Monthly Archives: August 2010

On a pedestal in Clifton, kinda



On a pedestal in Clifton, kinda, originally uploaded by still awake.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

“It’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila to share with others what you’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

I saw this on Leeswamme’s Blog and since I find myself spending more time indoors lately I thought I would finally take part.

Finished

This week I finished two books:

  • Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett, the 37th Discworld novel which provides a great read about some new and old characters in Ankh Morpork – see review on Suite101
  • The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes which was one more brilliant story by a woman who writes a lot more than just chick lit although that is how she is mainly categorised.

Started

  • The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver. A book by the author of We Need To Talk About Kevin. I have started it many times and although the idea that the main love interest speaks with a cockney accent keeps putting me off, I hope to finally finish it.

Planned

  • Angels by Marian Keyes
  • The Magus by John Fowles
  • Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates

Other News

  • I like the idea of the Princess Bride readalong, which I read about on Leeswammes’ blog, and will be doing that in October. It is hosted by Chris from Book-a-Rama and begins on October 2

Misty, fuzzy sunset and the floating harbour

Review: Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

Unseen Academicals is the 37th Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett and is apparently about football although as the blurb states “the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football” (Pratchett 2009). Indeed, this book is not just about the beautiful game but instead takes its time to introduce the new characters of Mr Nutt, who even Mr Nutt does not know about, Glenda Sugarbean the amazing cook and head of the Night Kitchen at the Unseen University, a ‘likely’ lad who has a skill with a tin can and a model who shines but is not so bright.

Read more at Suite101: Book Review – Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

Pot of gold ready to be won, Bristol rainbow

Drifting away over Bristol



Drifting away over Bristol, originally uploaded by still awake.

Cheltenham Literature Festival, Meeting The Stars

The annual Cheltenham Literature Festival is bringing the stars to this South West town for the 61st time in 2010. Between 8 and 17 October, the likes of Michael Parkinson, Antonio Carluccio and Alexei Sayle will be wandering the streets and settling for an hour or so to talk about their latest work. The theme this year is Dreams and Nightmares and my suitably favourite event is Guillermo Del Toro discussing his new novel The Fall on Friday October 8. Tickets are £7 and the session is on between 7 and 8pm.

Some other eagerly anticipated sessions include Mark Kermode, Melvyn Bragg, James Ellroy, Hanif Kureishi, Alexander McCall Smith, Sue Townsend, Michael Caine and Jo Brand.

You can buy tickets and browse through all the sessions at http://cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature/.

Exit through the roof



Exit through the roof, originally uploaded by still awake.

Dr Laura, Made For TV? Not Quite

Dr. Laura Schlessinger has recently resigned from her US national radio program following a rant about race and in particular after her repeated use of the ‘n’ word, as such. This latest controversy which has been widely covered by the US media and by members of the UK media, such as Roy Greenslade, is not unprecedented for this tempestuous star of radio. In 1998 she was a highly paid star with a media group paying $71.5 million for her program. The program was hugely popular and successful but also, as the LA Times stated

It can also be a very unforgiving show. An undercurrent of breathtaking anger surges not far beneath the jokes and laughter. For all the chumminess and girlish teasing, there is a drum beat of invective as Schlessinger rips into people, snarling insults at often pathetically needy callers, their friends, members of their families.

In the 1990s Dr Laura targeted another group and derided “homosexuality” as “a biological error,” “deviant behavior, a dysfunctional behavior,” and proceeded to link gay men to pedophilia and child molestation.

In 1999, the popular sitcom Frasier screened an episode called Dr Nora in which a strict, fundamentalist and judgemental new radio host is given a talk show on KACL. That character, who essentially satirized the real Dr Laura, turned out to have her own problems and rushed out of her job following a confrontation with reality in the form of her mother.

In spring 2001 the Dr Laura show was cancelled. Now nearly 10 years later the host has stepped down citing that she was pursued by angry and hateful groups that want to infringe on her right to free speech. The latest protest happened after an African-American woman called the show for advice on dealing with the resentment she felt when her white husband didn’t speak out about racist comments his friends made. Dr Laura used the n-word 11 times during the conversation and told the woman that she had a “chip on [her] shoulder.” The host also added that “a lot of blacks voted for Obama” due to race and said that the caller shouldn’t “marry out of [her] race” if she didn’t “have a sense of humor.”

The full audio is available from Media Matters for America so decide for yourself about her approach. As Frasier optimistically puts it: “I mean really, people can tell the difference between constructive criticism and outright abuse”.

The critics are more likely to echo Roz’s query to Dr Nora: “what kind of vicious, judgemental, name-calling, machete mouthed bitch are you?” Luckily it no longer matters as she will no longer be tainting the airwaves. For now at least.

Frames aside



Frames aside, originally uploaded by still awake.