Saturday, July 28, 2012

'The Art of Racing In The Rain' by Garth Stein- Review

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 978-0-00-728119-0

Length: 321 Pages

Opening Line: 'Gestures are all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature.'

The 'blurb':

'The captivating and moving story of an extraordinary family, how they almost fell apart and how they were brought back together by the wisest and most loyal member- Enzo the dog.'


Having read many positive reviews of this novel, I was worried that when I read 'The Art of Racing in the Rain' for myself, it wouldn't live up to my expectations.

I must admit that the 'voice' of Enzo didn't quite feel real to me at the beginning of the novel, after all it's not often that you get a dog who loves Formula 1 racing, but very quickly, I believed in Enzo and his story.

This novel is written with wit, intelligence and even though I'm not a fan of Formula 1, I thought that the inclusion of the psychology behind the sport, fitted perfectly into context of what was going on in the main body of the story. Even though this did have some sad elements to the story, this novel had an upbeat and positive message.

Is this worth a read?

This is a must read for anyone who loves animals or enjoys motor racing. I loved it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

'The Dandelion Clock' by Guy Burt


Publisher: Transworld Publishers

ISBN: 0-385-60037-2

Length: 416 Pages

Opening Line: 'Altesa is in the rain.'

The Blurb: 'Alex is an artist, preparing for a major exhibition. His life seems ordered and complete, but an impulsive trip back to the Italy of his childhood forces him to explore the unresolved questions of his past.

There, in those seemingly innocent days, as he swam and explored the wild countryside with Jamie and Anna, Alex must surely find the key to so much of his later life. To understand the fear that now assails him, he has to experience again his first friendship with Jamie and his first love for Anna; and to put together the pieces of a dangerous episode which brought the three of them closer than they could realize, and which was to have such devastating consequences in their adult life.'


Having already read two of Guy Burt's books ('Sophie' and 'After the Hole'), I had certain expectations about this novel. I wasn't disappointed.

Believable characters, combined with Burt's unsual style of writing, make this a dynamic read. Unlike a more linear novel, this kept my mind busy, trying to piece together the fragments of story (both in past and present) together. Although I have to say, the frequent switch between past and present throughout the book, took me a while to get used to.

Even though this is set in the sunny climate of Altessa, this has darker under currents running through it. I could feel a certain of tension building throughout this novel. The only slight complaint I have about this novel, is that I found the ending to be slightly anticlimatic.

Is this worth a read?

Yes, I do think this is a very good read. The unique style in which Burt writes, in my opinion, makes him one of the most innovative and interesting of writers. This coming of age story will keep you gripped from the first page.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Facebook Experiment- Day 2

I slipped up......well, nearly. It's probably to do with muscle programming, (as someone commented yesterday) but the natural reflex action of clicking the Facebook short cut was at work again this afternoon. To be honest though, today, Facebook is bothering me less.

It could be due to the fact that I was busy having coffee with my good friend Aguja (you can find her blog here) and that I wanted to get started on reading a new book, but the only time I reached for my mouse, was when I had stopped for a second.

What I'm learning so far is that Facebook isn't necessarily a bad thing, it can be very useful, but the trick is to balance Facebook with other things.Today's mantra......balance is the key....

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Facebook Experiment- Day 1

The other day I wrote a post about Facebook, how it has taken over my life and my quest to leave it alone for a week to see what happens.

It's day one and it is going ok. I found that I could resist my urge to sit down at the computer first thing this morning, to check out what people have posted on my timeline. I did however find that, because I was denying myself Facebook, I kept thinking about what I was missing. It's the addictive nature of Facebook, that means that Facebook is in my psyche, whether I want it to be or not.

However, I'm sure as the days go on, my need for Facebook will decrease. I just need to get it out of my system. I must confess however, that 10 minutes before writing this post, I automatically clicked the Facebook shortcut on my computer, but I quickly shut the page down after realising what I had done....phew....

There are bound to be some blips in the next week, but the main thing, is to persevere!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Snippet

This Sunday is proving more chilled out than last week's motorbike chaos (see details here) and the town is very quiet. It's so hot here at the moment (it's due to reach 30 C here today), that all you can do is read and sleep. I'm hoping to find some space in my sluggishness (is that a word!?) to try and finish 'The Dandelion Clock' by Guy Burt.

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 263: 'I think about that, and it does feel strange to me that Anna can feel bored in so many situations that Jamie and I would find fascinating; but in the dim shadow-world of the chapel, listening to the hermit's stories, she never is'

'The Dandelion Clock' by Guy Burt

What are you reading at the moment?

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday-Motorbike show 2012

Last year, I did a series of photos of the annual Motorbike Show in my town, so I thought I would share with you a few photos from this year's:



When I was coming back from the Motorbike Show, I noticed a lot of activity going on near my house. Imagine my surprise, when I found that a stage had been put up and men and women strippers were putting everything on show, whilst men, women and children watched...bizarre! Also, a motorcyclist put on a demonstration of crazy stunts and tricks and here is a video I took:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Social Addiction

I love the internet. I don't know what I would do if I weren't able to check my email and I love looking at blog posts and write them (although grantly, they are far and few between at the moment). Recently, I read a blog post on 'This too....' about social networking sites like Facebook, which I can totally relate to.

Don't get me wrong, I have found social networking sites like Facebook, to be a brilliant way in which to keep in contact with my friends and family, here and in other countries. However, I do also think that Facebook can become an addiction, something that is instilled into one's lifestyle, whether they are for useful purposes or not!

The other day I got out of bed and, before I had even had breakfast, found myself gravitating towards Facebook, to check what had been going on in the 10 or hours or so, since I last checked it. It was then that I realised, that whether I wanted it to or not, Facebook was taking over my life.

Ok, there are worse things that I could be doing, but it feels ridiculous that something such as a website could be controlling my day to day activities. It was even worse when I took part in all of the games that Facebook has, such as Farmville etc. At one point, these applications took over my life so much, that I had instruct a family member to go on Facebook at a certain time whilst I was out, in order to harvest digital vegetables! It was when I was planning my daily tasks around these games, that I knew it had to stop. I deleted them all and my life got back to normal. Yet Facebook is still a part of my life.

However, I have decided to do an experiment. Next week, starting from Monday (9th July), I am going cold turkey and abandoning Facebook, to see if I can live without it. I will still blog (I may even keep a day to day record of how I get on) and e-mail but Facebook, is off limits. Some people that I have spoken to about this (ironically on Facebook), say that if I enjoy logging on to check my updates and it isn't hurting anyone, then keep doing it. As a person who likes to be in control of their life however, I don't like the idea that something or someone, could dictate my life as much as Facebook has been doing.

So for those seven days, I won't be available to PM, Tag, or look at your funny quotes. Hopefully, I will be doing something more constructive.