Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Today’s my birthday, big deal. A fun thing to do, if you haven’t already, is to check out on Wikipedia the famous people who share your birthday. I’ve got actors Dirk Bogarde (yay!), Julia Stiles (very yay!), and, uh, Adam Sandler (I’m not a fan!). I guess the big one is Lady Gaga. Yep, me and Gaga, we have a thing. My favourite, though, is Russian author Maxim Gorky. I re-read his autobiographical novel My Childhood last year and it brought back a flood of memories of when I first read it in high school. Some incredibly vivid characters, and there’s a good film based on it too. I also have a favourite birthday year. It was when I turned 29. I spent my first day in Paris. This year, for presents, I got chocolate truffles and a Tattslotto ticket from some sisters. I guess winning Tatts would make a great fix-all, but I could really do without all the ‘you’ve gotta be in it to win it’ propaganda. I have more to say about all this for later entries, but for now, all I’ll say is I will generously give half of my winnings to my sister when I win – which will happen. And pigs might fly.

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One of the hazards (or great things, depending on your point of view) about working in libraries is you discover so many interesting books that are out there. It’s a hazard of course because your to-be-read list gets impossibly bigger and bigger, if you don’t control yourself. One such I encountered today was The House At Baker Street, by Michelle Birkby. It has a premise irresistible to any Sherlock Holmes fan (which I am). Here’s the blurb:

  • When Sherlock Holmes turns down the case of persecuted Laura Shirley, Mrs Hudson, the landlady of Baker Street, and Mary Watson resolve to take on the investigation themselves. From the kitchen of 221b, the two women begin their inquiries and enlist the assistance of the Baker Street Irregulars and the infamous Irene Adler.’

Don’t know about you, but I’m in. Or at least I’m half-way in. I was able to control myself enough to not borrow it straight away, but I’m definitely thinking about it. It’s on my TBR list. When I was in England (just before I went to Paris – see above) I visited Baker Street. Was sad to see that 221b, or where it should’ve been, appeared to be a bank. But there was a nice Sherlock Holmes motif on the tiled walls of the station.

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Speaking of library books, I read some more of A Geek In Japan. There was a fantastic chart titled Japanese Popular Culture: A Chronology. It begins in 1947 with ‘Osamu Tezuka publishes his first manga’, and end in 2016 with ‘Kimi No No Wa (Your Name) by Makoto Shinkai becomes an internationally acclaimed anime movie’. In between there’s Godzilla, Kurasawa, Dragonball, Visual Kai and so many other major references. It’s keyed to the categories of Manga, Anime, Cinema, Television, Landmarks and something called Tendencies. I’ve already noticed some omissions, like no films by Yasujiro Ozu, or artists like Perfume, but some that are there pique my interest. I must check out Kumi Koda, ‘the best-selling J-pop star of 2007’. A good conversation starter for Nippon geeks.

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Lately, when I’ve been settling down in my rocking chair (yes, I love my rocking chair) to read more of A Wrinkle In Time my dog has decided it’s time to play. So I’ve been a bit behind in something that I was supposed to knock over quickly. The characters are now on the planet of Camazotz and they’ve met the sinister Prime Coordinator, who has ‘taken over’ Charles Wallace. He tells sister Meg, ‘On Camazotz we are all happy because we are all alike. Differences create problems…Individuals have been done away with. Camazotz is ONE mind.’ This is reminding me of the Borg, from Star Trek. It’s a variation on one of the great themes of literature (and a sociology trope): society versus the individual. I’ve had my own thoughts about this lately. Maybe I’ll share at some point.

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