Monthly Archives: January 2014


OH YEAH! I know that for many bloggers, this may not be a big deal, but for me, the site of this a few moments ago on my stats really excited me:1000 views

The idea that this blog has hit 1,000 views is truly mind-boggling, and as I said a while back, some of the countries that I’ve had views from has really surprised and astounded me. The other interesting thing is that this month, this will only be my fourth post, and yet I’ve had twice as many views this month than December 2013, which has previously been my best month.

Anyway- THANK YOU for your support, views, comments and likes. I do really appreciate each and every one, and am just glad that other people are interested in the random literary and archaeological things that I bother to post. I promise that I will get more posts up in the next few weeks than I have recently.


Thoughts on the first two ‘Adrian Mole’ books by Sue Townsend

Adrian Mole 1 and 2

After finishing the mental assault that is ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, I thought that I’d better choose something decidedly lighter in tone for my next reading project. I only own the first two ‘Adrian Mole’ books, and thought that I may as well approach them both together due to them being fairly short and following directly on from one another. Also, I’ve got a ridiculous amount of posts to do on books I’ve read recently, so this amalgamation speeds the process up somewhat.

There isn’t really a vast amount to say regarding these books, as they are fairly unassuming and not overly spectacular, to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, they are very funny in places due to the ironic tone that Townsend takes and in the innocence of much of what Mole writes, but they just don’t stand out as great works of fiction to be honest. I did enjoy them though. The use of a diary structure allows for revelations to appear gradually and add much of the humour to the books, with the reader travelling with Mole through the events of his life. One aspect of the books that I particularly liked was the fact that they were written and set in the early 1980’s, and as such include many political and cultural references from the time that are interesting glimpses into the recent past. I did not pick up on some of the references, but understood the vast majority, and particularly liked Mole’s view of Margaret Thatcher:

Friday February 12th

…Sometimes I think Mrs Thatcher is a nice kind sort of woman. Then the next day I see her on television and she frightens me rigid. She has got eyes like a psychotic killer, but a voice like a gentle person. It is a bit confusing.

from The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾

The main thing that bothered me with both of these books was the tone that Townsend uses, with Mole coming across as world-weary and somewhat precocious in his views and opinions of himself, and I fear that in the later volumes this tone may get incredibly irritating if attached to an adult character. As a child and a teenager, it is somewhat believable (some passages remind me very much of my own early-teenage diaries), but gets grating after a while.

Saying that, I will definitely re-read these, in part because they are light reading and quite quick to get through, but also because I want to see if my attitude towards them changes upon second read. I just don’t think that I will read any more after these two. Let me know if you disagree!

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The first new books of 2014

I had a rather lucky weekend in terms of books. Let’s just say that all of the books in this photo here…


…came to £3. They were ALL 25p each, which is not at all bad.

  • R.A. Sydie –  Natural Women/Cultured Men: A Feminist Perspective on Sociological Theory
  • Richard Fortey –  Trilobite! Eyewitness to Evolution
  • William Shakespeare –  The Tempest
  • William Shakespeare –  King Lear
  • Ben Jonson –  Volpone
  • Erskine Childers –  The Riddle of the Sands
  • Julian Barnes –  The Sense of an Ending
  • Erich Maria Remarque –  All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Jane Austen –  Sense and Sensibility
  • Edgar Allan Poe –  The Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • Toni Morrison –  The Bluest Eye
  • Kate Chopin –  The Awakening and other stories
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Oxford underwater

Happy 2014! I’ve been pretty quiet on here so far this year- sorry about that. I’ve begun my new job this week, and so haven’t had much time to get anything up. I do hope to get quite a few ‘Thoughts on…’ posts up this coming weekend though. Anyhoo.

Today has been probably the first day since leaving Oxford that I am glad not to be there, as the recent bad weather has hit the city hard. In Stoke, we’ve not had weather that different from normal, but in Oxford, which resides in a valley, it’s been a different story…

Image: Lee Ingram

Image: Lee Ingram/Air Experiences

In the bottom half of that image, you can just about make out the Isis (River Thames), with a row of College boat houses above… and then that large lake is actually Christ Church Meadow, with Christ Church just visible in the top left… Oh dear…


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