Thursday, 14 May 2015

Book Review: Arthur and George - Julian Barnes

So I chose this because I got given a copy when it was on tv and it had been lying around on my desk for weeks. I don't know if I would have chosen it otherwise - the story itself didn't initially interest me and I didn't watch the TV adaptation. It actually took me a bit of an age to get through - most of it I didn't find particularly gripping and it wasn't something that I felt compelled to pick up and read through. I found the whole of the first section massively frustrating because you knew exactly what was going to happen and were careering towards this slightly ridiculous outcome without being able to do anything about it (obviously). This was the part I found the most slow-going.

Once the arrest had been made however and the trial started I enjoyed it a bit more - I still wouldn't say I loved it but it did become more engaging for me. Again though, it was so clear what was going to happen I didn't feel any jeopardy whilst reading it. I should also say here that the early Arthur parts of the book I found endlessly dull - I get that the point was to highlight the differences in upbringing etc but I just found it boring. Actually, I'm not too sure what the point of all the Arthur stuff was aside from him taking on the case under his own steam. I hated all the stuff about his wife and mistress, I didn't care for him at all, and for me those sections just distracted from the actual point of the story - seeing as I was struggling with getting on board with these aspects anyway, the Arthur parts just pulled my interest even further away!

Also - I found the entire last few pages utterly baffling. Obviously this is somewhat based on real-life accounts, but I couldn't tell you what this added to the rest of the novel or why it was included. Personal interest? I don't know, but it definitely changed the tone of the book for me at the end.
This is probably one of those books that would be a good book to study, as there are obviously themes that run throughout - Britishness, race, otherness, etc, blah - but I found myself rolling my eyes quite a lot. One bit I did enjoy though were the chapter names 'beginning with an ending' etc; I thought this was a clever way of connecting the story up.

Wouldn't read it again! 4/10

Read it? Enjoyed it? Agree? Disagree?

Thursday, 7 May 2015

A Week In... New York

Happy Birthday from
the Ace Hotel

I have had a draft email open on my computer with this subject for over a week now, and I just cannot find the inspiration to write anything about what I loved and what I would recommend.

I think it's because New York is one of those city's where there are a million things to do, and see, and eat, and even the things I loved the most on this visit I might not return to as there's such a long list to get through.

I still love re-reading my holiday posts though and getting a feel for what we did, and so I'm going to break with tradition on this one and actually just give you a picture-heavy account of our few days there.

 Magnetic Monkeys at the Museum of Mathematics
An excellent dinner at Bare Burger

A good start to lunch at Don Antonio
A chocolate breakfast courtesy of Breads Bakery
The fancy lift at Kate Spade
Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan side
Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn side 
Fried Chicken and Waffles, at the Brooklyn Star 
Brunch Mimoas at Agave
Obligatory Iced Tea photo 
9/11 Memorial
9/11 Memorial
The Freedom Tower and the Survivor Tree 

High Line 
High Line view
Sunset at the Top of the Rock

Empire State from the Top of the Rock
Empire State from the Top of the Rock

Bjork at MOMA 
Birthday Picnic in Central Park
Birthday Basketball