I’ve Got Your Number

Okay, so it took me longer than normal to finish this Sophie Kinsella book and yes, that may be because it didn’t grab me until about 3 quarters of the way in but that does not mean I didn’t enjoy ambling through this somewhat lackadaisical tale.

Poppy, our protagonist, is introduced to us as a happy-go-lucky type of girl who, while a little clumsy, has a big heart and has been completely swept up by a whirlwind romance with a prominent intellectual, so much so that they are engaged after only a few months.

Sam, who gets embroiled in Poppy’s life when she loses her engagement ring, her phone and picks up his PA’s abandoned mobile from a bin, is seen as a cold, severe business man who never responds to emails, not even those from his crazy fiancé and his own father.

Or so his emails would have Poppy believe.

And so the story goes, missing ring, found phone, disapproving parents-in-law, Poppy the physiotherapist and Sam the successful business man communicating via email/text/phone call – helping each other in and out of scrapes.

To say anything more about the story would surely give it away, if I haven’t already.

 

To me, this is the ideal beach read. Nothing out of the ordinary, pleasant, sometimes funny and with the much needed happy ending that if you don’t see coming you really have had too many rum based cocktails.

I guess my reason to read this was slightly two fold:

My friend recommended it to me.

I have never really embraced that whole ‘chicklit’ genre.

 

And by Chick Lit I of course mean literature written by a woman about women/love/romance, often including a certain level of comedy.

I think it is the term that has always put me off. It is not an especially flattering.

I mean I have never come across a situation in my life where it has been acceptable for anyone to refer to me as a ‘chick’ (this includes those dreadful radio edits of songs that like to change references to women from ‘bitch’ to ‘chick’ – neither of these are ideal, are they??).

 

So next time my head is far too full of life/intense literature/mess I probably will reach for something of a similar tone because I can now say, and mean, I am not a book snob*.

 

 

Happy Monday.**

 

 

 

*Find a chair, stand on it and shout it with me – please see Caitlin Moran’s ‘How To Be A Woman’.

** I wrote this ages ago. Last Monday. It is now the following Thursday. Winning.

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E B White – Daisy

Thanks to the fantastic @lettersofnote /www.lettersofnote.com the following obituary came to my attention earlier today (and considering I am still on a painful come down from yesterday’s migraine anything that makes me smile today deserves a post!)

 

So here is E B White (of Charlotte’s Web fame, amongst other things) writing about his dog Daisy and her frightfully complex personality and mannerisms.

 

It is a beautiful thing.

 

Daisy (“Black Watch Debatable”) died December 22, 1931, when she was hit by a Yellow Cab in University Place. At the moment of her death she was smelling the front of a florist’s shop. It was a wet day, and the cab skidded up over the curb — just the sort of excitement that would have amused her, had she been at a safe distance. She is survived by her mother, Jeannie; a brother, Abner; her father, whom she never knew; and two sisters, whom she never liked. She was three years old.
Daisy was born at 65 West Eleventh Street in a clothes closet at two o’clock of a December morning in 1928. She came, as did her sisters and brothers, as an unqualified surprise to her mother, who had for several days previously looked with a low-grade suspicion on the box of bedding that had been set out for the delivery, and who had gone into the clothes closet merely because she had felt funny and wanted a dark, awkward place to feel funny in. Daisy was the smallest of the litter of seven, and the oddest.
Her life was full of incident but not of accomplishment. Persons who knew her only slightly regarded her as an opinionated little bitch, and said so; but she had a small circle of friends who saw through her, cost what it did. At Speyer hospital, where she used to go when she was indisposed, she was known as “Whitey,” because, the man told me, she was black. All her life she was subject to moods, and her feeling about horses laid her sanity open to question. Once she slipped her leash and chased a horse for three blocks through heavy traffic, in the carking belief that she was an effective agent against horses. Drivers of teams, seeing her only in the moments of her delirium, invariably leaned far out of their seats and gave tongue, mocking her; and thus made themselves even more ridiculous, for the moment, than Daisy.
She had a stoical nature, and spent the latter part of her life an invalid, owing to an injury to her right hind leg. Like many invalids, she developed a rather objectionable cheerfulness, as though to deny that she had cause for rancor. She also developed, without instruction or encouragement, a curious habit of holding people firmly by the ankle without actually biting them — a habit that gave her an immense personal advantage and won her many enemies. As far as I know, she never even broke the thread of a sock, so delicate was her grasp (like a retriever’s), but her point of view was questionable, and her attitude was beyond explaining to the person whose ankle was at stake. For my own amusement, I often tried to diagnose this quirkish temper, and I think I understand it: she suffered from a chronic perplexity, and it relieved her to take hold of something.
She was arrested once, by Patrolman Porco. She enjoyed practically everything in life except motoring, an exigency to which she submitted silently, without joy, and without nausea. She never grew up, and she never took pains to discover, conclusively, the things that might have diminished her curiosity and spoiled her taste. She died sniffing life, and enjoying it.

Short

 The struggle continues to keep my sanity in check both in work and out of it. Some very heavy reading of late has left me in the following situation… reading a Sophie Kinsella fluffy book (again, fluffy is said with love) and also dipping my toe into short stories again.

 The last collection of short stories I read was Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlife by David Eagleman which completely blew my mind. The premise for the book was different than other short story collections mainly because the theme was rather rigid and they were all written by Eagleman himself. This was something I read about 3 years ago and haven’t gone back there for a while but I imagine the feelings would still be the same. My mind was blown. He is so imaginative in his afterlife tales and on the whole the book left me wondering… what if?

Yes, I am probably going to go home and read it again in one sitting. Beware friends, I will force this book on you if I didn’t last time!

 Another collection I enjoyed featured and was introduced by Haruki Murakami, the author, and king, of Japanese Surrealism and all things jazz and running! I believe a friend bought me this for a birthday gift whilst I was at university due to my phase of reading a lot of his books (Dance Dance Dance or Norwegian Wood are my top two Murakami novels) – the title of the book being: Birthday Stories.

I really enjoyed the collection and it opened up short stories to me.  

 So here I am reading Six Shorts 2014: The Finalists for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Awards. It was made available on Amazon the day the short list was announced (which I missed, dramatically) which I think is such a wonderful idea! It gives everyone the chance to read them, have an opinion, share them and potentially look into other work by these authors! I am 3 in so far, one of them I loved, the two were pretty good and I may do a full ramble on each when I have finished the small collection.

 The main thing for me with short stories is what is not said. The skill it takes to keep a story short, whether that is a full story or a snap shot in time, should be applauded. The key to a good short story seems to be to provoke thought, to let the reader wander off with what could or should happen after the full stop has dropped and nothing else is said by the author.

To wrap up:

Read short stories

Really really read Sum. It is magical.

I am still going crackers (and this is only okay if cheese is involved)