Keeping up with the news

It makes me angry that because I come across as so called “ditsy” to some people that pretty much those same people believe I couldn’t possibly be interested in what’s going on around me, or to be more precise, current affairs!

Because I am – interested that is. More than interested really and its so easy to be up to date with current news and opinions by tapping into a number of great online sites. For instance newsnow.co.uk, theweek.co.uk or telegraph.co.uk to name just a few.

If you are at home and don’t want to pop out for a newspaper, or cant be bothered waiting around to catch a news program on the box, there certainly isn’t the need nowadays. I have a busy and fascinating job, two kids, a great dog and a husband (not always necessarily tended to in that order – sometimes the dog’s first!).

For instance its oh so easy and quick to plug into ‘newsnow..’ (one of my fave sites as they have access into 1,000’s of sources around the World) ensures that you can be kept up-to-date “24/7” if that’s what you want. At least you’re sure you are current!

One story that’s fascinated me in the last fews days is one I picked up at ‘newsnow’ and that is that women working in the finance industry get paid up to 40% less than men. Can you believe that?

It disgusts me frankly. Its all very well for people to say something like “well why do they put up with it, they can quit and go somewhere else”. Much easier said than done, plus there’s the factor that if they did change jobs the new job is likely to pay exactly the same (less than men) rate!

Its important for girls thinking of a career in either the finance and/or the insurance sector to realise that those sectors are the worst at closing the gender pay gap and they’re unlikely to change any time soon!

Keep in mind too that the pay gap between men and women exists in not 50%, not 60%, not even 70 or 80% of sectors, but a MASSIVE 90% of sectors!

It makes sense doesn’t it, that the more under-represented women are in a particular area, the bigger the wage gap is. Now its damn easy for people (especially other women, which I find very irritating) to stay, “well if more women should break into that area and then women will eventually get paid more”.

You feel like slapping their silly faces (well I do anyway). I bet those that speak like that are the very ones who never push themselves out of their boring little comfort zones!

Here’s some great news for women who are looking for some great reasons why women could and should replace men in some roles, and push through those so-called “Glass Ceilings” – and it’s a fabulous case for promoting boardroom variety.

Its been revealed in a number of studies that Boards made up of a mixture of women and men – not just men – outperform the male only ones by over £430bn.

NOW isn’t that one magnificent example of why there should be more women on boards than there is currently? Too damn right it is!!!

I could go on and on (my husband says I already do about a number of things) about this subject but I’ll leave you in peace (for a few days anyway).

Crime reads

I do so love my crime reads – enjoy most type of fiction actually, but crime (and associated thrillers) are by far my favourite. It’s all that suspense, intrigue and what I call “shadowy bits” that gets me in. Those pieces that you can’t help but find engrossing, intriguing and addictive!

Of course I have some favourite authors, they’re always the ones that tend to get (and keep) you involved from the first page, the first paragraph and often even from the very first line.

For instance, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, Sue Grafton, Tess Gerritsen, David Baldacci, Lynda La Plante, Denise Mina and Lisa Gardner – there’s more of course but these are currently my top ones. YES, my favourite authors do change a little from time to time – it depends a little on mood, time available to read and ‘flavour’ of the content.

Curiously, have you ever detected how many of the great crime writers have a background in either law or journalism? Do you reckon it says something about those two professions?

Our own Scot Denise Mina, as well as such famous authors, as John Grisham and David Baldacci (absolutely loved his Camel Club series) and . I’m not going to list all the former (or even current) lawyers for you who are crime writers, its fun to look it up and discover for yourselves. Besides I’m feeling lazy today!

Of course there’s fascinating exceptions to the lawyer/journo rule with authors such as Kathy Reichs, a qualified and practising Forensic Anthropologist, as well as best selling author. Fascinating to look at what makes some authors tick and what life experiences they have to put into their novels.

Sue Grafton, of ‘Alphabet Books’ fame (starting with “A for Alibi”, with the latest one out being “V for Vengeance”), is an author I have enjoyed from the first paragraph of her first book. She is so easy to read, so relaxing and you can put the book down and pick it up later without having to re-read pages to pick up again on the story.

The writing is easy, relaxed, not super deep and sophisticated but fun and entertaining. I’ve read them all and still have most of the copies.

What in hell am I going to do when she arrives at “Z” I have no idea.

LEE CHILD

Love, absolutely love Lee Child – he’s British although he’s currently mainly resident in the US. His real name is actually Jim Grant – prefer Lee Child myself. He’s another one of those rare authors whose books are definitely in the “they grab and hold you from the first sentence” books. They have been for me anyway.

As any fan of Lee Child’s books can tell you, his main character is called Jack Reacher. Let me tell you how Childs gave him the surname of Reacher. Lee (or I should say Jim who is over 6’3” tall) was in a supermarket in Cumbria when his wif e said to him “Hey, if this writing thing doesn’t pan out, you could always be a reacher in a supermarket…”. He simply thought “Reacher” that’s a good name. Even if this story isn’t true (and I think it is) it’s a great tale in itself.

I love the character of Jack Reacher – he’s different. Somebody does a very bad thing and Jack simply takes revenge in his own different, and quite often, fascinating way.

One thing I just cant understand though is why they chose Tom Cruise (who we all know is very short) to play Jack Reacher, who is portrayed at about the same height as Childs himself – 6’3” and a muscular, rough and tumble character. All things Tom is not – totally unsuitable – crazy! It nearly turned me off the character – well it did for a while but eventually I got over it!

DENISE MINA

“Blood, Salt, Water” is a good read by Denise Mina. Its set in the Scottish town of Helensburgh. Some poor woman gets beaten to death on the orders of a crime boss, while in Glasgow at the same time, the police muck things up somewhat in a (seemingly) unconnected case.

These two stories may well be separate of course, but naturally they come together. Cant say anymore as I certainly don’t want to spoil the story for you!

I hate those people that do that. I even had a woman on a plane once who asked me if I had read a certain book and when I responded that I’d just started it, responded by telling me the ending! Can you believe that?

My Best Tonic Ever – Crime Reads

Some fab crime reads around at the moment – so many as a matter of fact that you can feel confused about what to grab first.

If you are having trouble choosing which one to go for first you can always turn to online help sites, such as “lovereading.co.uk”, which has ‘Crime and Mystery Books’ listed and summarised, keeps you up to date with the latest and greatest!

Michael Connelly is one of my all time great favourite crime/thriller authors, excitingly his latest offering ‘The Crossing’ brings together two of his all time best main series characters – ie Harry Bosch (love that man) and Mickey Haller (my second fave).

Connelly always, without fail to this date, has me gripped from the first page, no the first paragraph – well to be truthful almost the first sentence. Brilliant.

Wish there were some single men around like Harry and Mickey – but alas – all the ones I seem to meet (up to now anyway) are quite ordinary.

Another one of my favourite crime authors is Lisa Gardner and though she writes novels with some rather sinister and shadowy characters and gloomy twists she actually started out writing romances – hard to believe now that she keeps dreaming up various ways to kill people!

A crime novel with an ending that I just don’t see coming – well that’s something I don’t come across very often – as I’ve read so many I suppose. But I did read one very recently, and that’s’ Tim Weaver’s book “What Remains”. Try it and I’m sure you wont be sorry.

Following certain authors, simply search their name on Amazon.

See even ditsy people can come up with some great advice!