The Tale of the Wish Fish

As I walked one sunny day
Beside the river, by the way
Mine eyes did catch upon a shimmer:
A sparkling 50 pence in the river

So in I waded to the middle
Though why I did presents a riddle
For I should remember I cannot swim
And so began to sink within

But along you came by the river walking
Becoming alerted to my squawking
The seconds to react barely counted three
You threw the nearby lifebuoy to me

I caught hold and slipped inside
Feeling some damage to my pride
For your reward I reached once stabled
And caught the gold creature believed to be fabled

“Now take hold of mine Wish Fish
And make thou thy Wish”

[A silly poetic version of a story I decided was true when walking one evening with my girlfriend].

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The Reader on the 6.27 – Jean-Paul Didierlaurent (Book Review)

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This book is fairly popular at the moment, and I have even heard in anecdotal exchanges that some adults are almost in tears at the impact this book has had on their life.

Guylain, an employee at a book-pulping factory rides the 6.27 train every morning, reading aloud to the other passengers pages from random books that he had pulled out of the pulping machine the day before.

Living a pained existence in a job he hates, feeling like a murder, his best friends are an elderly man who speaks in alexandrines, a disabled ex-colleague obsessed with finding his legs, and his goldfish (replaced when necessary).

Until he finds the diary of a young lady who cleans public toilets for living, and immediately falls in love with this stranger he has yet to meet.

The book itself is perhaps something I wouldn’t usually go for: the feel-good, romantic theme being something which I’d consider often predictable, often repeated, and often unsatisfying. I wouldn’t necessarily say that for this book: it is quite a unique romance in a sense. The girl seems like a very unique character, and was in someways my favourite in the book for her outlook on life.

Though the book was sometimes funny, an easy read, and not at all boring: I still found that I was dissatisfied upon completion: I found Guylain’s idol somewhat annoying and couldn’t quite see his fascination with him. I also found the romance ultimately open-ended with a somewhat ambiguous ending. I guess in someways the couple were both individually quirky, but it seems a bit of a mismatch to me: Guylain always came across a bit too passive.

Not a terrible book by any means, and could easily be read in a matter of a few sittings. Perhaps it’s the ‘feel-good’ factor that will draw many towards it, and it is likely just not my cup-of-tea. Worth a shot if it sounds like your thing, though!

Nod – Adrian Barnes (Book Review)

Nod

I’ve never read much sci-fi, or horror, though I often think I should. I think often the problem is that with so many series to choose from, and seemingly many by self-published authors, its quite hard to know where to begin. There is probably some gold out there in the hills of lengthy novels, but finding it is a difficult commitment to make.

That being said, when this book was suggested as an option at the book club I attend, I found the premise interesting enough to give it a go.

The premise is fairly simple:

Paul, a writer, awakes one morning to his partner, Tanya, complaining of getting no sleep the night before. Paul himself also mentions his bizarre ‘golden’ dream, but nothing is made of it and they continue with their days. Until Tanya returns from work with the news that, apart from maybe 1 in 10,000, nobody slept the previous night. And nobody can sleep still.

So with a population of growingly sleep-deprived people, the apocalypse facing humanity seems to begin, with the Sleepers being the targets of envious rage, and the target of hunting in order to, somehow, discover a way to sleep.

As Paul watches his wife slowly sink into a hallucinatory reality, he travels across Vancouver in search of safety from the Awakened.

As far as post-apocalyptic settings go, this is a fairly unique one: the problem facing humanity is something as simple as no longer being able to sleep. The effects of sleep-deprivation in reality are quite serious, with hallucinations setting in after a few days, bursts of psychosis further on, and eventually, death. All of which feature in the book as the days pass by, many aware of the inevitable end if they can’t get some sleep.

The writing style in this book has in it a hint of dark comedy which I appreciate: comedic writing that somehow paradoxically is somewhat funny, without making light of the subject. A great example of this is a throw away comment in the book about a horrible husband who communicates with his wife through ‘morse code’: a series of slaps and silences (paraphrasing). It’s clever comments like this which ran throughout which made me appreciate the writing style. The ending too, being fairly unique, yet seemed to fit well with Paul’s tone throughout.

That being said, I did think that the ‘outbreak’ of insomnia was in many ways more believable and tense than the time a week or so later.

I disturbingly found Paul a very likable character, despite his fairly obvious hatred for humanity, and perhaps this was reliant on his humour and narrative style.

Overall, I gave the book a arbitrary 4/5 on Goodreads, but in reality it’s hard to judge. I liked it, but would have liked the concept of a sleep-deprived apocalypse to take on a broader setting than seemingly a few blocks which was focused on in the story.

I like sleep, and sleep-deprivation, though seemingly common to me, is a pain. I would hate to not be able to sleep but still feel the effects of tiredness. I work nights and so tiredness is already fairly hard to keep on top of, nevermind it accumulating.

Perhaps though, watching those you love fall into a hallucinatory reality whilst you remain the the typical one would be difficult too, and their lack of care of no sleep (much unlike my whining about it), and lack of care for the anarchy around them, perhaps a sort of ignorant bliss to be envious of in such a setting…

First blog post

The first post is always the hardest… how do I set a precedent for a blog which essentially has the features of:

  • No specific topic;
  • No particular aim in mind;
  • and No definite consistency

It is, therefore, essentially a personal blog on which to verbalise (visually) my thoughts. Though I do hope these are of interest to others in some manner too…

When we write, whether anyone will actually see it or not, we write for an audience of our imagining. I therefore will be writing for an audience of varying interests who will dip in and out, I assume.

The aim of any first blog post seems to be to set a tone, or outline the purpose of a blog. Well, I am bad at this. So now that this awkwardness is over, feel free to regret ever wondering what my first post was.