The Trouble with GoodReads.

A good book

Don’t get me wrong, I think GoodReads is a really good idea but the trouble is that I discovered it quite late and I don’t know how many books I have read in my life but I do know it’s a lot! And the thought of having to write and post a review for every single one of them is overwhelming! I suppose the sensible thing would be to post a review or two a day on a persistent basis and eventually I might get through them.

But, as is often the case with a big job, it is often not the job itself but the thinking about it that is the worst part. As soon as I think about doing it, I just freeze and then apathy kicks in and consequently I have still barely started. When I go into GoodReads and see the pitifully few reviews I’ve posted I then feel guilty and embarrassed. I then start to think, well no-one will read my reviews anyway.

It’s not the physical part of any task that is most difficult, at least not for me. It is the mental resistance; all the thoughts of ‘it’s too much’ and ‘why should I bother?’, these are the thoughts that lead me into getting nothing done. And unproductive thoughts lead ultimately to an unproductive life.

I’m always reminded of the scene from The Empire Strikes Back where Luke Skywalker is trying to get his plane out of the swamp and he says “It’s too big.” Yoda tells him it’s only too big in his mind. Then Yoda says he must do it again. Luke replies “I’ll try.” And Yoda says what is probably my favourite line from any film ever. “No. Do or don’t do. There is no try.”

The moral of the story is that when we undertake a big task we need to be more like Yoda and less like Luke Skywalker. May the force be with you!

A Review of Django Unchained

Gary and I went to see Django Unchained today.  We both enjoyed it but if you don’t like violence and gore I would advise you to avoid this film.  It’s a typical Tarantino film in that there is a lot of violence, mostly, but not all of it is quite stylised.  It is extremely graphic on the horrors of slavery; the most horrific moment is when it shows a runaway slave being torn to pieces by a pack of dogs.

I was glad I wore my hat because I just pulled the brim down over my eyes so I couldn’t see that bit.  It was too much even for me!  Leonardo Di Caprio is a right bastard in it!  And if anything, Samuel L. Jackson is worse!  I though Jamie Fox’s performance in the title role was almost too understated but that’s just my opinion.

A good film but not for the faint hearted.

Rose by Martin Cruz Smith

This is a great book.  I finished it a few days ago and I really enjoyed reading it.  The characters are very well-developed and the plot is really well done.  There is mystery and romance and a fair bit of sex but the sex scenes are well written and not silly.

But the best thing about this book (in my opinion) is the way the author writes about the setting.  I never thought that I would think of Wigan as evocative and exciting but here it is all of that and more.  The place becomes almost the dominant character of the book.

This book was recommended to me in a instruction book about creative writing (I forget which one now) as one of the best examples of really good use of setting and it does not disappoint.  I thoroughly recommend this book!

ROW80 Check-In 20/01/2013

A professional writer

Making moderate progress which is good.  Here is the link to my post about my goals – http://mrsbongle.com/2013/01/06/row80-check-in-06012013/

The writing is coming along nice and steady – not too fast but not too slow either.  I have finished over half of chapter four of my numerology book; this chapter is quite long because I have to do all the correspondences.  But I have written words for this book every day this year so far; obviously I have done more on some days than others but that’s always going to be the case.  And I have blogged every day of this year so far as well.

I have finished one of the books I’ve been meaning to read; it was called Rose by Martin Cruz Smith and it was really excellent!  I will do a review of it some time.

No more progress on putting my work out there although I did discover a new competition that I might enter if I can write a poem I consider good enough.  You have to write a poem on the theme of ‘Homeland’ or ‘Motherland’,  the poems must be between twenty and sixty lines.  Link is here. http://www.fantasticbookspublishing.com/2013/01/17/international-poetry-competition-2013-open-for-entries/

Still spending too much time on Facebook but I do enjoy it!

Film Friday – Lawless

Gary and I both liked this film a lot though the fact that its set in one of our favourite time periods goes someway to explaining why.  Its set in 1930s Mid-West just before the end of prohibition.  The cast is pretty stellar too with a cameo from Gary Oldman, who is always one of my favourite actors, and Guy Pearce plays one of the meanest baddies I’ve ever seen.

However I must say, if you don’t like the sight of blood and graphic violence then don’t go and see this film.  It even includes a brief glimpse of a pair of testicles in a jar!  The script is by Nicholas Cage and I thought it was really good and the soundtrack is to die for!  It’s all folk songs and stuff like that which I love and includes performances by Emmylou Harris and Wille Nelson and a really original version of the Lou Reed song White Heat/White Light.

The photography was very beautiful in parts as well and it was very atmospheric.  As a historian I didn’t spot any obvious historical inaccuracies.  I think Hollywood is getting a bit better at the research.  All in all, a great film that we both enjoyed very much!