Monday, 23 January 2012

There is always a reason for the single state.

With my head full of 'American Gods' I am looking forward to my date with Mr Blonde tonight. Saw him last week as well and so this is some sort of record for never before have we been able (or possibly willing) to meet up twice in such short succession! I find the whole thing rather odd, though a lot less odd than everyone else seems to... I have mentioned it to a few friends and my dear old mother as well, and all to a woman make a most amusing screwed up surprised face and then say 'But why? I don't understand it?' or words to that effect. For though we have been going on dates since way back in August, we have yet to see each other more than twice in one month, we have only ever met up on week nights, he has very cheerfully paid for all meals and drinks, and yet he makes absolutely no move to see more of me, to start an actual relationship with me.

Yet I don't mind... Mr Blonde is a jolly decent man (and actually rather good looking as well which is always a big plus) and if perhaps he is just lonely and wants someone happy and chatty to take out to dinner occasionally then that is fine by me. I think he has a huge fear of commitment, which is why he has never had a serious relationship before, and I can totally see why. He sometimes leaves ages between dates and is very busy indeed at work where he also works long hours, he likes to visit his friends and family most weekends and has an active social life. Which doesn't leave much room for a girlfriend. Until last week in fact we hadn't seen each over for two whole months! To be truthful I thought it was over and that I wouldn't hear from him again, but then he suddenly got back in touch. Christmas makes people feel lonely I think. I have wondered if he is seeing other girls, but I believe him when he said he wasn't, and if he is then I don't actually much mind as we aren't sleeping together.

I always have fun when I see him, we chat and eat at delicious restaurants and then kiss goodnight and don't see each other for another few weeks... I like him, but am not crazy about him, and I must admit to enjoying being wined and dined very much, and as for him... Well I have no idea! Is he just lonely and like having someone to go out with? But surely it is normal to want more than just to buy me dinner?! And as for me, I like him enough to enjoy his company but not enough to mind very much that he isn't falling hopelessly in love with me.

So a lovely dinner tonight, and maybe even some yummy cocktails afterwards. Say what you will he does treat me well!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Snuff, or the almost sickening love between Same Vimes and Lady Sybil.

I love Sam Vimes, and I adore Lady Sybil. I loved them as single characters and then swooned with delight when they married and eagerly sought out all the little bits of interaction they shared in the various discworld books. Literally nothing delighted me more in each new installment. However, the new discworld book 'Snuff' has nothing but Sam and Sybil, and even I found it huge overkill.

We get far too much of them together. I can't believe I think that... I would have thought nothing would have given me more pleasure than that sort of discworld book, but there is just too much of them being all couply together. Sam Vimes was always willing to do what his wife told him, but I hated feeling he was hen-pecked, and poor old Sybil for I don't believe she is a hen-pecker. But in this book she is made to order him around rather, while there is even an implied sex scene... totally out of character for a discworld book and it just didn't feel right.

The book is just one long love letter to the marriage of Sam and Sybil and I found it a bit sickening by the end, much as I love them. Pratchett is a master writer but perhaps his strength is in juggling lots of different characters and plots within the same narrative, and so when he tackled only one plot and just a few characters it didn't work out so well. He has also changed the character of Wilikins in this book. I admit that just fleshing out the character would have been fine, but it felt like he had changed him somewhat, and although I did rather like his closeness to Vimes, I didn't believe in it after the other books.

But of course there are parts that work very well indeed, though interestingly these I found to be when the rest of the city watch were mentioned, which was not nearly often enough. It really could have done with a much greater cast and lots of the old favourite characters being shipped out to the countryside with Vimes and Sybil. However, even among the lovely city watch moments there was one dreadful scene where we get to hear the inner thoughts of Cheery the dwarf... have to try hard not to let that spoil her as a character for me.

I hate to write so critically of the man who is just about my favourite living author, but I must admit to being a tad disappointed by 'Snuff''. I like to think it is just that I hated reading about such a happy relationship, and that once all happily in love I can re-read it and enjoy it!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

New beginnings.

2012 has got off to a rather lovely start books wise. Unable to commit to just one blissful new book on my love of my life kindle I have instead plumped for lots. I have made inroads into them all but am nowhere finishing any of them, striving as I am to read so many at once!

'American Gods' by Neil Gaimen is shaping up very nicely and I am enjoying having him take a more serious and less shallow interaction with his topic matter. For once it is also a lot less of a fantasy novel for while it utterly is so, it is still set loosely within our world, rather than entering another world as 'Neverwhere' and 'Stardust' do. I already like it a great deal more than his other books.

'Death at Pemberley' by 'P.D. James is also most interesting. She is a prolific crime novelist and up until now I had never read her work, preferring my crime to be of the middle-class lacking in blood variety that dear old Agatha Christie was so perfect at. In this book she has taken 'Pride and Prejudice' (definitely in my top ten all time favourite books) and sets her novel 6 or so years after the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth. The premise still being the solving of a crime, however, for one night Lydia comes screaming into Pemberley claiming Wickham has been murdered. The book so far is just readable but frankly after the first few pages which were a delight, conjuring up as they did the magic of Austen, the style in which James is writing becomes very irritating. She is clearly trying to write in the style of Austen but it lacks the humour and the ease and feels very stilted and heavy-handed. This is a shame as the actual plot is rather good.

'The American Senator' by Anthony Trollope is absolutely marvellous. I have read a great deal of his work but up until now (barring perhaps the excellent 'Lady Anna') I haven't felt he came anywhere near his magnum opus 'The Way We Live Now'. But 'The American Senator' is proving to be jolly good and almost in the same sort of way. There is an excellently scheming heroine who reminds one a good deal of Rebecca Sharp in 'Vanity Fair', a real heroine who as always is a bit of a milk sop, engagements, love interests, battles over ethics, an American who challenges the way of life of the English upper classes... it is a joy to read and so delightfully long that it can accompany me for a good long time.

'Westwood' by Stella Gibbons which is okay... I loved 'Cold Comfort Farm' and adore 'Nightingale Wood' but so far this is not living up to expectations. I was half expecting this for when an author is so universally known only for one book it takes a bit of a leap to bother with the others, but 'Nightingale Wood' I loved so much I thought perhaps her other work had been unfairly looked over. I will stick it out but the pleasure in her words, her usual witty turns of phrase do seem to be lacking.

Also 'Service with a Smile' by the ever charming P.G. Wodehouse. It is his usual best and is a delightful Blandings book. I do love Wodehouse, he really takes a lot of beating and I have never read anything remotely like him in style or content.

The utter joy of the kindle is that one can also download samples of books so for my perusal I have 'A Game of Thrones' by George R.R. Martin and 'Rangarok: The End of the Gods' by A.S. Byatt.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

All in the past - the last of Germanicus.

On the eve of a new university term one takes stock, looks back at what has been and looks forward to what is just around the corner. This being a fresh beginning and a new start I am determined now to finally and completely put the ghost of Germanicus behind me. I still find my thought drifting to him and am making excellent efforts to cease such silly and weak behaviour. I must let the past be behind me absolutely.

I was helped in these commendable efforts by bumping into him quite by chance a few months ago. We spoke for ten minutes or so as we walked in the same direction and then said our goodbyes. I looked rather good (not my very best but thankfully I wasn't caught out at the corner shop on one of those mornings when I haven't yet washed my hair or taken my glasses off for contacts) and I was cheerful and polite but distinctly distant. He was quite nervous I thought as we started to talk, and for a while I could see the cogs in his heading turning over and over as he tried to make up his mind as to if I would have heard of his new girlfriend and indeed if he should mention her. He didn't, of which I was glad, as really what could I have replied to such a comment? I was careful to be very non-commital to his suggestions to meet up and even commented on finding out where he tended to lunch during the week that I was glad I knew, implying so I could avoid him (I know this sounds a bit rude but he is very difficult to strick a point home to and I would rather seem a bit rude and make him know I don't want to see him). It actually went very well for me: I looked nice and was very cheerful and enthusiastic about all the things going on in my life and was nice and polite about his life. My knees did shake a whole lot afterwards but I was on my way to a lecture so a lovely friend let me talk on and on about it and gave me a hug. By the time the lecture was over I felt miles better and like a weight had been lifted.

I am very glad we have now done the first meeting. It has helped a lot for he was a stranger to me, not the Germanicus of my memories, but a new and a different person. But I have no desire or wish to see to see him again. And really since it took over a year for me to bump into him I don't think there is much danger of that. Other than that one occasion I did once see his car driving past (I didn't see him in it) while on my to a party and it really threw me and made me all weird. My friends actually had to rally round and calm me down when I arrived, but I soon recovered on that occasion and now have no fears on such a score as the first meeting is over and I acquited myself very well indeed. In fact if there was a winner (and lets face it there always is) then it was I. I think all this time I had been worried about running into him, but now I have, it was okay and it is all over and the first meeting can never occur again.

So onwards brave knight to the next conquest. Actually I have a date tomorrow night with Mr Blonde, but more of that another time.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

The path trodden alone.

The single life can be heart-wrendingly lonely at times, no matter how much you enjoy your own company and relish your independently spent nights of solitude reading books and drinking red wine. To tread day after day through birthdays, festive events, parties, nights out, dinners etc as a solo party has the potential to become dispiriting and can end up leaving you with a dull ache, the sense of something not actually missing but just not present.

I like being a single entity, just me against the world, able to make all decisions irrelevant to the whims and desires of others. But every so often I so spend time, oh usually nothing more than a few days, but typically only an evening, feeling horribly and inescapably lonely. This evening I had drinks with a friend who has newly moved in with her boyfriend and while I might have expected to feel a trace of jealousy mixed in with my joy for her, it was not that that left me feeling alone. Rather it was the way in which her whole life seems to have changed, and I suppose the sub-conscious fear within me that I won't fit into it any more. They have started to socialise a great deal with other couples: dinner parties, nights out and so on, as well of course as lots of time just the two of them, and their lives now look so very complete and filled up with things. I guess I feel a little pushed out. Or perhaps it is simply the fact that every time I now see her she seems to talk endlessly about her boyfriend, their new flat and in intricate detail about their new life together. It is lovely to see her so happy, I just wish she could do rather a lot more of the looking happy and a great deal less of the talking about it, I do think it a tad insensitive for her to have gone on about it so very much.

Lancelot has a girlfriend... this was of course inevitable but I liked him so very much that I am sad about it. He is the only chap I have fancied so rotten in a long time and we had such chemistry together and got along so well... Yes he is a bastard, yes he probably would have cheated on me (no I won't let him cheat on this girl with me), and yes he would have left me broken hearted. But morosely I imagine I would prefer to at least feel something for a boy even if it does end in heart break. These boys I date, they tend to me very nice and all but I never feel anything very much for any of them, certainly not after the initial excitement has worn off. I long to fall hopelessly, overwhelmingly in love again.

I think 2012 will be the year of my second great love. Oh how wonderful to this time next year have, or perhaps have had, a splendid love affair.