Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sunday Summary

This week, I have mostly been...

Finishing | Grasshopper Jungle

...and reviewing the book on Goodreads:

"This book is gross. It's great. And I'm still trying to suss out the mentality of its lead hero, Austin. Actually I think he's still trying to do so as well.

So, here's the deal: an army of 6ft mantids are released by accident into an unassuming Iowa community to procreate with, and then eat, their victims as genetically modified bugs are wont to do.

Two teenage boys, Austin and Robby, try to make sense of the genesis of the bugs, while Austin simultaneously tries to make sense of his own genesis and Polish origins, and his feelings towards the people he loves the most: his girlfriend Shann, and Robby.

There is a lot of -- let's say -- 'self-gratification' described in the book. Lots of thoughts of copulation. And lots of references to the supposed sexual lives of historical characters. But the protagonist is a sexually curious teenage boy. It all works. Oh and there's also an egomaniacal mad scientist. And a silent golden retriever. This book has it all.

Its only flaw, and it's truly minuscule, is that by page 300+ Austin's repetition of certain facts is the tiniest bit jarring. But only a tiny bit. Up until that point the reiterative nature of Austin's narrative works.

The warning on the back of the book is: "contains explicit content". This is true. It also contains a witty turn of phrase and a story that if you tilt your head a little to one side could, could, possibly come true. Maybe."

...and tweeting the author (who then favourited, retweeted and replied to my tweet -- yay!:

...and learning that a film adaptation of Grasshopper Jungle is on the cards!

Singing a cappella

Yes, yesterday was spent in the company of 29-ish of my rock choir compatriots as we battled with a deliciously complex (6-part) arrangement of 10CC's I'm Not in Love.

The outcome was exactly, exactly, like this:

{Pitch Perfect}

OK, not exactly (there weren't any dance moves) but the outcome was pretty astounding nonetheless!

Singing a cappella is a considerably different discipline from singing to a track as we usually do. There is so much more listening involved, not just to your section but to other sections, and keeping rhythm and working out where your harmony fits in to the complete sound.

Making more plans for NYC

I've ordered this divine little Moleskine New York notebook so I can start plotting out my NYC trip day by day, borough by borough (I'm scrupulous like that!).

I'm also raaaather tempted by this book (found via Poppytalk's Instagram):

{Hello NY | Julia Rothman}

I've reserved my hotel room, and I'm making lists of Things to See (and adding them to my NY NY Pinterest board. I do want to explore the usual tourist spots, but I also want to find some hidden gems. Any suggestions?

I'm going to be walking the city (and next year I also plan to walk the 100k from London to Brighton but that's another bucket list item to check off in 2015) so, this weekend I have also been:


On Friday I managed 1h 15 from Shepherd's Bush to Clapham Junction station (roughly 4.5 miles) -- given this was my first speed-walk since last May I was pretty happy with that. Walking's always a little more enjoyable, also, if you have nothing to compete for.

Not to mention a job lot of perky rock and dance tracks to walk to. And scenes like this.

And on Saturday, when it was particularly, deliciously, warm and sunny I trotted to and from Reigate, spying signs of Spring as I went. Here's hoping the apocalyptic wet winter might actually be over...


I've just made two lemon drizzle cakes from a recipe in The Simple Things {issue 21}.

Issue 1's fudgy chocolate and raspberry brownies have always gone down particularly well when I've made them so I have high hopes for these bad boys.

Currently my kitchen smells lemonilicious. Must... restrain... self... from... breaking... into... cake...

{Twin nomingtons}

Here's your weekly webly wound-... sorry, round-up

{This week, with a distinctively bookish theme in honour of World Book Day!}

# Author Hanif Kureishi knocks creative writing courses (because all great authors are immediately born great, of course. Harrumph)

# Many British homes have shelves full of unread books. (My problem is not having enough shelves for the books I have read!)

# Check out these beautiful book cover winners @ The Academy of British Cover Design awards (including these two from Egmont)


# Children's reading levels plateau at Year Six

# WBD: When authors get into character

{Michael Rosen as folkloric trickster figure Till Eulenspiegel. Photograph: Cambridge Jones}

In other non-booky news:

# All hail the benefits of swimming

# A doll of 'average proportions' is to be manufactured -- a far cry from Barbie, thankfully

# 10 Things Commuting Does to Your Body

# Words and biccies

# Awesome NYC cinemagraphs by Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg

And finally ...

# Birds with arms. (Thanks, Evie, for this!)


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