Caturday: The Big Cat

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Today’s cat is from one of my favourite picture books of all time: Lane Smith’s The Big Pets. As the title suggests, the pets in this book are large, and not just regular-large, they’re as big as houses! On some nights, the children and their animals go to special places to play. The cats head to the Milk-Pool or the Scratching Forest, or the place where the ‘Stringy Vines tease’. The dogs and their children frolic in the Bone Gardens; and in the Grassy Plains, the pet snakes roll and tumble.

And on some extra special nights, there is an entire milky way to play in …

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WWW Wednesday

What are you currently reading?

On the come upOn the Come Up by Angie Thomas

(audio book)

I really enjoyed The Hate You Give, Angie Thomas’s debut novel, and I’m liking this one too. I’ve never been a fan of rap, but I love the protagonist, Brianna’s rhymes (?): Sorry, I don’t have the vocabulary to discuss rap!

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

This is going more slowly than I thought it would. I suspect I will enjoy the film (with Glenn Close!) more than the book, which is making me really hate men, haha. I mean, even more than usual.

Fun Home: A Family Tragiccomic by Alison Bechdel

Loving this!

Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym

I am well on my way to owning physical copies of all Pym’s novels, and so I might read them all again. Am due for a re-read anyway.

What did you recently finish reading, or couldn’t finish?

Melmoth by Sarah Perry

(audio book)

Not as good as The Essex Serpent, and some descriptive scenes were a struggle to listen to as I do not do well with violent or lingering death, torture and the like; and I think the ending was too rushed. Nevertheless, I did enjoy most of the story.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

Lotus by Lijia Zhang

Durian Abuse

As I do not have my finger on the pulse, it was not til today that I heard about chocolatier Paul A. Young’s box of chocs that was created for the Woman’s Trust Valentine’s Day campaign to highlight domestic abuse in the UK. The box contains three salted caramel chocolates and one that is … durian flavoured. Why durian flavoured? Because Young thinks it tastes like vomit.

I’m seeing red.

Most white people find the taste and smell of durian disgusting, sure, but Young goes several steps further. On the campaign’s page, he says ‘Chocolate is associated with luxurious, indulgent and pleasurable experiences which leave you wanting more. By contrast, the fourth chocolate, like domestic abuse, stays with you long after your first encounter, so it seemed like a perfect way to illustrate the heart-breaking experience of so many women and raise awareness of a cause I feel passionate about.’

TLDR? Basically, durian tastes like the heartbreak and pain of abuse.

In this article, Young further explains his decision to use durian to symbolise the nastiness of domestic abuse: ‘We chose durian for this project for its polarising nature and because it was essential to provoke a reaction from those who eat it — we wanted to start a conversation about a cause that is incredibly important.’ Hmm … so, really, Young chose durian because he wanted something that would provoke a negative reaction from most white people. How the millions of Asians who love durian would feel about the chocolate didn’t matter to Young … either because we didn’t even cross his mind or because everyone knows most Asian food is weird anyway and so, how we feel doesn’t rate.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favourite Couples in Books

(I wrote this yesterday and then got distracted and forgot all about it. I’m backdating it.)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic is ‘Couples in Books’ I can do this.

  1. Jane Drew and Bran Davies in Silver on the Tree

They aren’t a couple, but I’m willing them to be, in the life they’ll have after the series. However, Bran is the son of King Arthur so I don’t know if he’ll be allowed to just live his life without interference from the Old Ones.

2. Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth  in Persuasion

‘Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.’

Swoon.

Persuasion is my favourite love story because it so nearly didn’t end well. Anne and Frederick are given a second chance. We should all be so lucky.

3. Jo March and Laurie Lawrence in the Little Women books by Louisa May Alcott

They do not end up together in Alcott’s books, but in an alternate universe somewhere, they are together and bickering happily.

4. Mildred Lathbury and Everard Bone in Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

Not a typical or obvious romance. In fact, is there any romance at all? You might say that Mr Bone only wants someone to type up his notes for him, but I can imagine a practical and peaceful pairing, and the couple quite happy and satisfied.

5. Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Charles thinks he saw Julia in Sebastian, but perhaps it’s Sebastian he sees and desires in Julia. Their friendship in the early days (in Oxford, Brideshead Castle, London and Rome), is the most beautifully described romance I’ve ever read.

6. Christina Russell and Will Russell

It’s pretty funny how practically every male in Christina’s life falls in love with her. Must be the way she has with horses. She marries three (men, not horses) in pretty quick succession, but Will is the best. Because of his way with flying machines.

7. Maree Mallory and Rupert Venables in Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

I love how unlikely a couple they are. I love how Rupert sounds like he’s way prettier than Maree.

8. Sophie Hatter and Howl

Isn’t it wonderful how Howl fell in love with Sophie when she was an old crone?

9. Ann Stavely and Mordion Agenos in Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones

Another unlikely pairing. Yes, I know I’ve chosen three couples from DWJ books, but she writes them so well and they are interesting because their relationship (the romantic one, that is) is never the point of the stories.

10. Laura Lynton and Scott Kennedy in Linda Blake’s Laura books

I have a huge crush on Scott Kennedy and I think Laura is the one for him. They dance together and their stage partnership is as electrifying as Nuryev and Fonteyn’s. Off stage, they fight a lot and find it impossible to commit to one another. I am so wicked.