Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Okay, so I had one of those days, you know the ones that throw you the kind of curve ball that not only catches you out, but leaves you on the bench, dazed and confused.

It was too early for wine, so I indulged in the next best thing...retail the University Book Shop...oh dear.

I thought I was quite self controlled and exited with only:

A cool set of twelve note cards to fuel the stationery addiction.

A greeting card to stick on my office wall because it was apt and looked cool.

Two pens that write so smoothly - has anyone else become frustrated with scratchy ball point pens that sulk in winter?

That cool set of Penguin pencils I had so successfully resisted...until now.

And last but not least - a book - surprise! But what self-respecting crime writer could resist a book called Stiff - The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Written by Mary Roach who also brought you the book about, well, you can guess from the title - Bonk.

The back cover blurb of Stiff begins:

"Whether buried, burnt, snatched, donated or decomposed, some people have been more useful dead than alive..."

As you may guess from that snippet, the book takes a look at the use of cadavers in the advancement of medical and, er, other knowledge. It makes for fascinating reading.

To give you another indication of the tone, which is entertaining and informative, here is a little excerpt from chapter 4: Dead Man Driving.

Human crash test dummies and the ghastly, necessary science of impact tolerance. By and large, the dead aren't very talented. They can't play water polo, or lace up their boots, or maximise market share. They can't tell a joke, and they can't dance for beans. There is one thing dead people excel at. They're very good at handling pain.

It was just perfect for a girl needing a spot of slightly dark entertainment.


The Paradoxical Cat said...

Hey you, I don't like the sound of that curve ball, but it's an ill wind that blows no good eh?

I KNEW you would buy those pencils! Hehe. I went back in and bought the Virginia Woolf "A Room of One's Own" notebook.

It was a good investment as i have been filling it with poems & story ideas.

Hope it has all cheered you up x

Rachel Fenton said...

There's nothing like a bit of stationary to invigorate the creativity. The book sounds fascinating - great title, too!

Dave B said...

I can see how Stiff would be worthwhile for a crime writer ... in much the same way that Bonk would be helpful for my writing.


Is it stocked locally?

Vanda Symon said...

PC, I would have brought a mug too, except they had sold out!

Thanks Rachel, I hadn't thought of the excuse of buying stationery to invigorate the creativity - good one!

Dave, UBS here had both titles, so I'm sure Chch UBS would have them or be able to get them. I'm curious about your writing...

Dave B said...

You know where to find the web-published version of one of them ;)

Will check out UBS.

As for my writing, I have a collection of short stories that don't really have a genre. Kind of shocking twists, of a mature nature.

I know that noone makes money out of short stories - but I write for my own enjoyment, so it works out fine.

I have a 110,000 novel done as well - but it's not edited and I cringe when I read it.