A while ago I mentioned I'd started reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Yes, it is a very long book. Thanks for noticing my efforts to get through it. I've finally finished! (Yes, I phoned my family and told them I was still alive! They wondered where I've been for the last month or two). It starts off setting the scene, building up to the psychological reasons to why Raskolnikov commits the crime (murder in this case). The murder is a little bit far along in the book ... if a hollywood movie went at this pace, you'd never get to the murder (the plot is slow moving, but the book is not slow, it's just very detailed). Eventually, we get to Raskolnikov committing the actual murders. (Phew, it was almost as bad as War and Peace where the first ninty pages are all about a bloody dinner party! Why do Russians write like this? Too much time on their hands.) I kept waiting for the punishment bit to begin. Like, when will Raskolnikov be caught and sent off to Siberia! Alas, I was sorely disappointed. I knew the novel was supposedly taken from Dostoyevsky's own imprisonment (for being a socialist in pre-communist Russia), so I was expecting lots of detail about what Russia's Pre-Communist Prison system was like. It never happened. Instead, the rest of the book is basically about the psychological torment that Raskolnikov goes through. His attempt to hide it from people, a lot of whom he suspects know the truth. Eventually, at the end of the book, he is found out and confesses. He promises Sonia (a girl he is in love with) that he will go and confess it to the police! Then, in the Epilogue, he finally, finally gets sent off to prison. Still, we hear nothing of life in Russian prisons. It's more about how his mother dies while he is away and how things are after his eventual return. I guess Dostoyevsky doesn't want to talk about his days in the Russian prison system. I don't think any of his novels go into that sort of thing. Still, it was a very good book to read. Even though it is quite detailed (as I said, the plot moves along rather slow), it doesn't seem like a slow book. An awful lot happens in young Raskolnikov's mind. So we are never bored with what is happening. Some say it is a book about redemption. Considering the amount of mental anguish and suffering Raskolnikov goes through, and his eventual confession to police for the love of Sonia, maybe it is. It certainly is dark and full of pathos. Even though Raskolnikov is a murderer, we can't help but feel for him in some aspects. I think we wonder how someone like him can have ended up in such a mental state as to commit the crimes he did. Still, I feel that at the end, he still has not forgiven himself, and maybe THAT is why he is redemed. He carries the guilt with him forever. It is certainly a book full of pathos. After finishing Crime and Punishment, I started on this book, 'Flying Solo'. Being a lot shorter, I am almost through it (even though I only started to read it yesterday). It's 166 pages long, and I'm up to page 110, and should have it finished before the end of the night. (Which will include breaks for dinner, and to watch about two hours of TV). This book won't interest all of you, but it will certainly interest anyone who wants to start a business of your own. It's really about leaving the corporate chain gang to become your own boss. I like reading books like this. One thing I have noticed from this book, is my own personality is better suited to being a 'solo flying' type person. Being my own boss. Actually, it wasn't a surprise to me, and I doubt it is for anyone who knows me really well. Ideas have always come easy for me, and most managers find it difficult to motivate me. The stick doesn't work with me (managerial threats etc) and the carrot (money) never gives me incentive! I just don't work on that level. Managers fail to scare me, and I became very jaded after promises of 'cash' never materialise. Many a bad manager made me promises which they could never fulfill (or just never tried to). Anyway, it's once again had me wondering about starting my own IT firm. If I can start one, and then use my spare time to finish one of my many novels, I'll have a dual income coming in. Plus, starting out as my own business and contracting myself out to other firms will also help my move to the UK. Tha tis, start the business her ein Perth, then move to the UK and say, "Yeah, I've been contracting for a while now". (Yeah, I can be earning 500 pounds a day contracting as a Network Engineer!) Do it right, and I'll be on target to what I want to do - write, paint, play music for a living, while living in Europe and travelling all over it site seeing. Anyone want to tag along? Romantic nights in Paris ... admiring the view in Venice ... skiing in Austria/Switzerland/France/Italy ... reinacting the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium (use your imagination on that one!) Dancing Flemenco in Madrid, sailing around the Greek isles, freezing my ass off in Lilliehammer, making american jokes in Moscow, checking out the Van Gogh's in Amsterdam, goosestepping in Berlin. Sounds like FUN! We have a plan!