Monday, January 31, 2011

By any other name

Watching the Wright Stuff this morning, the panel were discussing the different treatment of women vs men when it comes to famous misbehaviour: Charlie Sheen is in the news again, apparently.

Margi Clark was saying that during filming of Making Out Keith Allen's wild man routine went unremarked, but had any of the actresses acted similarly, there would have been consequences for her. Oddly, she was agreeing that men are treated differently, but was also backing away from naming it as 'sexism', trying to find some other word for it...

It's just bizarre, the resistance to calling a thing what it is.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reading meme

Meme borrowed from Primitive People.

1. Favorite childhood book?

The Hobbit / Tolkien

2. What are you reading right now?
I'm having real trouble settling to a book right now, which is a pain. I have Margaret Atwood's Year of the Flood open.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None at the moment.

4. Bad book habit?
Don't know.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Nothing at the moment.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
No, don't fancy it much. Currently costs too much and I'm not sure that the ebooks you can get are cheaper. I like the real thing.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I sometimes start one and move onto another. Sometimes that means I end up not finishing the first, but often I'll finish the second and then go back to the first. I've occasionally had three or four on the go, but at least one will then be non-fiction.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Yes, I've kept a record of what I've read online for five years or so. I find it very useful: to avoid picking up books I've read before and to make me think about trying different genres & authors.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
I'll do this for 2010.
Oh, there's a few candidates: Blood & Ashes / Jane Jordan, The Turning Angel / Greg Iles, The Blue Bedspread / Raj Kamal Jha, Twilight /Stephenie Meyer and Eoin Colfer's And Another Thing. I think on the whole I'll go with the Greg Iles. It really ticked me off.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Again, 2010.
Probably the Terry Pratchett I Shall Wear Midnight.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
I try other things more now I blog my books, so have tried autobiographies, gone back to classics and so on.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Fiction: crime, s-f, fantasy.

13. Can you read on the bus?
Yes, but I rarely go on the bus and if I do have children with me, so bit rude to read at them.

14. Favorite place to read?
In bed.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I don't like lending the books I love, in case I never get them back or they come back all spine-broken and dog-eared. I like to think I'm not as precious about them as I used to be, but I probably am! Lending doesn't arise that much.

Books I think I won't read again I'll give away. I prefer to give than to lend.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
See answer above, haha. Noooooooo. Some of my books are much-read and show it, but not dog-eared.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Not since college, and then I don't think I did it much.

18. Not even with text books?
I might, but I don't think I did very often.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English, my French and German are extremely rusty and I have no other languages.

20. What makes you love a book?
It moves me or takes me into its world so I don't want it to end.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
I don't really recommend books often, you never know if your tastes will be shared.

22. Favorite genre?

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
I'd read it surely, if I wished to read it?

24. Favorite biography?
I don't often read biographies, but Shakespeare's Wife / Germaine Greer was fascinating.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Yes, unusual for me, but I did read JSP's Life's too F-ing Short last year.

26. Favourite cookbook?
Probably my battered 35 years of Weightwatchers Favourite Recipes is my most used real cookbook. We do have a couple of shelves devoted to cookery, but they're my husband's really.

I prefer to work from the point of what ingredients do we have and work out what we're going to eat from there, rather than choose what we're going to eat and have to get the ingredients. I mostly find recipes online from the BBC recipe site or Delia or Channel 4, etc. I have a folder with these plus my most used/succesful recipes and ones I've got from friends.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Don't know.

28. Favorite reading snack?
Don't eat while reading, don't have enough hands!

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Twilight and The Da Vinci Code. Only read them to see what everyone was going on about and both were dreadful.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I don't really read book critics.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I felt a bit awkward when someone signing as 'the author' commented on my blog about a book I'd rather slated, but I don't think I was unfair... And who am I anyway? Nobody.

I think bad reviews are something authors have to cope with or ignore, you can't please everybody and if it's constructive criticism, you might learn something and become a better writer. (I'm not necessarily putting myself in the constructive camp).

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
I don't know. Russian? Spanish?

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
War & Peace?

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Crime & Punishment, I guess. Ulysses. All the clich├ęs.

35. Favourite Poet?
Wilfred Owen.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
3 - 5.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
A few times. Sometimes I get a book home and then I just don't fancy it.

38. Favourite fictional character?
I'm very fond of a lot of Pratchett characters: Vimes, Tiffany, Granny Weatherwax and the Nac Mac Feegle. Yossarian & the chaplain from Catch-22.

39. Favorite fictional villain?
Coo, this is hard. Can't think of any.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Crime fiction.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
A couple of weeks.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
I give up books I'm struggling with these days. Few you carry on with turn out to be worth the effort. Life's too short and there are too many books! One I wish I'd given up on was Charlotte Gray / Sebastian Faulks.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
If it's good, nothing!

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel?
I liked the Lord of the Rings films, but I'm not a Tolkien purist.

(director's cut) I like better than the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which was one Philip K Dick I didn't really enjoy).

I prefer the Harry Potter films to the books, although I haven't seen the newest one. I think they cut out some of the chaff, as Rowling got a bit long-winded once her success kicked in and her editors weren't wielding the scissors as much.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
I never expect much from film adaptations. Certainly not of books I love, I'll avoid watching them usually.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
£30. I had a lot of book-tokens. Oh - that probably doesn't count!

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I might read the first page. I won't look through as I don't want spoilers.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
I gave up Loamhedge when there was yet another song. I tend to give up when the story or writing seems so bad, I'm thinking about it rather than able to suspend disbelief. Or I give up when I just can't get into a story and I feel I've really tried. All sorts of reasons really. I like to finish books, but I'm no longer forcing myself through any.

49. Do you like to keep your books organised?
Yes. I have shelves for Terry Pratchett, s-f, feminist, fantasy, classics and specific authors.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I tend to know if I will want to re-read a book reliably, so if it's a book I enjoyed but won't read again, it goes to friends or charity. I only keep books that I'll re-read or that I'm building up a collection of (I nearly have all the books of Pratchett, Gaiman, Sue Grafton, Margaret Atwood. I used to have a lot of Paul Auster and Philip K Dick, but they went missing on a move.) I am also picking up classics for myself to read or re-read and for the children once they get to that stage at school.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
No. It's not like I owe them money.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
Loads! Da Vinci Code, Twilight, The Turning Angel.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Julian Clary's autobiography A Young Man's Passage. I don't really find Clary funny and didn't expect to find him anything but abrasive, but there was definitely more to him.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Charlotte Gray.

55. Favourite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Terry Pratchett. Douglas Adams. Margaret Atwood. Sue Grafton.


No shit, Sherlock.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I've really lost my bloggeration lately. I think it's due to January. January has a lot to answer for.

It might also be due to excessive product reviewing.

I'm about written out once I've reviewed a few things and rated other reviews and all that. It looks like I've earned a £20 voucher, though, so I'm about to go claim that one!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Reading Record 2011

My sixth year of recording my book consumption online! Previous lists: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006.

I didn't succeed in my A to Z challenge. I blame L Ron Hubbard (although I was going to be pushed to make it, in fairness) as I started reading Battlefield Earth, the first third of which was a breeze to read and the next part dragged. I was hoping it'd get better but stopped reading altogether for a while. I didn't give up on it but it took a while until I was ready for the final push through. It slowed me right up. But I am going to continue until I get to Z, as trying a new author on a randomish basis has thrown up some interesting books.


U is for Undertow / Sue Grafton
Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley / MC Beaton


Sorrows of an American / Siri Hustvedt
Bad Ideas / Robert Winston
The Attack / Jasmina Khadra


Rolling Stones / Robert A Heinlein
M is for Malice / Sue Grafton
Dynamite Kid / Brian Blessed
Year of the Flood / Margaret Atwood


Xenogenesis: Adulthood Rites / Octavia Butler
The Lake of Darkness / Ruth Rendell
The Five People You Meet in Heaven / Mitch Albom


Waiting / Hai Jin


The Thing Around Your Neck / Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell


The Greatest Show on Earth / Richard Dawkins
Port Mortuary / Patrica Cornwell


Good Omens / Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman


Dave Gorman vs the Rest of the World / Dave Gorman
Snuff / Terry Pratchett

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Odd views

Happy New Year!

I've had a cold the last few days and one of the symptoms has been light-headedness: a feeling that my mind is somehow detached from my body and is riding somewhere to the right above my shoulder with loosely held reins in hand. I weave like a couple at closing time who are not sure whose house they're going to.

It's not bad at all. I could lose the sore throat, but otherwise it's kind of weird and pleasant. An odd view of myself as myself while not convinced that self is my real self!

It's certainly a better view than the odd view of myself I had in the M&S fitting rooms a while ago. Like most shops they've got some flattering mirrors in their cubicles, but there was one to give a side-view, and by crikey it was an 'orrible sight. Obviously they can flatter in two directions, but catch a glimpse of the third and it's like stepping through into a savage reality.

Anyway, it's 2011. Let's hope savage realities are few and woozy joys are many.