This was disappointing. There were some interesting aspects to it - the main one being that the 'nasty accident' described in the blurb and entire mystThis was disappointing. There were some interesting aspects to it - the main one being that the 'nasty accident' described in the blurb and entire mystery to be unravelled only took place within the last 50 pages of the book. It was a refusal to stick to the convention of the times that I like more in theory than having to read haha (this was an interesting read about the various ways Tey defied the golden rules of mystery novels throughout her career as well). Interestingly, the book's also pretty sapphic in a low-key (and most likely unintentional) way which was fun, but unfortunately it's also occasionally gross in all the ways you'd expect a 1940's book to be.
The basic gist of the story is that Lucy Pym, author of a bestselling book on psychology, gets invited by an old school friend, now head of a girls' physical training college, to come lecture for her students. Lucy does so and finds that she enjoys the energy of the school environment compared to her usual quiet and predictable home life. Funnily enough, she also quite enjoys the admiration she garners from staff and students alike and so decides to stay on longer at the school. And then even longer. The bulk of the book is her getting to know the students and staff better and their various social politics. It's not terribly interesting, to be honest. Readable, but kinda dull. Especially since I didn't find Lucy particularly interesting or likeable, nor her favoured students and staff members for that matter. Which made it hard to get on board with the conflict that happens later in the book and drives the mystery. (view spoiler)[I was on Henrietta/Innes'side purely out of spite by the end. (hide spoiler)]
I think what I like most about the book is that despite Lucy Pym's expertise in psychology (and contrary to the blurb), she doesn't actually use her 'agile intellect' or knowledge of psychology to solve anything. Personal bias, second hand knowledge, and how pleasant one's face is to look at seem to make the biggest impression on Lucy. Which is realistic for sure but hardly evidence of an agile intellect. In fact the mystery of the book is easily solved through physical evidence left behind by the culprit. No brain strain required. Maybe this was all of Josephine Tey's design to subvert reader expectations once again.
Either way, 2.5 stars feels fair. The underwhelming borderline of OK to Good.
This was a really great collection. 'Bloodchild', 'Speech Sounds', 'Amnesty' and 'The Evening and the Morning and the Night' were particluar standoutsThis was a really great collection. 'Bloodchild', 'Speech Sounds', 'Amnesty' and 'The Evening and the Morning and the Night' were particluar standouts for me, but all are memorable in their own way. I loved reading the afterwords to each story as well. Part of the fun of getting through each one was seeing what relatively mundane incident had been the inspiration for such interesting concepts.
As for the stories themselves, I'm still getting over Bloodchild, frankly. (view spoiler)['And to keep you for myself' (hide spoiler)] specifically. What a great fucking line. I can't believe how effective it is, that it can manage to be so convincingly intimate despite every other aspect of that scene being so nauseating and nightmarish. Ugh, my skin is crawling even now but it's so good.
Most of the stories here had some kind of disturbing element, actually. From what I recall reading elsewhere, that's kind of Butler's thing. With that in mind I'm going to cautiously-yet-excitedly add 'Lilith's Brood' to my 'buy asap' list, which I hear is also very disturbing and very good.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was a really nice book to start the year with. It was optimistic, funny, and the fact that I managed to read it in a single day speaks a lot abouThis was a really nice book to start the year with. It was optimistic, funny, and the fact that I managed to read it in a single day speaks a lot about its overall readability, haha.
It's kind of a weirdly put together book. She mentions somewhere near the beginning that writing the book was a difficult job that had to be squeezed around her already exhausting schedule, and it kinda shows. Especially when facts or little anecdotes get repeated like they're new. I don't know if a more streamlined style of organisation would have stopped it from losing steam towards the end, too. Maybe just tighter editing would have helped.
She talks about her fellow comedians a lot, including of course her old Saturday Night Live coworkers. Not knowing much about them myself didn't make her stories any less interesting or fun, fortunately. You get a good sense of how much she loves her career, as well as the hard work she put in to get there. Her enthsuiasm is so infectious. Almost makes me want to dig up the ol' Parks & Rec dvds and give the show another try.
She talks a bit about her family too, though minus Will Arnett for the most part. The way she talks about her kids was really touching. As was all the times she talked about how she loved the various close friends she made in the business. I wish I could talk about the stories that made me laugh the most, but pulling them out of context won't really be doing them justice.
There's a non-funny anecdote that's stuck out to me the most from the book though, about the skit she did for SNL that involved her inadvertantly mocking a real-life disabled girl. I love it not just for the relatable way she was initially defensive about the skit and her principles as a 'nice person', got over it and empathised with the girl but felt too awkward to reach out, and then was haunted for years because she didn't apologise - I love it because the apology she finally did give was completely genuine and not one of those awful fauxpologies that celebs like to use. I mean, I suppose if she was the kind of person that's going to have her conscience gnawed at for years, you'd expect the apology to be genuine anyway, but still. Amy Poehler seems like a good person.
I don't think I'll be reading this again any time soon, but I'm glad I gave it a chance. If you're a fan of Poehler's sharp, angry, up-beatedness, you'll probably enjoy it too.
I can't get over the fact that Lovecraft has an albino character in this story who 'turned pale' when frightened. Even more pale? What is paler than nI can't get over the fact that Lovecraft has an albino character in this story who 'turned pale' when frightened. Even more pale? What is paler than no pigment? Can such a degree of paleness even be comprehended by by the human mind? ~The true lovecraftian horror~
Anyway, Wilbur cracked me up so much in this story. Just the mental image of this weird little goat-child growing up supernaturally fast, lumbering after his bizarre mother on her spooky rambles in the wilderness, and then later when he's a gangly, 2m tall mess casually going to libraries to obtain arcane books without any kind of pretense that he wasn't doing sinister occult things.
The story kinda lost me towards the end, but overall it had some good moments, usually involving Wilbur of course....more
Given my recent move and need to downsize, this book couldn't have popped up in my feed at a better time. Marie Kondo's Konmari method of tidying involGiven my recent move and need to downsize, this book couldn't have popped up in my feed at a better time. Marie Kondo's Konmari method of tidying involves getting rid of all the useless things we hang onto because we feel guilty about getting rid of them, or because we think we might need them in the future (but 99% of the time will never end up using). I used to be into minimalism and the 100 Things Challenge, so following Kondo's somewhat ruthless guidelines wasn't as painful as it could've been otherwise. But what I like about the Konmari method - and what seems to seperate it from the minimalist movement - is that it's not about having as few things as you can manage. Rather it's about making sure the possessions you own are things you care about and make you happy.
Which is kind of a tall order. I started using the Konmari method last night and I admit I didn't hold to it the entire time. In the process of evaluating things we must ask ourselves if the things we're holding bring us joy. Some things don't, like the cheap shoes I wear for gardening and rockpooling, but it's still not practical to throw them out, either. Kondo does kinda acknowledge this kind of situation and points out that the more we tidy the better our eye gets for what can stay and what can go. I should point out too that in the other times I strayed from her advice, like the order that things should be tidied and how to go about it, things got messy, fast. So lesson learnt: her advice does work!
Also I love that Kondo's perspective is so unabashedly unusual. From a young age she's been occupied by the idea of tidying, moving from failed attempt to failed attempt to make things tidier in her home, trying countless storage solutions that always failed. Then in her teens she discovers a book called The Art of Discarding and from there the Konmari method grew. She sees objects through a kind of animistic lens, and as such, believes that when we get rid of things we should thank them for the job they did, and the things we do keep need to be stored properly in a way that's considerate of the object.
I've seen a lot of reviews that baulk at this perspective, but honestly, even if you don't follow it there's still a logic behind it that is worth following imo. Like the sock thing. Kondo says we shouldn't ball them up when we store them because our clothes need to be able to rest when not in use, and so by balling them up we're still stretching them, reducing their longevity, and making them uncomfortable. Even if the idea of being nice to socks weirds you out, the overall point of keeping your socks in shape is still useful. And yes, I thanked my things before I got rid of them. It helped! A lot of things I didn't need were things that I'd held onto because I felt too guilty to get rid of them, even if I'd never look at them again. Gifts, cards, nostalgic childhood stuff, old clothes that I loved, etc. Stating my appreciation before tossing them eased that guilt haha.
So yeah, I'm impressed with the results of this method so far and I'm actually looking forward to tidying the rest of my shit....more