Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I was a little concerned about reading The Hunger Games to be honest. I'd heard a great deal about how good the book was but the thing is I'd already seen the film and loved it. I would much rather read the book first then see the film after, rather than the other way around. That way I can build up my own scenery, my own characters and delve in deeper, rather than having the protagonist's face be that of whoever played them on screen (this case Jennifer Lawrence, or J-Law (copyright MM 2013)).

From the off though I simply got sucked in. Of course I knew the story from the film, but it didn't matter one bit. Writing from the first person perspective gave the novel a deeper insight into Katniss Everdeen that the film never could get. The parts that were changed or not filmed are just as good as the bits that never made the film, and it was a richer read because of these. The back story of the Avox showed how destructive, authoritative and powerful the Capital really were.

One negative about the book is that part of it, in the caves, became a little repetitive. I actually think this is due to watching the film, as this seems to fly by on screen yet in print, there are many more things going on, in the physical world and emotionally.

The story was fantastic and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy, this time with no idea what will happen.

A solid 8 cushions on the comfometer.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

HMV closes in Nuneaton

It's been living on the edge for years and now it's finally tipped over. HMV in Nuneaton is no more. The local Newspaper has just put out a short story to say it'll be gone. It's not a surprise but I have mixed feelings about it. Firstly, it was the only place in town to get new CD's & DVD's but then again I haven't bought one from there for over a year, the Internet has killed it for me. My musical life partner Jonathan has written a great little bit about it all himself and I agree 100% with him. Have a read HERE.

As for books, well, it never stocked many and those that it did were no cheaper than Waterstones. Hopefully one reason why my shop will flourish! Let's hope the space left behind by HMV will not be taken up by the 98 pence store. I'm unsure if the demise of HMV will benefit me in any way as I won't be selling DVD's or CD's (bar local musicians), but at the least, if someone likes to go into shops to browse, they have an option of TBCB.

Will there be a resurgence in our town centre? or any similar town any time soon? I guess that's why this whole bookshop thing came about. People moan (rightly so) that it's dying out there yet no one is willing to do anything about it. I am hoping that they all flock to the shop once opened.

Talking about the shop, today I received a letter from the solicitors inviting me in to see and sign (hopefully) the lease, 10 minutes later I get a call from the estate agents asking when they can do some work on the place before I start! Not long now (I'm still not counting chickens though).

Well this blog has been pretty eratic.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

As I own a bookshop I thought I really should attempt some Austen. I've attempted twice before and got to page 3 or 4. It really isn't my bag baby. Not to be deterred I chose Pride and Prejudice out of the dozens of other free e-books available on the Aldiko modile e-reader.

The one massive surprise is that I really liked it, loads. You know the story; woman hates man, man hates woman, man likes woman, woman still hates man, woman likes man, the end. I thought I'd get distracted by the way Austen constructs her dialogue, as it's over 200 years old (published on 28th January 1813) and at first I felt like packing it all in on page 4 but stuck with it and by the end of chapter 2, I wanted more. I was drawn into their world easily and often daydreamed about heading off to one of the Bennet's balls in my fine clothes to hang out with the girls and gals. Elizabeth is a striking character and no doubt put a few noses out of joint when it was published. Balshy, ballsy and opinionated, a complete contrast from the way woman of the time were viewed and 'should' have acted. It was her strong character that kept me turning the page. All of the periphery characters have such strong personalities too, my favourite being Lizzy's mum, Mrs Bennet, who reminded me of my own mum! Fussy, obstinate, overly loving and a general pain in the bum! Extra mention for her dad too, what a cool cat.

I have given Pride and Prejudice a very healthy 7 cushions on the comfometer. In time I'll head into Austen-world (idea-Themepark!) again. Any suggestions which to tackle will be appreciated.

Alongside P & P I've been reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and been enjoying it very much. I seem to have been reading two books for a while so may concentrate fully on this one before adding another classic via the Aldiko reader to my roster.

We have a copy of Pride and Prejudice in the shop. It's the TV-tie in version. Click here


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Meeting you lot

Since the last blog I've been out and about meeting some people who have and will contribute to the shop in some way. On Saturday I ventured into Nuneaton to the Craft fair in Nuneaton United Reformed Church to meet Emily Osborne. Emily has recently founded her own craft company called Cotton Cat UK and makes all kinds of wonderful items from bunting to pens, to bags to coasters.

My coasters purchased from Cotton Cat last October
In fact that's how I came across her. In October last year I wandered around the monthly craft fair and purchased a few coasters of hers. As well as Emily, a few members of her family and friends create stuff and sell them through Cotton Cat. I urge you to check them out on Facebook and on Folksy. Her designs will be available to buy direct from The Big Comfy Bookshop once we are open! We are always looking for local crafty people to house their wares so if you create or know someone who does then get in touch via email.

Emily Osborne and her Cotton Cat UK stall at the craft fair
Secondly I've just returned from up the road, quite literally. I received a wonderful note handwritten and hand delivered through my door on Sunday signed from Earl and Dee who offered me a few of their books. "Who are Earl and Dee!?" I wondered. Well, they live 6 doors away! The note really made me reaffirm that there are hundreds or thousands of people in this town who are screaming out for a nice bookshop cafe. That's the hope anyway! Many thanks to Dee and Earl (and Jack the dog).

Finally a few weeks ago I returned to North Warwickshire & Hinckley College to see how the students are fairing on the interior design of the shop. I was astonished at how professional a lot of the work was and already it has changed my minds on certain things. I will see the final designs from them in about 3 weeks.

The lease is still in the solicitors hands so I am playing the waiting game.

Hopefully by the end of the week I'll have some news about the shop.


Monday, 4 February 2013

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Everyone knows Treasure Island right? Long John Silver, Jim Hawkins, erm, treasure. Well after realising that's as much as I know on the classic story I started to read it (on the Aldiko e-reader app). Straight away I was hooked. I vaguely remember watching a cartoon film version of it when I was young and the beginning of the book especially had me thinking of a very 70's Jim Hawkins (with flares) running away from a pub. What I failed to remember (or more likely it wasn't in the film version) was all the death and killing.

Before he has even left his home, Jim witnesses two deaths plus a pretty vicious attack which, lets face it, made me read even quicker. Silver turns up just as they depart to find the treasure and he's such a well written, rounded character. Even though throughout he is a big meanie, he is a Machiavellian genius that makes me love him. He's a goodie. NO WAIT! He's a baddie. HOLD THAT THOUGHT! He's a goodie again etc. 

It was a fantastic read and the only negative I found was I struggled with some of the lingo used. It was written in 1883 and contained 'Piratisms' (words pirates used, my phrase copyright 2013 MM), basically a lot of missing consonants making me re-read and finally understand. After 50 pages it became second nature though.

These classics are really floating my boat and I've given it 8/10 on the Comfometer.

The next classic is Pride and Prejudice. I'm on page 80ish at the moment and I'm enjoying it, although not as much as violent dogs (Call of the Wild) or Pirates (Treasure Island). Maybe Elizabeth will hack off Darcy's leg soon with a blunt axe? No?