Friday, 21 January 2011

Pure Fantasy.

Neil Gaiman's 'Stardust' was the book I carried around with me last week. It really was very enjoyable and I thought it heaps better than 'Neverwhere' which I was given for Christmas the year before (in fact the same friend gave me Stardust this Christmas being a huge fan of his herself). It is a fantasy book of the purest sort which I am not at all used to, the nearest I get to fantasy being Terry Pratchett but since he draws so many parallels with the real world they don't feel as alien to me as proper fantasy novels. Although Gaiman writes very fluidly and creates worlds that are terribly interesting and fantastical, he always leaves me feeling unfulfilled. His characters are never properly drawn and are always one dimensional so they are hard to like or care about, his fantasy worlds are certainly jolly exciting but are not described well enough for one to feel they really exist or to even properly picture them, unlike the fantasy world created by J. K Rowling for example. But above all what leaves me feeling he can't craft a book properly is that large amounts of it will be written in such a simplistic style that I get bored and feel that really he should be writing for the young adult market instead, but then there will be a big sex scene, and so clearly he does intend his book to be for adults... Not an author I am much impressed by.

I am currently very annoyed with my flatmate. Since we moved in together last summer I have always been the one who organised the bills, did the majority of the housework and so on and I got used to it and although it irked me a little sometimes I had pretty much thought that would happen before we moved in together and she is easy to live with so it was okay. Then she met her boyfriend and they have spent every night together since at his flat. I was a bit lonely at times but I got used to it and after all it was none of my business where she choose to sleep as long as she paid her share of the bills etc. However, since Christmas she and her boyfriend have sort of decamped to our flat on a regular basis and I am not loving the extra company... I suppose I got used to having the flat to myself a lot of the time, but the fact that she is around more but still doing no extra stuff with the flat is bugging me a tad. All made worse by discovering this morning that she had piled my mail from over a month ago, including bills in my name but for us both for which we had incurred late fees as I thought no bill had arrived, personal invitations and letters, she had piled all of this under junk mail and not bothered about it! I am cross and doubt she will apologise... but then I do rather wonder if deep down it is more to do with the fact I am not at all sure I like her boyfriend and am not wild that he is spending so much time in our flat. When there are only two of you having another person around makes a big difference I find.

He seems so unfriendly and pretty much ignores me, while she is so wrapped up in him that when he is there she barely manages to say hello. He was round on the night I got in with my highest ever grade for an essay and I very excitedly told her the news to have her half heartedly say well down while he continued to watch tv, she then turned to him and started talking about something else... This is only her second ever boyfriend and I understand she is absorbed by him but I do feel she is taking it too far. I vow never to become such a girlfriend and I definitely think spending every single night together is too much; everyone needs some free time on their own and time with friends without their boyfriend. When I was with my ex I did spend a lot of time with him and although I do consider I spent too much time with him on balance, I still spent time on my won doing things and lots with friends... I can't help feeling that being so focused on a man (everything they do revolves around him and his schedual and preferences)  is jolly pathetic. Plus such intensity cannot be sustained forever, perhaps their relationship will burn out?

Interestingly although they are so together and clingy with each other (or at least she is), they are not planning to move in together this summer when we would have the option of letting our lease expire... It kind of makes me wonder if he is less serious than she is but that he just likes having a girlfriend. He is certainly a serial relationship person which I dislike intensely. He was with a girl for 3 years, within 2 months of splitting he was with another for a year and within a few weeks he was with my flatmate! Rather horrifying and it does imply that he doesn't like being single and just goes for the first girl he quite likes. I hate that sort of thing and would much rather be single for a long time to get over the previous person and also to find someone good enough to go out with. Maybe he just likes the fantasy that Hollywood sells us whereby everyone gets coupled up and so he goes from girlfriend to girlfriend as he has been sold the dream that being in a couple is preferable?

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Can you forgive her?

I adore the books of Anthony Trollope, though telling people I do so can be rather awkward as they horribly often get confused and think I am referring to Joanna Trollope... He really is not terribly well known nowadays but he is without a doubt one of my favourite authors.

Over the years I have steadily worked my way through the bulk of his work, though since he wrote dozens of books I still have some great treats left. Nowadays, aware as I am that the numbers of Trollopes unread by me is dwindling I tend to save them for when I go on holiday. Typically long, deliciously familiar and always wittily entertaining (in a more masculinely amusing Jane Austen style) they make perfect holiday reading.

To his critics the books take a very long time to get to an ending you can rather predict from the beginning and they often claim that nothing happens in them. However, I would heartily disagree as the whole point about Trollope's books is the character development that occurs and the minutely perfect character portraits he creates of his often extensive cast for the reader's delight. His books also happen to be set in the wonderful world of the 19th century which I find endlessly delightful to read about.

'Lady Anna' is my current Trollope (half of it is left over from a city break I took last weekend before uni started up again) and is deliciously class conscious. 'Barchester Chronicles' of which there is a series are utterly terrific, but his very best work is 'The Way We Live Now' which was also made into an excellent BBC adaptation a few years ago starring the magnificent David Suchet.

Partying again tonight which should be jolly good fun though not on the dating front as all will be friends and none of the men are attractive to me. Actually one of them I did find rather enticing last year, however, I later worked out that that was almost solely because he was the president of the society I attended and it was the power that I found so attractive... I am now on the committee of the society myself and his stock has rather dropped with me, though I do still think him a very nice boy.

About 7 months since I became single which is lovely and I feel most comfortable and happy as a busy single girl. At the weekend I attended a tea party held by a friend (we all wore charming tea dresses) and after the tea and cakes we moved on to prosseco and started to confide. We got to talking about exes and the host told me about her ex-boyfriend whom she split up with around the same time that I split up with mine. They went on a break and she kissed someone, nothing more, yet he could not forgive and so they did not reunite and her broken heart has plagued her ever since. My ex would not forgive me for splitting up with him when I tried to reunite... I still don't know why not. Forgiveness is a hard thing to master, but I do believe that if you want to forgive then you can always find a way, where as if you have other reasons or even just feelings like stubbornness etc then you deny yourself the ability to forgive and so have to carry on indefinitely with the weight not forgiving leaves with you.

But forgiving too much is also a mistake. I have a very pretty friend who forgave her ex-boyfriend several times for cheating on her for he just kept doing it. While my friend with the married man I believe to also have been far too forgiving. She is currently waiting to hear if he is going to split up with her or leave his wife... I do not know which would be best for her in the long run, but for her sake right now I do hope he gives her a decision so that she can get on with her life.