... I haven't actually been reading NW for the last 3 months. I started it too soon after May We Be Forgiven and it didn't feel like I was giving it a fair crack of the whip, so I have plunged into an orgy of CRIME. It feels right in this weather, somehow. That's a lie, I always want to read crime. I don't really understand why, but (a) it's genetic, both my parents like(d) murder too and (b) so, it appears, does a huge swathe of the population, so perhaps resistance is futile.
First I read the full set of archeology thrillers by Elly Griffiths, then The Girl on the Stairs by Louise Welsh (eh?), then The Blackhouse by Peter May, because someone recommended it and someone else said it was utterly dreadful and I was curious (verdict: slightly heavy on the seabirds and leaden, brooding menace for me), then I read Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton even though it has ghosts and I don't normally hold with that kind of thing, and In the Woods by Tana French which was really great but I felt slightly cheated at the end and now I've found a Denise Mina I hadn't already read (even though, having read the subsequent ones, I know whodunnit).
Problems with reading too much dark detective fiction:
- Wake up every morning with a steel band tension headache from a night of tooth grinding.
- Twitchy, bug eyed, anxious.
Advantages of reading too much detective fiction:
- Would have been anxious anyway, and now twitchiness/anxiety can now be ascribed to reading habits, not real life.
- Instant perspective: have I been dismembered, or accused of dismemberment today? No? Well then. Also, I think real life takes on a sort of benigner hue due to the absence of disgusting, senseless, violent, sadistic crime in my front room. The pigeons in the back garden fight a lot, and the bastard dog jumped onto the kitchen work surface and ate my last three triangles of Blue Toblerone today, but that's as bad as it gets.
So: what next? I have done quite a lot of the Scandis in varying quantities/quality, but none but Asa Larsson in the last two years. Am I missing out on further opportunities to grind my horse teeth into tiny stumps and get palpitations? What crime do you recommend? My tastes run particularly to gritty/realistic-verging-on-profoundly-gloomy/Aga saga gone bad, and much less to PIs with 'pieces'. Alternatively, what have you read recently that is good and that you recommend to wean me off this run of autopsies and dark childhood secret misery?
In other news, M and I have had a disagreement about those Shetland ponies wearing Shetland jumpers.
E: I'm not sure about the jumpers. I am concerned that they adulterate their essential pony-ness.
M: There is something wrong with your side of the brain.
E: Why can't ponies JUST BE PONIES? LET PONIES BE PONIES.
M: This is like the Bartlet campaign all over again.
E: YES. YES IT IS. And yet I am still not in love with Josh despite your assurances.
In other, further, other news, my life as a Tiger Mother malgré moi continues ingloriously, but with intermittent high points of comedy. F dropped his rental violin, denting it, during an over-enthusiastic rendering of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and we have entered the dark, dark world of Learning Chinese Characters By Heart. Bugger all that encouraging stuff about forging new neural passageways of two posts ago, my brain finds this process physically painful.
"HANG ON. I thought this one that looks like a picnic table was 'ma'?
"Naaooon, that's huan".
"And since when are there TWO that look like small stick people? AND WHY DOES ONE OF THEM HAVE A FAT LEG??"
F is totally on top of it.
He can also sing you a Chinese song about tigers with no ears, and do some kind of eyeball massage. He is quite the renaissance man. My very favourite of his new skillz is listing huge numbers of animals in Chinese, which has enabled me to learn the following composite creature expressions:
Panda is "Bear cat"
Turkey is "fire chicken"
Goat is "mountain sheep"
Owl is "cat head .. something". (I think it is bird. F is unsure)
Fire chicken! I want to make up my own now, but unfortunately my brain is still cowering in the corner, licking its wounds. Weepette's composite name is "chocolate bastard neurotic scrawny fiend" and soon my youngest will be able to write that down for me in beautiful calligraphy. I have tried gently querying with him whether all his self-imposed extra-curricular activities make him feel like the sister in Mr Stink who has jousting lessons and plays the trombone and so on, but he claims not so, so on we go, towards imminent ruin.
Final other news: I just have discovered this (after nearly 10 million other people, I am quite the early adopter) and now I cannot stop muttering to myself "fuck your Toyota Yaris, I've got a horse outside" even though sadly this is not at ALL true. More on the subject of horses soon, however, even though they do not have an entertaining composite name ('ma', but not the same 'ma' that looks like a picnic table, because it has an uppy-downy accent instead of a straight across one I TOLD YOU IT WAS HARD).