Thursday, June 29, 2006

Blindsight

I’ve been accused of only ever reading female writers, and, to a certain extent, that’s true. As a young girl, I loved murder mysteries, so I read the likes of ES Gardner, James McClure, Ross MacDonald and Patrick Quentin (I didn’t like Ellery Queen or Rex Stout).

Then I discovered non-detective fiction and moved on to Irwin Shaw, Eric Malpass and Robert Graves. Teenage years saw John Wyndham and Douglas Adams and Maurice Druon and a million other (men) whose names I can’t be bothered to remember at the moment.

But nowadays I find male voices too violent, too crude, too visual, too weird. I remember reading Wharton’s Last Lovers not so long ago and doing a mental “blehhh” in several places.

Phew, that’s quite an introduction to Maurice Gee’s “Blindsight”. Written in the first person singular FEMALE, it was perhaps easier to stomach than it might have been otherwise. Easier, but not easy. The book is a sad one (at its core is the break-up of a loving sibling relationship) and I would hesitate to recommend it, except for the beauty of its prose and for the fullness of its protagonists.

Oh, and for one other thing: “Blindsight”, in a subtle literary way, reminds us that our actions, big or small, can destroy lives. Other people’s lives. The lives of the people we most care about.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Prison Break

What do you do when you have a pile of “to read” books that’s a metre high and only a month to do it in? Panic and watch TV, of course.

And so I was please with New Zealand’s TV schedule for yesterday: Lost and Prison Break on one night! They are screened on different channels and clash horribly, but hey, they probably imagine people can multitask, right?

Anyway, as Lost’s biggest fan, I’m already up to date with all that’s been filmed, so last night I watched a few episodes of Prison Break. I haven’t yet decided whether it’s good (in fact, anything I have to say about the show right now would be highly unfavourable) but, curiously enough, I want to keep watching it. Kind of like peanuts: I don’t really like the the taste, but once I start eating… you get the image.

Gotta go now. Episode 4 awaits.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Long live soccer

Would you believe that, in this age of technology, I’m struggling to find a way to watch the 2006 Soccer World Cup?

You would think, surely the Internet. Well, yes, sort of: you can get the highlights as soon as the game is over; or, if you wait a few days and are lucky, you can get the whole game (and then it takes about 24 hours to download it using our New Zealand broadband)... but the net is full of decoys that look like the real thing yet only give you the first 20 minutes. Last time (and that was 4 - four - years ago), we could follow the commentary live on the net, but this year FIFA scheduled the matches for the middle of the night, so I haven’t even checked whether that’s an option this year.

So, TV1? Highlights again, mostly, with an occasional game thrown in to look as though they care.

Sky! Sky! Get Sky TV! I hear you shout. Nope, sorry, I have better ideas for spending my overdraft. I’m addicted to soccer, but even my addiction knows its financial limits.

So, I’ve called in all favours, promised bribes, and asked every friend I could think of whether they would kindly tape the games for me. I discovered that my friends fall into one of the following categories:
don’t have Sky (I forgive them),
have Sky but don’t have a recording device (WHAT???),
have Sky and a recording device but don’t have blank tapes and they live in a different part of the planet,
have Sky and a recording device and tapes but don’t like soccer so they forget to tape it,
have Sky and a recording device and tapes (mine) and like soccer but they forget to tape it anyway.

So, come 2010, I will have to:
Move back to South Africa and watch the Cup from the stands, or
Get new friends.
(Unless by then the kids are running the show and we have Sky.)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Geography

The book is hard to find on amazon.com. Think about it: if you can’t remember that Sophie Cunningham is the author and you simply search for “Geography”, guess what happens. Which is a shame, because the book is well worth reading (and owning). Perhaps “Geography of Obsession” would have been a catchier title.

Not that the author was going for catchy. The beginning is slow, albeit beautiful. That beauty of prose is evident throughout the book, yet it doesn’t make the style any less accessible nor less erotic. The ideas within the book make you think and empathise. The ending, although not a surprise one, is thoroughly... ahem... satisfying.

I leave you with a quotes:
“In the years that followed, I kept thinking back to those two nights [] trying to work out the moment that he got under my skin. Trying to pinpoint the moment things have shifted from play and romance into obsession. Was it when the sex was good? Was it when he made me feel like an adult? Was it when he made me feel like a child? Was is Los Angeles? I tried to work it out. I wanted to make sure it never happened again.”

Thursday, June 01, 2006

citymix

My favourite magazine at the moment is not the intelligent fun South African magazine Femina. It’s not the super-useful Writing News from the UK. It’s our local monthly of the “what to do in Auckland in June” ilk.

Yes, the articles are interesting and the reviews helpful and I like the news about new caf├ęs and restaurants. But the readers’ freebies are the real reason I make sure I don’t miss a single issue.

In the last year, we attended free movie previews three times (on the second occasion, we were given gourmet snacks, wine and more wine to take home with a DVD). I also won two tickets to the Opera, a booklet of discount vouchers and a double movie pass.

And that is how citymix gets my vote. If only the editors offered to babysit for us, too...