‘Christel is at shattering point’ the back-cover blurb says of Kirsten Warner’s The Sound of Breaking Glass. Shattering.
But I’m still feeling shattered. And I’m already three days out from finishing the novel.
There’s a lot going on in this book.
This worthy philosophy has been attributed to many different people, depending on which book of quotations you pick up. Its origins appear to be French. In the late 1600s the Marquise de Rabutin-Chantal, better known as Madame de Sevigne, wrote in a letter to her daughter: plus je connais les hommes, plus j’aime les chiens – the more I know of men, the more I love dogs.
In the big picture New Zealand prospered in the 1960s. Materialism boomed, the economy flourished, brand-new houses dotted the suburbs and pop music and miniskirts and thumbing noses at conventions, gave spice to the day.
But on the edge of the lupins and the sand hills east of Christchurch, Cheryl Nicol’s childhood memory of 60s life, was one of make-do. In her memoir, A Parallel Universe, as the title suggests, a different world existed. Life was hard. The picture, is grim.
When this wacky titled book, turned up – some new age novel I thought.
Not so. This is a true story about the jihadist takeover of the real Timbuktu and the remarkable story of one man’s finding, collecting and then saving hundreds of thousands of priceless manuscripts in Timbuktu.
Richard Wagner was devoted to his King Charles spaniel named Peps, who actually participated in his master’s composing.
Wagner’s biographer H.T. Finck records that Peps constantly sat near Wagner when the composer was at the piano. Sometimes Peps would leap on to the table and peer into Wagner’s face, howling piteously.
Did I want to read a book about Christchurch?
I’d seen the destruction of the earthquakes, later vast expanses of nothingness and recently, steps of reconstruction. I’d watched John Campbell cover stories on television about it and each Saturday for the last five years I’d read all about it in The Press. (Maybe, thought I knew it.)
The first time I heard an audience stand and applaud a film, it was for Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, an indictment of a mass shooting and America’s gun laws.
The second time I heard it was last week at the first screening of his film, Which country should we invade next?
From Max Cryer‘s book ‘Is It True?’
The distress call ‘mayday’ is English for the French term m’aidez.
Using the word ‘mayday’ dates from 1923, when a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport was asked to think of an easily understood word which could indicate distress.