A Town Called Eureka

Even though I came late to watching the show, I’ve become invested in the program and fallen in love with its quirky charm. “Eureka” is one of the best American tv shows out right now, and I am very disappointed to find out that it has been cancelled. Some would say that 5 years is a good run for any show, but it seems like the program deserved a better fate than being cancelled over a business decision.
The only positive that I can find, is that I have only just finished the first series and therefore, have a lot of shows that will be brand new to me.  Still I feel gutted that when I do get caught up, there wont be many more new episodes to watch.  In some ways I regret not getting addicted to the series earlier;  I find it is always more fun having to anticipate and speculate what is going to happen next.  The only consolation prize would be that there are new episodes of “Warehouse 13”, and the series “Alphas” to look forward to.  Which coincidentally is set in the same universe as “Eureka” so we can only hope there will be guest appearances from “Eureka” alumni.

I’m going to miss the show, but perhaps in the long term it’s better to end the show on a high, when the premise is still fresh rather than waiting for the show to jump the shark and get cancelled that way.

A Day At The Fair

Vanity Fair has been one of the most enjoyable books that I have read all summer.  Currently I am on Chapter 10, in which Becky Sharp has left her friend Amelia and has gone to live with the Crawley family to be the governess of two small children.

My only problem I’ve encountered in the story is how intrusive I have found the narrator to be.  I understand that the narrator is supposed to be the puppet master of the Fair, but I find that he breaks into the narrative too frequently and disrupts the story from having any kind of natural flow.
One novel I found to have successfully used a narrator was “Jane Eyre“. The narrator of “Jane Eyre” felt like the title character was reflecting back on her life, and when she did decide to talk directly to the reader it was implemented to further the plot along.

The truly wonderful thing about the novel Vanity Fair is that I have almost no idea where the story is going to take me.  Whilst I had watched the movie adaptation with Reese Witherspoon a few years back I have absolutely no recollection of what happens in the story.

And One Day…

Theoretically, the structure and concept of the book “One Day” by David Nicholls is brilliant, but truthfully the novel fell short of my high expectations.  Perhaps as the book was pumped up by many literary critics around the world, and sold so many copies I was expecting something much more clever than the book I ended up reading. For much of the novel felt forced as if the author was trying to be overly glib, and merely used the structure of the book to hit the reader over the head with his cleverness.

One of the biggest issues with the story is I felt that too much of the novel was missing. Sure it’s fascinating to look at two characters over a 20 year time span, but at the same time I fel time would have been better spent if the story was told in a more linear fashion.  The reader never truly gets to understand why these characters are so obsessed with one another.  Especially as with each forthcoming year Emma and Dex seem to drift further apart and become meaner and more uncaring toward each other.

An unfair comparison that keeps being made is how similar David Nicholls and Nick Horby’s writing is.  On the surface it would appear that Hornby and Nicholls tell stories that share similar themes but in the end Hornby is better at pulling off different types of stories, but most importantly different characters.

I am not sure how many people have read his earlier work called “Starter for Ten”, but the characters of Emma and Dexter are almost eerily related to that of Alice and Rebecca.  Emma and Rebecca could virtually be the same person, in that they both are idealists and share the same world views and cultural background.  To this reader it appears that Nicholls took a fully formed character from another story and then reused her in the shape of Emma Morley. The same could be said for Dexter and Alice.  While these characters may be different genders they are again virtually the same person.  Both characters come from affluent backgrounds and the world seems to get handed to them without either trying very hard.  Coincidentally both characters dream of being an actor or working in the television industry.

After all the drama of the story I felt that the biggest cop out imaginable was the ending of the story. It was like the author had run out of ideas, and was trying his hardest not to have a trite ending and in doing so created a story that was exactly that.  For all its clever posturing, the story ended up feeling fairly pedestrian, and left this reader wondering why the book has such enduring popularity.  Would I read the book again, no.  Nor would I recommend anyone else dedicating themselves to reading it either.  Would I try another book by David Nicholls, yes.  I would not read another of his stories on the back of “One Day” but rather the book that I read previous to that in “Starter for Ten”.  That novel is not as popular or as well known as “One Day” but “Starter for Ten” shows more guts, grit and determination and the heroic feat of being a well written novel that is more grounded in the experiences of real life.  People say that finishing “One Day” is like leaving an old friend behind, and that the characters felt very much alive.  Unfortunately for me I never experienced that with this novel as I did with “Starter for Ten”.  All Nicholls’ genius and love for the craft of writing was pored into that singular work of fiction and he was unable to light that spark into the fictional world of “One Day”.

In Search of a Knitting Pattern

At a used bookstore I bought a book called “The Complete Book of Needlecraft” and ran across this pattern on page 288 of the book.  It gives a tutorial on how to do picture knitting, but I was hoping that someone could direct me to the actual pattern.  Thank you for your help!

Ex Libris

“What a blessing it is to love books, as I love them, to be able to converse with the dead, and to live amidst the unreal.”  – Macaulay

Very disappointed that I had to return this book of essays to the library. I can never express how sincerely I loved this collection or how it has changed my life and the way that I think about books.  A book has not touched me this much in years!

Fadiman goes beyond being a “Common Reader” and makes the bibliophile in all of us feel like the most amazing group of people in the world. Transcending through the ages by describing the reading habits of Gladstone to Virginia Woolf, Fadiman makes her mark in the niche world of the essayist. Making a perfect addition to the literature of “books about books” for lack of a better term.

Fadiman has so many great thoughts packed into one slim volume, which she shares with us in an astonishingly light and conversational manner.  Fadiman is a talented individual who has the most amazing outlook on life and being a bibliophile.  This is a book I will continually go back to for inspiration, and I’m excited to add it to my mini-library I am building. Go out and read this book, not only will you cherish it, but you will want to share it with your friends.



Days in June: A brief look at Mrs. Dalloway

“Did it matter then, she asked herself, walking towards Bond Street, did it matter that she must inevitably cease completely; all this must go on without her; did she resent it; or did it not become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely?”

When Mrs. Dalloway states that she will buy the flowers herself she starts in motion a strange day in Post World War I London. Perhaps not everyone will agree with me when I say that I wasn’t enamored with Virginia Woolf’s writing style or Mrs. Dalloway. Admittedly the story was thought provoking and filled with fantastic quotes, but honestly it was a struggle to get through.

“Mrs. Dalloway” was my first time reading Virginia Woolf and whilst “Orlando” has been sitting on my book shelves for over a year now, there have been far too many other books to read. The novel was my first experience with the stream of consciousness style of narration, and in all of my reading I’ve never come across another book like it. While I can easily read Dickens, Trollope, Austen, and Brontë, Woolf’s prose took longer to adjust to, but I found once you understand the rhythm of the novel it becomes more enjoyable.

The description on the jacket of the book had me expecting a totally different story than the one I ended up reading. Never before have I read a novel in which madness and death clings so closely to its pages.  Where the striking of the hour by the numerous clocks throughout the narrative beats to the tune of another second of your life gone; and the thought of the day expresses deep regret and a longing by the characters for their lives to have turned out differently. In a book that questions the small details that make up our lives, it can also show how resilient people can be. Surviving the war, and while not all characters escaped unscathed like poor Septimus, others move on and prove that a nice day in June is sometimes all that you need.

“In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jungle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June”  Virginia Woolf

Edited: Since writing this I have now finished A Room of One’s Own.