cybermule: (books)
I read these two novels back to back over a couple of weeks. I'd had Concretopia (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18747813-concretopia) recommended to me by Ashlyme. I read about the Lost Art of Dress (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Art-Dress-America-Stylish/dp/0465036716) on Facebook and decied to give it a random go so that I'd learn something new.

They are both similar in some respects charting the history of British brutalist architecture on one hand, and women's fashion in the 20th century on the other. I read the fashion book first, shortly before I coincidentally acquired a sewing machine. So it was interesting in some respects, especially charting the more utilitarian fashions of the 50s which have become icons, such as Hooveralls. Actually real genuine interest in something I had no thoughts about. Until I got to the 60s and descended into a continuous waspish drone about how shit literally *everything* was at that point dahling.

So I skim read it until I got entirely sick of the sight of it and then took it back to the library. Think I just shoved it bac through the dropbox, to add insult to injury. Some interesting thoughts though as I ponder making my own garments.

Concretopia was much for fun. A gentle mix of political history and architecture with enough humour and humility to get over the fact that the author was a bit besotted with all things concrete. A much more enjoyable read that I actually learned from, despite being a bit of a cement geek myself.

So I'd recommend that one really :-)
cybermule: (books)
Bookclub choice. Sad that I failed to actually make it to bookclub that month, but there you go.

It's a good book, even though the main character was an insufferable dick. I think I've outgrown it a little - wish I'd read it in my 20s. Mostly it just reminded me of my twenties and the grinding nag of never having enough money.

Might as well shove in a picture of the Coryvreckan Whirlpool here - it's ace:

cybermule: (books)
I've just read The Magus and The French Lieutenants Woman in quick succession, which ar ebooks I'd not read since my very early 20s. I know my parents really enjoyed them, so I naturally picked them up and read them and got a fair bit out of them.

It's interesting to read them again now. What I get a lot more of is the Hardy-esque nature of John Fowles work. My boyfriend at the time complained that he was horribly sexist in that he portrayed women as crazy borderline bitches (heh, can't argue there :P) but these days I seem to read in a fairly scathing condemnation of the sort of posh man who thinks he's awfully liberated but actually is a bit of a cock and ends up with egg on his face because of it.

I want to read The Collector, but I'm holding out for it getting voted in at bookclub :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Fowles

(He died a few years ago :()
cybermule: (books)
I've been meaning to read this for ages, and I can't remember what actually prompted me to add it to my library reservations. Anyway, it came through. It's a collection of Dworkin's speeches on the theme of male violence against women in society, from rape culture through to psychological abuse and denigration.

It's sharp and eloquent, but never vengeful or man-hating. Despite being written nearly 40 years ago, and despite me thinking how wonderful and equal the world is for my generation of women, it did leave me occasionally questioning just how far we've really come.

Good *and* worthy :)
cybermule: (books)
Ordered this from the library and was pleased from the start. Not overjoyed, but definitely pleased. Well-written Sovietist post-apocalyptic kill-fests do that for me. But it actually grows on you the further you get into it. Layer upon layer of dark dank gloom building into a slow pervasive claustrophobia. Probably not a coincidence that I had a fair few bad dreams with this as my bedtime reading. The ruins of civilisation, the grim horror of the survivors, the obsessive detail of a metro system that in our normal everyday life would seem fairly homogeneous and barely noticeable. And the multitude of ways that the human psyche tries to eke meaning, mysticism and a greater purpose out of even the most hopeless and terminal of existences.
cybermule: (Default)
Recommended and lent by [livejournal.com profile] inulro

It was kind of irritating in places due to a slightly hipstery-Oxbridge nonce ethos. But it was eclectic and beautifully written and namechecked Roger Deakin so I fell in love with its beautiful descriptive detail of different landscapes. It left me with a longing for Dorset and an urge to re-visit Scotland and just re-connect with the wilderness of my youth that I've been pining for recently. That wild pagan landscape of ragged oaks and steep sided valleys and dark whirling Cotswold streams. The acute rolling Dorset hills. The silvery beauty of the western coasts, particulalry Lleyn and Morar. The craggy unforgiving barren rocks of Scotland highlands.

Next year I must roam :)
cybermule: (books)
This was good. Margaret Atwood is always good. But I like her so much better when she's funny than when she's mainly worthy.
cybermule: (books)
Picked it up because it was about Buenos Aires society, and I'd been talking about Buenos Aires with someone the day before. You know how it goes...

I definitely liked the gently implicit weaving of the collapsing politics and economics of the city all through the pages of the book. I liked the constant air of claustrophobia and slight menace. The actual plot I'm not so sure about, but then it is kind of rattling around in my brain still. It's been made into a film by Guillermo del Toro, so I'd probably quite like to see that.

One for the "eventual re-read" pile.
cybermule: (books)
Cool book. Won't review it in too much detail as it's on the Bibgoths long list. It was a kind of engrossing world for me - loved the biotech stuff, and watching humans being just as frail and crappy even when they've achieved a semblance of immortality. Good ending as well - mostly sci-fi books jsut seem to collapse into a finale that makes me think the author's bored or reached his word count already, but this was better than average.
cybermule: (books)
Got this book on an interlibrary loan. God bless the libraries, and use them all you can. It's actually quite awesome. I do like Nick cave's books, and this one is less fundamentally depressing than the last. Actually it's probably about as fundamentally depressing, but in a different way. I guess I just find dysfunctionality, mental chaos and inappropriate masturbation funnier than most, so be warned. But still highly recommended.

I also finally watched The Kings Speech. Was good, in a luvvy way. Actually, my dad had a really bad stammer, so a lot of the scenes made me flinch and feel a bit teary, but it's ok.
cybermule: (books)
Bibgoth read. I didn't like it when I was young, mostly because I was a Roald Dahl kid, so this seemed unbearably twee. Liked it a bit better now - there's some dry humour and puns in there that I didn't really appreciate when I was young - but I still don't really like it. I think there's some mileage in the idea that it's probably a written formalisation of nursery tales that Lewis Carrol told whichever little girl it was. It has that feel about it. One thing I'll say for it is that it has indeed inspired its own awesome mythology, so there must be something there.
cybermule: (Default)
One of those long random updates that would have been better split up lengthwise, I fear, but didn't lend itself to sensible splitting.

I feel mostly ok, in that I don't feel ok but know that not feeling ok is ok. In some ways I feel I do the second dead parent an injustice as I've been here and done this before and kind of know how it goes. On the other hand, the feeling of painful entire supra-generational wipeout is so profound it occasionally makes me want to vomit. Or do something momentously wild and crazy to just show that THIS IS NOT OK.

I think one thing that definitely does not feel good is not having any reason for my mum's death. If you weren't on the filter for the last post, the coroner formed an indefinite conclusion verdict. And I thought I was good with that. After all, I'd been prepared rationally for that to be the case, and when it indeed turned out to be so, the rationality continued and I thought I was fine with that. But then I watched an episode of House MD that ruined my calm - in short (and hopefully non-spoilery) some people found someone dead on the house floor and no reason was ever found. And the huge investment I made in that episode coming to a satisfactory conclusion made me realise that all was not well in that part of my brain.

Fact is, those are the facts of the matter, and I have to be ok with them, so there will be some work to be done there, I guess.

In other news, I've been reading more books recently. I've finally found the time to at least grab a few pages every now and then, and just finished an ace book on prime number theory. I'm working on revising for my RHS exams in February at the moment, but after that, I am so dusting off my calculus hat and going out to play. I forgot how much fun that sort of hard maths was. And I so have no antidote to that vast geeky overload there :)

I was actually wondering if there was some sort of religion I could follow that meant I could be reincarnated with Angelina Jolie's looks, Liam Howlett's musical skills, and Riemann's mathematical brain. Probably not...

Work is going well on all fronts. I like my new boss - she's a good role model in that she's both likeable and impressively assertive. I continue to receive good feedback from both bosses and continue to enjoy the job. The gardening is likewise going well and continues to grow slightly. Related to that (and something I'm very excited about) is the opportunity to possibly grab a local allotment that will let me have bees and chickens.

This would rock most fully.

I continue to build on my running. I've started a (probably) healthy minor Fallout 3 addiction, and I wish I had more time for yoga. I even enjoyed socialising recently, and thought I might like to do more of it. So yeah, despite the not being ok, I am essentially ok and will continue to be so, I expect :)

An update before Christmas is unlikely now, so Happy Christmas to y'all and may the days lengthening hours warm your hearts x

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