Wednesday, 30 December 2009

30 Things

Keeping up with the end-of-year lists, here's a long-term one inspired by an old post from Liz (who had 25 items on her list, since she was 25 at the time, but I've added five more, since I'm *gasp* 30):

30 Things I Want To Do

1. Find an agent for my novels!
2. Pick out and decorate a real Christmas tree
3. Visit all 50 states (15 down, 35 to go)
4. Drive from London to Istanbul (taking the Dover-Calais ferry, not the Chunnel, natch)
5. Actually finish reading all the books I own (see 180 list below)
6. Have a proper English library
7. Spend some time being a boat and fishing person
8. Snowshoe
9. Travel more in Europe. Actually use all the German and Welsh and Swedish and Russian and Spanish I’ve learned
10. Ride on a fast horse
11. Practice archery
12. Play more golf
13. Milk a cow, make yogurt, churn butter, that sort of thing
14. See The Divine Comedy and Gyllene Tider and Runrig in concert
15. Attend the Surrey International Writers' Conference
16. Stay at the Algonquin Hotel, NYC
17. Watch more old movies from the 50s and earlier
18. Get a Master's Degree and write my thesis on Tolkien
19. Subscribe to the NME or Q or Mojo or the New York Times
20. Use my CrockPot and juicer
21. Grow a garden
22. Complete my state coins collection (only missing Texas, California, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Washington and Alaska!)
23. Ski
24. Learn how to cure olives and attend an olive pressing (for oil)
25. Read more books in different languages
26. Attend Festival in the Shire in Machynlleth!
27. Visit Saint Catherine's monastery at Mount Sinai and Sumela monastery at Trabzon
28. Watch a cat give birth (or another animal) in real life and not on YouTube
29. Visit Patagonia and Antarctica and Australia and other far places
30. Really learn how to crochet and spin

Coming soon - end of year wrap-ups and end of decade wrap-ups, a la Marsha!

Books Read in 2009 Part IV

Four more:
La Philosophie dans le boudoir par le Marquis de Sade (skimmed)
Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man by the Marquis de Sade (skimmed)
The Beast With Five Fingers by W. F. Harvey (short story)
Phoenix Noir (short stories by Diana Gabaldon et al.)

The first book seems to be the only one I read this year in another language - for shame! I'm sure I read a few Turkish essays here and there, but where's the German? Other French books? Something in Welsh or Russian? If I was going to set a New Year's resolution, this might be it.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Vote for An Echo in the Bone

Best-of lists proliferate at this time of year. Vote for Diana's An Echo in the Bone as the best book of 2009 on Goodreads. Add me as a friend if you're a Goodreads member, but please note - I haven't been able to synchronise my LibraryThing libraries (all ten of them - nearly 2000 books!) with my Goodreads account yet, so it barely shows half the books in my library.
Happy Hogmanay!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Books Read in 2009 Part III

Looking at the statistics (here's 2008):


Books read: 2009=131 books and short stories, plus a secret beta read, one essay, ThinAir Magazine, and random chapters from The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot (reread) (not counting magazines and forum writings and so on, as usual) (2008=101)

Average over 50 weeks: about 2 and a half books per week, or perhaps two books and two short stories (same as last year)

Authors read: 2009=57, plus a few compendiums (Folio Book of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Folio Book of Card Games, Masters from The Royal Collection (the catalogue, with history, of a touring art exhibition from over ten years ago), Folio's A Medieval Panorama) (2008=69)

Most by one author: Janet Evanovich with 18 - all the Stephanie Plums, plus Motor Mouth. Followed by rereads of Rowling (Harry Potter series and Beedle the Bard), Gabaldon (Outlander series and Lord John series, plus The Dragon Book), and Christie (lots of Poirot books)

Oldest book: Cymbeline, by Shakespeare - both the oldest author and the oldest published. I seem to be about 1500 years up on last year, which included Aesop and Pliny. The oldest original book from this year (ie not a reprint) is The Everday ABCs, published 1900, followed by a handful from pre1950: Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham, Cat and Kitten Stories to Read Aloud, The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford, Black Mischief by Evelyn Waugh, and Traditional Scottish Cooking: with a fine feeling for food by Janet Murray

Newest book: lots published this year or last: Silent Women by Ingrid Berzins Leuzy, A Walk Through A Window by kcdyer, Acadian Star by Hélène Boudreau, Cost of Freedom by Carol Spradling, Life by Richard Fortey (plus all the other Folio books), The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E. L. Konigsburg, Linda Gerber's Death By... series, Stephen Fry in America, Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Dragon Book anthology of short stories (including Samuel Sykes and Diana Gabaldon), An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, and Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich. Whew!

Rereads: many - comic books, the Babysitter's Club books, Lewis, the Harry Potter series, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (my yearly reread), the Outlander and Lord John series, and all the Agatha Christies

Stories/Authors I didn't like: only one this year: The Agape Flower by Ilyas Halil (a very bad translation from the original Turkish)

Youngest books: The Everday ABCs, Mousekin's Christmas Eve by Edna Miller, Goodnight Moon (reread), Cat and Kitten Stories to Read Aloud, The Slimy Book by Babette Cole, and Dora the Explorer's Potty Book (all courtesy of my niece, nephew and goddaughter)!

Books from the 19th Century: The Pink Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll, The Mummy's Curse by Louisa May Alcott (short story), and The Everday ABCs

Books from 1900-1955: J.R.R. Tolkien and Agatha Christie, plus the following (a couple are older but are in the same vein, so I've added them in) (fewer than last year, though not if you count the Christies separately):

1. The Everday ABCs
2. Mousekin's Christmas Eve by Edna Miller
3. Goodnight Moon
4. Cat and Kitten Stories to Read Aloud
5. The Eyes of the Panther by Ambrose Bierce (short story)
6. Quite Early One Morning by Dylan Thomas
7. Mr. Popper's Penguins
8. Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself by Judy Blume
9. Inside the Whale and Other Essays by George Orwell
10. Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
11. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
12. Black Mischief by Evelyn Waugh
13. Traditional Scottish Cooking: with a fine feeling for food by Janet Murray
14. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis (reread)
15. By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart
16. Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary
17. Hooray for Andy Capp! by Smythe (reread)

Books/Authors I'd recommend: hmm... easier to recommend the entire list and have done!

- no shortest book this year, as many are YA and many more are short stories -

Longest book: The Lord of the Rings and Diana Gabaldon's books. Of course!

Forumites' books: Diana Gabaldon's Outlander and Lord John series, Linda Gerber's Death By... series, A Walk Through A Window by kcdyer, Acadian Star by Hélène Boudreau, and Cost of Freedom by Carol Spradling. Yay for forumites! Let's not forget the ongoing serial story over at All The World's Our Page!

And... here's Marsha's list; Jen's list is down the side of her blog.

Books Read in 2009 Part II

And now... drumroll please... here is the 2009 list, comments and all:



The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien (c. 21st reread)
The Dragon Book anthology of short stories (including Diana Gabaldon)
The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll
Folio Book of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The Cat Who Went Bananas by Lilian Jackson Braun
The Cat Who Talked Turkey by Lilian Jackson Braun
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (the annotated version)
The Cat Who Lived High by Lilian Jackson Braun (this book is great fun! not what I expected at all!)
Flying Geese by Barbara Howarth-Attard
Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
Scott Westerfeld's Dialogue Spine Short Story (http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/?p=1822; and here's the explanation: http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/?p=1863)
Jeeves and Wooster Saved My Life by Hugh Laurie (essay; http://www.hatsharpening.com/j&w/savedlife.php)
Mousekin's Christmas Eve by Edna Miller (both at my goddaughter's house!)
Goodnight Moon (reread)
Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman (short story)
The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Neil Gaiman (short story)
I Cthulhu by Neil Gaiman (short story)
How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman (short story)
A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman (short story)
Next Stop Table for Two by Cecelia Ahern (short story)
Mallard and May by Cecelia Ahern (short story)
Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern (loved it!)
A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern (gorgeous!)
Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern (lovely!)
Stephen Fry's Incomplete and Utter Guide to Classical Music
The Eyes of the Panther by Ambrose Bierce (short story)
Knick Knack Paddy Whack by Ardal O'Hanlon (Dougal on Father Ted)
Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich
A Walk Through A Window by kcdyer
Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich
The Folio Book of Card Games
Death by Denim by Linda Gerber
Death By Latte by Linda Gerber
Quite Early One Morning by Dylan Thomas
An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
Word Processor of the Gods by Stephen King (short story)
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (reread)
random chapters from The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot (reread)
The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon (reread)
Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (reread)
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (free download on his website!)
bit of research in the Oxford Dictionary of British History
The Cat Encyclopedia by Desmond Morris
secret beta read!
Masters from The Royal Collection (the catalogue, with history, of a touring art exhibition from over ten years ago, Gorgeous paintings, and lots of info about the British Royal Family)
Der Ruf der Trommel (Drums of Autumn in German) by Diana Gabaldon (not finished)
Yabanci (Outlander in Turkish) by Diana Gabaldon (not finished)
Stephen Fry in America
Witch in the House by Ruth Chew
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon (reread)
The Wednesday Witch by Ruth Chew
Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander (whew! it's *nothing* like my own novel, thank goodness!)
Mr. Popper's Penguins by... I forgot, from 1938
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling (reread)
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J K Rowling (reread)
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J K Rowling (reread)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling (reread)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J K Rowling (reread)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J K Rowling (reread)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J K Rowling (reread)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J K Rowling (reread; rereading them all before the next movie!)
Inside the Whale and Other Essays by George Orwell
Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary
Mallory and the Trouble with Twins by Ann M Martin (BSC #21) (reread)
Logan's Story by Ann M Martin (BSC Special Edition) (reread)
Getting Stoned With Savages by J. Maarten Troost
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart
Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself by Judy Blume
Cat and Kitten Stories to Read Aloud, published c. 1950
The Everday ABCs, published 1900
It's Good to Remember by Elizabeth Taft Murphy
The Agape Flower by Ilyas Halil (very bad translation from Turkish) (skimmed the last half)
Death By Bikini by Linda Gerber (Yay! Linda!)
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
A Medieval Panorama (Folio Society)
The Mummy's Curse by Louisa May Alcott (short story)
Hooray for Andy Capp! by Smythe (reread)
Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich
Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J. R. R. Tolkien (yay! new Tolkien! yay! Norse legends!)
Angels Turn Their Backs by Margaret Buffie
ThinAir Magazine Winter Issue
Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich
The Slimy Book by Babette Cole (courtesy of my niece and nephew)
Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich
Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich
Dear Canada: Whispers of War: The War of 1812 Diary of Susanna Merritt by Kit Pearson
To the Nines by Janet Evanovich
Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich
The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis (reread)
Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich (I got nothing done this weekend...)
Seven Up by Janet Evanovich
Hot Six by Janet Evanovich
Acadian Star by Hélène Boudreau (yay Hélène!)
Cost of Freedom by Carol Spradling (yay Carol!)
Life by Richard Fortey (a history of the first 4 billion years of life on Earth)
Black Mischief by Evelyn Waugh
The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E. L. Konigsburg
Lord John and the Haunted Soldier by Diana Gabaldon (reread)
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon (reread)
Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz (the latest Alex Rider book)
Lord John and the Succubus by Diana Gabaldon (reread)
A Gentle Perfect Knight by Kit Pearson (one of my favourite YA authors)
Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon (reread)
Lord John and the Hellfire Club by Diana Gabaldon (reread)
High Five by Janet Evanovich
Q and A by Vikas Swarup (the novel that Slumdog Millionaire is based on - I haven't seen the movie)
Dora the Explorer's Potty Book (also my niece's; she's 2!) (to borrow a line from Doug Camilli of the Montreal Gazette: "I read 'em all!"
Wonder Pets' ABC Party (this belongs to my niece)
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (reread)
Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn (I broke the book-buying ban last month and bought three YAs; this is one of them)
Cymbeline by Shakespeare
Silent Women by Ingrid Berzins Leuzy (Read it! I'll try to blog about this soon)
Three To Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich
Ark Angel by Anthony Horowitz (Alex Rider series)
Double Sin by Agatha Christie (reread)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (reread)
The Hollow by Agatha Christie (reread; I wonder when I'll go back to reading new books?)
The Tuesday Club Murders by Agatha Christie (reread)
They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie (reread)
Third Girl by Agatha Christie (reread; there's a theme to my Christie rereads, has anyone spotted it yet?)
Jughead's Double Digest No. 65 (reread)
Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie (reread)
The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie (reread; some lovely stuff in here about the craft of writing)
Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie (reread)
Mrs. McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie (reread)
Traditional Scottish Cooking with a fine feeling for food by Janet Murray (no, not *that* Jenny Murray!)
Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie (reread)
After the Funeral by Agatha Christie (reread)
Remembered Death by Agatha Christie (reread)
13 At Dinner by Agatha Christie (reread)
Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie (reread)
The Pink Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
Seinlanguage by Jerry Seinfeld (reread)

Books Read in 2009 Part I

Okay, it's that time of year again! I'm going to try to follow the format I used for these posts last year, in order to keep the statistics consistent.

Here are the books I probably won't finish before the new year:
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
The Olive Route by Carol Drinkwater
Phoenix Noir (short stories by Diana Gabaldon et al.)
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

Fewer than last year, but then, I only ever finished two of the 2008 books, whereas I'll probably read all of the above.

If Anyone's Been Wondering About This Blog's Name...

Culled from the OED:

"girdle, n.1

[OE. gyrdel (f. gyrdan to GIRD: see -LE) = MDu. gurdel, gordel (Du. gordel), OHG. gurtil masc., gurtila fem. (MHG. and mod.G. gürtel), ON. gyrill (OSw. giordel, Sw. gördel); the OE. gyrdels (=OS. gurdisl), f. the same grade of the root with a different suffix (see -ELS), is found earlier than gyrdel, but did not survive into ME.]

[snip]

3. transf. uses of 1. a. That which surrounds, as a girdle does the body; a zone. the girdle of the world; the ecliptic, the equator. Also of immaterial surroundings.

c1000 Sax. Leechd. III. 260 We hata on leden quinque zonas, æt synd fif gyrdlas. 1559 W. CUNINGHAM Cosmogr. Glasse 63 Five..zones..we may aptly call them equidistant places, or Girdles. 1599 SHAKES. Hen. V, Prol. 19 Suppose within the Girdle of these Walls Are now confined two mightie Monarchies. 1626 BACON Sylva §398 The Great Brizes, which the Motion of the Aire in great Circles, (such as are vnder the Girdle of the World) produceth. 1665 MANLEY Grotius' Low C. Warres 416 The Rhiphean Mountains encompass them..which..they call the Girdle of their Land. 1697 DRYDEN Virg. Georg. I. 322 Five Girdles bind the Skies, the torrid Zone Glows with the passing and repassing Sun. c1700 J. LAWSON in Harper's Mag. (1883) Feb. 419/1 A delicious country..placed in that girdle of the world which affords wine, oil, fruit. 1781 COWPER Expost. 20 The billows roll, From the world's girdle to the frozen pole. Charity 86 Trade is the golden girdle of the globe. 1836 MACGILLIVRAY tr. Humboldt's Trav. xvii. 219 The horizon was bounded by a girdle of forests. 1847-8 H. MILLER First Impr. viii. (1857) 133 The quick, smart patter of hammers sounds incessantly, in one encircling girdle of din. 1875 MERIVALE Gen. Hist. Rome (1877) i. 5 The Palatine hill..the first nucleus of the Roman Empire, lay in the centre of a girdle of eminences. 1879 FARRAR St. Paul (1883) 321 Among good and holy men love would still be the girdle of perfectness.

b. to put (make, cast) a girdle (round) about: to go round, make the circuit of (the earth). Obs.

1590 SHAKES. Mids. N. II. i. 175 Ile put a girdle about the earth, in forty minutes. 1612 DEKKER If it be not good Wks. 1873 III. 277 About the world My trauailes make a girdle. 1621 MIDDLETON Sun in Aries Wks. (Bullen) VII. 342 Sir Francis Drake..did cast a girdle about the world. c1626 Dick of Devon II. v. in Bullen O. Pl. II. 43 They would have thought Themselves as famous as their Country~man That putt a girdle round about the world.

c. That which confines or binds in; a restraint, limit.

a1616 BEAUM. & FL. Faithf. Friends IV. iv, To all Thy thoughts, thy wishes, and thine actions, No power shall put a girdle. 1641 J. JACKSON True Evang. T. I. 38 The sixt Persecution..[was] limited..to a short time, (for it was precinct with a triennial girdle). 1645 MILTON Tetrach. (1851) 221 But suppose it any way possible to limit sinne, to put a girdle about that Chaos. 1833 I. TAYLOR Fanat. vi. 193 The iron girdle of a solemn and irrevocable oath.

[snip]

6. attrib. and Comb., as girdle-bell, -belt, -buckle, -compass, -maker; girdle-like, -shaped adjs.; also girdle-bed, -bone (see quots.); girdle-glass, a mirror carried at the girdle; girdle-hanger (see HANGER2 4b); girdle-pains = girdle-sensation; girdle-sensation, -wheel (see quots.).

1880 C. T. CLOUGH in Geol. Mag. 443 *Girdle Beds.Alternations of thin sandstones and sandy shales.
1810 SOUTHEY Kehama XIV. viii, The sweet music of their *girdle-bells.
1697 DRYDEN Æneid IX. 488 Nor did his [Euryalus] Eyes less longingly behold The *Girdle-Belt, with Nails of burnish'd Gold.
1871 HUXLEY Anat. Vertebr. Anim. 175 The Frog's skull is characterised by the development of a very singular cartilage bone, called by Cuvier the os en ceinture or *girdle-bone.
1790 Chron. in Ann. Reg. 207/1 A *girdle-buckle about the bigness of a crown-piece was also dug up.
1552 HULOET, *Girdle compasse, or in the compasse, or wyth the compasse of a gyrdle, zotim [? read zonatim].
a1652 BROME New Acad. IV. ii. (1658) 85 How his [the man's] pocket-combe..and her [the woman's] *Girdle-glasse, To order her black pashes, came together.
1921 Brit. Mus. Return 66 Anglo-Saxon iron *girdle-hanger from Cliffe, near Rochester. 1923 C. FOX Archaeol. Cambr. Region vi. 271 Girdle hangers. The simplest forms are a close copy in bronze of the housewife's keys of iron (a Roman type), the possession of which they doubtless symbolized.
1892 Pall Mall G. 23 June 1/3 It has a smart bodice, with..a *girdle-like arrangement of cord in front.
14.. Nom. in Wr.-Wülcker 686/20 Hic corrigiarius, *gyrdil-maker.
1897 HUGHES Mediterr. Fever iii. 122 Mental irritability and sleeplessness are combined with..*girdle-pains [etc.].
1885 Syd. Soc. Lex., *Girdle-sensation, the feeling of having a string or a broad band tied round the body or one of the limbs. 1897 Allbutt's Syst. Med. II. 977 It was followed by atrophy of the muscles, impairment of vision..girdle sensation [etc.].
Ibid. III. 521 The ulcer [of the stomach] is..occasionally, if of very long-standing, *girdle-shaped.
1688 R. HOLME Armoury III. 287/1 *The Girdle Wheel is a [Spinning] Wheel so little that a Gentle-woman may hang it at her Girdle..and Spin with it, though she be walking about."

The exact title comes from Tolkien, bien sur!

Friday, 11 December 2009

If Your Desk Could Talk

Quite coincidentally, on the heels of my self-assessment, over at Write On!, Marsha asks:

What would your desk say?

Since I don't have a desk as such, let's go with "what would your notebook say?"

Right off the bat, my notebook would like to mention that he's not my only notebook, and the he himself is jammed full of sticky notes, computer printouts, neatly torn pages from other notepads, and even brochures and photocopies from other documents. It's all very tidy, but takes a lot of wading through. Especially prominent are the printouts from internet research or photocopies from books - pages so chockfull of info that taking notes from them would not have been enough. Not to mention the reams of printed advice from Diana Gabaldon, Joanna Bourne, et al.

Then there are the different coloured inks used - pink, brown, black, red, but all in the same thickness, courtesy of my gorgeous Pilot pens. The handwriting starts off small and neat at the top of each page, but a few pages into a scene, on the verso, becomes sprawling and messy (making estimates of word count extremely difficult to come by).

Doodles in the margins appear in a different colour from the original text; these occur at random around the time I start typing up the handwritten pages, and become even more easily distracted than usual...

There are no stains, but if there were, they might come from lattes and chocolate, when I write away from home, and from brewed coffee and buttered toast when I write at home, on the sofa.

Apples for reading and coffee for writing! Or, if you're brave, try Stephanie's Weird **s Trail Mix!

PS Yes, the "quite coincidentally" at the start of my post was used simply so I could showcase another lovely drop cap.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Writing Self-Assessment

A couple of days ago, India wrote a great post on how writing is supposed to work versus what actually, usually happens. Yet since discipline is still important an unavoidable, I'm going to take a leaf out of Jen's book and do a little self-assessment:

1. Writing location.
I don't have one. This either results in no words written or, on days when my willpower is actually raring to go, very early mornings at the coffee shop. Obviously, that sort of schedule doesn't stay in place long. I've got to think of a new writing location; a stable, no-distractions time and place. This'll be my new year's resolution.

2. I promise to get writing done at work and never do it. I've decided to stop beating myself over the head with this. Spanish classes, lunch with my mom, errands and knitting are more than enough for lunch breaks. Better to find a location (see #1) that's only about the writing.

3. I must remember that even a little writing is better than none. So what if it's just a paragraph? The idea is to start; it usually leads to more. No more putting off my own writing to read someone else's, which is so easy to do in the evenings after work (especially when you're rereading The Lord of the Rings).

4. As Jen says, "I need to remember that moaning about my busy schedule is NOT going to fix things or make this book spring magically from my forehead—fully formed and ready for publication." Which means I have to get cracking on finding more agents and sending out more queries.

Off I go!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

A Five Word Book Meme

Got this from About Books:

Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack?
Yup; tea/coffee/cocoa; chocolate; buttered toast.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
Nope! Mostly pencil; many Post-Its!

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Leaving the book flat open?
Memorise page number (also Post-Its).

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?
90% fiction, 10% autobiographies, collected letters, etc.

Hard copy or audiobooks?
Hard copy, always. With pen(cil).

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
Usually read cover to cover.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
OED access at work only.

What are you currently reading?
The Dragon Book and LOTR.

What is the last book you bought?
The Dragon Book and Cat Who...

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
Generally juggling too many books.

Do you have a favourite time of day and/or place to read?
All day. Every day. Anywhere.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
Both, depending on fiduciary status.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
Tolkien. Gabaldon. Lewis. Nesbit. Little. Pearson.

How do you organise your books? (By genre/title/author's last name, etc.?)
Favourite author groups vs. “other”.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Here There be Dragons

Dragons! Fire-breathing, treasure-stealing, bewinged creatures of glorious colour and history! Monday morning I started reading The Dragon Book anthology (featuring Diana Gabaldon and Samuel Sykes, among many others) and have recently reread (Tolkien alert!) The Hobbit, so dragons are back in the forefront of my imagination. I wonder how Kedi would fare against an old Norse dragon?

In other dragon news, Dragon Island has a new post, and How To Write Badly Well’s last example features a dragon!

Also, Monday was Saint Andrew’s Day (a holiday if you live in Scotland, which I do in spirit), approximately six months on the other side of Saint George’s Day (he of the dragon), and yesterday marked the release of (Tolkien alert!) Born of Hope, a story that takes place in the Third Age of Middle-earth, at a time when dragons were still to be feared.

Today, meanwhile is the 205th anniversary of Napoleon's coronation of himself as Emperor of the French... What if he hadn't? Or, what if he had not lost at Waterloo? Alternate history is in my mind today, as I'm reading Harry Turtledove's short story in The Dragon Book.

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Lessons for a Sunday Father by Claire Calman
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Magician by Somerset Maugham
  • Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
  • The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (skimmed last third)
  • A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
  • Fatal Fallout by Lara Lacombe
  • secret beta read!
  • The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
  • Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe
  • Carry On, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
  • The Floating Admiral by the Detection Club, including Christie, Sayers, Chesterton, etc.
  • Brief Lives, Sandman 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham
  • The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona (I give up on finishing this; skimmed to the end)
  • Childe Harold by Lord Byron (listened to the parts of it set in Switzerland read aloud)
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • My Dancing Bear by Helene de Klerk
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
  • Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
  • Tu Vas Naitre by Sylvia Kitzinger
  • Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves
  • secret beta read 2!
  • Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
  • The Caliph's Vacation by Goscinny (Iznogoud series; Canadian translation) (reread)
  • Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
  • Le Tresor de Rackham le Rouge by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • Le Secret de la Licorne by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • L'Affaire Tournesol by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • The Bum by Somerset Maugham (short story)
  • The Colour of Magic, Discworld 1 by Terry Pratchett
  • Fables and Reflections Sandman 6 by Neil Gaiman
  • Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene
  • Once Upon an Heirloom by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland
  • Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif
  • Journey to an 800 Number by E. L. Konigsburg
  • various Neil Gaiman short stories on the An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer album (reread (well, this time in audio))
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (reread; actually this was an older edition, published under the original title of Ten Little N******)
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
  • How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern
  • biographical note on Lord Peter Wimsey in reissue of Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers (on Gutenberg)
  • One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
  • Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  • Temptation by Sandy Loyd
  • The Incorrigible Mr. Lumley by Aileen Fish
  • Effie's Outlaw by Karen Lopp
  • Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
  • The Christmas Crossing by Bev Petterson (short story)
  • secret beta read!
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
  • Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
  • Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
  • Emil In the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren
  • Whales by Jacques Cousteau (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Tutankhamen's Tomb by Howard Carter (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
  • Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
  • Go the F*^$ To Sleep (board book)
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (reread) (brought to you by Neil Gaiman: http://www.worldbuilders.org/our-next-stretch-goal-unlocks-at/neil-gaiman-reads-green-eggs-and-ham)
  • The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
  • mini Twitter stories by Talli Roland (available here: http://advice.uk.match.com/dating-advice/enjoy-valentine%E2%80%99s-day-and-get-mentallydating?utm_expid=55691082-15.2L0G0ictTcSJ4BI9Srh77A.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fadvice.uk.match.com%2Fdating-advice)
  • The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter
  • Beloved Demons by Anthony Martignetti
  • Hands-on Therapy by T L Watson
  • Let Me Make Myself Plain by Catherine Cookson
  • The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham
  • Mystery of the Fat Cat by Frank Bonham
  • Spin by Catherine Mckenzie
  • Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (reread)
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  • The Ghost in the Window by Betty Ren Wright
  • The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
  • The Treason of Isengard - Book 7 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Behind the Lines (poems) by A. A. Milne
  • the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html