The future father of my children is…a bookworm

25 09 2013

bookworm

When he is not stealing cars, committing bank robbery and engaging in dubious activities with hookers on GTA5; FFOMC spends much of his time with his nose in a book.

This is a hobby of which I am entirely supportive. He is extremely well read and enjoys a wide range of genres (although fantasy is without a doubt his favourite). The ability to lose oneself in a good book is a pleasure and an opportunity to escape in alternate realities and FFOMC can become really absorbed in his reading material.

He is currently working his way through a blogging challenge answering questions about books he has read and is on Day 10: a book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving. I love a good book myself and he has made some great recommendations over the years we have been together and has bought me some great presents such as The Hobbit, The Witching Hour and he even indulges my interest in Batman comics and graphic novels from time to time. Without a doubt, it was his suggestion that I read Terry Goodkind’s series, The Sword of Truth that has given me the most pleasure as a reader.

Of course as is the case with many hobby’s it can be irritating on occasion particularly on holiday when he can lose 8-10 hours, often totally forgetting that I am even there.

We spoke recently about our favourite childhood books. If he is to be a future father then it is probably best that we share the same ideals when bringing up our future children. We are in total agreement about classics like The Hungry Caterpillar, Meg and Mog and of course the Mr Men and Little Miss books. However he does not quite share my passion for Peace at Last and Where’s My Hat, and has berated my poor parents for not introducing me to Dr Seuss. I cannot abide anything by Roald Dahl and I doubt he cares much for The Worst Witch or Sweet Valley High.

No doubt our future children will have their favourites, and just to try us, they will bear no resemblance to our own nostalgic attachments to books read to us by our own parents, but I feel we should ensure that they experience the joy of reading and being read to.

What is your favourite childhood book and why?

 

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On Hold

26 07 2013

On Hold

I have just worked out that it is 13 days until FFOMC and I depart for the Dominican Republic.

This is of course cause for celebration however I am falling into the classic trap of spending my days “waiting”.

I seem to spend a lot of my life not truly living in the moment but waiting for significant milestones or events. These range from the fairly insignificant wait for the end of a school day or FFOMC getting home from work; to the longer waiting games for the start of a new TV series, release of a book or film or even the next holiday. On a long term basis I have my eyes on other goals such as buying a home or becoming a parent.

I sometimes feel like I have placed myself on hold.

I cannot fast forward through life – nor should I want to – so it is time for me to press play.

I am not going to sit round in a daytime TV induced coma simply waiting for my holiday to roll around I need to view the next 13 days as part of my holiday – god knows I have been looking forward to it and it has felt like an eternity coming round.

I need some projects to occupy my time other than housekeeping, blogging and catching up with school work.

Suggestions gratefully received – must be inexpensive and relaxing.

First project is to do some reading. So with that in mind I am switching off the TV and settling down on my sofa with a nice cup of tea to finish reading the book that has sat gathering dust on my bedside table since Christmas.





Artistic Licence

30 03 2013

Positivity

 I have been reading an ever increasing number of Blogs. It is interesting to read what others have written and helpful to consider what makes other Blogs appealing to me as a reader.

It is a way of seeking out inspiration as well as increasing your own site traffic. My husband directed me to the following site:

http://thebigblogcollection.wordpress.com/

In order to sign up I had to add my blog to a particular category. This was challenging.  I have a number of recurring themes but I write about a range of topics in my quest to post every day.  I wracked my brains considering my overall tone and attempted to identify similarities.

One thing I have been very conscious of is keeping the tone light hearted, humorous  and most importantly POSITIVE.These are the types of blogs I most enjoy reading whereas, I find it draining reading negative posts, even if I can relate to the issues under discussion. I have noticed that I adopt a lot of artistic licence in how I discuss and present personal experiences in ‘blogland’. I am sure a lot of bloggers relating personal experiences are selective about exactly what they include and what they edit out in order to make a specific point or convey a message to their readers.

Positivity seems the best strategy.. I often edit out the bad bits even when I am speaking to people. I am not ‘Mary Sunshine’ with a smile permanently plastered on my face, my life is not all rainbows and butterflies, I do of course have bad days  – but no one wants to hear me forever winging about my lot in life.

It started when I was younger when I listened to my Mum recounting stories to elderly relatives we would visit on Sunday afternoons. She had a manner of storytelling that was largely truthful but she would tweak minor details or merge conversations to humorous affect.

When I left home I made a point of calling family and friends regularly and editing out any bad experiences always presenting the events of my daily life in a positive way, after all these people cared about me and wanted to know that I was happy. I occasionally invent characters or rewrite my own history slightly if I think it will read better or lead me naturally to a better punch line.

How much artistic licence do you use when writing about yourself?

I'm part of Post A Day 2013





How many posts should you ‘readaday’

25 03 2013

Reading

I have managed to maintain the habit of writing something every day for a couple of months now.

While not everything I write is earth shatteringly brilliant, being consistent and writting regularly has had a positive impact on my site stats, likes and follows.

I try to make the effort to thank everyone who ‘likes’ my posts and to visit their Blog and read a few posts that they have written.

This seems the courteous thing to do as they have taken the time to read what I have written and I genuinely enjoy reading the wide range of topics and themes people Blog about. By reading a selection of posts by eah writer I can get a feel for each Blog and establish whether it is something I would like to follow myself.

As I have been generating more site traffic I am finding it harder and harder to do this causing me to question how many posts should I ‘readaday’

My Blog is after all a hobby not a full time career – (although wouldnt a career in blogging be a fine thing)! I go onto the freshly pressed screen and view the list of Blogs I follow and try to keep up to date with fellow bloggers whose work I enjoy. My two favourite bloggers are: Simple Tom and Jezzarath.

I enjoy the optimistic tone of one and I am married to the other. These I do go out of my way to read but there are SO many great Blogs out there and just not enough time to read them all.

How many posts written by others do you ‘readaday’? and at what point is it acceptable to switch off the computer and give up?

I'm part of Post A Day 2013





Fifty Shades of Fabulous

22 10 2012

Like every other red blooded woman on the planet, this summer I read “that book”.

Fifty Shades of Grey”, for those of you who haven’t read it (i.e. men), is the story of 21 year old Anastasia Steel who is seduced by wealthy CEO Christian Grey and drawn into a world of BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, Masochism).

As a married woman over the age of 30, I fit the perceived demographic perfectly. However despite being dubbed “Mummy Porn”(and I should mention that I am ABSOLUTELY NOT a Mommy),  this book seems to have a much wider appeal than anticipated and has become the fastest selling paperback of all time. It is known for its explicit erotic scenes and despite its success it has received extremely mixed reviews.

There seem to be three main reasons for the widespread criticism of Fifty Shades:

1/ It is badly written.

2/ Some people find the erotic content to be in poor taste.

3/ It started as a piece of fan fiction based on characters from the Twilight series.

In my opinion – it is badly written. The friend who recommended that I read the series claimed that she had found dozens of typos and spelling mistakes; although I did suggest that she may not have been reading it right!

The storyline is a fairly standard format. It is basically a Cinderella story. A young virgin falls for a damaged millionaire who changes her life. Thematically there is nothing new here. The plot is fairly weak and the characters are stereotypical, the attempts to develop an emotional subtext are clumsy and predictable. Christian Grey has been emotionally scarred in his early childhood. But this does exploit a desire many women, appear to have to “fix” the men in their lives. We all want to bring something of value to the important relationships in our lives (romantic or not). Anastasia softens the character of Christian and helps him to trust her and gradually give up his need to control. However, the relationship between the two main characters develops too quickly and given the extreme nature of Christian Grey’s sexual demands of the virgin, Ana, it is difficult for a reader to suspend belief.

I have heard many comments about how tragic it is that this book has been so successful in comparison to more critically acclaimed works of fiction available. Personally I am an advocate of ANY material that encourages people to develop a love of reading, irrespective of genre.

The erotic content on the other hand is written extremely well. Critics argue that the sex is given higher priority than the storyline. A strange argument in this genre – in erotic fiction, isn’t the sexual content always prioritised over the development of plot and character? The sexual preferences are also far from conventional. So do the sales figures suggest that we all secretly yearning for a BDSM relationship of our own in which we either relinquish or assume all control, or is it simply harmless escapism?

It would appear that Fifty Shades has enhanced the sex lives of many ordinary women and due to the media hype it has certainly prompted much discussion about the politics surrounding sex and sexuality.  I have read some claims that the underlying message invalidates feminism. Surely feminism is the pursuit of equal opportunity in all aspects of life. Women and men alike have sexual desires and preferences that vary. Sexual acts between two consenting adults in the privacy of their own bedroom (or ‘red room of pain’ if that is to your taste), is not the sum total of a relationship, and a little fantasy role play can be perfectly healthy and not impact on other aspects of the relationship.

In the books, Mr Grey does attempt to dominate all aspects of Ana’s life; but she does ultimately assert her independence and sets her own limits that she finds acceptable and she often tells him when he has crossed the line. This seems to be a win for the feminists. My understanding of BDSM relationships is that the submissive partner retains control and can make use of ‘safe words’ when needed. Perhaps this is in some ways healthier and more open than ‘traditional’ relationships, as at least terms are agreed upon by both partners in advance.

The main reason that I can find for the widespread criticism of Fifty Shades is that it started as a piece of fan fiction and there is a degree of snobbishness from the bibliophiles amongst us. Let’s not forget that the plot of Fifty Shades has moved a world away from the characters and plot on which it was originally based and that modern technology has enabled us to be much better connected with the rest of the world and share our ideas in an immediate and public way it was inevitable that works of fiction that would otherwise pass under the radar have the opportunity to eventually reach mainstream audiences and what a massive compliment to established writers that their work should inspire other emerging writers. This is one of the amazing things about the World Wide Web. Getting a publishing house to embrace your work can be hard so reaching an audience in this way is a great opportunity for aspiring writers.

Many women I have spoken to have thoroughly enjoyed reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” though none have claimed to think that it is a literary masterpiece. I certainly enjoyed the series and have read other similar books since as it has provided me with a much needed escape route from the day to day mundane aspects of life.

I understand that Universal Pictures secured the rights to the trilogy in March this year – I for one will be in the front – or maybe the back row – depending on whether I can convince my husband to join me in the cinema an hope that literary masterpiece or not ‘Fifty Shakes of Grey’ can continue to titillate women the world over