Friday, April 17, 2009

It was only a week but it felt like a long time


It's so strange that a week without blogging should seem so weird but that is just what happened - I had a strange and not very nice time. I'm not intending to go into details of what happened; I did pull the photos from Lille - I had my reasons and I might put the pictures up at a later date although, obviously, the one of the main street first thing in the morning is back on here.

When I first blogged about a holiday to Venice I did say that one of the downsides of booking a trip so far ahead is that there is a possibility that it can get cancelled. That is just what we have done - it would have cost about £3000 all in and we just can't manage that on luxury items at present. Like everyone is finding, times are hard and we're just going to stay put and have days out together and get some long-overdue DIY jobs done around the house.

In just a week I can see that I've missed a lot of posts that I do intend to catch up on; I've been occupied on other things - and I can't even include my studies in that. My current book is a wonderful biography of Byron; this is something I bought for pleasure and is not part of the OU course but it is giving me a really good insight into the man and his motivation - something that will form part of the last essay of the course (due 15th May).

At Lille station I picked up a paperback of which I had heard glowing reports - A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I've just finished it and I going to upset people I am sure by saying this but I think it is one of the worst books I have ever read. The background is interesting - set in Afghanistan and covering the subject of female oppression - but the prose is clichéd, I guessed the plot quite early on, the metaphors are tried and trusted and for this writer to be compared to Dickens has upset me greatly. It is like comparing Heat magazine to Private Eye.

Anyway, enough mini-ranting for now. Thanks for all the lovely comments you left on my previous post - even though it was a very short time I did miss you.

44 comments:

Rob-bear said...

So glad you're back, safe and sound (I trust). Looking to hear more when you're ready.

Hugs from the ol' bear in the "New World."

Frankofile said...

Phew! Delighted you're back.

A Super Dilettante said...

Welcome back, my dear! Hope you are ok! I'm getting worried about you, you know. Your new post makes my day!!! May god bless you.

Dumdad said...

Welcome back!

Lucy Fishwife said...

Hurrah! Hello again. x

Lola said...

Welcome back! Ciao

Titian red said...

A lovely surprise, welcome back, sorry to here you aren't getting your dose of Italy, it will still be there later tho xx

Jelica said...

Hi French Fancy, I'm glad you are back in blogosphere :)

You make an interesting point about A Thousand Splendid Suns. I felt the same way about his other book, The Kite Runner--it started out interesting but then the prose became dull full of cliches. Overrated, in my opinion.

Steve said...

Glad you're back! I must admit I loved The Kite Runner but have heard very disappointing things about the sequel... which you have now confirmed.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Missed you, FF! Sending warm thoughts your way.

I taught Byron's "She walks in beauty" yesterday. My students had a difficult time with it, but in the end they prevailed.

French Fancy said...

Rob - safe - yes I am safe, sound - am I sound though?

Thanks Frankie

ASD - I've missed you, well actually I've missed everyone and it seems like much longer than a week

Thanks Dumdad

Hurrah and hello Lucy

Lola - è bello vedere voi qui

Titian red - it is a shame and I'm quite sad about it but another year I am sure. I was also able to cancel and get a refund for most of my opera tickets as well.

Jelica - Isn't a shame when so many wax lyrical about something that just doesn't do it for oneself. It kept me reading until the end but I usually read every word of a book - and sometimes read paragraphs twice if they are especially beautiful - and I found myself skipping lines of prose.

Steve- So glad it isn't just me then with this book

Contem- hello there you. I must admit that Byron's love poems don't inspire me s much as his long long sagas. He was such a funny witty man and that doesn't really come to light with the lurve stuff (stuff stuff - can't believe I'm using such a word about GG)

Lane said...

Sorry to hear you've had to cancel your trip and that you've not been having a very good time recently. I hope things are ok.

It's nice to see you back here. A week in BlogWorld is a long time:-)

Maternal Tales said...

Welcome home...I mean back!! It is a bit like home I suppose! Hope you not feeling withdrawal symptoms too much...

Ooh I'm sad you didn't like 1000 Splendid Suns (I have to confess I loved it)!! But then I always love a good cliche and a bit of romance. Actually it even made me cry in parts (when she had to give her daughter to the orphanage). Am I really alone in liking this??

Elizabeth said...

This is sort of interesting.
I read A Thousand Splendid Suns in Morocco in one day and loved it.
But Eat, Pray, Love which some people raved about made me spit.........
Also I adore W.G.Sebald and some people can't read him at all..........
C'est la vie or something.
Hope you have a wonderful w/e

Sydney said...

May I just say...YAY? :-D

(Very) Lost in France said...

Welcome back! Sorry to hear you've had to cancel your holiday but I can understand it. We're living in our holiday cottage next door while we do some DIYin the house. We've told the children that's all the holiday they'll get this year. I loved both the Kite Runner and a Thousand Splendid Suns but more from the point of view of the insight into life in Afghanistan rather than how they were written.

claire p said...

Glad to have you back. I've heard good things about that book, haven't read it yet and probably won't bother now.
I hope all is now well and stays that way xx.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Never having seen Lille, FF, I am glad you were able to allow us to see one pic...

I am sorry your time away was not wonderful. Shit happens, it's not nice...

I cannot share the books you mentioned, as both have escaped me... Sometimes I cannot accept what the reviewers want to hype... They are not always right, as we find...

I hope you enjoy your book on Lord Byron... Reading for pleasure sounds just what you need.

Welcome back, cherie, you were very much missed... x

Veggie Carrie said...

I'm so glad to see you blogging again.

Sorry about your time in Lille, I blame the little devils! Sorry also you didn't like A Thousand Splendid Suns. I read it last Easter, and confess to liking it myself; it's sadly true to life.

http://veggiecarrie.blogspot.com/2008/03/random-ramblings.html

Lulu LaBonne said...

Hello - glad you weren't away too long. sorry about Venice though.

Did you like The Bookseller of Kabul? - I did.

Mama said...

Hey there FF, so happy you came back, I am sorry about Venice and hope you get to go real soon. I will have to read A thousand splendid suns now, although I still havent got around to Esme yet, I know what am I like!. good to see you back my friend, hugs, Kathy.

French Fancy said...

Lane - thanks for that. Time has been quite odd lately - very slow and I feel like I've fallen away from myself a little. I'm changing. Most weird.

Maternal Tales - yes, it does feel like home here - I'd never thought about it like that before.

I'm sorry to criticise a book you enjoyed. I am quite a blunt person when it comes to my likes and dislikes.If I'd been his editor I would have lost 100 pages full of the metaphors I didn't appreciate and left the outline which, in fact, I did quite like.

Elizabeth - I don't know the other book and the other writer you mentioned but I will search in a moment. It did make a change to read a book I could do in a few days as opposed to a text book for my course. You have a good w/e as well

Sydney - Yay right back at you!

VLIF - holidays really rack up the dosh don't they? It was astonishing when I costed out how much it was going to be - and then of course €250 for the opera tickets (and they weren't even great seats) - it just wasn't possible. Another year perhaps.

claire - hello sweetie, maybe you'd enjoy it but I had very high expectations - especially when comparisons with Dickens are being bandied about - but old CD has nowt to worry about here

AWONI - we had a great time in Lille actually and I will put the photos up another time. If you get a chance to go there I think you'd enjoy it.

This Byron bio is magnificent and I'll be soon be posting some really interesting things I've learnt from it,

Carrie - hiya - Lille was lovely. My 'strangeness' was nothing to do with the trip, not really.

I enjoyed finding out about life in Afghanistan - it was just the plot of the book that bothered me, the historical referencing was good.

Lulu - I must get that Kabul book. Others have told me I would enjoy that and I think you and I have similarities.

Mama - I bet your pile of books waiting to be read is monumental - but you have so much else to be doing all the time. Glad Hayley is with you.

La Framéricaine said...

French Fancy,

I woke up this morning after a difficult night of interrupted sleep and dreams of working in an office--again--to find your very kind comment left for me like a beautifully wrapped gift under a Christmas tree.

Thank you very much and I hope to see you again. I will now be catching up on your own adventures a bit.

I love the photo of the empty street of Lille. It's beautiful.

Amitiés,

LadyFi said...

You're back! Hurray! Hurray!

I love the photo of the wet empty streets.

I found The Kite Runner to be a very powerful and moving book. Lots of people love his second book too. I've bought it but not read it yet. Sorry that you didn't like it...

Oh - and so sorry to hear about Venice. Venice will still be there in a few years' time, when you might have money to visit.

And remember - I'm picking you up at the airport for your stay in our summer cottage! ;-)

Brother Tobias said...

It sounds like something challenging is going on for you. And the economic times don't help. But the strongest and nicest parts of us are born of difficulties. I hope it comes right soon. And that goes for all of us. Oh, and apparently Venice is going to wait for you!

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Oh good. You're OK then. Fabulous, welcome back.

Blu said...

Just so glad that you are back. Blu x

Phil Lowe said...

Simply. Hurrah! You are back missed you lots FF. Looking forward to your intelligent and witty posts en futur.

Larry M. Brow said...

And there I was, thinking it was some sort of addiction-based crisis with ultimatums and court-ordered therapies.... But now, the universe has been restored and all my amused (but concerned) stoicism was for naught.

Welcome back.

Stone said...

You live in Brittany, don't you :)

Maybe you can give me some recommendations...I'm contemplating driving to Brittany for my summer vacation...

Thanks in advance!

PS: Seems we were in the same neck of the woods over Easter...I was in Brussels/Bruges and Antwerp.
And on my way back I got lost and I almost ended up in Valenciennes LOL.

French Fancy said...

La Fram - I loved your metaphor about blogs being like messages left in bottles.

Lady Fi - My m-i-l loved both his books too and I tried defending my position about his prose yesterday when we were together - but I still did have to admit that the revelations about female life under Taliban rule were very disturbing and dramatic.

BroTob - yes, I do feel challenged atm - something about me has changed and I can't explain it or understand it. Maybe it's the old chestnut - 'mid-life crisis'. I dunno - anyway, back to my blog and I'm happy to be back

Reasons - yes, it feels good to be back after my (very) brief blogging holiday

Blu - me too Blu one
x

Phil - umm 'intelligent and witty' - oh dear, I've lost both those attributes somewhere of late. I'll try and find them.

Larry - I love that phrase ' amused stoicism' - I might have to pinch it for something - but I'll give due credit

Stone - a holiday in Brittany sounds a good prospect. I can recommend Quimper, Rennes, the old bit of St Brieuc, Perros Guirec, Josselin.

I love driving aimlessly around sort of holidays - the sort that it doesn't matter if you stray from the original destination.

Owen said...

Dear FF, sorry to hear of misadventures and cancelled trips, but perhaps staying in France on vacation will give you a chance to bring us more photos of Brittany, the ones from St Brieuc were lots of fun... best wishes whatever happens

Not Waving but Drowning said...

So glad your back,

GG

French Fancy said...

Hiya Owen - I've not been to Vitre or Fougeres yet and I've heard they are both lovely places, so we will definitely be going there.

NWBD - thanks sweetie

bindu said...

Welcome back. It's always so disappointing to cancel plans for a trip - we've done that before, and it takes me some days to come to terms with it. But sometimes it is good to really recharge by doing things about the house and reading some good books, which is what you seem to be setting out to do! Enjoy it.

La Belette Rouge said...

Happy to see you back!!:-)

French Fancy said...

bindu - I always knew it would be a lot but I was very hopeful that we could manage it. I mean we could manage it but it would really affect things for the rest of the year and that seems very silly. I'm fine with it and will go another year, I'm sure.

LBR - thanks cherie

justme said...

Am very late commenting, but happy to see you back! So sorry things not going well at the moment, and hope you are ok.
It IS a shame about Venice, but it will still be there another year and it is not the time to be spending money without careful thought. Who knows what is around the corner for ANY of us these days...

Phil Lowe said...

Wanted to let you know that from your 'inspir-a- tion'- "you are such a Francophile I am suprised that you haven't moved over here" (I am even saying the throaty French version de le mot 'inspiration' as I write) that I am starting to relearn my limited French in order to consider moving to La Belle within the next couple of years.Now all I have to do is get my head round their blessed alphabet and systeme numerique!

French Fancy said...

justme - it's never a problem when you arrive - it's just always nice to see you here. I'm reconciled to the idea of not seeing Venice this year - I know what it is like (wonderful) but another time for our first hol there together

Phil - excellent but as you know nothing is as good as living and breathing the language in its own country. Anyway, at least it means we can meet up with you at some time for a lovely French lunch

Ann said...

All is well with the world today, found FF is back.

nikkicrumpet said...

I'm glad you're back. I had a week away while I had a house guest...and I missed it terribly!

French Fancy said...

Hello Ann - how nice that you missed me

Nikki - it was the longest week for ages - I was troubled - too troubled to blog and every day seemed like a week. It's funny how we are sometimes sent what seem like trials and tests, isn't it.

Susanna said...

I agree with your comments on Thousand Suns. It was cliché-d, formulaic and, of course, had to end with the death of a sacrificial woman. While I've read worse, I will not be trying Kite Runner.