The Ruby in the Smoke

Link: Euro Crime: The Ruby in the Smoke.

Karen M of the highly esteemed blog Eurocrime highlights an eagerly awaited double event chez Petrona.

Philip Pullman’s "Ruby in the Smoke" has been adapted for TV and will be shown on the BBC over Christmas. The Sally Lockhart quartet is a huge favourite of Cathy’s, she has eagerly read all the books twice, to my knowledge. I have not read them  myself, but from what Cathy has said, they involve a young woman (maybe even a teenager?)  in Victorian times whose fiance dies near the start. She is pregnant, so becomes a single mother as well as a detective.  How powerful a theme is that?

But the second excitement is that Sally is being played by Billie Piper, the top favourite of Jenny, and probably equal top (with Keira Knightley) of Cathy. Billie Piper, of course, is "Rose", Dr Who’s companion, Dr Who long having grown out of the female "assistants" that I can dimly remember from previous lives.

Jenny (11) is currently reading Pullman’s "Northern Lights" trilogy and enjoying it immensely. She’s almost at the end of book 2, "The Subtle Knife", so I need to catch up, as has long been my intention. Malcolm and Cathy are already longstanding fans: indeed,  Malcolm has long maintained the heretical position that "Northern Lights" is vastly superior to Harry Potter. I really must get around to finding out if this is actually possible.

Christmas in our house is going to be sublime — lots of peace and quiet for reading and blogging; our established tradition of watching all three extended editions of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy; and now this.   

Library legacy at This Space

I have just read an inspiring post about the power of reading, over at This Space blog. Dave Lull sent me the link (thank you, Dave), but I would have got there eventually myself as I have recently added this blog to my blogroll, and hence Bloglines subscriptions.

If you want to know why public libraries are a good thing, please read Steve’s (This Space) post. Here is a part of it:

"This is why I am so bitter about people who blithely refer to "elitist"literature and tell us that we should all read trash because that’s really what we want to read isn’t it and to deny otherwise is pretentious. Rather than appealing to democratic accessibility, this smacks of the elitism it claims to resist. It was my good fortune that Portsmouth library chiefs stocked books by writers these inverted snobs refuse to read, discuss and learn from for fear of opening minds and actually changing anything. But it wasn’t only my good fortune."

How true. If you haven’t been there before, I also recommend a visit to Tim Coates’ Good Library Blog. It is depressing reading — a kind of catalogue of cutbacks — but Tim is vigorously campaigning on behalf of books and readers in the UK in the face of a depressing mountain of smug red tape and jobsworths. Well done to him. (He will be the next Prime Minister, incidentally — or should be.)

Internet addiction

According to this story in Information World, an IBM employee fired for visiting Internet chat rooms during working hours, is now suing the company. He claims that his behaviour was the result of an Internet addiction, and that the company should have offered him counselling rather than sacking him.

There are a few additional elements to the story which you can read at the link if you are interested, but I was struck by the last paragraph:

"In a study released last month, the Stanford University School of Medicine found that one in eight Americans exhibited signs of possible Internet addiction. Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, the study’s lead author, said in a statement, "We need to consider the fact that [the Internet] creates real problems for a subset of people."  "