Sunday, 23 November 2014

Sunday Summary

Hello to you!

I couldn't deprive you of a Summary two weeks running, now, could I? Well, I could, theoretically, but I won't because that would be slack and a bit mean.

So here I am, merry Christmas, everybody's having fun, an' all that jazz.

This week fortnight, I have mostly been...

Reading | more David Levithan


YOU MAY WISH TO SCROLL DOWN BEYOND THIS SEGMENT AS HERE BE SPOILERS (of sorts) ON INVISIBILITY, or at least opinions that may or may not influence your view on a book you haven't yet read!

{Invisibility | Andrea Cremer
& David Levithan} 

{Marly's Ghost | David Levithan}

Don't get me wrong. I love this man and his writing and will happily devour everything he publishes. I just have a greater preference for some of his work than others. Every Day will always be my favourite as it's the one that turned me onto his writing in the first place. I'm pretty fond of Two Boys Kissing as well. And Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green).

But for some reason neither Marly's Ghost nor Invisibility worked as well for me. Pour moi, Monsieur Levithan est plus fort quand ... sorry, not sure why I went all French on you then, no reason other than bafflebrain... he's strongest when he's writing originally (see: Every Day!), and writing by himself (with the notable exception of WG, WG). Invisibility lacked much distinction between the voices and by that I mean the voice of Elizabeth versus that of Stephen. I couldn't dive into a chapter midway and automatically know whose voice it was without reading through the previous scene and trying to work it out from there.

And I think Marly's Ghost could have been far more original even having been based on A Christmas Carol. It was fun to discern the references, but so much of the dialogue felt more Dickensian than 'Levithan-ian'.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy either of these books -- I did, I've just enjoyed other titles by Levithan more.


Now reading | Brooklyn, by Colm Tóibín

Writing a demon

...but a nice benevolent one

...fuelled mostly by coffee and desire hit that 50k mark on 30th November. #nanowrimo #whichiamstilldoing #albeitunofficially

At the last count, I'm up to 35,586 36,049 36,580 words, with a week to go, and a mere 14,414 13,951 13,420 words to eke out before then (I am behind target again but determined to catch myself up. Darn you, responsible working life. And darn you, House...).

Rewatching | Music and Lyrics
...with the lovely young-ish ladies of the parish last weekend. I'd forgotten how brilliant this is:

Ooh, now, Hugh Grant. Love Actually. Is it too early to start watching it yet...?

Listening | to these three songs on repeat. On repeat. On repeat.

1. My Love is Your Love | Whitney Houston

Poignantly prophetic lyrics that I'd never really paid attention to before...

2. Feeling of Being | Lucy Schwartz (from What Maisie Knew) (audio only, no video)

I make no apologies for this third number, included especially for Natalie in remembrance of songs sung in garden centres and toy shops this weekend!

3. Let it Go | Idina Menzel

And while we're on an Idina Menzel-tip... 

Ten Pins

My last ten pins on Pinterest:

{1. party dress prospects}

{2. party dress prospects}

{3. NYC -- my <3 is still here}

{4. Oz and
Potter silliness /

{5. silliness}

{6. more silliness}

{7. it's clearly been one of those let's-get-silly weeks...}

{8. this still tickles me | Mona Lisa
through the ages}

{9. pretty straightforward, really...(?)}

{10. beautiful two-tone book cover}

(Bi-) Weekly Weblinks

Literary Linkage

Non-literary Linkage

And finally, gratuitous moment of cute:

Next Sunday is our Advent Carols service in church so I'm afraid there's no guarantee of a SS, but rest assured: "I'll be Bach."

qb xx

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Sunday Summary

Howdy friends!

Apologies for last week's no-show -- stuff got crazy, is all I'll say.

I am still working in half-hour slots of productivity with the occasional time-out to, y'know, perform necessary bodily functions (TMI? Probably), put away laundry, that sort of thing, but it appears to be working for me.

That said, if this post is somewhat fragmented it's because it's been dashed out in, well, you guessed it, half-hour slots. (Give or take the odd additional hour or so spent trying to copy URLs, embed videos, restore formatting, and find the perfect GIFs for your amusement. I'm really too kind.)

So... this week fortnight, I have mostly been...

Spotting a typo (!!!!) in my last Summary and correcting it before any of you notice and question my editorial integrity...

There, all better. Let's proceed, shall we?

Reading | The Sun Also Rises

Whenever I glimpse this book in my bag I can't help but hear Kat Stratford's cutting critique of Hemingway in 10 Things I Hate About You
"Romantic? Hemingway? He was an abusive, alcoholic misogynist who squandered half of his life hanging around Picasso trying to nail his leftovers."


Those lapses in character aside, I can't help but endear myself to Hemingway's rather stop-start literary turns of phrase, his descriptions of bull-running and his ability to paint Paris and Pamplona in the 1920s all too vividly. Not to mention his characterisation of flawed socialite Brett Ashley, who falls in love readily, drinks too much, wears her hair slicked back, and calls the men in her company "chaps".

Also reading | Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote

My theory being that if I keep simu-reading I'll still hit my 50-book Goodreads target by 31st December.

Read, Bethy, read!

Watching | the dubious contents of my Netflix 'List'

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I give you...

Exhibit A: Gossip Girl

Exhibit B: HOUSE (my 'surprise' crush on Hugh Laurie in this series has hitherto been resurrected, thankyouplease)


Exhibit C: In the House (Dans la Maison) which for a Francois Ozon film featuring KST (my NBF) actually lacked the impact of a Francois Ozon film, featuring KST -- but was still mildly enjoyable nonetheless.


Why, yes, friends, I have (to some extent) recovered my writing groove; I'm unofficially participating in NaNoWriMo this year, by which I mean I'm trying to eke out 50,000 words of a novel (the same novel as before, FYI -- I only have one idea a decade, it seems), but not registering for the challenge proper because last time I took part (officially) it nearly drove me insane...

...especially trying to get over that final hurdle and meet the 50k target. I did it, but I had no life in the process. So this year I've got that write/life balance licked, and I'm not succumbing to those same pressures.

That's not to say that, the other night when I was hunting down a seat, unsuccessfully, in an overcrowded London pub, I didn't wish that I were sitting somewhere, quiet, writing, and had to camp out in Costa for fifteen minutes to restore my equilibrium. But that's just how I'm wired. No offence. Besides, I managed to get down at least 96 words, handwritten, on the train home before I fell asleep. SCORE.

Singing | gospel

Yesterday I took part in an excellent gospel workshop (via Voicerox) with conductor/musician/composer/performer/all-round supremo Ken Burton. I'll admit I hadn't originally planned to sign up for the workshop, but my fairy godmothers Jos and Charlie interceded to convince me to take part and by golly gosh me I'm glad I did (thanks, girls, again); it was uplifting and therapeutic. We were all a little too held-back and proper in a Surrey stylee to begin with, but I think we'd definitely loosened up more by the end. It was very different from what we normally sing with Voicerox; and ultimately very different from the choral singing I do with the church, so a very unique experience all round. And we managed some beautiful harmonies and quite a few different arrangements in a relatively short time period.

Ten Pins

My last ten pins on Pinterest:

{1. New York travel poster}

{2. wise words}

{3. Paris travel poster}

{4. guide to understanding
the introverted | click to
view in full}

{5. camel train in Egypt}

{6. more wisdom}

{7. Cairo, Egypt | can you tell where
I'm thinking I might go next...?}

{8. Memphis, Egypt}

{9. camels...}

{10. Egypt: following the route of The English Patient}

(Two-) Weekly Weblinks

Literary Linkage
{"Huh? What do you mean, Katharine Hepburn was a better Jo?!"}

{#gratuitousclairedanescryface | Little Women}

Non-literary Linkage

Even I, the hardened singleton, can see past John Lewis' blatant attempt to promote coupledom as the ultimate ideal, and appreciate the cuteness of this penguin fest. (And the inevitable parodies.)

Admittedly, my real beef with this advert was not the "everyone must want to be a couple" agenda (although I object to that and I'm touched that one of my friends kindly set out to dispel the myth on Facebook that all penguins are happier paired)... but the ending.

I mean, whaaaaa', the penguin's not real?! Don't do this to me!

Next you'll be telling me that the Snowman melts at the end of the animation. Sheesh. Killjoys.

(Oh, but really? Nosy Crow publishes Monty the Penguin book )

  • ...The closing of the M&S Christmas advert is, alas, less subtle in its pursuit of convention: girl's jaunty hat flies off, lands on stranger-boy's head. Love ensues. Of course. Probably.


Will be wearing my hats on rotation daily between now and Christmas, regardless. A lady can hope...

And finally...

I'm off to watch the full edit of Susan Cain's TED talk on the power of the introvert. Fare thee well, until next we meet across a crowded interweb...

qb xx

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sunday Summary Suspended {soz}

Hello, friends of the Summary --

No official post this week, I'm afraid -- I seem to be working off a mad to-do list today and have taken to allocating half-hour slots to my various creative projects du jour in order to maintain some modicum of sanity, and the Summary has slipped off the list.

Will try harder next week.

Please accept this picture of some bundled-up bat babies by way of apology.

qb xx

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Sunday Summary

Hello, friends.

This week, I have mostly been

Finishing | THIS BOOK!

{The Hundred-Year-Old Man...
Jonas Jonasson}
Actually, y'know what, I enjoyed it, I did. I just couldn't read it in one sitting.

I also finished:

{Willful Creatures
Aimee Bender}

which was both mature and immature in turns, and quite Alice Hoffmann-esque in its mystical surrealism.

I'm now working my way through:

{The Sun Also Rises
Ernest Hemingway}

and am only two books behind in my Quest to read 50 books this year. (Hurray for me!)

{I'm gonna make it... I'm gonna make it...}

Watching | Gone Girl

The book wasn't especially my favourite of this year although it was an engaging read; I was just all too pleased to close the covers and squish those foul characters inside (except maybe Go; I'd spare her). I need characters I can root for.

But I did enjoy the film, or at least the first two hours of it; the last twenty minutes or so dragged a little, especially after the biggest denouement of the film (no spoilers here, don't you worry). And if Gillian Flynn had indeed rewritten the end of the film to differ from the book, I couldn't tell, largely because I only had vague memories of how the book finally ended, so pleased was I to be done with the Dunnes.

{Lizzy Bennet, too, was rather glad to finish Gone Girl...}

So it's safe to say that, against type, I preferred the film. The casting is superb -- there is both history and tension between Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as Nick and Amy -- and from the start of the film, when Amy tilts her head and gives Nick (or rather us), a look, she is drawn perfectly (catch it in the trailer!). But while I did indeed find myself wanting to squish the characters inside the book, never to be released, the film gave them just that modicum more sympathy. Not a lot, granted, because they're fairly heinous, but the sides to each story are more tangible.

There is a lot of very graphic rumpy, some very descriptive violence and a severe case of potty mouth, and two out of three of these elements could have been toned down... (not the violence, though -- oddly that almost needed to happen in line with the story.) There are also one or two plot holes... but you don't really think those through until long after the film has ended.

{fifteen minutes after credits have rolled...}
See it... but only if you've read the book first.

Day-trippin' | back to Brighton

Because I had a 'delay repay' voucher that expires on Wednesday...
and because I fancied a day trip...
I took my little old self on the train down to Brighton on Saturday -- pilgrimage number 2 of the year.

My day looked a bit like this:

...autumn-grey yet flecked with colour.

I paid another visit to Mr Magpie (for a 1920s sans serif ampersand this time; it's beautiful), and Snooper's Paradise (which may or may not have an apostrophe, I don't even know any more, and I've had a very confusing day today!), where I picked up three old photos for 50p each -- I'm dating the first two around 1930s, maybe 1940s for the second shot of the couple; anyway, I love them:

{'1933' was written on the back of this one.}

I also ducked into the Photomatic Photo Booth in Snooper's, because, well, it was there, and I could. And I'm glad I did, even if I have had to ceremoniously edit out the heinous eye-bags from the resultant photos... Sheesh, aged, much?

(Today I am mostly applying a caffeine-based eye roll on in the hope of removing said eye-baggage.)

The chap from Snooper's was suitably impressed by a) my cloche and b) my ability to switch hats in between the camera flashes going off. I gotz skillz.

Saturday was (reportedly) the last day of Lucy Sparrow's excellent pop-up felt cornershop at the No Walls Gallery on Church Street; the premise of the shop-cum-art exhibit being a cornershop in which the produce was made almost entirely from felt. So I popped in for a look; and the attention to detail was terrific!


The rest of the day involved mooching to the Pier, eating ham, egg and chips in the Dorset, trying to use up the last NYC camera film...

...and actually wishing I wasn't down there alone, that this was a day trip I was sharing with someone else. Because, sometimes, in spite of my Destiny's-Child-era Beyoncé-esque protestations that I'm an Independent Woman with all its implicit throwing-your-hands-up-at-me shenanigans, I'm not enough company for myself.

Only sometimes, though. I can still happily take myself on dates.

Although now I've signed up for Netflix I may never leave the house again anyway. Oh, hello, entire series of Buffy, I've missed you...

And that's pretty much all of note that I've been up to this week.

Ten Pins

My last ten pins on Pinterest:

{1. pretty fonts}

{2. smart art and home bar combo}

{3. matchbox advent calendar}

{4. NYC sunlight | NYC memories...}

{5. Empire State Building | NYC memories...}

{6. crocheted bear snood | too cute}

{7. wise words from the wilde one}

{8. more writerly wisdom}

{9. Wordy | TV nostalgia}

{10. old brownie uniform | childhood}
Weekly Weblinks

Literary Linkage

Non-literary Linkage
That's nearly all from me.


Had a bad day? Watch some goats balancing on a metal sheet.

They're just kiddin' around.

Right, that's my cue to sign off.

Bah-bye now.

qb xx