Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Metro Stations :: An Open Buildings Collection

Ok, I admit it...I am a bit of a building / architecture nerd. Saw this collection of Metro stations, from advertised on Facebook and thought I'd share.

We went to Munich this summer so I'm quite miffed we didn't get to see more of the Munich subway / metro / tube (for us English!)

I have been to some of the others including the Oriente Station is Lisbon, Portugal. Beautiful architecture (if you like it modern). Maybe I will post some pics if I get the chance.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review :: The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

The Inheritance of LossThe Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I know a lot of people have liked this book but I couldn't get into it.

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Book Review :: Stalin's Ghost by Martin Cruz Smith

Stalin's Ghost (Arkady Renko, #6)Stalin's Ghost by Martin Cruz Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is part of a crime series set in Russia post WW2 / pre end of Communism. Good easy reads.

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Book Review :: Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

Everything is IlluminatedEverything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

This just didn't appeal. It was bought as gift and now is being recycled on Read it / Swap it...

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Book Review :: The River King by Alice Hoffman

The River KingThe River King by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I've never read Alice Hoffmann before and I tried to read this novel but struggled and gave up. I have another of her novels waiting for me to try so I haven't completely given up....

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Book Review :: Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler

Noah's CompassNoah's Compass by Anne Tyler
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I normally like Anne Tyler's book but this one didn't strike a chord with me and I didn't finish it.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Slutty housewife

organised :: as a good study should be
I've been on a manic cleaning spree these last three days. I am what might be described as bit of a slutty housewife. I let the chores and cleaning mount up then have to do some mammoth session when it finally begins to bug me. And how much better do I feel when I do it :-)

I don't think my study has been as clean as this since I moved in three years ago. I have filed all my notes, have thrown away a small Amazonian rainforest worth of paper which is surplus to requirements, I have polished and hoovered, and my study is organised as it should be.

I have two desks - the one I am currently sat at is my computer workstation. Wired up to the net, printer, scanner, hard drive I'm all techy. The other side I have a more creative desk - it used to be an overspill for work before I reviewed and recycled a lot of stuff - I made our Wedding invites (we got a wooden stamp made and used embossing powders and an embossing gun to create invites to our specific tastes) so I can be creative and do enjoy it but I haven't had space to really dabble.

I thought I should clean because I suspect I won't have waste amounts of time over the next few months as alongside trying to complete my Doctorate we are renovating my husband's house and then trying to sell his, rent mine and move somewhere proper together (crazy marriage arrangements, but seemingly typical of many modern marriages...)...oh as well as me getting a job...and adding to the family if that is in the stars...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review :: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped PyjamasThe Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this in a single sitting - kind of got engrossed in it. I had seen many recommendations that it was one of those books that ought to be read, and yes, I agree.

I thought it would be interesting to see how a child interpreted this book compared to an adult. There was lots of unspoken messages which I think an adult would pick up, and likewise, knowing what we most know about history, it was perhaps clear where the book was going to end once Bruno made the decision he made. I could forsee the inevitable, and in some respects I did forsee the decision he made, because of the friendship he had made.

I suppose I have one slightly nagging doubt - in reality would a child have been so niave? So unknowing about what was happening? Especially the Father's Commandant position...I understand how it works as a story (and it works beautifully) but... I dunno, perhaps it was just an era where you didn't question your parents like today's 9 years old do (or at least I did as a 9 year old)?.

Overall though I thought the book was a wonderful portrayal of innocence and friendship and would recommend it to anyone.

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Read It :: Swap It

I don't mind second hand books - we have a very good Oxfam bookshop in our local town which I have bought books from on many an occassion. My eye was drawn to a website called Read It / Swap It which sort of works like a second hand bookshop expect the books are free. You tell a user you want one of their books and they look to see if there is anything they would like. If so the swap takes places. The books are free; the only cost is postage.

I've not joined yet but I do have a few books which I might be looking to clear from my shelves, so I might consider this as an option. 

Book Review :: Go the F*ck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

Go the Fuck to SleepGo the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I admit...I haven't read the book but I did Youtube the audio version and yes it is very funny. I don't have kids but many friends do so I know their frustrations :0)

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Book Review :: Disconnected by Sherry Ashworth

Disconnected (Collins Flamingo)Disconnected by Sherry Ashworth
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I don't tend to read YA books. When I was a teen 20 years ago I'm not sure this genre was as big as it is now. Yeh we had Judy Blume or Sweet Valley High but it seemed there were less YA books than there are now...praps it's just me? Anyway, I digress - I don't tend to read YA because I sort of feel I have "been there, done that" and now it's time to move on. But, out of curiosity and giving things a go I decided I'd take a look at my local library.

I picked a couple of YA books, this included. What appealed was that it wasn't about fairies, Vamps, wizards and the paranormal. Just not my thing but seems to be very popular.

This book is about 'real' teen life, although it didn't portray my life! I liked the way the book was written - the lead was essentially writing letters back to all the people who were involved in a particular period of her life when she (in modern parlance) was discovering herself. She was studious but sat in class and realised it was all too constricting. At a party she happened to meet a lad who was also discovering his identity and who he was. They hooked up and hung out, although it wasn't quite as simple as boyfriend / girlfriend. Hanging out with him introduced her to a new set of friends and one girl particularly, but she had issues.

The story reveals the main characters relationships with the other characters and discovery that they all had secrets to hide. The ending was a little "safe" but I suspect this might be due to the market.

Whilst I thought the book ok it was full of teen angst and like I say "have been there, done that" so it became a little, not exactly irritating but like I was glad the book was short and with big writing!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review :: Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner

Fly Away HomeFly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first read of a book by Jennifer Weiner and I really enjoyed it - so much so I have another couple list on my Xmas list :-)

The story concerns three women - one mother and her two daughters. As the blurb says on the back of the book the girls father, a US Senator, is revealed to have had an affair with a much younger colleague. The mother / wife finds this out live on TV, as do the daughters. The eldest is a Doctor and going through her own unhappiness and seeks solace elsewhere. The younger daughter has her problems but she is recovering from them. All three women face some interesting choices and I enjoyed the twists and turns. I like the characters and felt sympathetic for them. There was one occassion where I did think "that could only happen in a book / film" but otherwise the story seemed plausible.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Taking the Pledge

:: The E4 promo shot ::
Not I'm not joining a Sorority...much as they look fun from the recent E4 programme...

:: CILT logo ::
Read the Printed Word! I took a pledge to read the printed word. As the site says, e-books etc are fine but it's important we keep reading "real" books and "real" newspapers. I stopped for a while to do a little Kindle-ing but then I realised, because my budget is severally limited, that I was missing out on recent releases. So I revisit the local library...and was pleased with what I found.

So that sounds like I'm just using libraries for selfish reasons but actually I would hate to see libraries (and bookshops) disappear. My local libraries are the hub of the community. I know I have spent many a happy hour looking through the shelves. It can be a refuge. I have also spent  a lot of time working in libraries. The peace and quiet are great to get some work finished.

But libraries are also there to send  a message to kids which says "reading is cool" and not something just for clever people. I have worked with children with literacy issues who didn't like reading and saw no value in it. But progress could be made if a topic grabbed them. Then they wanted to know more and the library (as well as the internet, TV etc) was a really good starting point. When they recognise that there are books on a range of issues and interests then they seem less afraid of reading.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My DIY hero

My husband has been tiling the floor for the last three weekends and this weekend he finally grouted the tiles and the floor is complete. He bought himself a fancy diamond tile cutter (I've no idea what this is either, or even if I've got the right name) which seemed to improve the speed of his work as it means difficult cuts were easier.

Next weekend he moves onto removing tiles from the bathroom walls and the laying new tiles. I might have to help with this - I might be scrapping tile cr*p off the walls...oh lucky me :-/

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The seemingly endless search for winter boots

I am freezing my ass off as I sit on a metal seat at the station where I  am catching a train to head into town to see about some winter boots. I have reserved some boots to try on in Marks and Spencers and today and tomorrow there's a 25% discount. So have left husband to tile bathroom floor and I am shopping.!?

Friday, November 18, 2011


I am struggling to get motivated to do any real work. I keep getting distracted by thoughts of the future. With funding ending in March I need to plan my next steps. There's a letter written and ready for posting which hopefully will be a step in the right direction towards what I shall do post-March 2012. All a bit uncertain at the moment and change is never something I initially enjoy or feel comfortable with.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A good book :: A soak in the bath

Nothing I love more after a day at uni reading academic journals, is a good book to relax with, and a hot bath to soak in.

I am enjoying reading Jennifer Weiner's Fly Away Home. It's chick lit with substance. Three women (a mother and her daughters) each having a crisis - the mother has found her husband is having an affair with a girl younger than her daughters; elder daughter married a dull bloke so seeks a young, hot bloke for fun; and younger daughter is recently out of rehab and seeking stability. Now I am waiting to see how the story unfolds...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wuthering Heights (2011) :: Take Shelter (2011)

:: Wuthering Heights - Andrea Arnold adaptation ::

I went to the cinema this evening to see Andrea Arnold's adaptation of Wuthering Heights. The film was cinematically very beautiful; lots of long looks at Yorkshire moorland and tree branches rattling on the windows in the storm. But, and I suspect this is more due to my mood than anything, I had to leave about 1/2 hour into the film. It really wasn't grabbing me. I was finding it very slow. My mum was really enjoying it so I left her to continue watching.

I saw a BBC Film 2011 review last night and they really liked the film, so I do believe it is just me. From what was mentioned on the TV show last night, the actors who play the young Heathcliff (James Howson) and Cathy (Kaya Scodelario) are not actual trained actors as such (I am now questioning this when reading the IMDb review for Scodelario). This is their first venture into the world of film and acting. For that I am impressed. 

:: :: :: :: :: 

During the trailers I did see advertised a film called Take Shelter.  According to IMDb this is the story of a man

"Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself" 

I know this is a film Paul will like, and even more so because two actors from one of our favourite shows are starring in it - Michael Shannon and Shea Whigham - both stars of Boardwalk Empire.

Snow Patrol :: Fallen Empires

:: Fallen Empires & gig ticket ::
Paul and I are big Snow Patrol fans so when they announced their UK tour and the release of their new album I had to go today to get tickets and to buy the album.

We will see them perform in Feb next year. We saw them live a couple of years ago and it was an excellent concert. The album came out yesterday but I shall be waiting until the weekend to listen as Paul is working away this week.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Library visit

As an update to my library visit...

I ventured into the YA section. I thought I'd try Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games but, alas, it wasn't to be. I think I will see if I can get the books secondhand or something.

But I did pick up some other books, namely:

 And as you can see they are all YA. I don't normally read YA but these titles appealed because they seem to be about more "realistic" subjects. They also seem to quite short reads so I think they won't take too long to get through.

Wedding :: Marriage UPDATE

Posted the story of my Engagement to my husband. Romantic story :-)

Afternoon indulgence

Just visited the local library. Not been for 3+ months due to kindle adoption. But I decided to visit because I keep hearing so much about Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games so thought I should read it. I expected there to be at least one copy but instead there was a 30 person waiting list across my County library system.

So I had to choose some alternatives. More on that later when I have my laptop in front of me. But before I's one of my guilty pleasures. Costa hot chocolate, plain not cream. Did a take away as I needed to get out of. the carpark in time. Liking the Christmassy cups.

On the move

Just installed the official Android Blogger app. Will be interesting to see how it works and see  if it is beneficial.

Order out of disorder

Started to get some order into the blog.

I've set up some standalone pages which will basically contain interests that are constant in my life. I assume I can access them and add as much as I like as I go along. Will be a nice way to catalogue the info. My blog isn't about anything specific so I think this organisation is needed.

I've worked out how to upload different templates to Blogger. So easy. Did a search for cutesy vintagey templates and found Blogger Candy which is a company specialising in both free and premium templates. So many cute ones. I've selected this particular one for the time being but maybe I will select a more Christmasy one as Christmas draws closer.

Book challenges

I've been visiting a few book review blogs - some very good and reviewing books I would actually read; others are very much YA or paranormal / Vampire focused and really not me (well especially the paranormal / Vampire aspect).

On many of the blogs the bloggers are participating in reading challenges. A couple have appealed to me - Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge and City Reading Challenge but I'm kind of late to the party :-(

I shall have to keep my eye out for challenges next year but I do wonder about whether they would be something I'd enjoy or could participate in. Would I like having to read a book of a certain genre within a specified timeframe? I guess I would if the timeframe was long enough and I chose a genre I genuinely like. Whether I could participate is another matter. At the moment I'm reading stuff because it's free to Kindle. I am probably missing out on some amazing stuff, especially recent bestsellers etc, but budget constraints as they are mean this is the way it's got to be.

My first foray into blogging

I've got a few ideas of things I want to add to the blog. Thinking of writing up my honeymoon travels and adding a few photos, although I need to sort through the photos first! We have been back nearly a month but the photos remain unsorted. And we took quite a few!

It might also be nice to add film and book reviews. Nothing hyper-critical. I don't have time to spend writing lengthy reviews and I read a lot so we could be here a while...

Maybe also adding some recipes or things I make would be interesting. I don't get to make a lot of things at the moment as I am busy cleaning, tidying and related home stuff. If not then studying related :-(

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