Monday, 29 July 2013


I have recently started using Twitter. I am organising a music festival later this year and have set up a Twitter account for that and in the process, reactivated my dormant personal account.

It’s a beast of a thing, Twitter. I have long shared the opinion of writer Bruce Sterling who said,
“Using Twitter for literate communication is about as likely as firing up a CB radio and hearing some guy recite ‘The Iliad.’"
but I think that during this past week, Twitter may have proven me simultaneously both right and wrong.

One word dominated my Twitter feed over the last few days.


If my feed was swamped with tweets about the rape threats against Caroline Criado-Perez, then I can only begin to imagine what hers was like. Following her successful campaign to have Jane Austen featured on banknotes, Criado-Perez was rewarded with up to 50 rape threats an hour from anonymous ‘trolls’, in what appears to have been a well orchestrated attack and almost blanket silence from executives at Twitter. Where Anonymous Angry Male would previously have had to make do with shaking his fist at the radio or television when a pesky woman spoke her mind, Twitter now provides an immediate and direct platform for 140 characters of hate and malice.  

It was just out of sheer curiosity then, that I clicked on a link with the hashtag ‘rapejoke’. I assumed this would be a continuation of the Criado-Perez story or something relating to it.

In fact, it turned out to be one of the most powerful things I have read all year. I literally couldn’t stop reading it, over and over. Do yourself a favour and check it out:

This is one powerful poem. It seems intially to be an attack on rape jokes and yet I don’t know if it is  about rape jokes at all. It's about what it's like to be raped.  Lockwood has spent her life trying to laugh it off, laugh at it and not take it seriously. The poem forces the reader to reevaluate the rape joke and also reevaluate what constitutes rape itself. As the US comedian Sarah Silverman says
"Who is going to complain about rape jokes? Rape victims? They barely even report rape."

The fact that this poem went viral, should go some way to addressing  the issue of rape jokes, or at least make us question their validity as jokes at all. I believe that Lockwood has given voice to many women who have tried to laugh off what happened to them, myself included.

 The rape joke is you went home like nothing happened, and laughed about it the next day and the day after that, and when you told people you laughed, and that was the rape joke.’


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Booker Longlist

Ah the annual longlist!

As much as I disagree with the idea of pitting books against one another in competition I do enjoy exploring some of the Booker nominees that may have gone under my radar.

Delighted to see the inclusion of two of my favourite authors, Jim Crace and Colum McCann. Cue dramatic rise in book sales!

Here is the list in full:

Tash Aw, Five Star Billionaire (Fourth Estate)
NoViolet, Bulawayo We Need New Names (Chatto & Windus)
Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries (Granta)
Jim Crace, Harvest (Picador)
Eve Harris, The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Sandstone Press)
Richard House, The Kills (Picador) 
Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland (Bloomsbury)
Alison MacLeod, Unexploded ( Hamish Hamilton) 
Colum McCann, TransAtlantic (Bloomsbury) 
Charlotte Mendelson, Almost English (Mantle) 
Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (Canongate)
Donal Ryan, The Spinning Heart (Doubleday Ireland)
Colm Tóibín, The Testament of Mary (Viking)
So. who is your money on?

The Library of Friends

I don’t know about you, but I get a slight sinking feeling when a friend announces ‘I have a book you are going to love’.

I get it, you read a book, you enjoy it and you want to share that enjoyment. You’re just being nice for God’s sake! I do it myself. So why do I cringe a little as I accept the book? Actually, why do I accept the book? I have hundreds of unread books of my own to feel guilty about not reading and now I have to add someone else’s beloved book to that list??

You see, once someone lends me a book, it comes with an obligation; an obligation to be read and an obligation to be read within a certain time frame.  And that’s the problem for me – suddenly I feel like I have homework. The reading becomes a chore, and let’s face it, reading should never be a chore.

So, the Library of Friends has thrown up The Good Father by Noah Hawley and Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.

I’ve started on The Good Father. So far, so Jodi Picoult. Noah Hawley is a screenwriter and it shows. I’m only 50 pages in and it reads a bit like ‘TV Issue Movie of the Week’ and isn’t quite the page turner I expected. I’ve read it has been dubbed ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ from the male perspective and from a basic plot point of view that seems a fair comparison, but so far, for me, it lacks the nuance and the fire of that particular book. So far, the storytelling is slick, but if that’s what I’m after, I’ll usually just read Harlan Coben’s latest!

But it’s early days and I shouldn’t write it off just yet. Anyone else read either of them? Thoughts?


Sunday, 21 July 2013

Some thoughts on blogging

So, I started this blog a while a go and thought I would blog about crafting, thrift and my attempts to move away from consumerism.

Noble pursuits and all things I am particularly interested in.

The first thing I noticed was that blogging takes time.

The second thing I noticed was that I don't craft very often, I'm not living to a tight budget financially, although I should be, and finally, I have a penchant for buying books.

I would set myself targets. No spending this month, no perfumes from ebay, no sneaky trips to Oasis, no non food items in my Marks and Spencer basket. And you know, sometimes I would be good. But there was never a month that went by when I didn't slip the odd book on to the end of an Amazon order or purchase an iTunes or Kindle book. They were my wee treat. They 'didn't really count' as shopping.

Because I love reading. And I love books. And I ain't gonna change. I'm never only gonna buy books when I need them. I'm never gonna walk past a bookshop. I'm never going to not be reading something.

When reading the fabulous Refashionista blog (treat yourself if you don't know it), I was struck by her tips for writing a good blog. Her advice was to write about what you do and what you love.
I realised that there is no point in blogging about crafting if I don't do it very often.

I have two year old twins, there isn't time for much, but I make time to read. So that is what I am going to blog about. Books, reading, bookshops, writers, the works.