4 Jun

I suppose I am at a bit of a loose end.  Since Ashes to Ashes my undergraduate degree came to an end, I have been faced with few genuine commitments with which to fill my days, and instead, have been attempting to tackle the mountain of books and DVDs I seem to accumulate throughout the academic year, when I know I have no time to read or watch them.  That being said, I did read the entire series of Percy Jackson books in a week, about a month before my dissertation was due in, but we probably shouldn’t talk about such a blatant error of judgement (they were really good though, Twilight < Percy Jackson < Harry Potter).  Anyway, the first bit of recreational reading I indulged in was Christopher Isherwood’s novel A Single Man, recently adapted into a film by Tom Ford.

I have yet to see the film, so I’m sure it’s even worse if you have, but I was plagued by COLIN FIRTH whilst reading, as I just couldn’t imagine him as the protagonist, George.  This is probably due to being conditioned to appreciate him in a good ol’ English rom-com rather than any criticism of Firth’s acting capabilities, but during each passage of dark introspection on George’s part, I couldn’t help but be distracted by my Love Actually saturated brain shouting ‘Colin Firth?????’ at me.  Clearly, I need to see the adaptation to resolve this internal conflict.  Other than that, I loved the book, as much as you can love something so lacking in hope.  After finishing A Single Man, I began Banana Yoshimoto’s novel N.P.

Not Banana Yoshimoto.

I have read, and enjoyed, two of her other books, Kitchen and Asleep, so the style and ambiguity of this one came as no surprise.  I don’t really know how to describe the novel except that is is very obviously a piece of contemporary Japanese fiction, if you are familiar with writers like Haruki Murakami. I suppose Yoshimoto’s work could be seen as quite superficial, as coming to the end of one of her novels leaves you with no sense of understanding, but this seems to be a device to emphasise the frustration of her characters rather than a defect.  That said, this was my least favourite of the novels I have read this author, and although I would highly recommend the other two, this one maybe took nonchalance a little far for my comprehension of the point of the thing.

As it seems a shame to be reading indoors during such an uncommon run of lovely weather, I have been sitting on a rather garish sun lounger donated by my gran.  However, this presents a few problems in itself:
a) I am ginger.  It is over 25 degrees Celsius. And there is only so much high factor sun cream designed for the under 5s can manage.  Needless to say, I am covered in freckles, a bit pink around the forearm, and have a permanent headache despite wearing a hat.
b) By being situated in the garden, I have a first hand perspective on what has become my own personal version of the BBC’s Springwatch.  I am no Kate Humble (far too Yorkshire, far too awkward) but I think my defence of this blue tit nest in a box affixed to my garage:

from this, my beloved and surprisingly agile cat, Sam, has been nothing short of valiant and admirable.

eyes on the prize (a blue tit)

The thought of a single parent blue tit having to provide for what sounds like HUNDREDS of chirping baby birds is enough to bring a tear to my eye.  The hardened Humble, on the other hand, seemed to have no concern for my fragile emotions when she happily narrated footage of a fluffy little blue tit being scoffed by a kestrel, referring to it as ‘good protein’ (!!), and causing me to have to leave the room to avoid hearty sobs into my evening meal.  Natural world, I love you but you’re bringing me down.

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