Monday, 4 December 2006

dickens & the (unrelated) artful rendering of paedophilia

hi lovers
i wanted to post a review but i'm halfway through a million books so i might just make a few random comments i.e. i'm reading great expectations at the moment and can i just say dickens is frigging hilarious?? is anyone with me? the man is a comic genius and i never knew...i read a tale of two cities a million years ago and i think the subtle humour was somewhat lost on me..obviously there is much sobriety and melancholy also - it's all very gripping and absorbing but entertaining as well i now find! i'm getting into it hardcore dickens is such a treat to read - and not very difficult either
i also wanted to post the opening section of 'lolita' by nabokov (thanks for the lend soph) because it absolutely took my breath away..i just had to read it really slowly and inhale the beauty of each line..please excuse the wankiness of what i just said but i hope you will think it justifiable when you read this:
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.
She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted lines. But in my arms she was always Lolita.
Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, a certain initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many year before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.

xx cate

Sunday, 3 December 2006


Hello All!

Believe it or not, and despite all my best intentions, the general busy and exam-ness of my last few weeks has sneakily transformed my bedroom back to its secondary occupation as a landfill site or art installation, depending on how you see it. The fact a small hurricane has swept through my room was pardoned by my parents for the last few weeks firstly because of exams and secondly as I undertook several projects - namely making myself a liquorice allsorts dress and baking a large variety of apple based cakes. Fortunately I can avoid this task no longer without losing my basic freedoms, so here I am, tidying my room. Whilst re-alphabetising my bookshelf (always a pleasant and reassuring task) it came to my attention that Lighthousekeeping, by Jeanette Winterson, has somehow found itself not where it should rightfully be between Wilde and Winton but pride of place as a permanent fixture in my "artfully spontaneous assortment of books i'm currently reading" pile. As i further procrastinate cleaning up, sipping an organic green tea, i shall leave you with some of my thoughts on this book.

The fact is, considering how many times i've read it; this book does deserve to be in this pile. And why have i read it so many times? Firstly, it's really short. Once i even timed myself reading it (i was curious). It took one return train trip to uni, so less than 1.5 hours. Yet for a book that takes such a short time to read the content covered is somewhat amazing. She manages to tell the story of several lives, explore some themes and get all existential in the same amount of words any other author would spend on their introduction. I like her brief style; it's somewhat of a relief. Yet somehow her characters do have depth, even if we can't picture them in detail physically, and the story makes sense, even if it jumps all over the place. Yes, i know this is possibly the most obviously pretentious book. Examples like:

"A beginning, a middle and an end is the proper way to tell a story. But i have difficulty with that method."

are pure gold, but whatever, embrace it i say! Some of it's tacky, clich├ęd or possibly even stupid. But i like it. I do also enjoy the general nautical theme, and i like the cover!

"This is not a love story, but love is in it. That is, love is just outside it, looking for a way to break in."

I'm not going to describe the way "Lighthousekeeping is a way in to the rooms of our own that we secretly inhabit and the lighthouses we strive towards" as the blurb so eloquently puts it, or discuss her storytelling. But i will say, for a book like this, i find it has more integrity than most.
I'm assuming many of you have read Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, but has anyone read Gut Symmetries? I read it in April, and it's very similar to Lighthousekeeping, but gets quite science nerdy at times. It too has some awesome wanky lines: "Are your 23 feet of intestines loaded with stars?". Has anyone read it? Or else can recommend any good ones by her or by other similar authors, so i can get this book back on the shelf?