cyclone

Today I went to the coast because I was bored and I just felt like it. Not the sort of place you’d go swimming at, but pretty cool nonetheless.

Photos are all from my phone because I’m not used to taking a camera with me to places I go. Maybe I’ll go back some other time.

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The zebra shell was pretty cool. I wanted to take it, but I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to take shells from beaches or nature reserves or protected land or whatever it’s classified as under law. Plus, there was possibly something living in it. I also saw little crabs in rock pools and one crab trying to bury itself in sand.

It was damned windy today, though. The seagulls would take flight for a few seconds and then land without having gone forward at all. It’s like how people with limited space for a pool get those ones with jets so that they can swim with zero displacement.

Going nowhere, but that’s ok (just stay out of the approaching cyclone)

seriously wow

Tonight I finished reading ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ (Jodi Picoult) and, seriously, that is one amazing novel.

I didn’t think I’d finish it this fast, though. When I first borrowed it, I thought it’d be interesting, but I didn’t think it’d be such a page-turner. I think it must be the actual storyline and the way it’s constructed and how it’s so multifaceted – I just kept wanting to know what happens next, what happens in the end.

Some books seem to have parts here and there that seem like they were thrown in for a bit of side entertainment or to fill up more pages or because the author felt like writing about something irrelevant. But even in 400+ pages, I don’t remember reading anything of the sort in ‘My Sister’s Keeper’. Everything added a puzzle piece or a building block.

The narrator of the story does change from chapter to chapter (it’s written in first person), but it’s not the one story told from several different perspectives. Each character adds something to the story in a different way.

Sure, there were moments when it seemed to be going along a bit slower, but it really picked up in the last 100 or so pages. And the ending took me by surprise. But, you know, like with ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ (Dickens), it’s a bit hard to imagine a more suitable ending.

This is definitely a novel that I’d recommend for just about anyone. It might fare better with female readers, though (and having a reasonable medical vocabulary helps a bit too, I reckon). Certainly, if you liked ‘Time Traveler’s Wife’ (it feels like I mention that book a lot), then you’ll probably like ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ too.

Seriously, though, after I finished it, I had to just sit there for a moment and let it sink in. It was like the characters had become real people – that I knew – and then, after all that drama, the dust was finally starting to settle.

turning pages

Today after work, I went to the library to return ‘One Shot’ (Lee Child), which was, by the way, a pretty good read (although a little predictable). Seeing as there’s still roughly a month of holidays left, I decided to borrow another book to read.

Again, I had no particular title in mind, but this time I wanted to read something from a female author. No, this is not my subtle feminist movement. I just like to have some sort of a balance between works by male and female authors. They do write differently and about different things, after all.

So I walked the aisles of the library’s fiction section, starting with ‘A’, looking for something that stood out. I think I got to ‘D’ and was starting to despair at the lack of interesting-looking books, when I had a thought to have a look at what Jodi Picoult novels the library had, since I’ve never read any of her books before, but have always been quite keen to.

And, just as a side note, I do know that it is supposedly wrong to judge a book by its cover (or its title or spine or size or any external/physical property for that matter), but I recently saw something on TV about how publishers and authors spend lots of money on cover designs and all that (I’m sure they think long and hard about titles and stuff, too). So, you know, first impressions do count (for books, anyway – possibly applicable to people, but that’s a discussion for another time).

Anyway, I made a beeline to the ‘P’ section and soon had a copy of ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ in my temporary possession.

I started reading it when I got home and, I must say, I like it already. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it. I mean, the regular-changing-of-whose-perspective-you’re-reading-from format is something I’ve encountered with ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ (Niffenegger), but the subject matter is different.

Actually, now that I think about it more, the subject matter isn’t all that different (both centre around a seemingly incurable condition), but it’s applied to a teenage girl rather than a grown man, and it’s more real-life rather than bordering on science fiction.

Ok, well, that doesn’t matter. They’re both good books.

What I was going to write about before I got into this preamble ramble was that the book has been making me think about appreciating what I have (and appreciating not having certain things that I don’t have).

Negative thoughts reside in all human minds, but only in the shadows. The trick is to let others bring light into your world.

two days, one shot

What a weekend this has been.

Sure, I haven’t set foot outside the house since coming home from work in the evening on Friday, but it’s been a good two days. I still have nice big windows to look out of if I need to remind myself what the outside world looks like.

Saturday morning, I started reading ‘One Shot’, a novel by Lee Child, an author which some of you may have heard of. He’s been doing pretty well with his other books lately. They’re all over the book stores.

I don’t buy books often (rarely, in fact), so I got ‘One Shot’ from the library. It was sort of on a whim. I hadn’t gone in specifically looking for that book or for any of Child’s books for that matter. But it was there on the shelf, and it seemed as good as any other “Jack Reacher thriller” (that’s the name of the protagonist, by the way), so I borrowed it.

So I started reading it on Saturday morning (I left a one day gap between finishing ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’) and, less than 40 hours afterwards, I have now finished reading all 495 pages of it.

People who know me and have heard me talking about reading books know that I don’t read very fast. Not slow, but not as lightning fast as some people seem to read. I don’t think I’ve ever finished a novel (of comparable length and level of reading difficulty) in such a short space of time.

Of course, it did help that I was at home with not much else to do most of the time. Not that I did nothing but read all weekend. I prefer to read during the day when there is natural light and so I can spare the use of electronics during the heat of the day. At night, I watch TV and go on the computer. I have also been trying to keep to an eight-hours-of-sleep-per-night routine.

Tonight, for a break from reading, I watched ‘bran nue dae’ because it was on ABC and was the “pick of the week” in the TV Guide. That, seriously, was one random movie/musical. I reckon you’d be hard pressed to keep a straight face throughout the entire movie.

book club

My workplace is wonderfully air-conditioned. I spent what I thought would be the hottest part of the afternoon indoors at work surrounded by conditioned air, but the moment that I walked out of the building, the coolness quickly started to dissipate and, within a minute of walking, it was so hot that I may as well have been working in the sun for the last few hours.

Ok, yes, I might be exaggerating a little bit.

I must say, though, it was awfully nice of the clouds to hold off on raining while I was making my way to and from work (it started raining the minute I got to the bus stop this morning). And all that rain just now really seems to have cooled things off.

I know yesterday I said that I wasn’t sure how things could turn around in ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’, but I read a few more chapters today and, my, what pivotal chapters they were.

The crazy evil guy’s dead, the innocent kid is free – all that’s left is to find out what becomes of the girl and her grandfather (although they do seem quite settled where they are). Apologies if I have spoilt anything for anyone.

Some long-time readers of my blog may recall times when I have ardently recommended certain books (the more recent ones probably being ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ and ‘Vanity Fair’). But I don’t seem to get that same compulsion to tell everyone about ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’.

I wouldn’t say it’s the best book I’ve read, but it’s definitely not the worst – far from it! There’s certainly no shortage of interesting and bizarre characters that do equally interesting and bizarre things; and the language and writing quality is on par with (if not greater than) expectation.

I had a random thought this morning that it might be nice if I was part of some sort of book club so that I could talk about books with other people who had actually read them. But I don’t want to sit around deconstructing characters and storylines (and discourses).

I’ve enabled the feature that allows my blog to show up on search engines. I wonder if any like-minded strangers will stumble upon my blog…

remarkable

And so life continues, rolling forth like a tank…

Ok, yeah, that’s a bit random and out of nowhere. I just started typing, and that’s what came out. The mind works in mysterious ways.

Maybe it’s the heat that’s affecting my circuitry. But, whatever it is, let us be content in just knowing that at least there is an excuse.

I wore new shoes to work today. Wasn’t a good idea. They’re a bit stiff. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to be there for very long, and I didn’t have to be running around everywhere. It’s ok – I still have my old pair plus another pair I can wear.

I really don’t have many pairs of shoes, though. Just work shoes, running/walking shoes and thongs, basically.

This is too weird. I never thought I’d be writing a blog entry about my shoes.

Since we’re on the topic of shoes, though: It’s nice to see that people are so into this flood recovery stuff that we actually have a shortage of gum boots.

And, you know, it’s one thing to be sitting at home and watching the TV News person talking about how all these people just showed up and offered to help randoms/strangers, but it is quite another thing to be out there and have so many people come by and offer to help out.

I know it could be a very long time before things are back to normal but, being the optimist that I am, I reckon things will turn out a-ok. (This quite contrasts with ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ where, with less than 90 pages left to read, I’m quite unsure how Dickens could turn things around into a happy ending.)