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Exploring the written word

Funny :)
Reblogged from Dilettante:

Under "nobody knows:"


  • Time-travelling pirates
  • Über-chimp astrologers
  • Ham-fisted hosers
  • Over-emotional AIs
Source: http://myjetpack.tumblr.com/post/120167979645/a-cartoon-for-the-new-yorker

The North (and almost everything in it)

The North: (And Almost Everything In It) - Paul Morley

By: Paul Morley
ISBN-10: 0747578168
ISBN-13: 9781408834015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Language: English
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio


Throughout the years I have travelled from outside England to London and Cornwall, always loving the vibe of the city, and then the quiet of the very far south. But I wanted to see more of this facinating Country. From London you can take the train north, reaching Manchester Piccadilly within about 2 to 2 1/2 hours with Virgin Trains, CrossCountry, East Midlands, First TransPennine Express, Northern Rail, etc. As you are cradled by the Train you may wonder about the sights you see along the way (similar to the Book The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins), curious about the history, the history of the North. To me, North England means Manchester, which is wrong and only based on personal opinion (certainly not along any geographical or political lines).

"By the time you arrive on the edge of this major northern city and see the buildings, new and old, that tell its story, that announce its entrenched character, you may have been in the north for a fair few miles, and nothing will have seemed so dramatically different since you were in the obvious south (P. 36)"

My first impression of the North was Stoke-On-Trent, then up to Manchester, finally settling on Stockport. I adore Stockport. I love the Greater Manchester area. I am enthralled by the Peak District. Paul Morley, the Author of The North (and almost everything in it), grew up in said area, specifically in Reddish, which is an area of the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, in Greater Manchester, England. "It is 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Stockport and 4.6 miles (7.4 km) southeast of Manchester. Historically a part of Lancashire, Reddish grew and developed rapidly during the Industrial Revolution and still retains landmarks from that period, such as Houldsworth Mill, a former textile mill" (Wikipedia). That is why I picked up the book in the first place; I wanted to learn about this North since I myself have been exploring Stockport and to a lesser extend, Manchester.

The Book itself was great although it took me weeks to read due to the convoluted way it was written. I had no issue with the historical timeline of the North of England being written backwards as his own timeline went from youth to adult in the expected manner. There were lots of sentences that ran together, for an eternity it seems, and sometimes I wondered if the Author was not on something as he was writing - still - I give the man credit: it calls for a second read so I can highlight passages and explore this North and the locations he mentions. The book also lead to me and Google again forming a intimate relationship so I could look up any names or happenings I was not familiar with. I am, after all, not from England.

While I do like the book, there was too much mention of Sports and Music - but considering Paul Morley is an English music journalist with a serious Football (Soccer) fetish, I will forgive him for such folly.

Paul Morley's non-fictional book The North (and almost everything in it) will capture you if you give it the time it deserves.


The Small Step Journey

The Small Step Journey - Chris Parsons

By: Chris Parsons
ISBN-10: 1508466343
ISBN-13: 9781508466345
Publisher: Shadoe Publishing
Language: English
Format: Paperback & e-Book

Poetry, one either loves it or despises it. I am one of the haters. Never mind regular poetry that speaks about a place or a concept, but hand me some love poetry and I immediately start to roll my eyes, groan, and go into pre-vomit stages developing hives that puts me off anything remotely sentimental for weeks on end – more so than under normal circumstances. People around the world regularly dive into said drivel, even write it. I am aware that the world pivots on love, that love supposedly conquers everything (who needs food or a job when you have love, right?), that romance and its accompanying poetry is what people hope and wish for in their overcast gloom of everyday life. Just not me. I am forever doomed to live in a love-gazing-world.

Trying to read and review outside my comfort zone requires climbing on tree branches that grow into different directions. This time it was Poetry. I am a glutton for punishment, what can I say. It is a branch that is very new and still relatively thin on my reading tree. The Small Step Journey captures moments along the path of life. Some is love poetry, and thankfully, some of it is not. I particularly like the notes at the end of select poems where the Author explains why a poem was created. It helped my understanding of the Author’s mind-set and it has, without meaning to, tentatively warmed me to the genre.

The Small Step Journey speaks of an inner path, successfully captured in words. It spans love in its myriad of forms, it tries to capture cancer and the aftermaths, and numerous other topics such as wars, or rather, the history of it eons later. It is the first published book by this Author and deserves a decent review.  It is a good book.

Unkept | Ericka Clay

Unkept - Ericka Clay

Women do it to themselves a lot {A.T. Hummings}


By: Ericka Clay
ISBN-10: 0692378022
ISBN-13: 978-0692378021
Publisher: Bannerwing Books
Language: English
Format: Paperback & e-Book


A few days ago I saw a Blog entry that asked any followers if they would be interested in reviewing a new Book called Unkept. All that was asked was an honest review afterward. I applied. Ericka Clay was kind enough to send me the e-book version and I made it my mission to read it with an open mind since I had never read any of her other books. I finished Unkept. And I have a problem; I do not know how to review it. Should I be honest, lie or settle somewhere in between?


Unkept is a story about two Ladies in a small town of Missouri. The story unfolds around a Funeral Home where Vienna works and Heather has to make arrangements for her mother’s death. Both have a history together and said history collides. The full Synopsis of Unkept can be found below.


I love Ericka Clay’s writing style. It is clear, and easy to follow although the story sometimes gets lost in the emotional heap of both ladies. One of the pitfalls of book reviews is that reviews should be based on the story line as it is written, not what the Critic wished the Author wrote. While the story line is good in of itself, one even could say great in that it has a lot of women characters, and a solid base, Vienna and Heather are just too wimpy for my taste. As are most of the women in the story but two; Rosa and Loretta. Unfortunately they only have a minor role. Sadly the story is credible, as are Vienna & Heather.


As mentioned above, honest, lie or settle? I shall do honest. Take away the fact that I wished the Author had turned the woman in the book into strong life characters in the face of adversity, and somehow not let a tortured grade school era take up so much time in the story, I did find the later part of the story, and its ending, satisfactory. Women do it to themselves a lot. That pretty much sums up Unkept.


Official Synopsis:


"As the live-in manager at her father’s funeral home in Burling Gates, Missouri, Vienna Oaks has succumbed to the mediocrity and abject loneliness of her life. Her days are suspended between the mundane and the misery of her clients’ throttling grief, of changing light bulbs, and encountering strangers as bereft as she. But after orchestrating the funeral for a little boy named Parker prompts a severe panic attack, she finds herself at a personal crossroads in which she is forced to confront the pregnancy she’s been hiding, her childhood nemesis, the boy she never stopped loving, and the deep-seated secret surrounding her mother’s death more than a decade before.


In another part of town, Heather Turnbull has just learned from her estranged father that her mother, a lifelong recluse, has died. When making arrangements for her funeral, Heather chooses Oaks Family Funeral home, where she comes face to face with Vienna – the woman she tortured throughout grade school, the woman who has recently had an affair with her husband.


Together, Vienna and Heather navigate through a makeshift friendship born of circumstance and devised to assuage their ambivalence towards motherhood and their tenuous relationship with reality, discovering, in tandem, the art of forgiveness and the will to go on.


With humor and poignancy, Ericka Clay’s debut novel, Unkept, explores the thorny landscape of childhood trauma and the ferocious politics between little girls — and the adults they become."


-TipsyLit / Ericka Clay