Archive for March, 2018

Articles

to love, honor and obey. . .

In Book Club Pick,Book Reviews,CannonballReadX 2018,Celebrity Endorsed,Fiction on March 25, 2018 by mrsdillemma Tagged: , , , , ,

20180325_172657.jpgTayari Jones’ An American Marriage is at its heart an exploration of loyalty, of marriage and of love. Jones writes in such a sublime way it is hard not to get utterly lost in her world, to let her characters dictate when you eat, sleep and breathe.

An American Marriage is the story of Celestial and Roy; the embodiment of an upwardly mobile couple, as the cover tells us, the American dream. The opening chapters of Jones’ narrative lay out the state of our protagonists marriage prior to Roy being wrongly incarcerated for rape. We then delve into their bond through a series of letters across the five years Roy remains behind bars; We see their love and hope, their pain, their anger and frustration, their misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Jones asks us as readers some very important questions, What does it mean to be married? Is there ever a point at which ones loyalty is no longer expected? When a marriage is tested it will either fall apart or grow even stronger – What happens to Celestial and Roy may well surprise you because it certainly surprised me.

Jones has a remarkable ability to write beautiful dialogue, the conversations within her text are powerful, un-contrived and 100% believable. Her characters are fully filled out and at different points within the narrative each one of them is unlikable, she creates the most complex and thoroughly uncomfortable situations through out and your perception of each character continues to change across the narrative.

There is a message just bubbling under the surface here and I don’t think its unintentional, this book is about more than marriage, it’s about more than Celestial, Roy and Andre. It’s about Justice and the American justice system. It’s a sharp, edgy, honest commentary on the long-term consequences of wrongful conviction. Its about the havoc an injustice can reek on our communities and it is an absolute must read.

Jones has written a novel which should be regarded as a work of classic American fiction – she ticks all the boxes needed to have created a stunning work; her setting is vivid and luminous, her characters are well developed, her story is powerful, interesting and beautifully subtle, her timing is exquisite and the twists she has lying on wait for her readers, and nothing short of genius.

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Articles

I confess I’m addicted to stationery. . .

In Book Reviews,Business / Self Help,CannonballReadX 2018,Non Fiction,websites on March 11, 2018 by mrsdillemma Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

StationeryI’ll start this post with a confession, I am guilty. 100% guilty. Guilty of being an absolute stationery addict – I geek out over a new colour highlighter, a unused pristine notebook, when I discovered washi tape I thought my life was complete. . . but just don’t get me started on fountain pens, because I’ll never stop.

I’m not sure where my fascination with stationery started, school lists perhaps? But now I guess I’m one of those who like to think that a new notebook might just be the start of that great unwritten novel. Perhaps an unhealthy interest in stationery no longer need be embarrassing . . . .

When a friend @childhoodgames loaned me James Ward’s Adventures in Stationery I was enthralled. I have dived in and out of this book over the longest time – I really should have returned it months ago, its one I’m not sure if I could read cover to cover but being able to dip in and out, devouring a chapter at a time was utterly refreshing.

I have subscribed to Ward’s blog ( https://iamjamesward.com/ ) and must admit would love to attend his annual Boring conference ( https://boringconference.com/ ) He promotes his collection of boring ( book / blog / podcast / events / conference ) as a”a celebration of the ordinary, the obvious and the overlooked” – sounds so banal, but its got me well and truly hooked.

Ward’s writing is elegant, he writes in an understated way with just a dash of very dry humor thrown in for good measure – the books tone is just light enough to be entertaining. Its funny, charming and far more interesting that I was expecting and I was expecting a lot.

Each chapter tells the history of one type of stationery; the pencil, the pen, erasers, filing products, journals. . . and tells it in great detail. Who knew the minutiae of the development of iconic brands ( too name just a fraction; Parker, Moleskine, UHU, Tipp Ex, Stabilo, Sellotape ) could be so utterly fascinating. Throughout Ward provides a collection of interesting facts that will cause you to stop and think, to perhaps reassess your perceptions, well maybe not that deeply – but they will provide a good hearty chuckle.

The only thing I would suggest might trouble some readers is the overtly British sections, there are few but they could be totally un-relatable which might put a reader off, for me it was the icing on the cake – having spent a portion of my childhood at school in the UK I found the mention of the Berol handwriting pen ( https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/berol-handwriting-pens-blue-ink-pack-of-2/21069819 ) brought back so many fond memories I spent a good hour trawling through the WHSmith website.

Wards conclusion is an interesting piece about the need for stationery in a technological age and the crossover that exists between pen & paper and the digital world – he argues that we still need the personal touch of a handwritten letter, a jotted post-it note and even a paper clipped file. So, If you’re a stationery addict, or if you live with a stationery addict then this book is for you – get amongst it.

As an aside, in his introduction Ward mentions Present and Correct; https://www.presentandcorrect.com/ “the most wonderful stationery shop in London” I am absolutley obsessed with their asthetic, their product and their customer service. If you have ever wanted to purchase the quirkiest most unusual, most perfect stationery gift then look no further.

Articles

sound bitten

In Book Reviews,Business / Self Help,Non Fiction,websites on March 4, 2018 by mrsdillemma Tagged: , ,

inkEarlier this year I responded to a shared Jordan Peterson You Tube video with the sentiment, “Oh, for fucks sake” ( I may have included a gif . . . ) This dragged me kicking and screaming into a debate about postmodernism, gender, feminism and consent. Yip, pretty heavy stuff. I was both fascinated and terrified by this obtuse character I had never heard of – He was being painted as one of the most influential public intellectuals in the English-speaking world. A once obscure psychologist and universtity professor he is beloved by the alt-right and has given voice to the conservative silent majority.

His opinions cover every facet of modern culture and he has managed to package his wide ranging theories into bite sized sound bites – enough to grab a wide audiences attention. He has 886,000 you tube subscribers and 43,148,271 views across 275 uploads.

Now, the real reason Im writing this, he’s written a book. ( https://www.whitcoulls.co.nz/new-releases/new-release-non-fiction/12-rules-for-life-an-antidote-to-chaos-6331349 ) I really want to say I’ve read it and I can offer an only slightly biased review and move on. But I can’t bring myself to buy the goddam book. I’ve read a lot of reviews; both the salt of the earth goodreads rants & the more academic journalistic pieces, both positive and negative but no-one can convince me a) I’m gonna love or b) I’m gonna hate it. I’m not really mad that Peterson is writing books, I’m mad that such a book is getting so much attention and here I am contributing to that. . . .