Monday, 11 May 2009

Book Catch-Up

Here's what I have been reading since I last posted:

First was The Savvy Crafter's Guide to Success by Sandra McCall. I bought this because I thought the Rock Chick would be interested in it. It was an easy read with lots of useful advice for the aspiring art or craft designer, maker and (importantly, if you want to eat) SELLER! Encouragingly in a way, some of the art featured was hideous and yet people seem able to make a living from it!

Then I got all nostalgic and read William's Crowded Hours by Richmal Crompton. Fellow fans, can you remember the names of William's Outlaws? These books are beautifully written and very amusing, even for adults. Touchingly for me, it had "Pat Walker, 1930" written on the flyleaf (that's my dad).

Next I read Harlan Coben's Long Gone and Linwood Barclay's No Time for Goodbye. The Harlan Coben was his latest Myron Bolitar and it was up to his usual exciting standards. The Linwood Barclay was his first novel and an excellent debut, reminiscent of Coben with its mysteries and plot twists.

I read two books by Elizabeth Noble (thanks Jo), The Reading Group and The Tenko Club. Both of these are women's books about a group of friends and their relationships, break-ups and families. They are beautifully written with characters you care about.

I also read two books set in very different Scotlands. Alexander McCall Smith's The Unbearable Lightness of Scones is another of his Scotland Street novels with an Edinburgh setting featuring Bertie and his awful mother and the other residents of his street. It's very witty and perceptive. Much bleaker was Garnethill by Denise Mina, which is a murder mystery set in Glasgow, but you will be rooting for the feisty heroine by the end.

The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd is about a young Scottish girl who in 1902 sails to China to get married. It's fascinating with all its period and local detail and the character of Mary is well-described as a girl and as she gets older. A surprising and terrible thing happens to her, which she eventually comes to terms with.

I had read Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell before but decided to read it again when I came across it on the bookshelf. It's honest and beautifully written. I want a pet otter! Apparently there are more books by Maxwell so I must look out for those.

Finally I read Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz. This is a bit of a potboiler even though Koontz had revised it years after it was originally published. Dean Koontz is a writer whose development has been amazing over the years but this wasn't one of his most original or exciting. Fortunately this one didn't feature a clever dog or mystical happenings (involving the dog).

Day 213; Book 211

Some Useful Advice

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbour's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is probably not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day .

11. See a penny, pick it up. And all day long you'll have... a penny.

12. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably a wise investment.

13. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

14. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.

15. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

16. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

17. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

18. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

19. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

20. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving .

21. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

22. Never miss a good chance to shut up.


23. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.