fact that you aren't alone in your thinking. :D

 

I had something like this a couple of weeks ago, but I was on the other side.  I was working away at my desk and one of our clinicians was doing some paperwork on the other side of my desk.  They often do this, so that's no problem.  But he kept looking up towards me, and I thought he was looking at me.  It wasn't till I got up to do something after about half an hour that I found out why  he'd been looking in my direction so much.  He'd been looking at a calendar on the wall behind me.:D  I've only been in this job a few months and didn't know there was a calendar there.

 

I've never worked in a job with cubicles, so I don't know what that's like, but I think I'd be uncomfortable too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Nollaig said:

Just slouch down in your chair so you're out of eye line with him :giggle:

I tried, but I pretty much had my chin on the desk!  :giggle2:

 

19 minutes ago, bookmonkey said:

 

I had something like this a couple of weeks ago, but I was on the other side.  I was working away at my desk and one of our clinicians was doing some paperwork on the other side of my desk.  They often do this, so that's no problem.  But he kept looking up towards me, and I thought he was looking at me.  It wasn't till I got up to do something after about half an hour that I found out why  he'd been looking in my direction so much.  He'd been looking at a calendar on the wall behind me.:D  I've only been in this job a few months and didn't know there was a calendar there.

 

I've never worked in a job with cubicles, so I don't know what that's like, but I think I'd be uncomfortable too.

Haha - that's funny!  There is nothing much behind me (a door to the room that is currently a stock room and the photocopier).  He went out to lunch early today so I ate my sandwich when he wasn't there!  :giggle:

 

It's not a cubicle (I don't think I'd like that) our desks face one another so it's a partition between the two. 

 

I'm sure things will get better.  Thanks, @Athena , @Nollaig and @bookmonkey   :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

024-2017-Mar-22-The%20Essex%20Serpent_zp

 

 

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

 

The ‘blurb’

 

London, 1893. When Cora Seaborne's controlling husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness. Along with her son Francis - a curious, obsessive boy - she leaves town for Essex, in the hope that fresh air and open space will provide refuge.

 

On arrival, rumours reach them that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for superstition, is enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a yet-undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter's vicar, who is also deeply suspicious of the rumours, but thinks they are a distraction from true faith.

 

As he tries to calm his parishioners, Will and Cora strike up an intense relationship, and although they agree on absolutely nothing, they find themselves at once drawn together and torn apart, affecting each other in ways that surprise them both.

 

The Essex Serpent is a celebration of love, and the many different shapes it can take.

 

When Cora Seaborne’s husband dies she is relieved. He was controlling and their relationship wasn’t a happy one and Cora is thankful to be freed from the bonds of marriage. Intrigued by rumours of the return of The Essex Serpent, Cora and her son Francis head to Aldwinter and, after being introduced by her friend Charles, they stay with the local vicar and his wife. The Reverend William Ransome is frustrated by the stories and refuses to believe in the mythical creature, whilst William’s gentle wife Stella seems to be becoming ever more obsessed with the colour blue.

 

As William's parishioners become more and more stirred up, a feeling of hysteria takes over the community, and as William tries to calm the situation he clashes with the headstrong Cora…

 

I'm not sure what to say about this novel, except that I loved it and it's definitely my favourite book of 2017 (so far).  I loved the setting, and the characters, especially Cora and William, and William's ethereal wife Stella.  There is more to this novel that just what is happening in Essex including not only Stella's story but also an episode of pioneering surgery (some of which I found… challenging to read, being rather squeamish!).  I also loved the beautiful, poetical writing.

 

Coincidentally, we recently visited a couple of settings from the book – Colchester, where we visited both hotels mentioned in the book, and Brightlingsea, which is said to be (although not confirmed by the author as far as I know) the basis for the fictional village of Aldwinter. 

 

Colchester

 

IMG_1687_zpsbgzp9xao.jpg

 

IMG_1692_zpsjhszkov2.jpg

 

Brightlingsea

 

IMG_1700_zpsvneqvqbh.jpg

 

We even spotted the Essex Serpent swimming off up the river…!

 

IMG_1696_zps1qgypmbu.jpg

 

The paperback edition is 448 pages long and is published by Serpent's Tail. It was first published in 2016. The ISBN is 9781781255452.

 

5/5 (I loved it)

 

(Finished 22 March 2017)a

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are some great pictures :)! I like the Red Lion Hotel building the most (first picture).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only bought the Essex Serpent for kindle two days' ago J! Great to read your review - and see the pictures! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 25/05/2017 at 11:08 PM, Little Pixie said:

Ooh, great pics. I really like the beach huts. :)

Thanks, @Little Pixie - they're gorgeous ,aren't they!  :)

 

On 26/05/2017 at 3:20 PM, Athena said:

Those are some great pictures :)! I like the Red Lion Hotel building the most (first picture).

Thanks, Gaia.  :)  It was lovely inside too.

 

On 26/05/2017 at 8:09 PM, Alexi said:

I only bought the Essex Serpent for kindle two days' ago J! Great to read your review - and see the pictures! :)

Thanks, @Alexi  I hope you love the book as much as I did! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can only agree with you Janet - it was my favourite fiction book last year.  Loved it.

Great to see the pictures - thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

025-2017-Mar-30-The%20Hound%20of%20the%2

 

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

 

The ‘blurb’

‘It came with the wind through the silence of the night, a long, deep mutter, then a rising howl, and then the sad moan in which it died away. Again and again it sounded, the whole air throbbing with it, strident, wild, and menacing.’

 

When the body of Sir Charles Baskerville is found on the misty and desolate Devon moors, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson decide to investigate. The locals blame his death on the family curse, a legendary phantom hound which has supposedly haunted the Baskervilles for generations. Holmes’ detective skills are put to the test as he battles to discover the truth behind the fearsome legend and to solve one of the most macabre mysteries of his career.

 

When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead it appears that the mysterious and legendary Hound of the Baskervilles has struck again. With a new heir due to take the helm at Baskerville Hall, a large house in the middle of Dartmoor, Sherlock Holmes sends his trusty sidekick to Devon ahead of him to check out the situation - his visit coincides with the escape of a dangerous prisoner from the notorious prison at Princetown.  Among the people Watson encounters are the late Sir Charles's butler Barrymore and his wife and a naturalist called Stapleton who lives nearby with his sister.   As Watson struggles to piece together all the clues in Holmes's absence, he discovers a number of suspects.  Is the legend of the Hound real, or is there some other explanation for the strange goings on that only Sherlock Holmes can solve…?

 

I read this whilst we were visiting Devon – we crossed Dartmoor and went past the prison – it was easy to imagine the action from the book taking place there!  It wasn't particularly bleak the two days we visited as the sun was shining on us, but on a drab winter's day it must be very atmospheric!  Obviously I had heard of this story before, but this was my first encounter (if one discounts the BBC Sherlock version – I must watch it again as I can't really remember much about it!) – it is a really enjoyable story – I'm looking forward to meeting Mr Holmes again soon.

 

The paperback edition is 160 pages long and is published by Collins. It was first published in 1902. The ISBN is 9780008195656.  I read it on Kindle.

 

4/5 (I really liked it)

 

(Finished 30 March 2017)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yes it's a good old ripping yarn isn't it!  I thought the BBC version updated it quite well, probably one of the best episodes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked that episode also, it was quite good.

 

I'm glad you enjoyed the original book, Janet :). It must have been special reading it while in the area where it takes place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I re-watched the BBC Sherlock at the weekend, @Madeleine and @Athena - you're right, Madeleine - it was a good one.  Although I've enjoyed later series, I think the first couple were the best!  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't watch the most recent series, though The Abominable Bride was, well, pretty abominable:roll:, and gave up on it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×