Friday 17 May 2013

Bout of Books: Friday

Bout of Books


Good, errrrr, (checks clock.) morning, people. As it was my first day off work in readathon week, it was some time after 10 when I stumbled out of bed - too late for breakfast, perhaps, and too early for lunch. CAKE TIME! (with a small cup of coffee, naturally.)

My plans for today are few: first off to finish Alex Woods. It's clear how this story is going to end, in broad terms - after all, it started at the end, and as soon as it was revealed which country Alex was returning from when he was stopped at Dover, I knew why. But this is a character story, rather than a plot-centred one, and I'm enjoying spending time with Alex and Mr Peterson. The Universe Versus Alex Woods is by turns funny, heartbreaking, intelligent and inspiring. Alex has such a strong narrative voice that you get to see the world from inside his mind, feel what he feels and get very indignant when everyone else misunderstands his motives.

I've set up my old "book chair" book stand so that I can read and knit at the same time. Double productivity! (or it will be if I get off this wretched internet.)


I finished The Universe Versus Alex Woods just in time for lunch. There were moments in the last fifty pages or so which felt like a nail-biting race against the clock, which was a completely inappropriate way to think of what was going on. Author Gavin Extence combines serious subject matter with a sometime uncomfortable humour, which I suppose is what life is - neither comedy nor tragedy, but both, side-by-side. It was interesting to compare my impression of Alex at the beginning of the book (and end of the story) with its ending. He is a fairly distinctive personality even in the first chapters, but the bulk of the book fleshes him out more fully to demonstrate how he became who he is.

Memorable quotes:
 I tried to look up 'celibate' in the dictionary, I couldn't find it. It certainly wasn't where I expected to find it - in between 'seller' and 'sellotape.'Rest assured: by the time I was ten, I had managed to find out what my mother meant. She meant that as far as our family was concerned, only the cat had a sex life.
I knew how many zeroes there were in a quintillion, but I thought that algebra lived in ponds.
Order and chaos are slippery concepts. They're like a set of twins who like to swap clothing from time to time.
We tolerate a certain amount of incompetence in our politicians and public servants, but we should not tolerate it in the death business.
Challenge: Resummarise a cover - hosted at Queen Ella Bee Reads

Today I've decided to take part in a challenge to decide, based only upon the cover, what a book is all about and write a blurb for it. I chose The Age of Miracles, because I had already thought that the hardback and paperback designs gave off different impressions of the book's genre. Personally, I thought that the hardback was a better representation of the novel, while the UK paperback looked more like a Jodi Picoult novel. So here is my new version of The Age of Miracles based upon that cover:

For Nancy and Joe Jennings, the move to a new town is the start of a new life, an escape from a past that threatens to unravel their perfect family. But for their eight-year-old daughter Dana, it is the beginning of a nightmare. Painfully shy, she is plunged into the centre of attention on her first day at a new school, after a playground prank goes horribly wrong. At school, Dana dreams of disappearing, but at home all she wants is for her parents to notice she's there. So she makes a plan...

8.30PM I took advantage of the bright if patchy weather this afternoon to wander around the town, where I avoided the bookshops and bought groceries, socks, knitting wool and more chocolate than I care to divulge, especially since I ate it all. Before starting the walk home (I live uphill from the town) I settled down near Sainsbury's, where there's a friendly green space and a duckpond, and made a start on Watchmen.

It's a bleak story, that much is clear from the start. A lot of the narration comes from the diary of a character named Rorschach, a masked and hate-filled figure in a universe that is subtly but significantly different from our own. Superheroes have come out of the pages of the comic books and into reality, but that's all in the past now. They - more like costumed vigilante figures than the likes of Superman and the Avengers - have fallen out of favour and retired, for the most part. But many have come to sad ends, and Rorshach is convinced that someone is targeting the former costumed heroes, to destroy them all.

Books read today: The Universe Versus Alex Woods - Gavin Extence
Number of pages read today: 175
Number of books read in total: 2
Books finished: 2
Today #insixwords: 


  1. Double productivity :) That's an awesome idea. Glad you are enjoying the book, I wish you a nice reading day!

    1. Thank you, and you too. I got into knitting when I'd finished uni but hadn't got a job as a way to make me feel like I was doing something productive with my time even while watching TV or reading. Now I can't watch TV without it.

  2. That reading set up is genius. I'm always trying to think of ways to be extra productive and I think you've got it! I've just ordered Alex Woods and I'm really interested to read it. Have a good day :)

    1. I hope you enjoy Alex Woods. He's a wonderful character.

  3. Ooooh, look at the yummy cake and the coffee! I love that mug, it's almost big enough for my coffee needs I reckon... ;)

    BOOK CHAIR! We sell the plastic versions - same brand - and they're so cute. The only thing I really hate is when people keep saying, "Oh, didn't I see these on The Apprentice?!" And I have to go NO! THEY RIPPED THEM OFF ON THE APPRENTICE AND TOTALLY GOT CAUGHT OUT! :D

    Those quotes are wonderful - I might have to buy Alex Woods sooner rather than later. Or beg for it for my birthday. WE SHALL SEE.

  4. That is my day-off coffee mug. My mum and I have three sizes of coffee (or tea, in her case:) little, big, and "small." I have that mug in purplish and pinkish, and also makes magnificant hot chocolates.

    When is your birthday? It's not long now, is it?

    I've had my book chair since, ooh, about 2006. It's a miracle invention, and therefore superior to anything the Apprentice apprentices could come up with on their own in between bickering. (I am not a fan of that show.)

  5. Hi Katie!!! So glad you took part in my challenged! I loved your new summary for the book! I ALSO love that you're reading Watchmen! I love Watchmen. LOVE. ^_^ I hope you enjoy AND I hope you enjoyed Bout of Books as a whole!


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