pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
I discovered an Agatha Christie book I'd never read and I'm enjoying it so much. I'm at the part where the second murder has just happened and the detective has all the information but it's in a jumble of red herrings, and everyone is acting suspiciously but PROBABLY just because they're bartering fresh butter and don't want to talk to the police about their evasion of the post-war rationing, and I haven't a CLUE who did what and why. This is my favourite part of the murder mystery experience and I sort of want to stop here or read just one paragraph a day and stay deliciously tantalised forever.

Puzzling and puzzling all day at work about it: maybe the young distant cousins of the inheritor of the large fortune are *plot details from the middle of A Murder is Announced, but not the end* )

My ebook copy seems to have had a few OCR glitches creep in. Most obviously, the title is down as "A Murder is Announces" even though it's "Announced" on the cover image. There was a bit of misplaced punctuation which made it look as if someone's husband's name was Sonia. The best mistake, repeated twice, was when the masked man entered the drawing room "nourishing a revolver".
pebblerocker: Mary Bennet frowns: "I should infinitely prefer a book" (I should infinitely prefer a book)
My library asked me to do a survey and it was all going nicely until I got to question 10: Do you think it's important for people to have access to a library? [yes/no] Why?

Because people need AIR. And PARKS with TREES in them. And LIBRARIES DUH. Should I answer this question as if explaining to a three-year-old who asks "Why do we breathe?" I should probably answer as if explaining to a soulless public servant who is looking for ways for the government to save all that money it had to use up on tax cuts for rich people. I don't know how to answer.

I haven't actually been to a library for quite some time because I'm going through a phase of re-reading books I have in my house in order to prove that I need to have them. Later this month there's a book sale on and I have already arranged for a day off work specifically so I can go. I have also donated THREE whole books to the sale to make room for the AT LEAST TWENTY that will come home with me. I can't wait.
pebblerocker: Mary Bennet frowns: "I should infinitely prefer a book" (I should infinitely prefer a book)
It's international book week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52, post the 5th sentence. Don't mention the title. Copy the rules as part of your post.

"But I don't like all the sleuthing you do."

(I think you can guess the genre, at least. I have a whole shelf of these, very nearly the whole series, in rather shabby condition.)
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
1. I like my dentist, he's very cool. He's really into his subject and loves talking about it, a bit of an Adrian Anorak only more personable. After my check-up he was telling me all about different types of bacteria that exist in the mouth and why some cavities progress faster than others, and I was really interested in it, I was fascinated by fun science. If only it was fun science that didn't have Lots Of Pain as a consequence.

2. I like gaming with other women! My guild used to have lots of women when I joined, women moderating and mentoring and women just playing. With attrition the active playerbase has gone down over the years (the game's ten years old after all) and for the last couple of years I've been gaming in several overlapping groups in which I'm the only woman, and I know of one other woman playing on the same server whose sessions don't usually overlap with mine. Now, with the release of Diablo 3, there's an influx of new players; I'm playing regularly with the niece of a long-time D2 friend, I had a game with an LJ friend this week, and there are more women around in my guild which is GREAT. I want there to be even more.

3. I like Scrapheap! We're watching the first series, before it became Scrapheap Challenge and got a new format and more money for sets and a different pair of teams every week and semi-finals. In the first series Robert Llewellyn is the only presenter and there are only two teams, trying to win the most challenges by the end of the series. I love that it's low-budget and doesn't care. I love how everything is dirty and they eat lunch with greasy hands and wear grubby grey uniforms. I love Anne the hovercraft champion and I love Major Dick's moustache. I love all the welding and bashing things. I love that it doesn't try to hype everything up and make you wait two ad breaks to see anything interesting happen like some shows I could mention, it's actually exciting and doesn't need hype because everyone just wants to see which tractor is strongest and whether the trebuchet will work better than the mangonel.

4. I like not being at work. I had to work 6-day weeks for a year due to constant ongoing staff shortages and it was really hard and I was getting depressed because I never had the energy to do anything fun. They've finally managed to hire two new people and I haven't been needed to work at all for a month, which is longer than I'd normally like to be away from work but since I've been overworked for so long I'm really happy about it. I haven't exactly been an explosion of industry and making the house perfectly tidy and writing all the stories I never got around to and being organised etc, but I am doing a little gardening and reading a lot and I'm able to do fun things that also need physical effort rather than having to save up energy to get through work. And my strained wrist is recuperating nicely.

5. I like reading the same books my mother is reading, working our way through a series together and swapping books back and forth and going to the library to collect books for each other and talking about them. I'm amused when she's read a book and I'm partway through and I say I don't think things will go as well as Certain Character hopes and she just says Hmmmm.
pebblerocker: Mary Bennet frowns: "I should infinitely prefer a book" (I should infinitely prefer a book)
I started reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini. A friend lent it to me PROMISING that although the movie fulfils all expectations and is amply as bad as reported, the book is actually all right. I heard the same about Twilight and got a few chapters in before the story made me feel so physically sick I couldn't keep going, so I went into Eragon with similar expectations and in contrast I'm being pleasantly surprised in some ways.

I intend to go on at some length, so a cut goes in about here. All spoiler-free.Read more... )
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
You have to think carefully when going shopping on a pushbike. I'd looked over my shopping list and decided that what was on it would fit into my bag, but only if I went past the library and dropped off my books first. Dropping off books turned into "just" having a little look around inside the library, which turned into "just" seeing if there was anything interesting withdrawn on the sale trolley, which resulted in three books from an exciting military SF series coming along with me. Then I couldn't fit my shopping into the bag on top of them. Lucky I had a calico bag folded up small and it didn't rain hard enough on the way home to make my new stories soggy.
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
I'm reading Pride and Prejudice and I discover that last time I read it was so long ago I can't remember the plot at all. I have memories of Kitty and Lydia going OMG OFFICERS and of Mrs Bennett babbling on and I know who Lizzy marries in the end, but other than that all I can remember is gratuitous Colin Firth in wet clothes, which I don't think was actually in the book.
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
Proof-reading a three-part epic fantasy novel can't be an easy job, especially with lots of character names and frequent words in made-up languages. I could pick the point at which the proof-reader said sod this, I'm going to the pub - it was a big clue when the main character's name was mis-spelt. In the last chapter or two there was barely a page without a mistake; it's a great story but it's getting difficult to decipher. Who said what, which lines were transposed, where did they say they were riding to next?

This being an older book (The Chronicles of Morgaine, C J Cherryh, 1976-79), the many errors are all typesetting ones. I find that a lot easier to put up with than recent books I've come across that appear to have been put through a spell-checker instead of proof-read, or ones where the best efforts of the publishing house have been unable to cover up the author's basic illiteracy.
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
My sister lent me a stack of Georgette Heyer novels to read and I'm working through them with a surprising amount of enjoyment. Recently [livejournal.com profile] jekesta talked about how having low expectations of media portrayals of women makes watching films a bit more enjoyable, because of the chance of being pleasantly surprised. These books were published between 1926 and 1940 and are set a couple of hundred years earlier, so I wasn't expecting much... but some of the characters are actually somewhat cool. The heroines are always getting kidnapped and rescued again, and end up redeeming the man (who isn't always old enough to be her father) by warming his cynical heart and becoming the first person he's ever cared about apart from himself. But they do say what they think and take actions which are important to the plot from time to time... and I enjoy reading about them. I've almost given up on trying to find new books to read or giving a new author a go because there have been so many disappointments, so many stories I can't be bothered finishing because I don't care what happens to any of the stupid people in them. Genuinely likeable characters are a wonderful thing to have in a story and more authors should try them out.

My partner is currently reading a book a friend lent him and it was so exciting he had to tell me about it: "There's a canister of antimatter hidden under the Vatican and they have to find it before the battery goes flat and it explodes!" And he's only a third of the way into the book. What's the climax going to be? How is the author going to top that? I'm not going to find out because I'm not going to read it. Blowing up the Pope just isn't enough to hold my interest; I need something in a story that makes me want to find out what happens next and care about how the situation is solved. Good writing and good characters do that for me; an escalating series of meaningless explosions doesn't.
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Put an asterisk next to the books you'd rather shove hot pokers in your eyes than read.
5) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them ;-)
Read more... )
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
The book sale this weekend wasn't as big as last year's, but it was still most enjoyable. Being able to get all the way around all the trestle tables in an hour and be sure I'm not missing anything amazing is a good thing, really; with limitless books to look at I keep going until I collapse from hunger and neck strain.

The haul:
The Wind's Twelve Quarters by Ursula LeGuin - a short story collection

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin: First Man in Space by Wilfred Burchett and Anthony Purdy - with 32 pages of illustrations! Published 1961. Should be very interesting.

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin - I've heard about this book and had to snatch it up. The author is a white man who turned himself black through the magic of make-up and ventured into the southern United States to experience racism first-hand.

The Frightful First World War and the Woeful Second World War by Terry Deary and Martin Brown, one of the Horrible Histories series. I like to borrow these (and the Murderous Maths ones too) from my little brothers. They're highly educational and have the added attraction of describing practically everything as "pants".

And half a dozen Fighting Fantasy gamebooks - paperbacks were going at five for a dollar, so I brought them home and can recycle them through next year's sale if they're no good. I am most frustrated by having misplaced Citadel of Chaos just as I thought I had figured out how to get past the hydra; maybe a pile of new adventures will console me.
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
I'm putting EVERY book I read on the book list, not just ones that make me look cool. Up until now it hasn't been hard to keep to that plan, but it's tempting to leave a couple out of this lot.

I See Red: the shocking story of a battle against The Warehouse by Judith Bell
Bell's gas cylinder company was bankrupted by The Warehouse pulling out of a contract and engaging in some shady dealings against her. Turns out their commitment to NZ-made products is mainly hot air. It was an interesting read and explained a few concepts I hadn't managed to pick up by osmosis (economics is not on my exciting subjects radar). Also I now have an idea of what people are talking about in all those discussions about Wal-Mart: that's what The Warehouse is imitating.

Tapestry of the Boar by Nigel Tranter
I read every Tranter book I can get my hands on. He's written about ninety of them, all set in Scotland at various historical periods. This one was set in the twelfth century, a nice change after reading several about Mary, Queen of Scots and James I. The monarch of the time was Malcolm IV, who comes across as a bit of a soft king, not a good leader and in poor health for much of his reign, but a nice young chap anyway and good at founding hospitals and monasteries.

Daja's Book and Briar's Book by Tamora Pierce
The Circle of Magic series is really enjoyable. I think the quality of writing has improved since the Alanna books. Now I've finished these I can carry on with the same characters, whom I rather like, in The Circle Opens.

Six Cousins at Mistletoe Farm by Enid Blyton
My mother was getting rid of a pile of books and I wanted to go through them before they were biffed. All the Enid Blytons were in the pile, so I rescued them. Can't get rid of all the Famous Fives! I did pass on the Secret Sevens, I never enjoyed them as much--too many characters in such short books, couldn't remember who was who and most of them didn't get a chance to develop personalities. There were assorted other Blytons in there too, including Six Cousins--plenty of character development in this one, despite the six major characters. Jolly good!

Six Cousins Again by Enid Blyton
The cover pictures for these two are in a very different style to the illustrations inside; they must have been done for the 1987 reissue. This one's cover shows a smashing Christmas dinner scene with silly hats, crackers, nuts in the shell and a big flaming Christmas pudding, and on the table is a little toy car, obviously from one of the crackers. Looking closely I saw that it was Noddy in his yellow car!

Learning the Ropes by Eric Newby (Author's name apt for the title?)
In 1938 Newby sailed around the world in one of the last commercial sailing ships, a steel four-master on the grain trade between South Australia and the British Isles, at the time the largest sailing vessel in the world. He was on board as an apprentice seaman, and found time to take wonderful photos when it wasn't his watch. The book is full of black and white photos of sails and rigging, decks and high seas, crewmen relaxing and crewmen working two hundred feet up the mast.
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
Invader by C J Cherryh
I used to think books with overly politicky plots were too much hard work for entertainment. Too many characters to memorise, each with their factions and affiliations and reasons for plotting against each other. I still have to be in the right mood for it, but Cherryh does the political story so well. And with aliens and spaceships and linguistic interestingness! I really enjoy a well-written alien society.

The Woman who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness book 3) by Tamora Pierce
I might have read this book before. Just once or twice, maybe a little more. It was on the library's withdrawn books trolley for a dollar, can't say no to that. Probably enjoyed these books more when I was eleven, but they're still good now, and it's interesting to re-read them now and see how my interpretation of them changes.
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
It looks like a lot, but I've been reading short books lately. And I've been saving them up until I had time to write something about each book, rather than just listing the titles.
Read more... )
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
I've always wanted to try that Googlism thing, where you type in your name and find out what the internet has to say about you. Trouble is I don't like to tell my real name to everyone on the internet... so we'll go with what I like to call myself instead.

pebble is worth it
pebble is neither very complicated or a mystery
pebble is crammed full of interesting stuff
pebble is one of the greatest picture books yet written
pebble is magic
pebble is no longer visible
pebble is as easy to use as an office printer
pebble is dispatched from rome to gaul
pebble is something else all right

And this year I'm going to keep a list of all the books I read, as I always do, but this time I'll share it with everyone instead of just keeping it in an exercise book. First book I finished this year--though I started it nearly a month ago--was Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff, a King Arthur story. This modern interpretation of King Arthur shows "no knight in shining armour, no Round Table, no many-towered Camelot"; instead, the solitary figure of one great man more real than legend. In this superb twentieth-century novel, Rosemary Sutcliff presents an Arthur shorn of his romantic trappings and seen again as the man he must have been. It was published in 1963; many older historical novels say more about the period when they were written than the period they're set in, but this story was fresh and real and didn't feel at all dated. I loved it.

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