Showing posts from December, 2009

30 Things

eeping 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 Algon…

Books Read in 2009 Part IV

our 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.

Vote for An Echo in the Bone

est-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!


ingerbread and sugar...

Books Read in 2009 Part III

ooking 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 Shakes…

Books Read in 2009 Part II

nd 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 (; and here's the explanation:
Jeeves and Wooster Saved My Life by Hugh Laurie (essay;
Mousekin's Christmas Eve by Edna Miller (both at my goddaughter's house!)
Goodnight Moon (reread)
Cinnamon by Neil…

Books Read in 2009 Part I

kay, 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...

ulled 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.]


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 MANL…

If Your Desk Could Talk

uite 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…

Writing Self-Assessment

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 …

A Five Word Book Meme

ot 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…

Here There be Dragons

ragons! 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…