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Just a few little bits and pieces that have grabbed my attention over the last couple of days. First things first, the good news that Alice Munro won the International Man Booker Prize. I love Alice Munro; the first of her books I read was The Moons of Jupiter back in (can you believe it) January 1986 and I’ve kept more or less up-to-date since (there may be a couple lurking somewhere that I haven’t quite got around to yet) But it’s great to see someone you admire win a prestigious prize like this, isn’t it?
Pandering to my geekery is news of the new companion for the next Dr Who. She is Karen Gillan and has been in the show before as a soothsayer in the Pompeii episode (and I’m going to have to go and look at my boxed set to see if I can find her….) The best thing in this BBC storyis the quote from The Great Steven Moffat who says she is “funny, and clever, and gorgeous, and sexy. Or Scottish, which is the quick way of saying it”. I will be using that one a lot over the coming weeks, I’m sure….. I know there’s (thankfully) a lot of Mr Tennant still to come but I am beginning to get very interested in the possibilities for the 2010 series.
It was my wedding anniversary this weekend, and the Book God and I went out shopping. Various purchases were made and it wouldn’t have been a proper day out without a visit to a book shop. The following additions to the library were obtained:
- The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt – all about Nikola Tesla; I’ve been interested in him for years, long before David Bowie played him in The Prestige….
- Mr Toppit by Charles Elton - one or two favourable reviews of this on book blogs, plus I’m pretty sure I heard him being interviewed on Radio 5 at some point
- Snoop by Sam Gosling – or What Your Stuff Says About You; whenever I go to visit anyone in their home I immediately head to the bookshelves for scout around, and this is going to reinforce my nosy parker tendencies
Now all I have to do is find the time to read them….
we are picking up where we left off last week, which explains why we are starting with #21 instead of #1. Great work on the questions submissions everyone! It gave Kimber & I a much needed mental break.
We posted these questions just as they were listedon the participant’s blog.
22. If a sexist Man is called a pig, what is a sexist Woman called? Sir?
23. You see the one person who you absolutely despise. If you were guaranteed that he/she couldn’t say or do anything back to you…. What would you do?? I would treat them with the contempt they deserve but silently so that I could also maintain the moral high ground.
24. How many states are to the right of you? And don’t give us a map to look at. None cos I’m in Europe but Norway’s kind of in that direction…
25. You can go anywhere in the world for free. Where are you? Toronto (I’ve always wanted to go to Canada)
26. HOW MANY FINGERS AM I HOLDING UP? I dread to think
27. Are you a boxing fan? Do you think there will be a rematch of the Hatton-Pacquiao fight? No and no
28. What is the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten? Tripe (honestly, my Dad got me to try it and it was horrible)
29. Is it cloudy right now? It’s too dark to tell….
30. What is your dream job?David Tennant’s personal 24 hour bodyguard
31. Someone gives you a $500 gift card to WalMart or Target. What are you going to buy?I’m not entirely sure what they sell, but if I could exchange it for cash I would definitely blow it all on a decent handbag
32. When you were little, what did you want to be “when you grow up”? And, how much different is your occupation now from where you thought it would be when you were younger? I wanted to be a librarian; I’m a civil servant. Something tells me that’s not a huge difference…
33. What was your favorite toy as a child? A toy Panda which I still have somewhere – it will be 48 years old in December. That’s scary.
34. How do you think these things up?? I don’t, they come to me in a dream.
35. Why do you think so many “fake” veterans get away with pretending? Why don’t people question them more (especially the media who eats up their stories?) I have absolutely no idea – perhaps we just want to believe
36. What is the last place you had a good cry and why?I’m not sure but it was bound to be in response to something in a movie or on TV – I’m a sentimental old fool
37. What do you mean? 42
38. Which Sesame Street Character do you relate with the most and why? Cookie Monster for very obvious reasons
39. What song one would you listen to over and over if you absolutely had to? Helena by My Chemical Romance (at least for the moment)
40. Did you ever make what you believed at the time to be a horrible mistake – that in hindsight turned out to lead you on the best path in your life? Well there was the whole thing with my first husband, but let’s not go into that here
41. If you could change one thing on your person, what would it be? I’m largely happy with what I’ve got thank you.
42. What’s your favorite show to watch on television nowadays? Fringe
43. Do you believe there is life after death? I’m not even sure there’s life after 50, but I’ll let you know in a couple of years.
So here we have the third of the Lucifer Box novels by Mark Gatiss. Black Butterfly is set in the early 1950s with a new Queen on the British Throne and changes afoot in HM Secret Service. Lucifer is an old man now and in the throes of passing on the baton to a new generation when the uncharacteristic suicide of an old friend and several other mysterious deaths send him back out into the field to foil another dastardly plot.
This is quite consciously a spoof of James Bond type of thriller – beautiful women, exotic locations, arch humour, evil genius, convoluted plot, the world saved just in the nick of time - and for that reason I think it’s the least successful of the three books.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching the plot come to fruition and it was interesting to see Box try to deal with the effects of old age on a man in his profession, but there was something too familiar about it. I suspect the problem is that James Bond has been parodied so many times (and often within its own film franchise) that I didn’t find much that was actually that new here.
It’s a shame as I really like Gatiss and I wanted to get more out of this than I actually did; I was just a wee bit disappointed that it didn’t grab me.
So it’s all been a bit quiet here at Bride of the Book God apart from the occasional meme (thank you Thursday Thunks) and a little bit of book buying, but not much reading going on I’m afraid. Work is very busy at the moment and I must admit that my daily commute has turned into standing (almost inevitable these days) with my iPod jammed in my ears vegetating to (admittedly good) music as a means of setting me up for or unwinding from the day. I will try to do better, especially as I am behind in various challenges….
However, all of this doesn’t mean that interesting things haven’t been happening; lots of movie-going (as covered here). There is also football (St Mirren narrowly avoiding relegation on goal difference), TV (catching up with Heroes and eagerly awaiting the season finale of Fringe which is on tonight), and theatre which is where we come to yesterday’s big treat.
I was lucky enough to get a ticket to Sadler’s Wells here in London to see the Northern Ballet Theatre’s performance of Romeo and Juliet, set to Prokofiev of course (one of my favourites) as part of their 40th anniversary tour. I have a love-hate relationship with some of Shakespeare’s plays and R+J is definitely one of them – why don’t they just run away I cry to myself every time I see it. But I think it really, really works as a ballet because the heightened emotional stuff is more convincingly portrayed in dance – to my mind at least. I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle and had a little cry at the end, being hopelessly sentimental as I am.
But I really do have to get back to that tbr pile….
2. Which popular sitcom character (past or present) are you most like?The Vicar of Dibley, in shape and size at least
3. What kind of dreams do you have? Ones that I can’t remember
5. Do you think you could be on American Idol with the singing voice you have now without any voice training? No, I can’t sing at all (and don’t you have to be American to be on American Idol, so I’d fail that test ….)
6. How much wood, would a woodchuck chuck? If a woodchuck could chuck wood? The equivalent of a caber
7. If you were a tree in a Dr. Seuss book, what would you look like? Short and fat (and potentially grumpy)
8. Twilight? I’m addicted/Who cares/What the hell is Twilight? Who cares
9.Do you think Kimber and Berleen do a dube while writing these questions?
Wouldn’t care to comment, but whatever floats their boat
11. What is your favorite dessert? There are so many to choose from, but at a pinch a really good quality chocolate mousse.
12. What do you prefer…beach or mountains? Mountains
13. What movie have you seen that still make you cry? Most of them, actually, I’m notoriously sentimental. White Christmas always does it though (we’ll follow the old boy wherever he wants to go).
14. Why are you making me submit a question? Are you too lazy to think of one yourself? Thought of one actually, can you guess which one it is?
15. how often do you do laundry? It seems like it’s every day….
16. What is your favorite movie of all time, and why? The Nightmare Before Christmas, just because….
17. If you won a million dollars in the lottery, would you keep working? No, I would do something different with my life and let a person who needs a job have mine
18. If there was a war of the gummies, would you be on the gummi bear side or the gummi worm side? Bears every time
19. What’s your favorite comic strip? Doonesbury
20. Close your eyes… imagine you are in the perfect room/place… describe it. It’s a library with books from floor to ceiling, Tiffany lamps, leather armchairs, Persian rugs, the works. And one day it will be mine!
So I thought to myself this week’s task doesn’t look too difficult, I just need to pull together a post on writers from my home town – how hard can that be? After all, Paisley has got lots of well-known people – we have actors (Tom Conti, David Tennant, Gerard Butler); we have musicians (Gerry Rafferty, Paolo Nutini) and of course we have footballers (especially the great Archie Gemmill). But writers, well….
I found three, one poet plus two who are more screenwriters than authors but I don’t care, I’m going to stretch this theme as far as I can!
- Robert Tannahill, weaver and poet from the late 18th and early 19th centuries with a political bent, tragically died by his own hand as poets are wont to do…
- John Byrne, parter of Tilda Swinton, playwright and artist, responsible for one of the best and funniest BBC TV series of the 1980s i.e. Tutti Frutti which is finally being relaeased on DVD this year.
- Steven Moffat, writer of some of the very best Dr Who episodes since the series was revived, taking over full responsibility with the new Doctor in 2010 and an all-round good bloke.
2. Do you like Twizzlers? No idea
3. Are you a YouTube watcher? Occasionally, catching up on comedy or music; some great old Kate Bush stuff on there from a TV special around 1979 or 1980 which I had seriously come to believe I had imagined as no-one else remembered it. Until I saw clips on YouTube.
4. When an auto glass store calls you and asks if you have a chip or crack in your windshield, what do you tell them? “That’s weird; I don’t have a car.”
5. What is the age difference between you and your father? 28 years
6. Have you ever tried to find the end of a rainbow? Yes, but it keeps moving
7. Camping – recreational vehicle or tent? I will never, ever, ever go camping.
8. Have you ever had to call 9-1-1? No
9. Who is your favorite blog in the Thursday Thunk bloggers to visit? Don’t like to play favourites, and I don’t always get to them all (or indeed any of them)
10. How long do you think you could live locked in your house on the food that you have on hand right now? Depends on how hungry I get…
11. Pepper – shaker or grinder? Grinder
12. What state (or country if you are not in the US) is 2 states west of you? Canada, I think, but geography was never my strong point
13. What color do you believe you look best in? Black
and once again… next week is Thursday Thunkers Questions… so….
14. What is your question submission for next week? Have you seen the new Star Trek movie, and if so what did you think?
So after the excitement of Star Trek on Sunday at the London IMAX, a short walk to the South Bank for dinner was followed by a mini-spree in a local bookshop which resulted in the purchase of a few more books, showing that my good intentions have almost certainly been thrown completely out of the window. The Bride’s haul consists of:
- The Logic of Life by Tim Harford – a follow up to the Undercover Economist which I enjoyed last year. This is about how we all make decisions and what the economic impulse underneath those decisions might be;
- The Double by Jose Saramago – so you’re watching a rented video and you see an actor who is identical to yourself in every physical way. You go and look for them, don’t you?
- Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose – a guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them, according to the subtitle blurby thing, and what could be fairer than that?
Last Saturday – May 2nd – was Free Comic Book Day, so some questions around that topic:
- Do you read graphic novels/comics? I certainly do, love them to bits. I tend to read graphic novels simply because I am never organised enough to (a) find out about something in the comic world coming up before issue 1, and (b) even if I did manage that I don’t have the necessary geeky discipline to make sure I get every issue.
- And on that note, the only difference in my mind between comics and graphic novels is format. But that may be a bit simplistic.
- And for the friend who has never tried graphic novels? Well that’s a difficult one because it depends on whether they are into fantasy or not, because most of my stuff is in that genre. I started with The Dark Knight Returns and that’s what I’d give them, or anything Sandman, or what I’ve just lent to my friend The Silvery Dude, 1602. There’s Maus, of course. And Watchmen. Where to stop?
This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by Berleen & Kimber via Skype, the color cranberry (is that a color?) and the number 1,999,784,926,901.
2. Ever whiten your teeth? Nope
3. Do you drive the speed limit? Can’t drive (yes I know but we can’t all do everything and London’s public transport system is fine for my needs thank you very much)
4. Did the dog eat your homework? Occasionally, but it was usually kidnapped by aliens.
5. How many bites does it take to get to the center of a watermelon? Depends on how big your mouth is and I am not saying (although friends and family would no doubt have a view).
6. Did you eat paint chips as a child? No; chocolate chips, though, that would be me.
7. If someone rang your doorbell/knocked on your door at 1am, would you answer it? Certainly not, that’s what my husband is for.
8. “Amazingly Smooth” makes you think of what? Either a really good single malt or someone I’m working with at the moment.
9. What was the last stupid thing someone said to you?(not counting this meme’s questions) Are you Scottish? (duh, like the accent wasn’t a giveaway….)
10. Would you eat a stick of butter for $100? No, don’t like butter and don’t need $100 (or equivalent) that badly.
11. Find the nearest fabric tab, not counting your clothing you are wearing. What does it say the object is made of and where was it made? 100% cotton, made in Hong Kong
12. What is the strangest name you’ve ever heard someone name their child (or a person you met… however you want to answer it)? Luxley (it’s a boy in case you’re wondering)
13. Why is some toilet paper really soft and others are really hard? That’s just life I guess, you have to take the rough with the smooth….