Thursday, 26 June 2008

I'll Be Away for the Next Two Days

Mentally, that is. No internet for me - I just got my copy of My Lord and Spymaster! Yay, Jo!

Meme on Top of Meme...

From Snail's Tales:


What is the wallpaper on your computer?
A trail through lush woods.

How many televisions do you have in your house?


Are you right handed or left handed?
Left, but ambidextrous by necessity - everything's made for righties, including cappuccino machines :-)

Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
A tooth nerve.

What is the last heavy item you lifted?
A HUGE pile of documents at work. They didn't *look* that heavy...

Have you ever been knocked out?


If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?

If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
I wouldn't! I'd just take on a pile of middle names.

What color do you think looks best on you?

Have you ever swallowed a non-food item?
Nooo... Can't remember.


Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100?
Already done it for free!

Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000?
No way.

Would you never blog again for $50,000?
Of course!

Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1,000?
No. Unless I could dilute it :-) Hey, you didn't stipulate!

Would you, without fear of punishment, take a human life for a million dollars?


What is in your left pocket?
What pocket? I'm wearing a dress!

Is Napoleon Dynamite actually a good movie?
Never seen it. Is it as bad as Juno?

Do you have hardwood or carpet in your house?

Do you sit or stand in the shower?

How many pairs of flip flops do you own?


Last person who texted you?
I don't have a cell phone.

Last person who called you?

Last person you hugged?
Frodo and Sam.



Summer and Autumn.

Yellow, purple, "shades of brownish-orange".


Missing someone?


Listening to?
Legends of the Fall is on in the background.

Worrying about?



First place you went this morning?
Train station.

What can you not wait to do?
Have ice cream.

Do you smile often?

Are you a friendly person?
Usually, but not always.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Another Book Meme

Lifted this from Jen’s blog, who got it from Moonrat:
The Big Read, an initiative by the National Endowment for the Arts, has estimated that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. How do you do?

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read. (I’ve followed Jen’s pattern and only italicized the ones I currently have in my TBR pile, and passed over the ones *not* fighting for shelf space in my house).
3) Underline the books you LOVE. (Which, for the purposes of this blog, means a bold and an italic...)

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (well not ALL!)
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 (why is this on here?)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot (well I've read Silas Marner. Does that count?)
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 (how about White Nights?)
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (The Pearl? Of Mice and Men? Cannery Row?)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
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
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (already in numver 33!)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (but Birds Without Wings was way better)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (ew!!!)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (no but I slogged through Love in the Time of Cholera)
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (aha, there it is)
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill (Bill who?)
75 Ulysses - James Joyce (I liked Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man much much better)
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt (no, I read Angels and Insects instead)
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton (I've read other collections)
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (what about number 14?)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I've read 42, counting the repetitions but not counting the ones where I've read another work by the same author. There are sooo many books missing off this list!

Friday, 20 June 2008

I Finally Dug Out This Story...

Written when I was twelve, so copyright 1992. It doesn't have a title, because apparently I could never come up with one that didn't give the ending away...

I woke up this morning to find Dad sitting, as usual, at the kitchen table with the cup of coffee he could not do without. It was – I glanced at the clock – four-thirty in the morning. Four-thirty! He got up early, I knew, but not this early. Come to think of it, there had been some commotion in the night. Maybe something had happened; maybe Granny had died! That would be terrible! Dear old Granny. She was the only one who drank tea in the mornings. She did not believe in coffee. “Too much caffeine,” she said.
Dad got up, mumbling something about getting some sleep. What had he done all night if he had not slept? I knew I would probably find out at breakfast, so I tried to go back to sleep. I kept thinking about all of the horrible things that might have happened, and it was over an hour before I finally fell asleep.
I woke again only a few hours later to find that the family had already started breakfast. Just then, Granny came into the kitchen and I was relieved that she was all right. She headed directly for me, muttering about how she could not face a day without a cup of tea. From the many times she drank it, I had long ago come to the conclusion that she would could not face the world without a cup of tea in her hands.
The children, Andrew and Susan, looked extremely excited about something, but I could not understand what. They were bombarding Dad with questions, like:
“When is it going to come?”
“What are we going to name it?”
What were they going to do, get another dog? Then Andrew asked when Mom would come home and it suddenly hit me that, indeed, Mom was not there! Maybe she had had an accident. Her stomach had been growing lately; was it going to burst? Yet why were the kids so excited then? It was all so confusing.
Just then the telephone rang. Everybody jumped up at the same time and ran to answer it. Granny even forgot her tea! After that, I could not see anything. A few minutes later everything grew silent and I guessed that they had all left. Usually, everybody stayed home on Sunday afternoons. It was a family ritual. Something important must have happened for them to have left so suddenly.
No one came home until around dinnertime. From the conversation they had at the table, I understood that Mom was in the hospital. They kept speaking of this person, Jennifer, but I never understood who she was.
The next morning passed normally, with the children starting school for another week, Dad going back to his job, and Granny doing what she always did when she visited, fooling around in the kitchen.
That night, just when everybody was sitting down for dinner – without Dad (I assumed he was out on business somewhere) – the doorbell rang. Dinner was immediately forgotten as everyone rushed out of the kitchen. I heard a lot of screaming and laughter, but could not see a thing.
Then Mom came in – with a baby! So that’s who Jennifer was! Now I understood everything! But I wasn’t used to any of it. I was going to have to learn to see baby bottles on the counter and hear Jennifer’s wails for milk in the middle of the night. Plus, Dad and the children are planning a secret baby shower! What a lot of work!
I’m glad teapots don’t have babies!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Resolution No. 7

(In honour of Tennessee Whiskey, No. 7 that is...)

I’ve made this resolution before, but think I have a better than usual chance of keeping it this time:

I will not buy any more books between now and the McGill Book Fair!

I have to update the catalogue and the books I’m reading list, but suffice to say that my To Read pile is actually about seven piles (No. 7 again!) and shows no signs of dwindling in the near future.

Originally, I was going to set my deadline for the release of Diana’s next book but I’m not sure when the noir is coming out and I’m especially not sure I can wait for a whole other year or so before the graphic novel and Echo in the Bone are released.

If, however, the book fair date (22 October) comes and goes, and I find I still don’t need to actually *buy* any books (no excuses!), I might try to hang on to my resolution.

The only flaw I can see in this plan even now is that Folio Society membership renewals are usually due around September. These books look expensive, but I’ve been buying them for over ten years now, and between the buy-one-get-one free sales and the extra books that come with renewals every year, I’ve only really paid about 15$ for each book, and have over a hundred gorgeous titles all on their own bookshelf :-)

Monday, 16 June 2008

Photos for Everyone V - Aslan, Homeland Security and a Muse

Which Muse is this? Outside the Symphony Hall in TN...

Photos for Everyone IV - Plants

What's the English name for Zakkum?

Is this a Magnolia Tree?

Photos for Everyone III - the Jamie and Claire stuff

The Battle of the Alamance, including Hermon Husband's brother-in-law's cabin; life in the 18th century shots (including medicine sans Claire); possible locations for Fraser's Ridge; and interesting characters (Archibald Rutledge, Francis Marion and Thomas Lynch)...

Photos for Everyone II - Archaeology in Salem, NC

Photos for Everyone I - The Animals

Jellyfish at Myrtle Beach, SC
Lizard at Hampton Plantation, SC
17 year Cicada at Maker's Mark Distillery in KY
Bug at Hampton Plantation, SC
Bug at NC border

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

My Old Kentucky Home

Well, more like Jenny's home, where we were visiting last night! Unfortunately, tonight we're in Erie, PA with a rather slow wireless connection, so the only photo is over at Jenny's. Look for more photos here by the weekend!

Thanks Jenny and Shaylin, and Gabe too! Already wish we were back in the slow Southern heat...

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • The Making of Outlander by Tara Bennett
  • Testament of Experience by Vera Brittain
  • Zoom sur Plainpalais by Corinne Jaquet
  • beta read! (JB)
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Sophie's Choice by William Styron
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw
  • Burning Sky by Lori Benton
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • Istanbul Noir (Akashic Books anthology)
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Children of Men by P. D. James
  • A Daughter's A Daughter by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary
  • Sunlight by Margaret Rucker (poem; floating in a cocktail glass)
  • Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
  • Preface to The Hobbit, by Christopher Tolkien
  • Ilk Defa... by Beste Barki (essays)
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers (essay)
  • The Moon and I by Betsy Byars
  • The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
  • Rogue Warrior by Regan Walker
  • Beauty and the Beast by Villeneuve
  • Black (what was this? I don't remember!)
  • Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani
  • Thomas the Tank Engine by Rev. Awry (26 book collection)
  • beta read (Born to Run by RB)
  • The Little Turtle by Vachel Lindsay (poem; reread)
  • The Kraken by Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem)
  • Android's Dream by John Scalzi
  • The Mysterious Tadpole by Stephen Kellogg (reread)
  • Yashim Cooks Istanbul by Jason Goodwin
  • Miniatures by John Scalzi
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  • Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter (illustrated by Quentin Blake)
  • All or Nothing by Rose Lerner (short story)
  • Merry Christmas, Emily (board book)
  • Extra Yarn by __ and Jan Klassen
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Outlandish Companion II by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Outlandish Companion I, Revised by Diana Gabaldon
  • MacHinery and the Cauliflowers by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Dileas by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Gold Watch by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • betty, butter, sun by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay by J.K. Rowling
  • The Very Cranky Bear (Scholastic)
  • various haiku by R. Wodaski
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • see the 2016 list and statistics at
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here
  • see the 2011 statistics on
  • see the 2011 list at
  • see the 2010 list at
  • see the 2009 list at
  • also in 2009 at
  • see the 2008 list at
  • also in 2008 at
  • also in 2008 at