Monday, 25 May 2009

A New Week

Okay, so it's a new week and, as ever, my obsession with books has taken an even firmer hold. I find myself dreaming of book blogs these days. Yup ... Anyone know a good therapist? :-P

First things first. What a gorgeous weekend we had here in South Wales. Saturday saw a trip to the first Cardiff Anarchist Book Fair. Tables and gardens of punkish types with extreme views on ... well, everything. From politics to restaurants, these guys managed to have issues with anything you might mention. Did you know that the more extreme Anarchists believe restaurants are a form of slavery? Because you are walking into a building and demanding that a man/woman bring you food which another under-paid, anonymous person has worked to make for you. ("Under-paid" wouldn't be the term I'd use to describe the likes of Gordon Ramsey). But, overall, it was a lot of fun. I took great delight in seeing the stall dedicated to reinforcing the hunting ban in this country. Will definitely be looking more into it. And a lot of flyers floating around about how to eat Vegan in Cardiff which I found very useful. :-) So thanks to the Anarchists for that.

After the fair it was on to the National Museum Wales where my friends insisted on taking me into the Diane Arbus exhibition. Apparently I'm the last human being to discover this wonderful photographer and am now keen to get my hands on the (book) collections of her pictures.

The weekend was then finished off with an afternoon/picnic/BBQ at the park in the blazing hot sun. The result was as follows:

Whoever said I wasn't smart? :-S Ouch!

Anyway, finally, onto the subject of books.

I have finished the wonder that is Northanger Abbey by Miss Jane Austen. While it's clearly not the best-written of her six novels, it's certainly one of the most interesting. Published posthumously in 1818, Northanger Abbey was actually written twenty years earlier and ready for publication before her other stories. I say it's not the best-written because, as with any young writer, it's clear that Jane's still trying to find her own style. The story focuses so heavily on our heroine, Catherine, discovering the joy of reading and the excitement of Gothic novels, it's hard not to see her as a semi-autobiographical version of the author. Perhaps it is Jane who discovered these stories and felt inspired to write her own. Catherine's naivety and silliness at being able to spook herself from the haunting interior of the Abbey seems familiar and could very well be a reflection of Austen's own youthful discoveries of the world.

For these reasons though, Northanger Abbey is currently fighting to be my favourite of the Austen novels. The story of a girl who hasn't quite found herself yet and is taken under the influence by all of those she meets is something every young girl can relate to. Jane Austen was 22-23 - my age - when she wrote this and by diving into this 200-page story I've found a way of connecting to one of my favourite authors that I have never been able to do before.

On my current reading list is (still) Necroscope by Brian Lumley, Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and The Hours by Michael Cunningham. It isn't that Necroscope is taking a while because I'm not enjoying it - quite the opposite actually - but it's the way Lumley writes that leaves me feeling a little exhausted after 50 pages or so. There's a lot to take in with this story and, though I know I'm going to want to carry on with the series, I may take a few years to finish the whole collection.

Let the Right One In is the Swedish book I've been wanting to read for a while now. It's actually my friend's copy. She read it a few years ago and raved about it, and it really did sound awesome. From what I'm told it's very dark, kind of disturbing, and has vampires in it. I can't wait!

I chose The Hours to read because it's only fair that, while I'm reading other people's books, I can try and get through the pile of TBR I already own. The Hours was supposed to be the 'light reading' which accompanied the two 'vampire' themed books but, as everyone who's seen the film will know, it's not the most cheery read.

Let's hope my boyfriend doesn't find me curled up and trembling, in the fetal position, a few days from now after an overdose of vampirism, 'undead' rituals and pure melancholy.


The Bookworm said...

*ouch* about the sunburn.
I need to read Northanger Abby, I love Jane Austen.

Anonymous said...

Think you missed the point of Abolish Restaurants and indeed Anarchist politics in general. You can read Abolish Restaurants here: and more about the concept of Anarchism here:

Oh and though punk rock and the vegan lifestyle have been heavily influenced by Anarchism, they are both quite different things to it.

Ceri said...

Yeahhhh ... that was sarcasm. I was commenting on how extreme the Anarchist p.o.v. seems to be. You guys have wonderful ideas - I hate Capitalism as much as the next person (I'm from a *very* working class background) and I'm with the hunting ban. Unfortunately, I disagreed with some of them (such as the "write to prisoners" scheme).

And I don't really understand what you mean by your last comment. I know punk rock and the vegan lifestyle are completely different things - I'm a vegan (I was thanking the book fair for handing out flyers on where to eat safely in Cardiff) and I'm into rock music, but I'm not an Anarchist. I didn't attend the Book Fair because I'm all "woah, punk rock, vegan, yeah!" I attended it because I was covering it for a Cardiff News Website.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused by the sarcasm, it appeared to be a misreading of a text based on the title, and characterising this as 'extreme' anarchism (whatever that is).

As for the hunting ban, banning things isn't really what we're about, attacking the rich - where they much their money (in our workplaces, off our backs) and where they play (in the fields, killing wildlife) very much is.

Showing solidarity with class struggle and anarchist prisoners is a key element of the movement. Failing to keep in contact with fellow activists behind bars would be unforgivable imho.

Which Cardiff News website?

Ceri said...

How disappointing. I'd thought that I'd found something I could back the Anarchists up on - Finally others were disgusted at how many people ignore the hunting ban, preying on defenseless animals who deserve none of it. Instead, it's all about class yet again. What about the working class who go out shooting? (And believe you me, if *isn't* just the rich)

I'm not looking for an argument. I just posted some *lighthearted* stuff on a personal blog that barely anyone reads. Yes, okay, fine, maybe I got the idea of abolish restaurants wrong but it was just my views as an outsider.

You guys seem to hate anyone with a bit of money - never mind how they got that way. What if this person has come from a poor, horrific background and has worked everyday for himself so that by the time he's 65, he's "rich"? Don't you think that's deserving?

And, what I was told at the book fair didn't mention anarchist prisoners in the slightest. We were told that conditions were awful and everyone in prison was human and they *all* deserved some sympathy and connection. I found it appalling that you may have included rapists, murderers, and paedophiles amongst this.

Your views are interesting but perhaps you might like to educate me more about them rather than throwing some flyers in my direction? I'd be interested to know more - from an actual person - about this "Anti-Work" campaign?

The Sprout.