I had forgotten just how enjoyable it is to read Adrian Mole. It is just amazing the vast amount of books that kids goes through. If you have a teenager at home or you know of one around you, if they haven't read what Adrian has then let them get cracking!
1. The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer
2. Madame Bovary
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
4. Origin of Species
5. Beano Annuals.
6. Animal Farm by George Orwell
7. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
8. War and Peace
9. The Man in the Iron Mask
10. Waiting for Godot
11. Mill on the floss by George Eliot
12. Hard Times by Charles Dickens
13. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
14. Uncle Tom's Cabin
15. Escape from Childhood by John Holt
16. Glencoe by John Prebble
17. Progress, Co-existence and Intellectual Freedom by Andrei D. Sakharov
18. Wuthering Heights
19. A Town Like Alice by Nevile Shute
20. Crime and Punishment
21. The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch
22. How Children Fail by John Holt
23. Condition of the Working Class in England by Frederick Engels
24. The Quiet American by Graham Greene
25. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
26. The Cruel Sea
27. The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin
28. To Sir with Love
So, welcome back from the weekend. Hope it was good for you as it was for me (have always wanted to say that!). Anyways. Enjoyed watching the Golden Globes last night although E! UK were having a moment and I completely missed Ricky Gervais's opening speech. Did catch up on it later but I was sooo disappointed. I thought that he would come out this year with something so totally different and mind blowing like just plain stand up comedy but it just felt regurgitated and fake. He looked totally uncomfortable being there (although he still "doesn't care" which is really starting to sound hollow and enough already!). I love Ricky Gervais to bits and am saddened when he falls short. Shame!
Let's see, this weekend I finally got to reading The Calligrapher's Secret by Rafik Schami which has been sitting in the "To Read" pile for months now. I can report that so far is fab. The characters are set in 1950's Syria. It is fascinating on so many levels particularly how Schami manages to paint a very vivid image of life in Syria back then It is also fascinating for me in that Syria was where my parents would holiday as children and later as adults (I have only been there once when I was very tiny and hardly remember it). My dad must have been in his late teens in the 1950s and so it in a way has turned into a hunt to try to find him in some of the characters. I am only a 100 pages in so will let you know how that develops.
Found out this weekend that Adrian Mole turns 30 this year. Gosh I can't believe how time flies. Diary writing is back in fashion especially with the hit Diaries of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. But Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole rules. In celebration, I am re-reading Adrian Mole: From Minor to Major which covers the first ten years. So incorporated are the complete texts of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole together with selections from True Confessions of Adrian Mole and Adrian Mole and the Small Amphibians. Gosh, I remember now how I got bitten by the diary bug in the early 80s. It was fun to start but then when things really started happening in my life (and discovering that mum did really go through my things while I was at school) I made the wisest decision of my life back then; what happens in my young life should just stay there and no more diary nonsense.
It is weird this obsession with recording our every action. Blogs are an such an example as well as Facebook and Twitter. This generation may not realise it and may scoff at our lock and key diaries of olden days with their scented paper recording our childish whimsies and yet these recordings differ in that they truly were secret diaries. Whereas this now is a generation who feels the need to share every teeny tiny bit of their life with the ENTIRE world. Where did the privacy go, where is the secrecy? In a way I envy this generation their confidence and exuberance and yet I fear that their exhibitionism will one day backfire on them. but some might argue that having a blog is in a way exhibitionist of me too. So hey ho, whatever rocks our boat I guess.
What a weekend I've had. Brilliant time to myself yesterday vegetating on my Sunday Sofa (christened the name by son) and miraculously being able to read through all the Observer, and Saturday's Guardian paper. I also managed to finish reading How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. Stroke of fate should have it that Caitlin Moran's book coincided with the Guardian's main magazine story about female Tory MPs turning feminists. I know what you're thinking and probably Janet Street Porter has said it for you in today's Daily Mail, but seriously after reading Moran's book I am HAPPY and Comfortable calling myself a feminist.
Why declare it? Well because for so many years now the word feminist has been hijacked by women who I'd rather not have fighting The Battle for me. Caitlin sets everyone straight by what feminism is and should be. If you'd like a hint what this book is about then here it is in nutshell: If you want to have a boob job, go for it if it makes YOU happy and you are going for it for the right reasons and not to live out someone else's wet dream.
This is a hilarious book and you don't have to learn anything from it but you will. There are pages that had me snorting with laughter (waxing, menstruation and handbags) and others shedding bucket loads of tears (the chapter on her own abortion and her first pregnancy). It is a wonderful read and a very empowering book whether you agree with her ideas or not. It is also a dirty filthy book, the type of filth that you wish were more abundant in the real world.
Read this book and hold your judgement until the very last page. Then read it again and pass it on to each and every person you know. Men can benefit from this too!
It's a funny time January. No matter where you go, what you do, who you talk to and whatever channel you switch on there is always someone hankering on about how they changed their life and how you could do the same too. From addictions to weight loss to sleep apnoea; the help the solutions the specialists are all there to offer help and advice and then come February 1st and just like magic they're all Gone!
Just to make it clear, I think it's brilliant having all these inspirational people sharing their experiences. You never know which one will be the one to utter that one sentence or that one word that will make you want to change your life forever. I love a good story anytime and all the better if it's one about a before and after. What I am whingeing about is that the media and the medical profession should instill in people that the change should be a life-time one and that it is a good idea to highlight these issues along the year and not just in January.
The way I see it is the message specialists and media people are sending out is that unless you make your resolutions in January and seek help for whatever is ailing you in that month then you're on your own. See if I was lying under a rock presumably all of January missing this deluge of self-help advice and woke up to complain in February about the fact that I had in effect spent all January under a rock (I would think it as cause for concern) then would the response I get be "Sorry mate, that was January, we're on Valentine's now!" or if I decided I had had enough idleness by July then do I wait for January's celebrity endorsed DVD to start an exercise program?
And if you ask me this is the problem we are facing as a nation who is now fast becoming the fattest in Europe. It's because we never seem to follow up on our resolutions and the media stop highlighting problems such as addictions and obesity as if they were a seasonal affliction that come round once a year. My solution? Press the record button and tape these interviews or cut out those magazine/newspaper articles and keep them to hand for when you stumble on your life-changing journey or you could just keep them handy for that sod who spent January dozing under a rock!
My favourite self-help books have been:
1. I Can Make You Smarter by Paul McKenna (for improving memory and promises to make you read faster which means more books on the shelf. Who can say no to that!
2. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne: Based on the Laws of Attraction, it teaches each one of us how positive thinking attracts positive outcomes to our life and vice versa and how we can set about doing that.
3. Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Probably one of the best books you'll read as a woman. It is not really a self-help book but teaches about contacting the power of the wild woman within and how strong and intuitive and brave women are and can be. It is a beautifully written book with lots and lots of stories designed to rejoice in the feminine power.
4. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, by Dale Carnegie. A powerful book published some twenty years ago and still holds true today. It lets you imagine the worst possible scenario to anything and then how to deal with it so it becomes less significant and more manageable. Truly inspiring.
5. The Beck Diet Solution by Judith S. Beck and its accompanying weight loss workbook. It teaches you how to train your brain to think like a thin person. It really is compelling reading and so easy to follow.
6. French Toast for Breakfast: Declaring war on emotional eating by Mary Anne Cohen: This book sheds light on why eat and why we overeat and why it is essential to have the foods that we crave. This is one satisfying read!