The world really is an enthralling place to be, it took some time but the twins have finally found that out, they’re really excited by every day that happens. Seeing Black Mag on that delightful New Year’s Day only made them more interested. The words she used made them more watchful, as they found more and more of the things she mentioned became true they watched more and more closely, becoming more careful as they determined to find the Dragon-fly Cave.
I don’t understand how we must have seen Black Mag, I’ve heard she died years ago but we did see her and she drank some water as if it were the most delectable wine, David handed her the tin. An interesting conundrum we never solved.
Thank goodness David has become a good rider, it was he who rode before the mad bullock and saved Elizabeth Adams, I can’t say he saved Jane Adams’ garden but a garden can be replanted while people are harder to fix.
Otto and Tony did a brilliant job teaching David and Sally how to ski so well. They narrated the tale of skiing down the mountain almost blind during the storm, it was hair raising but they came down safely. These are skills they’ll need again in the future so it is good they have learned them well.
Jane tells me even her son, Rickie, is beginning to be interested by the outside world. It is apparently a direct result of watching David and Sally be interested in everything around them. He’s watched them count the many birds in the sky even as they identified them from their sounds. He’s watched them be so excited by every little animal or bird they’ve seen while they’ve been supposed to be swimming. This must have rubbed off at least in part, I hope it helps him in school, he seems to have been having a bad time of it there.
Finding the Dragon-fly Cave together was a wonderful adventure, it was a fitting end to all the adventures we’d had together. But the greatest prize was the understanding the children now have, the understanding of the birds, the beasts, the trees, the small flowers, the willy-willies that blow and even to the snow that softly falls. Black Mag understood that and she also understood it was time for our twins to be led on the path to find the greatest prize of all.
Zugzwang: Used in chess to describe a deadly position in which a player is obliged to move, but every move only makes his position even worse.
St Petersburg, 1914. Dr Otto Spethmann, a famous psychoanalyst, is implicated in a murder. But he is preoccupied with two disturbing new patients: Anna Petrovna, the troubled society beauty with whom he is inappropriately falling love, and Avrom Rozental, the brilliant chess master, who is due to play the most important competition of his life but is on the verge of a breakdown. With the city rife with speculation and alarm, Spethmann must rely on his wits if he wants to save those he loves and escape from a Zugzwang of passion and politics.
I’m going to start off by saying that if you have some understanding of chess you’ll probably have a better understanding of this book than I. There are wheels within wheels and lots of Russian politics here, Dr Spethmann plays a game of chess throughout the book so you have the chessboard pictured with a statement and a question about the game which could easily apply to the book at that point.
This book was reasonably well written but I was constantly reminding myself it was set between the two Russian Revolutions in 1905 and 1917, that part didn’t feel terribly convincing, to me it felt fairly modern. It was good to read a book not set in England, the USA or Australia, I found it interesting how Bennett put in some facts about the Jews and mentioned how some Jews felt they’d moved on from the shtetl and were now more sophisticated.
A shtetl is a small town with a mostly Jewish population, a little like a ghetto but it’s a town by itself. I’m not talking about the town in Fiddler on the Roof but one a similar size to that only with far more Jews and fewer non-Jews. It brings about a different way of thinking to those in big towns and cities. Spethmann talks about having moved on from this lifestyle.
Judith Tebbutt. Jude. I salute you.
This is the story of how, over a period of one hundred and ninety-two days, I was torn away from the life I knew and loved, and dragged down to the depths of despair; of how I endured enforced isolation and near-starvation at the hands of Somali pirates; and of how I made a choice to survive by any and all means that I could muster.
Let us play a bit of pretend. Just pretend you’re in Africa with your beloved partner, you’re both in a very isolated area not too far from Somalia, an area well known for its kidnap victims, and one night you’re kidnapped…you’re left by yourself with men you can’t understand and then you’re given a very short phone conversation with your adult child who tells you your partner is dead. How do you cope?
This is exactly what happened to Judith Tebbutt. She was kidnapped in September 2011, her husband of 30 years was killed during the kidnap and she managed to survive for 192 days while her son negotiated with the kidnappers, arranged his father’s funeral and dealt with everything in general. Judith Tebbutt was a star, she spent all her time focussing on her survival and getting out, she gave herself daily goals and daily tasks to focus on including walking around and around her very small room. I have so much respect for her as this must have been such a hard thing to do and she did it.
This book tells you how she got through her days, how she spoke to her kidnappers and made them like her, or at least look at her as a person. Just remember she’s been taken to Somalia and women are very much third class citizens there with rape and female genital mutilation being rampant, although decreasing as education improves. The young girl who helped bring food to Tebbutt was touched inappropriately just to illustrate how little the men think of women out there.
Did I enjoy this book?
That’s a really hard question. The writing was good. The topic was not so easy to work my way through as it was very emotional.
Would I recommend this book?
Oh yes, wholeheartedly. One thing that doesn’t happen terribly often is kidnapping. Yes, I know you disagree with me but percentage wise it doesn’t and therefore dealing with the situation when we’re in it is one of those things we don’t teach, I see this book as an invaluable teaching aid. If you’re going near those areas where kidnapping is rife then I would be pushing this book in your direction.
Do I thank eBooks by Sainsburys for giving me this book?
I stopped at this question, it’s hard to evaluate. I do feel it’s an important book but I also recommend you have tissues or a handkerchief available as there were a number of times when I was in tears. This is a topic I’ve been wanting to read about but I never realised it could be this hard. I do feel I have more understanding of what it’s like to be in captivity for such a long time and also more of an idea of what one should do and how one should go about doing it so for that reason it was worth the read.
I’m never excited by typos and this book had it’s fair share but I excuse them on the basis that everyone proofreading it was probably doing the same as me and reading it through their tears, it does make it hard to see. I reckon they needed someone with different tears to read it through once more. That has also opened my eyes (no pun intended) with regard to proofreading, it must be hard to do this kind of work when the subject matter is so challenging and likely to lead to tears; how do you manage to actually see the words and ensure they’re correct when tears are spilling through your eyes?
So, to summarise. A Long Walk Home by Judith Tebbutt is a hard book to read but one I’d recommend if you’re going to an area that is rife with kidnapping or near an area rife with kidnapping. It’s one I’d recommend if you want to get some idea of what it can be like to be kidnapped. Having thought about it while typing all of this, on balance I’m glad I read this book and I can’t wait to see what Sainsbury’s are going to send me next.
The boy looked at me first, thirty years old I am and happy to be looked at, before moving to the copse of silver birch trees and then back to me. I was happy he looked at me again, it was his first time home alone and he was going to do something different, I wanted it to be with me.
Well, you’re totally wrong there, I had that honour. If you’re going to play up you need a ladder and that’s what I am. Jacob’s ladder he calls me, I’m jolly big, jolly difficult for a 12 year old boy to move but move me he did! That was a proud moment as I’m a big ladder for any 12 year old boy but this boy is a spastic with so much trouble with his limbs his family keep him in cotton wool.
He was not playing up, he was doing what any red-blooded boy would do and wanting to climb a tree. It’s hard to climb me as my lower limbs have fallen off, my lowest limb is quite some way up at least 12 feet! Much too high for a 12 year old boy to climb without assistance.
I know this only too well and he looked to me for help! He pulled me out of storage, me all painted red at the tips and varnished as well.
I do hate to disagree with you but he did look for some rope first and even considered throwing the garden hose over my lowest limb.
But he did pull me out, struggled with his own problems and got me over to you.
That is undeniably true. It took him quite some time as his limbs rarely do what he wishes them to do but the boy is stubborn, just like you.
Me! Stubborn! I’m a ladder and can’t change shape or grow like you can. Ladders are made into one shape and can’t grow, we’ve had this discussion before. Anyway, he took his time while he had adventures in his imagination, there was a lot happening up in his mind.
Everything grows. I grow, the boy grows, the plants grow; therefore you grow.
Maybe you’re the stubborn one, not able to see what’s staring you right in the face.
The boy spent time on the ground after lifting you to rest against me. He spoke to that girl and that other boy. But eventually he did climb up and he said Hi-ya to the sky.
Still don’t know why he yelled at all those people. They got entirely the wrong idea, that man who climbed up was very scared, he hadn’t climbed a tree in ages and I could feel that as he climbed.
Yes, he should never have climbed up. Maybe they could not see how the boy was going to be fine if they could only leave him alone?
All’s well that ends well and this story did end very well. The boy came down, the man came down and things changed for the better.
Last week I had a case of the couldn’t-be-bothereds and didn’t write the whole week so today is an apology for missing a week without notice. I did have things to write about but I didn’t. Mondayitis will be on Let the Balloon Go by Ivan Southall, the trick will be getting two different voices in the one piece of writing and I’m interested in your thoughts on if I get this right. Friday Photos have been scheduled for the next two weeks, not because I wanted to be organised but just because when I sat down to do them I found I had far too many photos for one week.
The last week has been an interesting week, some of which I don’t mind repeating but other parts I’m quite happy never experiencing again but that’s the way with every week.
Thursday night I worked the St Kilda Night Market which is an experience in itself, I was facing Luna Park and saw some of the rides. The lovely people on either side of me took great care of me, their food was lovely. One stall I didn’t manage to buy from was the Smallest Kite in the World, when I do manage to buy one I’ll get photos!
Friday was my normal market at Elwood Primary School with nothing out of the ordinary. Sunday I took on the challenge of driving out to Gisborne for the little market there. There are two markets in Gisborne on at the same time and only a couple of minutes walk from each other, I’m in the small one just outside the IGA. Things went well, so well that when a friend dropped by to see me she waited patiently for 10 minutes while the queue cleared! What I really wanted to mention was the drive.
During the recent fires we had surrounding Melbourne I noticed one was in Gisborne. I watched that keenly, not only for the market I knew I’d be doing yesterday but more because I had a friend out there. As she met me at the market yesterday I’d say she’s okay! On the drive out to Gisborne everything looked good, there was grass albeit not terribly green but the trees were green, when I drove back home I discovered I’d only been seeing the left of the road as all of a sudden I noticed burnt patches. Trees were generally still standing but they were in various stages of burnt, some of the grass was burnt and it was obvious this area was one of the edges of the fire. It looked dreadful and I can’t imagine how much worse it must be further in.
The clues are there in the title and the description but I never thought it would be so blatant. When I finished this book the other night I posted on Facebook wondering how I’d come down from a book like this and I’m still wondering. Here’s the description so you can start from the beginning.
Always let the meat rest under foil for at least ten minutes before carving… Meet Lizzie Prain. Ordinary housewife. Fifty-something. Lives in a cottage in the woods, with her dog Rita. Likes cooking, avoids the neighbours. Runs a little business making cakes. No one has seen Lizzie’s husband, Jacob, for a few days. That’s because last Monday, on impulse, Lizzie caved in the back of his head with a spade. And if she’s going to embark on the new life she feels she deserves after thirty years in Jacob’s shadow, she needs to dispose of his body. Her method appeals to all her practical instincts, though it’s not for the faint-hearted. Will Lizzie have the strength to follow it through? Dark, funny and achingly human, Season to Taste is a deliciously subversive treat. In the shape of Lizzie Prain, Natalie Young has created one of the most remarkable heroines in recent fiction.
There will be spoilers as I don’t think I can write this without so you are warned.
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.
Well, I’ve survived reading this book and watching the associated movie. I’m not sure how I survived but I did. Both book and movie are very well put together. The writing is good, the filming, acting and special effects are good but I’m left with emotional fallout. I’m so glad I’m leaving plenty of time in between reading and watching.
The concept of having your child in a lottery, and therefore having been in that same lottery yourself, to play in a games whereby only one person will walk out alive is horrendous. To have to walk into the games knowing you’re going to have to kill people to survive worries me. I understand it harks back somewhat to the Roman gladiatorial games but that really doesn’t help me much.
Onto the movie. It follows the book as well as it can seeing that movies and books are different and need to be put together differently in order to work. You have the people who look just right for the part, you’ve got the incidental characters who pop in briefly and make President Snow realise his problem is bigger than he thought. The costumes work well, those the ‘Tributes’ wear in the parade are beautiful and very cleverly put together, while those they wear in the arena are useful in all types of weather and allow them to swim in them so they don’t have to waste time disrobing to swim and then robing again afterwards. Some of the makeup and costumes are rather overdone, deliberately so to illustrate the opulence and decadence in the Capitol, there is one person who is rather understated and it looks rather brilliant; Lenny Kravitz plays Cinna, the man who makes Katniss’ costumes for the parade, he has a couple of little earrings and a smidgeon of gold eyeshadow, nothing more…brilliant.
This movie (and book) make it very clear to me that Katniss Everdeen is rather disingenous and doesn’t really understand much about politics. I love how good she is with everything else but politics and manipulating people are not her forté. On the other hand Peeta Mellark and Haymitch Abernathy are a lot more politically savvy and they understand the effect Katniss has on the population at large, they join forces to keep her alive and out of trouble having made allies before being propelled out onto the arena.
Reading what I’ve written before about The Hunger Games and it’s sequel Catching Fire makes me understand yet again why I gave it an Abs Award. It’s really hard on the emotions and just reading my own words is hard enough but reading the book and seeing the movie is even harder. Part one of the final movie is out in November, plenty of time to recover and read the book, Mockingjay, with time after that for recovery. Part two of Mockingjay is due out in November 2015 so I’ll have plenty of time for my emotions to recover completely before watching the last little bit.
I am so glad this is fiction and not fact.