NOTE:

Just so its realised — most of the books read will either be from my own private collection or from other sources eg. libraries.

Also for your information, I’ll be very selective in terms of what content gets cited, so as to remain relevant, in this ‘Student Blog’ of mine.

Finally, I read slowly, so this blog page will take sometime to be updated. So in anticipation thank you for your patience.

Related Blog Postings: Novel Approach and Noted Books.

Also view my dedicated TV Channel regarding Book Reviews at: http://www.youtube.com/user/MavarineDuMarie

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After they left the coffee shop he walked her to the subway. She was still brooding on what she was going to write about the second half of his career; it was like a scab she couldn’t stop picking.

“In your novels, have you ever written about someone you care for in a way that you knew would hurt them?”

“Of course. I generally don’t like to admit that I ever work from real-life models, but I can admit it to you. Sometimes I do. And sometimes I’ve drawn unflattering portraits of people who mean a great deal to me.”

“How did you feel about it?”

“I regretted it. But it can’t be avoided. A writer has to use everything he has. If you want to write, you have to be willing to be a son of a bitch sometimes.”

He was still thinking about this when they reached the subway entrance. “The same thing is true for critics, you know. You should give that some thought, if you’re considering becoming a literary critic. You have to be prepared to say things that will hurt people’s feelings.”

He was giving her permission to write about him harshly. She wondered if he realized this. She didn’t think so.

Starting Out in the Evening
By Brian Morton
Published by Crown Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-15-603341-1

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When I was old enough to leave school, I wasn’t sure what career to choose. In reality the choice was limited. Our generation was part of the baby boom after the war, and there was a lot of competition for jobs. At first I wanted to be an architect, but the thought of more years of studying put me off the idea, despite having been offered a place.

A local gents’ tailor shop was advertising for a trainee, so I asked the owner of the newsagent’s if he would write a reference for me. “What do you want to be a tailor for? I’ve been waiting for you to ask me for a job!” he replied. So it was quite by accident that I started on my career as a newsagent.

When I arrived at the shop at six o’clock the following Monday morning, I didn’t pick up a bag of newspapers and start on a delivery round. Instead it was my job to sort the rounds out for the other boys and girls. This didn’t take too long because I had helped do it before.

“Right,” said my boss when I had finished “let’s see if you can serve some customers.”

I was terrified. I had passed my O level maths, but it was completely different to stand behind a counter with a queue of customers rushing to catch the bus to work.

“Ten Woodbines, a packet of mints and a Daily Sketch”, my first customer demanded. To make matters worse, the cash register didn’t add up the items for me. It all had to be work out in my head. Mental arithmetic held no horrors for me in the classroom, but this was terrifying.

Somehow I struggled through the morning rush. Despite a few embarrassing moments when I gave people the wrong change, it was soon time for breakfast, I was allowed a long break at breakfast and lunchtime because I started work so early in the morning. The shop was open for twelve hours every day, and my day off was always during the week because the weekends were the busiest days. I was issued with a long grey overall, and had to wear a shirt and tie with smart trousers and polished shoes.

My boss was happy enough with my progress. He continued to train me in different tasks, including ordering stock for sale and setting out window displays. Eventually I was cashing up the money in the till at the end of the day and recording the sales figures. I was amazed to learn that we ordered Easter eggs in the autumn of the previous year, while Christmas goods had to be ordered in spring!

Life’s Too Short,
foreword by Val McDermid,
published by Bantam Books,
ISBN: 978-0-553-82513-8

 oooooOOOOOOOOooooo 

NOVEMBER 26, SUNDAY

The curate preached a very good sermon today – very good indeed.  His appearance is never so impressive as our dear old vicar’s, but I am bound to say his sermons are much more impressive.  A rather annoying incident occurred, of which I must make mention.  Mrs Fernlosse, who is quite a grand lady, living in one of those large houses in Camden Road, stopped to speak to me after church, when we were all coming out.  I must say I felt flattered, for she is thought a good deal of.  I suppose she knew me through seeing me so often take round the plate, especially as she always occupies the corner of the pew.  She is a very influential lady, and may have had something of the utmost importance to say, but unfortunately, as she commenced to speak a strong gust of wind came and blew my hat off in into the middle of the road. 

I had to run after it, and had the greatest difficulty in recovering it.  When I had succeeded in doing so, I found Mrs Fernlosse had walked on with some swell friends, and I felt I could not well approach her now, especially as my hat was smothered with mud.  I cannot say how disappointed I felt.

In the evening (Sunday evening of all others) I found an impertinent note from Mr Burwin-Fosselton, which ran as follows:

DEAR MR POOTER – Although your junior by perhaps some twenty or thirty years – which is sufficient reason that you ought to have a longer record of the things and ways in this miniature of a planet – I feel it is just within the bounds of possibility that the wheels of your life don’t travel so quickly round as those of the humble writer of these lines.  The dandy horse* of past days has been known to overtake the slow coach.

Do I make myself understood?

Very well, then! Permit me, Mr Pooter, to advise you to accept the verb. sap.** Acknowledge your defeat, and take your whipping gracefully; for remember you threw down the glove, and I cannot claim to be either mentally or physically a coward!

Revenons à nos moutons.††

Our lives run in different grooves.  I live for Art – The Stage.  Your life is devoted to commercial pursuits – ‘A life among Ledgers’.  My books are of different metal.  Your life in the City is honourable, I admit.  But how different! Cannot even you see the ocean between us?  A channel that prevents the meeting of our brains in harmonious accord.  Ah! But chacun à son goût.

I have registered a vow to mount the steps of fame.  I may crawl, I may slip, I may even falter (we are all weak), but reach the top rung of the ladder I will!!!  When there, my voice shall be heard, for I will shout to the multitudes below: ‘Vici!’‡‡

For the present I am only an amateur, and my work is unknown, forsooth, save to a party of friends, with here and there an enemy. 

But, Mr Pooter, let me ask you, ‘What is the difference between the amateur and the professional?’

None!!!

Stay! Yes, there is a difference.  One is paid for doing what the other does as skilfully for nothing!

But I will be paid too! For I, contrary to the wishes of my family and friends, have at last elected to adopt the stage as my profession. And when the farce craze is over – and, mark you, that will be soon – I will make my power known; for I feel – pardon my apparent conceit – that there is no living man who can play the humpbacked Richard† as I feel and know I can.

And you will be the first to come round and bend your head in submission.  There are many matters you may understand, but knowledge of the fine art of acting is to you an unknown quantity.

Pray let this discussion cease with this letter. Vale! ±
Yours truly, 
BURWIN-FOSSELTON

I was disgusted.  When Lupin came in, I handed him this impertinent letter, and said: ‘My boy, in that letter you can see the true character of your friend.’  Lupin, to my surprise, said: ‘Oh yes.  He showed me the letter before he sent it.  I think he is right, and you ought to apologise.’

The Diary of a Nobody
By George & Weedon Grossmith
Published by Wordswoth Classics
ISBN: 978-1-85326-201-2

FOOTNOTE:
* dandy horse – make a velocipede, an early bicycle, propelled by pushing against the ground with the feet.
** verb. sap. – ‘a word to the wise’; take the hint.
†† revenons à nos moutons. – Let’s get back to the point.
   chacun à son goût. – Each to his own taste.
‡‡ Vici! – I have conquered!
†   humpbacked Richard – Shakespeare’s Richard III
±   Vale!  – Farewell!!

oooooOOOOOOOOooooo 

 

Warrior Witch of Hel

The reason for posting the below citation is because in this book, the female character is a good example of an archetypal leader, who still retains her femininity throughout the book, with her touches of practical realism when faced with a challenging situation, which is from a managerial perspective a very interesting read, as the story goes:

“…The evil wizard Nidhug rules, but a cry of rebellion is still remembered: the cry of Bloodsong, the woman warrior who once fought her way to freedom. Hers is the dream of thousands doomed to slavery and unspeakable torture in the deathless lord’s terrible fortress.

Now, her cry is heard again, as Bloodsong returns, riding a Hel-horse, from the grim halls of Death itself. She wields such magic as few mortals possess. On her hand is the skull ring of the Death Goddess, Hel. At her side are a few good friends…faithful and daring companions willing to follow Bloodsong into the very bowels of the evil stronghold, capture the powerful War Skull of Hel, and destroy Nidhug’s might forever…”

Bloodsong and Freedom!, by Asa Drake,
published by Popular Library part of Warner Books Inc,
ISBN: 0-445-20039-1

  oooooOOOOOOOOooooo 

 “…name made me laugh…”

Jake did pick up on that, and a chill ran down his spine.

“what’s her name?” Jake asked more casually than he felt.

“Charlie Brown. Funny name for such a pretty lady, but what’s in a name?”

“Yes, what’s in a name?” Jake answered absently.

Steve leaned on the desk, waving his hand in Jake’s face.

“What’s the matter Jake”

“I…I think I know her.”

“Really?” Steve asked incredulously. “From Where?”

“From…” Jake trailed off

                                                                                                                    A Night to Remember

A Night To Remember, by Eve Vaughn,
Erotic Romance,
published by Samhain Publishing Ltd,
ISBN: 1-59998-354-0

 oooooOOOOOOOOooooo

revamped 1

“Perhaps you should sit down, Mr. Overkill, so that we can get started.” She bit her lip to keep from laughing at the name. She hoped the man would at least allow her to call him by his first name Seth.

The décor of his home epitomized his surname. She peered down at a sea of white carpeting surrounding her well-worn white walking shoes. Vacuum tracks all facing the same way streaked the carpet. A carved crystal vase sat in the center of a huge mahogany wood coffee table. She sat in one of the two matching chairs that flanked the couch. And a crackling fire flickered in the fireplace.

Revamped2

Sure it was the middle of October. It was also Virginia Beach, Virginia and the weather hadn’t turned into the nice, autumn temperature it should have yet. He jumped as though he’d forgotten she’d been sitting in his chair for over five minutes. “Sit? No. Not yet.” He kept his gaze on the floor.

Trying to look interested, she feigned a genuine if not concerned smile. She’d been called to this mansion for what the woman who had called her office had described as an emergency. When Elaine had started her psychiatric practice in Virginia Beach she thought for sure that neurotic narcissists wouldn’t be as abundant here as they were in California or New York. After tonight, she knew they were everywhere.

“In my line of work, it’s better if you sit. Or would you prefer to lie down?” she asked. Before he could respond, she reached into her bag and pulled out a notepad and pen.

Revamped, by Crystal B. Bright published by New Concepts,
Erotic Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 978-1-58608-888-0Revamped3

 

 

 

oooooOOOOOOOOooooo

Bookend R

Ever since I can remember I have loved books. Not just loved, but been passionate about. I regularly spend hours at a time browsing in bookshops, losing track of time, losing myself in another world.

There’s a bookshop near my office, and a couple of times a week I go there in my lunchbreak, and spend a good hour wandering around, smiling softly to myself, sometimes just brushing the covers on the hardbacks grouped on tables in the centre of the floor, other times spending the full hour engrossed between the covers of a new release.

My dream has always been to own a bookshop. Actually; my dream has always been to own a bookshop that also encompasses a café. I envision it as the sort of place that would attract regulars, lovable eccentrics who would step in to make the cappuccinos if I needed a hand.

It would be a laid-back kind of place. There would be beaten-up old leather sofas, squashy armchairs, possibly a fireplace in winter. Of course when it summer, and I remember how much I love the sunshine, I envision it in a completely different light – my summer fantasies make it light, bright, breezy. It has stripped pine floors and slick chrome chairs, huge glass windows and Mediterranean-blue walls.Bookend L

I indulge in this fantasy far more frequently as I get older. I used to think, in my early twenties, that I would work until I had enough money in the bank to open my bookshop, and that, as soon as I did, I would hand in notice and get going.

Bookends,
by Jane Green,
published by Penguin Fiction,
ISBN: 0-140-27652-1

oooooOOOOOOOOooooo

 

I found it hard working really long hours when I was my own boss.

The boss kept giving me the afternoon off. Sometimes he gave me the morning off as well. Sometimes he’d say, ‘Look, you’ve worked pretty hard today, why don’t you taken a well-earned rest tomorrow’ If I overslept he never rang me to ask where I was; if I was late to my desk he always happened to turn up at exactly the same time; whatever excuse I came up with, he always believed it.

Being my own boss was great. Being my own employee was a disaster, but I never thought about that side of the equation.

The best A Man Can Get

The Best A Man Can Get,
by John O’Farrell,
published by Black Swan,  
ISBN: 0-552-99844-3

oooooOOOOOOOOooooo

 

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