Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Saving Animals

Yesterday morning was spent mostly writing. I Joined Activate, a Born Free campaign group about a year ago and every 2 months I write letters to the Heads of countries where the designated animals are, hoping to get them released from captivity. It's an easy enough task. Born Free provide you with all the info and it only takes around 30 minutes to draft and write a letter to the relevant person.

So far I haven't had a reply from anyone, but I think this is quite normal. I've tried sending emails and snail mail but still nothing. I'm hoping that one day I will and even better that one of the animals I'm campaigning to be released is actually taken from a life of misery and cruelty and put back in it's natural environment.

Sadly the two bears still languish in a pit in Berlin, Lucy the elephant is still kept indoors in Toronto and 18 Dolphins are still confined to a training regime in the Philippines, all of these I've written letters to the relevant people in the hope that they will be released. Thankfully Tom and Misha, the two Dolphins rescued from Turkey are now in a deep sea pen in a peaceful marina - this happened quite quickly after we were sent details of the campaign, so I can't claim a helping hand in that one!

If you want to get involved, please visit -
Born Free, I'm sure a few more people putting some weight behind one of the campaigns will make all the difference and you never know I may just be able to cross another task off my list ( 15. Rescue an animal from captivity).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

13) Read all the BBC Top 100 Reads

Well, it has taken me a while to do this (this was one of the original tasks I started over three years ago!) but finally today I have read the last page of A Suitable Boy and therefore completed reading all of the BBC Top 100 reads. It hasn't been an easy task. There have been some books that were personal favourites that took little to no time to complete, there were others that within the first chapters I found them tedious and incredibly difficult to complete and then there were others that complete took me by surprise, that I wouldn't have thought that I would have enjoyed but I did.
It has been a long task, one that I thought would never complete but it has taught me a lesson that I can't love all books, even though my premise of completing the task was to push myself into reading books I wouldn't otherwise have chosen, sometimes that didn't work when I felt like throwing some out of the window.

Below is my list of the books that stood out for me:-

The Ones That Surprised Me
1. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
2. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
3. The Pillars Of The Earth - Ken Follett
4. A Prayer For Owen Meany - John Irving
5. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
6. The Shell Seekers - Rosamunde Pilcher
7. The Stand - Stephen King
8. The Clan Of The Cave Bear - Jean M Auel
9. Kane & Abel - Jeffrey Archer
10. Holes - Louis Sachar

The Ones That I Nearly Threw Out Of The Window
1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
3. Middlemarch - George Eliot
4. One Hundred Years Of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
5. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
6. Dune - Frank Herbert
7. The Count Of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
8. Crime & Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
9. The Magus - John Fowles
10. The Woman In White - Wilkie Collins

And now, quite happily I can attack my to be read shelf and as for my tasks, I'm on to the learning a new language next.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I don't Speak French Part 2

Now that I've nearly finished my BBC Top 100 reads, I've been debating whether or not to do any more tasks this side of Christmas. Then this morning in my in box, up popped this:- Groupon, which is a voucher for ear worms, a musical brain training cd that allows you to learn key words and phrases for a chosen language. For a fiver I thought it was worth trying out and hopefully by Christmas I might have another task to tick off!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One Down, One To Go...

Just under 1500 pages - I'm thinking I should finish this in a week?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reading and Take That

So I'm on track with my reading target so far with just two weeks to go and three books left to read before I can finally cross the BBC Top 100 reads task off my list. It has been an incredibly challenging task at times, one which I've struggled with on a number of occasions. There have been times when I've felt like throwing some books at the wall, I've been so frustrated with them, but I've persevered and much as I love books this task has at least taught me that I can't love all books.
And whilst I am here...Take That went slowly down in my estimation when I heard Robbie was rejoining them, to the extent where I seriously thought of changing my task to something else. Then I watched the documentary last night and I'm kind of back on their side again, so you never know I may just manage to fulfill my task, but then of course I now have 5 to snog...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Godfather - BBC Top 100 Reads 96/100

I must be the only person in England not to have seen any of The Godfather films - for some reason the sense of violence that I imagine them to portray has never appealed to me and perhaps made me more than a little apprehensive about sitting down to read the book. The essence of this novel is about families, how they react with one another, how their loyalties lie within their extended families and how they observe the outsiders that threaten to penetrate their domains. The violence is there but is kept in short, sharp amounts and doesn't over exaggerate the actions. I completely enjoyed this saga of the 1940's criminal under world and it would be interesting now to see how the film relates to what I've just read. Another one completed off my list - just 4 more to go.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday...

Another radio appearance today and a little different to the last ones, in the sense that I chose to cross a picket line in order to get into the building and record my paper reviews - staff are striking largely down to the pension cuts that the BBC are proposing. A very strange start to the morning and hopefully something I won't have to do again.

Due to my birthday on Wednesday, it's now just under a year to go on this blog and 19 tasks left to complete before I turn 40. Currently got 4.5 books left to read on the BBC Top 100 list before I can tick that one off and then I can start to progress on some of the others. Hopefully I can tick a few more off the list this year and then try and complete as many as I can in 2011. It will be interesting to see what opportunties I get to complete the other tasks still outstanding on my list. Not sure where life is taking me at the moment, but what ever happens, hopefully I'll have some more completed tasks to talk about.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Prayer For Owen Meany - BBC Top 100 Reads

If I'd started to write this review half way through reading this, it would have been one of those posts where I bemoaned the fact that I struggled to comprehend the meaning of this novel. However, every now and again a book comes along that completely surprises me and turns out to be nothing like what I expected to be - A Prayer For Owen Meany is a definite slow burner, which I am so glad I stuck with.

The main narrative of the book is undertaken by John, a childhood friend of the very strange Owen Meany. In fact, Owen is declared so strange that the author types his conversation in capitals. Although there is a very loose story that never seems to go anyway, the author cleverly weaves us through key incidents in Owen's/John's life, dealing with death and prejudice along the way. A repetitive tale that follows them from childhood into adulthood all becomes apparent near the end of the novel and makes the conclusion complete. A wonderful book.