July 21, 2009

Now that I am not constantly drunk, am drinking energy drinks constantly, (not for the buzz, but to simply keep me awake) and have lost all semblance of appetite I can read again.

Dostoievski has always held a mysterious appeal over me.  Simply because I like the way his name rolls off the tongue I think.  It has an important air to it.  So I downloaded a copy of Crime and Punishment and stuck it on my Sony Reader.

At about 100 pages in I was fairly impressed but I am now starting to worry.  We are about to embark on the archetypal family marriage dilemma symptomatic of all period books / dramas.  At least it feels that way to me on both accounts.  I will persevere, but I really hope I don’t find myself disappointed as I am accustomed to being when it comes to books of a certain age.

Garry Kasparov signed books

December 4, 2008

I was lucky enough today to arrange for someone to go to chess legend and former world champion Garry Kasparov’s book signing at the London Chess and Bridge shop. I will soon have my hands on two of his books signed for and to me.

Garry Kasparov signing his books

Garry Kasparov signing his books

This is a photo from the event.

The books I was bought are:

phpX0Y6QgMy Greatest Predecessors Part 1 and Part 2

They are both signed “To Dan”.

Caissa and the latest Stephen King

November 21, 2008

I splashed out £3 on Caissa chess for my iPod and iPhone.  It seems like a decent enough application but I would really like to know its playing strength if anybody out there has an idea.

And finally, a bit premature I know (story of my life), I have downloaded the latest Stephen King, Just After Sunset, from Audible.

A collection of short stories to be sure.

I’ll let you know.

Counting Books

September 23, 2008

I was taking stock of what I am currently reading yesterday and came to the conclusion that it is close to 15 books in total now, ranging from three audio books, all biographies.  Then old school paper books.  There is a biography of Shakespeare, one of London, two books on general philosophy, another compilation of Nietzsche, a book about Sylvia Plath, one about the torture committed by American Soldiers in Iraq on civilians.  There are a few others but I can’t think off the top of my head without looking.  On the plus side I finished two yesterday, another biography of Shakespeare and a Bill Bryson.  Ah yes, still reading the book on the moon landings.  My point is that I need to cut down to four or five books at a time only.  It’s not that it’s confusing, it’s just hard finding the time to read them all regularly.

Other news?  I have written a fair amount of my book and it seems and feels like it is going well.  Haven’t had chance to write today though as it was my daughters first birthday!  I’m going to update her site tomorrow with pictures and maybe some video I took with the camcorder.  It seems so much longer than a year since I held this tiny little person in my arms for the first time.  Now she is such a little lady!

Sarah Connor: Season 2

September 17, 2008

Have been refreshing myself with the series in preparation for Season 2 which I intend to begin watching tonight.

Re-watching season 1 on Blu-Ray has been interesting.  There are still the faults I noticed the first time round such as a very weak first couple of episodes.  This is matched with poor acting from all the main leads, with the exception of Summer Glau who has to appear wooden as part of the role…..  Again, the series perks up a little further in and I have to admit I really am looking forward to this new season.

What else have I been up to?  Finished reading “The Life and Times of the Thunderbold Kid” by Bill Bryson.  Hilarious.  I was litterally crying with laughter in places.  Bryson has got to be up there for me in the favourite author stakes.  Am still reading Moondust about the astronauts who landed on the moon and the collection of Richard P. Feynmans letters.  And…. have started a new book called “The Long Walk” by Slavomir Rawicz, it chronicles the capture of a Polish solider by the Russians in WWII.  Harrowing so far but then that is entertainment…


September 3, 2008

I have been quietly writing for some time now.  If you follow this blog on a regular basis you will know that I have had some of my works of poetry published in books, magazines and newspapers.

This however is a different project.  My first proper novel.  I have attempted this writing process before but have always left it near the beginning.  I think I found it too daunting.  But thus far I have written an ample introduction / preface and am well in to chapter 1.

I guess I will find out if I have the will and, or staying power soon enough.

The Girls Are Back

August 14, 2008

Yep, it’s the summer holidays and my step-children are back home after a few weeks away with their family.
I am so pleased to see them. It’s great to have them back.

In my other news? Not much to be honest. I have just finished setting up my Guardian Fantasy Football Team in preparation for the start of the season. My bet I mentioned the other day didn’t come in but another did taking me into the black…

I have also started a new book. “Don’t You have Time To Think” is a collection of the brilliant, and sorely missed, physicist Richard P. Feynman. Excellent reading so far. I am also continuing with an audio book of the complete diaries/logs of Scott’s famous and doomed expedition. Amazing and stirring ‘read’.

The rest of this week is all about the build up to the start of the new Premier League.
Chelsea for the Quad!


May 24, 2008

I have had the idea to work on a book for my sister who took her own life.

It has been a few years since it happened and I have amassed most of her diaries and plenty of photos. Quite a few of both have been scanned in to a computer for me to use on this project.

What pushed the idea to the front of my mind recently was publishing my own poetry and realising that the challenge will be in doing justice to my sister rather than getting the work published.

I have started in the only way I could think how. I have set in motion the requesting of a copy of the inquest in to her death. I think that this may give me a grounding into the events surrounding how and why she died. i was unable to attend the inquest when it happened for a number of reasons.

Once I have that document I will go further in detail into the the last few months of her life as best I can through her friends and our family. Once I am prepared the real work will begin.

I just hope that what I come up with as a final document is a lasting memorial fitting enough for the sister and friend I never truly got to know.

Dreams From My Father

May 20, 2008

Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama

I have been fortunate enough to experience this book in its audio format read by the author himself. Maybe fortunate is an understatement because this book is a wonderful experience in every sense of the word.

Obama’s story, the parts of it related here, is one spanning generations of his family and parts of his own life and how they have woven together to make the man that all of the world is looking on today. During his narration he pulls no punches and you really do feel the struggles that he has been through emotionally with his family and friends, personal and professional life and those of simply growing up. At no point do you get the sense he is holding back to protect his political aspirations and the effect of this is a book that engages from start to finish. A story that stands head and shoulders above the crowd that I think would be praised if written by an unknown.

Obama does a brilliant job of reading his story to us and I think that in this case it must raise the audio book above the text version. His style and intelligence shines through throughout and by the end you are wishing that there was more. Which of course there is, and he is in the process of living it. Yes, I was already an Obama fan before hearing this book and I have an offering of John McCains to consume, but as it stands at the moment Obama is the one for the White House in my opinion, and this exceptional read simply highlights that fact in my opinion.

A book that I can recommend for the American politics fan, or those who love to read an amazing true story.

Bobby Fischer Goes To War by David Edmonds and John Eidinow

May 2, 2008

To be honest, I have found this book a little bit of a let down.

If you are a regular reader here you will know that I have recently resurrected my interest in the game of Chess and this famous World Championship match seemed to be the perfect way to supplement my expanding and widening interest in all facets of the game.

But, as I said, I have been disappointed.  I found the author to have a plodding, disjointed writing style that doesn’t lend itself well to what is a historic match.  Instead of distributing the entertainment evenly throughout he some how manages to take away any excitement that could have been had all together.

I know you may be asking ‘How can a Chess match possibly be exciting?’ and I will give you an example of how I think the author gets it wrong.  The apparent KGB involvement is hardly mentioned until the very end of the book.  Instead of distributing this in relevant places throughout the story, this information is kept for the final chapters as a kind of post-mortem.  Maybe it is just me and this really is a great read, but I found it rather dry and lacking in the kind of substance that would have had me plowing through it.

I am sure that there are books about this historic event that include a move by move account of the games but it’s a cardinal sin, in my opinion, that none of this was included, not even the key games.

All in all a big disappointment.