Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Getting On With It

There's nothing else to do really, is there? Today was a beautiful autumn day in Melbourne, about 22C high with clear blue skies for most of the day. What a glorious day for me to have a day off...but an awful day for a very sore back. I'm not sure what I've done, but it is quite painful to walk, let alone run so my exercise program is out the window for the moment. Still, I couldn't stay at home all day while the sun basked outside. I headed off for a coffee and the healing power of the sunshine. I have to admit, I'm a creature of habit when it comes down to coffee. I like certain cafes and keep going back to them. Don't get me wrong, I like to try new places once in a while, but they have to have the right feel, the right look, the right name even!

Do you have to be 18 to catch a Dose at this cafe?
I must be getting old, or getting soft. The death of Margaret Thatcher didn't really bring out any emotion in me. I have been vehemently anti-Thatcherite and anti-Conservative throughout my adult life, but rather than jumping on the bandwagon praising her death, the most I can bring myself to do is not think too much about it. Much like anyone that I didn't personally know, I feel nothing regarding her death. The only thought I really have about the legacy of a post Thatcher UK is that I'm glad I now live in Melbourne, Australia!

Bob Hope making wisdom funny

"No one party can fool all of the people all of the time; that's why we have two parties" - Bob Hope

I don't often review books on this blog, (and never chess books) and I don't intend to start now, but I have to say that I've read some amazing novels recently. I'm currently reading Cloud Atlas which I've only just started, but it is absolutely intriguing. I have absolutely no idea where this book is going! I love that in a novel. Predictability is so tedious.

Perks of Being a Wallflower - a great film
I have always enjoyed reading Booker Man nominated literature. At least I enjoy reading them in between the vast quantites of fantasy, crime fiction and chess literature that I get through. Actually, someone once asked me why I read so much banal fiction and hardly any non-fiction. I told them that I usually read a number of books and articles about history regularly, and chess is hardly non-fiction in most of it's presentations. I read, like most people, to escape. I watch very little TV or film (although The Perks of Being A Wallflower, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are both beautiful films) so I lose myself in written fiction. Anyway, going back to the Man Booker nominees, my favourite novel is probably "The Remains of the Day" by Kazuo Ishiguro. I have to say that "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" was certainly a close call for me. In fact Rachel Joyce's novel was in my opinion so good that I decided to read the novel that beat it to the Booker Prize, Hilary Mantel's "Bring Up The Bodies".

My current reading

I'm also trying to downsize my library. I don't think that I need to keep more than 20 books, so they will be my absolute favourites, books that I could read again and again. It's pretty tricky picking your favourite novels, and it should be something totally personal to you. So far, my shelf has the following:

Remains of the Day - Ishiguro
Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Joyce
Captain Corelli's Mandolin - de Bernieres
The Alchemist - Coelho
Birdsong -Faulks
The Magus - Fowles
The Bonfire of the Vanities - Wolfe
Lord of the Rings - Tolkien

So there's room for some more, but I will only keep 20. Thankfully I own a Kindle now!

One last thing today. This is for both chess and non chess friends. There is an excellent remembrance of an English chess player, Adrian Hollis, at chesscafe. Tim Harding's article is among his best (and I've been reading his column for I can't remember how long), including at the end some information about Hollis's father who was accused of espionage during the 1970's and 1980's, when the spycatcher furore was at its peak.

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