Monthly Archives: April 2009

Books acquired in April

Powers by Ursula Le Guin (2007)The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy (1981) Double Act by Jacqueline Wilson (2001) Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran (2005) Phoenix Cafe by Gwyneth Jones (1998) North Wind by Gwyneth Jones (1998) One Flew Over the … Continue reading

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April Books

Non-fiction: 5 (YTD 26)      Shakespeare: 4 (YTD 14)     Fiction (non-sf): 5 (YTD 16)      SF (non-Who): 7 (YTD 27)         Who: 2 (YTD 12)   Comics: 1 (YTD 4) 3/24 (YTD 17/99) by women (Tremain, Rowling, Butler) 2/24 … Continue reading

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April Books 24) Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov

The next book on my list is actually Reading Lolita in Tehran, so I thought I might as well re-read Nabokov’s original. (I have to admit I have absolutely no idea how important Lolita is in Nafisi’s book, but didn’t … Continue reading

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April Books 23) Tess of the D’Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy

I don’t believe I’d read a word of Hardy before I started this book. It’s not as bad as I feared, though it moves awfully slowly, is annoyingly condescending to people with funny accents, and fails to really challenge gender … Continue reading

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April Books 22) Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

Well, I’ve ploughed through the almost 900 pages of novel (plus 20-page glossary, plus 25 pages of supplementary material), and I reckon this gets my Hugo vote. (I’ve read all the other nominees except Zoe’s Tale, but given my track … Continue reading

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April Books 21) The Prisoner, by Robert Fairclough

I’m laid up in bed with a stinking cold today, so getting through my to-read pile at a sedate (and sedated) rate. I followed up my recently renewed enthusiasm for The Prisoner by getting hold of several of the books … Continue reading

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April Books 20) Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

I loved this book when I first read it twenty years ago and I enjoyed the return journey now. The fractured narrative of Yossarian’s response to the dehumanising horror of war is also very funny in places (my favourite scene … Continue reading

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MEPs tweet

Lovely article in this week’s New Europe about the use of Twitter by current and prospective members of the European parliament, as tracked by the site http://europatweets.eu/. Glad to see that, of incumbent MEPs, the top twitterer is my friend … Continue reading

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April Books 19) The Deviant Strain, by Justin Richards

It seems almost indecently soon to look back on 2005 with feelings of nostalgia, but the Tardis team of Nine/Jack/Rose is surely one of the great triple ensembles of Who, up there with One/Steven/Sara, Two/Jamie/Zoe, Three/Brig/Liz or Four/Harry/Sarah Jane. (Almost … Continue reading

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April Books 18) Cymbeline, by William Shakespeare

This write-up is a couple of days later than I expected it would be – I misplaced my MP3 player on Saturday, having just started listening to the final scene, and only found it last night, after two days of … Continue reading

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April Books 17) Fables Vol 2: Animal Farm, by Bill Willingham

An excellent second volume in this series of fairytale characters in today’s New York, featuring Goldilocks as revolutionary leader exploiting dissension among the Three Little Pigs and between Snow White and Rose Red. I shall get more of these.

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Birthday so far

Funny card! (thanks, Liz) The Prisoner: The Official Companion to the Classic TV Series by Rob Fairclough The Prisoner: A Televisionary Masterpiece by Alain Carrazé and Hélène Oswald Fables Vol. 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham Anne-Sophie Mutter plays the … Continue reading

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My twins

It’s that time of year again when I think about my twins, those people born on the same day as me. (A brief trawl through the relevant statistics suggests that somewhat more than 300,000 people were born that day, the … Continue reading

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Nebula Watch

Women winners: 3/4 First time winners: 1/4 (Hoffman) Winners born between 1942 and 1951: 1/4 (Kessel) Ursula Le Guin is now equal top of the Nebula table with Connie Willis, both having won six. (Official announcement here.)

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Reading lists, revised

Back in January, I set up a series of reading lists, based largely on my unread books list on LibraryThing. I’ve now been working this for three months, and it’s time for some major changes. The point of all this … Continue reading

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EU Profiler

Here’s a fascinating site to match your political position with parties from all over Europe (including almost all parts of the EU, Croatia, Switzerland and Turkey): http://euprofiler.eu/ I come out (in British terms) pretty close to the Lib Dems, which … Continue reading

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April Books 16) The Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, by Larry Nemecek

I bought this cheap at an Irish sf con several years back (or possibly even won it in a raffle) and finally have got around to reading it. Slightly disappointed to find that it covers only the first five years … Continue reading

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April Books 15) The Romance of Crime, by Gareth Roberts

I liked this much more than the other Four / Romana II / K9 novel I’ve read, The Well-Mannered War, which as it happens is by the same author. Our heroes arrive on a sinister prison asteroid, where they find … Continue reading

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MEPs rated

Marco Cappato, an Italian Liberal MEP, has set up a website tracking the attendance and activity records of all the members of the current European Parliament. It’s mostly in French, and the eplanation of the methodology is not yet complete, … Continue reading

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I can’t quite believe this

TV version of George R.R. Martin‘s A Game of Thrones to be made in Belfast. Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness making a joint sytatement about GRRM is, well, bizarre, incredible, unreal and just odd. Great news, of course. (Probably.)

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Thought for the day

Все счастливые семьи похожи друг на друга, каждая несчастливая семья несчастлива по-своему. Looking at international examples of conflict resolution, I have often felt that the same is true for countries.

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Polar orbits

Am I right in thinking that most surface-based observers will not usually see satellites in polar orbits pass over the celestial poles / pole star? (And if you know which book I am reading, have I missed something, or is … Continue reading

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April Books 14) EU Constitution: the Rubicon of Supranational, by Blerim Reka

This is an academic text on EU integration written by the current Macedonian ambassador to the EU in his native Albanian, with a handy 80-page English summary. It is already a bit dated, and it’s interesting just how much the … Continue reading

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April Books 13) Pericles, Prince of Tyre, by William Shakespeare (and George Wilkins)

I swore four years ago, after reading this cruel but entirely accurate summary, that I would never bother with Pericles. Well, the rapidly dwindling list of Shakespeare plays brought me to break that oath, and I think it’s a bit … Continue reading

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Science Fiction written in Irish

Delighted to find this article by Philip O’Leary of Boston College, discussing the rather minimal amount of sf written in Irish. Even interpreting “science fiction” quite broadly—as we will do throughout this essay—we find startlingly little interest in a kind … Continue reading

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Anticipation

The nice people at this year’s Worldcon, Anticipation, have made available a large number of the nominees for electronic download by members of the convention. Thanks in particular should go to John Scalzi for getting this started. The following nominees … Continue reading

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Susan Boyle

If you haven’t already heard of Susan Boyle, you really need to watch this extract from last weekend’s broadcast of a British TV talent show. As comments: We love her because she reminds us that we don’t have to stop … Continue reading

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April Books 12) King Solomon’s Ring, by Konrad Z. Lorenz

A rather beautiful book about animal communication, based on years of personal observation from the writer’s country estate by the river Danube. The story of the water-shrews will linger longest in my memory, but it’s all fascinating.

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eBay question

I just won an auction for a PDA on eBay, for a pretty good price. The seller has contacted me saying that the price is not high enough and they don’t want to sell it after all. Since they didn’t … Continue reading

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Pictures from Burgundy

We had the Easter weekend in Burgundy, which explains why I missed out on #amazonfail and similar events over the last few days but read plenty of books. Pictures below the cut. (None of little U here because she was … Continue reading

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