One post with three headings READING, LOOKING, THINKING an idea started by Book Jotter, innovative blogger Paula Bardell-Hedley. Her invitation to participate offers a slight change from ‘Thinking’ to ‘Doing’ if that suits your purpose but I’m sticking with the first format. Also, I am restricting myself to around 200 wordcount per heading. I can love, like or loathe in three short bursts!
READING: Let’s not pretend we always read high calibre books like Booker Prize winners and heady non-fiction tomes, most people like a bit of lowbrow stuff to pass the time without stretching the brain too much.
This is why I love reading ebooks on my iPad, so accessible via OverDrive, and so many back numbers that it’s easy to binge on a writer’s complete oeuvre. At the moment my guilty pleasure, no, rephrase that, my escapism is prolific British author Simon Brett and his Fethering Mysteries series. A cross between Agatha Raisin, Miss Marple and cosy crime books featuring ‘mature’ women, Brett has created retiree Carole Seddon and her neighbour Jude, a healer, who live in an English seaside village which thrives on gossip and, you guessed it, murder. Amateur sleuths Carole and Jude manage to solve crimes without external help, e.g. police, by persistence and sheer nosiness. Exploits often revolve around fragmented marital relationships. The first book I read was “Bones Under The Beach Hut”, coincidentally while I was on a beach holiday, and have enjoyed the consistency of the characters ever since, although some plots are more gripping than others. Apart from Fethering series, Simon Brett has also written the Charles Paris, Mrs Pargeter, and Blotto & Twinks series of crime novels. GBW.
LOOKING: My movie review of the HBO television version of Liane Moriarty’s “Big Little Lies” could be filled with vitriol but I’ll rein it in.
How did it go so wrong? Why base the story on a best-selling book if you aren’t even going to try to recreate the ambience? I was one of the first to read and review the novel “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty (before I became a blogger) and I knew it was a winner. Modern, edgy, clever, the plot was enhanced by social media comments from witnesses, police, etc, which obviously didn’t translate to the screen. In the turgid, overblown DVD 3-disc version, which thankfully I borrowed free from the library, the school-obsessed mothers were rich, pampered, spoilt like their children and their husbands were just as bad. I could not relate, nor feel any sympathy for the movie characters although they were portrayed by big-name actors. I can’t even begin to write about the weak build up and even weaker ending. Moriarty’s name does not get credited on the DVD case and the words ‘based on’ is unreasonable. In my view, the book is brilliant and regrettably I think anybody who has seen the HBO depiction will have a tainted view of the genuine meaning. GBW.
THINKING: Dog eats possum in suburban backyard. No, not a newspaper headline, something which happened in my quiet, sober suburban street two days ago.
For a start, there are three dogs which is against Council bylaws and one of them has just birthed ‘accidental’ puppies. They are territorial so they bark at anything that moves, people walking, kids on bikes, and possums. Possums are a fact of life in my suburb, we have possum-proofed our house. On a moonlit night they will pound across the roof, jumping from tree to tree, house to house in search of food. I won’t go into the habits of possums, the main thought I can’t get out of my head is my neighbour calmly telling me the mother dog caught and ate a possum. Horribly, I had heard the commotion, the desperate squealing, so my fears were confirmed. The said neighbour let this happen because it was ‘good nourishment’ for the lactating dog. Suburban possums are full of parasites, the least of which is worms. That dog has now given those worms to her puppies. I’m not squeamish, I understand how the animal world survives but that’s in the countryside, not a suburban block where owners need to conform and dogs need to be domesticated. GBW.
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward