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So I may have mentioned before that I have been in a bit of a reading slump recently, but that seems mainly to be about fiction. I am solidly working my way through a number of non-fiction books at the moment, and the first I’ve finished is It’s Only a Movie by the one and only Mark Kermode.

Those of you who wander over to my other blog will know that I love movies and one of the critics whose opinions I pay most attention to (even though I don’t always agree with him) is the Good Doctor Mark Kermode. His Friday afternoon reviews with Simon Mayo on Radio Five Live are a real joy and the podcast is one of my Saturday morning rituals. So good fun to read his memoir, subtitled “reel life adventures of a film obsessive”.

It has all the great stories that those of you who follow the Good Doctor have heard before (his brush with Helen Mirren who took him to task for saying The Queen wasn’t a proper film, Werner Herzog being shot while Mark was interviewing him, and so on), plus some new stuff that I hadn’t come across before (the trip to the Soviet Union to visit the set of Dark Waters). The only thing missing are the great rants about films he doesn’t like (Pirates of the Caribbean a special favourite) so if you can search these out on YouTube or elsewhere because when he’s in full flow there is nothing more wonderful.

It’s difficult to review this – I thoroughly enjoyed it, one of the few books I could be bothered trying to read while standing up on my daily commute, precariously balanced but any man who

grew up believing that Planet of the Apes told you all that you needed to know about politics, that Slade in Flame was a savage expose of the pop world, and that The Exorcist revealed the meaning of life

deserves to be listened to.

So I’ve managed to wangle myself a week off work, most welcome given how busy I have been recently, as a means of celebrating my wedding anniversary at the end of May and the Book God’s birthday (which was yesterday).

We hired a car for a couple of days and have been tootling about the Surrey/Sussex countryside, indulging in what I have come to call “falling in love with houses we can never afford in places it would be impractical to commute from”.

This didn’t stop us identifying at least half a dozen large country piles which could be dream retirement homes. Assuming we win the lottery, that is….

On Monday we spent the day in Arundel, one of our favourite places (see not terribly brilliant photograph at the top of this post); this mostly involved eating a very, very nice lunch in a local hotel, the purchase of fudge, and a visit to a fabulous shop specialising in walking sticks.

On Tuesday, we headed down towards Portsmouth, mainly to visit Portchester Castle, an amazing place which consists of a Norman Castle in one corner of a huge Roman fort site (which has the best preserved Roman fort wall north of the Alps, apparently) with a lovely little Norman church in the opposite corner and a huge amount of space in between. While we were there a party of schoolchildren arrived for the traditional summer school trip – lots of small children being very excited to the accompaniment of teachers saying “shhhh” a lot.

We then headed to the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson which basically allowed the Book God to look at a lot of very big guns. Which kept him happy.

Read slump seems to be over in that I am reading more, though still not finishing anything, but the week is yet young.

Bride of the Book God

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Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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June 2010