Sunday, 30 March 2014

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Never has the world of literature been more steeped in controversy than with the introduction of Lolita in 1955. It is now 2014 but no doubt it remains very much a hot potato in book clubs and educational establishments all around the world. If you want to cause a stir, introduce a main character who is obsessed with girls as young as nine and kidnaps and seduces a 12 year old!

I have a vague memory of watching the film many years ago, I wasn't very old myself at the time and I can't really remember much about it. So when it came to reading the book, it was all new.

This book is as powerful and thought provoking as it is skin crawlingly disturbing. If you want a peachy ride, this isn't for you. Vladimir crafts the story well and the backdrop and the main character's obsession with little Lo creates tension that makes the pages turn by themselves. Reading Lolita is like being strapped into a fairground ride that gatecrashes the fairground and disappears into unknown, terrifying territory.

Personally however I feel that the plot jumped the shark a little bit too much as for me the best, most tension building and compelling parts where when Humbert/Arthur lived at Lolita's house as a lodger, before they embarked on their first trip around the US. It many ways it felt as if the rest of the plot didn't live up to the early promise and I think the whole book could have been 100 pages or so shorter. I also struggled with the fact that in parts the book often seemed to disappear into a strange no man's land where you are left wondering what is going on and the divide between drunken dream sequences and actual events at times became frustratingly blurred. Also I found the quoting of miscellaneous philosophers and writers a little aggravating.

On the whole, although I have a few misgivings I actually really enjoyed the whole, if not disturbing, experience and I'm sure this will stay with me for a long time.


Two quick non fiction reviews

A couple of quick non fiction reviews, I read them a week or so ago and I'm just catching up!

This was a fun little read that has some basic information on how to train your pooch to do some fundamental things like sit and lie down and also a few neat tricks. Most of the stuff I already knew but some of it was new and helpful. However it didn't really go into too much detail and I'm glad I got it as a free kindle book because half of the book was actually spent advertising other kindle books! So it's really half a book and half adverts!


The truth is this book didn't really contain any secrets!

I have been interested in memory techniques for many years and to be honest this taught me nothing.

It was all common sense stuff and it read as if the author had just googled the whole thing on Wikipedia. And considering that half of this free kindle book was spent advertising all her other books ( on various, wide ranging topics) I would have felt very short changed if I had actually bought it. If you are seriously hoping to learn about memory and memory techniques, I wouldn't recommend this. There are better books out there.

We all have the potential to improve our memory in so many way and it is a fascinating subject, and I am considering writing one myself.


Tuesday, 18 March 2014


                           I used to carry Jesus on my back

      and we loved to satisfy each other with small things


      the sky painting itself



      winter limping slowly away like an old man


The Trifecta Challenge is slowly coming to an end

and this week the challenge is to write 33 words using the word prompt


using the 3rd definition of the word

Why not take a look and join in with the fun and meet some lovely writers.

The Law of Attraction : According to the Masters

I find the whole Law of Attraction concept fascinating and it is something I have discovered in the last few weeks. I have joined a few websites and learned quite a lot online and watched the Movie 'The Secret'. I have also recently joined a few Facebook groups and an online LOA community, where I stumbled upon this book. Or maybe the law of attraction brought it to me!

This small book is wonderful. It explains about the Law of Attraction and sums it up 'in a nutshell'. It is based upon the writings and lives of two LOA masters, Neville Goddard and Thomas Troward. I like how the Author manages to introduce the subject in a warm, honest and positive way and yet also wets our appetite to learn more. It also proves that there are hidden gems out there in the world of Smashwords and other self publishing places on the web.

You can take a look yourself if you are interested. Personally my journey into self discovery and spirituality has taken a nice little detour by reading this. Fascinating.


Monday, 17 March 2014

The Popular Girl - F.Scott Fitzgerald

Another classic and another name that is forever popping up in every 'how to write' book under the sun, so when I found this in my local library I knew I had to read it. Five short stories written from 1922 to 1932, originally published in the Saturday Evening Post. A newspaper, I presume, somewhere in the United States.

The first three stories in this collection are quaint and romantic and the perfect escapism for anybody that loves to get lost in a book. My personal favourite is probably the second, entitled 'Love in the Night'. The last two are perhaps slightly more dull but still worth the read. I like the way that these tiny glimpses of life in the twenties are so accessible and easy to read, considering they were written so long ago. There are no car chases or murderers in this one, just some good, simple honest story telling.


Maybe I should read more from F.Scott Fitzgerald. This collection contains a small biography and a fascinating foreword by Helen Dunmore.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

What they do in the dark by Amanda Coe

Get astride your space hoppers and take a ride back in time to a world of rocket lollies and Bunty comics. Two very different girls from two different worlds collide in this tale of life in the seventies seen through not so rose coloured glasses.

I am split down the middle with this one. One the one hand we follow the lives of Gemma and Pauline, two kids from totally different backgrounds, their story is page turningly beautiful and terrifying. I was living inside their heads all the way through and the way Amanda Coe let's us inhabit their lives is exemplary.

But unfortunately it's like another, less interesting book was shoved inside this one and got in the way slightly. The story takes us on another journey into the world of film production and at times loses itself in a complicated mishmash of producers and directors and really the book didn't need this. I was happy to follow Gemma and Pauline. Their story was enough. I accept that the film making was an integral part of the plot but it gets in the way of a good story. Quentin was one character that probably wasn't needed at all as well as Hugh. The whole Hugh/Quentin thing was a pain to read at times.

However I have to give this 8 out of 10 for the sheer brilliance of the way we are transported into the seventies and for a magnificent and devastating ending.

Give this a try, see what you think.


Monday, 10 March 2014


 'You could've made a safer bet, but what you break is what you get
  You wake up in the bed you make. I think you made a big mistake.
  You own me. There's nothing you can do. You own me.'

              Mark Berninger of The National. Lucky You.


It wasn't so bad when I only had one or two followers

but now I have 359 and it's getting


I can't even have a crap in peace.

I wake up in the morning and they're stood
at the end of my bed

I've had to get a bigger house and invest in an extra long dining room
so that there's room for all of us

Stupid social media

Apparently it's based upon a 21st Century thing called Twitter
in those days it was all on a computer screen, not real

like it is now. Creepy bastards I wish they would all curl up and die.

I'm just glad I'm not following anybody anymore,

that was insane. I was here, there and everywhere until they all blocked me.

I wish I could block this lot but I've run out of blocks.

The only thing I can do now is


shooting the bastards.

                                                               (C)Ally Atherton 2014

                                                                          Write on Edge

The Last Word

            Park bench memorials are everywhere

            these days

            but this bitch was quick I'll give her that much

            To my dead husband

           Rot in Hell you Bastard


          February 2014 


          That told him then.


This was written for this week's Trifextra challenge over at Trifecta.

33 words are needed but they must include a word or a phrase that is a palindrome.

Why not have a go and say hi to some lovely writers.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Crusoe and Bob

To whoever finds this letter

please thank the pigeon

I'm stuck on an island
fuck knows where, please send help

Yours Sincerely


 Dear Crusoe

I got your letter,

I gave the pigeon some bread and sent you a tuna sandwich

can you describe where you are?


Dear Bob

Thanks for the sandwich 

all I can see is sand and sea, a few trees and the remains of the aeroplane 

where it crashed 


Hi Crusoe

That's not much help, I need some directions

A crash? Fuck

Are you badly injured? What happened to the other passengers?



I'm feeling amazingly well, considering 

sorry to say the other passengers are all dead now 

just me and the pigeon 


 Dear Crusoe

Bloody hell old chap how long have you been out there?

Here's a pencil and some more paper so you can draw the island

maybe we can work out where it is.



 I've lost track of days, I think it's been a few months, 

You should see my motherfucking beard, 

Here's my drawing 



Thanks for the drawing

I'll see if anyone recognises it,

but one small thing, what are those black things on the beach?


Hey Bob 

Oh the black things?

Those are the rest of them from the plane. Well what's left of them 

just bones, I can't eat the fucking bones as well


 Jesus Christ

 Are you saying you ate them?

What are you, an animal?

Who would do such a thing? Seriously man.



Calm down you prick 

Most of them were already dead, I only shot a few.

What do you take me for? I couldn't eat the pigeon 



It's Bob for the last time

You murdering scumbag, this is the last time you'll hear from me

You can shove the pigeon up your arse



Are you there Bob?


 For Fuck's sake! This island is doing my head in.


(C) Ally Atherton 2014

Monday, 3 March 2014


                     Pearly gates or no pearly gates

                     God won't worm it out of me

                     He's supposed to be


                     he should know where I've hidden the keys

                    It's not my fault there's a backlog


This is written for this week's Trifecta challenge.

You have to write a 33 word piece using the word prompt


using the third definition

 'to obtain or extract by artful or insidious questioning or by pleading,

asking or persuading'. Pop along and join in and connect with some lovely writers.