Thursday, 6 May 2010

A piece of me ... in May 2010

This month...

I like: that you can change if you want to, tomorrow is another day.

I don't like: that sunshine is a distant memory.

I want you to know: that I have just ordered a fab selection of books, and can't wait to get stuck in, even though I still have a pile of books on the shelves waiting to be read.

I've planned: to visit some of my favourite people next month! The plane tickets are booked so hopefully the volcanic ash will be long gone.

I want to say to someone special: I'm sorry mummy is like a gumpy bear in the mornings. She'd be a bit nicer if she got more sleep!

This is a game thought up by the Toothfairy so we can all share a bit of ourselves to our readers by completing a set of unfinished sentences every first Sunday of the month. Easy enough right? And fun! Want to join? Click here! :)

I do believe

I saw this on another blog and thought it was beautiful.

I Do Believe. By JenRem I Do Believe. By JenRem

Share the Moment

You may or may have heard that this year's Eurovision is being held in Oslo on 25-29 May.  The theme for the Eurovision 2010 is "Share the Moment". I think it's a great theme. When I was younger I remember watching it every year with my family, and talking about it with my friends. I remember one year in particular sitting with my granny and aunt, each of us with our pens and notepads, and giving the countries our scores, cheering on Ireland and England, and laughing at Terry Wogan. Obviously times (and the Eurovision itself) have changed, and it's not quite "the done thing" to admit to watching it (or heaven forbit, actually enjoying it!), but I think I'll tune in again this year and see whether it can really include the watcher, and whether it can regain some of the magic it has lost over the years.

What you probably haven't heard is that they are going to do a flash mob dance in the middle of the show, and are currently teaching people the dance. They are recording the Irish mob tonight in Dublin, and will be showing clips during the live Eurovision. If you want to have a look at the flash mob dance (part 1), log on here. I have to say I actually love the idea of flash mobs, I like the idea that for maybe 3 minutes everyone in that particular area has one focus, regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, religious denomination etc. etc.

Currently 74,999 people have admitted to liking the Eurovision Song Contest on Facebook. Maybe this year we will share the moment.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Creation Collaboration

I would like to wish every success to the ladies behind Creation collaboration on their new venture. I think it's a great idea and hope that women find it a useful networking tool in business. I will certainly be bookmarking it and will try to make an effort to post there.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Bloggers Book Club Review, May 2010: Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin

Quick Synopsis:
The book begins in Ireland in the 1950’s, with the central character Eillis Lacey. Employment opportunities are scarce and Eillis is lucky enough to get a part time job in a shop, albeit for a condescending, rude & ungrateful woman. Almost without involving Eillis in the decision, her family arranges for her to emigrate to New York, and she finds herself leaving her family and country for the first time. When she arrives in Brooklyn she is homesick, but slowly begins to build a life for herself in Brooklyn, until one day she receives a phone call from Ireland which leads to her returning home and facing the dilemma of whether to choose duty or love.

Some reviews of this book:
- Brooklyn moved me more than any other book this year (Nicholas Hytner Observer, Books of the Year )
- A beautifully crafted work that transformed ordinary lives into something extraordinary (Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year )
- No book this year gave me greater pleasure (Nell Freudenberger Financial Times )

After reading the rave reviews above, I was really looking forward to reading this book, and as it is a way of life I consider alien to my own (being only 31, I have not experienced the Ireland that is written about in the book), I was fascinated by the differences between them. There were so many issues within the book, I scarcely know where to begin, so if the following is a bit muddled, please bear with me.

Overall, I was disappointed that although there were so many issues within the book - family relationships, social issues in America, her female supervisor’s lesbianism, the Jewish night school teacher who escaped from WWII concentration camps, duty, love, sacrifice ... I feel that these issues were all very much understated. I appreciate that this is the very thing that others will love about the book, but for me, I wish Toibin had explored them more. At the end of the book I felt that I came away knowing as little about Eillis as I did in the beginning, and perhaps liking her even less.

Eillis seems to be swept along with the flow, fickle, rather than having her own opinions and being a person in her own right. I would have liked to see her get a bit excited about something. I actually feel that I know more about the characters she shared a boarding house with, than Eillis herself. She seemed to make no real effort with the girls in the boarding house, and even with the landlady, she appears less than interested. She is downright rude to the new boarder, and went way down in my estimation after the scene at the dance hall.

Eillis has an uncomfortable experience with her supervisor, but we hear no more about it. She finds out that her teacher has been in the concentration camps, but again we hear nothing else about this character.

Eillis’ relationships with her family members were suggested, rather than hinted at. They love each other, but yet cannot speak openly together, cannot confide in each other, cannot comfort eachother. The relationships she has with the two leading men in the story did not feel passionate or emotional, and at the end of the book I didn’t feel like Eillis was breaking her heart to leave her “one great love”. She only makes her decision in the end because someone forces her hand. Otherwise she’d have dithered on and prolonged the agony.

All in all, the concept of the book is fantastic but it's execution is not to my taste. Whilst Toibin describes things well (the trip over to America is very graphic, and I could feel myself on the ship with Eillis), he loses the definition in the characters, and because he doesn’t engage them, neither did I. It’s not something I’d keep on my bookshelf, but at the same time I’m glad to have read it to see what all the fuss was about.

The other Bookclub Bloggers:
I'm dying to know what the other bloggers thought. If you want to see what the other bloggers have to say about it, here are their links (Please forgive (and correct me) if I have any details wrong:

Lily (Lilly’s blog)
Lorna (Garrendenny Lane)
Marian (Made Marian)
Treasa (Irish Mammy on the run)
cathy (Irish Rumbling Strips)
Val (Magnum lady)
Jenn (SmurfetteJenn’s blog)
Edie (Munchies & Musings)
Catherine (Dispatches from the Deis)
Marie (Diary of an Irish country wife)
Kirsty (Kirsty Road )
Last of the Mojitos
Susan (Queen of Potts)
Una (Justuna)
Steph (The Biopsy Report)

June's Book Club Read is 'Let the Great World Spin’ by Colum Mc Cann. Our reviews will be online the first Sunday in June.