Monday, February 14, 2011


One of the very kind messages of condolence we received after Jacob's death said 'better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.'
It reminded me of when Jacob was born and how that was such a stressful time; of course at that stage we did not know then he would be a constant joy, achieve so much and make us proud.
One of my patients an elderly lady with a foreign accent said 'better to have a child like that than never be able to have children', and she drew back her sleeve, and showed me what I realised was a concentration camp tattoo. I had a little cry with her then, and I have cried a lot these last few weeks.

But you have to move on a little bit at a time.
Blogging requires:
1] The ability to concentrate in order to be able read a fair amount of books.
2] Some opinions to express.
3] The motivation and energy to post those opinions.

I am alright with number two but a bit wobbly in the other departments at the moment, in fact at my present reading rate I might complete twelve books this year!
I have been watching a lot of light escapist TV programs such as Masterchef New Zealand, which is brilliant nonsense, a subtle blend of Masterchef, The Apprentice, and Big Brother.
Daytime TV does have some appalling features, such as the constant adverts for ambulance chasing lawyers and loan sharks [Ooops debt management and helpful loan companies] charging interest rates varying from 2,000-4,000% APR. The mob have a lot to learn from these guys.

Movies that I can recommend are:
The Town starring Ben Affleck and based on Chuck Hogan's Prince of Thieves. I think the ending of the film was slightly different from the book which I read in 2006, but it was a very exciting movie about bank robbers and armoured car thieves in Charlestown, Boston.

Winter's Bone set in the Missouri Ozarks and based on the book by Daniel Woodrell. This was a brilliant film with an evocative portrait of a very different poverty stricken America than we usually get dished up by Hollywood. It reminded us of our experience of driving through the beautiful mountains of Eastern Kentucky back in 2003.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting an article I wrote about Andrea Camilleri for Picador* [they have removed it from their website after a couple of years, so I better repost it here], my Best non-Eurocrime reads of 2010, and some thoughts on the Martin Beck books.
I think all those Vintage, Global, and Alphabetical challenges will be a bit beyond me this year, but I am hoping that Crime Scraps will continue even if on less regular basis.
[* at the instigation of Maxine of Petrona]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norman - Thanks so much for the update on how you're doing. It's good to hear from you, and if you decide you want to continue blogging, I'll continue to look forward to reading your posts.

Thanks for the movie recommendations.

Thinking of you and wishing you both well...

8:52 AM  
Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

Dear Norman, I do so agree that when you have been knocked for six, all you can do is what you can feel up to doing, one step at a time. Sometimes that can be very different from what you did before. If you want to post anything on your blog, you will have your loyal readers who will thank you for it. If you don't feel like it, those same readers will understand. It is lovely to read a post from you again.

It is interesting what you write about ordinary people's reactions to what might be perceived as a non-standard or challenging situation.

I enquired about the vanished Picador archive, which happened when they revamped their website, as I noticed that our Camilleri articles had vanished. I was told that they would be restored in due course with the rest of the old archive but if they have not done it yet, I think you are wise to republish, as they may never get around to it.

All my best to you and your family.


PS I enjoyed the book of Winter's Bone but have not seen the movie yet - it is on the list.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Dear Norman; I know how difficult it is to review books when something else is on your mind, but it is good just to hear that you are there! We miss you because your blog is one of those that speak of your personality and make us care about the human being behind.

Take care!

11:07 AM  
Blogger Bernadette said...

Oh yes do take your time Norman and if the blog morphs into something else entirely so be it. You must do what is right for you and that may well be a different thing each day.

You make me grateful that Oz is one of the few places in the world where lawyers are not able to advertise. Instead our daytime TV ads are all for funeral insurance and exercise gadgets (I assume that if you use the gadgets you'll need a funeral pretty quickly as most of them look like they'll kill you).

2:14 PM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Oh, really, do go easy on yourself, and go one day at a time. Do whatever you need to do.

I think that it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. But one also grieves for what the beloved person lost, too.

That is very hard, but your son was very much loved and cherished, and accomplished so much, that it is inspiring. You all gave him everything possible, and his life was enriched.

Grief is a very tough thing that life dishes out, and hard to deal with, so do what you need to do.

We loyal readers will be so glad to read your posts--I am looking forward to your essay on Camilleri, as I'm reading his books one after the other right now, and would love to read your writing about him, as well as whatever you choose to post.

However, I understand whatever you need to do, and send my best regards, and just say be kind to yourself.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thank you all so much.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Kerrie said...

I am so glad to hear from you again Norman. Bob and I are still coming over for Crime Fest. Hope to catch up with you during that trip

2:38 AM  

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