Tuesday, 17 December 2013

My favourite books of 2013

This is a list of my favourite books of this year. 

Some of them were published quite recently, whilst others have been around for quite some time. But none of that really matters to me because I discovered their brilliance this year. And, after all, brilliant books are timeless.

So without further ado, and in quite a particular order, these are my favourite books of 2013.

Bon app├ętit!

5. The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

N.B. This is a very belated addition to this post given that it's exactly a year since I originally published it. But the fact of the matter is that I've been stewing about whether or not I should add it to this post pretty much since I originally published it - I just forgot all about this book at the time I wrote the post originally. After a lot of umming and ahhing (a year's worth to be exact), I've finally decided that yes I want to include this book on this list. Just to clarify, me thinking about this for a year is in no way an exaggeration; it can (and does) take me a long time to make decisions of this sort at times. So without further ado, here it is now - enjoy.

The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is the charmingly quirky story of Allan Karlsson, who on his hundredth birthday decides to climb out of his nursing home window and disappear; just as the title states. So really I didn't need to explain that last part to you because I was only repeating the title of the book, but I thought I'd clarify just in case you thought the title was a decoy to get you to buy the book when really it's about a miniature turtle who has a raspberry as a shell* and finds that people are constantly trying to eat him. Because who wants to read about them, right? But rest assured, the title of the book holds true to what it is about. 

After climbing out of his window to run away Karlsson gets tangled in a very bizarre series of events, which begins with accidentally getting his hands on a suitcase of drug money and consequently being chased by both the drug dealers and the police. And remember, this man is a hundred years old, so it's a pretty thrilling chase. Dispersed through this main chain of events are flashbacks to Karlsson's earlier life, which was equally - if not more so - bizarre. Travelling on a riverboat with Mao Zedong's wife and unknowingly helping to build the atomic bomb are just some examples. In this way, the book very much reminds me of a Swedish old-man version of Forest Gump in that Karlsson's like is filled with accidental interactions with very influential and infamous historical figures. Thus the book is very funny and very quirky and is guaranteed to take you on an incredibly entertaining adventure.

If you're still not convinced that The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is not about rasperry-shelled miniature turtles, here's a trailer of the movie which is based on the book. Hopefully that will convince you.

*cue applause for this brilliant addition to this post*

*miniature turtles with raspberry shells exist, I recommend you Google an image of them right now.

4. The Woman Who Dived Into the Heart of the World 
by Sabina Berman

The Woman Who Dived Into the Heart of the World follows the story of Karen, an autistic female who reinvents the world of tuna farming. 

It begins with Isabelle, Karen's aunt, moving back to her hometown in Mexico after inheriting her late sister's tuna cannery. However, Isabelle doesn't expect to gain responsibility of her late sister's daughter, Karen, whose existence has been kept a secret up until now. Presumably this is because there is something different about Karen. As such, Karen's late mother has neglected Karen since birth; so much so that we are first introduced to Karen as a 'dark, naked thing...[with]...large eyes beneath the matted clump of hair, a wild thing.' This is when Isabelle moves in. 

Karen has not been taught how to speak, and thus has no grasp of language. So the story continues with Karen's journey of discovering language and the world around her, thanks to Aunt Isabelle. 

Slowly we learn that Karen is in fact autistic, and this, together with the late age that Karen acquires language, creates some highly entertaining word-play which evolves out of Karen attempting to understand the world around her.

Karen goes on to study at university, and eventually becomes an animal activist. She finds herself in some extraordinarily bizarre circumstances and rises above all odds; all of which adds to the immensely heartwarming and enjoyable nature of this story.

It's charming. It's clever. And it's very entertaining. Highly highly recommended.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Moving, nostalgic, and at times euphoric, this coming-of-age story is about Charlie, a 15 year old boy and the anonymous letters he writes to an unnamed friend.

It follows Charlie's journey as a freshman and the various anxieties he faces; from being the small fish in the big pond at school, to the pain he still feels from the unexpected deaths of some of the closest people to him - his aunt and best friend. The story also captures the thrills associated with making new, older friends who finally accept Charlie for who he is; as well as the confusions of falling in love for the first time.

It's an emotional roller-coaster-ride of a book. But it is so beautifully and honestly written that it just tugged at my heartstrings like no fictional book has in a long time. It took me back to my time at high school and all of the uncertainties experienced during that time. For that reason I just wanted to give Charlie a big cuddle and tell him everything will eventually work out and be OK. 

Read it. You really should. You'll love it.

2. Life of Pi by Yann Martel 

This is the story of Pi, who grows up in India and whose father owns the local zoo. Pi's family decides to immigrate to Canada, and they wish to take their animals with them. As a result, Pi, his family, and the animals must relocate via ship, and so they all set sail towards their new future.

However, their ship is caught in a terrible storm and tragically sinks. What's left of the original passengers, other than Pi, is an orangutan, a zebra, a spotted hyena, and (to Pi's surprise and fear) a Bengal tiger. What's more, they are all trapped on a single lifeboat.

The story continues with Pi's account of his time lost at sea with these creatures.

Admittedly, this main storyline of the book largely contributed to me putting off reading Life of Pi for a long long time. It had been recommended to me on a number of occasions, yet I couldn't understand how a story about a man lost at sea could sustain my interest. But it did; so much so that I didn't want to put it down. Not even on my 10 minute walk from the train station to my workplace (which can be quite the risky journey). 

Life of Pi is a philosophical, spiritual, and allegorical journey of wonder, and I was left in complete awe of Martel's use of words by the end of it.

1. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

This is my favourite book of the year. It's a big call. And one that hasn't been made flippantly. But Cloudstreet is definitely, hands down, my favourite book of this year.

It begins with the Pickles family who inherit the house at Number 1 Cloudstreet; a welcome change from the hotel they used to board in. 

Given that the house at Cloudstreet is very large, and that the Pickles family are in need of extra money, they decide to rent out half of their residence - the Pickles will live on the right-hand-side, whilst the new tenants will occupy the left. 

And so the Lamb family move in, who recently up-and-left their struggling farm in hopes of finding more fortune in the city. Cloudstreet is thus the story of these two families, following the hardships and celebrations that they both experience over 20 years in post-war suburban Western Australia.

Cloudstreet has stuck with me like no other book has in a long time. I think it's because the characters have been so well written and developed that by the end of the book I felt like we were lifelong family friends. It made me laugh out loud in amusement, cringe with concern, and whoop in celebration, and it's a book I'll treasure for a long time to come. 

Simple, heartwarming and memorable, Cloudstreet is very rightly considered an Australian Classic, and I'm so happy to have discovered it this year.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Review: Beatrice and Virgil, by Yann Martel

I'll know I'll have read an excellent book when all I can think once I've finished it is WOAH. 

It's as though the wind has been knocked right out of me. 

It's as though nothing is quite like it was before I read the book. That everything is just...different. But in a good way - a different way.

And I won't want to read anything else for a few days afterwards so that I can savour the aforementioned feelings for as long as possible. Just like when I eat something really delicious, like garlic bread, and I won't want to eat anything else after it so that its delicious garlicky flavour can remain on my tastebuds.

That's just how I felt after reading Martel's Beatrice and Virgil. It was flipping great.

In short

Beatrice and Virgil is comprised of two stories. The main one is about Henry, a writer who is struggling to get his latest book published. This predicament comes after the phenomenal success of his previous novel, which was also made into a film (sound familiar?*). 

Feeling desperately dejected and unappreciated, Henry receives a letter from a mysterious fan, requesting Henry's assistance. The assistance required is not specified. So Henry, who is intrigued, sets out to find out more.

The mysterious admirer turns out to be a reclusive taxidermist, also named Henry. Taxidermist Henry is reluctant to reveal too much information about himself; except when he is asked about taxidermy, which he discusses in a surprisingly captivating manner. The mystery surrounding Taxidermist Henry only encourages Original Henry to continue spending time with the former, despite feeling somewhat unsettled in the taxidermist's presence.

It turns out that Taxidermist Henry is struggling with the writing of his own play, and would like Original Henry's assistance with it. This play, featuring the title characters of the novel - Beatrice and Virgil - becomes the secondary storyline of the book.

Beatrice and Virgil are a donkey and howler monkey who have escaped circumstances referred to as 'The Horrors'. Their story, set in a dystopic universe, explores how to cope with experiences that are essentially indescribable.

And so Beatrice and Virgil continues by flipping between Original Henry's peculiar reality and Taxidermist Henry's animal allegory for the remainder of the novel. Along the way, you are taken on a surreal and sometimes obscure philosophical journey; one that at times makes you think, 'Hang on a second Martel, did you really just write that?' But the confident, and often ironic, manner in which Martel writes assures the reader that he knows exactly what he is doing.

Then all of a sudden...BAM!....Beatrice and Virgil comes to an abrupt end. Just like that. Leaving you to wonder, 'My goodness, what on earth just happened there?' 

In three words

Philosophical. Surreal. Beguiling. 

What I liked
  • the ideas that Martel plays with. Such as the distinctions between fact and fiction that Martel blurs (pp.6-7):
Tradition holds that the two must be kept apart. That is how our knowledge and impressions of life are sorted in bookstores and libraries - separate aisles, separate floors - and that is how publishers prepare their books, imagination in one package, reason in another. It's not how writers write. A novel is not an entirely unreasonable creation, nor is an essay devoid of imagination. People don't so rigorously separate the imaginative from the rational in their thinking and their actions. There are truths and there are lies - these are the transcendent categories, in books as in life. The useful division is between the fiction and the nonfiction that speaks the truth and the fiction and nonfiction that utters lies. 
  • Martel's incredibly exquisite description of a pear. You will never think of pears in the same way again. 

  • Ditto with the way Martel discusses taxidermy. His descriptions shed a whole different light on this vocation. Beatrice and Virgil's focus on taxidermy also, coincidentally, has interesting parallels with the last book that I reviewed, Foer's Eating Animals. Particularly this line (p.97): 'But the worst enemy of taxidermy, and also of animals, is indifference. The indifference of the many, combined with the active hatred of the few, has sealed the fate of animals.' 

What irked me

Sometimes I did feel the book was trying to be a bit too clever for its own good. Or like it was mocking me. However I think that was partly Martel's intention; to force his reader to become a bit uncomfortable. But then he also challenges the reader to question that discomfort by asking us if it is really necessary to think about whatever is making us uncomfortable as we always have. Or can we think about things differently? This may all sound cryptic and ambiguous, but that is what you're in for if you read Beatrice and Virgil. I personally enjoy this sort of writing when it's done well, but it could just as easily turn people away.

You will like this if you enjoy reading
  • books that play with and challenge the status quo
  • books that have make you feel a bit uneasy 
  • books that contain multiple storylines for you to follow

My theme song for this book

* the fact that Beatrice and Virgil so closely mirrors Martel's own real-life events has actually been a major criticism of it. As well as the fact that this book, like Life of Pi, contains an animal allegory. 
Personally I don't consider either of these to be a problem, even if Martel is guilty of being self-indulgent and repetitive. Because I think he has been successful with the two. And if something's working for you, why not give it another crack? But there have been plenty of people to argue otherwise - don't let that stop you from giving Beatrice and Virgil a go though!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Review: Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer

I have to confess that I usually struggle to finish non-fiction books. I find them quite dry. And there are too many facts in them for me to remember. I end up forgetting most of them by the time I’m a quarter of the way through the book, at which point I'll stop reading it because continuing is simply too counterproductive.

But Eating Animals was different. Prior to reading it I was already a big fan of Foer's fictional works. So when I saw Eating Animals in a bookstore, I was curious to see if his non-fiction would be just as captivating. 

And it was, thanks to Foer’s skillful writing. Foer brought the facts in it to life in such interesting and digestible* ways that the book was just as enjoyable for me to read as many other fictional stories have been. 

And what’s more, I’ve been able to retain many of them, such as:

Pigs are as smart as (and sometimes even smarter than) dogs

Animal agriculture contributes more to global warming
than ALL transportation

Grains fed to animals which become meat for wealthier populations to 
eat could feed starving populations of the world (and have less of a negative
impact on the environment in the process)

In short

Eating Animals deals with the complexities behind eating, and not eating, animals. But don’t let this scare you away from reading this incredibly powerful and informative read, because its purpose is not to convince people to become vegetarian (Foer does however openly oppose factory farming in the USA). 

Instead, it explores the relationships people have with eating animals; which isn’t only related to pleasing our tastebuds, but is also about the stories, cultures and traditions that we celebrate, reject or change when we agree (or disagree) to eat particular products.

The following passage taken from Eating Animals (pp.16-17) is an example of this complex relationship humans have with food. Foer is speaking with his Grandmother, who escaped Nazi-occupied Poland during WWII and spent many months fleeing the Germans:

'The worst it got was near the end. A lot of people died right at the end, and I didn't know if I could make it another day. A farmer, a Russian, God bless him, he saw my condition, and he went into his house and came out with a piece of meat for me.'

"He saved your life."

"I didn't eat it."

"You didn't eat it?"

"It was pork. I wouldn't eat pork."


"What do you mean why?"

"What, because it wasn't kosher?"

"Of coarse."

"But not even to save your life?"

"If nothing matters, there's nothing to save."

This powerful passage captures the heart of what Eating Animals is about: just what can, and should, matter when it comes to food?

Foer's exploration of this multifarious topic continues in such a manner, by weaving together stories, philosophical thoughts and facts in very clever ways. It's for this reason that I found Foer's discussion particularly effective, as I didn't feel swamped with slabs of facts which can frequent other non-fiction books. 

I particularly enjoyed the following points Foer presented:

  • Why is it acceptable to eat some animals and not others?  For example, we eat pigs. Pigs are as smart as dogs. But we don’t eat dogs even though we could and there are so many put down every year. The latter of which is then processed into more food for animals, creating an inefficient cycle of production and consumption. 
  • The idea that 'food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, and identity' (p.263). This makes decisions and reactions relating to food all the more complex compared to many of our other lifestyle choices.
  • And finally this beauty: 'Our situation is an odd one. Virtually all of us agree that it matters how we treat animals and the environment, and yet few of us give much thought to our most important relationship to animals and the environment. Odder still, those who do chose to act in accordance with these uncontroversial values by refusing to eat animals...are often considered marginal or even radical.' (pp.73-74) 

Foer does not shy away from the gruesome realities that come with eating animals either. His focus is largely on factory farms in the USA, and while some may discount this if they live in another country, it was still very relevant for me. It made me to realise how little I actually know about farming practices in Australia. And how little I know about the journey animals go on from being live beings to cooked food on our plates. 

It’s a process people should be more informed about, not only from an animal welfare perspective, but also from a human welfare perspective. This latter point was particularly poignant for me because while I am quite familiar with practises concerning the former (and as such am a vegetarian), I never realised how much metaphorical crap is pumped into animals; animals who also live surrounded by literal crap. These crappy animals eventually become food for human consumption. That was particularly shocking for me. 

Thus, I found myself feeling quite angry halfway through the book. How have we become a society that’s allowed all of the corrupt practises of the food industry to continue, and flourish at that? Particularly at the expense of the welfare of others, both humans and animal? And especially when most of this is driven by money; whether it’s the meat producers who are wanting to maximise profits; or consumers who are not willing to pay more for their food, forcing some producers wanting to do the right thing to find cheaper (and generally less animal friendly and sustainable) ways of producing meat. 

All of this infuriated me so much that I just wanted pack up all of my belongings and move to a remote self-sustained community where I wouldn't have to be bothered by any of these injustices.

But I didn't. A) because I actually like my life as it is at the moment; b) because I don't think such a society is even possible; and c) that's not what Foer's intention with the book is anyway. 

Foer is simply offering a different way of thinking about food. And what's more, he invites us to act on this knowledge, rather than continue to be indifferent about it. After all, many of us are very familiar with the negative environmental, health and welfare impacts eating animals has. We simply do little with this knowledge. So Foer leaves us with the following proposition which sums up his discussion well: 

'What kind of world would we create if three times a day we activated our compassion and reason as we sat down to eat, if we had the moral imagination and pragmatic will to change our most fundamental act of consumption?' (pp. 257-258) 

Just imagine!

In three words

Enlightening, thought-provoking awesomeness 

What I liked
  • Foer's writing - he is an incredibly talented wordsmith. 
  • The way Foer presents his information. Whether it's via diagrams drawn to scale illustrating how little room factory farmed chooks have to live in; or presenting viewpoints from different sides of animal production and consumption arguments (including a vegetarian rancher); his argument is well-grounded and honest.
  • The sense of empowerment after reading Eating Animals. Again, it's purpose is not to turn you into a tree-loving vegetarian hippy. But it offers options to those who do want to have a more positive impact on the world they live in.            

What irked me

The realisation that there is still so far to go in terms of improving animal welfare, the environment, and people's knowledge about where their food comes from. But change has to come from somewhere, so why not start now? 

You will like this if you enjoy reading
  • Books that take you on philosophical and factual journeys of discovery
  • Books that challenge and confront your understandings of the world around you
  • Books which advocate for animal rights
  • Books about food

*pun not intended

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Collecting books

One thing that makes me happy is being notified that a book I have reserved is ready for collection at the library. The days, weeks and sometimes even months I've spent waiting for it have come to an end, and I can finally begin the highly anticipated read.

However, sometimes the highly anticipated moment of collecting the book is much more disappointing than it is fulfilling. This generally happens when I've had a particular edition of the book I’d like to read in mind, and then the edition I’m given is completely different to any one I've seen before. It’s like a blind date gone horribly wrong – you have an idea of what the person will look like based on a picture you've been given of them (athletic with neat and tidy hair), and then it turns out they've put on 20kgs and are now sporting a bright green Mohawk. Of coarse there’s nothing wrong with letting go of yourself and changing up your hairstyle now and again. But as someone who struggles with the unexpected, scenarios like this one can be rather unsettling and disappointing for me to say the least.


All of this can make me seem incredibly shallow (and partially unstable) when it comes to collecting books, but unfortunately that's simply what happens sometimes*. There's just certain covers I get attached to which make me believe that that and only that particular version will make my reading experience the most enjoyable one I can possibly have with the book. I can't explain the logic behind this reasoning, but book cover designers and advertisers would definitely be pleased with the effects of their campaigns on me.

Nevertheless, once I've recomposed myself, I will eventually rise to the challenge of reading an edition of a book I have been unprepared for. While it can be a bit awkward to begin with, I remind myself that despite the initial setbacks, everything will actually be ok because the story is still the same on the inside as the one I was originally interested in.

And in the end, that’s all that really matters.

*I would like to emphasise the sometimes, because this doesn't happen every time. Honestly. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Review: Puberty Blues, by Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette

I was snuggled up on my couch one Friday night, happily watching So You Think You Can Dance on TV, when it came to its inevitable end at exactly 9.32pm. Just as I was ready to flick off the TV and continue with my pleasantly relaxing evening, an ad for the next show to air that night came on - reruns of the 2012 miniseries Puberty Blues. I was overseas at the time the show had originally aired, but even then I'd heard about it and wanted to watch it. Now seemed the perfect opportunity, so I thought to myself.....

And so I did.

I watched it, and really enjoyed it! But, because this blog is predominately about reviewing books and not about TV shows I like (even though I could technically write about the show because this is my blog and I'm allowed to write whatever* I'd like to on it), I won't go on to tell you how I was drawn into the narrative of the show from the get go, or how wicked I thought all of the costumes and other 70s paraphernalia in it were. Because that would simply be a waste of your time. Instead, the show's mention has merely been a brief explanation of how it ultimately sparked my interest in reading the book of the same name. Voila.

In short

Puberty Blues follows the adventures of Debbie and Sue, two thirteen year-old best friends desperate to belong to the ‘in’ group of the Northern Cronulla surf gangs. The writing captures the suffocating boredom and feelings of entrapment that I could relate to from when I was a teenager, along with yearning for independence and opportunities for exploring ones identity. Barely any uncomfortable topic is left untouched in this novella; with sex, rape, alcohol, drugs, teenage pregnancy and abortion all featuring regularly in an unnervingly blunt manner. At the same time the story is punctured by some incredibly hilarious and uniquely Australian colloquialisms, which reprieve the reader from the otherwise intense nature of the narrative. Though the outrageous colloquialisms could also be off-putting to some readers, I think it captures and allows you to escape into the incredibly dangerous, yet exhilarating reality, of 1970s teenage beach culture of coastal Australia.

In three adjectives

Raw. Confronting. Thrilling.

What I liked
  • Being transported to life in 1970s coastal Australia and the lives of teenagers entirely different to what I experienced
  • The book’s honesty 
  • The authenticity of the narrator voices; which made me laugh, gasp, cringe, and so much more

What irked me
  • The authenticity of the narrator voices – sometimes I found these too forced and over-the top
  • The matter-of-fact manner that serious topics were spoken about. At times, it all got too much for me and I had to stop, look away from the pages, and take a few deep breaths before continuing on with the narrative
  • Reading about the deeply disturbing and cringe-worthy sexist attitudes of that era
  • Debbie, the main narrator. At times I felt so frustrated by her actions and just wanted to shake her and say ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELF!!????’

You will like this if you enjoy reading
  • Stories about teenage life and culture
  • Reading about uncomfortable and confronting topics
  • Australian cult classics

Other representations

2012 8-part miniseries, Puberty Blues

Bruce Beresford's 1981 film, Puberty Blues

*within reason

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Review: The Graduate, by Charles Webb

I was browsing the shelves in my local library, as I like to do quite often, looking out for 'the one' (aka the perfect book for me to read at that specific moment in time). After much browsing, and just as I was losing all hope of ever finding my 'one', I spotted Webb's The Graduate out of the corner of my eye.

It was hanging out all cool and nonchalant on the shelves, much like in the depiction below.

It was so chilled that I genuinely don't think it would have minded if I simply walked past it; but its quiet confidence was too tempting for me to resist (don't worry, I wasn't bothering it with my attention - in fact, I think it was secretly chuffed by it).

So, as I've done many times before, I thought, 'I'm going to read your blurb to see if I want to take our relationship further.' And so I did. And its blurb promised all I needed for a highly entertaining and provocative read; I knew I'd be in for a treat. I love a bit of a risque read now and again*, and The Graduate delivered in every way!

In short

Set in 1960s suburban America, this is the story of Benjamin, a freshly graduated student from college who feels deeply disillusioned about the ‘American Dream’ and all that it has promised. For, despite being a high achieving student, Ben is struggling to come to terms with the purpose of anything in life and everything he’s been made to consider important; such as education, money, security and status in society.

Until Mrs. Robinson, his father's business partner's wife, comes along. And they have an affair together. Throughout which Ben feels rather conflicted. So he decides to put an end to it. And then both he and Mrs. Robinson behave even more ridiculously. All of which is very entertaining to read.

Nevertheless throughout The Graduate, Ben remains a mystery to his readers; we still hardly know him by the end of the novel. As such it is difficult to sympathise with him entirely.

However, though Ben is a deeply conflicted character and seemingly unstable, there is something that just draws you in to wanting to know more about him and what trouble he will get himself into. It’s almost like watching a car-crash in slow motion – you know that the ending will be disturbing, but you just can’t look away. As such, it’s a highly entertaining and delightful read! 

In three adjectives

Sardonic. Droll. Naughty. 

What I liked
  • Benjamin - there's just something about his brooding nature that I can't get enough of!

  • Mrs. Robinson – she’s so cheeky!
  • The representation of mundane American suburban life in the 60s. As much as the 60s was a time of excitement and revolution for many social groups, there were also plenty of people living ordinary and banal lives, and their stories can be just as rich and entertaining for me as the former

What irked me
  • Benjamin’s obsession with Elaine – it’s slightly creepy 

  • Mrs. Robinson; when she becomes bitterly jealous of Ben’s romantic interests in Elaine and tells spiteful lies

You will like this if you enjoy reading
  • Witty, dry humour 
  • The acknowledgement of the bleak reality of life
  • Books that blur the lines between what’s right and wrong and expose the flaws of all of its characters 

Other representations

Mike Nichols’ 1967 film adaptation, The Graduate

Simon and Garfunkel's Mrs. Robinson**

*Of the risque books I have read, Nabokov's Lolita is currently the only exception for me - that book proper creeped me out!

**FUN! FACT:  This song was originally written as 'Mrs. Roosevelt', presumably after Eleanor Roosevelt. However, Nichols was such a huge fan of Simon and Garfunkel that he asked for it to be changed to Mrs. Robinson instead. ALSO, the song as we know it today wasn't written in its entirety when the motion picture was released either, but was completed upon its success.

Choosing books

One of my favourite pastimes is strolling into a library, with no particular preference for what I'll pick to read next, and browsing the shelves until 'the one' catches my eye. When it does, I'll just know that it'll be a fantastic read, and the mission will be a fait accompli. It's one of the greatest feelings of satisfaction that I can come by; particularly for someone as indecisive as me. It'll be as if all of the stars have aligned perfectly in unison. I'll then skip merrily to the borrowing counter with my new treasure in tow, and an explosion of confetti will ensue in celebration.

Other times, a number of books will jump out at me simultaneously, all claiming to be 'the one'. Suddenly, I'll find myself inundated by a plethora of books all grasping for my attention and pleading for me to read them with their puppy-dog eyes. As you can imagine this can be rather overwhelming, and it's tempting to simply gather them all up in my arms and borrow the lot so no-one gets hurt. But deep down I'll know that none of them are quite right. So, instead of pretending that something might work for the sake of protecting everyone's feelings, I'll politely reject them and explain that they're not for me just yet.

I'll then continue my search for the actual 'one', wary not to make eye contact with the now bitter and intense glares emanating from the aforementioned rejected books.

As you can imagine, this latter scenario can be quite an arduous and emotionally-draining process, and you may very well be wondering why on earth I put myself through all of this each time I visit the library. But rest assured this process is not always so difficult, and is generally one which is enjoyable and even therapeutic for me. I simply like to ensure that the book I chose to invest my time into is exactly right before committing to it entirely.

But sometimes, just sometimes, a book will simply be hanging out on a shelf, all casual and aloof, not bothered whether or not I'll select to read it or not. And I'll think 'Hey, you look pretty cool and I'd like to read you.' So I'll pick it up, assessing the cover and reading the blurb, while it remains all casual and aloof in my hands. And if it passes my initial tests of judgement I'll select it as my next read. I'll then skip merrily to the borrowing counter with my new treasure in tow, and an explosion of confetti will ensue in celebration. Hurrah!

And that will be the end of that adventure. Until the next time.

Read more: http://bloggerknown.blogspot.com/2013/02/changing-blog-page-by-page-number.html#ixzz2mUXnF3wj