New review: The Physics of Imaginary Objects by Tina May Hall

Unexpected connections: wasps and love betrayed, barometric pressure and ovulation, neon flowers and a black hole. Hall’s debut collection proves string theory, at least in literary form…

Read my full review of The Physics of Imaginary Objects by Tina May Hall, here at The Short Review.

Tiny things 2012

I don’t make resolutions that involve deprivation. No point, I have zero will-power when it comes to roll-ups, cake or coffee, but because I don’t drink alcohol (at all), gave up chocolate last July, and just happen not to like biscuits, I don’t see any harm indulging in these (few) oral pleasures. It all balances out (My Rules).

One thing I like about living in the north is that people talk to each other – they say hello in shops, in the street, as you pass on the pavement. They chat on buses, in the doctor’s surgery, while waiting for trains. Not everyone, obviously – that would be mad, but enough to make you feel as though you live on a planet that has other living breathing humans on it. And I do like that. And no, you don’t get that down south – especially not in cities, especially not in London.

One thing I made a point of last year was saying hello and / or smiling at people I didn’t know. Especially old people, in particular grumpy-looking old people. Even weird people, the sort you’d probably cross the road to avoid. The challenge was to get them to smile, nod or say hello back, and mostly they did. It doesn’t bother me if they don’t but it gives me a lot of pleasure when they do. It’s only a little thing I know but we’re all in this sometimes-big-heap-of-shit called life together. Why can’t we be nicer, kinder to each other?

So my tiny resolution is to continue doing the same thing this year. That and writing more tiny things. I wrote a 63 word story the other day, one of the best things I’ve written so I’m beginning to think tiny things are the way to go. How about you?

Big Books

Big books rule! Well they did pre-Christmas. Or maybe it’s a northern thing. Out of all the big book readers I spotted on my trip south, this guy was hardcore, not only was he holding the largest book – it was hardback.

I didn’t spot anyone reading on the way back. The trains were so packed I doubt anyone managed to read anything bigger than the label on the guy in front’s jacket. Or maybe, like me, they’d had a Kindle for Christmas (wedged into a corner of the bag I had to sit on most of the way home).

The Kindle … ah. Where to start? Well a big thank you to my offspring (and girlfriends). I have to say that before I had one I’d never thought about getting one. I DO like shiny things, especially my Macbook and I wouldn’t say no to an iPhone, but a Kindle? Reading is a physical as well as a mental pleasure … I love the physicality of books, their weight, the feel of paper between my fingers, the aesthetics of the cover, the font… so what am I going to do with a Kindle?

For starters I downloaded loads of free ebook classics! Treasure Island, Zola’s The Flood, Fielding’s Tom Jones (a haunting from A level English Lit), Conrad’s Nostromo (O level), Villette (A level), Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, Grimm’s Fairy Stories and The Iliad. Not sure if I will ever read or re-read any of them but they’re there if I want to.

Then to play with the voucher (yes I had one of these for Christmas too!). Couldn’t decide whether to go with physical or virtual books so split the voucher (with a bit left over) between the two. I ended up downloading two virtual books: Lorrie Moore’s novel A Gate at the Stairs and the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology 3 (which I’d been wanting to read for 18 months). Finally I bought a hard copy of Tom Vowler’s The Method and other stories to add to my (physical) collection of short fiction.

I’ve discovered it’s much easier to read a Kindle than a real book in bed, which is where I do most of my reading. As my eyes are pretty rubbish, being able to alter the size of the type is such a simple yet brilliant thing to be able to do. Haven’t tried the text to speech thing yet … So, am I impressed? Yup. Pretty much.