Monday, 27 May 2019

Lessons I learned from a book character


I’m not sure I’ve ever been a person to learn lessons from books. I always hated trying to draw things from texts in my English literature class. So what I’m about to say I learned may well be the complete opposite of what the author wanted, but here we go.

Anne Shirley – I loved all the “Anne of Green Gables” series, but what I particularly liked about Anne was her ability to find beauty in all things, starting with the Avenue (or the White Way of Delight) and continuing up into her adulthood. I also try to find beauty wherever I can.

Ian Malcolm – I’m not going to pretend I understood all the chaos theory in the “Jurassic Park” novels, but if there was one thing it did demonstrate, it is that when people claim they know exactly what will happen they probably don’t. Which is always helpful, as there are lots of people who think they do.

Dr John Watson – Possibly an unusual lesson in this instance, as it refers to the writing rather than the character. One thing I always have hated in books and films is “insta-love”, the ability of a character to fall in love at first sight with absolutely no reason for it. Dr Watson proved that it is possible to write love at first sight and be convincing, which has inspired me to use that trope once or twice and attempt to do so in a convincing way.

So what lessons have you learned from book characters?

Monday, 13 May 2019

Favourite TV shows and why


I’m not ashamed to admit I like junk TV. I wish I could claim to watch something with some merit to it like Game of Thrones. But apart from nature documentaries (I do love David Attenborough) my tastes, I have to say, run a little lower-level.

·         Dragon’s Den. Apart from the vicarious cringe I get when someone forgets all their figures in the face of the Dragons, what I particularly like is finding new small businesses I can use. I still get my yearly advent calendar from Snaffling Pig, a company which sells flavoured pork scratchings.

·         Judge Rinder. Yeah, I know, it’s only one step up from Jeremy Kyle, but it’s a good way to relax after a long day at the office. And a reminder to always get a contract when lending money to family.

·         My Cat From Hell. I would love to see what Jackson Galaxy would make of my two cats, who have no idea how to play and who like to leave socks all over the house.

·         Great British Bake Off. And all its spin-offs. I can’t bake, but I love to watch the complicated concoctions the contestants have to come up with.

So what do you like to watch?

Monday, 6 May 2019

Books I want youth to discover


Now this was an interesting one from Long and Short Reviews. I’m not sure I’m seasoned enough to be telling youth what to read (and slightly depressed that I no longer count as youth). However,  I can think of a few books that could potentially go overlooked...

·         The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Bronte. Anne is my favourite Bronte sister but often gets forgotten in favour of Charlotte and Emily, even though this book was a bestseller in its day and considered shocking for its views on religion and marriage. I was very proud to work on adapting this one for the Clandestine Classics line, although I would certainly recommend reading the original first.

·         Emma – Jane Austen. Again “Pride and Prejudice” tends to be the one people think of first, but I have always preferred “Emma” for its wit, wordplay and narrative style. And frankly, while I love Mr Darcy, I’d still take Mr Knightley any day.

·         The Sherlock Holmes series – Arthur Conan Doyle. Okay, not just one book, but having met a teenager recently who had no idea that Sherlock Holmes existed outside of Benedict Cumberbatch, I think these deserve mentioning. I’ve read a lot of continuations of the series by various writers, but nothing tops the original stories.

So what do you think the youth of today should discover?