Monthly Archives: September 2008

September Books 24) The Two Gentlemen of Verona

24) The Two Gentlemen of Verona, by William Shakespeare I had almost literally no expectations of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. All I knew about it was from rather peculiar on-line debates about what, if anything, the references to tides … Continue reading

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The things you learn from Shakespeare

Apparently “Milan” is stressed on the first syllable. And it is on a river which has tides.

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Shakespeare’s plays, ranked by popularity

How many LibraryThing users have copies of each Shakespeare play: Hamlet 8675 Macbeth 6080 Romeo and Juliet 5851 A Midsummer Night’s Dream 4599 Othello 4060 King Lear 4031 The Tempest 3394 Julius Caesar 2798 The Merchant of Venice 2689 Twelfth … Continue reading

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50 Great Moments from Doctor Who

…as proposed by SciFi Now and contested by , here. Will go and post my own views later, but don’t let me stop you now.

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What are you doing here?

Brilliant.

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September Books 23) The Taming of the Shrew

23) The Taming of the Shrew Well, I knew there would be at least one of these: I really didn’t like The Taming of the Shrew. The basic storyline is simply too unpleasant: Katherina, obviously a very unhappy person, is … Continue reading

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September Books 22) Expiration Date

22) Expiration Date, by Tim Powers I think this is one of the few Powers novels I hadn’t yet read. I enjoyed it. Set in California at Halloween 1992, it features the ghost of Thomas Alva Edison being pursued by … Continue reading

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September Books 21) In the Land of Israel

21) In The Land Of Israel, by Amos Oz I’d been putting off reading this since I work on enough conflicts professionally, and don’t rush to fill my leisure time with more. It is, however, a very interesting account of … Continue reading

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September Books 20) Feast of the Drowned

20) Feast of the Drowned, by Stephen Cole I’ve enjoyed two other New Series novels by Stephen Cole (here and here), so I’m glad to report now that I like Feast of the Drowned even more, which makes it the … Continue reading

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September Books 19) Tudor Ireland

19) Tudor Ireland: Crown, Community and the Conflict of Cultures, 1470-1603, by Steven G Ellis Perhaps it is just because I am getting used to the subject, but I found this book much more lucid and informative than either of … Continue reading

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Documentary proof: I am Belgian!

In answer to various questions asked on Facebook: Victoria: yes, it was an easy procedure; once you’ve lived here for seven years (if you have an unlimited residence permit or authorisation to settle in Belgium) you just bring a translation … Continue reading

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2008 Films 4) Cruel Intentions

I’m becoming a real cinema addict these days – September isn’t over yet, and I have seen four films this year! Well, Cruel Intentions is running fourth out of four at present. I saw the Glenn Close / John Malkovich … Continue reading

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Competing narratives

A fascinating exchange about South Africa on BBC radio’s Today programme this morning. The BBC has been running with a particular narrative of what’s been going on with the downfall of President Thabo Mbeki, portraying events essentially as a subversion … Continue reading

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September Books 18) The Golden Transcendence

18) The Golden Transcendence Sorry, but I’ve got a hundred pages into it and I’m giving up. The unlikeable protagonist is locked in mental battle with his adversary using various nanotech and other superpowers, and I suddenly realised I didn’t … Continue reading

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September Books 17) Love and War

17) Love and War, by Paul Cornell This is the debut adventure of Bernice “Benny” Summerfield, one of the more memorable companions of Who spinoff fiction – future archaeologist, hard drinker, unsuccessful lover, heroine of numerous spinoff books and audio … Continue reading

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Pronouncing Semiramis

The name “Semiramis” crops up as an epithet in both Titus Andronicus and The Taming of the Shrew, as a legendary ancient warrior queen. I first encountered her in slightly different form as Semirama, a character in Roger Zelazny’s The … Continue reading

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September Books 16) Zlata’s Diary

16) Zlata’s Diary: a child’s life in Sarajevo, by Zlata Filipović This is the diary of a bright eleven-year-old, Zlata Filipović, whose relatively normal life growing up in Sarajevo was suddenly and abruptly disrupted by the outbreak of war in … Continue reading

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Belgian wedding

One of my regular google alerts is for news stories and blog entries naming our village. Usually this just throws up stories about the football team and newly posted Wikipedia pictures of the railway station. This weekend, however, it flagged … Continue reading

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An irresistible meme

From and also : List 10 books you have on your bookshelf that you think nobody else on your friends list has on theirs. Becoming Somaliland, by Mark Bradbury. (Just finished this today – study of the emerging state in … Continue reading

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September Books 15) Becoming Somaliland

15) Becoming Somaliland, by Mark Bradbury Bradbury has done a good job here of untangling the complex set of politics and conflict which have led to the former British colony of Somaliland repudiating its 1960 union with the neighbouring Italian … Continue reading

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September Books 14) Titus Andronicus

14) Titus Andronicus, by William Shakespeare The first thing to say is that this is a really violent play. One tally has the average rate of atrocities at one every 97 lines. Living as I do in a country where … Continue reading

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Irish history trivia

Before 1689, only three kings of England had set foot in Ireland during their reign. Can you name then? Answer: As worked out by and , the answer is Henry II, John and Richard II. Henry II visited in 1171 … Continue reading

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September Books 13) Walking Dead

13) Walking Dead, by C.E. Murphy This is the fourth novel in the Walker Papers (see also Urban Shaman

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It’s happened again

They are handing out more free yoghurt in the Metro stations!

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Picture meme

Take a picture of yourself right now. Don’t change your clothes. Don’t fix your hair. Just take a picture. Post that picture with no editing. (Except maybe to get the image size down to something reasonable. Don’t go posting an … Continue reading

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The sound of internal government communication

I was in a small country’s embassy in Brussels earlier this week, meeting with their Minister for European Affairs (who I knew personally long before he became a minister, but this was a professional meeting). It was a slightly rushed … Continue reading

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September Books 12) A Comedy of Errors

12) A Comedy of Errors, by William Shakespeare I dimly remember the Rowan Atkinson sketch where he is a schoolmaster trying to beat respect for English literature into the heads of a host of invisible and improbably named schoolboys. One … Continue reading

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Not very exclusive

Amused to find that in July a Moroccan front website “revealed” that my employers have a contract with the Polisario Front. This information is not exactly secret; you can see senior Polisario officials pictured with us in an issue of … Continue reading

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September Books 11) Alien Bodies

11) Alien Bodies, by Lawrence Miles I am working through the 8th Doctor books not in order of internal continuity, but in order of popularity on LibraryThing (in the hope that I will thus discover some neglected gems towards the … Continue reading

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Lost Souls

For those of you who didn’t know about it, this is a review of the special Torchwood radio play broadcast last Wednesday to link in with the launch of the Large Hadron Collider in CERN. I think it is the … Continue reading

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