Monthly Archives: January 2009

Books acquired in January

Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland (2008)Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1990) Angels and Demons by Dan Brown (2001)Doctor Who: The Ultimate Quiz Book by Stephen Cole Young people in post-conflict Northern Ireland: The Past Cannot Be Changed, But the … Continue reading

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Wii and me

Well, it took me a while to get into it, but I have developed a healthy relationship with Wii Fit. Since the start of the year I have successfully established a routine of doing half an hour on it in … Continue reading

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January Books 19) The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, by Samuel Johnson

I’ve had this hanging around for ages, and eventually read it last week – it is very short, only 112 pages in my Penguin edition, and the original was only 93. Rasselas, as the title declares, is a prince of … Continue reading

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Back to Vortis, twice

My obsessive scheduling of Who books and audios sometimes throws up interesting moments of convergence. (Actually I think last time was more interesting than this time, but there you go.) For the last few weeks I’ve been reading Christopher Bulis’ … Continue reading

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morning’s amusement

This is a graph plotting the Big Finish Doctor Who audios by internal chronology versus order of release. (Apart from the most recent 8th Doctor ones.) Sourced from the WikiPedia lists. Fifth Doctor Sixth Doctor Seventh Doctor Eighth Doctor BFA … Continue reading

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My score

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Another first for Iceland

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir is apparently about to become Prime Minister of Iceland. I hope that the various commentators on this do at least make an effort to spell her name correctly.

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The window

Has anyone else ever noticed that in the train carriages where it tells you not to lean out if the window, it is phrased as a direct imperative – “Nicht hinauslehnen!” “Ne pas se pencher au déhors!” “Do not lean … Continue reading

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Maternity leave

There are five countries in the world (out of 173 surveyed, though there are 192 UN member states so some must have fallen through the cracks) which do not provide, or require employers to provide, any form of paid maternity … Continue reading

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January Books 17) Troilus and Cressida, by William Shakespeare

This was one play of which I knew almost nothing except that it is a love story set during the siege of Troy between Troilus, the son of King Priam, and a woman called Cressida. Actually I found it one … Continue reading

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Can’t resist it…

Tiptree award meme: bold if you’ve read it, italic if you’ve started, struck through if you hated it. (From .) 2007 The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall 2006 The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente and … Continue reading

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General rule of thumb

When the person you are arguing with claims to be able to read your mind, it is probably time to walk away from the argument.

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January Books 16) Geschiedenis van Cyprus, by Alain Blondy

This is a Dutch translation of Blondy’s short (120-page) 1996 history of Cyprus in the Que sais-je? series. Its most interesting feature is that, where most books on Cyprus start the clock in 1974 (or if you are lucky 1963 … Continue reading

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I approve of the action but abhor the grammar

Obama Signs Two Environment Memorandas Memorandas would be a collective noun, I suppose? Edited to add: I see they’ve changed it to “memos”!

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Four more BF plays

Frozen Time revives the Ice Warriors for the first time in ages, and also the Seventh Doctor who appears to have been frozen in with a consignment of criminal Martians only to be unfrozen in a somewhat amnesiac state. The … Continue reading

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GIP

Ah, nostalgia… Not quite sure what I’ll use this for, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

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January Books 15) Fortunata and Jacinta, by Benito Pérez Galdós

I bought this book a long time ago, on a visit to a Balkan capital where this was the only thing that looked even vaguely interesting in the only bookshop in town that sold books in English. It took me … Continue reading

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January Books 14) Farmer in the Sky

I realised that I have already written up two of the three winners of the retro-Hugos for Best Novel (here and here

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Prefatory material

Preface Of The AuthorIt is not my intention to detain the reader by expatiating on the variety or the importance of the subject, which I have undertaken to treat; since the merit of the choice would serve to render the … Continue reading

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An appropriate juxtaposition

This and this were next to each other in my friends list when I checked this evening.

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Guardian books: Travel and War – The End

The Guardian’s 1000 books series comes to an end with the rather peculiar assortment of Travel and War (and thanks once again to for posting the list). 129 books here, of which I have read 36 (and started two more). … Continue reading

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Jumping off the planet

I’ve been idly speculating of late: how small would an asteroid, minor planet or satellite need to be for the average person to be able to jump right off it? The world record for the high jump at present is … Continue reading

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Guardian books: SF and Fantasy

Too many favourites on here to pick any in particular. Not surprisingly I score better here than on any three of the previous lists combined, with 85 out of 149 books that I have read and also most of Pratchett … Continue reading

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Chris Lightfoot’s quiz

I prefer this one to the other one, even if the questions are now a bit dated.

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Two days’ worth of Guardian books

Two days’ worth of Guardian novels to report here, because of last night’s distractions. Thanks again to for supplying the lists. They are two particularly odd selections. I have read only 24 out of 145 of the Guardian’s the “Family … Continue reading

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January Books 13) Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare

I studied Twelfth Night in a short-lived attempt at an O-level in Drama during my sixth-form years, and then saw a youthful production of it shortly after I moved back to Belfast in 1991 (I have a vague memory that … Continue reading

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January Books 12) The Stainless Steel Rat Omnibus, by Harry Harrison

To be reviewed elsewhere.

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Boskone

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Media coverage

Those of you who get the free Metro newspaper in London may have paused briefly today over the centre spread, which covers my employers – or to be more specific, my boss. I am awaiting his reaction, when he wakes … Continue reading

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Last night’s events

I missed watching the inauguration live last night because I was at a reception in the European Parliament launching some rather beautiful photographs of Timor Leste (as East Timor prefers to be known these days) taken by Luis Ramos Pinto. … Continue reading

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