Tag Archives: books

cloud library

3 Apr

london 9.21pm 8C friday 2020

i have downloaded the lord of the rings from the library cloud. its a good service offered by my local library and turned out to be quite timely now that we are all locked down at home. they have quite a large choice of books to pick. and because the script is in a very large format it is very easy for me to read , unlike a book, which is quite small type now that i have some comparison, i notice it.

and i figured this book will keep me occupied for quite some time, as it is a big book. i have not read the whole of it before. which seems to be quite an oversight, because this book is quite old, it was printed in the early 50s.

now i think of it, i am surprised i have not come across it and read it when i was younger.  perhaps the early editions were written in that special language that tolkien had invented and it was quite a chore to learn it. that might have put me off reading it. this edition i am reading is in standard english and very easy to read in modern english, unlike my rememberance of it. i had  a vague recollection of it when i seem to remember it was very unreadable.

today also was the premiere of a utube broadcast of a musical by andrew lloyd webber, a film of one of his stage musicals, joseph and the multicolourws coat… or some title like it. and i noticed that i am not really into films of musicals. i did not see it to the end. perhaps i might dip into it again, later this weekend, as it will be offered free to watch for the weekend. i prefer to read it than watch it on film.

also at the same time, was a play by the national theatre, again, made available free to everyone during this lockdown. but i am even less attracted to seeing films of plays. i think it is because i am rather hard of hearing and none of these offerings have subtitles so i cannot understand what the actors are saying.

now i am beginning to understand why my father is so quiet and hardly joined in our conversation. it is because i think he finds, like me, that it is so difficult to hear people that it is quite a tiring chore to understand them. i find that is what is happening to me now. i just dont like to make talk with other people. i might be rather an exception because from what everyone tells me older people get lonely not having anyone to talk to. but that has never been a problem with me. 

free food and books

20 Jun

london 17C cloudy thursday 2019

i have just been to brunswick centre, russell square, for the annual greek party there. they do it every year it seems, though this is the first time i been there.

as you can expect it is very crowded, the queue stretched 3 , 4 deep in the main concourse, and people were queue cutting, but there was so much food, with 4 separate areas dishing out the food, that everyone can get to eat. and they have a stage set up where they entertain the people with greek dancing and stuff. it is a greek affair. i heard it is paid for by greek brothers who own the freehold of the businesses there. it is rather nice of them to do it, most probably it publicises the place, and brings people into that shopping area. the food is pasta, with hommous, taramasalata , salad, a cooked chicken thigh, a kebab like sausage, a quite a lot of it. and orange juice, or coke, or beer. it is surprising that it has been going on for years and i have not known about it before.

usually summer brings on lots of these local fairs, but they dont give  free food, unlike this one. so this one must be unique.

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i thought i had other pictures of the people and the food tables but it did not come out. 

i have discovered a good read, circe, by madeline miller.  it is very well written and a enjoyable read. which is rather a compensation for some disappointing summer novels that i have been trying to get through. 

i am thinking of celia imrie’s latest book about the riviera, a nice cup of tea. its about expats living in Nice, and things that happen to them or that they make happen.  Reading them, i begin to realise that there are only a limited amount of plot and things to cook up, and in the end, it really relies on how well you can write.

alexander mccall smith does these things very well, he had two of these european novels, which i have finished and the plot is very slim but he can get away with it because of his writing style.

with celia imrie, she hasn’t got that feel- good style, where it does not matter what the plot is, because if she can evoke that feeling of europe, the sundrenched carefree feeling with hints of romance and intrigue in the air,which everyone feels  would happen when they go on holiday to europe, france or italy,  but which never tips over to being malicious, or dangerous, and everything resolved satisfactorily at the end of the book, it makes for a nice formula to these kinds of summer novels.

as it is, i find it quite a struggle to finish the novel, because i find i just could not be bothered with the things that happen to her characters. so i am real glad that there was circe, by madeline miller.

fact and fiction

15 Oct

london 8.27pm 13.9C dry monday 2018

i got an email from my electricity supplier saying my fixed contract will be expiring on 1 dec 2018 and that i am free to look around for another supplier otherwise when the contract ends they will put me on the variable rate, and that according to them means £100 hike in the annual cost. even their fixed contract is not good. i was hoping that they will give me a reasonable rate but it does not seem to work that way. they prefer i go off and get another supplier instead of trying to retain me. it seems that is how they all work, trying to poach new customers whilst letting their own customers go off. like a merry go round. 

well i have been looking at other suppliers, but the cheapest is still £36 more expensive than what i am paying now for a year. and that supplier is a unknown, a relative new comer. it looks like the costs will go up, no more cheap electricity anymore. for all i know, even that more expensive tariff might be withdrawn.

all i can say is that i am glad i dont use much electricity. only 1275kwh a year so that my annual bill is about £200… so even if it goes up, it is still quite small. and i am glad i dont have gas bill to worry about.

life is very pleasant in london. though if u read the news you would not think so. a lot of doom and gloom news. i wont bother to spell it out. no point as it would only encourage them.

i got two new books to read that are promising so far. one is the overstory, by richard powers, and philip pullman’s the book of dust.

free book

2 May

london 5.40pm 12.6C sunny wednesday 2018

i went to the chelsea library while waiting for my circuit class to start and saw this book there. the muse by jessie burton. when i tried to borrow it, the library wont recognise it, and looking in the front page i saw it has no library identifying code. so i asked the desk , and she said it is free. i did not ask why, as i did not want to appear to be looking a gift horse in the mouth…so took it anyway… i think it is because the cityread london 2018 is touting the book as their book for reading in book clubs , and organising sessions where readers can talk about it.  it is first time that i see a commercial book being given away free. the author is famous for another book, the miniaturist, which has sold a million copies it seems. this one came out in 2016. 

i am puzzled by this cityread. they are a charity, and have been doing this since 2012, from their website that i saw for the first time when i googled them.  but i live here, and this is the first time i heard of them. this year they have got the library involved which may be why this year i heard of them. even then, it is only the chelsea library that is giving these free books. chelsea library is part of the fulham and kensington council libraries. i can borrow books from them as they have linked up with westminster libraries.  i go often to the westminster libraries, and i never see any of this there. 


24 Apr

london 6.14pm 14C cloudy tuesday 2018

its got cooler, which for me is rather pleasant, though i guess those who like the sun will miss it.

i happened to look at what the weather is like in thailand , malaysia, and find it is raining. practically everyday there are thunderstorms predicted. so has the wet season arrived then? i could not help thinking that it will affect the night markets. when i was on holiday there, i thought the night market nights are the highlights of my time there. in that it is a chance to go out and enjoy the warm nights and eat all the lovely foods and fruits, as well as browse to see what interesting things to buy. but the rain will dampen all that. the rain will dampen the tourist season too. have the rains come early? i used to remember the rains come in june,july. i mean in kl. and the west coast… though in kuantan and the east coast it is time for the monsoon season there. 

added. 25.4.18. i just looked up weather in kl, and found that april is the wettest month, and june,july the driest in kl. how the memory plays me false, i thought it the other way round. just goes to show i have not been back for ages and forget a lot of things.

the tulip flower beds in the communal garden of my housing estate.

i have borrowed some books written by  expats about their life in majorca, ‘one mallorcan summer’ by peter kerr, and andalucia, ‘last days of the bus club’, by chris stewart. it is rather nice to read about it, though i am not sure i want to live that life. and i found an account of the durrels, by michael haag, ‘the durrells of corfu’ which i have borrowed about the real life family, rather than fiction which is what the currant tv series is at present showing .

the book have pictures of the family so that i am able to see what they look like, rather than the tv actors playing their part.

i also have gerald durrell’s, ‘my family and other animals’, so can do cross reference with the same events in both books. i have read his my family and other animals when i was a little boy and loved it. he was about 12 yrs old then, and he managed to write with a 12yr old perspective so that being about the same age as he was then, i can well imagine why i love it so much. it is like being drawn into a private world that he allows me to share and seeing it all with his eyes.

in a way, not knowing his real family is better … when u read the books you can just immerse yourself in that world, where no adults can bring their adult problems so that you never know what the real life problems the adults in that world have to deal with. 


finding some books to read

12 Apr

london 4.52pm 10.5C hazy thursday 2018

its like smog, this haze, and air quality is low, but where does it come from. is it pollution? i wonder. i had a taste of it when i went to brixton to buy chilli. and breathed it in.  there was no burning , no smell. and no difficulty breathing. so as pollution goes it is relatively mild.

simon is watching sony crime channel on tv. i did not even know we can get such a channel on freeview, nor that they have a channel devoted only to showing crime films… i find it boring, but simon likes to see them.

i read online somewhere  that crime novels are very popular too. i find them boring. i have returned all my library books, because i have either read them or find them uninteresting to continue. and in the library i could not find any more that i can borrow to replace them. so i am at a loose end when it comes to reading matter. i feel like going out again but this time to another library branch to see if i can dig up some books to borrow. 

added. 7.28pm 8C still hazy. air quality is moderate.i did go out and caught the bus to the victoria branch of the library. and got two books, judas unchained, by peter hamilton, a blockbuster sci fi. i have not read any of his books. and alexander mccall smith’s ‘precious and grace’. a feelgood about two lady detectives in boswana. 

this and that

27 Feb

london 2.36pm 1.8C or 0C snowing and sunny tuesday 2018

i can take my pick of temperature, because the readings are all over the place. it is snowing outside, yet the readings are above 0C. perhaps it does not matter , take it as below 0C. it is sunny though . oh look, the snow has stopped. so i guess it is just blasts of snow and then not. 

the first one overlooks the primary school playground from my kitchen window, the other view over the courtyard from my lounge window.

its all stopped now, the snow, and the sky is blue and it is sunny. it was only a very short episode of snowing. i think it will snow on friday, because i can see they have laid down salt on the pavements round victoria station. i think that  presupposes they are expecting snow later in the week. 

i was out earlier, to return 5 books to the library and then i borrowed 3 more. one of them is robert jackson bennett’s city of miracles. i have been following his trilogy and read the earlier 2 books. and so was really surprised and delighted to see this latest one , the last of the trilogy, on the library shelf for recent arrivals. it will end the trilogy. this is one trilogy which you have to read from the beginning. 

i was at the macdonalds , to get a free coffee, haha. yesterday they had a voucher to give away a free flat white coffee and it is valid for two days, today being the final day. so i was drinking it at the victoria place macdonalds, and enjoying the bustle of people eating there.

and i was sitting next to a couple, man and woman,(in their 20s, so quite young, caucasian) who were signing to each other and having a silent conversation. later they left, and i saw their receipt . a long one. they each have a cheeseburger, a hamburger, and shared a chicken legend.(i have never heard of it, so dont know what it is except it must be chicken of some sort) they were quite fussy about what is inside… the receipt specifying no pickles, no this , no that…. they did not have any drinks. nor fries. the bill came to £8.50 or so. hmm i thought that was a lot to eat. is that normal ? there was a offer to fill up a questionaire and get a free meal … so i did, and got a code which i should copy in the space provided in the receipt  for a free big mac and fries to the value of £1.99. it is the first time i see the offer of a questionnaire and free meal. is that normal too? or is it because of their unusual order? or their high cost order. anyway i shall go one day and redeem that meal. haha.

added 10.54am wednesday 28.2.18. sunny -0.7C . it snowed last night, and the snow is still on the ground now.

i got another free voucher for coffee from macdonalds, it was a fresh promotion in today’s metro free newspaper, and valid for today and tomorrow. i wanted to redeem that free meal too which i thought i got from filling the questionnaire , but was told it was not free, it only allowed me to get that meal for £1.99.

not much of a bargain, because you can get vouchers for that price all the time in the metro newspaper. i misread it, it would seem.

and luckily i went so early today, there was no crowd, it would be embarrassing, if i had gone at busy lunch time, because the server had a hard time trying to cancel that order from the machine… it kept refusing to do so. haha. ah well, nevermind, the coffee is still free. 

the trials of apollo, by rick riordan

23 Jan

london 2.28pm 13.6C sunny cloudy tuesday 2018.

3.29pm 13.6C cloudy

in fact it had been raining earlier as the ground is wet . i went to the tesco at about 12pm and it was not raining then. it is mild this weather , to me anyway. 

7.33pm 12.9C dry

actually there is nothing eventful happening in my life (which is just as well, when i read of what some bloggers have to go through when their loved ones have accidents or ill health and they have to cope with them).

i enjoyed today  because i was reading the books i borrowed from the library. it is one of rick riordan’s books, the apollo series, i had finished the first book and am on the 2nd one of the series.

 i first borrowed the 2nd book and could not make head nor tale of it. with this series you really need to read the first book of the series. i did not know that so was about it give it up, and then i found his magnus chase series in the library and borrowed those and read it all, and then i realised i should read the first book of this apollo series and fortunately found it in the library and read it, finished it  and then came back to this book and started from the beginning and it all makes sense haha. 

they are like those school boy adventure stories full of action and danger . those old school boy adventure stories are limited in time and space.  it may be about our hero in darkest africa, braving lions, tigers, you know the usual wild animals and savages so quite limited in terms of scope of things they can get up to. whilst this one he can draw on the greek, roman, (and in other books norse) myths as well as invent mythological beasts and create a tremendously varied and out of this world adventures and it all makes sense too within the context of the story. and then he throws in modern day references and things, which makes it funny as well.

i think he must be influenced by neil gaiman’s, american gods, in that book, neil posits that ancient gods have moved to america, adopt various disguises and continue to exist , because gods exist as long as they have believers. they ‘die’ as it were if they are forgotten and have no one believe in them anymore.

rick riordan’s stories bring me back to how i felt when i was a kid reading all those boys own adventure stories. with the added advantage that it makes me laugh whilst the old school boy adventure books like sanders of the river, tarzan, ‘she’ (who must be obeyed), etc are quite serious. 

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magnus chase, by rick riordan

24 Nov

london 12.48pm 10.6C cloudy friday 2017

 so called black friday today. perhaps this means that a few weeks  later, i might find a lot of lovely stuff being thrown away in the recycling bins. haha. 

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the picture is just the lovely sphag bol made by simon and ready right when i returned from the library. so i have this lunch waiting for me. and now i am sitting on my sofa (one i found long ago and it is a sofabed) sipping my coffee and writing this. its a lovely life.

i have discovered another of rick riordan’s series, this one is the magnus chase series. i found all three books of the series in the library and borrowed them all. and i have finished the first one, the sword of summer.  . its very funny and just full of action.

its his take on the norse gods. they are all the rage now, with films currently showing thor, and loki. whereas they concentrate on  thor, and loki, he takes as his hero the son of the god frey who is a nature god, responsible for the seasons, and growing things. this god is not well known so you get a different perspective when viewed from his aspect. i am now reading the 2nd book , the hammer of thor.

13 Aug

london 10.30am 21.5C sunny morning sunday 2017

blue sky and all that this morning, sun streaming into my living room. it is worthy of note because it hasn’t been like this recently. it makes you appreciate it. and that is the nice thing about the weather here. the contrast makes u aware of nice days when they come. though for me, even the cloudy days are nice. i like both kind of days. so that it is not an issue with me. i think to enjoy living here u need to adopt that kind of attitude. otherwise u will be a very sad sack. haha. 

added. 1.02pm 23.4C sunny . paddington library.  i found 2 chairs in the recylcing. they are kitchen chairs. shall put up a picture when i get home. i was going to the library when i saw them, and had to carry them back to the flat before i could go on. i am in the library now, and i sat next to a lady who asked me if i was homeless. it seems she is a tenancy lawyer but spent her time helping out the homeless. when i sat next to her, she said her friend is now at the waitrose getting her a drink . and i found out she told me, that she would go there and get free coffee without anyone stopping her. it seems she got a load of old waitrose cups, which she use. so that is how you can get a free coffee without buying anything … but i did buy something this morning when i went there. they had brocolli reduced to 25p, so i bought two and got a free coffee cup.

i dont really drink coffee from them, nowadays. even before the rule that u must buy something to get your free coffee, i have not done it much. i just am getting free coffee everywhere, and i am not that keen on drinking coffee anyway. though i have to say i think they are very good to provide free coffee to their customers. it makes me feel good about them. even now when they bring in this rule that u must buy something from them, but as u can see, u can circumvent it, but also there is no minimum spend to get the free coffee. the lady who was sitting next to me, also told me a tale of how she was helping this homeless man, who is from the states, and is staying in uk illegally, and recently she asked him to look after her things while she goes to the toilet. it seems in this very library. she had asked him before to look after her things, and he had always asked her if there is any money in there… and she had always said no. but this time, she had gone to the bank to get £450 to pay for her storage and he stole it , along with her storage keys which were in her purse. i told her she had put a temptation in front of him and he just could not resist. but now she had lost her keys and had to pay £80 to the company to get another. it seems she pay £1400 a year for the storage, and this £450 was part payement. now she is debating whether to report the theft to the police. there was cctv pictures of the man stealing from her purse. she said she cried for days when it happened…

i suppose when u help the homeless you must be savvy and not be so naive as to wave huge amounts of money in front of them. it is unneccessarily testing their honesty. and many will be unable to resist the money. so dont tempt them, because when they fail you will lose your faith in humans, when really u should expect them to steal from you.

people who are homeless are obviously people who dont really have a strong mind, or discipline. a generalisation of course, but mostly true. and so u would not expect them to be able to resist temptation. of course we have read of the odd one who have returned huge amounts of money they found. it is newsworthy because it is rare. even amongst those of us who are not homeless… 

i found this book, by robert winder, the last wolf in the library today. so i borrowed it. it was mentioned in reviews as the cause of the shaping of the english landscape, when the extinction of wolves in uk, led to sheep farming. 

2.28pm 23.5C sunny home