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Reading List - 2010

2010 Reads

My ongoing list of what I've been reading this year.
To see previous years' lists, go here: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006

* - books I enjoyed a lot and highly recommend (9 or 10 out of 10)
NF - non-fiction, I don't read many of these
Links go to my reviews on Bookcrossing.com

Tooth and Nail - Ian Rankin
Skim - Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (graphic novel)
A Passage to India - EM Forster
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
Mouseguard: Fall 1152 - David Petersen (graphic novel)
Prom - Laurie Halse Anderson

The Runner - Keith Gray
A House to Let - Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins
Strip Jack - Ian Rankin
Walking with God - Ginni Otto
Night Flying - Rita Murphy
*Kindred - Octavia Butler

The Fortune of War - Patrick O'Brian
Julie and the Wolves - Jean Craighead George

N or M? - Agatha Christie
*Anne of Avonlea - LM Montgomery (reread)
The Slave Ship: A Human History - Marcus Rediker (NF)

The Wilding - Maria McCann
The Plain Janes - Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg (graphic novel)
The Summer of My German Soldier - Bette Green
Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi (graphic novel)
The Journal of Fletcher Christian by Peter Corris
Death on the Ice - Cassie Brown (NF)
I am the Cheese - Robert Cormier
Living Dead Girl - Elizabeth Scott

*Monsters of Men - Patrick Ness

*The Radleys - Matt Haig
What the Hell is He Thinking? - Zoe Strimpel (NF)
Now Open Sundays - Rev. Paul Sinclair (NF)

*Un Lun Dun - China Mieville
Sweet Water and Bitter - Sian Rees (NF) (didn't finish)
*Rose - Jeff Smith (graphic novel)
*Bone - Jeff Smith (graphic novel) (reread)
*The Rights of the Reader - Daniel Pennac
Death of a Maid - MC Beaton

*Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and how we can Fight it - David Batstone (NF)

Cyrano de Bergerac - Edmond Rostand
The Way to Sattin Shore - Philippa Pearce
Star Sullivan - Maeve Binchy

Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens who Don't Float - Sarah Schmelling

Princes of Ireland - Edward Rutherfurd

Currently Reading: The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne;

Reading List - 2009

2009 Reads

My ongoing list of what I've been reading this year.
To see previous years' lists, go here: 2008, 2007, 2006

* - books I enjoyed a lot and highly recommend (9 or 10 out of 10)
NF - non-fiction, I don't read many of these
Links go to my reviews on Bookcrossing.com

Tintin: Flight 714 to Sydney
Asterix the Gaul (reread)
Pride of Baghdad - Brian K. Vaughan & Niko Henrichon (graphic novel)

44 Scotland Street - Alexander McCall Smith
Classic Victorian and Edwardian Ghost Stories (didn't finish)
Otherwise Pandemonium - Nick Hornby

The Sex Lives of Cannibals - J. Maarten Troost (NF)

To Say Nothing of the Dog - Connie Willis
Espresso Tales - Alexander McCall Smith

*The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle - Jim Butcher & Ardian Syaf (graphic novel)
The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett

Palace Walk - Naguib Mahfouz (didn't finish)
I Love You, Beth Cooper - Larry Doyle
The Manga Messiah
UFO in Her Eyes - Xiaolu Guo
Amulet vol 1: The Stonekeeper - Kazu Kibuishi (graphic novel)

*The Last Town on Earth - Thomas Mullen
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit - Judith Kerr
Cards on the Table - Agatha Christie
How Obelix Fell into the Magic Potion When He Was a Little Boy
Asterix and the Great Divide (reread)
*The Ask and the Answer - Patrick Ness

*Lovely Green Eyes - Arnost Lustig
*Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (reread)
*Number the Stars - Lois Lowry
*Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds - Tom Davis (NF)
Half a Life-Time Ago - Elizabeth Gaskell

Sleeping Murder - Agatha Christie
*Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
*Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortensen (NF)
Murder Farm - Andrea Maria Schenkel

*Juliet Naked - Nick Hornby
I'm OK, You're Not - John Shore (NF)
The Enemy - Charlie Higson
Geek Love - Katherine Dunn
Taken at the Flood - Agatha Christie
New Moon - Stephenie Meyer

*Addition - Toni Jordan
The Stars my Destination - Alfred Bester
Don't Mess with the President's Head - Zapiro
Asterix and Oblix's Birthday - Goscinny
Love Letters of Great Men
*Wolverine: Origin (graphic novel)

*Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging - Louise Rennison
Q&A - Vikras Swarup
*Getting the Girl - Markus Zuzak
The Man who Loved Jane Austen - Sally Smith O'Rourke
A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon (audio)
The Tale of Greyfriars Bobby - Levinia Derwent
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats - TS Eliot

Currently Reading: Are you Really Ready for Love? by Dr David Hawkins; Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin;

May. 28th, 2009

Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test...

Pure Nerd

78 % Nerd, 39% Geek, 48% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in any of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality


Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

Take The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test
at HelloQuizzy

Reading List - 2008

2008 Reads

My ongoing list of what I've been reading this year.
To see previous years' lists, go here: 2007, 2006

* - books I enjoyed a lot and highly recommend (9 or 10 out of 10)
NF - non-fiction, I don't read many of these

*Desolation Island - Patrick O'Brian
The Sunday Philosophy Club - Alexander McCall Smith
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister - Gregory Maguire
Serenity: Those left behind - Joss Whedon (graphic novel)
*The Snow Spider - Jenny Nimmo (reread)
The Complete Peanuts: 1950-1952 - Charles M. Schulz
Asterix and the Mansions of the Gods (reread)

*Emlyn's Moon - Jenny Nimmo (reread)
The Chestnut Soldier - Jenny Nimmo (reread)
True Confessions of Adrian Mole - Sue Townsend
The School Inspector Calls - Gervase Phinn (Penguin pocket book)
Knots and Crosses - Ian Rankin

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate - Alexander McCall Smith
Pay Dirt - Rita Mae Brown
Canto for a Gypsy - Martin Cruz Smith
The Da Vince Code: a response - Nicky Gumbel
Hide and Seek - Ian Rankin

Innocent House - PD James (Penguin pocket book)
*Ottoline Goes to School - Chris Riddell
*At Home in Mitford - Jan Karon
*Murder on the Leviathan - Boris Akunin
The Blue Castle - LM Montgomery

Mort - Terry Pratchett (reread)
Varjak Paw - SF Said
Outaw Varjak Paw - SF Said
*Restoration - Rose Tremain

Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson
Last Bus to Woodstock - Colin Dexter
*Ballet Shoes - Noel Streatfeild
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
*Blue Like Jazz - Donald Miller

*How to Get a Date Worth Keeping - Dr Henry Cloud
*The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
Closely Observed Trains - Bohumil Hrabal
*Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
Short Short Stories - Dave Eggers (Penguin pocket book)

Twilight - Stephanie Meyer
Hellsing 1 - Kouta Hirano
Tintin and the Castafiore Emerald - Hergé
Whisker of Evil - Rita Mae Brown
*A Guide to the Birds of East Africa - Nicholas Drayson
*Flipped - Wendelin van Draanen

*The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
*Bone - Jeff Smith (graphic novel)
Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell (didn't finish)

Brilliance of the Moon - Lian Hearn
X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong - Greg Pak & Greg Land (graphic novel)
*Daddy-Long-Legs - Jean Webster (reread)
Theodora's Diary - Penny Culliford
Batman: Year One - Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli (graphic novel)
X-23: Innocence Lost (graphic novel)
X-23: Target X (graphic novel)

*Out Stealing Horses - Per Petterson
Sin City: That Yellow Bastard - Frank Miller (graphic novel)
9th and 13th - Jonathan Coe (Penguin pocket book)

*The Tales of Beadle the Bard - JK Rowling

Currently Reading: Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand; Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper; Classic Victorian and Edwardian Ghost Stories


This morning we had some surprise visitors in the neighbourhood - a troop of baboons! They live up in the mountain and sometimes come down to look for food in the areas right next to the mountain, but this is the first time that I know of that they've ever come into our suburb. I guess they were really hungry - it's been raining like crazy for days and maybe food is scarce.

Anyway, I managed to get a few pics. Not the best, but you can see what's going on.

More under the cutCollapse )

2008 already?!

So it's two weeks into 2008 but I seem to be somewhat behind the rest of the world, so Merry Christmas! and Happy New Year! everybody!

I had a very nice, relaxed Christmas with my family. My sister and her husband are here for the birth of their first child (expected literally any minute now - watch this space). We always have a traditional Czech Christmas, which means we celebrate on Christmas Eve, and we have fish soup for starters, fish (carp, if you want to do things right) and potato salad for the main course, with strudel and other European goodies for dessert.

Clicky for photosCollapse )

New Year's was equally quiet and relaxed. We stayed home and watched videos (Akeelah and the Bee - very good!), and I went to bed right after midnight because I had a throbbing headache. So not very exciting, but I've never been one for big NYEs.

So now it's a brand new year... I don't have any new resolutions (other than the ones I make and break every year - be more organised, be better at staying in touch with people, read my Bible more regularly...). The big thing this year is still my thesis. I've pretty much just been wasting time for two years, so now I HAVE TO finish it. And I will (see, I'm being all positive about it).

Other than that I need to work through my 'to be read' pile. I keep accumulating more books than I can read, not very good Bookcrossing practice, and I keep having to rearrange my book piles so I can see my carpet and get to my clothes cupboard. And I've got a stack of books sent to me by other people that I should probably have released ages ago. So read more, buy less. And read only AFTER working on my thesis... so many rules.

So that's my year ahead. I probably won't be on LJ any more this year than I was last year (unless I really get that 'be more organised' thing sorted). Although to be honest these days I don't have much worth posting about - my life is work, thesis, work, thesis... not very interesting. I miss it though - Facebook is quick and easy, but it doesn't have any soul - and I'll try to post some sort of update at least every few months.


Reading List - 2007

2007 Reads

My ongoing list of what I've been reading this year. To see last year's list, go here.
Some of these books (not enough) are Bookcrossing books and some of the classics are bibliophyles reads.

Unfortunately I don't have nearly as much time to read this year as I'd like, as I'm working full-time and trying to finish my Master's thesis. So I just read a bit every night and remind myself that next year things will be back to normal and I'll be able to catch up on all the reading I can't do this year...

* - books I enjoyed a lot and highly recommend (9 or 10 out of 10)
NF - non-fiction, I don't read many of these

*A Long Way Down - Nick Hornby
Jeeves and the Impending Doom - PG Wodehouse (Penguin 70th anniversary pocket book)
HMS Surprise - Patrick O'Brian

Boy: Tales of Childhood - Roald Dahl (NF)
*The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Danny, the Champion of the World - Roald Dahl

*Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - JK Rowling (reread)
*The Tale of Despereaux - Kate DiCamillo
Bunnicula - James & Deborah Howe
Moomin: The Complete Comic Strip, vol 1 - Tove Jansson
Whitethorn Woods - Maeve Binchy

Morality for Beautiful Girls - Alexander McCall Smith
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - JK Rowling (reread)
300 - Frank Miller (graphic novel)
The Fall of Troy - Peter Ackroyd
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne
*Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - JK Rowling (reread)
*The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd

A Taste of Life - Sara Paretsky (Penguin 60th anniversary pocket book)
*Spud - John van de Ruit

Gem Squash Tokoloshe - Rachel Zadok
Little Sparrow - Phyllis Owen
*Paper Faces - Rachel Anderson
*A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini

The Mauritius Command - Patrick O'Brian
**Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling
The Kestral - Lloyd Alexander

The Club of Queer Trades - GK Chesterton
The Beggar Queen - Lloyd Alexander
Algeria's Way - Alex Smith
*About a Boy - Nick Hornby
Cape Town Stories - Madeline Barnard

Wicked - Gregory Maguire
A Private Performance: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - Helen Halstead
Death Drop - B.M. Gill

The Wombles - Elizabeth Beresford
The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper (reread)
Literary Trivia - Richard Lederer
Befiddled - Pedro de Alcantara
Over Sea Under Stone - Susan Cooper

Silk - Alessandro Baricco
*Greenwitch - Susan Cooper (reread)
Right Ho, Jeeves - PG Wodehouse
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Frank Miller (graphic novel)
*The Grey King - Susan Cooper (reread)

Silver on the Tree - Susan Cooper (reread)
Hoot - Carl Hiaasen
Mouse Noses on Toast - Darren King
The Case for Christmas - Lee Strobel
*Across the Nightingale Floor - Lian Hearn
Grass for his Pillow - Lian Hearn
*Ottoline and the Yellow Cat - Chris Riddell
I got my first Christmas card today. Thanks Ali!
I can't believe it's almost Christmas already! I haven't sent out a single card yet. So... don't expect any cards from me before Christmas. After-Christmas card, anyone?

I'm trying to do Christmas a bit differently this year. Or at least, I wanted to, but the more I think about what to give people the more I realise that the stuff I really want to give costs quite a bit. So I'm trying to at least focus on getting locally-produced, not-too-much-of-an-extravagant-luxury type things. A bit tricky, but maybe if I start thinking about things a bit earlier next year I'll be able to get it right then at least.

And, I found this awesome website, Make Christmas Matter, that lets you buy "presents" for South African charity organisations. I'm going to donate some money to one of these, but I keep changing my mind about which one. Better decide quickly though!

On a completely unrelated note, my supervisors told me last week that at the rate that I'm going I won't finish my thesis until the end of next year at the earliest. Which totally sucks, but is no surprise to anyone (except maybe my dad who keeps asking why I don't just "knock it off"). Oh well. So limited internet/movies/reading/everything else for at least another 12 months. I think after that they'll kick me out, so even if I don't get a degree in 2009, I will at least be able to actually use the free movie tickets I get from work every month, instead of always having to give them away to other people. You win some, you lose some, I guess.

I got nudged...

I'm still here, haven't been abducted by aliens or washed off the edge of the planet. I'm just getting into serious thesis-writing territory, with time running out rapidly, and so feel guilty about every second spent online. Not that I don't spend time online... I'm just not brave enough to do anything obvious while I'm here. I do still read my flist every now and then although I don't comment much. About once a week I remember that I want to post the photos of our Deathly Hallows release party, and I think I really must do it soon cos it was, um, a while ago now. So yeah, will do that... Soon.

Ooh, very exciting news: I bought the Firefly DVD for half price from Amazon! And so of course I had to watch that (very important research for my thesis, my thesis being about space cowboys and all). And then I had to watch Serenity again of course to get the whole story. So that was my weekend. Very productive :)

Hmm. I miss LJ. I never realise how much until I come back to post something, but I really do. Once I've got this thesis done (ie, next year Feb/March sometime) I'll have my life back, which means spending copious amounts of time online. Because who needs RL when you can have LJ?

Thanks for not defriending me, despite my not-being-here-ness. I really appreciate it :) Will be back in full-force (whatever that means) in about 6 months. And perhaps in the meantime I might get around to posting those photos...

MemeageCollapse )

Harry Potter thoughts

So I'm finally getting around to writing down my thoughts on DH.

All in all I was very pleased. I think JKR did a fantastic job considering all the plotlines that needed to be tied up, and the backstory that needed filling in. I loved the historical parallels (WWII mostly) that cropped up all over the book, the use of fairytale and the circular sense in that there were so many allusions to PS.

HP spoilers. DuhCollapse )

Anyway, from now on it's back to grindstone for me. I told my parents that as soon as the release party was over and I'd read the book, I'll start working on my thesis again. And I'm way behind by now. So you probably won't see me here again for a while, although I will try to post some pics from the party in a day or two.




So it turns out that I haven't updated my LJ in 12 weeks! Where did all that time go? Thanks to everyone who nudged me, and sorry for not responding sooner.

I haven't been on LJ a lot as I just don't have much time at the moment. I do still try to check my flist a few times a week although I don't comment much. Also, I've become somewhat addicted to Facebook which is taking up way too much of my thesis-writing time. As is this cool book website, where I've been contributing bits and pieces every so often, and picking up loads of recs for books I'd like to try in the future.

My thesis is going super-slowly. I'm way behind on the schedule my supervisors drew up for me at the beginning of the year. I'm not too worried about it yet as I've always been a procrastinator and a last-minute person, and somehow I always get things done in the end. But I know that I'm just about at the point where I really have to get serious about making progress if I want to avoid a nervous breakdown in December (I have to submit in Feb of next year). I've taken a week off from work in August which will hopefully help.

A while ago I was going through a bad patch and I said to my mom that I just don't feel clever enough to finish this thesis and that I should just give up now before I waste any more of my own and everyone else's time. The next morning I came downstairs and found this on the table next to my work:

This could only happen in my familyCollapse )

Besides my thesis I'm also really busy at work. We're planning a release party for Deathly Hallows. Because I'm the only person on the staff besides the manager who actually likes HP, I got stuck with being the official organiser. Which was cool at first but when I realised how much work it was going to be to make it worthwhile, I started having sleepless nights about it. I finally managed to delegate some of the work (a big thing for me – I'm not good with asking for help or managing people) and now I feel a whole lot better. I'm still rather worried that it's going to be a big, embarrassing flop, but at least it won't be all my fault.

Still, this will probably be my only ever HP party, so I'm excited about it for that reason. My mom's been making a Luna costume for me, and I'm having fun getting quiz questions and various HP-related games together. If any of you have any suggestions for cool things to do at a HP party that won't cost too much or require too much preparation, please tell me. I could always use more ideas!

And that's pretty much all I've been up to lately. I anticipate being a hermit until my thesis is done, and then I'll be much more interesting and back to my former updatingness on LJ. I will definitely post some pics of the HP party though, flop or no flop.

Playing dress-up :)

At the bookshop, we've started talking about the release of HP 7. We're going to have a midnight release party (squee!!!) and we're going to dress up. We all have to help out to organise it. I've found some ideas for decorations and games at Potter Parties and I'm making a mental of what we could manage in the shop.

I'm super-excited as this will be my first (and probably last) ever Harry Potter party. I'm always jealous when I read about all the big conventions and stuff happening in the US and Europe. South Africans never do stuff like that. We just don't have enough of a fan culture over here.

I've decided to go as Luna Lovegood, because (a) I'm a Ravenclaw, and (b) I think she's awesome. And being the dork that I am, I've already designed my costume: Take a look-seeCollapse )

Of the necessary items I already have:
* the scarf
* the shirt
* ankle boots (?)

I don't have:
* the robe
* the hat
* the badge
* the tie
* the wand
* stripey stockings
* mary janes (?)

I guess the have/don't have situation solves the shoe question, but I do think mary janes might be better. I obviously have a lot of work to do if I'm going to have all this stuff ready by July

As an added bonus, I'm considering taking PadfootCollapse ) along, but she'll probably try to eat the books :P

Finally, a proper update!

I finally submitted my "History of Afrikaans" chapter draft at 2am on Thursday morning. It was due at the end of March, but I just couldn't get it done. As it is, I submitted a piece of way-too-short trash, but at least it's in and my supervisors haven't had me excommunicated yet, so that's a good sign.

So Thursday wasn't a whole lot of fun seeing as I was going on 5 hours sleep, but yesterday was cool. I went to church in the morning and then afterwards we had a one-day 'retreat' at the church. We just each went and found a quiet space to read and think and then in the afternoon we all got together to talk about what God had said to us. I've been on three retreats now, two weekend ones and this one, and I'm realising how much I need them. Each time I always feel like I don't really want to go, that I'm just going cos my mom helped organise it, because I should go, etc. But when I get there and it starts I'm always so grateful that I'm there, and I realise that I'm there because God wanted me to be there. And each time I promise myself (and God) that I'm going to be better at doing daily Bible study from now on. But it never works that way, other stuff always gets in the way. That's why it's so important to go on a retreat regularly, at least once a year, but probably more than that if possible.

Then in the evening we went to Athlone to see a performance of Handel's Messiah. It was fantastic! The church it was in was incredible, it looked more like a concert hall than a church surprisingly (Athlone is one of the slummier parts of Cape Town, not the sort of place you'd expect to find a place with marble entrance halls and theatre-style seats). The performance itself was just brilliant. It was a collaboration between the church's (frankly huge) choir, which was way more professional than our little choir will ever be, and Stellenbosch University's symphony orchestra. The four soloists were amazing (I'm running out of symonyms for 'fantastic') and they were all really young: three of them were my age and the soprano, who was the best of the lot, was only 23.

The coolest part was of course the "Hallelujah" chorus. Everybody stood up, as is tradition (yay for quirky high-culture conventions!), and it was thrilling. I've been humming it ever since... :)

This morning I had to work, but this afternoon I've just been relaxing: I had a long nap, helped my mom in the garden, read a bit. I've basically given myself the weekend off to catch up with my reading. I'm reading about 5 books at the moment and I need to try get through them as quickly as possible. There's quite a lot of pressure at work to read a lot, both from management and from the customers, who seem to need someone to hold their hand while they choose their books (people, if you're worried about spending money on something you might not enjoy, here's a tip: there's a place you can go where you can try out as many books as you like without paying a cent. It's called a library. Say it with me folks: LIBRARY. Give it a try). I actually had one woman tell me she wanted someone else to help her after I told her that I hadn't had time to read any of the new releases as I'm writing a thesis. Like she's going to find anyone who's read every single book in the store.

So today, tomorrow and Monday I'm going to try get three books finished so that I can move on to something new. And from Tuesday I need to start on my Literature Review draft.

Sorry for the lack of commenting. I do still read my friends page pretty much every day and I love knowing how you all are doing, but I seldom have time to comment much :(

Movie memeCollapse )

Ooh, here's a shocker:

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Artistic Nerd
Social Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Drama Nerd
Anime Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace

Why I might never finish my thesis...

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

("Leisure" by W. H. Davies)

Book news

One of the many advantages of working in a bookshop is that you hear about all sorts of weird book-related news that might not make it into the mainstream media. Here's an interesting titbit I heard about today:

The shortlist for the 2007 Lulu Blooker Prize has been released!

"The Lulu what Prize?" you ask.

Blooker. As in blook. You know, a book that started out as a blog, of course.

The prize was first awarded last year and the winning book was Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell. It sounds like quite an interesting book - Ms Powell set out to try every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Childs' book Mastering the Art of French Cooking - all in one year. Not something I would try myself (even if I wasn't culinarily disabled), but I wouldn't mind reading about someone else's attempt.

The cool thing about this year's award is that one of the short-listed non-fiction books is South African - So Close: Infertile and Addicted To Hope by Tertia Albertyn. I haven't read it yet but I've seen it in the shop a lot. Maybe I'll give it a try some time, although I have to say the subject matter doesn't really interest me at this stage.
There's also another PostSecret compilation, and a bunch of other interesting books on this year's shortlist, which you can check out here.

And while I'm at it, more book news (this time only relevant to peeps in the Western Cape):

This May will see the first literary festival in Franschhoek!

There'll be a whole bunch of interesting authors there. I really hope I'll be able to go, even if just for a few hours. Franschhoek is always fun anyway (one of my favourite second-hand bookshops is there, need I say more), but Franschhoek full of writer-types = Squeee!

This is a subtle hint to mjvr83 and lolif to keep the weekend of 11-13 May open...


New community!

Awesome new community found via anglophilic:

I just finished PS, so I'm currently ahead of schedule, which is good as I have lots to read over the next few months and very little time to do it in (%@#$ thesis *grumble grumble*). I've printed out the very cool reading schedule calendars to stick up next to my bed. I'm such a nerd.

Oh, and they have a poll to find out more about who's taking part. Apparently there aren't any Harry Potter fans in Africa as Africa was not an option in the "where do you come from?" question. So I whined at them (but only a little). I know we're not majorly important in the great scheme of things and therefore easy to forget, but there are Africans on LJ and in the HP fandom. Sometimes people just need reminding :(


What with all the llama love on my flist right now I feel the need to join in and point out to those who haven't seen it yet, this awesome combination of the Llama song and Badger Badger Badger:

All your base belong to us, Numa Numa Yay

(And, trying to find the above link again, I came across these chuckle-worthy Potter lyrics to be sung to the tune of the Llama song: heh heh).


my giant footprint...

This is bad. Very bad. I took a quiz to find out how large my ecological footprint is, and it's ginormous!

Here are the results (they don't give you an HTML code, so it doesn't look very pretty, but I guess that's not the point of this particular quiz):







Because everyone else is doing it...

I'm jumping on the bandwagon: Meme create by and stolen from nimnod.

Gettin' to know y'all meme

Where do you live? (country and city)
Cape Town, South Africa

What do you like best about LJ? (e.g. meeting new ppl, the fandom stuff, a way to waste time at work, etc)
Fandom stuff, making new friends, and keeping up with old friends

What do you do with your time? (if you're studying, what level and whats subjects and where, and if you're working, at what and where)
I'm sort of working on a Masters thesis in Applied Language and Literacy Studies, looking at the big 'language debate' at Stellenbosch university. What I actually do is read, surf the internet, bookcrossing stuff, watch dvds, dream about what I'm going to be when I grow up, etc, etc.

Cat-person or dog-person?
Dogs all the way

Harry Potter - love it or hate it?
see icon

Got a driver's licence?
Got it on my second try not long before my 22nd b-day

Religious? If so, what?
Christian, non-denominational although I attend a Calvinist church.

Favourite alcoholic beverage (or non-alcoholic if you're teetotal)?
Savanna (dry cider)

Favourite movie and why?
Can't choose just one, depends on my mood and what I've seen recently

What sort of thing do you like listening to, musically?
Lots of different stuff: rock, pop, classical, oldies, celtic, christian rock...
So long as it's not thumpy or screamy - I prefer mellow, melodious type music with intelligent lyrics (if any).

Biggest fear?
being insignificant, wasting my potential/life, failure

One weird fact?
Can't think of any I haven't already written about.

Geek/nerd/jock/other (specify)?
Dork *sigh* It's sad, but I've accepted this about myself.
Also a nerd, which is much easier to deal with :)

Favourite book?
Again, no way can I pick just one

Single/married/dating/not interested in romantic relationships with others?
Single, currently too busy/apathetic/stressed to be looking

reading, movies, bookcrossing, swimming, history

Favourite chocolate?
Those awesome Lindor balls (rather expensive unfortunately) are the best chocolate on the planet, otherwise Cadbury's. Hmm :)

Things that make you happy?
My dogs, good books, time to myself, pretty clouds, doing interesting stuff with friends, sunsets, well-written fanfic, being part of something bigger than myself, a nice warm comfy bed on a stormy night

Cheese is ____.
yummy, so long as it's not multicoloured or too runny. In the world of cheese, normal is better.

If you could have a super-power it would be?
Invisibility or apparition

Tattoos are ________?
forever :(


Somebody shoot me! I just bought more books :( R110's worth of books. But they were cheap, second-hand books so I got 6 books for my money (actually 5 as one was thrown in for free because it was falling apart). Yay for charity book stalls! Boo for not having enough time to read the books I already have (how am I ever supposed to finish my thesis or hold down a full-time job with so many books to get through? Don't people understand that I have priorities?!).

So after my book splurge, I now have a grand total of R70 to my name. I've been looking around on Biz Community for a suitable job but there's not much that's right for me. I think part of the problem is that all the sorts of jobs advertised there are in a corporate environment, which is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. If I'm going to be working as an editor or researcher I want it to be for an organisation that's making a difference in the world, that's concerned about more than just its profits (unless of course we're talking about Exclusive Books, that's a whole other ball game ^-^). The type of job I'm looking for doesn't generally get advertised on the internet, I don't think.

Summer School has been lots of fun so far, I'm learning a lot. I finally understand the Great Pluto Fiasco. And I have to say, I now think they made the right decision. I'm sorry, I know a lot of people here don't agree, but really, demoting Pluto was the best thing to do. Btw, the lecturer told us that at the end of last year the phrase "to be Plutoed" was voted the best new phrase of 2006, or something like that. (I can't remember which organisation it was that did the voting, it was some language 'watch-dog' in the US.) Hee hee, you gotta love the creativity of the English language!

This morning I started the Children's Lit course. We covered the period from the invention of the printing press (when there was no fiction specifically for children), through the Puritan movement which printed very didactic and disturbing books meant to scare children out their sinful nature (there's one historical era I'm glad I missed out on!), to the mid-1800s, when Romantic writers started writing stories for children's enjoyment, like Alice in Wonderland and The Princess and the Goblin. And then we focused on The Water Babies, which turns out to be a whole lot more interesting than I had thought. Will have to read it again. This afternoon I'm starting The Canterbury Tales, can't wait!

This evening lolif, mjvr83, another friend and I are going to Maynardville to see the Shakespeare. This year it's Romeo and Juliet. I'm looking forward to it, I haven't been for a couple of years and it's always good fun.


Exploring Facebook...

How odd. I found two of South Africa's Olympic gold medal-winning swimmers, Roland Schoeman and Darian Townsend on Facebook. They each have 300+ friends. I wonder if they'd even notice if I added them..? :P

I didn't see Ryk Neethling (yummy!) there, but perhaps I just need to look around more. Hmm.. :)

Book rambles

Book survey, stolen from scotjules

1. One book that changed your life?
Emotionally Free by Dr Grant Mullen. Literally changed my life as it made me accept that anti-depressants aren't actually the spawn of Satan (unlike that pesky Harry Potter) and that it's ok for a Christian to be in therapy. So yeah, good book :)

2. One book you have read more than once?
I sometimes get 'cravings' for a certain book - I get flashbacks of scenes from that book that just keep getting worse until I actually read the thing again. Two such books are The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson (hugely underrated!) and The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (lovely! Read it if you haven't yet!).

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
It would have to be long and complex (wait, how long am I going to be on this desert island?), so something like LotR, or The Name of the Rose.
War and Peace? LOL, maybe if I'm going to be on the island for a very long time! :P

4. One book that made you laugh?
Both the books I've read this year have made me laugh: A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby and a little "Jeeves" extract booklet. Both good fun :)

5. One book that made you cry?
I don't think I've cried over a book for years, but one that made me cry when I was a kid was Little House on the Prairie, when the dog 'drowned'. I was devastated and almost didn't want to finished the book. I'm glad I did! :)

6. One book you wish had been written?
One I wish will be written is a Marauders backstory book. If JKR could just give us a book (or seven) about how they met, how they made the Map, how they became Animagi, and all their pranks and adventures at Hogwarts, that would totally make my century!

Also, I wish Jane Austen had written more. Or had been able to finish all the books she started, like Sanditon.

I'm sure there are others but I can't think of them now.

7. One book you wish had never been written?
American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. I had to read it for English 3 and it made me feel physically sick. It also left me with some mental images I could do without :{

8. One book you are currently reading?
The Kite Runner and HMS Surprise. Was going to try finish the former before starting the latter, but I couldn't resist (despite it not being on my January TBR list) :P

9. One book you have been meaning to read?
LOL, just one? See pics below...

I took photos of some of the many books I need to get through this year. Since taking these photos I have actually acquired even more books (yay, HMS Surprise arrived! I also bought a second-hand Andrea Camilleri, he's supposed to be really good). Fortunately most of these books are for Bookcrossing purposes so they will eventually be going off on their respective journeys, but first I need want to read them, and that's going to take a while.

So I'm posting the pics, because I know you all care :)

Books, books everywhere!Collapse )

And finally, there was a really cool question on the Bookcrossing forums some time ago:
What is your 'book nemesis' - the book you've tried and tried to read but have yet to finish, the one you are determined to defeat one day?
Mine is Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness. I've tried reading it about 4 times and the furthest I've got so far is the bit when he first arrives in the Congo (i.e. not very far at all). But one day, one day I will conquer that book! I will, I will!


Oh, and another thing...

In December I got a R50 gift voucher from Kalahari.net. So after much deliberation I finally decided to get HMS Surprise, the third book in the 'Master and Commander' series. Very exciting! I've been looking for it everywhere for months but it hasn't been in any of the local libraries or bookhops. It should arrive in a few days.
Unfortunately I've already made my list of 'books to read in January' and I forgot to make space for this one, so it'll have to wait till Feb. But I'll probably just sneak it in somewhere before then anyway.

Also, I'm going to reread one HP book a month starting now (yes, PS is on my 'books to read in January' list). And it seems the Leaky Cauldron Forums are doing the same thing, which is cool. I'll bet they'll have some great discussions. But to be honest I doubt I'll have the time to read much of what's going on there. Still, anyone want to join me?


My first proper post of 2007 (I have posted a new reading list for this year, but that doesn't really count).

Happy Belated New Years, everyone!!

I've had a pretty uneventful year so far. New Years Eve I stayed home with parents and grandparents and watched videos. I've never been much of a New Years person (like jtmulc I don't really see the point) and I'm certainly not a big noisy, crowded party person, so I generally just do something very chilled with family.

Then on New Years Day I got into a spring cleaning mood and cleared out a whole lot of stuff so that now you can actually see a bit of my carpet. Progress! There's still a lot to do though, but I'm tired of feeling claustrophobic inside my own bedroom (I'm a pack rat, especially when it comes to paper, books, magazines, etc) so I'm going to try and keep at it until things are a bit more manageable.

Last night we went to see Stomp, which was very cool. It's a dance/percussion show where the performers make music using only 'instruments' like bin lids, plungers, brooms, rubber tubes, match boxes, etc (everything including, literally, the kitchen sink) and their bodies by clapping and stamping. It was very clever and also very funny.

I was thinking on New Year's Eve about how at the beginning of each year I always feel all excited. Like 'this a whole new beginning' and 'this year I'm going to make something of my life', yadda yadda... and that feeling always fades after about a week or so and then it's all same old same old until the next New Years. And then I thought how stupid that is. Because there's no reason for January 1st to be a 'new beginning' any more than any other day of the year. Why should I feel inspired and driven in January but not in August? And then I thought, if I could have that feeling not just at the beginning of every year, but also at the beginning of every new month, or week, or (dare I say it) day, then how much more interesting would my life be? Well, probably not a lot, as I'm the type of person who doesn't really act of feelings of inpiration and ambition. But if I did act on them, then that would be something.

So I've decided that, since a month is a manageable block of time, at the beginning of each new month I'm going to make a list (a realistic one) of the things I want to get done that month (including books I want to read, but mostly things like projects that I started years ago that I never finished, a pile of junk in my room I need to sort through, that sort of thing) and then I have to do them before the end of the month. I've already got a little to-do list that I update regularly, but it's so vague in terms of time, that most things just get put off and put off. And I tend not to think about how quickly time goes by, but a month is a long time and if you get started with things at the beginning you can get a lot done. So that's what I'm going to try this year. I thought about posting the list here at the beginning of each month and then crossing things off as I do them, but that'll be too much of a chore - it's easier just to do it on paper.

And resolutions? I don't make proper resolutions (besides my annual "be better at staying in touch with people", which never works) cos I know they never last long, but I do always have vague ideas of things I'd like to try to do. This year (besides the aforementioned yearly staying in touch thing), I want to:
* Finish my thesis and get my masters degree
* Get a decent job that's got actual prospects and is going to give me the possibility of moving out of my parents place some time before the age of 50
* Get through my To Be Read pile (piles, plural, to be more accurate). I was going to take photos of my many TBR piles so you can understand the urgency of this resolution, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe I'll post those later.