Books, life the universe
Sunday, 29 August 2010
I was going to say it's like reading a book but it's actually better in some ways than reading a book. You can change text size and appearance, line spacing and the number of words per line. You don't get text lost at the edge of the page as you do when reading a tightly bound paperback. Of course the big advantage is you can store up to 3500 books on it and pretty well anything out of copyright is free or less than £1. Other books - unless they're only just published - are cheaper than paperbacks.
It has to be one of the best things I've bought.
Thursday, 26 August 2010
I'm also reading The Fan Tan Players by Julian Lees which has a really pleasing cover picture. It's set in Macao and Scotland among other places in the early to mid 20th century. Well written with some glorious descriptions of places and food, it features Nadia a White Russian exile and Iain a Scot working for an early version of MI6.
Then there's Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz which I'm still ploughing through. It is interesting but not that sort of thing you want to read for hours at a time.
I've nearly finished Mean Spirit by Will Kingdom - not I think as good as his Merrily Watkins series written under his real name but still worth reading.
Sunday, 22 August 2010
I also finished Kate Muir's Suffragette City and enjoyed it. Some very funny scenes and some interesting characters as well the historical background of suffragette activity in the early 20th century.
I'm currently reading David Hamilton's How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body which is very interesting. Visualisation as a way of helping to heal your body. He makes clear that people shouldn't give up their conventional medication but use visualisation as something extra. He is also honest enough to say that the personal stories he quotes have not been medically verified and they're just how people have sent them to him. As I'm interested in the mind/body link I'm finding it fascinating.
I've also just started reading this Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz - about how we are so attached to being right. I've only read about 30 pages so far so maybe more about this later.
Monday, 16 August 2010
Also reading Suffragette City by Kate Muir which I've had kicking around for ages. I finally picked it up and started reading it on Saturday and was hooked by it. Albertina is living a somewhat Bohemian life in New York when her grandmother gives her a trunk belonging to Agnes - Albertina's great great grandmother. The problem is that Agnes - in spirit form - keeps turning up and haranguing Albertina about her life and how she's wasting it. Funny and historically interesting.
Pretty mixed bunch there and I'm also still listening to Bill Bryson's At Home - on disc 13 of 14.
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
I have no problem with people wanting to live in cities - it's just not my thing. I find people in villages very friendly. When I walk to the the post office - about 5 minutes - I find that everyone speaks to you. The same in the post office and shop. When I go to the hairdressers the conversation is often general and involves the hairdresser's three staff and all the customers there at the time. Same with the doctor's waiting room.
The walk to the post office has been known to take me more than an hour because I've met so many people to talk to. In spite of that life is quiet and much slower than city life. If I wake up about 2.00 or 3.00am everything is quiet outside which it never would be in a city.
Yes there are disadvantages. No theatres nearby, though there is a cinema about 6 miles away. There are libraries and mobile libraries but no art galleries unless you want to travel about 40 miles. There are some specialist museums - such as the bulb museum - that's flower bulbs not electric light bulbs; and there are big houses to visit not that far away - nearest is 10 miles away. With mail order and the internet you can get anything you want delivered and there is a furniture shop about 5 miles away which is very good and very reasonably priced in spite of a captive audience.
I like being able to walk into the doctors and be addressed by name by the receptionists - it makes me feel I belong - though it could indicate I go there too often! Crime is low - virtually non-existent in this village. It's a bit higher in the two neighbouring towns though in both of them you could walk through the town centre at night on your own without any qualms about safety.
Saturday, 7 August 2010
Set in Cambridge and New York this is a well written book with many very funny one liners and some believable characters. Theo's wife Theresa - a Shakespearean scholar - is one of the protagonists. Both Sasha and Theresa have their faults which make them human. I'm always wary of reading this type of blockbuster fiction because it frequently promises a lot and delivers little. Scandalous is a satisfying read with an intriguing finale. I enjoyed it. Not quite a 5* read but certainly 4*s.
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
The lessons I have learned:
- Don't ever show something is important to you or you feel strongly about something otherwise you will be ridiculed
- Accept all abuse without retaliating
- If someone accuses you of breaking any rules or laws - don't rise to it and defend yourself - you'll only end up in the wrong
- Everything you think is insulting is actually humorous and you're the stupid one for taking it seriously - no good expecting your own comments to be taken as a joke because they won't be.
I'm semi-serious about those points but I actually think the person I was arguing with has a screw loose.
Some of the problem is that I have developed a reputation for being reasonable and rational and not insulting people and I was consequently arguing with my hands tied behind my back and with a bag over my head while the other person behaved like drifting mist and turned round everything I said to mean the opposite of how it was intended.
Baffled by the whole thing - yes I am. Communication to me is a two way process and I have no problem with people disagreeing with me. I always mean exactly what I write - unless I put a winking smiley at the end of it. Other people seem to take the piss all the time. Oh well we're all different and there's nowt so queer as folk.
Sunday, 1 August 2010
Obviously this is a generalisation but I've read before that women are in general better at describing symptoms of any sort. There are sad cases in the book - the Type 1 Diabetic who is not using her insulin properly and the hypochondriac who does turn out to have something serious wrong with him. But the big thing to take from this book is that 90% of complaints will get better without any medical intervention at all and medical intervention may even make things worse. Your doctor's job is to keep you away from the hospital and away from all the expensive tests - not to save the NHS money but to allow your body to do what it does best - heal itself.
Should be required reading for all patients.