Let Me Tell You A Story by Katie Miller: A Brief History Of Flings

Katie Miller is a half Polish, half Caribbean writer from the UK. A hilariously funny potted history of some of her dates and relationships is found in Let Me Tell You A Story, available on Amazon. The slim tome is egocentric by default; Miller, however, gets away with it, clearly willing to take the bullets for her fellow females in her confessionals, while offering advice (devoting an entire concise chapter to same) for those on the dating scene about what and what not to do. One nugget of wisdom is simply to do what you feel. Holding out, she says, does not necessarily lead to a long term relationship any more, and the reverse is not necessarily just a hook-up.
...Story, Me, and matching tee.
Accurately describing men as “basic” in certain respects, Katie Miller indeed has enough understanding of the male psyche to get the guys she wants in the short term, but, beyond a poor Long Term boyfriend with whom she entered the world of proper relationships, she fails in the conversion. 
This is – she says – sometimes a self-sabotaging tendency to have The Talk about exclusivity. 
Clearly however, these men are not the best if they flee after such a discussion, or are simply too immature to realise what they have in this fine and funny scribe.

This book is the non-fiction female equivalent of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. Miller is adept in navigating relationships, and in assessing what they are, both in the moment, and sometimes –with somewhat heartbreaking results – in hindsight. 
She provides broader insights into how women become more cynical as they realise The One might be more elusive, how immature men can be, and indeed, when to exploit them somewhat to hilarious effect.

One might hope Miller finds a Mr Right of some calibre, rather than descend into a life of utter and abject cynicism over relationships. A writer as funny and as eloquent as this deserves a supportive non-a$$hole of a guy, if she wants to find one. But if it never happens, she has the wherewithal and writing skills to mine her future relationship ventures for a sequel.
Katie Miller's Let Me Tell You A Story... is available on Amazon and elsewhere.

Apples for goalposts

When I was a kid, probably no older than eight, I was in my cousins' house, for a sleepover, and my cousin ate an entire apple, core and all, in our shared bedroom. I ate most of mine but I Ieft the butt.

My uncle came in - I believe he was sober at the time - and my cousin pointed out that I hadn't eaten all of my apple. My uncle looked at the apple core and told me to eat it.

The order at the time would almost have been as ludicrous as if he had asked me to eat a banana skin, take a shot of whiskey or light up his cigarette.
Apple cores don't taste nice. Even today they're not eaten by most people.
And broadly speaking, people didn't eat butts in bed back in the 80s.
So I just said No, making clear that his request was ridiculously unfair, that it was not part of any apple-eating compact I had made at any point in my life, and I wasn't going to be held to ransom over how to consume apples.

Book Review: The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne

First published a decade ago, John Boyne's The House of Special Purpose (here at his site) features the Romanov dynasty's final years at the Winter Palace in St Petersburg and their subsequent detention after the 1917 revolutions in Russia.

Told via flashbacks, its narrator is Georgy, a peasant teenager who takes a bullet for the commander of the armed forces as he passes through the young man's village, and is subsequently employed as an attendant to the crown prince.

Roddy Doyle covers a concurrent period of social upheaval in Dublin via Henry Smart.
If both books have a failing, it's the creative flair employed in changing historical details to suit the narrative. Doyle's A Star Called Henry extends the Volunteers' takeover of Dublin's General Post Office by a day during 1916's Easter Rising, as Doyle had too much going on - or so he claimed at the time. But there's very little in the novel that he couldn't have worked around in terms of the historical details - even calling the shenanigans.
For Boyne, Rasputin's death (as just one example) could have been mined for far more sh1ts and giggles. The crazy libertine attitude of the starets lunatic monk man and his cabal of princes and prostitutes could also have been hyped up.

Anyone even remotely familiar with the historical details before they start into the book might be disappointed with certain elements due to expectations - although the storyline itself entertains through the life of the protagonist and his wife.
Although it has its moments, the writing is surprisingly simple much of the time too.
There's a thread or two left hanging a little too loosely, involving espionage, and a lack of closure related to bereavement - in fact plenty that doesn't seem to round out as it could.
But so, too, is the life, with the threads that be a-hangin'.

Would I recommend it? Da. Nine thumbs-up here.
Here it is on Goodreads.

The Wire: A brief note

The Wire is a very rich series.
Terrific characters with numerous arcs.
Spoiler alert for the fifth and final season
One thing I will note is that the fabulist who manufactures stories for local paper The Baltimore Sun had previous experience at two other news outlets. One of them is the Kansas City Star.
The reporter goes around the spots in the city where the homeless hang out, in his tee-shirt, seeking information on a serial killer who's been picking off vagrants. The killer is himself a fabrication of Det McNulty's, who is keen to divert funds so that the police can get overtime money to catch the drug dealers.

The Kansas City Star logo is printed on this reporter's shirt. Perhaps reading too much into things, or perhaps it's part of the show's beautiful poetry, but Kansas is famed for numerous things, one being The Wizard of Oz.
The fantastical embellishments of Scott Templeton go a long way to forcing City Hall and others to grant the police the funds to ultimately crack their case. One tiny element of a series that's well worth catching if you haven't already.

Poison for Dogs

Chocolate is poison for dogs. But if a dog eats one selection box worth of chocolate over a whole Christmas period, he might only have mild symptoms of poisoning. 

By the age of four, when a dog eats chocolate, he is at "third-level". 
If the dog eats chocolate at this university stage, it's the equivalent of an elephant giving live birth to a mini-van.
The only human equivalent would be if there was someone hiding behind the bushes and jumped out to give you a fright.
Would you feed your dog slices of processed ham, that is 20% water and lots of preservatives, and salt? Would you feed your child? 
Would you feed your child to your god, as was asked of Abraham?
Never, ever -
feed your dog.

Myk Pilgrim's Write Tip: Tracked Changes while editing YOUR OWN STUFF

So Myk Pilgrim (whose books are available at Amazon) has shown off his self-editing chops from his Instagram account.
Tracking changes is not something I had considered while editing my own stuff but I took to it after seeing Myk post his own material and his hilariously self-critical comments. I added a few to my own edits below.

One thing that I hadn't considered was how important this tool can be for making changes that work - often, if switching around or adding a clause, for example, you think it's "fixed" when in fact it's been potentially worsened by a clarification (or whatever else).
Maintaining tracked changes allows you to return to that same section and see how it reads later with a cold eye, once you've left the editing alone and/or moved onto another section.
If you're not doing this at the editing stage, perhaps you oughta!
Great stuff altogether.