Tag: Nick Hornby

The Highest Tide

The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch

The best books are free (although it’s only £4 on Amazon at the moment, click the link above) and after finishing the Nick Hornby I was casting around for another read when my Mum handed me this. The debut novel for Jim Lynch and not a bad one.

Miles O’Malley is a young boy, small for his age, who spends his every waking hour either on, in or thinking about Skookumchuck Bay and the surrounding waters. Either that Angie, his one true love.

The book is a gentle tale of the events that surround Miles one summer, the events that will shape him as a person and set the course for his future. From his discovery of a washed up giant squid to the closing moments, drifting in a canoe, the story strolls along, charting it’s way carefully and methodically, through the various events of the summer.

A pleasant read, if a little heavy on detail on some occasions, it soon has you turning pages eager to see how things turn out. It may only ripple lightly across the literary pond but it’s enjoyable enough for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

A long way down

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

I’ve always enjoyed reading Nick Hornby books. By and large they are easy to read and I guess are considered ‘light reading’ by many. Regardless, his characterisation is usually spot on and in this book — the story of four strangers who meet by chance on the roof of a building as they all plan to commit suicide on the same night — is nicely constructed to allow him to play with four entirely different characters at the same time.

As the story progresses (obviously they decide not to jump that night, or it’d be a helluva short book) the narrative switches between each character, slowly adding more layers to both story and personas. What’s really impressive is how well he manages to portray the key players, from the disgraced TV presenter to the god-fearing single mother, the failed american rock star to the spoiled brat teenager, he captures their thoughts and moods wonderfully.

And it’s funny, but then you except that from Hornby, his dry wit used to as a natural buffer to punctuate the storyline.

It’s not a difficult book to read, which is largely due to the laidback style that Hornby uses throughout most of his novels, but it’s a good one. Part satire, part social commentary, it never preaches nor condescends, and even offers a little affirmation on the joys of being alive.

If nothing else it’s worth reading for the brilliant Jess, the belligerent teenager and easily the ‘star’ of the book.

The big empty space

Ahhh yes, it’s that time again. Time of the month, or maybe week, hell it might even just be down to the time of day, regardless I find myself staring at the screen, staring at this big empty box. I have Blogger’s period.

Hmmm that’s not the best mental image with which to start a post.

The box on the screen is precisely 791 pixels wide by 285 pixels high. It has a black border. It’s very much just a box, a rectangle, a space on the screen. I’ve seen this box, and others like it, many many times before (now there’s a thought, in seven years of blogging, how many post entry boxes have I seen? Over 5,000 I reckon… ) and it shouldn’t really be a daunting experience. More to the point it most certainly shouldn’t be compelling, inviting, demanding to be used. It should be at MY whim, used when I see fit and not a constant reminder that I have a blog, and I should be posting.

Yet here I sit while the box on the screen quietly mocks me, goading and empty.

It’s not like there isn’t anything happening in my life. My father-in-law is back in Scotland for a couple of weeks, I’ve got a new wireless router, I’ve just finished reading A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby (quite good), and … well OK, that’s about it. Maybe it’s the lack of distinct events, or the absence of anything remotely interesting that is causing my brain to seize. If that’s the case then I’ll do what I always do, fall back on the true and trusted method of just starting to write and seeing what spews forth.

Hmmm, again with the distinctly yeuch mental imagery…

Of course just “starting to write” means that all I end up doing is feeling that I’m blogging for the sake of blogging, and that what I’m writing has little to no value. I mean it’s not like I haven’t discussed this before, and lord knows you lot must be a tad bored of this topic by now. Yes I don’t NEED to post, no I’m not even considering stopping or pausing or anything like that but.. sheesh.. I want to post, I’ve just got nothing to post about!

So let us turn to that which drives us, the compulsion to post. Has mine changed? Do I really only do it for the interaction, the validation, the “community” of it? And if so, is that a bad thing? OK, maybe the validation reason isn’t too great but I do enjoy the comments.

This is my hobby, and with that admission comes the realisation that the compulsion (addiction?) to post is an intrinsic part, as is the continual self-censorship, the details I omit. And maybe that’s the problem, the things I’m omitting are the things which are taking more and more focus in my life. They are not all positive things, and my knowledge of my readership stays my hand when I begin to type.

Even that last sentence has an air of foreboding around it, so let me quickly assure you that there is nothing life-threatening hanging over my head (or that of anyone else). At least, not that I know of… wouldn’t it just be the way if I were to get knocked down right after I post this? But then, maybe I shouldn’t be typing on my laptop whilst crossing the road, that’s just asking for trouble.

And now I’ve reached another problem. If you don’t start with a topic in mind you end up rambling on and on and on, and finding a place to stop can be tricky.

Or not.