Where in the world I’ve been (Books on the Metro part II)

I’ve been pretty quiet of late I know, I’m going to be traditional and blame this on the insane amount of work I’ve been doing lately. I was procrastinating the other day and decided I’d look at all my old statuses and see how many of them were about work. It turns out most of them. Here’s a sample:

  • There’s nothing like digging through bins to find tubes you threw out yesterday to end a day.
  • When this much goes wrong before 9am you know it’s time to go back to bed
  • How to tell you’re back at work: it’s take three hours to print 10 pages and the highlight of the day is new tweezers

There’s always something fun going on when you work in a lab…

But actually it’s not all been work of late, I’ve just come back from a week in Madrid which was only half work. I went for a four day conference but I went four days earlier to experience the city.

It was fantastic, I went on a free walking tour round the city (with Sandemans, check them out if you’re doing any European travel), went on a tapas bar crawl, saw a private flamenco show and tried out my moves at a salsa night (they were terrible but it was fun!). Stupidly I left my camera at home but here are a few photos from my phone.

A library on the Metro

A library on the Metro

A street bookshop

A street bookshop

A flamenco group at our private show

A flamenco group at our private show

The ancient capital, Toledo

The ancient capital, Toledo

One of very few statues of Satan in the world

One of very few statues of Satan in the world

 

The Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid

The conference was really good as well – lots of exciting talks and a gala party catered by a 2 Michelin starred chef. Very fancy but not nearly enough food and it was all a little bit odd!

While I was out there I also did a little reading, believe it or not.

I took two books and despite the fact that I didn’t read on the journey to the airport (because I was running late and was terrified I was going to miss my plane) by the time I arrived in Spain I was already a quarter of the way through the first one.

JoylandI was reading Joyland the latest book from Stephen King. Set in 1973 it tells the story of Devin Jones who spends a summer working at a funfair in North Carolina in order to forget a lost love. Working there he gets caught up in solving the mystery of ‘The Funfair Killer’ one of whose victims is still haunting a ride at Joyland.

I raced through this book. Despite my best efforts to pace myself it had me gripped and I just had to keep reading. I had the identity of the killer figured out before Devin but that was ok, it was still full of twists and turns and the other story about Mike and Annie was more interesting for me anyway. Mike is a young boy who is dying of Duchenne muscular dystrophy which, incidentally several of the talks at the conference I was attending were about. Mike was only about 10 but today a boy with DMD can expect to live to around 25 and in the future, maybe gene therapy will extend that even further.

The RoadMy second book was The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I bought this one principally because I’m currently reading On The Road by Jack Kerouac and I thought it was a funny match. Which is ironic because this was NOT a funny book. In a post-apocalyptic world an unnamed man and his son are travelling across America looking for food, safety, anything. The cause of the apocalypse is never revealed except it clearly involved some kind of fire and the entire book is suitably grim. It was hard going for a holiday read and to be honest I don’t feel like I got much out of it except the impression that if I was ever in an apocalypse I’d probably hope for a swift death rather than a drawn out survival with a shopping cart, a lighter and a handful of tinned goods. There were a few typographical things that bugged me about this book – mostly the sporadic use of apostrophes, they were rarely used in contractions although always used for possession. There were no speech marks used but although I wrote a post about how much that annoys me recently I didn’t struggle to follow conversation too often. Mostly because there wasn’t a lot of conversation and when it did happen it was pretty simple. The ending managed to touch me but on the whole it left me cold. Just like the characters in the book.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately, hopefully it won’t be too long before my next post!

To read Books on the Metro part I click here.

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2 responses to “Where in the world I’ve been (Books on the Metro part II)

  1. I read Joyland earlier this year and I loved it. Like you, I wanted to try and pace myself, but once it had me gripped I think I got through it in a couple of days.

  2. Pingback: 2013 storified. | Books on the Tube

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