Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: May 2008

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve learned that you don’t have to leave your suburb to find something new. Two weeks ago, finding myself overwhelmingly bored with my life, I was all set to uproot myself and buy a cheap plane ticket to somewhere new and exotic. But then I remembered that I have no money, nor a job, nor a passport, and I’m only fifteen, and I have school to go to, and SACs to do, and I’d have to pick up the courage to go alone, since I’d never find anyone to accompany me. As you can see, my plan was crumbling all around me. Losing hope, I thought, “Well, at the very least, I can see the wonderful, exotic sights of… my suburb.”

This doesn’t sound very exotic, I know. Even I was discouraged. But that was before I encountered the strangeness of Johnston St ((Which is not actually called “Johnston St”, but for privacy purposes we’re going to assume that it is, OK?)). I ventured down that street once, and never again — there’s just something about a street in which large, muscular men walk around carrying axes that unsettles me. Read More »

I am a near-constant critic of novels. I can find faults with almost every book I read, as though it’s a strange compulsion I have. It’s no fault of the novelists themselves that I criticise their work; it’s merely that my view of the purpose of a novel clearly differs to theirs. To me, the purpose of a novel is to tell a story. When I read a novel, I want to read about people, actions and emotions. I want flawed characters, human characters, whom I can identify with and feel empathy for. I want them to do things, and I want things to be done to them. I want them to interact with each other, and I want the plot to stem from the characters’ personalities. This is, to my mind, what makes a beautiful novel.

Tragically, I’ve read very few novels satisfy my criteria for “beautiful” ((Disclaimer: I don’t read many novels at all, so this statement doesn’t count for a lot.)). The novelists whose work I’ve had to suffer through rarely care for their characters. In some novels, the characters become noisy, humorous caricatures; in others, they are almost invisible and take a back seat to the author’s epic descriptions of trees. In both cases, the poor characterisation is not helped at all by horrible writing. Even if the characters weren’t bad, how could I become absorbed in a novel when the writing is so self-conscious? Novels are about communicating stories, not communicating words. Here are some pointers on how to keep me absorbed in your story, without being distracted by these distinctly un-beautiful annoyances. Read More »

Bush says he gave up golf in August 2003, out of respect for the Americans killed in Iraq. What a noble gesture! It’s good to know that while young Americans are sacrificing their lives for your misguided war, you’ve matched their sacrifice by retiring your golf clubs. It’s the little things like this that make you the president you are.