Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Read All Of The BBC Top 100 Reads - Part 1

From an early age, I've always been quite content to just curl up in a chair with a good book, so apart from the quantity matter, this may be one of my easiest tasks to complete on my list.
Reading to me has always been a sanctuary, a means of escape from the pressures of everyday life and somewhere to go to for a little peace and quiet. From the very first book that I read, I've been hooked and will read almost anything minus anything that resembles a Mills & Boon.
The best thing about doing something like this, is that you get to read books that you wouldn't have normally chosen to read and get to discover new authors that you have never thought of considering previously.
Harry Potter - J K Rowling - with 4 books on the list, I decided to see what all the fuss was about and bite the bullet and read the whole of the series (I don't usually like to read any books that receive as much hype as these). Loved the first book - thought it was on par with Roald Dahl and quite liked the others, except for when she obviously clicked that adults had started to read her books and suddenly from a good childrens author she sold out to a wider market. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald/The Catcher In The Rye - J D Salinger - classic American literature. The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams - don't like reading Sci Fi as a rule but enjoyable enough. The Hobbit - J R R Tolkien - first read this as an eleven year old - wonderful story, can't wait to see what the film turns out like. Goodnight Mister Tom - Michelle Magorian - I'm a big fan of childrens books and this was a wonderful story that didn't disappoint. Anne Of Green Gables - L M Montgomery - in danger of losing out to a very good TV series in the late eighties - the book was not quite as good but can relate to Anne quite easily. Bridget Jones Diary - Helen Fielding - another character I can relate to and classic chic lit! Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres - if you ever pick up this book, please, please, bear with it. The first third is a real challenge, but once you are through that, the book is a wonderful tale of love and conflict and definitely, defintely better than the dire film! Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - I love the older, classic books. The plots are so much better and this is a classic tale of a young orphan's life and the man she falls in love with. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe - C S Lewis - wonderful children's tale that remains timeless but reading the book as an adult, the religion hidden between the lines is alot more evident. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott - found this dreary and much prefer the original film version. Lord Of The Flies - William Golding - one of those books that is still relevant to todays society. Place a bunch of individuals together and watch the survival of the fittest. One Hundred Years Of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - couldn't get into this at all and didn't see what all the fuss was about! Ditto Persuasion - Jane Austen. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier - Loved it, loved it, loved it! From the opening paragraph you are hooked on this and doesn't disappoint it at all - can't quite believe that when I was re-reading this to complete the list, someone actually stopped me and asked what it was about as they had never read it! The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett - classic children's tale - why do we have to rely on wizards and magic in order for our children to start reading again, when there are so many other wonderful stories out there? Swallows & Amazons - Arthur Ransome - one of my magical finds from reading this list. Wonderful tale that brought back so many memories of the adventures that I used to get upto on my school holidays. The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCollough - I was a little too young to appreciate the classic mini series but the book didn't disappoint at all. A wonderful through the generations tale of a family and the love that grows between a young girl and a priest. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee - another classic tale that I first read as a 15 year old - one of those wonderful tales that never disappoints no matter how many times you pick it up. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson - classic tale but didn't do anything for me. The Wind In The Willows - Kenneth Grahame - another classic children's book that doesn't disappoint as an adult.
Pphew! 25 books read, digested and crossed off my list - here's to the next 25!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Go To An Ice Hockey Match

In a city that is more famous for it's gun crime, hooded outlaw and it's once footballing European champions, ice hockey is almost like the forgotten sport of Nottingham.

What's more surprising is that the Nottingham Panthers team, was first formed in 1946, yet it's only now in 2007 that I came to be at the Ice Stadium for my first ever ice hockey match.

'To watch an ice hockey match' is no. 31 on my list of 40 things to do before I'm 40 and was also the 6th item on my list to be completed. What better match to choose from then against the Sheffield Steelers (the footballing equivalent of Forest v Derby local derby).

From the moment I stepped into the ice stadium the scene was set for an incredible night. Our seats were positioned on the front row adjacent to the ice and the Sheffield Steelers fans were positioned to our left, which created an awesome atmosphere. The fan base was just incredible. The stadium itself was full to capacity and the passion for the sport was evident throughout both sets of supporters. The passion was certainly something I didn't expect. After going to the football for many seasons and feeling very passionate about that, I don't think ice hockey would be something I would personally get passionate over but people did and especially the women! There was some excellent examples of scary women there, non more scary than the girl who was obviously a girlfriend of one of the players, that rushed to the front and started banging on the glass, shouting "get off him you b*****d" when she saw her other half being beaten up by the apposing player.

One other good thing about the position of our seats was that it gave you a true indication of the velocity and speed, the players moved along the ice at and also made you aware of how physical the game was, bordering on the lines of being agressive. It certainly is not a game for wimps!

Although we came out the losers (2:1 to the Steelers), I thoroughly enjoyed my first ever ice hockey match and it would be certainly something that I would do again in the near future.