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The Collector

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  1. I really like this and I know that Rebecca would but she already has someone reading the Owl and the Pussy Cat and if her dad comes along with something like this, it's going to make the other side of the family wonder what we are all about. OK so I have 9 kids, but it's a good number .....
  2. OK following all those recommendations I've come down on the following ( for now at least but the jury is still out):- Christopher Marlowe's Come live with me and be my Love and C Day Lewis's own version. I stopped off at John Donne's version of the same title but felt that it wasn't as good as some of his other work - but I'm looking at him too now. Aphra Behn didn't have a suitable text for me - lovely work though (Love Letters...) Then problem is that I really didn't want (a) poem (s) ? Don't ask me why. Will post my final when have chosen.
  3. You know I have never read any Carol Ann Duffy and Rebecca (daughter) was reading her fairly recently. Could be pertinent. Will look at thanks.
  4. Now why didn't I think of Larkin? Perhaps I ought to read my own threads! Will line him up with others and quiz him tonight as it were...
  5. like this... will have a closer look later tonight... last night dipped into Chaucer and found nothing suitable but really enjoyed jumping around Canterbury Tales - fits of laughter until the early hours....
  6. We routinely cook for 11 but it does depend now many more of the kids turn up - how is it they never seem to tell us they're coming but still expect us to deliver the food? One reliable back up is something with cous cous - if it's adults then slice and dice anything that can't get away in time - onions, garlic, courgette, aubergine, celery or lovage, squash cabbage , olives and so on- fry in olive oil until cooked enough . Add enough cous cous according to packet instructions to pan and mix and then enough real chicken stock ( or vegetable if vegetarian) and keep on a very low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and freshly gound pepper, possibly a hint of chilli powder and stir well. Leave for cous cous to swell ( about 5 mins) .Serve with sour cream and a sprinkle of paprika. If serving for children as well ,prepare some spare ribs coated in a marinade of five spice, sugar and rich dark soy sauce (or kejap manis) in advance. That should be an hour all in with the spare ribs and no time at all without.
  7. Looked at Rab Burns and yes I like that poem but I could do the Dumfries accent and I think that my daughter wants something with a bit of cynicism in it as well. I have half a mind to read it and something else - to be decided. Afraid you lost me on the second comment ,ETA?
  8. I'm looking for something to read at my daughter's wedding in a month's time. At the moment she has suggested something from the speech of Aristophanes from Plato's Symposium. It's a while since I read the book and having had a quick look through I can't see that it is going to be a particular crowd pleaser. I also know her motives and don't want to play to her tune if i am truthful. I think that I would like something from someone's letters, real or imaginary . I've been looking through Aphra Behn's "Love letters between a Nobleman and his Sister" but its a big book and I need to make a decision (so I am informed) by Tuesday next week. Does anyone have any suggestions of something suitable? I think suitable , according to my daughter, will be slightly obscure with a good hint of riskiness whilst on the face of it making a sweet staement about the power of love and all that good stuff. ( I wouldn't know myself. I've only been married 32 years and we only have nine children.) I would like to get something from Aphra behn if anyone has any experience....
  9. Interesting. I had to go and get my copy to check the back cover. Yes it's the same book that is commented upon in this thread. I had started to wonder. I read the book a couple of years ago and to be honest couldn't remember alot about it but I have just had a quick flick through it and it has come back to me. I don't think that I read this book with any particular expectations and certainly did not read it for any life changing experience (routinely I disregard the waffle that sits on the back cover) - I have almost enough life changing experiences every second of every day of my life and will continue to do so until someone nails down the lid. I did however read it for what it was to me, a story about a boy called Santiago , in much the same way that I have read of a man called Candide , or a Plowman called Piers or a knight called Don Quixote. As such, as I began the tale, 'I set out to roam far and wide through the world, hoping to hear of marvels' Piers the Ploughman, Langland C14th. And in fact that is what happened. It was a book that I enjoyed without complication and I hope that the somewhat harsh words of some of those who have written on this thread on this book will not deter others from dipping into Santiago's world.
  10. I thought that I would see if anyone out there in BGO-land has read this book. I was given an English translation by a friend a while ago and got around to reading it relatively recently. Sadly, he later asked me what I thought of it and in his words, I didn't like it. It is not often that I actually get to read, never mind finish, a book that I don't like but I just couldn't make up my mind. It has the feel of something slightly of Kafka but is written in that kind of style ( at least in translation I admit) that I would expect from a screen play from the 30s or 40s. It is clever no doubt and I am sure that something is lost in translation but to me it was just a bit too much '60s ( it was published in '66 in Greece and '69 in the UK). My Greek history is not good but I am sure that it has been fermented using live political cultures. So why is it I don't like it? I guess it's a mystery (no pun on the plot). Is there anyone out there who can either tell me that I am mistaken and that it is a good book or otherwise tell me that I am right and perhaps tell me why I am right?
  11. Just noticed this thread on Philip Larkin. I didn't realise that he had written a second novel and I will have to go and get it as soon as possible . I read his first novel, Jill about a year ago and thought that it was possibly the best novel that I have ever read. I'm 52 and have read a bit so please take that as a serious piece of adoration, for want of a better word. Unfortunately I was so excited by it that I gave my only copy (acquired for 99p from Oxfam) to my future son-in-law to read. He also enjoyed it and I have not seen it since. I appreciate that in this politically correct world the idea of a young man who falls in love with a child of 15 I think, could be considered a bit too far out but the poetic beauty of the prose ( isn't that oxymoron?) really is something that should not be missed. megustaleer, if you got around to reading A Girl in Winter over the past couple of years ( or even if you didn't) , you should have a look at Jill ( if you haven't already). It really is a book not to be missed. For myself I'll get back on a Girl in Winter once I have it and have read it - I'll even break my rule of not reading potential influences whilst writing.
  12. Jen, yes it is : the mitchondria bit is entirely true. In a similar manner, Ryan explains that the little beastie that I referred to (Elyssia chlorotica), uses the chloroplasts of the plant material that it eats at a certain stage in its growth to produce energy in a later stage of its life using photosynthesis. This is all done with the aid of viruses. The downside of this relationship is that at another stage of its ( the beastie's) life cycle the virus kicks in and destroys its 'host' (although I hesitate to use this word in this context). Other areas like that ( without the mass slaughter that is) are the influence of viruses on the placenta in mammals and particularly on the tissues that separate mother and foetus. It is seriously fascinating stuff. It would be difficult to dream it up. Hope you get around to reading it.
  13. I am currently writing a piece of fiction and when I do this I tend not to read any other in case I pick up someone elses ideas without processing them properly first. As a result I tend to wander into the non fiction world and I usually set up a theme to follow. The current one is Evolution, partly out of the Darwin noises made a few months back and partly out of my own paleo interest. I recently finished this fantastic book, Virolution, which according to the front cover is "The most important evolutionary book since Dawkins' selfish Gene". I don't know whether I would want to go so far having reading the SG and a number of others by Dawkins, a lot by S J Gould (admittedly now sadly deceased so therefore not since...) , Darwin of course but ditto and ostensibly 'lesser mortals' such as Richard Fortey (who is in my opinion is inter alia a very skilled and competent writer) and Conway Morris in my current phase of focus. What really got me in this book was the fact of viruses - human that is of course, not the computer things - and their role in evolution in the raw. I always thought of evolution taking place over inordinately long periods of time and it is only in the recent reading that I have come to realise that in fact it is happening under or ,in the case of things like the various 'flu viruses, inside our very noses. When you start to realise that one of the things that we have identified as part of the mapping of the human genome is that so little of our DNA is actually ours ( as it were) and how much of it appears to be the work of agent or agents unknown (i.e past virus activity). The whole thing starts to make you look at the concept of individual life forms in a very different light to the point that one might begin to wonder how different we really are from, say, the colonies of life that are jellyfish. I don't expect there to be many readers out there who are going to get over excited about this kind of book but if you are there I would welcome comments, views. For those of you who may be mildly interested, there is a lovely story of the sea slug,Elysia Chlorotica, at the beginning of Chapter One that completely hooked me. Currently reading Viruses and Man by F M Burnet, Pelican 1953.
  14. I think that we're violently agreeing here. After all the ability to carry what is basically a small library around on something that weighs a few hundered grams is possibly going to change the way that we read. After all, if you're waiting for a bus for 10 minutes you can dip into any book that you have on the device for that time - of course that could open up a whole new thread on 'sound-byte' reading or even flash fiction - but I don't intend to go there. On the other side of it, the idea of curling up in bed with a good Kindle sounds , on the face of it , a little......how shall we put it... different ,to curling up in bed with a good book.
  15. If I could justifiably afford one right now , I would buy a 3G Kindle and I would enjoy using it I am sure. But that would not take away the pleasure of having and holding a real book. I am currently reading a 1953 Pelican titled Viruses and Man by a chap called F M Burnet. It has someone elses name written on the cover and it was bought for me by my daughter in Oxford in some old bookshop a few months ago. It has that smell of old paper when you sniff the pages and inside the covers the text describes a world at a different pace. It was printed four years before I was born. There is a form of communion with this book when I am reading it: something that will be absent from the Kindle when I eventually get it. It doesn't make the Kindle or any other similar device a bad thing. It just makes it a thing with limitations.
  16. I read The Handmaids Tale about a year ago whilst consciously seeking out new writers to discover. I took the book with me on a business trip to Stockport - hey someone has to go there - and sat in a rather tired hotel and read most of it in one evening. It was utterley compelling but what I took from it wasn't the islamic fundamentalist stuff or the post apocalyptic visions. It was something far more fundamental than that. Call me simple and maybe its just because I am a man but I thought that the portrayal of the treatment of women was chilling as was the portrayal of women's treatment of themselves. It's not science fiction, it's allegory and that makes it all the more powerful. We are not talking about the function of the handmaids and all the rest of it, we are talking here of the way in which society ( and I can only speak with reference to what might be called western society) has in the past, can ,does and if we don't change it, will continue to view and treat women. The rest is almost scenery.
  17. Claire, Hi. I read this over 35 years ago when I was about 17. Im not sure that I had the maturity for it then and I keep meaning to go back and try again. I remember thinking that it was easier to read than Sam Beckett's trilogy but it was a difficult read. I went on to read Hesse's Steppenwolf and a collection of his poems called Wandering. Sadly, if they had an impact it is now deep within. In fact I really must go back and read it. All I seem to have taken from it was music and mathematics. Don't know much about its origins or the brew from which it was distilled but given 1950's Germany we must be looking at the influence of the interwar years and rise of National Socialism. Artistically, pehaps Neue Sachlichkeit influences. I don't know but I think I'll find out.
  18. Read Rebecca a few months ago. Why did I choose to read it? The book was looking out at me in an Oxfam shop and one of my daughters is called Rebecca. I had never read Du Maurier before and had expectations of an upgraded Mills & Boom. It was however totally brilliant , a little sticky for a while in the early pages. What I really liked was the relatively dreamlike feel at the start of the book which is of course the present time for the story and then the juxtaposition with the rich and evocative world that was Manderley and of course now past and gone. Truly beautifully crafted. I haven't read another in case it's not as good.
  19. I confess to being a sort of virgin in the Forum as this is only my second post - OK so I have a different slant on the concept of virginity - but this thread has intrigued me a little. Were Tolkein and Donaldson et al the originators of the fantasy genre? I don't think that this necessarily follows. Tolkein as is well documented was steeped in Old English and Scandinavian history and mythology and more. All the language of the Riders of Rohan to pick an example, is Old English based and Anglo Saxon (as is the culture) even if they are expert horsemen like their erstwhile vanquishers, the Normans. Let's face it 'Ent' is no more than 'Giant' in Old English. How far back does fantasy really go? Elves, wizards, witchcraft, giants, goblins and so on go back well into pre-history passing on route writers of considerable pedigree such as Shelley, Shakespeare and Dante Alighieri to name but three that jump immediately to mind.OK so some of these may have believed that the tales were true or partially true but does that make them any less fantasy? No I think it does not. So when we talk of cliches is it really surprising, given that there are only a finite number of monkeys tapping at keyboards or, may the gods forbid, scribbling on paper or parchment or even vellum with ink, crayon,chalk or paint. Not to mention our distant forbears in the caves of prehistoric France. Surely the cliches are inevitable but what is actually amiss is the use of the weary formula in the writing. That is where it all starts to get boring. Good and evil, sword and sorcery and all that stuff. Tolkein had it in spades : Donaldson with his rapist anti hero does the same but with attitude. Ursula Le Guinn, Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind , Eddings, Garner, and a whole heap more. It's all the same but with different leit motifs. I'm not actually knocking their achievements (even if I cannot abide some of the stuff that I have read).It's just that it is now a tired genre looking for innovation. This is where we need someone to come along with a different view and open up a new vein. Until that happens I have decided to write my own. In that way I can sit down at my pc, open up MS Word and just carry on writing down the pictures in my head. And sadly, my world is both medieval amd classical but at least there are no elves and its not a fight between good and evil! I probably won't save the planet and frankly at my age I don't care if I don't get the girl.
  20. Hi Tina, hope I managed to fill it in ok. Good luck with the dissertation The Collector
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