Thursday, 31 December 2009

Have a very nice 2010




You can download a calendar I have designed for the coming year clicking on the image below or here.




© Crisfusterber

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Tasting books

Before buying a book, you may like reading an extract of it. Penguin Books, let the readers do it. Here I show some of its books.



Title: The Winter House
Author: Nicci Gerrard

Synopsis:

The phone call came at a quarter to eight, when it still wasn’t fully light outside; a chilly drizzle spattered the window-panes and spread a fine...

Click here to read an extract.




Title: Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years
Author: Sue Townsend

Synopsis:

Black clouds over Mangold Parva. It has been raining since the beginning of time. When will it stop?

Click here to read an extract.




Title: Me and Miss M
Author: Jemma Forte

Synopsis:

In life, there are a handful of days when we experience key moments that either determine or fulfil our destiny, depending on what you believe in.

Click here to read an extract.




Title: Can I Tell You A Secret?
Author: Evelyn Cosgrave

Synopsis:

Angela O'Regan looked round the room and smiled to herself. Who would have thought she'd ever have an eighty-fifth birthday party? She'd nearly given up on living...

Click here to read an extract.




Title: And Another Thing...
Author: Eoin Colfer

Synopsis:

So far as we know... The Imperial Galactic Government decided, over a bucket of jewelled crabs one day, that a hyperspace expressway was needed...

Click here to read an extract.



Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Read an extract of "The Other Side of the Story" by Marian Keyes


Now you can read an extract of this novel. Enjoy it!


GEMMA


TO: suzanne_inseattle@yahoo.com
FROM: Gemma_343@hotmail.com
SUBJECT: runaway dad

Suzanne, you wanted news. Well, I've got news. Although you might be sorry you asked for it. It looks like my dad has left my Mam. I'm not sure how serious it is. More news as and when.
Gemma xxx

When I first got the call, I thought he'd died. Two reasons. One: I've been to a worrying number of funerals over the past while - friends of my parents and worse again, parents of my friends. Two: Mam had called me on my mobile; the first time she'd ever done that because she'd always persisted in the belief that you can only call a mobile from a mobile, like they're CB radios or something. So when I put my phone to my ear and heard her choke, He's gone, who could blame me for thinking that Dad had kicked the bucket and that now it was just me and her?
He just packed a bag and left.
He packed a? It was then that I realised that Dad mightn't actually be dead.
Come home, she said.
Okay But I was at work. And not just in the office, but in a hotel ballroom overseeing the finishing touches to a medical conference. (Seeing the Back of Backache.) It was an enormous deal which had taken weeks to pull together; I'd been there until twelve-thirty the previous night overseeing the arrival of hundreds of delegates and sorting out their problems. (Relocating those in non-smoking rooms who had slipped and gone back on the fags in between booking their room and showing up for it, that sort of thing.) Today was finally Day Zero and in less than an hours time, two hundred chiropractors would be flooding in, each expecting


a) a name-badge and chair
b) a lectern, microphone and slide screen for their talks.
c) coffee and two biscuits, (one plain, one fancy) at eleven o'clock
d) lunch, three courses (including vegetarian option) at twelve forty five
e) coffee and two biscuits (both plain) at three thirty
f) evening cocktails followed by a gala dinner, with party favours, dancing and snogging, (optional).

In fact when I'd answered the mobile I thought it was the screen hire guy, reassuring me he was on his way. With this is the important bit the screens.
Tell me what happened? I asked Mam, torn as I was between conflicting duties. I can't leave here
I'll tell you when you get home. Hurry. I'm in an awful state, God only knows what I'll do.
That did it. I snapped my phone closed and looked at Maria, who'd obviously figured out something was up.
Everything okay? She murmured.
It's my dad.
I could see on her face that she too thought that my father had bucked the kickit (as he himself used to say.) (There I am talking like he actually is dead.)
Oh, my God is itis he?
Oh no, I corrected, He's still alive.
Go, go, get going! She almost pushed me towards the exit, clearly visualising a death-bed farewell.
I can't. What about all of this. I indicated the ballroom.
Me and Dessie'll do it and I'll call the office and get Ruth over to help. Look, you've done so much work on this, what can go wrong?
The correct answer is of course: Just About Anything. I've been Organising Events for seven years and in that time I've seen everything from over-refreshed speakers toppling off the stage to professors fighting over the fancy biscuits.
Yes but I'd threatened Maria and Dessie that even if they were dead they were to show up this morning. And here I was proposing to abandon the scene - for what exactly
What a day. It had barely started and so many things had already gone wrong. Beginning with my hair. I hadn't had time to get it cut in ages and, in a mad fit I'd cut the front of it myself. I'd only meant to trim it, but once I'd started cutting I couldn't stop and ended up with a fringe. I told myself I liked it, that I looked a little like Liza Minelli in Caberet but when I arrived at the hotel this morning, Dessie greeted me with, Live long and prosper and gave me the Vulcan split fingered salute. Then, when I told him to ring the screen guy again he said solemnly, That would be illogical, captain. Not so much Liza Minelli in Cabaret as Spock from Star Trek, it seemed.
Go! Maria gave me another little push towards the door. Take care of yourself and let us know if we can do anything.
Those are the kind of words that people use when someone has died. And so I found myself out in the carpark. The bone-cold January fog wound itself around me, serving as a reminder that I'd left my coat behind in the hotel. I didn't bother to go back for it, it didn't seem important.
When I got into my car a man whistled - at the car, not me. It's a Toyota MR2, a sporty little (very little) number. Not my choice - F&F Dignan had insisted. It would look good, they said, a woman in my position. Oh yes, and their son was selling it cheap. Ish.

JOJO

Name
Jojo Harvey
Age
32
Career path?
Three years in the NYPD (no, really.) A year barmaiding when I first came to London, a year as reader in Clarice Inc, before being promoted to assistant, then junior agent. Made full agent four years ago and moved to LJK Agents a year and a half later.
What's your favourite smell?
Mark Avery, Jojo scribbled, wishing she could inhale him right then.
No, wait; she could not write that. Quickly she scored so many lines though it the page almost tore. What had others put? A quick flick through previous editions showed that some bow-tied old guy had written the aged must of a rare first edition'. Another, his tie even bigger and floppier, The fresh ink of a new author's first novel.'
Richie Gant (no tie at all because who wears ties with a t-shirt) had written Money' and his crassness had sent shockwaves through the entire industry. But, Jojo thought reluctantly, she had to admire the guy's honesty
Next question.
What makes you depressed?
Richie Gant.
A pause, then more heavy pen scoring.
What's your motto?
Richie Gant must die!
Nope, couldn't put that either.
Jesus. She'd wanted, really badly, to be asked to do this questionnaire, but it was way harder than she had expected.
Which living person do you most admire?
Mark Avery
Which living person do you most despise?
Mark Avery's wife? No, no, no. It's got to be me - see next question
What traits do you dislike most in others?
Women who hit on married men.
What would you change about yourself?
Apart from my boyfriend having a wife and two children?
How about her perfectionism? She wondered. Her tenacity? No, she thought: it had to be her calves. They were too hefty and leather knee-boots were a no-no for Jo-jo. Even stretchy sock boots were a bit of a struggle. A common enough complaint perhaps, but on Jojo, the zip wouldn't go all the way up even on ankle boots. Worst still, she insisted her calves had the mottled consistency of corned-beef. As a result she nearly always wore tailored trouser suits to work. They had become her trademark. (Another goddamn one.)
How do you unwind?
Having sex with Mark Avery. Or, if he's not around, a bottle of Merlot and a wild-life programme, especially the ones about baby seals
What makes you cry?
A bottle of Merlot and a wild-life programme, especially the ones about baby seals
Do you believe in monogamy?
Yes. Yeah, I know, how can I ? I'm a hypocrite. But I never meant for this thing with Mark to happen. I'm not that kind of person.
Which book do you wish you had agented?
Easy, she thought, not that she'd ever fess up, even under torture. It was Fast Cars, the current talk of the town. A great novel except that Richie Gant was the agent not Jojo and he'd secured a 1.1 million advance at auction. Jojo had had similar coups but nothing like as high and she had been disgustingly envious even before Richie Gant made a special trip down the hall to her office to wave the contract at her and crow, Read it and weep, Yank.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
As a partner in LJK Agents. And hopefully a lot sooner than five years. Like, as soon as someone retires.
At LJK there were seven partners five based in London and two in the Edinburgh satellite. Then there were a further eight agents who weren't partners, and while there was no way of knowing who the board would pick to replace the next retiree, Jojo had hopes that it might be her. Although there were three agents who'd been there longer than she had, she brought in a lot of income to the agency for the last two years she'd generated more than any of the other agents.
What's your favourite phrase?
What doesn't kill us makes us funnier
What are your distinguishing qualities?
I can whistle for a taxi and swear in Italian. I do a great Donald Duck impression and I can fix bikes.
What five things could you not live without?
Cigarettes, coffee, vodkatinis, the Simpsons what else? A regular heartbeat? More cigarettes
What achievement are you proudest of?
Quitting smoking. I think. It hasn't happened yet..
What's the most important lesson life has taught you?
Bad hair happens to good people

LILY

About Anton. The important thing to remember is that I am not a seductress. In truth, I'm the least fatale of femmes. If there was a competition, I would come so last a new category would have to be invented specially for me.
A potted history of how all this came about: I was brought up in London and, after several stomach-knotting years my parents ultimately split when I was fourteen. The year I turned twenty Mummy married an Irishman and moved to live with him in Dublin. Although I was quite old enough to live on my own I went too and eventually made friends, one of my closest being Gemma.
After being a drain on Mummy and her beau Peter for a year or so, I got it together, got a diploma in Communications, then got a job writing press releases in Mulligan Taney, Ireland's biggest PR firm.
But after working there for five years, I lost my job and could not get another one. This roughly coincided with Mummy and Peter separating. Mummy returned to London and I like a malign shadow followed her. Though my heart wasn't in it I managed to get some freelancing work writing press releases, but remained too broke for any weekend trips to Dublin to see my old muckers. Meanwhile, some time after I had returned to London, Gemma met Anton; though Gemma visited me occasionally, Anton was too skint to accompany her.
So I never actually met him until he had left a broken-hearted Gemma in Dublin and come to London, to set up an independent media production company. (He and his partner Mikey had had enough of making dull infomericals on safety in the workplace and wanted to move into television; it was much more likely to happen in London than in Dublin, they reckoned.)
Anton's version of events was that his one-year relationship with Gemma was over; she said they were just taking a break, that he simply didn't realise it yet. Weeping softly down the phone she told me, I'll give it two months, then he'll see that he still loves me and he'll be back.
However, she feared that he might be distracted by a London girlie and as I was in situ, I was ideally placed to be Gemma's Man on the ground'. My brief was to befriend Anton, stay tight and if he as much as looked at another girl I was to poke him in the eye with a sharp stick' or throw acid in the girl's face.'
I promised I would but to my eternal shame I did neither. I loved Gemma, she had trusted me with Anton, her most precious, and I repayed her trust by betraying her.
It was almost as if Gemma had had a presentiment. Half-apologetically she had said in one phonecall, I know I'm a neurotic, jealous mad-woman and I want you to stick close, but please don't get too fond of him. I can just see it, you'll be hanging out, roller-blading, having your photo taken at Trafalger Square, Madame Tussauds She faltered.
Carnaby Street, I supplied. We'll go there on a red bus.
Yes, exactly, thanks. There you'll be, having a lovely platonic laugh. Then one day you get an eyelash caught in your eye, he helps you get it out, then Whoops! You're standing right next to each other, close enough for a snog and you see that it's been a slow burn and you've been in love with each other for ages.
I promised Gemma that she had no need to worry and in a way I kept my word. There was no slow burn and caught eyelash stuff. Instead I fell in love with Anton the first time we met. But Gemma had also described him as The One. It was something he made a habit of, it seemed.
But that was all ahead of me and I had no idea that any such thing would happen when, two days after Anton arrived in London, I picked up the phone and dialled his Vauxhall number. What I was aware of was that I had a duty to undertake; how best to keep an eye on him? I could sit in a car outside his flat and stake him out. Except I didn't want to. A preliminary meet-and-greet session over a couple of drinks, would be the thing, I decided. Depending on how that went, I could introduce him to other people, who might agree to share the monitoring.
We agreed to meet at seven o'clock one Thursday evening outside Haverstock Hill tube station. I had rented a hovel in nearby Gospel Oak walking distance.
As I ascended the hill to the tube station the air was sparkly clean and smelt of lush grass; the cool relief of Autumn had just arrived. Day-glo August glare had given way to clear pewter light; the reek of overheated dustbins had been replaced with the musky crunch of golden leaves and a recent rain shower had washed away the last of the Summer dust. I was calm now that it was Autumn. I could breath again.
Until I realized that, with my typical lack of organisation, I didn't know what Anton looked like. All I had to go on was Gemma's description, which was that he was, Gorgeous. The ridiest of rides.' But one woman's ride' is another woman's not even if he was the last man on earth.' Arse, I chided myself, narrowing my eyes at the distant station, hoping there wouldn't be too many good looking men there. (That thought must have been a sign that I was gearing up for some version of madness.)
But as my eyes searched, I noticed that someone outside the station was watching me. Instantly I knew it was him. I knew it was him.
I didn't physically stumble but I felt as if I had. In shock all my thoughts jolted and rearranged and in an instant everything had changed. I know it sounds absurd but I promise it's the truth.
I could have stopped. As early as then I knew I ought to turn back and erase the future, but I continued putting one foot in front of another, as if an invisible thread lead me directly to him. There was clarity and fear and an unignorable sense of the inevitable.
Each breath I took echoed loud and slow as if I was scuba diving and as I got closer, I had to stop looking at him. So I focused my sight on the pavement discarded tube tickets, stubbed-out cigarettes, crumpled coke cans - until I was next to him.
His first word to me were, I saw you from miles away. Straight away I knew it was you. He picked up a strand of my hair.
I knew it was you too.
While throngs of people hurtled in and out of the station like characters in a speeded-up movie, Anton and I remained motionless as statues, his hands on my arms, completing the magic circle.


(http://archive.mariankeyes.com/books/theothersideofthestory/content/index.html)

Monday, 14 December 2009

Books & Life


I read this book just because it's written by Marian Keyes. This book is about literary agents and authors. You can learn a bit about the publishing process.

There are three main characters:

- Gemma, a woman whose ex-boyfriend is happily living with her ex-best friend Lily. But what Gemma doesn't know is that she will get published.

- Jojo Harvey, literary agent of Gemma (and Lily).


- Lily, an author whose fist book is a success.


You can also find in this novel other topics like loyalty, friendship, love, forgiveness,...

Personal opinion: I like this book because it is well written, the story is set in the publishing business and the characters seem real people.


Synopsis

Jojo Harvey is a literary agent whose star is on the rise. In love with both her married boss and her burgeoning career, not much distracts her. Until she finds herself representing two women who used to be best friends. One of them, Gemma, has suddenly found herself from a broken home - at the age of thirty-two. Meanwhile, Lily - the woman Gemma has always blamed for stealing her one chance of happiness - is enjoying the overnight success of her debut novel. Set in the world of publishing, 'The Other Side of the Story' is about love, loyalty, glass ceilings and survival tactics - and what to do when you get your chance for revenge.

(http://archive.mariankeyes.com/books/theothersideofthestory/content/synopsis.html)


More about the characters:

Jojo Harvey is a literary agent, with the body of Jessica Rabbit and a mind like a steel trap. She's energetic and sexy (but because she's overweight, women like her too.) She has her eye on a partnership at work, but the arrival of Richie Gant (Skanky Boy' to his enemies) puts that into doubt.

One of Jojo's clients is Lily Wright, who wrote a serious worthy book she couldn't get arrested with. Then she got mugged and wrote a sweet fable to cheer herself up; to everyone's surprise it became a runaway bestseller. Now she's trying to write a second book and getting nowhere. (Her editor half-wishes someone would mug her again.) And she must write that book because she's already spent the money Anton, the Love of Her Life persuaded her to buy their dream house on the strength of future earnings.

Gemma Hogan works as an events organiser. She used to be friends with Lily, until Lily stole Anton, also the Love of Her Life. Just when she thinks life can't get any worse, her elderly Dad leaves her elderly mother. Gemma sends e-mails of the mortifying situation to her friend Suzanne, who thinks they're so funny, she sends them to a literary agent the only one she's ever heard of Jojo Harvey. Who takes her on.

(http://archive.mariankeyes.com/books/theothersideofthestory/content/index.html)

© crisfusterber

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Films to be released in December

Avatar




The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus




Sherlock Holmes




Nine





The Young Victoria


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Stephenie Meyer and her Twilight Saga

I have watched some interesting videos in You Tube about the Twilight Saga and its author. Enjoy them!


Stephenie Meyer Talks About Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse




Stephenie Meyer Oprah Nov 13th 09






Twilight, Stephenie Meyer, Ellen DeGeneres




TIME Interviews Stephenie Meyer




Stephenie Meyer talks about Breaking Dawn



Monday, 30 November 2009

Love beyond life


The Twilight Saga is a teenager phenomenon. There are 4 books which tells the story of a female human and a male vampire. They are in love. These are the titles of the novels:

- Twilight
- New Moon
- Eclipse
- Breaking Dawn

Bella Swan moves to Forks to live with his father. At high school she falls for Edward Cullen. He saves her from a car crash and after she is determined to find out why he is so fast and so strong and she realises he is a vamipre.

In these books there is a lot of action and love. There are vampires who are "vegetarian" (don't get fed with human blood), vampires who drink human blood, vampires who fight other vampires, werewolves who fight with vampires, werewolves who collaborate with vampires,... and Bella, who wants to be in peace and don't want her vampire boyfriend family and friends and the werewolves to get hurt.


Why are these novels so famous? Well, at first I didn't know about Twilight, Edward Cullen or Bella Swan, but I bought the first book and then I realised why people liked it: Stephenie Meyer knows how to describe emotions, characters and places.

The author began writing "Twilight" because she had a dream and she didn't want to forget it. She created a world of fantasy and she wrote it down. Then she thought it was long enough and could be a book. Her sister read the whole story and encouraged her to get published. So, Stephenie Meyer wrote 15 agents: she got 9 rejections, 5 no-answers and one person who was interested in the book.



"Twilight"


I like a lot this book. There are nice conversations and very good description of the characters. Bella is a normal human teenager and Edward is a very good looking vampire.

Synopsis:

About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him - and I didnt know how dominant that part might be - that thirsted for my blood.

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him

****

When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his vampire identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret.

What bella doesn't realize is that the closer she gets to him, the more she is putting herself and those around her at risk, and it might be too late to turn back....

Deeply seductive and irresistibly compelling, "Twilight" is an extraordinary love story that will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.



"New Moon"


This book is not as good as the previous one, but is okay. Edward breaks up with Bella and she feels depressed. Fortunately, Jacob tries to help her to get better.

Synopsis:


"Shoot," I muttered when the paper sliced my finger; I pulled it out to examine the damage. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut.

It all happened very quickly then.

"No!" Edward roared... Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm—into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires.

****

For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella could ever have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning...

Passionate, riveting and deeply moving, "New Moon", the compelling sequel to "Twilight", irresistibly combines romance and suspense with a supernatural twist.



"Eclipse"


This novel is better than "New Moon". There is a lot of action and some characters are developed.

Synopsis:

"Bella?"

Edward's soft voice came from behind me. I turned to see him spring lightly up the porch steps, his hair windblown from running. He pulled me into his arms at once, just like he had in the parking lot, and kissed me again.

This kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mine—like he was afraid we had only so much time left to us.

* * *

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob—knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?

Following the international bestsellers "Twilight" and "New Moon", "Eclipse" is the much-anticipated third book in Stephenie Meyer's captivating saga of vampire romance.



"Breaking Dawn"


I like this book though there are some parts which could be deleted.

Synopsis:



When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?

****

To be ireevocably in love with a vampite is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dagerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imment choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fate of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her desicion, a startling chain of umpredicted events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life - first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse - seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed. . . forever?

The astonishing, breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Teilight Saga, Breaking Dawn, illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic that has entranced millions.


If you want to read the first chapter of each book, just click on the links.

- "Twilight" first chapter
- "New Moon" first chapter
- "Eclipse" first chapter
- "Breaking Dawn" first chapter


© crisfusterber

Friday, 27 November 2009

Read an extract of "P.S. I Love You" by Cecelia Ahern


If you couldn't download the pdf file that had the first two chapters of the book, you can read it in this post, after the synopsis.

Title: PS, I Love You
Author: Cecelia Ahern


Synopsis:

Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mates. But not Holly and Gerry.

Childhood sweethearts, they could finish each other's sentences and even when they fought, they laughed. No one could imagine Holly and Gerry without each other.

Until the unthinkable happens. Gerry's death devastates Holly. But as her 30th birthday looms, Gerry comes back to her. He's left her a bundle of notes, gently guiding Holly into her new life without him, each note signed "P.S. I Love You."

As the notes are gradually opened, and as the year unfolds, Holly is both cheered up and challenged. The man who knows her better than anyone sets out to teach her that life goes on. With some help from her friends, and her noisy and loving family, Holly finds herself laughing, crying, singing, dancing - and being braver than ever before.

Life is for living, she realises - but it always helps if there's an angel watching over you.


Extract

CECELIA AHERN

PS, I Love You


Chapter One


Holly held the blue cotton sweater to her face and the familiar smell immediately struck her, an overwhelming grief knotting her stomach and pulling at her heart. Pins and needles ran up the back of her neck and a lump in her throat threatened to choke her. Panic took over. Apart from the low hum of the fridge and the occasional moaning of the pipes, the house was quiet. She was alone. Bile rose in her throat and she ran to the bathroom, where she collapsed to her knees before the toilet.

Gerry was gone and he would never be back. That was the reality. She would never again run her fingers through his soft hair, never share a secret joke across the table at a dinner party, never cry to him when she got home from a hard day at work and just needed a hug, she would never share a bed with him again, never be woken up by his fits of sneezes each morning, never laugh with him so much her stomach would ache, never fight with him about whose turn it was to get up and turn the bedroom light off. All that was left was a bundle of memories, and an image of his face that became more and more vague each day.

Their plan had been very simple: to stay together for the rest of their lives. A plan that anyone within their circle would agree was accomplishable. They were best friends, lovers and soul mates, destined to be together, everyone thought. But as it happened, one day destiny greedily changed its mind.

The end had come all too soon. After complaining of a migraine for a few days, Gerry had agreed to Holly’s advice to see his doctor. This was done one Wednesday on a lunch break from work. They thought the migraine was due to stress or tiredness, and agreed that at the very worst he might need glasses. Gerry had been upset that he might need glasses. He needn’t have worried, since it turned out it wasn’t his eyes that were the problem. It was the tumour growing inside his brain.


Holly flushed the toilet and, shivering from the coldness of the tiled floor, she shakily steadied herself to her feet. He was thirty years old. By no means was he the healthiest man on the earth, but he was healthy enough to . . . well, to live a normal life. When he became very sick he would bravely joke about how he shouldn’t have lived life so safely. Should have taken drugs, should have drunk more, should have travelled more, should have jumped out of aeroplanes while waxing his legs . . . his list went on. Even as he laughed about it Holly could see the regret in his eyes. Regret for the things he’d never made time to do, places he’d never seen and sorrow for the loss of future experiences. Did he regret the life he had had with her? Holly never doubted that he loved her, but feared he felt he had wasted precious time.

Growing older became something he wanted desperately to accomplish rather than merely a dreaded inevitability. How presumptuous they both were never to consider growing old as an achievement and a challenge. Ageing was something they wanted so much to avoid.

Holly drifted from room to room while she sobbed fat, salty tears. Her eyes were red and sore, and there seemed to be no end to this night. None of the rooms in the house provided her with any solace, just unwelcoming silences as she stared around at the furniture. She longed for the couch to hold out its arms to her but even it ignored her.

Gerry would not be happy with this, she thought. She took a deep breath, dried her eyes and tried to shake some sense into herself. No, Gerry would not be pleased at all.


Holly’s eyes were tender and puffy from crying all through the night. Just as she had every other night for the past few weeks, she had fallen into fitful sleep in the early hours of the morning. Each day she woke to find herself sprawled uncomfortably across some piece of furniture – today it was the couch. Once again it was the phone call from a concerned friend or family member that roused her. They probably thought that all she did was sleep. Where were their phone calls when she listlessly roamed the house like a zombie, searching the rooms for . . . for what? What was she expecting to find?

‘Hello,’ she answered groggily. Her voice was hoarse from all the tears but she had long stopped caring about maintaining a brave face. Her best friend was gone and nobody understood that no amount of make-up, fresh air or shopping was going to fill the hole in her heart.

‘Oh, sorry, love, did I wake you?’ the concerned voice of Holly’s mother came across the line. Every morning her mother called to see if she had survived the night alone, always afraid of waking her, yet always relieved to hear her speak; safe in the knowledge her daughter had braved the ghosts of the night.

‘No, I was just dozing, it’s OK.’ Always the same answer.

‘Your dad and Declan have gone out and I was thinking of you, pet.’

Why did that soothing sympathetic voice always send tears to Holly’s eyes? She could picture her mother’s face, eyebrows furrowed, forehead wrinkled with worry. But it didn’t soothe Holly. It made her remember why they were worried and that they shouldn’t have to be. Everything should be normal. Gerry should be here beside her, rolling his eyes up to heaven and trying to make her laugh while her mother yapped on. So many times Holly would have to hand the phone over to Gerry as her fit of giggles took over. Then he would chat away, ignoring Holly as she jumped around the bed, pulling her silliest faces and doing her funniest dances just to get back at him. It seldom worked.

She ‘ummed’ and ‘aahed’ throughout the conversation, listening but not hearing a word.

‘It’s a lovely day, Holly. It would do you the world of good to go out for a walk. Get some fresh air.’

‘Um, I suppose.’ There it was again – fresh air, the alleged answer to all her problems.

‘Maybe I’ll call round later and we can have a chat.’

‘No thanks, Mum. I’m OK.’

Silence.

‘Well, all right . . . give me a ring if you change your mind. I’m free all day.’

‘OK.’ Another silence. ‘Thanks, though.’

‘Right then . . . take care, love.’

‘I will.’ Holly was about to replace the phone when she heard her mother’s voice again.

‘Oh, Holly, I almost forgot. That envelope is still here for you – you know, the one I told you about. It’s on the kitchen table. You might want to collect it. It’s been here for weeks now and it might be important.’

‘I doubt it. It’s probably just another card.’

‘No, I don’t think it is, love. It’s addressed to you and above your name it says . . . oh, hold on while I get it . . .’

The phone was put down, the sound of heels on the tiles toward the table, chairs screeched against the floor, footsteps getting louder, phone being picked up . . .

‘You still there?’

‘Yeah.’

‘OK, it says at the top “The List”. Maybe it’s from work or something, love. It’s worth just taking a . . .’

Holly dropped the phone.



Chapter Two


‘Gerry, turn off the light!’ Holly giggled as she watched her husband undress before her. He danced around the room performing a striptease, slowly unbuttoning his white cotton shirt with his long slender fingers. He raised his left eyebrow towards Holly and allowed the shirt to slide from his shoulders, caught it in his right hand and swung it around over his head.

Holly giggled again.

‘Turn off the light? What, and miss all this?’ he grinned cheekily while flexing his muscles. He wasn’t a vain man but had much to be vain about, thought Holly. His body was strong and perfectly toned. His long legs were muscular from hours spent working out in the gym. At almost six foot he was tall enough to make Holly feel safe when he stood protectively beside her five foot five. Most of all she loved that when she hugged him her head would rest neatly just below his chin, where she could feel his breath lightly blowing her hair and tickling her head.

Her heart leaped as he lowered his boxers, caught them on the tip of his toes and flung them at her where they landed on her head.

‘Well, at least it’s darker under here, anyway,’ she laughed. He always managed to make her laugh. When she came home tired and angry after work he was invariably sympathetic and listened to her complaining. They seldom fought, and when they did it was over stupid things that amused them after, like who had left the porch light on all day or who had forgotten to set the alarm at night.

Gerry finished his striptease and dived into the bed. He snuggled up beside her tucking his freezing cold feet underneath her legs to warm himself.

‘Aaaagh! Gerry, your feet are like ice cubes!’ Holly knew that this position meant he had no intention of budging an inch. ‘Gerry,’ Holly’s voice warned.

‘Holly,’ he mimicked.

‘Didn’t you forget something?’

‘No, not that I know of,’ he answered.

‘The light?’

‘Ah yes, the light,’ he said sleepily, and pretended to snore loudly.

‘Gerry!’

‘I had to get out of bed and do it last night, as I remember.’

‘Yeah, but you were just standing right beside the switch a second ago!’

‘Yes . . . just a second ago,’ he repeated.

Holly sighed. She hated having to get back out of bed when she was nice and snug, step onto the cold wooden floor, and then fumble around in the darkness on the way back to the bed. She tutted.

‘I can’t do it all the time, you know, Hol. Someday I might not be here and then what will you do?’

‘Get my new husband to do it,’ Holly huffed, trying her best to kick his cold feet away from hers.

‘Ha!’

‘Or just remember to do it myself before I get into bed.’

Gerry snorted. ‘Fat chance of that happening, my dear. I’ll have to leave a message on the light switch for you before I go, just so you’ll remember.’

‘How thoughtful of you but I would rather you just leave me your money.’

‘And a note on the immersion,’ he continued on.

‘Ha-ha.’

‘And on the milk carton.’

‘You’re a very funny man, Gerry.’

‘Oh, and on the windows so you don’t open them and set the alarm off in the mornings.’

‘Hey, why don’t you just leave me a list of things for me to do in your will if you think I’ll be so incompetent without you?’

‘Not a bad idea,’ he laughed.

‘Fine then, I’ll turn off the bloody light.’ Holly grudgingly got out of bed, grimaced as she stepped onto the ice-cold floor and switched off the light. She held out her arms in the darkness and slowly began to find her way back to the bed.

‘Hello? Holly, did you get lost? Is there anybody out there, there, there, there?’ Gerry shouted out to the black room.

‘Yes, I’m hhhhowwwwwwcch!’ she yelped as she stubbed her toe against the bedpost. ‘Shit, shit, shit, fuck, bastard, shit, crap!’

Gerry snorted and sniggered underneath the duvet. ‘Number two on my list: watch out for bedpost . . .’

‘Oh, shut up, Gerry, and stop being so morbid,’ Holly snapped back at him, cradling her poor foot in her hand.

‘Want me to kiss it better?’ he asked.

‘No, it’s OK,’ Holly replied sadly, ‘if I could just put them here so I can warm . . .’

‘Aaaaah! Jesus Christ, they’re freezing!!’

Which made her laugh again.


So that was how the joke about the list came about. It was a silly and simple idea that was soon shared with their closest friends, Sharon and John McCarthy.

It was John who had approached Holly in the school corridor when they were just fourteen and muttered the famous words, ‘Me mate wants to know if you’ll go out with him.’ After days of endless discussion and emergency meetings with her friends, Holly eventually agreed.

‘Aah, go on, Holly,’ Sharon had urged. ‘He’s such a ride, and at least he doesn’t have spots all over his face like John.’

How Holly envied Sharon right now. Sharon and John had married the same year as Holly and Gerry. Holly was the baby of the bunch at twenty-three, the others were twentyfour. Some said she was too young and lectured her about how, at her age, she should be travelling the world and enjoying herself. Instead, Gerry and Holly travelled the world together. It made far more sense that way because when they weren’t together . . . well, Holly just felt as though she was missing a vital organ from her body.

Her wedding day was far from the best day of her life. Like most little girls, she had dreamed of a fairy-tale wedding with a princess dress and beautiful, sunny weather, in a romantic location surrounded by all who were near and dear to her. She imagined the reception would be the best night of her life, pictured herself dancing with all of her friends, being admired by everyone and feeling special. The reality was quite different.

She woke up in her family home to screams of, ‘I can’t find my tie!’ (her father), or, ‘My hair looks shite’ (her mother), and the best one of all was, ‘I look like a bloody whale! There’s no way I’m going to this bleeding wedding looking like this. I’ll be scarlet! Mum, look at the state of me! Holly can find another bridesmaid ’cos I’m not bleedin goin. Oi! Jack, give me back that feckin hair dryer, I’m not finished!’ That unforgettable statement was made by her younger sister, Ciara, who very regularly threw tantrums and refused to leave the house on the basis of having nothing to wear, regardless of her bursting wardrobe. She was currently living somewhere in Australia with strangers, and the only communication the family had with her was an email from her every few weeks. Holly’s family spent the rest of the morning trying to convince Ciara how she was the most beautiful woman in the world. All the while Holly silently dressed herself feeling like shite. Ciara eventually agreed to leave the house when Holly’s usually calm dad screamed at the top of his voice, and to everyone’s amazement, ‘Ciara, this is Holly’s bloody day, NOT YOURS! And you WILL go to the wedding and enjoy yourself AND when Holly walks downstairs you WILL tell her how beautiful she looks and I don’t wanna hear a peep out of you FOR THE REST OF THE DAY!’

So when Holly walked downstairs everyone oohed and aahed while Ciara, looking like a ten-year-old who had just been spanked, tearfully gazed at her with a trembling lip and said, ‘You look beautiful, Holly.’ All seven of them squashed into the limo – Holly, her parents, three brothers and Ciara, and sat in terrified silence all the way to the church.

The whole day just seemed a blur to her now. She barely had time to speak to Gerry, as they were both being pulled in opposite directions to meet Great-aunt Betty from the back arse of nowhere, whom Holly hadn’t seen since she was born, and Grand-uncle Toby from America, who had never been mentioned before but was suddenly a very important member of the family.

And nobody told her it would be so tiring either. By the end of the night Holly’s jaw was sore from smiling for photographs, and her feet were killing her from running around all day in very silly little shoes. She desperately wanted to join the large table of her friends who had been howling with laughter all night, obviously enjoying themselves. Well for some, she thought. But as soon as Holly stepped into the honeymoon suite with Gerry her worries of the day faded and the point of it all became clear.

Tears once again rolled down Holly’s face and she realised she had been daydreaming again. She sat frozen on the couch with the phone still off the hook beside her. The hours just seemed to pass her by these days without her knowing what time or even what day it was. She seemed to be living outside of her body, numb to everything but the pain in her heart, in her bones, in her head. She was just so tired . . . Her stomach grumbled and she realised she couldn’t remember the last time she had eaten. Had it been yesterday?

She shuffled into the kitchen, dressed in Gerry’s dressing gown and her favourite pink ‘disco diva’ slippers that Gerry had bought her the previous Christmas. She was his disco diva, he used to say. Always the first on the dance floor, always the last out of the club. Huh, where was that girl now? She opened the fridge and stared in at the empty shelves. Just vegetables and yogurt long past its sell-by date leaving a horrible stench in the fridge. She smiled weakly as she shook the milk carton. Empty. Third on his list . . .


Christmas two years ago Holly had gone shopping with Sharon for a dress for the annual ball they attended at the Burlington Hotel. Shopping with Sharon was always a dangerous outing, and John and Gerry had joked about how they would once again suffer through Christmas without any presents as a result of the girls’ sprees. They weren’t far wrong. Poor neglected husbands, the girls always called them.

Holly had spent a disgraceful amount of money in Brown Thomas on the most beautiful white dress she had ever seen.

‘Shit, Sharon, this will burn a huge hole in my pocket,’ she said guiltily, biting her lip and running her fingers over the soft material.

‘Aah, don’t worry, Gerry can stitch it up for you,’ Sharon replied with her infamous cackle. ‘And stop calling me “shit Sharon”. Every time we go shopping you address me as that. If you’re not careful I might start taking offence. Buy the damn thing, Holly. It’s Christmas, after all, the season of giving and all that.’

‘God, you are so evil, Sharon. I’m never shopping with you again. This is like half my month’s wages. What am I going to do for the rest of the month?’

‘Holly, would you rather eat or look fab?’

‘I’ll take it,’ Holly said excitedly to the sales assistant.

The dress was low cut, which showed off Holly’s neat little chest perfectly, and it was split to the thigh, displaying her slim legs. Gerry hadn’t been able to take his eyes off her. It wasn’t because she looked so beautiful, however. He just couldn’t understand how on earth such a little slip of material had cost that much. Once at the ball, Ms Disco Diva once again overindulged in the alcoholic beverages and succeeded in destroying her dress by spilling red wine down her front. Holly tried but failed to hold back her tears while the men at the table drunkenly informed their partners that number fifty-four on the list prevented you from drinking red wine while wearing an expensive white dress. It was then decided that milk was the preferred beverage, as it wouldn’t be visible if spilt on expensive white dresses.

Later, when Gerry knocked his pint over causing it to dribble off the edge of the table into Holly’s lap, she tearfully yet seriously announced to the table (and some of the surrounding tables), ‘Rule fitty-fife ov the list: NEFFER EFFER buy a spensive white dress.’ So it was agreed, and Sharon awoke from her coma from somewhere underneath the table to applaud and offer moral support. A toast was made (after a startled waiter had delivered a tray full of glasses of milk) to Holly and to her profound addition to the list.

‘I’m sorry bout your spensive white dress, Holly,’ John had hiccuped to Holly, before falling out of the taxi and dragging Sharon alongside him into their house.

Was it possible that Gerry had kept his word and had written a list for her before he died? She had spent every minute of every day with him up until his death and he had never even mentioned it, nor had she noticed any signs of him writing it. No, Holly, pull yourself together and don’t be stupid, she told herself. She so desperately wanted him back that she was imagining all kinds of crazy things. He wouldn’t have. Would he?

Thursday, 26 November 2009

A will to help


Holly Kennedy is a 29-year-old woman, intelligent and happily married until his husband Gerry dies because of an illness. From that moment her life changes but she couldn't imagine that Gerry planned to help her in her mourning. He wrote her some letters which would be opened one each month and she had to do what he asked in there. He wanted to help her to overcome his death. Each letter ends with the sentence: “P.S. I love you”.

This book is the first one Cecelia Ahern has published. It got the number one in Ireland in 2004 and it also got in the UK Sunday Times bestseller list.

Four years later, in 2008, this book was adapted to a screenplay. Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler starred the film.

I enjoyed the reading of "P.S. I Love You" because although it made me feel blue sometimes, it also made me laugh. It is a dramedy (drama + comedy) book. The author also shows the different steps a person takes when someone loved dies. For example, the first one is rejection of what has happened.


The characters seem real people. Cecelia Ahern knows how to transmit the feelings and emotions:

Holly held the blue cotton sweater to her face and the familiar smell immediately struck her, an overwhelming grief knotting her stomach and pulling at her heart. Pins and needles ran up the back of her neck and a lump in her throat threatened to choke her. Panic took over. Apart from the low hum of the fridge and the occasional moaning of the pipes, the house was quiet. She was alone. Bile rose in her throat and she ran to the bathroom, where she collapsed to her knees before the toilet.

If you want to read the first two chapters, click here.


Below this line you can watch the trailer of the film.





© crisfusterber

Monday, 23 November 2009

Short film: "Black Button"

Sometimes you have to make a choice. There are two options and you can't make another one. Which one will you choose?



Friday, 20 November 2009

Short film: "Real Love"

If you had an imaginary friend when you were a kid, would you still have this friendship when you are 16 years old? Would you feel in love with him/her?


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Short film: "Strangers"

This film is about racism and how two "different" people get together to save their lives. There is no dialog, just music and images. Enjoy it!



Monday, 16 November 2009

Read an extract of Marian Keyes new novel


Marian Keyes has been published again by Penguin Books. Here you have more details:

Title: The Brightest Star in the Sky
Author: Marian Keyes


Synopsis:

At 66, Star Street in Dublin, someone is watching over the lives of the people living in its flats. But no one is aware of it - yet...

One of them is ready to take the plunge and fall in love; another is torn between two very different lovers. For some, secrets they want to stay buried will come to light and for others, the unveiling of those secrets will have tragic consequences.

Fate is on its way to Star Street, bringing with it love and tragedy, friendship and heartbreak, and the power to change their lives in the most unexpected of ways…



Extract


Day 61
June the first, a bright summer’s evening, a Monday. I’ve been flying over the streets and houses of Dublin and now, finally, I’m here. I enter through the roof. Via a skylight I slide into a living room and right away I know it’s a woman who lives here. There’s a femininity to the furnishings – pastelcoloured throws on the sofa, that sort of thing. Two plants. Both alive. A television of modest size.
I appear to have arrived in the middle of some event. Several people are standing in an awkward circle, sipping from glasses of champagne and pretending to laugh at what the others are saying. A variety of ages and sexes suggests that this is a family occasion.
Birthday cards abound. Discarded wrapping paper. Presents.
Talk of leaving for the restaurant. Hungry for information I read the cards. They’re addressed to someone called Katie and she appears to be celebrating her fortieth birthday. I wouldn’t have thought that that called for much celebration but it takes all sorts, I’m told.
I locate Katie. She looks a good deal younger than forty, but forty is the new twenty, according to my information.She’s tallish and dark-haired and bosomy and gamely doing her best to stay upright in a pair of spike-heeled knee-boots.Her force field is a pleasant one; she vibrates with levelheaded warmth, like a slightly sexy primary-school teacher.(Although that’s not actually her job. I know this because I know an awful lot.)
The man next to Katie, glowing with dark pride – the pride is in large part to do with the new platinum watch on Katie’s wrist – is her boyfriend, partner, loved one, whatever you want to call it.An interesting man, with a compelling life force, his vibrations are so powerful they’re almost visible. I’ll be honest:I’m intrigued.
Conall, they’re calling this man. The more polite members of the group, at least. A few other names are hovering in the ether – Show-off; Flash bastard – but remain unuttered. Fascinating.
The men don’t like him at all. I’ve identified Katie’s father, brother and brother-in-law and not one of them is keen. However, the women – Katie’s mother, sister and best friend – don’t seem to mind him as much.
I’ll tell you something else: this Conall doesn’t live here. A man on a frequency as potent as his wouldn’t stand for a television of such modest size. Or plant-watering.I waft past Katie and she puts a hand up to the nape of her neck and shivers.
‘What?’ Conall looks ready to do battle.
‘Nothing. Someone just walked over my grave.’
Oh come now! Hardly!
‘Hey!’ Naomi – older sister of Katie – is pointing at a mirror that’s propped on the floor against a cupboard. ‘Is your new mirror not up yet?’
‘Not yet,’ Katie says, sudden tension leaking from between her teeth.
‘But you’ve had it for ages! I thought Conall was going to do it for you.’
‘Conall is going to do it,’ Katie says very firmly. ‘Tomorrow morning, before he goes to Helsinki. Aren’t you, Conall?’
Friction! Zinging around the room, rebounding off the walls. Conall, Katie and Naomi volleying waves of tension against each other in a fast-moving taut triangle, the repercussions expanding ever outwards to include everyone else there.
Entre nous, I’m dying to find out what’s going on but, to my alarm, I’m being overtaken by some sort of force. Something bigger or better than me is moving me downwards. Through the 100 per cent wool rug, past some dodgy joists, which are frankly riddled with woodworm – someone should be told – and into another place: the flat below Katie’s. I’m in a kitchen.
An astonishingly dirty kitchen. Pots and pans and plates are piled higgledy-piggledy in the sink, soaking in stagnant water, the lino floor hasn’t been washed in an age, and the stove top sports many elaborate splashes of old food as if a gang of action painters has recently paid a visit. Two muscular young men are leaning on the kitchen table, talking in Polish. Their faces are close together and the conversation is urgent, almost panicked. They’re both pulsing with angst, so much so that their vibrations have become entangled and I can’t get a handle on either of them. Luckily, I discover I am fl uent in Polish, and here’s a rude translation of what they’re saying:
‘Jan, you tell her.’
‘No, Andrei, you tell her.’
‘I tried the last time.’
‘Andrei, she respects you more.’
‘No, Jan. Hard as it is for me, a Polish man, to understand, she doesn’t respect either of us. Irish women are beyond me.’
‘Andrei, you tell her and I’ll give you three stuffed cabbages.’
‘Four and you’re on.’
(I’m afraid I made up those last two sentences.)
Into the kitchen comes the object of their earnest discussion and I can’t see what they’re so afraid of, two fi ne big lads like them, with their tattoos and slightly menacing buzz cuts. This little creature – Irish, unlike the two boys – is lovely. A pretty little minx with mischievous eyes and spiky eyelashes and a head of charming jack-in-the-box curls that spring all the way down past her shoulders. Mid-twenties, by the look of her, and exuding vibrations so zesty they zigzag through the air. In her hand she’s carrying a pre-prepared dinner. A wretched-looking repast. (Greyish roast beef, in case you’re interested.)
‘Go on,’ Jan hisses at Andrei.
‘Lydia.’ Andrei gestures at the, quite frankly, filthy kitchen. Speaking English, he says, ‘You clean sometime.’
‘Sometime,’ she agrees, scooping up a fork from the draining board. ‘But sadly not in this lifetime. Now move.’
With alacrity Andrei clears a path for her to access the microwave. Viciously, she jabs her fork into the cellophane covering her dinner. Four times, each puncture making a noise like a small explosion, loud enough to make Jan’s left eye twitch, then she slams the carton into the microwave. I take this opportunity to drift up behind her to introduce myself, but to my surprise she swats me away as though I were a pesky fly.
Me!
Don’t you know who I am?
Andrei is giving it another go. ‘Lydia, pliz . . . Jan and I, we clean menny, menny times.’
‘Good for you.’ Breezy delivery from Lydia as she locates the least dirty-looking knife in the murk of the sink and runs it under the tap for half a second.
‘We hev made rota.’ Feebly Andrei waves a piece of paper at her.
‘Good for you again.’ Oh how white her teeth are, how dazzling her smile!
‘You are livingk here three weeks. You hev not cleaned. You must clean.’
An unexpected pulse of emotion radiates from Lydia, black and bitter. Apparently, she does clean. But not here? Where, then?
‘Andrei, my little Polish cabbage, and you too, Jan, my other little Polish cabbage, let’s imagine things were the other way round.’ She waves her (still soiled) knife to emphasize her point. In fact, I know that there are 273 different bacteria thriving and fl ourishing on that knife. However, I also know by now that it would take the bravest and most heroic of bacteria to get the better of this Lydia.
‘The other way round?’ Andrei asks anxiously.
‘Say it was two women and one man living in this flat. The man would never do anything. The women would do it all. Wouldn’t they?’
The microwave beeps. She whisks her unappetizing dinner from it and, with a charming smile, leaves the room to look up something on the internet.
What a peppy little madam! A most fascinating little firebrand!
‘She called us cabbages,’ Jan said stonily. ‘I hate when she calls us cabbages.’

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails