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All posts tagged book

Book review – Joyland – Stephen King

Published 07/08/2013 by julierkendrick

joylandI was pretty excited when this book turned up in a tote at work and quickly grabbed a copy.  It went on my huge ‘to read’ pile but was destined to be read sooner rather than later.  So, when its turn came I snuggled down in my bed and started the first Stephen King book I’ve read in years.

Unfortunately I was quickly disappointed as I really wasn’t particularly enamoured by this book. Knowing that Stephen king has moved on from horror I was quite excited to read this new book. It was billed as a crime/ghost story and I suppose it was but I found it more of a coming of age tale, the crime and ghost bits just being second to the main story about the primary character, Dev and his relationship with a sick boy and his mother.

Having says that, Stephen King always writes well and I quite enjoyed the tale.

Is it up to his previous standard? No
Would I read future books of his? Of course, it is Stephen king after all.

3/5

C is for Children

Published 02/06/2013 by julierkendrick

I imagine you are thinking that this blog post will be about my 4 boys and how wonderful they are and how much I love them etc etc…. WRONG!

Don’t misunderstand me, all of the above is true but I am feeling the need to have a rant about other peoples kids.  I have heard many times, people say “I really can’t stand other peoples kids”, well I have to say I sympathise with them. Generally I feel the same. Now obviously my friends have kids and they are lovely, for the most part (ha ha ha sorry friends) but there seem to be so many parents that have no idea how to bring up their offspring.

Working in Waterstones brings me into contact with children and their parents on a daily basis and regardless of how they behave I have to be polite and helpful. But believe me some of these kids, and parents push my buttons.

So, here is a list of my pets hates in ranting format:

1. Kids that don’t say “Thank You”. As obvious as this is it still really irks me. A child will come to the till and give me their book and the money and I have a little chat with them about what they have chosen and then when the transaction is complete I hand over the bag. I expect to be thanked for this but 95% of the time the kid takes the bag and walks off. What tends to make this worse is that the parent invariably says nothing to the child. They usually thank me themselves but I don’t want thanks from them. They have send their child up to buy the book and they look on proudly as Johnny/Jenny gives the money over and takes their purchase but they haven’t taught them how to complete the process with a polite ‘Thank you’.  Much to my colleagues amusement I have taken to holding on to the bag whilst the child tries to wrestle it from my grasp as I wait for the thanks I am due. Some kids, cotton on and say it but others just looks dumbly at the parents who look dumbly back at me until I give up and let them have the damn bag.

2. Kids that say “I want”. This one again falls into the category of manners. It’s not just the words ‘I want’ that bother me so much as the demanding nature in which they are expressed. “I want that Gruffalo”, “I want 2 books” and the worst, “I want more money”. Whenever I hear these words I look at the parents and hope that they will firmly but quietly tell their child that these demands will not be tolerated and that “May I have” is a much better way of expressing ones wishes. Yeah, that almost never happens. What does happen is one of two things. Either the parent gives in and the child is presented with said Gruffalo, books, money or the child is completely ignored by the parent and continues to repeat “I want….. I want….” ad infinitum. It takes all of my will not to march up to the child and give them a lesson in manners that hopefully the parent will learn from too.

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3. Screaming toddlers. Now I know that toddlers can be a nightmare. I know that they have no sense of spacial awareness. I know that they have no social skills. I can accept all of these things with a sigh and a smile. What I cannot bear, though, are toddlers that just screech for apparently no reason. Kids between the ages of 18 months and 3 years tend to have the highest pitched voices and can scream louder than Janet Lee in Psycho. Why, why, why do they do this? What do they hope to achieve by bursting the ear drums of everyone within a half mile radius? I have taken to glaring at the child to try and encourage them to shut up; and I have a very scary glare. If that doesn’t work then I glare at the parents. But then I realise that these are probably the parents who will end up giving in to the child in a few years once it starts in with the “I want…..” routine.

4. Destructive brats. I don’t know about you, but I taught my children not to touch when they went into shops. Our children’s section is bright and colourful and of course invites kids from 0-17 to explore so I don’t expect the no touching rule to apply here. I do, however, expect the no mindless destruction rule to apply. We have a spinner for Mr Men books so that they can all be easily seen. I have lost count of the times that a destructive brat has spun the display so fast the books fly off. Not the worst of crimes, I grant you, but once again the parent from hell steps in to make the situation just peachy. They pull the child away leaving the books all over the floor, sometimes even treading on them as they leave. (Excuse me while I hyperventilate a little). I have even heard parents say “Don’t worry about putting them back, the lady will do it for you.” What the hell??? I did not clear up after my own kids when they were deliberately messy, I made them do it. I am certainly not going to do it for some spoilt brat who thinks it’s OK to tread on books. My colleague, Della, who runs the kids section has her work cut out for her every day. She spends most of her time putting books back where they belong and straightening bent pages. Don’t even get me started on the problems we have during half term.

5. Nose pickers. Bogies are disgusting I think we are all agreed. Kids pick their noses, we are still agreed. But please please please tell me why they feel the need to wipe them on something that is not a tissue. I’ve seen bogies being wiped on our display tables, chairs and even on a book that the kids was holding at the time. It was this particular child’s parent I told that she was wiping her nose products on our merchandise. The mother smiled and said “Yes, she does it all the time.” Unbelievable. The only saving grace was that she bought the book. Urgh!

6. Smelly teenagers. It’s not just small kids that drive me insane, teenagers that don’t wash test my patience too. Teenagers are bags of hormones and sweating is a prerequisite to growing up but it is the parents job to inform their young adult that they need to pay attention to their personal hygiene. There now, that wasn’t difficult was it? Apparently that doesn’t generally happen in these kids’ households. The other thing about teenagers is that they tend to hang around in large groups. This at least triples the smell and I am surprised that there is not a grey cloud above their heads like there was over Pig Pen in the Peanuts comics. When these youngsters wander in to the shop I want to formally introduce them to a bar of soap or a roll on deodorant at the very least but instead, when they leave, I spray the shop with polish to restore the lovely book shop smell.

Pig Pen

Pig Pen

I have found compiling this list quite therapeutic. I am sure you all think I’m a grumpy old cow now and yes, at times I am but is it so wrong to expect children to behave when they are in public? And when they don’t is it too much to expect the parents to deal with them effectively?

I, of course invite your comments below but please don’t pick your nose when you type them.

Until next time.

Julie 🙂

B is for Books

Published 26/05/2013 by julierkendrick

Continuing the A-Z theme, B is unsurprisingly for Books.

Being as passionate as I am about writing, it obviously follows that I am just as passionate about books, A is for Author has already laid testament to that fact.

Working in a book shop is the most amazing job for me and I am extremely lucky that I work in one of the best. Being surrounded by brand spanking new, pristine books with their crisp pages and intoxicating smell is a joy I get to experience for about 20 hours every single week. I have had many jobs from being a driving instructor to a police officer but I have to say that this is by far my most favourite. I love it when our daily delivery arrives and I get to rummage through the big totes full of books to see if any new releases have been sent, and of course keeping one or two (or three) aside for myself.

The Best Book Shop

The Best Book Shop

There is, of course, a down side to working with books….. oh yes there really is.

Firstly, most of my wages end up going in the till. 😦

There is also the very minor matter of having no more room for books in my house. Of course I bought a Kindle, and I love it, but there is no substitute for the real thing.

I have persuaded my long suffering book widower to fill our spare room with shelves because I have made a radical decision. I will only keep books that I haven’t read. (Excuse me while I have a few palpitations here). Now that may not seem radical to you but when you have been reading for nearly 40 years and have still got most of the books you started reading at 6, you have a slight storage problem. When I told Trevor my plan I could see he was genuinely pleased that books would be leaving our house but, as he knows me so well he knows they have also continued to arrive in their droves. My ‘to read’ list is huge and this isn’t a metaphorical list. Oh no. I actually buy the books I want to read even though I haven’t read the last 200 I bought.

A small sample of my 'to read' books

A small sample of my ‘to read’ books

Anyway, my latest project was to get my books organised. A very exciting job.  I piled all of the unread ones on my bed and got one of my many many notepads (another addiction, but we’ll leave that one for now) and labelled the pages A-Z. I then entered each book, alphabetically by author until every single one was recorded.

OK, so what is the point? Aha! that is the ingeniousness of this plan. When you have as many books on your ‘to read’ list as I do, you can imagine that I invariably forget what I have already got. How then can I add books unless I have an organised record of each one? See… genius.

Just don’t tell Trevor.

My book bible

My book bible

 

Catch ya later – Julie 🙂

The Goodreads Extravaganza

Published 08/01/2013 by julierkendrick

Last year I was lucky enough to stumble upon a website that you probably know called Goodreads. I have no idea how I missed this great site for so long but once I found it I was completely hooked. For those of you who have yet to experience the delights of Goodreads I’ll explain a little about it here.

When you sign up you will be asked questions about the kind of books you like to read and your lifestyle etc. Once you have done this you will see on the homepage recommendations based on the answers you gave. This is great because you will find books on the genres you love that you had forgotten about or have read and want to read again or brand new books that you just have to read.  You get to rate the books and compile your own lists of those you have read, those you want to read and the book you are currently reading. Sounds good so far but not amazing? Ah there’s more.

Goodreads-logo

You can join forums to chat about anything literature related, you can vote for books in Goodreads polls. You can answer quiz questions about books, authors or film adaptations and you can even make your own quizzes, challenge your friends and other like minded readers.

There are two things about Goodreads that I really love. The first is my author page. Once you become a published writer you can set yourself up as an author member with your own page, links to your books and a blog if you wish. You can also link this to your Twitter and Facebook accounts thus improving your writing profile. Once you do this you will find more and more requests to be your friend. Unlike FB you don’t update statuses or talk about your personal life this is purely about reading so your ‘friends’ will be following your literary life, seeing what you are reading, commenting on your books reviews etc etc. Goodreads is used by well known authors too so you never know you may find that you have Stephen King or Phillipa Gregory taking an interest in you.

The second thing I love about this site is the challenges you can set yourself. I personally do the yearly book challenge where you have to nominate the number of books you will read in a year. Last year I said I would read 73 and I managed 75. This year I have challenged myself to read 80.  This is great for me because I have such a massive bucket list of books I want to read, I find myself making time to read so I don’t fall behind on my challenge. It keeps up with you and tells you what percentage you have left to go or if you are falling behind too.

So to sum up. Goodreads is great. A definite favourite you should add to your task-bar.

Here is a link and don’t forget to look me up and ask to be my friend.

Goodreads

Look forward to seeing you there.

Julie 🙂

Learning to write by reading

Published 11/10/2012 by julierkendrick

I would say that all writers (and I would be surprised if anyone disagrees) are avid readers. One of the ways you start to understand your love of writing is from reading the things you love to read, whether that be novels, stories, newspaper or anything else with writing on.

Stephen King has a lot to answer for. In a good way. Not only has he written many many fabulously thrilling books but he has also penned a book on how he does it “On Writing” is definitely on my bucket list to read, I mean who wouldn’t want a peep into the mind of the horror master.

Anyway I found this very interesting article where Damien Echols tells us how reading Mr King taught him to write.

Have a read and feel free to comment below.

Click here

It’s not Potter.

Published 27/09/2012 by julierkendrick

 

 

So as we all know J K Rowling has brought out a new book to be released at the end of the month. It has been long awaited and reviews will definitely be varied. The Casual Vacancy is Rowling’s first foray into the word of writing for adults and it has been rumored that she is trying to move as far away from ‘Harry Potter’ as she can. Personally I think that is a bad move as it’s Mr Potter who has made her what she is today.

I still don’t know whether I am going to read the book. I think I probably will because I do like to have an opinion and I will then be able to see which reviewers are just jumping on the ‘I Hate JK’ bandwagon.

In the meantime here the first review you will probably read and to be honest it is not bad.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/the-casual-vacancy-review_n_1917058.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Julie 🙂

Oh PS – I’m VERY disappointed in the cover. It’s horrible and boring and even though you shouldn’t judge a book etc etc it doesn’t inspire me in the slightest.