Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Thank Goodness That’s Over

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

On the 14 April of this year, I set myself 108 challenges. I never really completed all of them – in fact, I didn’t even think of enough challenges to reach the 108. However, one of the challenges that I did set myself was to read Anna Karenina. Over recent years I have been trying to read some of the ‘classics’ that get thrown into intellectual conversations and that I feel I should know about. Anna Karenina was one of those and the sheer size of the tome just added another impressive aspect to the challenge.  So one day in April, I started reading it.



At 1am this morning as I tried to read myself to sleep, I finished it. The sheer happiness of having finally read the last words of Tolstoy’s book almost made me jump out of bed and head out into Manchester to celebrate. I wish I could say that I was profoundly moved by the ending and that I feel like I have learnt from the literary expertise of the great Russian writer. But I would be lying. I thoroughly enjoyed the first third of the book – it was like a soap opera with characters having affairs, falling in and out of love and bitching about each other. But then it turned into a long story about Russian farming practices and aristocracy. New characters randomly appeared (or perhaps they had been mentioned before but their very similar names made them hard to distinguish) and the general flow of the book changed from being a little bit racy to just plain dull. I’m probably not supposed to say that about this book. I am supposed to say that it was profound and skilful and I wish I could write like that. But the one thing that I did learn from reading it was: Less is more.

I have a strangely vivid memory of watching an episode of Oprah during my university years and Anna Karenina was the book for that month’s Oprah’s BookClub. Oprah openly admitted that she hadn’t been able to finish it. Hence my determination to at least read the book to the last page. Oprah may be richer and more popular than me, but I read Anna Karenina to the end and she didn’t. WIN.

Time to Read

Monday, July 18th, 2011

My new job has provided me with a new interest in the history of Paris. I have always liked knowing the history behind places but I am now starting to get a much better understanding of the development of this city and who all of those Louis-s were. I have started reading a book called Seven Ages of Paris written by Alistair Horne and it is proving to be a good read, although you have to concentrate a fair bit in order to remember which king is which. It covers the history of Paris from the early 1100s through to the late 1960s. I’m trying to read some of it every day and yesterday Tom and I spent the morning at the laundromat, avoiding the rain and trying to do some washing as the washing machines at Les Récollets are broken. Exciting stuff. I almost fell asleep from the warm temperatures and eye movements.

History of Paris book

History book and washing machines.

Hairy Memories

Monday, May 24th, 2010

A sad result of the Ultimate Storm of Perth, 2010, was my boyfriend’s parents lost a lot of books as water seeped into their storage room. Some of these were priceless memories such as photo albums and plane tickets they had saved from their trips when they were younger. They also had a lot of children’s books from when my boyfriend and his siblings were little that were being saved for the grandkids. My boyfriend’s mum was therefore drawn to purchase a second hand copy of a Hairy Maclary collection.

Hairy Maclary

It's Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy!

At the weekly Sunday night dinner, the book was brought out and the entire family sat around and read stories to one another. It was more entertaining than television and everyone participated. It felt like we were in the 1950s and all sitting around a piano singing Christmas carols. It is amazing how one dog can touch so many hearts. We all knew the words, we all knew the characters and we all wanted to read aloud.

Reading aloud has always been something I’ve enjoyed. At primary school, I would grab any opportunity to sit in front of the class and read a book. One of my first jobs when I was finishing university was for the Constitutional Centre, teaching year ones and twos the joys of the Constitution via a giant picture book. I have always wanted to be a primary school teacher for this reason and I have a secret desire to appear on Playschool so that after we look at the rocket clock I can read a story to the boys and girls. One of my life ambitions is to become a mother, mostly so I can read children’s books again without looking silly. They’re so cleverly written, the pictures are wonderful and the stories are simple yet meaningful. Perhaps one day I will attempt to write a children’s book, but so many people try, thinking it is easy, and soon discover it is very difficult. Plus all of the best stories have already been written – There’s an Hippopotomus on the Roof Eating Cake, Where the Wild Things Are,  and Moo Baa La La La.

Muu Beee Ast Fue!

Now available in Spanish!