Monthly Archives: April 2016

April books

Non-fiction: 3 (YTD 14) Legacy: A Collection of Personal Testimonies from People Affected by the Troubles in Northern Ireland, by BBC Northern Ireland JN-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner, by Richard Marson 1491, by Charles C. Mann … Continue reading

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Saturday reading

Current Watership Down, by Richard Adams (a chapter a week) Lila, by Marilynne Robinson The Quarry, by Iain Banks Banewreaker, by Jacqueline Carey Last books finished Het Spaanse Spook, by Willy Vandersteen Next books How Loud Can You Burp?, by … Continue reading

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Hugo finalists and Clarke Award shortlist: Goodreads/LibraryThing stats

As ever, I've run this week's announcements through Goodreads and LibraryThing to count the number of owners and record the average ratings. 2016 Hugo finalists Goodreads LibraryThing owners av rating owners av rating Uprooted, by Naomi Novik 111,631 4.17 933 … Continue reading

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30 days of Shakespeare: Day 11 – Your least favourite play

No difficulty in choosing here: The Taming of the Shrew. The basic storyline is simply too unpleasant: Katherina, obviously a very unhappy person, is intimidated into submission by a bloke called Petruchio who appears out of nowhere and for no … Continue reading

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30 days of Shakespeare: Day 10 – Your favourite history

Just for reference, the histories are generally considered to include: King John Edward III (if counted as Shakespeare) Richard II Henry IV, Part 1 Henry IV, Part 2 Henry V Henry VI, Part 1 Henry VI, Part 2 Henry VI, … Continue reading

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The 2016 Hugo ballot (and the Clarke shortlist)

I'm late to the party; I was concentrating on other things Tuesday when the Hugo ballot was announced, and on the road yesterday (and have now woken early in nice hotel room). So for instant reactions, you can check out … Continue reading

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30 days of Shakespeare: Day 9 – Your favourite tragedy

Just for reference, the tragedies are generally considered to include: Titus Andronicus Romeo and Juliet Julius Caesar Hamlet Troilus and Cressida Othello King Lear Macbeth Timon of Athens Antony and Cleopatra Coriolanus The Tempest I’ve already written of my love … Continue reading

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30 days of Shakespeare: Day 8 – Your favourite comedy

A birthday treat for me, writing on a happy subject. Just for reference, the comedies are generally considered to include: All’s Well That Ends Well As You Like It The Comedy of Errors Love’s Labour’s Lost Measure for Measure The … Continue reading

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54 countries in 49 years

I have been fortunate enough to travel to many places. In fact, the number of countries I have been to has generally kept pace with my calendar age. Today seems like a day to reflect on the places I have … Continue reading

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30 days of Shakespeare: Day 7 – Your favourite clown

It’s a matter of convention, of course, but I tend to find the scenes with Shakespearean fools rather jarring to the course of the play. It can be done well, of course, but it was an intervention that perhaps worked … Continue reading

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30 days of Shakespeare: Day 6 – Your favourite villainess

There is a sort of unwritten challenge in this meme to try and pick different plays for each day. I don’t think I’ll manage it, but this question in particular prompted me to delve rather deep. One villainess who operates … Continue reading

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30 days of Shakespeare: Day 5 – your favourite villain

It’s Shakespeare’s birthday! Or at least, the 400th anniversary of his death. What better day to celebrate his greatest villain, Richard III? Part of the attraction of Hamlet is that we don’t really understand him, and he doesn’t understand himself. … Continue reading

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Saturday reading

Current Watership Down, by Richard Adams (a chapter a week) Het Spaanse Spook, by Willy Vandersteen Last books finished JN-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner, by Richard Marson 1491, by Charles C. Mann Thing Explainer, by Randall … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 23-04-2016

Brexit and the small UK wargames business | The Strange Worlds of Orun hi Kharsan A report from the world of toy soldiers – serious SME perspective.(tags: ukpolitics eu games ) Boris Johnson’s attack on Barack Obama belongs in the … Continue reading

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30 days of Shakespeare: Day 4 – your favourite heroine

This is a close run for me between Portia in The Merchant of Venice and Helena in All’s Well That Ends Well. The latter is less well known – basically the modestly born but intelligent Helena – a qualified doctor, … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 22-04-2016

The Medieval Tube Map Lovely bit of research!(tags: maps london ) As your friend, let me tell you that the EU makes Britain even greater Obama on Brexit.(tags: eu ukpolitics uspolitics ) How to Explain Mansplaining New York Times reports.(tags: … Continue reading

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30 days of Shakespeare: Day 3 – your favourite hero

This is actually quite tricky, because Shakespeare’s most interesting characters are more likely to be villains than heroes, and if heroes they tend not to be all that admirable. I’ve written already about Hamlet and Macbeth, nether of whom really … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 21-04-2016

“Karabakh rules Armenia” Reporting from Yerevan.(tags: armenia nagornokarabakh ) ‘Accuracy is for snake-oil pussies’: Vote Leave’s campaign director defies MPs Gawd.(tags: eu ukpolitics ) Brokered Conventions Often Make A Winning GOP President Though not since 1952.(tags: uspolitics ) who2voteNI.com Discover … Continue reading

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30 days of Shakespeare: Day 2 – your favourite character

I’m a political animal, and I am fascinated by the way that Shakespeare looks at leadership and kingship, what we might today call governance. Many of his plays are about politicians who get it tragically wrong – Brutus, Richard III, … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 20-04-2016

Predata Signals Offer a Fresh Perspective on the Brexit Campaign Crunching data from online debate.(tags: ukpolitics eu ) She had a Washington job on TV. Then this ‘West Wing’ actor got one in real life Beautifully appropriate!(tags: uspolitics tv ) … Continue reading

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30 days of Shakespeare: Day 1 – your favourite play

It’s about time we had some more culture around here. Since it’s the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death on Saturday, here is a 30-day meme about the Bard; feel free to chip in or copy as you like. Day #1: … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 19-04-2016

UC Berkeley student removed from Southwest flight after speaking Arabic on plane Good grief.(tags: race waronterror ) What happens when you appear before a judge you called a c*** on Facebook? Judge’s closing words: “Don’t give a toss.” New Zealand, … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 18-04-2016

March 2016 was the hottest March on record. The sixth record-breaking month in a row…(tags: climatechange ) A train ride with Millwall fans – and the hope it gave me for the EU debate @campbellclaret listens to voters beyond the … Continue reading

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Lethbridge-Stewart: The Schizoid Earth, by David McIntee

Second paragraph of third chapter: On impulse, he walked along to the shop. ‘Excuse me,’ he began. ‘New window?’ Candy Jar’s series of books about the earlier career of Alastair Lethbridge-Stewart have not been getting as much buzz as I … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 17-04-2016

A New Map for America @paragkhanna redraws the lower 48.(tags: usa maps ) Ozymandias, illustrated by Justin Oaksford This is brilliant.(tags: comics poetry ) Monica Lewinsky: ‘The shame sticks to you like tar’ Fascinating.(tags: sexandgenderandsexuality internet uspolitics )

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Saturday reading

Current Watership Down, by Richard Adams (a chapter a week) 1491, by Charles C. Mann JN-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner, by Richard Marson Last books finished Legacy: A Collection of Personal Testimonies from People Affected by … Continue reading

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Barney: Episode 13 of Here Come The Double Deckers

Episode 13: Barney First shown: 5 December 1970 (US), 15 January 1971 (UK) Director: Harry Booth Writer: Glyn Jones Appearing apart from the Double Deckers: Julian Chagrin (Barney) Ivor Salter (Policeman) [Melvyn Hayes is credited as Albert, but if he … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 16-04-2016

DWP ‘punishing’ low-paid full-time workers under new benefits rule Fighting poverty by making the poor poorer…(tags: ukpolitics ) Baiting the bear Russia struggles with the consequences of its illegal seizure of Yukos a decade ago.(tags: russia ) Luck Is a … Continue reading

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Beige Planet Mars, by Lance Parkin and Mark Clapham

Second paragraph of third chapter: Benny was baffled. These were not academics; there were no tweed jackets with leather patches on the arms, all beards were neatly trimmed and the conversation was bawdily macho rather than shriekingly bitchy. As she … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 15-04-2016

Protesters ransack Macedonia president’s office as crisis deepens Crumbs.(tags: macedonia ) Blake’s 7 star Gareth Thomas dies at age 71 Sad news.(tags: sf deaths ) America Hasn’t Gone Crazy. It’s Just More Like Europe Ivan Krastev’s take.(tags: uspolitics ) Man … Continue reading

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