Wednesday 15 May 2013

Bout of Books: Tuesday and Wednesday

Bout of Books

Apologies for the lack of update yesterday. After work I went out with friends to see the new Star Trek movie. I'm new to Star Trek, having somewhat reluctantly seen the rebooted films (once you get into Star Trek, surely there is no going back!) but it was an excellent film. As with a lot of fantasy, and increasing amount of science fiction, it appealed to my longing for exploration and adventure. I can see that I'm going to have to borrow some of my friend's original series DVDs. Oh dear. What have I done?

Yesterday lunchtime I finished The Age of Miracles. While remaining a fascinating premise, there came a point about three-quarters of the way through when it stopped being fun, and became just plain depressing. If events could go one of two ways: good or bad, bad or terrible, invariably the worst-case scenario would happen. The book was powerful, poetic and eerie, a solemn voice in an unnatural hush, but ultimately it was a relief to reach the end.

Memorable quotes:
"Amid this usual bilge now floated a different kind of gossip, its sources equally dubious. In 1562, a scientist named Nostradamus had predicted that the world would end on this exact day."
I include this quote because when I was thirteen, I remember that exact same rumour going around my middle school. (I can even tell you the date, because I wrote dismissively about it in my diary: 4th July 1999. Of course, this was the year of the Millennium Bug scares - that everything technological would fail on the stroke of midnight because it would think the year was 1900, and stop working because it would think it hadn't been invented yet.)
 "doesn't every previous era feel like fiction once it's gone?"
"Birds have always been messengers. After the flood, it was a dove holding an olive branch that told Noah the flood was over.  That's how he knew he could leave the ark. Think about that. Our birds aren't carrying any olive branches. Our birds are dying."

 As I had forgotten to take a second book to work with me to read on my lunch break, I swapped The Age of Miracles for Gavin Extence's The Universe Versus Alex Woods in the staffroom library. I liked Alex straight away, a bright but innocent teenager arrested on re-entering the country and found with an urn of the ashes of his friend, Mr Peterson, and a large quantity of marijuana. Alex narrates the events with a kind of curious detachment, before deciding to start his story from a strange event in his childhood: when he was hit in the head by a meteorite, and survived.

Readathon statistics:

Books read today: The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker, 
The Universe Versus Alex Woods - Gavin Extence
Number of pages read today: 114
Number of books read in total: 2
Books finished: 1
Today #insixwords: No updates yesterday because Star Trek
Cinema ice cream: mint choc chip

Wednesday 8.30PM

Oh, boy, it's been a long day. Work yesterday was a horrible mixture of manic panic and deadly boredom - all or nothing and everything going wrong which played havoc with my brain. Looking back, I can't think of any one thing that made it a terrible day, but a combination of little annoyances left me feeling dead on my feet, which carried on into today. I spent most of today staring into space while trying to look as though I wasn't just staring into space, but I didn't really have to pretend because we had very few customers. I welcomed the few who wanted to talk at great length about books (not so much the ones who wanted to discuss their medical issues, but even they were a distraction. I must have a face that says you can tell me all your problems. And I do like to get to know my customers as people, and some of the older ones don't have many people to talk to, so if I can lend a sympathetic ear, that's all good.)

Read a little more of Alex Woods at lunch time, where I saw his twelve-year-old self being chased by bullies into a random stranger's greenhouse, being blamed for the destruction of this greenhouse, and being forced to make amends to the stranger by doing various chores for him. Thus begins the friendship between Alex Woods and Mr Isaac Peterson, an elderly Vietnam war veteran and widower.

Mr Peterson has an extensive collection of the works of Kurt Vonnegut, who, by coincidence, is one of the authors of a book on my to-read pile, lent to me by the husband of my friend. Alex Woods has managed to push Cat's Cradle higher up the to-read pile. I love books which make me curious about other literature (also music, film or obscure subjects.)

Readathon statistics:

Books read today: The Universe Versus Alex Woods - Gavin Extence
Number of pages read today: 136
Number of books read in total: 2
Books finished: 1
Today #insixwords: Can't wait till my day off
Length of after-work nap: 40 minutes


  1. Oh, I actually bought Alex Woods today. It was pretty much on a whim because I gave myself complete free reign in Waterstones, but I'm looking forward to reading it. Probably not this week though.

    Also, I love that you have after-work naps. I thought I was the only one!! :D

    1. I don't often give myself free reign in a bookshop, but it's a great feeling to just buy books that look good on a whim. (I miss Waterstones' 3 for 2 which was perfect for that.)

      Nope, you're not alone. I needed a power nap to get me through to bedtime! :D

  2. You're doing well! I dont have the stamina for such a thing. Or the attention span for that matter. Do u ever feel like work just totally gets in the way of all the other things u wanna do? Have u read Shantaram? Im reading it at the moment and its really quite excellent!

    1. I know that feeling very well indeed! I say that I work to support my book habit, but alas it means I haven't enough time to read all the books I want to - and because I work in a bookshop, temptation is everywhere! I haven't read Shantaram, but thank you for the recommendation. I will look out for it.

  3. I like the sound of Alex Woods! And thanks for the warning about the end of The Age of Miracles... I'll make sure I save that one for when I'm feeling generally sunny, so I don't get too frickin' miserable. :)

    Ironically, I actually had a nice relaxing evening last night because everyone ELSE was going to see Star Trek. Not that I didn't want to see it - I loved the first one, and HELLO CUMBERBATCH - but I'm not good at staying awake and generally being cinema-seat comfy in evening showings. I don't know what it is, but I always seem to get antsy and want to fall asleep once the start time passes about 7pm!

    Also, OH MY GOD you're not alone on the 'chatty customers' thing. I can drag out a conversation about books for as long as they want, but we really do get a lot of people who clearly don't talk to folks much and want to unload everything. It's nice that they feel they can tell you about their hernia, and the trip they went on at the weekend, and their optician's appointments, but sometimes you do start to glaze over and just want to crawl into the office for a cup of tea at the end of it! I think it's partially a 'nice young lady who listens' thing and partially a 'bookshop as social care' thing, meself... :D

    Happy reading for another day!

    1. HELLO CUMBERBATCH indeed. (Also Hello Cumberbatch's Voice.) He was excellent - surprised that there weren't more females in the cinema for that reason alone. Which, I hasten to add, was NOT the reason I went to see it. Well, not the ONLY reason.

      Today's classic was the gentleman who went into great detail about the final destination of the contents of our rubbish bins (general waste, food waste and recycling.) The lady behind him looked pretty disgusted. But I prefer the people who talk at great length to those who go out of their way to avoid meeting your eye, or reply to "hello" with "NO THANK YOU." Yay people (!)

    2. Oh God, yes! The ones where you say "Hello!" or "Morning!" or "Thanks very much!" and they deliberately stare at the floor or stick their noses in the air. In my head I always get a vision of me doing some version of the whole "Eyes up here, mate" thing only... y'know, not. I usually just pull a face at their departing figures instead. ;)

    3. I think that's the only way you CAN react, when you see their eye-line moving across the room, and then doing a little jump over your head before carrying on. (That is terrible prose, and I would throw any book across the room that included it, but you know what I mean, don't you?)


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