2010-07-20

The Believers

First of all I'll reveal my ignorance. Having read the book and enjoyed it greatly, I still have no clue why Zoe Heller's book is called The Believers. It probably means that there's a whole sublime level that I've missed.

I've read Notes On A Scandal, and Everything You Know and blogged about them on Yahoo! but Yahoo! deleted my email (which I didn't mind) and blog (which I was upset about) after not using my email for some time. I'm still angry at Yahoo! for deleting it. Will Google ever delete my blog? Please don't! I should really back it up...

Speaking of being angry, I'm annoyed at losing my copy of Jane Eyre. The thing is that I keep on losing my things. I've lost a coat, hat and sunglasses a few weeks ago. I'm always losing stuff.

Anyway, back to the book. I read it over the weekend, and I just had to keep reading it. Heller is incredibly clever, she is witty, sassy and perceptive. The phrase 'caustic wit', comes to mind.

Don't get above yourself with Heller, she'd soon cut you down to size. That's my advice.

The Real Story & Forbidden Knowledge

I never knew Stephen Donaldson wrote sci-fi. I'd read the Thomas Covenant trilogy and found it intense and somewhat harrowing to read. A friend of Janos' found it difficult to complete, it was so emotionally demanding. Donaldson tends to write about characters undergoing unrelenting mental stress, and Real Story is no different.
We leave the story with Angus Thermopyle having been made into a superhuman cyborg. I'm curious to find out what happens. Definitely up for reading the whole Gap series.

2010-07-07

My Dad's Roundabout At Marple

In 1971, the year I was born, my dad designed a roundabout in Marple, his first piece of road design when he started a new job. You can see it's a bit of an odd shape. Yesterday, as I was helping him set up his broadband, my dad told me the story behind it.

He told me that after thinking long and hard about the problem caused by the one-way street, he came to the conclusion that the only solution was to have a lop-sided roundabout. So he drew it up and showed it to his team leader. The team leader saw how unusual it looked and made to explain how it should be improved, but then stopped because he couldn't actually think of a better way of doing it. So the team leader passed it on to his boss Brian Raistrick.

When assessing the merits of a highway design, Raistrick would hold the plan horizontally, level with his eyes, and mentally drive through all the routes, turning the paper as he went. Again, Raistrick found my dad's design unusual, but couldn't find anything wrong with it, and so it was built.

Cricketing In Obscurity

I heard someone on the radio saying of the England cricket team, 'I think the team don't mind that their success isn't attracting media attention, they're just happy to get on with the job', or words to that effect.

For most jobs that's true, but the aim of a professional sports person is to entertain the masses, which entails attracting media attention. So from a business point of view it's a problem that people aren't paying attention. Of course, if they're enjoying themselves then I'd argue that that's an end in itself.

2010-07-04

Silk

Silk is like a small, neatly wrapped Japanese package. A poem, a haiku.

I read it this afternoon, sitting in the garden. It has that Japanese device of repetition, which Baricco uses to brilliant effect. Each of the descriptions of Herve's journeys mention the local name for a lake. It's always different, 'the sea', 'the last', 'the demon', 'the holy' (from memory).

It's like the lyrics to Don Henley's Boys Of Summer, the verse always starts with:
And i can see you
your brown skin shining in the sun
then continues with these three different endings:
you got your hair combed back
sunglasses on baby
you know you're walking real slow
smiling at everyone
you got your top pulled down,
radio on baby
I laughed when Herve asks:
"Do you know why Jean Berbeck stopped talking?"
and Baldabiou replies:
"That's one of the many things he never said."