Friday, August 31, 2007


Sorry I haven't been around on peoples blogs for a few days, I have been away at meetings most of this week. I am off tomorrow to Germany until Wednesday so I will catch up with you all next week when I get back.

Enjoy the photo above of both of my cats as I forgot to post one on Thursday sorry!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Statistics

There was a widely bruited-about statistic reported last week, stating that 1 in 4 Americans did not read a single book last year. Clearly, we don’t fall into that category, but . . . how many of our friends do? Do you have friends/family who read as much as you do? Or are you the only person you know who has a serious reading habit?

Most of my close friends and my husband read lots and are a great source of recommendations (my best friend especially). My mum also reads whenever she has time and we have similar taste in books. Other than that it's quite mixed. Some of my friends don't read at all and others occassionally. It makes me sad when they don't as I feel they are missing out on so many great stories, but I suppose it's up to them. I think besides my best friend and possibly my husband I probably read the most of the people I know and am always trying to get people to read books I have enjoyed. The person I wish would read more is my sister. She did an English degree and is training to be an english teacher, but I have very rarely seen her read for pleasure. She only reads text books and course books, yet she writes and has a great imagination. I think reading more would really improve her style and open her up to even better and greater ideas. I have given up on buying her books though as she just never reads them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Waitress - Film



Rating : 4.5/5

I loved this film. It stars Keri Russell as a waitress in a diner that specialises in home-made pies, and she is a genius at creating new pies (a gift she inherited from her mother). Her husband Earl (Jeremy Sisto) is a complete pig. When they got married he changed into being incredibly possessive and jealous of her. She changed from being in love with him to being frightened of him. She starts to save up money on the side from her wages (which he takes off her) so she can run away and start a new life for herself. The only problem is 6 weeks ago he got her drunk and now she is pregnant.

Supported by her two friends who work at the diner with her (Becky played by Cheryl Hines and Dawn played by Adrienne Shelly who also wrote and directed it) she has a support network. Her doctor (Nathan Fillion from Firefly and Serenity) is also a big help and the two are drawn together despite both being married. Further help comes later in the film from somewhere unexpected.

It's a little like Chocolat in the sense of the pies she creates. It is billed as a comedy, but is very sad and bittersweet when looking at her relationship with her husband and with her unborn baby she doesn't want. I love that she writes letters to her baby before giving birth which turn in to letters to herself. Only at the end when her baby is born does she find the strength to stand up to her abusive husband, who is jealous even of their baby.

I can't wait for this to come out on dvd as I am looking forward to watching it again. It is so sad what happened to Adrienne Shelly afterwards. She was sadly murdered in her apartment and it was made to look like a suicide shortly after filming ended. This film is so well done it is not overshadowed by her death and I will definately be looking into the other films she made.

Monday, August 27, 2007

This challenge is being held over at Stainless Steel Droppings and stands for Readers in Peril. There are different Perils you can choose from, for full details see the site. There is also a linked site for all the reviews of people entering the challenge which is a really good idea. It runs from September 1st until October 31st to cover Halloween which is a really good idea.

I am going to go about this challenge in a different way from usual. There are lots of books I want to read for it, but I am moving house *hopefully* in September and then going away in October. I have no idea how much time I will have to read during this time, so instead of putting up a list of books to read I am just going to see what I get through instead. I will put up reviews as usual and link them to the RIP II site and then add the books and authors in the sidebar under the challenge header. I hope that makes sense and it is ok to do it like this.

I wasn't going to do this challenge as I have lots on already this year, but I am reading two book that have been turned into films anway so I thought why not. It is hosted over at SMS Book Reviews between September 1st and December 1st and my chosen books are:

1) Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson
2) Chocolat - Joanne Harris
3) Dracula - Bram Stoker

Also I had a surprise win over at librarything.com. There was a competition linked to putting up a review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which I wasn't aware of. As I put up a review I was put into a draw and won a lifetime membership and CueCat scanner that plugs into the usb and you can add books to librarything by simply scanning the barcode with it. How cool is that?!


Rating : 4.0/5
Reason for Reading : Classics Challenge, TBR Challenge, Guardian 100 Greatest Books of all Time list

Alonso Quixone is a big fan of books on knights and chivalry before losing his sense and becoming convinced he is the knight Don Quixote de la Mancha. He had a thing for a country lass called Aldonza Lorenzo who he renames the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, as every knight needs a lady to do great deeds for. He sets out to seek adventure, taking along the dense local Sancho Panca as his squire.

His exploits include the famous incident where Don Quixote tilts against windmills mistaking them for giants, seeing many an inn as a castle, rescuing damsels in distress and righting wrongs. Part one sees Don Quixote seeing things not as they seem and introducing the idea of enchantments against him. At the end of it they return home (after being tricked by some people from his town in costumes) and his family try to "cure" him by burning all his books and sealing the room they were stored in. It doesn't work and he sets out again with Sancho on more adventures. Part two sees a change in situation for the Don. A book of his earlier exploits has been published and his name is well known throughtout the country. He is taken advantage of by a Duke and Duchess among others who use his madness for sport. Sancho starts to overuse proverbs, but does finally get his position as govener of an island and prove his excellent judgement.

I really enjoyed this book, although it took ages to get through. It seemed like everytime I sat down to read it, I wouldn't get more than 30 pages further no matter how long I read for... It was worth the struggle though as the story is entertaining and well written. I started off laughing at the unfortunate pair, but later on I came to pity them both. The ending was very sad, mostly because Don Quixote recovered his wits. I recommend reading this, but maybe trying to read it over a longer period of time (the chapters are quite short).

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Climbing!

I spent today with a friend, his cousin and girlfriend at an indoor climbing centre in North London. It was so much fun! I climbed a massive wall all the way to the top as well as having a go at a few others. I tried one where you climb in a cavern and go across the wall upside down. I was able to get across the ceiling, but couldn't quite get down the other side. Seeing as it was my first time I am pretty damn chuffed! Photos below:

Me versus wall - I won!


Large wall I climbed from a distance:

The big wall closer:




Thursday, August 23, 2007


Sponsored again by an upside down Morgaine!

Indoctrination

Using a suggestion from Erin today:
When growing up did your family share your love of books? If so, did one person get you into reading? And, do you have any family-oriented memories with books and reading? (Family trips to bookstore, reading the same book as a sibling or parent, etc.)

My mum is an English teacher and we always had lots of books around the house. She used to tell us stories over dinner from her memory about Greek myths and legends as well as Arthurian myths and legends. Funnily enough I now love both and reading and learning about mythology is a passion and hobby of mine. I don't remember her reading much to me apart from Peace at Last by Jill Murphy about a bear who can't sleep. He tried different parts of the house and garden before finally back to bed and finally falling asleep. Oh she did read The Forest of Boland Light Railway to us. I don't remember it too well apart from having gnomes, goblins and other forest creatures. It looks like it is really hard to get hold of now, I will have to see if my mum still has a copy I can borrow.

Me and my sister never shared books. Sadly she has never got in to reading (despite doing a degree in English Literature) for pleasure, only reading what she has to for university or work. I got so into reading I used to shut myself in my room and stay up reading by poor light that my mum did try to discourage me a little, obviosuly unsuccessfully! My dad left when I was about 7 and I don't remember him reading much. These days he sticks to crosswords, word puzzles and the occassional Bob Dylan biography.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rating : 4.0/5
Number in Series : #4
Reason for Reading : A bit of light reading

Worst Witch Mildred Hubble returns for another adventure. Miss Cackle (headmistress of Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches) wants Mildred to swap Tabby, her cat, for better behaved black cat Ebony which will also look better with the school colours.

On the upside Form Two led by Miss Hardbroom have been invited to spend a week's holiday at the seaside visiting magician Mr Rowan-Webb (Mildred rescued him from spending the rest of his life as a frog in A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch - book 3). He lives in Gloom Castle at Grim Cove and there is a tale of hidden treasure on Cat's Head Rock nearby. Things become complicated for Mildred when she secretly takes Tabby on holiday instead of Ebony. She has to hide him and secretly take him food.

This was a really fun book. I read the first three when I was a child and loved them. The illustrations are also by the author and are fantastically well done. It was lovely to revisit some characters from my childhood, especially as I am reading some heavy going books at the moment. I recommend this to anyone looking to escape for a couple of hours and anyone who has kids.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Rating : 4.5/5

A wonderful, wonderful film that I am going to make my husband go and see with me (I know he will love it to). It follows social outcasts Lily and Jarrod as they form the beginnings of a relationship. Both are outcasts in different ways and are quite awkward around people. They meet when Lily works in the local fast food outlet. Jarrod goes in most days for his lunch and they finally get to talk. He asks her to pass on a party invitation to another girl working there where you come dressed as your favourite animal (hence the Eagle Vs Shark title). Lily decides to go with her brother Damien and things go from there.

It is set in New Zealand and is very similar in style to both Napoleon Dynamite (quirky characters), Garden State (the relationship between the two main characters) and The Science of Sleep (combination of real time film and animation). It has lots of very funny moments but is much more than a comedy. The couple both have their past issues. Both of Lily's parents are dead and Jarrod's brother is dead. Jarrod also spends much of the film training to fight a childhood bully who made his life miserable back in school.

I can't wait for this to come out on dvd so I can buy it and I hope to see it at the cinema again before it closes. Even though the characters are very awkward, I think there is still something everyone can associate with in their journey through the film.



Rating : 3.5/5

I hadn't seen Rush Hour 1 or 2 but thought I would give this a go. It stars Jackie Chan as Inspector Lee and Chris Tucker as Detective James Carter. The story follows them as the Chinese Triad try to assinate Ambassador Han who has information on who the leaders are (something called Shishen?). His daughter is at risk after he narrowly survives the bullet wound and Lee and Carter end up travelling to Paris after a tip-off to uncover the triad. Matters are complicated when, near the beginning, Lee lets one of the bad guys (Kenji) free due to knowing him from childhood.

When I sat down and watched the opening scene, I thought damn this is going to be shit. As it started to get going I actually really enjoyed it. The comedy was one funny line after another, the fight scenes were really well choreographed and Chan and Tucker work well together on screen. French cab driver George was great, he starts off hating America and American's because of their need for excessive mindless violence, but changes his mind by the end.

There were some massive plot holes though, but I suppose that isn't why you watch a film like this. One of the characters is revealed to be double crossing them. It isn't really explained why and what they have to gain for it, it made no sense at all but perhaps it is explained in an earlier film. Also it's like every other Jackie Chan/American side-kick film. There wasn't much new in this, but to be honest it didn't matter too much. It was such good fun I can overlook any other issues.

Rating : 2.5/5

The story follows couple Sadie (Mandy Moore) and Ben (John Krasinski from the American Office) who are about to get married. Sadie has always wanted to get married in the church her grandfather built the doors to. The Reverend there has a policy of getting couples to complete a pre-marriage course before he will agree to preside over their ceremony. The course has a 100% success rate for those who pass it in avoiding divorce.

Robin Williams steals this film as Reverend Frank with his side-kick and minister-in-training Josh Flitter. He had all the best lines and was basically just himself in this film. They do some very unethical things like bugging the couples apartment and checking they are following all the rules (like no sex until the honeymoon). They also attend a couples counselling session which teaches them the proper skills for arguing, drive a car with Sadie blindfolded and Ben directing from the back seat and doing word association with the in-laws which you know will end in insults.

I enjoyed this film, it had some definate funny parts, but it wasn't anything new. The creepy robot babies that dribbled snot and blue poo were scary. The ending was very cheesy but that was to be expected really with it being a Hollywood RomCom. They do get a wonderful wedding though and hopefully last the distance. Rent the dvd.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I have bought a couple of anthologies recently by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling and love the cover artwork. The artist is Thomas Canty and he draws romantic style pictures that have an Art Nouveau vibe as well (my two favourite styles). Below are pictures of some of his artwork and if you want to see more have a look at Thomas Canty I have Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears; Black Thorn, White Rose; Blood Red, Snow White which all feature his artwork on the cover.


Thomas the Rhymer



The Mask


She who Walks the Night

Looking Forward




Thursday, August 16, 2007


I have decided that Booking Through Thursday will now be sponsored by my cats. This week is Morgaine hiding in a paper bag looking very cute.

Monogamy

One book at a time? Or more than one? If more, are they different types/genres? Or similar?
(We’re talking recreational reading, here—books for work or school don’t really count since they’re not optional.)

I am usually reading two possibly three books at any one time. I try to mix the genres so I don't get confused between the characters. At the moment I am reading Don Quixote on trains and in the evenings and one story and a couple of poems a day by Edgar Allen Poe. I might start a magical based book as well. Sometimes I even pick up an extra one, usually something short like a kids book or a graphic novel. This is especially useful if I feel like I haven't completed a book in ages because I am reading something really long.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Rating : 4.5/5
Number in Series : #4 in Balefire series
Reason for Reading : To complete the series

This is sadly the final book in the Balefire series. Both twins (Clio and Thais) are now both experimenting with dark magic. Thais is working with Carmella, learning how to strip another witch of their powers without killing them. Clio is working with Daedalus who is teaching her to become immune to others taking her power and how to use and manipulate the power of others.

Things between Richard and Clio heat up further and sadly things between Thias and non-witch Kevin hit a large snag. This leaves both twins with further decisions playing on their minds. The relationships within the rest of the Treize unfold further and there are lots of twists and unexpected turns that weave around the main plot and story. The return of Melita, the dark witch who started the whole mess, brings everything to a head for a final confrontation.

I am so sad this series has finished, it felt like there was so much more to tell. I really enjoyed it, it was my favourite of the four. Some great unexpected events unfold that I didn't see coming. I was glad that no cats were harmed during the writing of this book as I had to hold my breath a couple of times... I was really flad that the rest of the members of the Treize seemed to have as much writing time as the twins as the story is as much about them in the end. Go and read this series!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rating : 5.0/5
Reason for reading : Various challenges, always meant to get around to it

The Odyssey covers the twenty years Odysseus is away from his family and friends in Ithica. The first ten years or so are spent in Troy where he fights on the side of the Greeks against the Trojans (see The Iliad) and concieves the idea of the famous "wooden horse". The remainder of his time away is spent on an ill-fated journey home where he looses all of his crew at various stages.

The main cause of delay is due to Poseidan the Earth-Shaker after he blinds his son, Cyclops Polyphemus. He is then detained by Circe (a demi-Goddess who is a witch). After an incident where she turns some of his crew into pigs, she sends him to the Underworld to speak to the seer Teiresias to learn how to return homw. After he leaves he faces the Sirens and the monsters Scylla and Charybdis who carry off some of his crew. The rest of his crew are killed after eating the Sun-Gods cattle on the island Thrinacia as punnishment. Odysseus is then detained 7 more years on the island of Ogygia where he washes up by Calypso. She is trying to get him to marry her and become immortal.

Eventally he gets back to his homeland with a little help from the Phaeacians and the Goddess Athena disguises him. While he has been away his wife has been beset by suitors who are trying to win her hand (assuming Odysseus is dead) in marriage and are treating his house and son Telemachus with disresect. Eventually father and son team up to kill all the suitors and all are finally reunited.

I really enjoyed this book, more so than The Iliad. I definately recommend reading The Iliad and then The Odyssey, not just because it makes sense chronologically but also because this is a more enjoyable story. The only problem I really had was that poor sensible Penelope is never consulted or trusted by her son or husband. Telemachus runs off and doesn't tell her and then Odysseus returns and tells his son and old nurse, but not his wife who has spent the last twenty years crying and mourning his loss. Pretty heartless really!

Friday, August 10, 2007


Rating : 4.0/5
Number in Series : #3 in Balefire series
Reason for Reading : I really liked the first two books in this series

Book three in the Balefire series again mostly follows Clio and Thais. They are becoming closer after being separated at birth, Thais is becoming stronger and Clio is losing some of her earlier arrogance. Things between Richard and Clio have become more complicated and Thais is still dating non-witch Kevin. Luc is very much still in the background with both girls, despite what he did they are both still drawn to him.

More attempts are made on both of their lives throughout this book and it is revealed who was responsible (at least for the earlier efforts) again them. They also try combining their magic again which works, but is still immensley powerful. The final two members Marcel and Claire of the Treize arrive in New Orleans and Daedalus starts to put the final touches to the rite they are there to perform. In the meantime Clio starts to use a little dark magic to stop him ever taking her power without her consent again.

It ends up with them all recreating the rite that started it all. Most of the members are casting spells on the side for their own unknown reasons and it is not one of the twins who is sacrificed this time. I really liked this book, as much as the first. The pace was fast and the twists and turns were unexpected. I am glad they still mentioned their father and the fact that no one ever talks about their mother which I think was important. I can't wait to read the last in the series and see how it all ties up...

Me and my husband went away last weekend to Liverpool to see my family and a couple of my friends. I took a bunch of photos on my camera phone (see my mobile blog link on the right near the top of my blog for all the photos) and here are some of my favourites.

This is Alex in St Luke's church in Liverpool. It was bombed during the Blitz in WWII and was bought by the city to remain as a war memorial. It has been closed for years and has randomly been reopened with artwork inside. I was really excited to finally get inside and as you can see the walls are mostly fine but the roof is completely gone:


St Luke's again showing the tower:

Part of the bottom part of the church:

The Runcorn Bridge, my very favourite bridge, as we drove under it to Chester for the day:



Me in Roman gear in a museum in Chester, yes I couldn't see a thing!


The beautiful streest of Chester. It has a lot of Roman, Saxon and Medieval remains:


A Roman garden in Chester:

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Multiples

Booking Through Thursday

Do you have multiple copies of any of your books?
If so, why? Absent-mindedness? You love them that much? First Editions for the shelf, but paperbacks to read?
If not, why not? Not enough space? Not enough money? Too sensible to do something so foolish?

I generally don't have multiple copies of books. I tend to wait patiently until the paperback version is released before buying a copy. The only exception is Tolkien. I have 4 copies of The Hobbit and 4 copies of The Lord of the Rings. I have a paperback edition of The Hobbit, an old hardback copy, one as part of a set and one hardback copy illustrated by the wonderful Alan Lee. It's pretty much the same with The Lord of the Rings. I have an all-in-one paperback, a set of three, an annotated paperback and a hardback illustrated edition again by Alan Lee.

The reason I have multiple copies is mostly as part of a collection. I love the hardbacks but would never take them around with me to read on the train etc. I don't want to damage them accidentally or lose them. The sets I have are all in black and look really good alongside The Hobbit and Tales from the Perilous Realm. Each edition is slightly different and I get something new from it.

What can I say, I love both sets of stories...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Rating : 3.5/5
Number in Series : #2 in Balefire series
Reason for Reading : I really liked book one in the series

The second book in the Balefire series picks up directly where book one finished. Both twins are trying to get over Luc's double betrayal and move on with their lives. Thais begins to start learning about magick and witchcraft with the help of Clio and Petra, but whenever her and Clio try to perform a spell together it has dire consequences.

This book focuses more on the relationship forming between the two reunited twins, their relationships with the other coven members and other random non-witches in their city (New Orleans). There are a few interesting events surrounding the twins that happen and it is further selling New Orleans to me as a holiday destination. I wonder whether the Mardi Gras fountain is really there and if it survived the hurricane.

It didn't really move the main story along too much, but hopefully the next book will. I did enjoy it, but it wasn't as interesting as the first one and I didn't feel it really got going until the last few chapters. We are still no nearer to finding out who is trying to harm the twins and why. I will definately be reading the last two books in the series.



Rating : 3.0/5

The Simpson family have finally made it to the big screen in all their yellow glory. The cartoon has been around for more years than I can now remember (there are at least 9 series out on DVD plus new episodes on sky). Most people have now heard of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie so I won't do a general introduction on this dysfunctional family.

The film focuses on the family from Bart and Homer daring each other to do wild and crazy things, to Homer getting a pet pig, to Homer then leading to the downfall and possible destruction of Springfield. The pig leads to a few laughs, especially the Spider-Pig song that is used in the trailer and a couple of times during the film. Springfield is going down the pan due to the high level of polution in the local lake. As usual it is down to Lisa to bring this to the attention of the townsfolk. One more bit of rubbish will push the lake situation to critical. Homer has a doughnut related emergency which leads him to violate the towns "no dumping" rules.

The preseident (Arnie) has to choose from a selection of different options as to how to deal with the ensuing problem which leads to a few great lines. The Simpsons end up leaving Springfield for snowier pastures until they notice strange things on the news about an empty place that used to be occupied by Springfield.

There were some great lines and background images as in the cartoons. Many people in the cinema laughed out loud and me and Alex were definately among them. My problem with this film was that it really didn't need to be on at the big screen. It felt like 3 or 4 episodes stuck together and I would have been happy watching a DVD version. The support characters who we have all come to know and love were very much in thebackground and didn't really do anything. It very much focused on the Simpson family. I recommend seeing it, but not to rush to the cinema as it really can wait.

Monday, August 06, 2007



Rating : 4.0/5
Number in Series : #1
Reason for Reading : First manga comic and it came recommended by Joss Whedon

I am quite excited to have finally read my first manga comic. I have read a few graphic novels in the past, but not this style. This caught my eye on my trip to Liverpool this weekend in a book shop and the blurb looked fun. The creator Eric Wight was the ghost artist for Seth Cohen on the OC and Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy, Angel and Firefly) wrote a glowing recommendation on the back which helped swing my decision.

It tells the story of Finney Bleak who is an outcast at high school. This is quite an achievement seeing as the other pupils consist of zombies, mummies, vampires, witches and other random creatures. He isn't a big fan of ghosts as well as his house is filled with the ghosts of previous family members playing poker at all hours of the night. Finney's biggest problem is that the talent of his family is to die in bizarre and funny ways. This doesn't really give him anything to look forward to.

One day he is at the visiting carnival with his parents when he meets Jenny Wraith. They instantly bond and spend the day together on the various rides. They arrange to meet up the following day, but despite waiting for hours, Jenny never shows up. What he discovers over the next few days begins to change his attitude towards ghosts.

This was a really sweet tale with fun artwork. Finney's pet gargoyle Mookie was especially adorable. I can't wait for the next in series to come out (unfortately I haven't been able to find a date yet). Recommended to manga and comic lovers as well as those who like fantasy and horror.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number in Series : #1 in Balefire series
Reason for Reading : I loved her Wicca/Sweep series

This is book one of four in the new Balefire series by Cate Tiernan who wrote the Wicca/Sweep series about teenage witches aimed at teenagers. This series again focuses on teenagers and witchcraft, but is a very different tale from her previous series.

It alternates between identical twins Clio and Thais who are seperated at birth. Only Clio's nan knew the secret. When Thais' father dies in a car accident, stranger Axelle is appointed to be her guardian and moves her to New Orleans. Thais is pretty much left to her own devices and enrolls herself into the local school where she accidentally bumps into Clio for the first time. Obviously this then changes both of their lives forever...

I really enjoyed this book. It took a little while to get going and I am really looking forward to reading the next one as it left on such a cliffhanger. It was good fun and appeals to me because of the witchcraft content, the teenager characters (even though I am nearer thirty then twenty sadly) and the easy-to-read style. The supporting characters twist and turn in your mind as to whether they have good or bad intentions towards the twins and the story keeps you guessing. I also liked that Clio and her nan have a deaf cat who can sense vibrations through the floor.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Well I have given this some thought over the weekend after seeing this post here and I have settled on Lestat. He feels like a bit of a cliche, but I can't think of another character I love more. He is the central character in most of the books by Anne Rice in her Vampire Chronicles series. He appears from the beginning in Interview with the Vampire as the vampire who gives Louie his immortality. From there he steps into the spotlight with his story being the focus of Lestat and Queen of the Damned.

There is something charming about him, despite his being a viscious killer. He comes across as a loveable rogue and it is very easy to ignore his more dangerous side. He goes on a massive jouney throughout the books and his long (undead) life, swapping bodies with a human for a time and journeying to heaven and hell and back. You could say he is more of an anti-hero and I just can't get enough of reading about his exploits. I am really sad that the series has finished as Rice has said she won't write about him anymore since the death of her husband Stan (who Lestat was loosley based on).

I enjoyed both films that have been made (Interview with the ampire and Queen of the Damned), although they are very different. Rice had a big hand in Interview as she wrote the screenplay and it interpreted the book very well. Queen of the Damned had a different actor for Lestat and was more of a gothic tale with haunting music, rather than a particularly fine adaptation. I would love to see more of the tales turned into films (if a good job is made).

RIP Lestat.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Letters! We Get Letters….

Booking Through Thursday

Have you ever written an author a fan letter?
Did you get an answer?
Did it spark a conversation? A meeting?
(And, sure, I suppose that e-mails DO count . . . but I’d say no to something like a message board on which the author happens to participate.)

I haven't written a fan letter, but I have written two fan letters to two different authors. One was back when I was a teenager and starting out in paganism and I emailed Silver RavenWolf. We share the same birthday (although not the same year) and I had a question for her on something in her first book To Ride a Silver Broomstick. She emailed me back quite quickly with an answer and some nice comments. A lot of people think her work is rubbish and fluffy and look down on her, but I always tell them this story and expplain why I have respect for her (although now I don't particularly rate her books besides being a stepping stool in early days). She is very popular and I am sure she recieves many emails and letters so I was really pleased she took the time to reply to me. It didn't spark anything more, she is based in American and I am in the UK and was still in sixth form college at the time.

The other author I emailed was Brian Bates who wrote The Way of Wyrd and The Real Middle Earth about 3 years ago. He had taught at the university I went to (which I didn't find out until I left) and I really enjoyed The Way of Wyrd. He emailed me back a couple of days later and told me about some events and talks he was doing in London. He then randomly emailed me about a month ago with some more event details. I haven't been able to attend any of the events yet, but hope to meet him and hear him speak one day.

I have been tempted to write to or email Nick Hornby as I really enjoy his work, but I haven't yet. Not really sure what I would say to him to be honest. With the other two it was easy as I had questions about their writing, but with Nick I don't, I just love it!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007



Rating : 5.0/5
Reason for Reading : To complete the series as I loved The Polysyllabic Spree so much

This anthology follows on from The Polysyllabic Spree, chronicling the reading habits of English author Nick Hornby. It continues with his columns in The Believer magazine in a similar style to the first book. It contains min-reviews, extracts from some of his favourite books and his great sense of humour.

I loved this as much as the first collection. I got more book recommendations from this one than the first. Housekeeping and Gilead by Marilynne Robinson both look really interesting. Also Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kerkov, Citizen Vince by Jess Walter and Persepolis a graphic novel about life in Iran by Marjane Satropi (I have bought a copy already! My best friend read these two books by Hornby before me and was able to pass on this graphic novel recommendation).

There were two great quotes from this book that I have made a note of:

"Reading for enjoyment is what we should all be doing. I don't mean we should all be reading chick lit or thrillers (although is that's what you want to read, it's fine by me)...I simply mean that turning pages should not be like walking through thick mud. The whole purpose of books is that we read them."

"I would like my personal reading map to resemble a map of the British Empire circa 1900; I'd like people to look at it and think, How the hell did he end up right over there?"

This series of books is perfect for anyone who loves books and loves the process of reading. If anyone buys The Believer in America can they let me know if he is still writing a column and what the rest of the magazine is like please. Cheers!

July Summary

Just a quick run down of where I am up to at the end of the month as usual. I am still on track with my reading challenges. The current run down is:

Books read in July = 10, total of 54 this year which means I have changed my goal to read 75 books this year
So Many Books, So Little Time Challenge = 6/8
Summer Reading Challenge = 6/6 which I finished in the first 3 weeks I think!
TBR Challenge = 6.5/12 and 7/12 of my alternatives
Book Awards Reading Challenge = 2/18
Something About Me Challenge = 2/5 and 1/19 of my alternatives
Classics Challenge = 2/5
Edgar Allan Poe Tales = 23/73, 0/52 poems
Guardian 100 Greatest Books of all Time = 16.5 out of 100 (going for 50)

101 Things to do in 1001 days = 14/101

I am still keeping up most of my random stuff to be done a certain number of times per month for this challenge as well. The only thing I didn't get around to doing was going swimming at all this month. I hope to start going again in August and get back on track with it.

2nds Challenge

OK so I wasn't going to attempt any more challenges this year, but this one is only three books so I thought why not?! It is being hosted by Joy over at Thoughts of Joy. I have given this some thought and I have picked:

1) A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
I loved The World According to Garp and have been meaning to read some more of his work for a while now.

2) Alice Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carol
I read Alice in Wonderland a couple of years ago and meant to read this, but somehow didn't get around to it. It will be fun to read this and see how the story ends and compare it to the cartoon film I saw as a child.

3) Blood Bound - Patricia Briggs
I read the first book Moon Called for the Once Upon a Time challenge earlier this year. I liked the way the series started and am looking forward to reading the second book in the series.

Alternatives:

1) Anything by Charles de Lint. I read The Blue Girl again for the Once Upon a Time challenge and really enjoyed it. I have about 3 more of his books on my book shelf and I haven't decided which one to read next.

2) A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon
I adored The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and am really looking forward to reading his new novel. It is on the bestseller list in the UK at the moment which is interesting as I don't usually read bestsellers.

3) Fables 2: Animal Farm - Bill Willingham
The first graphic novel was great and I am trying to get a copy of book 2 to continue the story. I hope it gets here soon as I am itching to get stuck in to it!