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cloud-atlasI know I say this a lot, but I really mean it this time: I feel as if I am the last person in the Universe (or the blogosphere at least) to get around to reading Cloud Atlas. I have seen it so many times stacked on tables in bookshops with its lovely coloured cover and I’ve wondered what it was all about but never thought to pick it up, even on a 3 for 2 deal when I’ve been scouring the bookshop looking for something to add. I’m still not entirely sure why I bought it for my Kindle app; I suspect it’s been to do with reading about the film adaptation and thinking that looked interesting and my tendency to want to read a book before I see the movie version.

I should also give a shout out to Silvery Dude who, when I mentioned it to him as a possible read, thought that I would enjoy the experience.

I have to say I’m really intrigued about the film, because I cannot for the life of me see how they are going to do it (or have done it as I think it may already be out in the US?). I can’t even adequately explain the novel to myself having read it, let alone visualise how the structure will translate to the big screen.

For the structure of the book is really important; there are six or seven stories all nested within each other, radiating forward into the future and then back into the past. It’s really disconcerting if you don’t know that, because when I got to the break in the first story I thought there was something wrong with the download (I know, what an eejit) but I persevered and realised what was happening. I’m not even going to try to explain the various stories told but they range over time and there are connections between them all, especially in relation to a comet shaped birthmark (as I remember – the curse of (a) waiting this long to write the post and (b) having it as an e-book is it isn’t always easy to refer back (haven’t yet got the hang of bookmarks and highlighting yet))

And apologies for the excessive use of parentheses here but it sort of fits the book somehow.

I thought it was a compelling read with some interesting things to say about identity and human relationships and all that sort of thing and I would recommend it to anyone else out there who has perhaps not read it yet.

Still haven’t got a clue how they’re going to do it justice on the screen but I’ll look forward to finding out.

You may have noticed over the past week that both here and at the home of the Screen God I have been valiantly attempting to catch up with posts. And having done so I have come to the awful realisation that I haven’t finished a book since 11 April (end of the read-a-thon.)

That’s over a month ago (yes I know, stating the obvious but that’s my thing, OK?)

So I got to thinking about why that is, and there are a couple of obvious things that spring to mind:

  1. my morning commute is currently taking place at a time when I have to stand, making the reading of books difficult (for me, clumsy woman with poor balance and lack of natural grace) and then
  2. work is still really really busy despite the ending of a major project, and
  3. although my evening commute allows me to sit down my concentration is entirely shot  by then and I’m tired, which inevitably leads to
  4. vegetating in front of the TV when I get home and falling asleep before my head hits the pillow (neither conducive to reading) and all of this means that
  5. my weekends are spent catching up with loads of other stuff

And much as I’m reluctant to say so, I just can’t get into my current read, so there’s no incentive to even try.

So going to permit myself to ignore challenges and just find something interesting to read, even if I have to open every book in this house – and believe me, that’s saying a lot.

death-of-lady-macbethSo it’s all gone a bit quiet once again chez Bride; lots happening at work which means I am either travelling to or from the office heavily laden and having to stand so not able to read comfortably (and glaring at people who insist on bringing cycles onto peak time trains when cycles aren’t supposed to be allowed) or I’m working at home where I haven’t yet found out the best way to build proper reading time into my routine.

This means I haven’t:

  • arranged to go and see 2012 which was one of my must-see movies of this year; however, it’s only just come out so plenty of time to enjoy what is likely to be total and utter but nonetheless essential nonsense
  • finished my first read for the Women Unbound challenge, which is about the six wives and various other female relatives of Henry VIII and is really fascinating, but requires proper concentration
  • started to read anything else, even though I was determined to find a graphic novel or something that would be a bit of light relief
  • been able as yet to find a suitable date for Silvery Dude and I to see New Moon, despite thinking I had a cunning plan…
  • persuaded my friend-who-hasn’t-yet-got-an-alias-for-the-purpose-of-being-referred-t0-in-this-blog to actually come up with something I can use here to annoy him

I have, however:

  • become very, very excited about the new Doctor Who story that will be on TV tomorrow night, and which is actually partly responsible for me missing 2012 (I like to go to the movies on a Sunday afternoon); I just didn’t think my delicate constitution could cope with the end of the world, David Tennant and the next episode of Fringe on the same day, so something had to give
  • become slightly obsessed with the video for the new Lady GaGa single which is awesome in its weirdness (as analysed by Jezebel), probably not to everyone’s taste and may not be best viewed when at work…..
  • started to pull together my application for a promotion opportunity, a stressful thing in and of itself and possibly wholly responsible for my inability to actually achieve anything else of note

But I’m sure it will all come together this week and at the very least I will actually manage to finish reading something…..

St Mirren Park 31 January 2009

St Mirren Park 31 January 2009

Things have been a little quiet around here lately, largely due to a mixture of

  • contracting the flu (where I couldn’t do anything including reading and on the one day I dragged myself into the office for a couple of hours a colleague said I looked shocking – in a sympathetic way of course)
  • spending some time with family in Glasgow (it was my birthday and I went with my brother to see St Mirren play their first match in their new stadium – see picture), and
  • the effects of the bad weather on my return to London, which has had everyone in a bit of a tizzy and upset the natural order of things.

Back to normal shortly, I hope

It’s very wet and grey and windy here in London, and just a few days short of my long-awaited annual holiday my PC has decided to go kaput; well Windows isn’t working properly rather than the hardware failing.  It’s a long, long story…….

So while I wait for a solution and contemplate whether this is a message that I really should by a new computer (as I’ve been talking about for months), and as the Book God mops my fevered brow, I’m going to start my blogging break slightly earlier than planned.

Normal service will resume later in October.

Happy reading!

Regular readers will know that one of my main interests is history, and so when looking for books to read for the non fiction challenge I picked several that were about the past, and this one, Ubiquity, which is about the science of history, an idea that I have always found intriguing. Mark Buchanan is using this book to describe what the blurb calls a new law of nature which can be applied to anything.

I found this a difficult read largely because it is perhaps inevitably more about the science than the history, but the ideas the author discusses were sufficiently interesting to make me persevere, though I did find it hard going at times. If I have understood the book correctly (and that might be a big if) there is evidence of “ubiquitous patterns of change” that run through everything on earth (and presumably beyond). Things that look very different may actually be extremely similar in the way that they are organised. Buchanan uses earthquakes, forest fires and mass extinctions among others as examples of how this might all work.

There is a lot of discussion about power laws which I think means that the bigger something is the less likely it is to happen – the example that stuck with me was research into wars and the size of each conflict as a fraction of the world’s population at the time, which demonstrates that wars become 2.62 time less frequent every time the number of deaths doubles.

One of the key ideas behind this book is probably best described by the author himself: if

chaos teaches physicists that the truly simple can nevertheless look complicated, the critical state teaches them that the truly complicated can behave in ways that are remarkably simple

Buchanan does deal with how this all applies to human society by facing up to the objection that I suspect would be made by many people, that is what about our free will. He uses a number of examples to show that although we do indeed have free will, we also have tendencies and often follow the line of least resistance, so that though we deal with each other on the basis of our own opinions and decisions, there almost always emerges a regular pattern of behaviour.

I’m sure I haven’t done justice to the complexities of this book, and although it wasn’t quite as I expected I found it thought-provoking.

This is my fourth read for the Non Fiction Five challenge.

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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