Monthly Archives: December 2014

Save our libraries

As more and more people buy cheap books, use kindles, our libraries are being used less for borrowing books and more for free internet. In most eyes it is no longer fashionable to sit in silence among the shelves of books or go hunting for research, as now it can all be found by a press of a button. When I was a child we spent hours sat in the library among the books, and in recent years going to book club I have been borrowing books to save myself money, and to do my part in keeping the library going, and it worked a treat especially if I didn’t like the book. One librarian said to me ‘it’s good to see people borrowing books’ and that’s sad to hear. Books are a route to our imagination, to waken our souls and make us feel alive. Now we are bombarded by so much information and our senses are dulled by watching TV. We need to read more, our brains are always active and need to be fed. Our libraries provide a free service and we don’t use it, granted work life gets in the way, but like most things we need to make time and we can make time.

The reason for this post is that my friend found a load of her old videos and one of them was Disney’s The  Page Master, I just sat and watched through the credits and the making of the film came on. They had to hand draw each and every cell, and then paint them. It was amazing to watch.

untitledThe Page Master 1994 – blurb from Amazon.co.uk

Richard Tyler is the world’s safest kid – fearful of everything. His worst nightmare comes true when a freak storm strikes whilst he’s out on his bike. Taking refuge in a library he meets the Pagemaster, a magical figure who introduces him to the amazing world of literature.

 

Includes great lines like

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Fantasy: What do you mean grabbing a person by the pantyhose like that? Now I’ve got to straighten out my Little Mermaid underwear.

‘Adventure says a kiss would make the ending good, yelling in anger when Horror does so instead of Fantasy.’

Jamaican Pirate: One gold piece! This is your treasure, is it. Let’s kill him and eat his parrot.

I’m not one for sitting through the credits of a film, but recently found at the end of it there is always a little snippet of something. With DVD’s all bonus features have their own sections, when watching the VHS the making of it was after the credits and it showed how they made the film and how each scene was hand drawn and then painted. Each second was drawn in pencil and then transferred to cell for painting. It was mind blowing. Today everything seems to be instant, or a touch of a button, that’s what’s constantly advertised, but in reality some things take time and people just don’t have the patience to wait anymore. Over Christmas I was back in my old job, instead of people ‘weighing’ their cups of coffee and saying it didn’t have enough milk in it  was a case of waiting longer to get that Christmas present, which they had all year to prepare for but left it to the last week. The rudeness was incredible.

It’s one day of the year and everyone goes crazy. Any way I’ve gone off track, I loved this film, reading has been hit and miss for me this year, so my goal next year is to read 60 books. I have so far managed 52 this year and I am taking on another book club in the new year so my idea is to read a book a week and spend at least an hour a day reading, whether its in bits or the full hour, that means I get some ‘me’ time. Lets hope I can stick to it. In the mean time I have ordered the DVD of the Page master and can’t wait for it arrive. In the meantime go visit your local library and borrow a book or two. You never know what you might find.

Thank you for reading

xxx

Books to cheer a person up!

The picture at the bottom is to die for

LeedsBookClub

Earlier this week, a member of the twitterati posted a shout out to her fellow book clubbers asking for recommendations for books that could distract and cheer a person up.

It was surprisingly difficult at first – instantly the most miserable books we’ve ever read jumped to mind (ahem). Or ones that are personally perfect but more tricky to explain (especially in 140 characters) – such as Anne Frank’s Diary or His Dark Materials.

They lift me up when I’ve lost my way but aren’t exactly works that make you laugh aloud!
We had a right giggle about how miserable our tastes were as a collective before the wheels in our heads started turning and we were able to offer a few (hopefully) viable suggestions.
Course, once I’d started thinking down this vein, I couldn’t stop. So, I’ve had a think about some of my favourite go-to-when-I’m-down-in-the-dumps books…

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WSwan LBC – The Eyre Affair – GUEST

LeedsBookClub

White Swan LBC
Date:  Sunday 12th of May 2012
Time:  6:00pm
Address: Swan Street, Leeds
 
Discussing:
THE EYRE AFFAIR
JASPER FFORDE
 
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Thanks to Helen for this epic write up! She’s been contributing so much, I think we’ll have to create her own book shelf page!  

About the book
By Lurazeda, found on Deviant Art.
Ain’t it awesome?

Pirouetting on the boundaries between sci-fi, the crime thriller and intertextual whimsy, Jasper Fforde’s outrageous The Eyre Affair puts you on the wrong footing even on its dedication page, which proudly…

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WSwan LBC – The Fictional Man Review

LeedsBookClub

White Swan LBC
Date:  Sunday 14th of July 2012
Time:  6:00pm
Address: Swan Street, Leeds
 
Discussing:
THE FICTIONAL MAN
AL EWING
 
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THE BLURB (from Amazon)
 

One of the most exciting new voices in British fiction has written an extraordinary novel. In an L.A. where fictional characters are cloned into living beings, the author Niles Golan is on the verge of hitting the big-time – if he can just stay on top of reality long enough to make it.

Hollywood: Niles Golan is writing a remake of a…

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Reading Resolutions

LeedsBookClub

(Inspired by World Book Night)
FOR 2012 I SOLEMNLY RESOLVE 
THAT I WILL:
1. STOP READING JUST for the sake of it.
Instead I want to find something that really intrigues me, draws me in and captures my imagination rather than just picking something up because it’s right there in front of me.
This might mean fewer reading challenges. I have a tendency to announce a new challenge a week then feel obliged to read them ALL-RIGHT-NOW despite my lack of available time. Then I panic that I haven’t blogged…it all spirals into a lack of fun.
In the same vein, I resolve to put down a book if I’m not enjoying it.
I know I’m going to break this one even as I type it. I just CAN’T leave a book unfinished. It feels like I’m abandoning hope. By the same note, I’m similarly unable to read the…

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Let it go

Yesterday I got myself right in the sorrowful pit. Recently, someone who I really cared about and stopped talking to came and apologised for the falling out and along with a few other events, I got myself emotionally tongue-tied. I felt like I was in the pit of despair (princess bride) and just could not pull myself out of it.

Last night I finished my final shift at the coffee shop, I am both sad and angry as it is such an easy job made hard by rules and regulations and the workers not being happy. Oh and the language barrier. I really wish languages was taught more at school, it probably is now but at school it was only french and german. now there’s spanish, polish or int he case of work Slovakian, where they would all talk in their own language making me feel isolated and insecure, it sounds stupid I know but I loved making coffee but to spend most your working day not having conversations with people can be hard going, and when there’s little or no training you fall into bad habits and everything just takes longer.

It’s funny how this year people, including me have not been happy in their jobs and not done anything about it, granted it’s a lot harder to get a full-time job these days, it’s mainly part-time and zero hour contracts. But when I got the chance to do something different I grabbed it with both hands. I feel like I’m taking a big risk, but I’ve learned that nothing is secure anymore. This morning I got a letter from the landlord, as expected the rent is going up. shame they haven’t responded to emails to fix the damp. will have to get onto that.

Anyway, when I left last night I got a leaving present, and in the card someone put, ‘hope you enjoy your new job better than this one’. Well, any thing is better than that. I have never felt such negativity, especially when all they keep telling you is ‘it’s only coffee don’t get stressed!’ Well why the monkies are you stressed?????

I enjoyed the job, I just hated spending all day not having a proper conversation, and then there’s the customers, you do your best to engage with them and they snap your head off or grunt. I know your busy rushing off to work and you’ve been waiting a century for your coffee but have a little respect for the person behind the bar, they are working really hard to make your coffee and sometimes its terrifying to ask you how you are after bombarding you with several questions of how you would like your drink.

I know it sounds like I shouldn’t be in retail, but I have done it for over half my life now and in some cases its been brilliant and others not so good. But that’s life in a way, I realised that after yesterday and that we can’t take anything for granted and we have to treasure the little things, like talking about accents over a coffee, being silly with children, being able to sit in silence and read a book, holding that book etc.

Then there’s the whole attachment to material objects or buildings, for years I never wanted Mum to leave her house as it meant so much when growing up and her garden is beautiful, and then there’s my house. I’ve grown as a person so much in the last year or so and in the last week it feels like a cloud or darkness has lifted from it. sounds daft I know, but I’ve been dealing with mixed emotions, change of jobs and memories returning which I thought I had dealt with. And that’s the point, it’s just memories that make us, not a sofa, a book, a house but the things we remember and we can take them with us, wherever we go, whether they are good or bad we don’t need objects to remind us what we have or how happy we are, just our memories and our experiences.

So 2015, after a letter from the landlord upping the rent as I expected them to do, it’s time to look for a new home, where I’m not sure, but I also want to aim to own a car again, so there’s a lot to sort out and need to tighten my belt properly this time and not waste money on food that I won’t eat before it goes off.

Thank you for readng

xxx

Review: James and the giant Peach at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

JATGP_new_large_show
West Yorkshire Playhouse

‘This winter fly away on an amazing expedition with Roald Dahl’s hero James, his new-found garden bug friends and one gigantic peach. Join the adventurers as they journey through the sky on an across the world voyage. Have they bitten off more than they can chew in the shark infested waters of the Atlantic Ocean, or will it be plain sailing through the enchanted Palace of the Cloud Men? End this juicy tale with a trip to New York City and find out if everything turns out peachy at the Playhouse for James.’

By ROALD DAHL  Adapted by DAVID WOOD

‘James and the Giant Peach was Roald Dahl’s first classic novel for children. Although The Gremlins is sometimes referred to as an earlier example of his writing for children, James was Roald’s first conscious attempt to write for a younger audience after several years of writing primarily adult short stories. Roald started writing it in 1959 after encouragement from his agent, Sheila St Lawrence.

In the orchard at Roald’s home in the Buckinghamshire countryside, there was a cherry tree. Seeing this tree made him wonder: what if, one day, one of those cherries just kept on and on growing bigger and bigger? From giant cherries Roald also considered ever-increasing pears and even apples, but eventually settled on a giant peach as the method for James’s magical journey. The book is dedicated to his two eldest daughters, Olivia and Tessa. It was first published in 1961 to glowing reviews and marked the beginning of his prolific career as a children’s author. –here

James and the Giant Peach is still a favourite more than 50 years later. In 1996, an animated film version featuring the voices of Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, Joanna Lumley, Miriam Margolyes, Pete Postlethwaite and Susan Sarandon was released, while David Wood’s theatrical adaptation remains popular, playing across the UK.’

Information from the West Yorkshire Playhouse website

watch the trailer

My Review

‘An enormous escaped rhinoceros from London Zoo has eaten James’s parents. And it gets worse! James is packed off to live with his two really horrible aunts, Sponge and Spiker. Poor James is miserable, until something peculiar happens and James finds himself on the most wonderful and extraordinary journey he could ever imagine . . .’

‘Much loved Roald Dahl’s story of a young orphaned boy who finds friends and a new family in the most bizarre way’

50 years old? This story is over 50 years old. Can you believe it? No neither can I. Roald Dahl is one of my favourite childhood authors. I have loved all his stories and until recently didn’t realise the vast amount of work he created and from his little old shed. Amazing.  His stories along with Quentin Blake’s illustrations just create a world of magic simply by open a book.

I can’t remember reading this story as a child but know the film very well, I have always loved the live action to animation film and Roald Dahl’s books suit both on paper and on-screen or in this case stage.  I’m loving having the chance to see plays this year, It makes you realise how much television and film have to spell things out, where in theatre they use puppets or in this case props to create character leaving the audience to fill in the rest.  Just like the performance of Father Christmas at the playhouse, this made me feel like a big kid, I was completely absorbed in the action. The stage was beautiful, I absolutely loved the curtain at the back, I would love that pattern in my house, the costumes and make-up were amazing, and the actors were so true to character, it was like they had jumped off the screen or page and were there in front of us as friends. By the end of it, it reminded me family is not just blood, it’s what we make it. I have so many friends that are more like family to me then most of my own. We just forget to open our eyes sometimes to what we have.

This play was not only full of action, it involved the audience, it was funny, it was sad, it held both adults and children’s attention that I’m sure you could hear a pin drop when it was quiet. The adaption from page to stage was amazing.  I’m wondering if it was the producer’s favourite book as a child, as the magic and excitement came through the story. James being treated like dirt by his aunts to finding a magic peach stone and a whole new set of friends and people to care for him. The aunts being greedy when the peach grew to a ginormous size to being squished by the peach rolling down the hill, this was one of my favourite parts, it was so inventive how they did it. But you have to go see it to find out how. And don’t forget to yell ‘hooray as it squashes them rolling down the hill’

This year I have seen some amazing plays and this one is one of my favourites, so much so I went and bought the book so I could read it during Christmas when I finish work, it also made me want to visit Roald Dahl’s museum and see where the story began.

So what you waiting for? follow this link and go see the play – follow me

Further reading

Visit the Official Roald Dahl Website, which is packed with information and up to date news from the World of Roald Dahl.

some interesting links to the play http://www.davidwood.org.uk/latest_news.htm

http://www.davidwood.org.uk/plays/plays_james_and_the_giant_peach.htm

and the book being 50 years old here

Facing my demons

Wobbly Yummy Mummy

It’s amazing what we as human beings are prepared to do to ourselves in order to avoid facing our feelings. It may be throwing ourselves into our work, in order to make every minute so busy with activity that we haven’t a moment to contemplate anything else, or it could be self-medication with whatever drink, drugs or substance we can lay our hands on. However, there comes a point where we can no longer do this and the only way to eradicate the demons that mercilessly control our lives is to face them and disempower them. And this is exactly what I am about to do.

Almost a year ago, my husband and I took part in a documentary ‘Somebody to Love’, which explored the challenges facing people with disabilities in finding love and forming romantic and sexual relationships. Partaking in that documentary was one of the most difficult things I have…

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Or Ask a Librarian ……

Leeds Reads

Book publisher Penguin is launching The Penguin Hotline to Christmas shoppers select the right book for anyone on their Christmas lists.  

You go to The Penguin Hotline and fill out some information about your potential book gift recipient — age, literary likes, other interests and hobbies — and submit the form. Penguin employees will then take that information and come up with a few personalized book recommendations (though it may take up to two days, according to the site). And, if you like, they will also tell you which book stores near you have the item in stock.

The hotline will recommend books from any publishing house, not just Penguin: “[We] want to support anyone interested in giving a book for the holiday season,” they explain in a press release. “[People] work at Penguin because of a passionate love of books, and we are thrilled to channel that passion into helping…

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Travelling Suitcase is famous!!! Famous I tell thee!

LeedsBookClub

Our very own BookElf is taking the city by storm!
Well, the reading part of it anyway! Your average football fans are probably less aware…

If you haven’t followed the twitter links – please visit http://bit.ly/cT9S5M  For Books Sake (linked on the main page) are featuring our intrepid book warrier, and her mission to make books more accessable and communal!

And, a little earlier, Culture Vulture (I think www.theculturevulture.co.uk/blog/?p=6120) also ran a feature on her book swop/twitter event!

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