Saturday, April 30, 2011

My life is very hard

My download of A Distant Mirror: The calamitous 14th century expired today because I'd only checked it out for a week. (And although dedicated, I haven't been able to put aside the two whole waking days required to listen to it.)

So I had to log back into my library account and check out A Distant Mirror again and then download it again.

Flipping hell! Why is my life so hard? How much more can I take? What about me? Flip!

They were the thoughts that were going through my head.

I have calmed down now and am trying to feel positive about not having the plague. Anyway, I've checked A Distant Mirror out for two weeks now. Will it be enough time? I dunno. I just dunno.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Distant Mirror

On Friday I found myself at the start of the Easter long weekend with no story tape to listen to and the libraries closed. Disaster was averted when I downloaded an audiobook from Melbourne City Library.

The selection was a little limited, but I found a winner. I'm listening to A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman read by Nadia May.

I will be listening to A Distant Mirror for some time to come because it is 28 hours long. That makes it the longest story tape I've ever listened to. But it feels good to push your limits when you know you've done the training.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I've just listened to The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith read by Devina Porter AND directed by Jane Cramer. This is the first time I've noticed the director being credited at the end of an audio book. I didn't even know they had directors.

I found this article that says that not all audio books have a director but they are a jolly good idea. I also found this adamant article saying that directors greatly improve the listening experience.

So now I'm wondering if I can tell the difference. Certainly The Careful Use of Compliments was very good. Davina Porter kept me interested even though almost nothing happened. But I'm not sure how this compares to audio books without a director.

I usually borrow story tapes produced by Bolinda Audio Books and their website doesn't credit directors. But maybe they use them and just don't mention it.

Does anybody know?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

End of the Road

I have finally finished The Road by Catherine Jinks. It was good but it was way too scary for me.

The characters said "Oh my God!" a lot, and that was fair enough. They went through a pretty gruesome and gruelling time. The scariness, though very skillfully done, caused problems for me:

  • I kept thinking about it when I was trying to get to sleep.
  • I kept listening to it when I should have been going to bed/work because I couldn't stop.

To help recover from the scary thriller I am now listening to The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith. And if any severed heads turn up I'm going to be pretty pissed off.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Road

I'm loving The Road by Catherine Jinks. It's not just murderously scary, it's also supernaturally spooky - not my usual story tape scene. But it is very good. It is so tense and absorbing that even my partner - who often pretends to find story tapes annoying - has been caught listening with interest.

I'm not surprised because I am a big Catherine Jinks fan. When I was a teenager and going through my "All YA is beneath me, because I've read Wuthering Heights" stage I made an exception for Catherine Jinks' Pagan series. I loved those books with an hysterical passion that saw me ending friendships if someone didn't like them, or even just didn't love them.

When I was a teenager I believed that the books you liked defined your identity. (In my view, anyone who didn't like reading wasn't even a proper person.)

It reminds me of the great video serious Talking Faiths presented by the Immigration Museum. Students pair up to talk about their faith and identity. All the participants are very respectful and keen not to judge the other's perspective.

But in this video there is a sudden moment of discord. Two girls are cheerfully discussing Harry Potter (1:50) when it is revealled that one of them is a Twilight fan and the other one isn't. No amount of awkward giggling can disguise the fact that this budding inter-faith friendship has hit a rocky patch. The Jewish/Muslim thing was fine but the Twilight/non-Twilight divide might be a breaking point.

Fortunately later in the video they're back on less controversial topics and chatting happily about wearing the hijab (4:35).

So my point is - if anyone doesn't like The Road then I don't like you. (Same goes for John Brown Rose and the Midnight Cat.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lessons learned

I'm listening to The Road by Catherine Jinks read by Kate Oliver, described as a "chilling thriller". I borrowed it because I love Catherine Jinks but I am highly affected by scary things (I find Midsomer Murders gritty and disturbing).

The Road is becoming quite tense and that is causing problems. Yesterday before work I became over-engaged in the story and just sat on the edge of the bed for 15 minutes listening instead of putting on socks etc.

I should have known this would happen after the whole Murder on the Orient Express debacle. Unfortunately I am not a very good learner by experiencer.

Yesterday I also went to a session to learn about sports nutrition. It was all about a frightening 1kg tub of protein. The fact that I found the catch phrase, "train harder more often" unappealing and would have preferred "train less hard less often" suggests that that the product was not really aimed at me.

However, I did learn something useful about nutrition yesterday after all. Don't eat a chicken and mayonnaise roll at 5.15 and then go for an energetic run at 6.30. Lesson learned. Although, I did previously learn a very similar lesson involving yogurt and a big piece of oat slice.