Friday, July 27, 2018

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend


And you think you have problems?

Pity poor Adrian Mole. At the tender age of 13¾ he is struggling with his feuding parents, the school bully, the ungrateful family dog, insensitive teachers, a broken heart, and spots.

All of this and more is painstakingly, and hilariously, recorded in his daily diary entries. If you are a fan of a book in diary form, and I am, this one is for you. 

I am having a ball reading it and find myself laughing out loud or snorting softly at his take on his predicaments. Oh, the angst.

Adrian is often baffled by the ways of the world. (Aren't we all?) His sincerity in reporting his daily dilemmas is quite touching. All he wants is to make sense of life's perplexities.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13¾ by the English writer Sue Townsend has been on my TBR list for years. This first one was published in 1982 and there are seven in the series concluding with Adrian Mole, the Prostrate Years. It seems as if every British writer picks these diaries as their favorite funny book. Now, I can see why.

Here is a sampling of entries:

Saturday: I shall go mad through lack of sleep! My father has banned the dog from the house so it barked outside my window all night. Just my luck! My father shouted a swear-word at it. If he's not careful he will get done by the police for obscene language. 

I think the spot is a boil. Just my luck to have it where everybody can see it. I pointed out to my mother that I hadn't had any vitamin C today. She said, 'Go and buy and orange, then'. This is typical.

Sunday: Now I know I am an intellectual. I saw Malcolm Muggeridge on the television last night, and I understood nearly every word. It all adds up. A bad home, poor diet, not liking punk. I think I will join the library and see what happens.

It is a pity there aren't any more intellectuals living round here.

Wednesday: ROYAL WEDDING DAY!!!!! (Charles and Diana)
How proud I am to be English! Foreigners must be as sick as pigs! We truly lead the world when it comes to pageantry. I must admit to having tears in my eyes when I saw all the cockneys who had stood since dawn, cheering heartily all the rich, well-dressed, famous people going by in carriages and Rolls-Royces.

Sunday: My mother has gone to a woman's workshop on assertiveness training. Men aren't allowed. I asked my father what 'assertiveness training' is. He said, 'God knows, but whatever it is, it's bad news for me'.

Well, this book is definitely not bad news for me. It is a delight and makes for perfect bedtime reading. What better way to end the day than with a laugh. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Off the Bookshelf

Image result for death on demand book

While waiting for Tana French's second Dublin Murder Squad book to become available at the library, I read Death on Demand by Carolyn Hart. 

Annie Laurance is the owner of Death on Demand, the mystery bookshop located on the fictional Broward's Rock Island off the coast of South Carolina. Annie runs the bookshop left to her by her Uncle Melrose and she hosts a group of the island's mystery writers that meets on Sunday nights at the shop. One of the writers has been making pronouncements about how he is going to be divulging secrets about each of the other members of the group. Before the big reveal, though, he ends up dead. The rest of the book finds Annie and her friend/old flame Max trying to prove that it wasn't Annie who killed the guy with a poisoned dart. Nice shot, though, whoever did it.

The best part of the book is that it is one long reading list for mysteries both classic and contemporary. That is really the fun part of the tale. I highlighted all sorts of new titles and authors to add to my own list of ones to explore.


Even though during my recovery from knee surgery I wasn't reading, that didn't stop me from buying two books while I lounged about. Well, why would it?

The first was The Art of Expressive Collage by Crystal Neubauer. I like that the artist uses found materials in her collages - vintage papers, junk mail, packaging materials, sewing patterns, sheet music, and fabric. She has a simple style using neutral colors. Her examples and explanations of techniques and processes are clearly explained. These are not the collages of slick magazine images but contain a multitude of layers, textures, and abstract shapes. Very inspiring. And calming.


My other purchase was A Book That Takes Its Time by the editors of Flow magazine. I have written about the delights of Flow magazine before (here) and this book is filled with journals, postcards, stickers, decorative papers, and lists (we love lists!) to play with. There are articles on taking time to reflect, create, slow down, and even a poem and a recipe or two. 

It is a creative workshop between hardcovers. Slowly. Slowly.