Monday, 26 October 2009

Isn't it good

Finally I have read Norwegian Wood. I have read lots of other books by Haruki Murakami, and bought this rather special edition years ago, but was scared to read it. For lots of reasons I think - partly that the edition was a bit too special to actually read, partly that it's good to know that you haven't yet read all the books by an author you love, and partly that I thought it would be very good and make me sad.

I borrowed it from the library. It is very good and it did make me a bit sad, but I'm glad I read it, although now I don't want to read anything else for a while.

Interestingly, it's being made into a film at the moment. I shall keep my fingers crossed.

In the meantime, here is a list from the Times about Haruki Murakami.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

You say coin and I say forint (and score 39 points)

I like to play Scrabble. I also like to win games sometimes. These things are not compatible chez-listingslightly.
Exhibit A:

Not the world's most elaborate game - note the four-letter words at the bottom of the board (no, not that kind of four letter word, that is quite a different version of scrabble) - stem, sing, avid etc. So far, so dull. But there, look!

A 7 letter word. On a triple word score. That's 89 points right there for Mr Listingslightly. I'm not entirely sure why I took this photo at all, except it was a newish camera and it was a day when it snowed I think.

Still, things are looking up as today the Guardian published a list of 10 words that were on the finals board at the National Scrabble Championship. If only I can remember how to spell them...

Monday, 12 October 2009

The cat that liked to be beside the seaside

There are many books of lists, but the best ever, I think, are those by David Wallechinsky, Irving Wallace and Amy Wallace.

The 70s originals are full of amazing stories and intriguing facts, as well as weird insights into the time of writing For example, the joint third* most hated person in history 1975, according to visitors to Madame Tussaud's, was Richard M.Nixon, down from the top spot in '73. (Interestingly, although his hatedness peaked after Watergate, even in 1970 he was fourth...)

The 2005 version is just as good and includes "5 Body Parts Named After Italians", "33 Names of Things You Never Knew Had Names" and, marvellously, "The Cat Came Back: 9 Cats Who Travelled Long Distances to Return Home", which is the list I read when I can't sleep and need to think of nice things.

This is a truly cheery list, of cats that travelled up to 1500 miles to rejoin their owners who had moved, or to go back to where they used to live. My favourite is Gringo the cat who left his family in Paris and travelled 480 miles to the French Riviera in December 1982. “Wishing to escape the cold winter, he had made the journey south in a week and appeared at their summer home, where neighbours took care of him.” A cat that escapes winter to make for the coast is my kind of cat.

So there you have it – worth buying for the cat stories alone. It’s £5.99 on Amazon, so less than 67p per amazing cat journey story.

*with Dracula

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Additional notes

A recent ‘blog of note’ flagged by blogger is the excellent site Letters of Note, which is just marvellous and I recommend that you click here immediately and read everything on it (not as time-consuming as you might think as it’s been going for a month, although it’s certainly updated much more often than listingslightly...). Scanned copies and transcripts of interesting letters, memos etc, recent and not so, make for exactly the kind of blog I like to wander about in.
On Friday night I watched North by Northwest, which I feel I have seen many times, but in fact I think I’ve seen the whole thing about twice, and bits of it many times. Regular readers (hello, both) will know of my love for Cary Grant, and this is him at his classy best, being pursued and drawn into dark dealings in a fabulous suit (and note how gorgeous his shirt is also), and with the very lovely Eva Marie Saint.
I’ve been rummaging about in some shoe boxes and turning up various interesting bits of paper that have accumulated over the last 12 years or so. In June 1999 I was finishing my second year at university. I’m sure that there were all sorts of exciting things happening with the internet, but I was mostly unaware of them. In those days when interesting snippets of information seemed a bit more special, a bit harder to track down, but when we were just starting to realise the possibilities of email, a lovely friend sent me a list of all Alfred Hitchcock’s cameo appearances. I was interested enough to forward it from my university email to my home email, and then, a month later, to print it off to save, and have been moving it around with me ever since (9 house moves in 10 years). Now, of course, Wikipedia does the work for you. But this is a marvellous site, which not only lists the cameos, but also has fantastic stills with Sir Alfred highlighted.

Monday, 5 October 2009

And while you're at it, where's my cambric shirt eh?

Being a list of herbs which have so far survived in our front yard.

Purple Basil

I'm particularly impressed with tarragon, which I hadn't knowingly eaten before a few weeks ago when we made this excellent recipe, with chicken though, not guinea fowl so far.

They are mostly thriving (or at least surviving), but we shall see how the rain and cold affect them. And at least the caterpillars haven't eaten them yet - they're too busy demolishing the broccoli which we have planted in unwisely small containers. Fortunately we live near some shops.