Wednesday, 18 January 2017

I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up


It was about three days into Bob's vacation. He'd travelled to warmer climes to escape the wintry weather back home. From what he'd seen on social media he'd picked the right time. Snow, sleet and freezing raining had all put in an appearance in his absence.

Bob felt lucky. Even though he had some mobility issues and walked with a cane, he managed to make the daily trek past the resort's swimming pools to his bamboo-umbrellaed beach chair near the ocean's edge where he enjoyed the sites and sounds of the beach.

So, in the absence of niveous nervousness Bob relaxed away the hours in the tropical sun. But on this day Bob had stayed all morning at the beach and eventually had to go pee. Instead of walking all the way back to the condo Bob thought he'd just dip quickly in the ocean, subtly relieve himself and then return to his spot among the dancing dune buggies and bikini-clad babes. Particularly the latter and for that he was grateful for his sunglasses.

Anyway, he said to his wife that he'd accompany her into the water and leaning on her and without his cane he shakily walked across the beach into the ocean.

Well, it took only minutes for a wave to knock Bob off his feet not unlike a bowling pin. He struggled to stand but wave after wave crashed against him and he just couldn't get his legs under himself to stand as they turned to rubber. Like a sea turtle Bob grovelled in the surf until a passerby helped his wife lift him to is feet and pretty much dragged him back to the dry sand.

Did his life flash before his eyes? No, all he could think of was that infernal line from that damn commercial "I've fallen and I can't get up". He used to laugh at that. But not today.

Worst of all he still had to go pee.

The prompt from the folks at Two Word Tuesday on the Our Write Side site this week is niveous/wintry. This tale may or may not be true. The names have been changed to protect the incontinent.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

My Back Pages - 2016



Here, as promised is a month-by-month breakdown of the 67 books I delved into this year. I got off to a strong start and then my intake dwindled for a couple of months until picking back up in April. I'll let you in on my favourites at the end of this list.

January

Here, There and Everywhere:
My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles - Geoff Emerick - ****
H is for Hawk - Helen Macdonald - ***
Close To The Edge - The Story of Yes - Chris Welch - ***
Sweet Caress - William Boyd - ****


February

Purity by Jonathan Franzen 
Still Alice by Lisa Genova.


March

Natchez Burning - Greg Iles
The Promise (Elvis Cole #20) - Robert Crais

April

The Snowman (Harry Hole)- Joe Nesbo ****
Phantom (Harry Hole) - Joe Nesbo ****
The Leopard (Harry Hole) - Jo Nesbo ****


May

George Harrison Reconsidered ***
The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Atwood ****
Dropping The Needle - The Vinyl Dialogues Volume II ***
The Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead, (Dave Robicheaux #6) - James Lee Burke****


June/.July

 Lust and Wonder - Augusten Burrow ****
The Black House ****
The Lewis Man ****
The Chess Men ****
End of Warch - Stephen King ****
Cometh the Hour (Clifton Chronicles #6) Jeffrey Archer *****
The High Mountains of Portugal - Yann Martell ****
Taken - Robert Crais (Elvis Cole) ****
Dixie City Jam - James Lee Burke (Dave Robichaux) ****
The Corrections -  Jonathan Franzen *****


August

The Sentry - Robert Crais ****
The Heist - Janet Evanovich ****
The Chase - Janet Evanovish ****
The Job - Janet Evanovich ****
Our Kind of Traitor - John le Carre ****
The View From the Cheap Seats - Neil Gaiman *****
The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury *****
Shoe Dog - Phil Knight ****
The Illegal - Lawrence Hill *****
It's A Long Story: My Life - Willie Nelson ***
The Two Minute Rule - Robert Crais ****
Lud-In-The-Mist - Hope Mirrlees ***


September

Hyperion Cantos (#1) - Dan Simmons ****
The Fall of Hyperion (#2) Dan Simmons ****
Endymion (#3) Dan Simmons ****
The Rise of Endymion (#4) Dan Simmons ****
Nutshell - Ian McEwan *****
One Way Out - The Inside Story of the Allman Brothers Band - Alan Paul ****
The Wonder - Emma Donoghue *****
The 13 Clocks - James Thurber ****
The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells *****


October

Pigs Might Fly - Mark Blake ****
Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen *****
The Emerald Lie (Jack Taylor #12) - Ken Bruen *****
Apathy For The Devil - Nick Kent ***
The Crossing (Harry Bosch #20) - Michael Connelly ****
Police (Harry Hole #10) Jo Nesbo *****
Burning Angel (Dave Robicheaux #8) - James Lee Burke ****
The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson * (DNF)
Never Say No To A Rock Star - Glenn Berger ***
St Lucia's Day and Other Stories - Michael Whitman-Jones ****


November

The Nix - Nathan Hill ****
I Am Brian Wilson - Brian Wilson ***
Rather Be The Devil - Ian Rankin *****
The Trespasser - Tana French ****
The Sun and The Moon and The Rolling Stones - Rich Cohen ****


December

This Was a Man (Clifton Chronicles #7) - Jeffrey Archer *****
Testimony: A Memoir - Robbie Robertson *****
The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill *****
Not Dead Yet: The Memoir - Phil Collins ****
Moonglow - Michael Chabon ****
Lilly and the Octopus - Steven Rowley *****

I read a lot of good books last year. Hell, I read a lot of books, period. So it was hard to choose just 10 of my favourite reads. But here's what I came up with...

2016 Top Ten Favourites:

The Corrections -  Jonathan Franzen
Cometh the Hour (Clifton Chronicles #6) Jeffrey Archer 
This Was a Man (Clifton Chronicles #7) - Jeffrey Archer 
The Illegal - Lawrence Hill
The View From the Cheap Seats - Neil Gaiman
Nutshell - Ian McEwan
Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen 
Testimony: A Memoir - Robbie Robertson 
The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill
Lilly and the Octopus - Steven Rowley 

If you're interested in a review of any of these books, click on the "Books" button at the top of this page and then scroll down to the month and the book you're interested in. What did you enjoy reading last year? Let me know. And happy reading.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

My Back Pages - December


Well, are you set for the big finish? You'll recall at the beginning of the year I'd set for myself the target of reading 50 books this year. Well, I went a little over, zipping through 6 books last month and ending out the year with a total of 67. It was an interesting month, as electric as ever, and I gave four books five/five stars.

First there was This Was a Man by Jeffrey Archer, one of my favourite authors, the 7th and final book in the so-called Clifton Chronicles, a sprawling family history of business and politics.

Then there was the excellent Testimony: A Memoir, the long-anticipated autobiography of The Band's Robbie Robertson.

Then I read a book recommended by my wife, The Book of Negroes by Canadian author Lawrence Hill. Very well written. Great story.

Don't know why, but I picked up Phil Collins' autobiography, Not Dead Yet: The Memoir. Meh. It was so-so. But it had a lot of interesting trivia about Genesis and Collins' solo career.

And then I read two excellent novels. The first was Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon's Moonglow. The second was Steven Rowley's first book, Lily and the Octopus, a quirky tale about a man and his dachshund.

So here's how I rated each book:

This Was a Man - Jeffrey Archer *****
Testimony: A Memoir - Robbie Robertson *****
The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill *****
Not Dead Yet: The Memoir - Phil Collins ****
Moonglow - Michael Chabon ****
Lilly and the Octopus - Steven Rowley *****

Later this week I'll re-cap my reads for 2016 and let you in on my favourites of the year.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

My Back Pages - November


I read five books last month bringing my year to date total to 61, well past the 50 I estimated at the beginning of the year. And I've yet to get through December.

The month started out with The Nix, the debut novel by Nathan Hill which has been receiving a lot off positive reviews. In it Hill flips back and fourth from the 1968 Chicago protests and 2011 in a desperate search for the truth behind why his mother abandoned him at an early age. In between Hill takes on politics, the media and addiction as well as other aspects of society. It's a well-spun tale and I quite enjoyed reading it.

Next up was the auto-biographical I Am Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame. This was somewhat of a scattered affair but an interesting read nonetheless. Wilson - or his ghostwriter - however is no Hemingway.

Then it was on to one of my favourite authors, Ian Rankin and his latest tale of now retired Inspector John Rebus, Rather Be The Devil. I never tire of these stories and this is the 21st in the series. I hope there will be more.

I'd never heard of Tana French but I'd seen her The Trespasser here and there and read some positive reviews. This apparently is the sixth in her series of thrillers about the the Dublin murder squad. I was riveted. I'll have to investigate here previous novels in the series.

I closed out the month with The Sun and The Moon and The Rolling Stones by Rich Cohen. I know. Just what we need. Another book about the Rolling Stones. But Cohen, who toured with the Stones, worked on the screenplay for the HBO series Vinyl with Jagger and Scorsese brings and interesting perspective to a well-worn tale. I enjoyed reading this.

So here's how I rated my November reads:

The Nix - Nathan Hill ****
I Am Brian Wilson - Brian Wilson ***
Rather Be The Devil - Ian Rankin *****
The Trespasser - Tana French ****
The Sun and The Moon and The Rolling Stones - Rich Cohen ****

Let me know what you've been turning the pages of. I'm always on the lookout for something new and Different. Happy reading.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Aw Nuts



This week's prompt is scurrilous/defamatory.

Image result for squirrel


Sammy the squirrel was tired. It was Thanksgiving and he was ready for a rest. He'd been busy since April gathering nuts. Most squirrels start gathering nuts in May but Sammy liked to get a leg up on his fellow members of the Scoriae family. Not a literal leg up, you understand. That sounds kinda pornographic. But a leg up in the sense of getting an added advantage over the other squirrels. Sammy worked hard to have the biggest nuts in the forest. Wait, wait, wait - the biggest cache of nuts. I don't want to mislead you all.

However, what Sammy didn't know was that Steve the squirrel had kept his eye on Sammy. But surreptitiously. Now that's a big word for a squirrel, and for some humans. But if you don't know what it means I won't tell. It'll be our little secret.

Steve was a lazy squirrel. He wasn't one to make hay while the sun shines. He was one to watch others make hay or in Sammy's case gather nuts. Then, late at night while Sammy slept Steve would sneak silently into Sammy's cache and steal nuts to add to his own stash unbeknownst to poor Sammy.

One night however Sammy awoke and caught Steve with his hands on his nuts. Wait, I know how that sounds so get your mind out of the gutter. Sammy ordered Steve to return his nuts to him. After all he'd worked hard to collect these nuts and he wasn't going to let slothful, shiftless Steve just steal them.

Everybody knows that a squirrel and his nuts are inseparable. If Sammy let Steve steal his nuts he'd be the laughing stock of the forest. One might even say a scurrilous his nuts could be defamatory.

The prompt people are Our Write Side and you can find other posts on their site at Two Word Tuesday




Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Bromance


This week the prompt is atelier/studio. Here's how I used the prompt.

Iggy and Pete were the best of friends. They spent a lot of time together. Be it with their wives and families or just hanging out together. A couple of guys.

Sometimes they played golf together. Other time they played board games. They even did jigsaw puzzles together. Of course the ones with plenty of sky were the toughest and usually took the longest to complete. They played video games and loved to watch football on television.

In all these endeavours they never really competed with each other. Their temperaments were similar and so they simply enjoyed whatever they undertook together. No pressure. They truly were buddies. Real man-men, whatever that means. Manly men doing manly things. Together. They really had a bromance going.

One day Pete and Iggy played poker. For money. And Iggy was losing. Big time. The more hands Pete won the cockier he got. For instance he told his friend he was bound to lose with a name like Iggy. And the more Iggy lost, the angrier he got.

The game came down to the last hand. Iggy bet big. Pete looked at Iggy and yelled "A tell, yay."

"What do you mean atelier" replied Iggy, not the brightest bulb in the box.

"Not atelier. A tell, yay. You blink rapidly when you're bluffing" said Pete. "That's called a tell. That's why I know you're bluffing."

"Well" said Iggy, "Next time we play I'll try to be more scholarly and look studio."

"That's studious" responded Pete. "You didn't pay much attention in high school, did you."


The prompt people are Our Write Side and you can find other posts on their site at Two Word Tuesday


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