Saturday, June 28, 2008

A book meme

I did a meme like this a while back, but thought I might as well revisit it, courtesy of a Badger On Fire.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE. (I'm doing those in bold & italicising as I don't know how to underline it).
4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or were forced to read at school and hated.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte One of my favourite books in my teens
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (haven't read the last one yet, but will eventually I expect). Not greatly enthused about them.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible (most of it)
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman Kicks Potter's arse.
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
One of my favourites of all time.
14. Complete works of Shakespeare (well, not all, but most)
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carrol
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen (I may have read this, not sure)
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen (I may have read this, not sure)
36. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
37. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

38. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
39. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
40. Animal Farm - George Orwell
41. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
Gah, hours of my life I'll never get back
42. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
43. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
44. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
45. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

46. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy Hardy annoys me so much, but this one of his I liked. I might revisit his stuff, tho, as having changed my mind about Austen recently, I suppose I should give him another chance too.
47. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
48. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
49. Atonement - Ian McEwan (hated it and gave up)
50. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
51. Dune - Frank Herbert
52. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
53. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
54. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
55. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
56. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

57. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
58. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

59. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
60. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
61. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
62. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
63. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold Gah! More hours of life I'll never get back
64. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
65. On The Road - Jack Kerouac I'd like to read some Kerouac to get some idea of why he's considered so important an American author & poet.
66. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding Fluffy wuffy nonsense
67. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
68. Moby Dick - Herman Melville Call me Ishmael
69. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
70. Dracula - Bram Stoker

71. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
72. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
73. Ulysses - James Joyce
74. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
75. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
76. Germinal - Emile Zola
77. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
78. Possession - AS Byatt
79. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
80. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
81. The Color Purple - Alice Walker

82. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
83. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
84. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

85. Charlotte's Web - EB White
86. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
87. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
88. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
89. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
90. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
91. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
92. Watership Down - Richard Adams I loved the book. As a child we saw the film version at the cinema and it freaked me out so much I had to be taken out. The blood rising on the fields, had nightmares for years!
93. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
94. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
95. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
96. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl Only recently read it for first time with S.
97. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
98. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot


On my gran's ward, there were two women with almost identical injuries from falls. One had been on her way to church, which made me snark facetiously. The other had been on her way to Bingo.

"The rain it raineth on the just and also on the unjust fella,
But mostly on the just because the unjust steals the just's umbrella."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Olay olay, olay olay, feeling hot hot hot

I'm not sure if it was the advert for Oil of Olay or whether it was some other brand that annoyed me (and even if it was Olay, it ought to be Ulay anyway). Honestly, I'll never come to terms with Ulay being Olay. Starburst are Opal Fruits, Snickers are Marathons, the shop down the road is Johnsons despite the Johnsons not having owned or run it in 20 years: as it was, it is and ever shall be. The end.

Well, not the end of the post, cos I still haven't told you what it is about the Olay advert that annoyed me. If it was Olay.

The product they are marketing is for the women who "aren't ready for cosmetic injections yet". As though all women should be ready for botox eventually, it's just a matter of time. Pfft.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pretty as protection

I was reading a forum recently and a woman was explaining that she felt uncomfortable because another woman was flirting with her husband at work. The responses she got were naturally supportive, blah blah.

What struck me was that many of them pointed out how attractive she herself is, this to indicate she need not worry.

This feeds into the notion that infidelity happens only if one of the parties has let themself go (or perhaps suggests less attractive people who marry or are in a relationship should expect their partners to cheat)?

This must be a nonsense? It casts the blame back at the cheated-upon rather than cheater.

It's not true, surely, that people always cheat because they find another person more attractive and are "trading up". Nor is it true that by maintaining your appearance you can keep your partner faithful. I'm not saying that appearance has no affect on desire or anything, of course it can be a factor. But being attractive doesn't make you immune. Look at Princess Di and Camilla: on the face of it, should the physical be all then there would have been no contest.

I knew a really gorgeous woman whose bloke was constantly, er, wandering. I don't think pointing out that she was beautiful so didn't need to worry would have helped her any. Of course, nothing really would have helped apart from her not taking him back after the nth time, I guess.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, apart from it annoyed me, this emphasis on how she looked as if it could be a protection from him straying. It makes out that the bloke can only be concerned with appearances, thus is rather insulting and derogatory about men; bloke = superficial and dick-led. And it feeds into a blame-culture for women; they must keep striving to keep young and beautiful and if their partner is unfaithful, it must be down to their imperfections.

I'm not denying that if your partner lets things slide it may reduce their desirability in your eyes, but it's not a free pass to shag around, is it? I know the comments were meant to make her feel better, but ...

and then I just sort of tail off.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Elvis gone flat

I sped through the supermarket today, on a mission to retrieve nice bacon and a token gift for M for Fathers Day* but I was a bit taken aback by the Elvis ironing boards on display there, I have to say. What connection has Elvis with ironing?

I can see a link between him and ham-burgers or loo seats in all due bad-taste. But ironing, no. I suppose it makes a change from flower patterns and shit**.

*Yes, I know I could've planned that one better, but the kids had made cards and home-made presssies already, so it wasn't like he woke up to nothing. I just wanted to get something additional, like he got me some chocolates for Mothers Day.

** Not that I've seen that many ironing boards with shit patterns on them. Well, shit patterns, but not actual patterns featuring shit. Heh heh.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Indulging the old pattern seeking brain today, I noticed a man in my plaster.

Who is he?!

Suspecting some hoary old philosopher, I decided to check some pics at Wiki. Imagine my surprise to find a possible candidate right there as a featured article: Emile Lemoine

Look at that beard. A mathematician on my walls?

And curiouser and curiouser, he was born in Quimper and I once went on a school exchange trip there. Whooo!

But I have other suspects too:

Plato, Socrates, Lemoine, the Green Man and, last but not least, er, God.

Or could it be the Venerable Bede?

I only wish it was the Virgin Mary, and then I could chip it off and sell it on Ebay.

I don't know if there's a market for philosophers, mathematicians or Bedes of the non-threadable variety.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I liked an awful lot about Juno. It's not unproblematic in some respects, but I liked the way that it dealt with its subject matter.

One of my favourite things about the film was the strength of mind and confidence of the protagonist: she made her own choices, without shirking or bleating. Contrary to the clich├ęs one might expect from a film covering a topic like teenage pregnancy, her parents, her friend & Bleeker (the father) supported her no matter what. Yet it was her alone taking the hard decisions and steering her own course.

The family & friend relationships and interactions make this a feel-good movie. I liked that the step-mother was not a wicked witch figure, but truly loved Juno and would fight for her. I liked the portrayal of the father as well.

I liked that the convention of jock vs geek/cheerleader vs indie stereotypes was ignored or subverted. Not ever having experienced the US school system and not knowing how true to life these conventions may or may not be, it was refreshing to have a different perspective, where teen-castes were not so sharply delineated. There was over-lap and friendly interplay between groups, instead of the daggers-drawn snobbery commonly depicted.

I liked that Juno did not regret the sex and remembered it joyously; I liked that she was the instigator and wasn't pushed into it nor was ashamed afterwards, which would be so tempting a scenario for this type of film. At the same time, I didn't feel it glamourised teenage sexual activity. It did treat its audience as though they have brains in their heads, no hectoring or lecturing.

Spoiler in background colour: I liked that when the potential adoptive parents split up, that the woman was still seen by Juno as a suitable parent and that the non-traditional adoption went through.

All in all, there was a lot to like about this film. I did feel the film glossed over the option of abortion too easily and nor was I clear on whether contraception failed or why they used none, but it would probably have been a much heavier movie had it dealt with this at length.

Opening things

I open up my browser to be greeted with so-called "news" of a new Big Brother chair. Whoop-di-fucking-doo.

I would be extremely interested in my own new chair, should I acquire one, although I doubt I would spend too much time glorying in it. It would be, after all, a sodding chair.

I would be mildly animated, (or feign interest and at least nod in the right places) should the occasion arise whereby a friend or family member had become the proud owner of a new chair, if they appeared to want such a response. But in my heart of hearts, I would be fully aware that it is just, after all, a sodding chair.

A tv programme acquiring a new chair tests my patience somewhat.

This is the kind of thing that gets me riled about Big Brother: news stories about sodding chairs.

Last year I railed about the coming of Big Brother again. This year I am just fatigued by the phenomenon. Surely people aren't still watching? They'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes*.

And a bit of a tangent, but still linked by the 'opening things' title, haha, I opened a letter today. Unlikely as it may sound, it wasn't a bill and wasn't junk: it was a reply from Spar. I am quite pleased that the company appears to have taken my complaint about the egregious golliwogs seriously. The shopkeeper has written to say he'll try to return the merchandise to his suppliers and won't restock them. So that's good, I suppose.

*Unless they read this blog in which case they can have a cookie or a crumpet** instead... Not that I'm sucking up at all.

**A theoretical, metaphorical foodstuff, clearly. Just feel you are the exception to the whole shot-at-dawn bit.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Toadal misadventure

This morning T discovered a toad-in-the-bowl*.

Don't ask why there was a glass bowl still outside from our last bbq, nor why it was partially filled with rain-water and seed-peas, I should only have to look askance at you. Tidy is not my middle name. If it's not messy in the room I happen to be in, then mess does not exist.

I'm not sure how el Toado got into the bowl in the first place. Maybe it had been watching too much Mission Impossible.
*'Scuse the pun.

Monday, June 02, 2008


I'm not doing too well on the old book reading front. I have five on the go. The ambitiously titled Truth by Simon Blackburn, a collection of Mark Twain, Ondaatje's English Patient, Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night and The Illuminatus trilogy.

This is mostly because I keep playing online scrabble.

The only thing I don't like about online scrabble is the opponents who are clearly using a word-generator. I mean, what's the point? You might win that way, but you haven't really won. Can it be a satisfying win when you know you cheated?

Although that said, I do admit I once used one against someone I have a grudge agin, and it was actually quite satisfying to kick their butt one way or another. Ha!