Saturday, February 28, 2004

New pic update

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Yesterday I read 'The root of all evil' another short story by Graham Greene. This story is based on a dream that Greene had and it is quite remarkable. I have never laughed so much! He said in the preface that he woke up chuckling to himself and had to write it down exactly as it was. This is a wonderful image and to me I think you really have to decide is your dream your work?

It is also quite relevant to today. Greene manages to get the boot in with a political / social aspect to it. It also features several transvestites!

It is a wonderful comic story.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

I must admit that on Friday I was given three books as a Valentines present! I am quite happy! One was a Spanish dictionary, one a grammar workbook and the other was a novel.

'The Dante Club' by Matthew Pearl. This book has some rave reviews. It is based in Boston 1865 where a small group of elite minds have gathered to make the first American translation of Dante. Then they discover a serial murderer has got there first and they find they are turned into detectives. I am fascinated and I've only read 3 pages!

Friday, February 13, 2004

I have just finished 'Cheap in August' - another short story by Graham Greene. Much more the traditional Greene this time. Serious and slightly disturbing. Somewhere inbetween light reading and somewhat serious. Yet it is quite intriguing and the sort of story that sticks with you for quite a while. The basic storyline is about a middle aged English lecturer and an old man who meet while on holiday in Jamaica. Both are lonely and both are searching for some sort of answer. Not my usual sort of bedtime read but still something that I found quite stimulating.

I had a frustrating day in the library today. The books I was looking for were not there and when eventually I found a book, it was in Central Lending. This meant I had to go downstairs to the traditional library and the philosophy book I wanted wasn't there. I was shocked to find they had 4 books on philosophy and three shelves on the occult and the paranormal. It says something about people today that whilst people are fascinated by books on aliens they find ethics or philosophy totally boring.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Last night I read 'The Over-Night Bag' by Graham Greene. This is Greene at his most bizarre and unusual. A very strange story that reminds me of some sort of Candid Camera set-up show. Very interesting.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I finished 'Time traveler' today by Michael Novacek. Overall I think it had all the elements of an exciting exploration book but it needed more. I think the problem is that the Flaming Cliffs research in Mongolia has already been written about and was only skipped over in the book. Also it is autobiography and he doesn't want to make the events sound dangerous for reasons of personal pride. Let's face it, he was arrested and held captive by the military police in the Yemen, bitten by a scorpion, thrown off his horse in Chile, various different escapades in Mongolia. It is reasonably exciting. It is unfortunate he never got to write about the Antarctic as that would have been good.

The science was very good. A history of the study of ancient mammals is a surprisingly intriguing story. They have been slightly neglected in favour of dinosaurs and yet they hold the key to the major extinction episodes.

It is also slightly disappointing that there is a picture on the front of a Velociraptor (dinosaur) when the book is really about mammals and he ridicules dinosaur hunters as glamour seekers - but I'm beginning to nag now.

On Monday I managed to find the complete short stories of Graham Greene. He describes them as 'escapes' from novels and indeed they seem to be more autobiographical. Apparently he sat in a cafe in the south of France and write stories about the conversations he overheard. What a great life! They are a little bit funny, quite sharp and well written.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

I have now finished 'God's Funeral'. Perhaps I was a bit harsh in me previous post. The last chapter on the Catholic Modernists is quite interesting. He also finishes on quite a positive note and I am impressed with someone who can say 'I am fascinated by religion although personally I don't agree with it'. He concludes that a certain type of Christianity died in the 19th century, the church has moved on and is different. He even includes as the final quote something religious 'I was dead and now see I am alive for evermore' quite apt considering the title - 'God's funeral'.