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As soon as Phil Taylor left the Ally Pally with his mindboggling 15th world title the Alexander Palace was converted into the venue for The Masters Snooker, two colorful and atmospheric TV sports very welcome viewing in the horrible month of January. But the big name in the sport was absent, Ronnie O'Sullivan doing voluntary work on a farm in the New Forest in the crisp snow, playing some sort of gambit to be begged to come back by Barry Hearn. Whether Judd Trump can fill those big shoes in the coming years is for another day but it was his shoes that made the headlines here on day two, wearing a pair of bizarre looking things in his first match that looked more suited to Tom Cruise climbing those tall building s in Mission impossible than a snooker hall, a snip at two grand. They do say footballers should only wear gold boots when they have won a World cup or The Champions League. Trump is no Zidane. The week got underway with the news the BBC have secured the live TV rights to the big three tournaments of the World Championships, The Masters, The Worlds and the UK Championships until the 2016-17 season, the so-called triple Crown. More big news off the table since the UK Championships last month is the top 32 players will no longer be guaranteed an automatic place in the latter stages of most ranking tournaments, often given a bye to the televised stages to secure good ticket sales and TV rights. It's a risky strategy for bolshi Hearn as the older and married players are already 'narked' about the amount of snooker they have to play around the world to sustain their ranking that keeps them away from their family and this may see yet more oldies retire. The Masters has sold out the venue this year because that top 16 is on show and if the players drop out of events in protest it may all backfire for Hearn. Hearn's plan is clearly to race through younger and fresh faces to reinvigorate the game and so far most of the things he has done seem to be working. Apart from the World Championship, Australian Open and Shanghai Masters, all professionals will play from round one in the other eight tournaments in a tennis grand slam style 124 flat draw. Big names will almost certainly fall in the first round of these qualifiers played in sparse halls in holiday camps but the plus is they will get more prize money than they did in the last 32 if they do try and win though. All tennis grand slam winners have to win six rounds to maintain their ranking so why not in snooker? This, of course, will open the scourge of the pro golf and tennis tours, that of appearance money, some players earning more from that at events for just showing up than their finish. In golf and tennis many players agree to play and then tank in round one or two and still pick up their appearance money. I think Ronnie O'Sullivan has pulled out of the tour because Hearn won't let the sponsors pay the sports biggest star just to turn up. They will now. Day One... There is something about Chinese star Xiang Ding that never sits right with me. It wouldn't surprise me is he has something dark in his life and career that dictates the way he plays. He never smiles, can 'tonk' a century at will but never seems to be consistent after showing great promise as younger player winning the UK Championships in 2009 and the Masters in 2011. He should be Judd Trump but he is heading backwards to Mathew Stevens territory. Maybe the Triads decide which games he wins.lol. Sometimes it feels like that, the final frame decider defeat to defending champion Neil Robertson 5-6 was a surprise to say the least. 'Robbo' wanted so badly to win that match and punched the air when he clinched it, the defending champion. Ding is expressionless, win or lose. Maybe he just doesn't have the passion for the game of the Aussie in tight games? One day we will find out the mysteries of Ding. In the evening session controversial Mark Allen saw off this seasons surprise package in 42-year-old Mark Davis 6-2 to set up the exciting clash with Neil Robertson. Not surprisingly Allen s not keen on Hearn's 124 draw format and said so. Day Two... The shameless John Higgins and the always ill Ali Carter met for the first time ever in the Masters, also never meeting in the world championships, the surprise stat of the day. I never liked Higgins and once he was caught bang-to-rites over the match-fixing thing I always cheer the guys hard he is playing. Once you cross the line land mock your sport like that you should go away and never come back. Higgins has won the tournament twice and lost it twice and one of only six players to win it three times or more if he was to be victorious on Sunday. A scrappy 6-4 win here suggests it's not likely. Fellow Scot's Stephen Maguire and Graeme Dott bored the evening crowd with Dott wining out in the decider at 12:45am for 6-5. Day Three... Enter Judd Trump in only his third Masters, humiliated in the first round of last months UK Championship on the BBC by being beaten by minnow Mark Joyce and so determined to put on a show here. He is a good looking lad and the type Hearn wants to see dominate his sport and so, critically, bring in younger sponsors an fans, with accompanying ego, those shoes making the headlines this time, not his snooker. On the table and he is a bit of a one trick pony in that its all about taking on the long pots to get in and make the quick breaks, whereas when tied down lesser players inflict safety play on him to kill his rhythm. You can't win the world championship that way, as Jimmy White found out. Because of that open style players don't fear him as they did players like Davis and Hendry as they know they will get chances. Andy Murray now has that luxury of players rolling over to him in the early rounds in three sets of the slams as they don't think they can beat him anymore and so mental and physical energy is saved by the Scott. With Trump I don't think he will reach that awe and respect level and so will have to adjust his game and perhaps party a little less. It went to the final frame again, this time Barry Hawkins the little known name exposing Trumps weakness. At 5-3 to Hawkins it looked like more BBC egg on the face for Judd but the kid can play and reeled off two hundreds in frame nine and eleven and through to the next round, Hawkins amazing missed black in frame ten to let Trump back in to seal the match a real shocker. In the evening session Shaun Murphy saw off Ricky Walden 6-4 in scrappy match to set up his clash with John Higgins. Day Four... An all Welsh encounter dressed the table in the afternoon as two once top players are clearly on their way down the rankings and into oblivion, Mark Williams hardly practicing these days. With Mark missing everything and Mathew Stevens 4-1 up and an easy brown for 5-1, that indifference showed. But Stevens missed that brown and fell apart, Williams actually using the earlier frames to find some sort of rhythm and form in a poor match to win the next five frames, an amazing game. The way the players played is the reason why they are going down the rankings, the highest break of the match being 68. For the evening fare it was my pick Mark Selby (11-2) , who's square jaw and come to bed eyes have got the girls legs wobbling. It's interesting to note that the top four players in the world under Hearns reign are good looking young lads, brining back the glamour of the sport that used to draw in a big female audience. Selby was up against Mark Bingham, none of those things, a bloke who looks like he should be driving a fork lift truck in Redditch, but played some good stuff to look home and dry at 5-1. But we know equally matched players can't coast in best of elevens and once Selby got into the balls to go 2-5 the rhythm was back and it was soon 5-5, by then Bingham missing easy ones through nerves and Selby the favorite, closing it out 6-5, why he is world number 1 and Bingham is ranked 16th. ---Results--- Judd Trump (Eng) 6-5 Barry Hawkins (Eng) Shaun Murphy (Eng) 6-4 Ricky Walden (Eng) Mark Allen (NI) 6-2 Mark Davis (Eng) Neil Robertson (Aus) 6-5 Ding Junhui (Chn) John Higgins (Sco) 6-3 Ali Carter (Eng) Stephen Maguire (Sco) 5-6 Graeme Dott (Sco) Matthew Stevens (Wal) 4-6 Mark Williams (Wal) Mark Selby (Eng) 1-4 Stuart Bingham (Eng) ---Quarter Finals--- Day Five... For all Mark Allen's talk he has won only one tournament in his career and blags too much for his current ranking. But maybe its all about talking himself up and generating that negative publicity to get up for the big matches, going to a final frame decider with the more amiable and sensible Neil Robertson. These two were equally matched on form and it was only ever going be this way. Both had 92% pot success rates and whoever got in the balls on the final frame would win, Robertson the man with a century to win 6-5. To make that hundred he to escape from a tight snooker behind the yellow laid by Allen and he not only did that but potted a red over the pocket, a world and current Masters champion shot. The evening session saw another exciting match up, the always thinking and decisive John Higgins going against the positive Shaun Murphy, again a thrilling match. It would be Murphy who clinched it with a clearance in the 11th frame decider, Higgins leading 51-0 and a missing an easy black to let Murphy in for a thrilling 81 clearance. Murphy is on for the Triple Crown to add to his World and UK Championships. Day six... There could not be two different players in the game for the third quarter-final match up than Judd Trump and Graeme Dott. Trump is the handsome ladies man and rapid fire potter and attention seeker, Dodd the quietly spoken, squeaky voiced meticulous pro that sees every match with meaning and his life depending on every pot. Dodd knew that if you don't accommodate Trumps attacking game he loses interest and proved the case today, Dodd going 5-1 up in a poor match, incredibly with just one 50 break to his name, showing just how poor Trump was. Dodd wrapped it up 6-1 with a ton for his first Masters semi-final and Trump shuffled off to a bar to drown his sorrows. Trump reminds me of the up and coming rock band that has just been told that all the limo's, girls and swanky hotels come out of their pay packet, and not the record companies, and now is the time to get real to actually earn that glamour. The evening session saw Mark Williams's deterioration continue as he went 4-0 down at the interval to the immaculate Mark Selby, the Leicester boy needing to do little to earn that lead, 46 his top break. Just as Trump couldn't come back from 4 frames down this time nor could the Welshman, 6-1 and job done for Selby, the long drive back to Swansea in the snow for Williams. I don't think we will see him back next year, the first victim of the 124 qualifiers. ---Results--- Mark Selby (Eng) 6-1 Mark Williams (Wal) Judd Trump (Eng) 1-6 Graeme Dott (Sco) John Higgins (Sco) 5-6 Shaun Murphy (Eng) Mark Allen (NI) 5-6 Neil Robertson (Aus) Day Six... Three world champions and the favorite for Sheffield (Selby) dressed two exciting looking semi-finals. But the first was a walkover as Murphy never really looked at his best this week whereas Roberstson did, 6-2 to the defending champion. When Robertson is playing well he looks the best player in the game when Ronny is not around. The second semi-final saw the defending UK Champion Mark Selby go up against three time Sheffield finalist Graeme Dott, the ex world champion open in his battle against depression due to the death of his father and his wife's cancer. It was a really gnarly battle as a clearly off-color Selby couldn't get anything going against an equally ragged Dott, the table as equally inconsistent with players moaning all week about the roll and kicks. Dott had a brown for 5-1 but had been missing all night and so 4-2. Two frames behind was close enough and Gale slowed it all down to break Dott's minimal rhythm and it was 5-5, the final frame ending at 1:07am and Selby clinching it with a 70 break for 6-5. He will have to find a lot more to stay with Robertson. The Final Selby V Robertson As 1963 edged in the nation was snug for the final, set to be a belter, The UK champion verses the Masters Champion. 10 of the 37 finals so far had gone to a final frame decider. If Robbo won he would be one of only four gays to defend it where as if Selby won it he would be one of only four guys to hold three Masters Titles. But it was one-way traffic as Selby took an early lead 3-0 and was never really challenged by a passive Robertson. The Aussie got within two after the interval but the standard was poor all night as it has been all tournament without Ronnie and Selby clinched the title 10-6 at 12:46am. It was interesting to note that when fans have paid up front they will be in their seat come what may but if there's a day off work or taking the kids to school going for snow they will take it. And so on to Sheffield, Selby on for the Triple Crown, the current Masters and UK Champion going for all three, only four other guys doing that, Davies, Higgins, Williams and Davies...
This is a challenge set by Malu on Books... Question: What is your favourite genre? Answer: I absolutley LOVE books, i'll give any genre a try as long as the plot sounds interesting. My absolute favourite genre is historical, I like to learn something whilst i read. I also like fictional books as long as theyre based around true historical facts, the most recent book i have read like this is, Alexander Cordell's, 'Rape of the Fair Conutry,' which is about the devestation that the steel mines placed in the South Wales Valleys and the effect it had on its contryside and most important its people. Books about this time in the valleys are of great interest to me as it is the area that i am from and so will read anything that crosses my path that could unlock cerain secrets of my heritage. John bryne's 'Boy in the Striped pyjamas,' is a perfect example of my prefferred genre. I also enjoyed Jung Chan's, 'Wild Swans,' with is a true story about three generations of women within a chinese family, i love an intsight into other cultures. ______________________ Q: Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century? A: I loved Oscar Wilde's, 'Picture of Dorian Grey,' which was dark and very exciting, on the back of this i read Marlowes, 'Dr Faustus' and i would recommend you read both in succession as they compliment each other beautifully. I have also seen Wildes, 'Imporatnce of Being Ernest,' on stage. Being a Welshy i like reading Dylan Thomas, 'Under Milk wood,' the play, being favourite. I also liked Tess of the d'urbavilles, and various Charles dickens novels. I read Chaucer's Canterbury tales, which i didn't really enjoy but could fully apprieciate. When i was in school i read quite a bit of Shakespere, which i enjoyed: Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear. Im very interested in the theatre and have seen all of these in various adaptations over the years. ______________________ Q: Are you interested in thrillers? A: Um not really, i prefer true crime. The only book withn this genre are the physeudo-thrillers by Malcon Pryce, who has written a four-part book series set in Aberystwyth, ie Dont Cry for my Aberystwyth. I went to Aberystwyth University and so these books are a delight. _______________________ Q: What about horror stories? A: Im a bit of a scaredy-cat i love reading about ghosts and Gouls although i scare myself to death and so Ive had to stop reading these at bedtime. I enjoyed Mary shelley's 'Frankenstien,' that was truelly grumsome and horific. I also liked, 'The Ressurectionist,' By James bradley, that was about the things that surgeon in Georgian London had to do to further their knowledge of the human body. Ive also read true horror novels such as, 'Not without my sisters,' in which many adults recounted the horrors in which they faced after being born into a religious sex cult. _______________________ Q: Do you read science fiction? A: No i like fantasy novels such as the Chronices of Narnia, and those about ghots and ghouls but not space travel, sorry. ______________________ Q: How many Harry Potter books have you read? A: In short, none! I tried reading the first one but as a tru fan of Tolkien, I felt his style was bein copied, however I have watched the films and enjoyed them- maybe i'll give them a try one day. ________________________ Q: Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies? A: Im fascinated by the world of others, especally the stars; i dont mean semi-celebs like Jade Goody and Coleen. What i love is books about old time Hollywood, Ginger Rogers, Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor and my all-time favourite: Marilyn Monroe. I also love music biographies, my particular interest is in the History of Mowtown Records, specifically The Supremes. ________________________ Q: Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child? A: I loved all of Roald Dahl's books, favourite included, 'The twits,' 'Fantastic Mr Fox,' and of course 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' From i child i realised tha i loved very descriptive books whicch captavate you. As a pre-teen i loved all the books released by Jaqueline Wilson, which were so poigniant for that time time of my life. From then on, i couldnt stop reading, i loved 'The Ousiders,' by Susan Eloise Hinton, at this time i also got into acting and read a lot of plays, a favourite of mine that remains is Willy Russells, 'Blood brothers.' ________________________ Q: Have you reread these books as a grown-up? A: I was read, The Hobitt by J. R. Tolkein by my father as a child and absolutly loved how adventurous and detailed it was. I have re-read this many times, and it will always remian a favourite. Ive passed on quite a few a of my childhood books, which i regret but know they were going to be loved by someone else. ________________________ Q: Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you? A: Im on the search for that book that will change my life- havnt found iit yet. However, there are books that have influenced me, 'Ps I love you,' by Cecilia Ahern reminded me that life is for living and it is so important that you make the most of it as did 'The Notebook,' by Nicolas Sparks. 'The diving bell and the butterfly,' by Jean-Dominique Bauby is remarkable ( he wrote this whilst comletely paralysed apart from his left eye). _______________________ Q: Which are your favourite authors? A: Um i dont have definative favourites as i like to read books from a whole spectrum of authors, If im in a chick-lit mood I look out fron Cecila Ahern because her books arent the usual generic rromantic rubbish, they have something specail about them. Other than that give me a book regardless of Author and ill give it a go. ________________________ Q: Which book would you take with you on a desert island? A: Oohh this is a toughy- can i only take one??? Something inspiring, uplifting and encouraging; or something by Bear Grylls so i can survive. _________________________ Q: What is your attitude towards translations? A: I love reading books from other lands; translations give you and insight into the culture and secrets of the language. i read a lot of Welsh books and have a recent interest in books from china. 'The diving bell and the butterfly,' is a good one as is 'Love in the time of Cholera.' ________________________ Q: Do you buy your books/ get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them? A: All of the above- i prefer or buy books, whether theyre n ew or from a charity shop. I always intend on keeping my favourites to read again, but i will usually pass them on to a friend or my mother and vice versa. I do love library books, theres a certain charm about the smell of old books which i love. ________________________ Q: When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books? A: I would love to have beautiful hardback books and display them on my shelves. However, i travel quite a lot and it would be impractable to lg heavy books around so i tend to buy the cheaper, lighter version, which are usuallly dog eared, crumpled and discolured from being dropped in the bath a few times. ________________________ Q: Have you ever tried Audio Books? A: I have Disney classics such as te Lion King on Audio Book- does that count? No, i prefer o sit in silence get out a book and fall deep into the world im reading about. I have a short attention span so i think i would get distracted by something else if i put an audio book on. Although i know many people love them, such as my grandfather who has quite a few in his collection. ________________________ Q: Last, book you bought/read? A: A catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger- havnet finished yet, its a bit odd but im persevering! ================================= And finally a word from our sponsor: "This challenge was originally set by MALU, please join in, read other people's entries and pass the challenge on to another bookworm! Thank you for reading this review and i would be very greatful if you culd recommend any books you think i might like. Thanks xxx
I love reading always have done. Give me a book instead of TV any day not only can you take a book anywhere, you dont need to spend half an hour searching for the flippin control panel, do you? All I need is a bit more time at present to get through (a) all those unread volumes Ive bought over the last few years, (b) other halfs enticing titles, (c) some of the recommendations from fellow dooyooers. So here goes for this challenge set by MALU on Books: Question: What is your favourite genre? Answer: Biography, without a doubt. Sometimes historical/political/royal (but I draw the line at sycophantic or soap opera stuff about the contemporary royal family, Im more interested in the 18th and 19th centuries); sometimes literary/artistic/musical, though there again books about living persons tend to be unsatisfactory, usually as they have to err on the side of charity towards their subject. For that same reason I tend to read memoirs but rarely, though I loved Dennis Watermans Re-minder not only was he the star of one of my all-time favourite TV series, but he also had an interesting tale or two to tell. The last historical biography I read was Katie Whitakers Mad Madge, about a pioneering woman author of the 17th century. I also have a passion for browsing in biographical dictionaries. In my late teens, I could quite happily spend a whole afternoon in the school or public library immersed in the Dictionary of National Biography. That hasnt changed! ______________________ Q: Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century? A: I tend to feel I ought to read them, though they can be heavy going. I do quite enjoy the Brontë sisters, and loved Jerome K. Jerome, George & Weedon Grossmith, and so on. But going back to my answer for the previous question, I always like to know or find out something about the authors lives before I read their books. ______________________ Q: Are you interested in thrillers? A: I went through a phase years ago of loving thrillers, particularly Agatha Christie. After going off them for a while, Im finding my way back. I read a P.D. James recently and rather enjoyed it. Being a bit of an insular old thing, I prefer British to American. I recently read a Raymond Chandler, just to step out of the familiar territory a bit, and found it rather heavy going. _______________________ Q: What about horror stories? A: Might have guessed someone would have written biographies of Blair and Bush. Erm, being serious - I loved Edgar Allan Poes stories. Modern horror not quite me. Guess Im a tad too old-fashioned at times! Would you call Mervyn Peakes Gormenghast trilogy horror? Thats stretching things a bit, but I enjoyed that. _______________________ Q: Do you read science fiction? A: I liked H.G. Wells, but found it hard to get into more recent sci-fi. ______________________ Q: How many Harry Potter books have you read? A: Guilty secret none! Oh for 24 hours of staying awake for a week and Im sure Id rectify that one. ________________________ Q: Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies? A: Oh good. Ive answered this already. ________________________ Q: Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child? A: As a youngster, I adored the William books by Richmal Crompton, Anthony Buckeridges Jennings, and High Loftings Dr Dolittle. I know the latter is considered somewhat un-PC these days, but there we go. Oh, and the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis. I also went through this phase of being fascinated by the Caesars when I was about 11-12, and read Robert Graves I, Claudius and Claudius the God in quick succession, much to the amazement of the rest of the family. ________________________ Q: Have you reread these books as a grown-up? A: I sometimes read William stories again for a bit of light relief. Theyre timeless. Ive even acquired the odd few second-hand ones over the years, and must have something like 80% of the lot now. ________________________ Q: Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you? A: Ive written the odd book myself (well, not intentionally odd books, in a manner of speaking), and many of the titles I read when I was starting out as a writer myself influenced my style a good deal. But as regards books which might have, at the risk of sounding pretentious, made me a better person to be honest, I cant really point to any one in particular. _______________________ Q: Which are your favourite authors? A: I adore anything well, almost anything by P.G. Wodehouse, ever since having been introduced to the Jeeves and Wooster stories when I was 11. His plots are cheerfully predictable, like the proverbial comfy pair of slippers, but his style and turn of phrase are hilarious. Miles Tredinnick is another extremely funny writer; having made his name as a comedy writer for stage and TV, hes only written one novel so far, but I for one hope he writes more. Non-fiction, I tend not to have specific authors as thats more subject-driven, but I always enjoyed Theo Aronsons biographies tremendously. I have to come clean and admit that I met the man once, and remained in touch with him regularly for nearly 20 years, until he sadly died of cancer in 2003. ________________________ Q: Which book would you take with you on a desert island? A: I dont suppose a complete set of the Dictionary of National Biography would count! In which case, it would have to be a Jeeves omnibus. _________________________ Q: What is your attitude towards translations? A: Dont have any strong feelings on the issue, really. ________________________ Q: Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them? A: Space in our house being somewhat lacking (and even more so at present as we have had the builders in for nearly six months, with no end in sight), I rarely buy fiction. Purchases tend to be restricted to non-fiction, and stuff that I want to keep to refer to, or know Ill probably find useful for later writing projects and so on. Or else borrow them from the library I am a library assistant at a CFE, and regularly use the nearby public library (where I worked after leaving school) for research. ________________________ Q: When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books? A: Paperbacks are easier for portable reading, e.g. on a long coach journey. But I dislike having to open a new paperback too far, as it damages the spine so much. If its already old and tatty (and therefore not so pleasant to read), maybe careful handling doesnt matter so much! Hardcover books are much easier for keeping and referring to as they can be opened flat for working from. ________________________ Q: Have you ever tried Audio Books? A: No. ________________________ Q: Last book you bought/read? A: Im currently reading The Coastliners by Joanne Harris (belongs to and recommended by other half), and also dipping into The George Harrison Encyclopedia which I found remaindered in MVC Records a few days ago. ================================= And finally a word from our sponsor: This challenge was originally set by MALU, please join in, read other people's entries and pass the challenge on to another bookworm!
I like books. I hate it when people bend their spines or turn their pages in at the corners. I don't like using a bookmark. I don't trust them so I memorise the page number. I write in my books. Some people think that's bad... but if I get inspired by a book I have to make a note then and there. Where else but on my shelf could you find Ronnie and Reggie Kray next to Aristophanes? Right let the games begin ......... Question: What is your favourite genre? A: I don't have one really . I tend to go through phases of reading different genres. I often have three or four books on the go when I have the time to a) read them and b) go to the library. So this can in fact span genres. But I probably read true crime more than anything else , I suppose its the pseudo criminalogist in me. ______________________ Q: Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century? A: Yep and I try to re- read them as often as possible. I really love Jane Austen so I can re-read them til the cows come home which is odd because I hated Persuasion when I first studied it. I also have a Norton Anthology of English Literature which I dip in and out of all the time as it has some great poetry and prose in it such as Donne and Wilde. ______________________ Q: Are you interested in thrillers? A: As I have the annoying habit of reading the first page last it's a bit of a no-go for me. _______________________ Q: What about horror stories? A: I used to love King. I have read most of his books including the Richard Bachman stuff and I got to a stage where I just thought he became predictable. I have read a lot of Clive Barker too. I do genuinely love horror books but with my imagination I often find the more subtle stories plague me. _______________________ Q: Do you read science fiction? A: I have read a few of the Red Dwarf but that's it..... ______________________ Q: How many Harry Potter books have you read? A: All of them. Yes I know, I know but it's like a drug and I'm a bit in love with Ron Weasley.. ________________________ Q: Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies? A: Yes. I couldn't tell you who they were by really but I know that it has to be about a person I find really interesting. Those of you who read my opinion on Billy by Pamela Stephenson will know that I am quite hard to please. But yes, in general I have loved finding out about people like Vivienne Leigh and Lawrence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. I actively sought out more poetry by Ted Hughes after reading his biography. I like the fact that I can learn about people I admire from a book, rather than a computer which seems somehow more impersonal. ________________________ Q: Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child? A: I loved lots of Enid Blyton . Too many to list here and if I started I would feel unfaithful to the others. I collected a lot of Annuals and I also loved The Guinness Book Of Records. I read a lot of Nancy Drew, Judy Blume, Paula Danzinger and of course Roald Dahl. I was (and still am) obsessed with James and The Giant Peach and The Witches. I also had a Robert Louis Stevenson poem book which I was extremely fond of that included a poem about having to go to bed early and having no friends that used to make me cry. Once a Capricorn, always a Capricorn. When I was a teenager I loved the Adrian Mole books and had a huge crush on him. I am such a freak. Still that explains my dodgy taste in men. ________________________ Q: Have you reread these books as a grown-up? A: Yes of course I have. Except I lost my Robert Louis Stevenson one.... And I still love them. I re read ''Are you there God it's me Margaret?'' just last week because I bought it for 20p. I thought it was very sweet and I thanked the Lord that although I'm not ''stacked'' I have some breasts at least. Phew. ________________________ Q: Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you? A: Yep. I have been really influenced by The Road Less Travelled books by Dr Scott M Peck. I can't explain how. It just felt like I'd realised a lot about my mind, my soul and my life by the end of them all. I was also very influenced by The Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes as the book practically lives and bleeds love and regret. It made me realise that for whatever time I have someone in my life, be it friend or lover, life is short. _______________________ Q: Which are your favourite authors? A: Sue Townsend. Every single thing I have read has made me laugh. But I also love Virginia Andrews as the Flowers In The Attic series made me feel every human emotion. ________________________ Q: Which book would you take with you on a desert island? A: I would take the complete poems of Emily Dickinson as she was not only prolific but perhaps produced some of the purest poetry I have ever come across. If I couldn't take that I would take a colouring book and felt pens or those magic painting books. _________________________ Q: What is your attitude towards translations? A: Well I wasn't really bothered but then my best mate was french and she started pointing subtitle mistakes in films so then I started thinking that could be the case with books, so I try to get the recommended translations. ________________________ Q: Do you buy your books/ get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them? A: All of the above. I am in a bookclub with a group of friends. I do try not to steal them as a rule but I didn't return my books from my A level Classical Civilsation dissertation as we moved house half way through and I forgot, but I kept them rather than the shame of taking them back six months late, that has happened to a few library books too - don't grass me up ! I don't do it on purpose.________________________ Q: When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books? A I like both but I suppose I buy paperbacks mostly. I always think hardbacks look neater on my bookshelves though. ________________________ Q: Have you ever tried Audio Books? A: Not really but if you could get any read by Alan Rickman I would be more than willing. ________________________ Q: Last, book you bought/read? A: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime by Mark Haddon. I don't know quite what to make of it yet. ________________________ And finally :: "This challenge was originally set by MALU, please join in, read other people's entries and pass the challenge on to another bookworm! Thanks for reading and rating this opinion. "
****I didnt use Chuckleweb to sort the capital letters out....Dooyoo is just being......GRRRRR*** Living in London and spending a lot of time travelling on public transport gives me the pleasure of being able to switch myself off from the world and fulfil one of my favourite past times.... reading. I spend hours of my time reading, on the bus, on the tube, in the bath and in bed. Anywhere I can catch a few minutes to read my latest book you can guarantee I will be doing. Ive always loved reading, from being a very small child and reading 'The Famous Five' series and throughout my school years into adult life; books have always been a part of my life. So now, im going to attempt to do this challenge set by Malu on Books... Question: What is your favourite genre? Answer: Im one of those people who does not have a favourite genre, sad but true. I went to University and read English and History meaning I spent a lot of time reading a whole range of different genres. I have genres that I do not particularly like reading and tend to avoid. Recently I have found myself reading Chick-lit as it is now labelled and Biographies along the lines of "Hannah's Gift" which is very emotive and about a young girl who has cancer and it is a story of her young and tragic life which had me crying my eyes out because it was so touching and so sad. However, when it comes to choosing a book to read, sometimes I do judge a book by its cover and I am not ashamed to admit it. If it looks like it will bore the pants off me, then the chances are I will not buy it. They say in Politics that you have 30 seconds to grab sometimes attention and it is within those 30 seconds either someone will read what you have written or they will simply place it in the bin. I believe this is the same for books. So, for all budding authors out there, make the cover interesting or your destined for a long shelf life. ______________________ Q: Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century? A: Yes I do read the classics, again being an 'English stoodent' all those many years ago, well four of them to be precise, I had a reading list longer than my arm and I spent many an hour in high street book stores buying the £1 classics. Everything from The Bronte sisters to Charles Dickens I have read. Whether or not I enjoyed them is another story! ______________________ Q: Are you interested in thrillers? A: In short NO..... I would much rather just watch the accompanying film if I am total honest; well if it has one that is. If the film is good then I don't tend to want to read the book anyhow, I have never understood how people can read a book and then want to watch a film. I hated the film Bridget Jones Diary but I loved both of the books. _______________________ Q: What about horror stories? A: I do enjoy a good horror story yes. I have tried in vain to enjoy books written by Stephen King but he just does not do it for me. The film 'IT' was fantastic but I just cannot stand to read his books and have totally given up on them. I have enjoyed books by James Herbert but it has been a long time since I have read a 'decent' horror books or read a review about one, which has made me, want to go and buy it. I much prefer horror movies with lots of blood and guts being spilled everywhere :o) So if anyone knows of any decent horror books which will have me hooked then please let me know :o) _______________________ Q: Do you read science fiction? A: Well about as Sci Fi as I have every got is A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy which I loved. I took it on holiday with me to Ibiza and my then bloke and I spent a lot of time passing the book between ourselves because it was brilliant and he got bored of me constantly telling him what I was reading. However, science fiction is not a genre I would automatically opt for reading, but again if something grabs my attention from a review I have read then I will go and buy the book. ______________________ Q: How many Harry Potter books have you read? A: All of them and ive reread them because I am that sad. When I was given the first Harry Potter Book by my best friend I was rather insulted that she had bought me kids book for Christmas, well that is until I read the note "Don't scowl it isn't what you expect" and it wasn't, from there on in I was well and truly hooked. I have now read them all and am waiting impatiently for JK Rowling to get a move on with the next one because I want to read it. Im sorry people but I absolutely love Harry Potter books and I have got all the films on DVD and I have watched them many times over :o). ________________________ Q: Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies? A: I love reading about people's lives and I do spend a lot of my time reading biographies and autobiographies I have to admit. I was really surprised by Victoria Beckham's 'Learning to Fly' that I found truly fascinating. Not only is she married to one of the most stunning men on earth, but also at the end of the day she is a wife and a mother of two children who tries to make life as normal as possible for them and to me that really came across in her book. Okay, so she probably got someone else to write it for her because many of the words were more than one syllable. Ive also read Frank Skinners book, Billy Connelly, David Beckham and a whole host of 'famous people' but I also enjoy reading books about politicians and their lives, working in that field I am fascinated by their lives. I really enjoyed reading Alan Clarks diaries and as a huge Jeffrey Archer fan, I can recommend his diaries from being in Jail, which in my own opinion was fascinating. Then we come onto books like the Dave Pelzer trilogy and the books about real people and how they have all suffered in life and it is these books that im currently drawn too. ________________________ Q: Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child? A: I still have many of the books from when I was younger at my parents' house in boxes in the attic. I used to love reading the Chronicles of Narnia, I spent hours rereading those along with Enid Blyton's 'The Famous Five'. I also used to love books by Judy Blume, actually, I still do enjoy reading them and I always remember 'Forever' being banned from my school library because it contained 'sexual references' and if you wanted to read it, you had to have parental permission. Then there was the books by Roald Dahl and 'The Twits' still remains one of my all time favourite books, simply because Mr Twit reminded me so much of my form tutor Mr Johnson who used to pick his nose and then wipe it in his beard and Mr Twit always had food stuff and whatever else in his beard. As I got into my teens, my choice and taste in books shifted to the 'Point Horror' and 'Point Romance' series and I used to have every single book, which came out. Every time a new one came out from either series my Nan would buy a copy for me of one and my cousin Julie the new one of the series I didn't have and then I would spend hours reading it and then my cousin Julie and I would swap over. ________________________ Q: Have you reread these books as a grown-up? A: Yes when I went home for Christmas, I went into my room, I re-read a Point Horror book whilst laying in bed one morning, and it was rather scary I have to admit. It was called The Girlfriend by R L Stine. The basic plot of the story is Scott has this girlfriend called Lora who is a bit of a bunny boiler and wont let him move on with his life and she goes to the extent of threatening his life to make him stay with her. I can't remember reading this book the first time round, however it was rather scary and was full of lots of twists and turns plot wise and I really enjoyed rereading it. ________________________ Q: Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you? A: No, I can't say there is in all honesty. The one book I have read which affected me the most was 'Hannah's Gift' by Maria Housden and that is simply because it was sad to read about a little girl who has cancer at such a young age and the way she dealt with it was quite simply amazing. Once I started reading the book I couldn't put it down, even when I was really upset, I just had to keep on reading to the end. _______________________ Q: Which are your favourite authors? A: Susan Lewis is my all time favourite author, I came across one of her books free with a magazine many moons ago and since then I have bought every book she has written and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I also like Sarah Harvey, Martina Cole, Sheila O'Flanagan and Lesley Pearce, all of whom write 'chick-lit' themed novels. I tend to choose female authors over male ones when it comes to reading fiction, but when im reading biographies and autobiographies the majority of them are written by men. ________________________ Q: Which book would you take with you on a desert island? A: Depending on how long im going to be there then I would probably take The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy because I have not read them for ages and to be honest the films did not do them justice, so it is high time I re-read those. Otherwise, it would have to be the last Harry Potter book 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' and by that time, hopefully J.K Rowling will have pulled her finger out and finished the latest one, which I am impatiently waiting for. _________________________ Q: What is your attitude towards translations? A: Well I have never read anything in a foreign language other than my French and Spanish textbooks when I was at school and on recent holidays to Spain and Greece the menu's in the restaurants :o) So I probably would be able to read translations and I probably wouldn't ever want to read them anyway, but if it floats your boat then whatever. ________________________ Q: Do you buy your books/ get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them? A: Ah, im caught out here. I am a total obsessive when it comes to books; I just have to buy them new. I cannot bare the thought that someone else has read MY book before me. So whenever im in Tesco or a High Street bookshop and there is something that I fancy reading I simply buy it without a second thought. Now I suppose I should really be using a library in this day and age when they struggle against local councils to stay open due to the competition they face from supermarkets, the internet and high street bookstores, but they simply aren't convenient for me and that is the only reason, well other than the fact I hate other people reading a book before me, I don't use them. The one at the bottom of my road is shut one day a week and only open half days on Saturdays and I don't consider getting out of bed before lunchtime an option. ________________________ Q: When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books? A: I prefer paperbacks. They are easier to carry around and read when im travelling on a day-to-day basis, they fit in my bag and I can sit in the bath quite easily and read until the water goes cold. With a hardback, they weigh a tonne and are difficult to carry around and manoeuvre yourself around with them. However, if they are on offer in a shop and a paperback is not available I will purchase it for that sole purpose. ________________________ Q: Have you ever tried Audio Books? A: Yes, I have tried an Audio Book by Jeffrey Archer on my way upto Party Conference with a work colleague and I was bored to tears. Id rather pick up a book and read it myself and read until I have had enough or until ive run out of time and have to get on with other things. Audio books remind me too much of story time at school when I was made to sit on the uncomfortable story time mat and listen to some boring teacher who really didn't want to read the story anyway. Therefore, Sorry Audio Books are out for me. ________________________ Q: Last, book you bought/read? A: Adele Parks "Still thinking of you" was the last book I bought and read and it was totally absorbing and it took me just over 3 days to read it from start to finish. Description on the back of the book reads: "Tash and Rich are newly engaged and wild about each other. They can't wait to celebrate their wedding with their closest friends, all of whom have known each other since university, where they enjoyed a hedonistic whirl of parties, popularity, sex and success. But is fun really as easy-come-easy-go in your thirties as it was in your twenties? How do relationships change once you leave college and have to cope with real life? And what if the love of that life were to reappear now? As old, long buried passions are reawakened, the group realise that a lot can change in twelve years. And a lot can happen in seven days..." After reading that I had to buy the book and find out what happened. Im now reading "Olivia Joules and the overactive imagination" by Helen Fielding. ================================= And finally a word from our sponsor: "This challenge was originally set by MALU, please join in, read other people's entries and pass the challenge on to another bookworm! Thanks for reading and rating this opinion. "
As often happens with my husband and I, we were chatting. (oh yes we still talk!) And in the course of the conversation hubby mentioned the literary challenge he had d one over here on dooyoo and I thought it sounded quite funky....so here is my attenpt at answering these questions. Blame Mitnik -He made me do it or Blame Malu as these are her questions in the first place! Q: What is your favourite genre? Fantasy. Hands down it's got to be fantasy. I love escaping into a completely new world and being caught up in battles with inhuman beasts and evil warlords and such. There's so much romance, love and common sense in fantasy books. I Often read scenes and comments that I find very deep and/ore very practical and applicable to my life. That might just say something about my life though! Q: Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century? I have done and I will do but generally I don't pick them up for a relaxing read. I do enjoy Shakespeare and if you include the Bronte Sisters in with the classics I do enjoy re-reading wonderful books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights on occasion. Q: Are you interested in thrillers? Not immensely but I have read a couple. I read anything that catches my eye really. Q: What about horror stories? Not really no, but some of my fantasy books can be very gory and horrific in places. I am just not a big horror fan. I can't handle the images on the screen watching a horror movie so I doubt I could deal with the images my mind would conjure up as I have a very vivid imagination! Q: Do you read Science Fiction? Yes I do! I do enjoy Douglas Adams (who I'd place as a fantasy writer but a lot of his works are space orientated!)And I have read other science fiction books as I've seen them. Fantasy and Sci-fi were listed together in Stockport library and that is where I would get most of my books from so sci fi and fantasy books we're the main-stay of my teenage years! I think I am more inclined towards Fantasy as they tend to be set in earth-like settings. Q: How many Harry Potter books have you read? None and I really don't want to read any of them ever. Watching the films is bad enough! My hubby has read some of them and found them thoroughly uninspiring. I think there are far better children?s books out there for me to be reading as an adult than the overly hyped up Potter sagas! I have tried a few paragraphs here and there and JK Rowling bores me to tears. Sorry all you fans but I'll stick to Narnia and Prydain thank you kindly! Q: Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies? Ok here's a confession: I've read all the Cliff Richard biographies and Autobiographies and thoroughly enjoyed them! As a teenager I had the Ryan Giggs Autobiography and although I found it overly simple and not much of a challenge to read I did love the pictures! *chuckles* Q: Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child? Of course I do! The chronicles of Narnia(CS Lewis) , The BFG, The Twits (Roald Dahl) Meg and Mog books (HelenNicoll, Jan Pienkowski, ) The Prydain Chronicles (Lloyd Alexander) oh and many more :) Q: Have you re-read these books as a grown-up? Oh yes all of them and I still think they're fantastic! I re-read the Prydain Chronicles (including the Black Couldron) regularly. They are some of the best written fantasy books I?ve ever read. I just can?t get enough of Gurgi with his ?muching and crunchings? and his ?Poor tender head? I love to revisit the places I went to and the friends I made in my childhood. Some books are so well written that I consider the characters within their pages as friends. I know them so very well and they always accept me back even if I?ve been away for a long time. My daughter has recently discovered one of my old Meg and Mog books and we read it almost every night. So I think I will be re-reading these particular childhood favourites alot in the future! Q: Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you? Just one? Hmm I don't know if I can mention just one. So many books influence me in so many different ways. I mean the BFG showed me that there were ways to overcome bullies that didn't involve stooping (or growing in BFG's case) to their level. All the Gemmell Books I have ever read have shown me that you don't have to be super special, sinless and spot free to be a hero. Hero's are ordinary every day people in extraordinary situations. Q: Which are your favourite authors? David Gemmell, Terry Pratchett, Piers Anthony, JV Jones and my latest favourite is Adam Nicholls. I read his book "The Paladin" and was immensely impressed by it. All fantasy writers as you can see! I told you I enjoyed my Fantasy! Q: Which book would you take with you on a desert island? One book? EEEK! The whole Pratchett collection in one book. I would never, ever, ever get bored of reading them over and over! I love the myriad of characters and places and how they reflect real life so satirically. Q: What is your attitude towards translations? Well as I can only really read English and a spattering of French I like translations. You might miss a little not reading the book in it's original language but if you can't read that language at all you'd miss a lot by not reading the translation! Q: Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them? All of the above...though I can't remember stealing per se...but I probably have borrowed a book and forgotten to give it back on occasions. Naughty, Naughty me! Q: When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books? Paperbacks. I can't handle a big stiff hardback BOOK in bed. I need something smaller and more flexible. Yes I am still talking about books folks! Although flexibility in bed is a good feature in most things!!! Q: Have you ever tried Audio Books? I have a couple of times. I listened to one of Terry Pratchett's books read by Tony Robinson and enjoyed it but I do prefer to read a book as I can hear the right voices in my head for people! I also listened to Othello on Audio book and found that very helpful for my A-level. It's nice to hear a script read out loud. My younger sister enjoyed listening to it as well and as such now realises she quite likes Shakespeare. This is Malu?s Literary Challenge! If you fancy having a go accredit the Questions to Malu?they?re all her doing!
DISCLAIMER - Please note that this joke is not intended to be in any way offensive (I have edited it a little to remove any parts that I thought may bother some members). I know of many people who have read this, and not one was offended, so I decided it was safe to post on dooyoo. It is just intended to be funny. Or as funny as anything coming from me can be, anyway. - Woman: a chemical analysis Element: Woman Chemical Symbol: W Discoverer: Adam Occurrence: Copious quantities in urban areas Atomic mass: Accepted as 53.6kg, but may vary from 40 to 200kg PHYSICAL PROPERTIES 1. Surface usually covered with painted film 2. Boils at various temperatures, freezes without any known reason 3. Melts if given special treatment 4. Bitter if incorrectly used 5. Found in various states, from virgin metal to common ore 6. Yields to pressure applied in correct points CHEMICAL PROPERTIES 1. Has great affinity with gold, silver, platinum and precious stones 2. Absorbs great quantities of expensive substances 3. May explode spontaneously without prior warning and for no known reason 4. Insoluble in liquids but activity greatly increased by saturation in alcohol 5. Most powerful money reducing agent known to man 6. Most forms desire reaction with M COMMON USES 1. Mainly ornamental 2. Can be great aid to relaxation 3. Very effective cleaning agent TESTS 1. Pure specimen turns rosy pink when found in natural state 2. Turns green when placed next to a better specimen POTENTIAL HAZARDS 1. Highly dangerous except in experienced hands 2. Illegal to possess more than one example of this substance, although several can be maintained in different locations so long as they do not come into direct contact with each other - Man: a chemical analysis Element: Man Chemical Symbol: M Discoverer: Eve Occurrence: Found following duel element W, often in high concentration near a perfect W specimen. Atomic mass: Accepted at 7 inches though some isotopes can be as short as 4 inches. PHYSICAL PROPERTIES 1. Surface often covered with hair bristly in some areas, soft in others. 2. Boils when inconvenienced, freezes when faced with Logic and Common Sense, melts if treated like a God. 3. Obnoxious when mixed with C*H*-OH (any alcohol). 4. Can cause headaches and severe body aches; handle with extreme caution. 5. Tends to fall into very low energy state directly after reaction with W, often emitting a distinctive grunting sound at regular intervals 6. Gains considerable mass as specimen ages, loses reactive nature. 7. Rarely found in pure form after 14th year. 8. Ore damaged as a direct result of unlucky reaction with polluted form of the W common ore. 9. When pressure is applied, becomes stiff and unyielding; yields only when subtlety, subterfuge, or flattery are applied. CHEMICAL PROPERTIES 1. Most forms desire reaction with W, even when no further reaction is possible. 2. May react with several W isotopes in short period under extremely favourable conditions. 3. Most powerful aggravating agent known to W. 4. Usually willing to react with whatever is available. 5. Reaction Rates range from aborted/non-existent to pre-interaction effects which tend to turn the specimen bright red. 6. When saturated with alcohol, will be fairly inert and will repel most other elements. 7. Is repelled by most household appliances and common household cleansers. 8. Is repelled by small children clothed in nappies, particularly those of the malodorous variety. STORAGE a) Best results apparently near 18 for high reaction rate, 25-35 for favourable reaction style. b) Heavy boxes, top shelves, long walks late at night, free dinners for W c) Can be used in recreational activities. TESTS a) Pure specimen will rarely reveal purity, while reacted specimens broadcast information on many wavelengths. CAUTION a) Tends to react extremely violently when other M interferes with reaction to a particular W specimen. Otherwise very malleable under correct conditions. **Thank you for reading this opinion. Thank you even more if you managed to find some humour in it.**
I can’t possibly miss the chance to witter on endlessly about books I have known and loved. And some I haven’t enjoyed quite so much. It does appear to have turned into quite a mammoth op, sorry about that! “A house without books is like a room without windows.” – Horace Mann. I’ve always read books. Sometimes not even books – in desperation I’ve even resorted to the back of the cornflakes packet. Just ask me what the ingredients are. ;o) I was lucky growing up – my parents house was always full of books to read, and the school and local library were there for the taking. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado: THE LITERATURE CHALLENGE... Question: What is your favourite genre? There are so many to choose from. I think my problem is that I’m not remotely picky or proud when it comes to reading. I generally find something to enjoy or learn from in every book I read – yes, even the Mills and Boon, pure escapism – fairy tales for adults. Overall, I’d say my favourite genre is SF/Fantasy – this is purely based on the number of books that I reread on a regular basis that fall into this category. Q: Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century? Yes. But why limit oneself to defining classics as merely great authors of the 18th and 19th century? There were authors in the 17th century and earlier that I think are worth reading, and many more from the 20th that I would consider “classics”. What about Chaucer, Aphra Behn, Sheridan’s School for Scandal, Rabelais’ Garga ntua and Pantagruel? Shakespeare’s early works? Classics don't necessarily come in novel form. I’ve read and enjoyed (most of) Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters (although I hate Wuthering Heights, both song and book), George Eliot (hated Middlemarch, enjoyed Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner etc). Some of Dickens I have enjoyed – Great Expectations, Hard Times, Bleak House, David Copperfield and several others. For some reason, A Tale of Two Cities is doing nothing for me, I’ve been reading it for about a year and have stopped making progress. Should I continue – views anyone? I can’t stand Thomas Hardy, I find his style impenetrable and his prose pedestrian. Some of the above I read as part of my degree (it’s in English and French – literature and language). Some of it I got a taste for and read “on my own time”, as it were. Q: Are you interested in thrillers? Hrm, how do you define a thriller? I enjoy reading Michael Crichton’s books and am currently rereading Timeline. I like Robert Harris – Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, and am looking forward to reading Pompeii when I get my hands on it. I’ve enjoyed Tom Clancy books, although I think they’ve gone off the boil in more recent years. Michael Cordy’s Miracle Strain was intriguing, and Robin Cook’s medical thrillers are usually a good yarn. I have a soft spot for Jack Higgins, and only recently read The Eagle Has Landed. See, I told you I wasn’t picky! Q: What about horror stories? I’ve read Frank enstein and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, but they didn’t do a huge amount for me. It’s a genre I will read, but probably not in preference to other genres available at the time. Q: Do you read science fiction? Yes, probably far too much for my own good. I love Terry Pratchett books, and have just finished his latest, Monstrous Regiment – good but very different to the average Discworld romp. I read Anne McCaffery regularly, particularly the Brainships and Pern novels. Other authors include David (and Leigh) Eddings, Orson Scott Card, Robin Hobb, Douglas Adams (the trilogy in five parts), Raymond E Feist, Tom Holt and Tad Williams. Recently, I have added Garth Nix (Sabriel, Lirael) and Philip Pullman to the list too. I seem to have an inbuilt weakness for chivalry, high romance and quests. And then, of course, there’s J K Rowling. Speaking of which… Q: How many Harry Potter books have you read? All of them. I picked up the first book in paperback at Birmingham New Street station when I was at university. Read it, loved it, and have bought the rest of them in hardback as soon as they’re out. In fact, book 5 involved a trip to Tesco at just gone midnight. The queue was huge! This does mean that I have first editions of books 2, 4 and 5, and a second imprint (I think) of book 3. However all have been read and reread many times by various members of the family, so aren’t in great condition and probably not worth much! Ah well. Q: Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies? Yes, although I often think that “enjoyed” ; is the wrong word when it comes to biographies. Wild Swans is a fantastic book, but I sat reading it in tears much of the time. Same goes for Dave Pelzer’s books – A Child Called It etc. Maybe I’m just soppy. I’ve also read things like Fermat’s Last Theorem, Nathanial’s Nutmeg, and The Map that Changed the World which I’m not sure are strictly biographies, but do fill many of the criteria. The first autobiography I read was probably Roald Dahl’s Boy, followed by Going Solo. The most recent was (I think) Stephen Fry’s Moab Is My Washpot. Q: Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child? Not only do I remember them, I still own most of them. I read and reread things like Enid Blyton (Mallory Towers, St Clares, Mr Galliano’s Circus), Noel Streatfield (Ballet Shoes, Tennis Shoes, Curtain Up), the Chalet School series, Agatha Christie books and many, many more. I Am David made a huge impression on me. I was never restricted on what I could read as a kid – I remember reading MASH at the age of 10 or 11. I didn’t understand much of the humour, but still enjoyed it. Danielle Steele was another author I read around the same age, although I haven’t read anything by her for years now. My mum introduced me to Jean Auel books shortly afterwards, which kept me going for a couple of weeks. Q: Have you re-read these books as a grown-up? I’ve reread I Am David (and it still has a similar effect on me now), a couple of the Chalet School ones and the Noe l Streatfield ones when on holiday. The Malory Towers and St Clares books are packed away in my parents loft, and I live about 200 miles away, and the Agatha Christie books are still on the shelves in my old bedroom there. Q: Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you? Books have influenced me in many ways. When I read a book, it expands or challenges my view of the world; I change as a result of reading the book. I don’t think there’s one I could choose over all others here. Q: Which are your favourite authors? Terry Pratchett would probably be top of the list. So would Shakespeare, for his stamina in remaining a top-selling author so many years down the line. I rate Roald Dahl pretty highly, and I think that J K Rowling deserves to be there or there abouts, since she has almost single-handedly got many more children reading again. Q: Which book would you take with you on a desert island? Complete Works of Shakespeare (Oxford Edition). Is that cheating? Am I allowed The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged) by the Reduced Shakespeare Company as a companion volume? Q: What is your attitude towards translations? I have mixed feelings about translations. I don’t like the fact that many of them are abridged, but don’t make that fact clear on the cover. I have read fine translations, done sensitively and with a respect for the original material, and I have read atrocious translations, when referring back to the source material highlights the lack of understanding of the content. I prefer translations with a light touch, that do not translate things like place names, character names etc unless there is a specific reason (for example, they are a pun or inherent to a joke or point the author is making that would otherwise be missed). I’m not sure about changing references to be more relevant to the target audience – I think that is a step too far in interfering with the original, but again, there may be other reasons for it. I think that much depends on how closely involved the author is with the translator, and whether the translator can approach them for clarification and so on. Which is, obviously, more difficult if they’re dead! Q: Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them? All of the above! Well, possibly apart from the stealing. I tend to buy books, or borrow them from friends and family. I use the library particularly when trying out a new author, or when I need a book for reference or to read for a book club discussion. Q: When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books? Depends on the author. Terry Pratchett books I get as soon as they are released in hardback, a couple of other authors get the same treatment. I guess that makes them my favourite authors? Others, I am happy enough to wait for paperbacks or go to the library. Q: Have you ever tried Audio Books? I haven’t, but I wouldn’t be averse to trying them. The problem is that I rarely have the time or opportunity to listen to audio books when I couldn’t be reading instead. I don’t drive to work (I get the bus, and I can read a book on that!), and rarely drive the car long distances (so again, if I’m sat in the passenger seat I can read). I think that one problem I might have with them is that all the characters in my favourite books already have voices/charact ers that I have imagined while reading. Any audio recording is going to have to work hard to make me believe that the voices I hear are correct for the characters. Q: This challenge didn't originally ask you to name your favourite books, but I think, for the sake of completeness, I should add this! Favourite books, in no particular order are (I’ve limited myself to one book per author): Nightwatch, by Terry Pratchett I Am David, by Anne Holm His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman (OK, OK, it’s a trilogy, I know…) Domesday Book, by Connie Willis (read thanks to KarenUK’s review of it) Timeline, by Michael Crichton PastWatch, by Orson Scott Card The Miracle Strain, by Michael Cordy Moll Flanders, by Daniel Defoe The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot The Book of the Duchess*, by Geoffrey Chaucer La Peste (Plague), by Albert Camus Huis Clos* (In Camera), by Jean-Paul Sartre Beckett*, by Jean Anouilh 1984, by George Orwell Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof*, by Tennessee Williams Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess Catch 22, by Joseph Heller and that’s just the one’s that spring to mind… *Not novels, but still included here – it’s the literature challenge, after all. PS This challenge was originally set by MALU. Please join in, read other people’s entries and pa ss the challenge on to another bookworm! “Miss a meal if you have to, but don't miss a book.” --Jim Rohn
Although I tend to write more about music these days, books were my first love. I started to read at a very young age, as my mother was a reader, and my father used to watch the TV from behind the Daily Mail most evenings. At age 2 or 3, I once picked up a book trying to imitate them (and held it upside down, I've since been told), and was then taught to read. Wherever I am, I will have a book if there is no other distraction to be had. I rarely leave the house without something to read. If I'm going to be going somewhere on a train or bus, I'll take a book. I've missed train stops, and taken buses all the way to the terminus by getting too deeply involved in a book. I've ignored complete conversations people were having with me as I was too busy reading. Of course, I've also done all of these things by falling asleep, but that's another story. At my last job my flatmate, who also worked there, was asked which one I was. Her description, she says was "the guy with the long hair and the book". That day's reading would always be in a prominent position on my desk, and colleagues would frequently stop and see what I was reading that day and, as I'm quite a quick reader, express surprise at how quickly I was getting through them. Anyway, enough scene setting... ● What is your favourite genre? At any point up until recently, I would have considered horror my favourite genre. This isn't such an easy choice at present, partly due to a change in my reading habits, but largely because the lines between horror and thriller are becoming more blurred. Both Koontz and King seem to be writing more what you might call thriller than horror novels recently, and King's last few have taken in science-fiction and fantasy elements. Christopher Fowler's most recent novel was more fantasy than anything else, and the most recent novels of Clive Barker and James Herbert could re ally only fall into a thriller category. Fortunately, older works by all authors previously mentioned and the relatively recent discovery of American horror writer John Saul have reinforced my love for the horror genre. Apart from a couple of novels, Graham Masterton hasn't let me down recently, either. So, horror it is, but possibly only for the time being. ● Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century? Aha, a question far easier to answer. No. For someone who holds an A-Level in English Literature, I'm perhaps surprisingly poorly read when it comes to the classics. I've never been one to enjoy something that is thrust into my hands and I am forced to read, and I found during my studies that reading something for the sole reason of taking it apart and analysing it in depth afterwards destroyed a lot of the pleasure that might otherwise be gained. Ever since, I have read purely for pleasure, and the classics have never given me a great deal of pleasure, being to my mind quite slow of pace. I am still able to enjoy a Shakespeare play, thankfully, but D. H. Lawrence was lost to me completely in my final years at school. As for Dickens, I have always struggled with his work, even finding the TV adaptations too much for me. Lionel Bart's musical "Oliver!" is the only time I can think of that I ever really got close to enjoying the works of Dickens. ● Are you interested in thrillers? Much to my surprise, I am, and have become more so in the last few years. I always looked down on the genre as less exciting than the horror novels I so enjoyed but have, in common with some traditional horror writers, it seems, branched into reading thrillers in recent years. It is to my great shame that I ignored Grisham as being too populist from the cover of a Stephen King novel. That said, even now the only Grisham novel on my shelves was given to me, and still remains unopened. I think it was the discovery, quite by chance, of Christopher Brookmyre, a somewhat humorous thriller writer that first interested me in the genre as a whole. Recommendations from the back of his novels towards Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen kept me there, and the loans of Lee Child and Jonathan Kellerman novels from a friend kept me interested. More recently, a glowing recommendation for Jeffrey Deaver in these very pages led me deeper in, and a meeting with the man himself earlier this year hasn't changed my mind. ● What about horror stories? I largely answered this above. Very much so, ever since I was lent my first Stephen King book by a school friend all those years ago. Well, I say "lent", but he hadn't liked it and didn't want it back. It's still on my shelves, as I so rarely throw books away. I didn't enjoy it a great deal first time around and it took a couple of attempts to read it. Then I tried "Christine", and I was hooked, firstly on King and then, as other horror writers were introduced into my life, on the genre as a whole. Thinking back, though, it occurs to me that every time I started reading a new writer in the horror field, it happened largely by chance. My first Stephen King novel ("Salem's Lot") was given to me by a school friend, and my first Dean Koontz ("Night Chills") by a friend at University. I first bought a Christopher Fowler novel ("Psychoville") on impulse when I was looking for something to read, but wasn't sure what and my first taste of Graham Masterton ("The Sleepless") was left behind at work by a colleague who left suddenly and I only started reading Clive Barker after a recommendation by Marandina. John Saul was an author recommended by Sue Hoskinson and the first book of his I read ("All Fall Down") was found in a second hand bookshop some 300 miles from my home. I've still not managed to find a new copy of any of his works in any bookshop in the UK. ● Do you read science fiction? Very rarely, it has to be said. It's a genre that has never interested me in any form, since I stopped watching Dr. Who many years ago. However, once combined with humour, it starts to appeal to me a lot more, with "Red Dwarf" in TV terms, and Douglas Adams' "Hitchhikers" books being items I've greatly enjoyed. I was recently lent Piers Anthony's "Bio of a Space Tyrant" collection, which I was surprised to find myself enjoying, too. ● How many Harry Potter books have you read? None and I'm proud of it! I always tend to shy away from things in any medium, not just books, that are over hyped, frequently finding them a disappointment when I do give in. In addition, I have a stubborn streak that will frequently prevent me reading, seeing or listening to something that friends constantly tell me I should. This keeps me away from Harry Potter at present, and has prevented me from reading anything of Terry Pratchett ("Good Omens" apart) over the years as well. ● Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies? As if to prove I'll read pretty much anything, another yes here. In my younger days, I loved the film "Cry Freedom", which was based on Donald Wood's biography of Stephen Biko and his own autobiography. As I recall, I enjoyed the bit about his life more, as there was more action in it, which is to completely miss the point of why he wrote the original biography. Strangely, that was my only delve into that world until a couple of years ago, when I found the first book I had ever read that I literally could not put down. That was the autobiography of the wrestler Mankind. Since then I have read a number of other biographical works, mostly of sports pers onalities (Murray Walker, more wrestlers), writers (Stephen King's "On Writing", Neil Gaiman's biography of Douglas Adams) or comedians (Billy Connolly, Frank Skinner). Apart from a couple (The Rock's biography, and an awful book on Murray Walker by Christopher Hilton), I've enjoyed them all. ● Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child? Oh, of course. I had the complete sets of Enid Blyton's Famous Five and Secret Seven collections, alongside the (seemingly) ever present Roald Dahl and CS Lewis "Chronicles of Narnia" in my early collection. I seem to recall there being some Alan Garner involved as well, alongside "Stig of the Dump", and many others I can no longer recall. As I grew older, I moved onto Willard Price's "Adventure" series, eventually collecting all 14 of those and from there to Desmond Bagley, who I never managed to complete the set of, and I suspect the ceasing of my attempts to do so marked the end of what I would consider my childhood reading. ● Have you re-read these books as a grown-up? To my shame, largely no. I have read and continue to enjoy the Desmond Bagley novels, but they were never really children's books anyway. Every time I return to my mother's house, I intend to take with me my copies of the Narnia Chronicles so I can re-read those and this Christmas, I finally did, along with the Bagleys and the Willard Price. The remaining books listed above have long since been passed on to family friends and charity shops, I fear. Mind you, reviews of modern children's books suggest that reading new ones may well be preferable to re-reading the ones I had way back when. ● Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you? I would love to be able to put that Allen Carr's "Easy Way to Stop Smoking" had a profound, and the desired, effect on me. Sadly, this isn't even close to being the truth. Apart from that, Christopher Fowler's "Soho Black" has had an obvious effect on me, being a name I use online in a number of places! Many of the titles I've listed above have inspired me to read other things by the same author or in the same genre, but that's as far as "influence" stretches with me, I think. ● Which are your favourite authors? All of the above, really. I think that the names I've already listed cover more than half my books collection and I figure that constitutes "favourite", as I keep returning to their works, both new and old. ● Which book would you take with you on a desert island? Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". For the simple reason that I've never managed to read the whole thing, always stalling part way, and usually before the end of "The Fellowship of the Ring", although I do vaguely recall reaching the end of that at one point. I figure that being stuck with it and nothing else on an island would be the only way I'd get it finished! ● What is your attitude towards translations? I'm not sure I've ever read one, or if I have, I didn't realise it. I think the closest I ever got was reading a more modern version of Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" when I was studying them at A-Level. Based on this very limited experience, I can only suggest that they open up broader horizons for those of us not well enough versed in the native language of the author, but can lose something in the translation. ● Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them? I think I've done all of the above at some point. I've not really stolen as such, but I do have a couple of books that were not returned after I borrowed them, and I have now lost touch with the people I borrowed them from. The reverse is also true, incidentally. Generally I will buy books, although I have been swapping books with my friend Emily (Ophelia) for some time now, and have the best part of Sue Hoskinson's John Saul collection, which I should return fairly soon, as I've finally managed to finish the last of them recently. ● When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books? If I bought hardback books, I would bankrupt myself even more swiftly than my book buying habit (addiction?) does anyway. As I read when I'm on the move, I prefer paperbacks as they're easier to carry. For my favourite writers, however, I can't wait for the paperbacks, and have to have their latest book NOW! I've not bought a Stephen King in paperback for more than 5 years! ● Have you ever tried Audio Books? I've noticed while reading some of these challenges that the most widely read of us aren't big fans of audio books. And I am no exception, I'm afraid. Books are to be read, with the book in your hand and the print in front of your eyes. If you want to listen to something, that's what music is there for. I have a couple of Stephen King audio books, read by the author, which are dreadful, as he has very little charisma or variation of tone. I have a couple of "Red Dwarf" audio books, read by Chris Barrie, which are much better, but which rarely get listened to these days. ● Name your favourite books? I tend to read more by author than by book, as such. However, let me try. "Back Roads" by Tawni O' Dell should be on everyone's reading list. It's the only book that has persuaded me to actively recommend it to others. Stephen King's "Christine" was a favourite from the first time I read it. Matthew Thomas' "Before and After" is totally silly and completely wonderful, a nd the same is true of Eric Garcia's "Anonymous Rex". Neither is brilliantly written, but both are such good fun to read. Tony Hawks' "Round Ireland With a Fridge" should not be missed, either, although reading it in private is recommended, as you don't half get some funny looks laughing out loud on a crowded commuter train! I find myself frequently returning to and constantly entranced by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine's "Last Chance to See", even with little interest in the subject matter. If you're a Londoner, then Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" and Keith Lowe's "Tunnel Vision" are great books to read, although those with little knowledge of, or interest in, the city may find them less enjoyable. "Dead Cat Bounce" by Damien Owens has one of the best titles I've ever seen, but the book wasn't really as good, I'm afraid. The books in my collection I'm fondest of purely for their existence are some of the older ones by Christopher Fowler, long out of print, but expertly tracked down for me by Jo1l. Given that even Fowler's newer works can be difficult to find in the shops, obtaining the older ones can't have been easy and I'll be eternally grateful that she did. Particularly as I have a signed First Edition of "The Bureau of Lost Souls" on my shelf. Well, novel length responses to essentially simple questions. How typically me! But don't let this put you off. This challenge was originally set by MALU. Please join in, read other people's entries and pass the challenge on to another bookworm!
Its taken me a while to contribute to this one but better late than never....... q: What is your favourite genre? a: I haven't got a favourite genre as such. It depends on my mood. Sometimes I like a book to make me laugh and other times make me cry. I read any books if they take my fancy....anything from the scariest horrors to a bit of raunchy eroticism. In other words, anything goes as long as it keeps me sufficiently entertained! ______________________ q: Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century? a: I am ashamed to say that I have never read any books that fall into the classics category. I didn't even study any at school. There are so many books to read and not enough time to read them. Unfortunately, this means that the classics have had to take a back seat but I will get round to reading some eventually. Perhaps I will even review one or two in the future. ______________________ q: Are you interested in thrillers? a: Yes although only to an extent. If I was to start a book and then decide to put it to one side and read it at a later date, it would more than likely be a thriller. I have to be in the right frame of mind, especially if it is the kind of thriller that is psychologically demanding. Some that aren't quite as heavy going, and therefore easier to read, can be slotted in at anytime if the mood takes me. _______________________ q: What about horror stories? a: I love horrors! The first proper novel I read was by Stephen King and it got me well and truly hooked. I went through quite a long period of only reading horror. I like to be scared out of my wits but I have found that there aren't many books that actually succeed in frightening me. If you know of any really terrifying ones, please please please let me know! _______________________ q: Do you read Science Fiction? a: Quite simply, no. Its not a genre that really appeals to me I'm afraid. ______________________ q: How many Harry Potter books have you read? a: Until recently, I thought I was the only person who hasn't read any of the Harry Potter series. This challenge has proved me wrong. It seems that quite a few people haven't, and don't ever intend to either. I never say never though so it is a possibility that I might try them one day to see what all the fuss is about. ________________________ q: Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies? a: Not usually my first choice of reading material but I have read one or two. One of these being 'Billy' (as in Billy Connelly) by Pamela Stephenson. I think hes a great comedian so I was really interested to read about his life. One of my recent reviews was on a book entitled The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater. This is actually autobiographical but written in the style of a normal fictional story. This made it great to read. Its a lovely book! Not long ago, I also bought the new Beckham book for my husband who is a football fan. When he has finished, I think I'm going to have a squizz too, but only because we have got it! ________________________ q: Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child? a: My earliest memories of reading go back to the days of Roger Red Hat and Billy Blue Hat! As I got older, I loved anything by Enid Blyton, particularly The Magic Faraway tree. There were so many wonderful characters and different lands that could be found through the clouds at the top of the magical tree. I also liked the Malory Towers and Cherry Tree Farm series. Into my teens, I started reading Point Horror books....I think this is where my love of Stephen King and horror stories originated from. I seem to remember that the Point Horrors were actually quite spooky. I wonder if they still sell them! At the tender age of 13 I can also remember reading my first 'explicit' novel. It was Forever by Judy Blume and proved to be somewhat of an eye opener for my friends and I at school. ________________________ q: Have you reread these books as a grown-up? a: A couple of years ago, my mum asked me to sort through some of my things that are still at her house. I stumbled across The Magic Faraway Tree and read it for old times sake. Got to admit I loved it just as much as when I was younger although it didn't seem to have quite as much sparkle. I can see why it used to be my favourite book though. ________________________ q: Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you? a: Nope, not one in particular anyway. I think virtually every book you read leaves a little something with you (good and bad), therefore shaping and influencing your outlook slowly but surely over the years. A really good book can certainly make you take a step back and think, but in my opinion I don't think there is one that would completely alter your perspective and the way you look at life. It would certainly have to be an awesome book for me to find it soul inspiring! _______________________ q: Which are your favourite authors? a: Difficult question with endless answers!.... Stephen King would be my obvious choice although like a lot of people, I haven't been too keen on some of his more recent work. I also really like Dean Koontz and James Herbert. Maggie O'Farrell is quite a new writer and Ive read her debut novel quite recently (some of you will have read my review) I was really impressed and will definitely be reading some more of her work. Another great author, without doubt, is JRR Tolkein. What an imagination! I have recently bought a box set containing the fabulous Lord of the Rings series. They are still patiently waiting for me to crack open the pages and dive into the mystical world of hobbits, elves and orcs. I cant wait! ________________________ q: Which book would you take with you on a desert island? a: I would probably take the bible. Sounds a bit heavy, I know but Ive always said I would like to read it (or try anyway). I am not particularly religious but it would certainly keep me occupied whilst stuck on that island! Either that or the Oxford English Dictionary. When I was at school, my friends and I used to look up naughty words (didn't everyone??). I would also pick out unusual looking words and find out what they meant. There must still be hundreds of words (new and old) that I have never even heard of. I would have plenty of time to check them out!! _________________________ q: What is your attitude towards translations? a: I don't really have an opinion on the subject to be honest. Ive not read a translation before as far as I am aware. I suppose it is a good thing though as it means that people around the world can share stories. Having said that, I am sure that translations don't necessarily translate the way they were originally intended which could be a bit of an insult to the writer concerned. ________________________ q: Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them? a: In my haste, I was about to say 'all of the above' but I have just spotted the last bit. I don't steal them! At work, there are a few of us who are avid readers and we swap and borrow books amongst ourselves. When we have finished with a particular book, we mark our initials inside the front cover so we know who has read each one. As for buying books, I rarely pay for full price ones unless I know that it is something really good! I tend to buy used books from charity shops, markets and car boot sales so if they turn out to be rubbish, I haven't spent a small fortune. I have also recently made a discovery.....in Poundstretcher they sell paperbacks for a quid each. They are by no means best sellers (although last time I looked they had a hardback Maeve Binchy for £4) but there are certainly some gems to be found. Absolute bargain! With regards to the library, I used to borrow books on a regular basis. When I was younger, as soon as I got my adult library card there was no stopping me. I haven't needed to go for ages though as I already have a massive pile of books to read! ________________________ q: When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books? a: If its a book that I know I will want to keep, I try to get a hardback copy as paperbacks inevitably get tatty after a while. Other than on those occasions I am not really bothered to be honest. As long as I have got something to read I don't mind in which format it comes! I usually buy paperbacks though - they are cheaper and I find hardbacks a bit heavy to hold onto if I am reading for long periods of time. Oh alright, I admit it, I'm just a weakling! ________________________ q: Have you ever tried Audio Books? a: I used to have something similar when I was a child where you read along with the tape. I remember that they used to have a special 'tinkle' sound to tell you to turn the page! As for 'grown up' audio books, I have never listened to one before but I wouldn't be opposed to the idea. I must admit that I probably wouldn't enjoy it as much as actually reading a story for myself though. I like to read at my own pace, sometimes even going back and reading sections again. To me, I think it would also take the fun out of imagining peoples voices as they would be delivered to you already. There's nothing like a good book!! ________________________ And there you have it....my contribution to MALUs literature challenge. Hope it has given you a bit of an insight into my reading habits and preferences!
(I adore books. And I waffle. Sorry!) Question: What is your favourite genre? Answer: Fantasy and sci-fi, beyond a doubt. I do make the distinction between the two genres, even though a lot of books will blur that line. Fantasy I think of as Lord of the Rings, or David Gemmell or Katharine Kerr - elves and orcs and heroes... Now, I love the genre, but I do understand that it's not to everyone's taste and many will dismiss it as pure rubbish. I kind of get that. It's rarely deep or meaningful, but it's FUN! I read for escapism, and for instance the Shannara book I'm reading at the moment is my alternative to 'chick-lit' - I don't have to think too hard, but it's fun and occasionally you find a book that is Very Good Indeed. Chick-lit, on the other hand, bores me to tears - so I do understand when people find that working the other way round! Sci-fi can equally fall into the mindless entertainment category, but is far more likely to manage to be thought-provoking. I don't just believe, I KNOW, that many actual scientific inventions and discoveries would not have happened if not for some boffin being given an idea by an imaginative author. Furthermore, by taking a fairly realistic grasp of science and asking 'what if?' I think we can both take a look at the human race at the moment and get an idea of where we might be heading. I mean - look back a hundred or even fifty years ago - PCs on every desk in every office? Mobile phones? Microwaves and cheap flights to Ibiza? Things change, and they change fast these days - imagine where we might be next! Urm... and a necessary mention to a slight side category that includes Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Tom Holt, among others. ______________________ Q: Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century? A: I feel that I'm 'supposed' to, so I do try. Mainly, though, I've got so many newer books that I actually want to read that the effort of dragging myself through archaic language doesn't really appeal. I think shoving 'classic literature' down the throats of schoolchildren is entirely a bad approach, too - at an age where I was most interested in Stephen King, I was forced to read Great Expectations - now, I *know* it's a 'great' book, but I now hate it with a passion! Some of my more recent attempts have left me disappointed, too - I really thought Jane Eyre was a very poor story, all said and done (oops - I think slagging of a Bronte sister gets me kicked out of book guiding!) - mind you, I'm not into very girly things anyway so maybe that was the problem. One I did almost enjoy was The Picture of Dorian Gray - it really is a fantastic story, but again, the unnecessary amount of flowery language really frustrated me. I read for pleasure and escapism, so these things feel like too much of a slog. Sorry *hangs head in shame* :( PS and having been watching certain TV programs involving books discussions lately, I can't help but feel that some of these 'experts' are more concerned with looking pretentious by raving about these books. When they turn round and declare their love for Bridget Jones, though, it kind of gives it away ;) ______________________ Q: Are you interested in thrillers? A: Urm... define thriller. There are a few on my 'to read' list that I suppose would fall under that category, yes. My dad's other half ('girlfriend' sounds so inappropriate at that age! Ahem... I'll die for that!) is a big fan of 'gory fiction' - Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter (I mean, really!) etc. and since there are a lot of those kinds of books lying around, I do pick them up. Read Jeffrey Deaver's The Bone Collector recently, and I do enjoy the suspense, if not all the gore! _______________________ Q: What about horror stories? A: A large chunk of my past saw me as a HUGE Stephen King fan. Really gone off the genre since my late teens, though - my imagination is just far too active, and I got fed up of giving myself nightmares from a book that I didn't even find *that* scary. Also, I guess I kind of reached a point where real life - and very plausible events - were far more capable of scaring me ****less, and I wanted nothing to do with any of it. Sort of half drifting back to it occasionally now, though, as I have bought the more recent James Herbert and King books at discount prices. Really, though - that Bone Collector was a lot more scary! _______________________ Q: Do you read science fiction? A: See question 1! Although I've been into fantasy fiction for quite some time now, it took me a little longer to get round to 'hard' sci-fi. Some of the best books I've read recently, though, are science-fiction: Alastair Reynolds, Peter F. Hamilton, Iain M Banks... it's a genre that takes a lot of knocks, but it can be both really terrible and really brilliant: a genuine great sci-fi book, in my opinion, isn't all spaceships and aliens and Star Trek, but can be an insight into where the human race might be heading - how can that not be fascinating? ______________________ Q: How many Harry Potter books have you read? A: Zilch. I'm not hugely into hype of any description, and I did kind of dismiss these as children's books. The films were enjoyable, but if they stick as true to the story as people say, then it's certainly not an original idea. However, Asda currently has the first few for just over £3, and I must admit I've been tempted to just pick up the first one to try. I do enjoy a bit of regression in my reading from time to time! Terry Pratchett's Amazing Maurice is sitting on my shelf, and I have to say, His Dark Materials trilogy was pretty darn brilliant. That's a lot for this Potter to live up to. (Incidentally, it irritated me greatly that people - *especially* children - were saying HP was so much better than Lord of the Rings. Can we say, genre-invention versus derivative rehashing?) ;) ________________________ Q: Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies? A: If people do interesting things in their lives we tend to hear about them anyway. I do think some people might have absolutely fascinating autobiographies, but I can't be bothered searching for them - I'm more concerned with trying to get my own life together, frankly. And even if someone *has* done really amazing and inspiring things with their life - it's surely only going to depress me when I compare it to how little I've accomplished myself! And, please - don't get me started on this new fad of every very-slightly-famous-for-five-minutes sort writing an autobiography at the ripe old age of 15 or whatever! One the other hand, my one close call with the genre is a book called The Agony and The Ecstasy by Irving Stone - an account of the life of Michaelangelo. I read it before visiting Florence, and it really appealed to me - a lot of true stuff, but enough 'story' to make it entertaining, too. ________________________ Q: Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child? A: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings - even if it had to be read to me first time round! Enid Blyton featured highly in there, I'm sure. Urm... I'm really bad for remembering *so* much about the plot, but not having a clue about the title or author, to be honest! For instance, although I now know it was the first of The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamara Pierce, I spent years being able to name the characters, describe the pl ot to a tee - and didn't have a clue! It was hugely irritating, as I fell in love with the first book as a child, and was never able to find the continuation of the story. I rather imagine it's too late now and I might find them dull. There was one about a girl whose parents owned a hotel, and the annex (I remember learning that word from this book!) they take over was 'haunted' - well, a cupboard door wouldn't stay shut, and a stain on the floor wouldn't wash away. The girl somehow ends up in a deserted glade or somesuch, where a horse whisks her back to the past where she can see what happened in her home. See? Weird memory I have! Others include The Snow Spider, The Little White Horse (can't remember the authors, sorry!), and one that I'm convinced was called The Black Horn (despite having no mention on any website I can find!), about a boy and girl who find a black unicorn's horn that leads them to a cavern under a large black stone on a hillside, in which is the last unicorn encased in a block of ice. The villain of the piece was called Pettigrew and always wore sunglasses - we discover at the end he has no eyelids! I remember a set of teenie little picture books called The Magic Wishing Well, and every Sunday I'd stay in bed eating brown sauce sandwiches for breakfast colouring in the little pictures at the bottom of each page of story. Did anyone else ever read those? And finally, how could I forget the Narnia books? :) ________________________ Q: Have you reread these books as a grown-up? A: I can't even remember half of them! Urm, no - I'm afraid of losing happy memories and being totally disillusioned by childhood fantasies that don't live up to adult thinking. For a start, I remember finding out that Narnia was a huge Christian allegory - I really don't want to have to read an old favourite with that knowledge in my brain! Oh, the exception wo uld be Tolkien's work - it's 'aged' very well. ________________________ Q: Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you? A: Gosh, this has to be the hardest question! I'm trying to think of the ways in which a book might have influenced me. Well, I always had an above-average vocabulary for my age at school, and an innate grasp of grammar, just from constantly having my nose in a book. I did (do!) want to be a writer for a long time - goodness knows, I might even try it again sometime! At the moment, writing economic reports at work puts me 'write' off, and I haven't even managed a proper review for here in a while... Anyway. I remember I used to love Enid Blyton's Mallory Towers and St. Claire's books, and tried to write a school story. Then I was a huge Stephen King fan, and used to try writing horror. Then I fell in love with the more imaginative genres and would like nothing better than to be able to think of an even slightly novel approach to a fantasy story! Influences are easier to pick up as a child, I think. I remember wanting to go to boarding school, and wanting to be a witch - don't laugh, I was little! I think that in the end cooking was enough of a 'fix' - close enough to mixing potions, at any rate! When you get older, it's perhaps easier to be influenced by non-fiction - I read a strange book recently called Health Wars by Philip Day, and I must admit it gave me a lot to think about in terms of nutrition, etc. However, I'm much too cynical to accept that my view of life should be very much changed by one other person's views. _______________________ Q: Which are your favourite authors? A: Totally depends. As I've said, past favourites include Stephen King, who I really don't care too much for on the whole now (although - Wolves of the Calla, out now, waiting for my copy to arrive!). So... right now, and in no particular order: Iain M Banks, Alastair Reynolds, Peter F Hamilton, JRR Tolkien, Stephen Donaldson, David Gemmell, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Robin Hobb, Dan Simmons, Katharine Kerr *draws breath* ohh, and probably a dozen more than I'll remember in a minute! ________________________ Q: Which book would you take with you on a desert island? A: How long am I going to be stuck there? I read fast, you know - and although I do enjoy re-reading books, I like a bit of a gap! Urm... I'm due a re-read of the nice and thick Lord of the Rings, after I see Return of the King (I don't want the story too fresh in my mind going in to the cinema). I've also got two very nice copies of The Illium and The Odyssey that I keep meaning to actually get round to! Actually, if you'll let me take all my boxes of books, I'll go quite happily and sit on that island for a year or so! :) _________________________ Q: What is your attitude towards translations? A: Mixed. Seeing as I have little ability in any foreign language (je suis nulle en francais, and a couple of rude things in German and Spanish!), anything that puts the unreadable into an understandable form (urm... are there translations of Shakespeare, perchance?!) should be classed as a good thing. The horror of having to read books in French at school... it totally sucks the soul out of them when you don't really 'get' the language, so if someone can do a decent translation then that is a wonderful thing - we shouldn't be deprived of a good story just because of where we live. Saying that, the most recent translation I read was one of Christian Jacque's Ramses books, and it was awful. It was really stilted, so I'm not sure if that was the fault of the translation. ________________________ Q: Do you buy your books/ get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them? A: I steal all my books. Okay, not really, but it would make a huge difference to my bank balance! Was big on libraries when I had no money, but then moved miles away from any. Discovered that I couldn't remember the books I borrowed and enjoyed in case I wanted to read them again, so at least if I buy them I know I can find them again! Started my journey into the fantasy fiction realm with a lot of borrowing from friends, but got my own now! Joined a book club years ago and still have a backlog - I adore buying books, I love shiny new books - all I can say is, at least I've never paid full price for one! I seem to have come full circle again, though - if someone handy has a bookshelf full of books I wouldn't mind reading - why not? (As long as they don't mind, natch) - which is why I'm now reading things like the Bone Collector. It's a good way of broadening my genres without spending even more money. And - moving to a city, planning on joining the library. If nothing else, I really want to get my hands on their collection of art books to inspire myself to start painting :) ________________________ Q: When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books? A: Two issues: price and size. And waiting - okay three issues! Have you ever tried reading a hardback in the bath? Those things are heavy! I'm split on this one: hardbacks are out quicker, last longer and look nice - paperbacks can get really tatty quite quickly. They cost too much, though! Sometimes I just don't have the patience to wait, or occasionally I know that the paperback will just be too thick or split in two (and therefore even more expensive). I go through phases of totally preferring paperbacks, just 'cos they're more 'comfortable', if that makes sense. And finally, even though they 're not mentioned - soft covers. What a waste of time - still pricey (about £11, usually), every bit as big and cumbersome to hold as hardbacks, but with a cover that'll "tattify" as quick as a paperback! ;) Oh, and I like sets. So if, for example, I have the first nine books of the Drenai series in paperback, no matter how much I want to read the newest one, I'm not buying it in hardback! ;) ________________________ Q: Have you ever tried Audio Books? A: Nope. They cost a bomb, you know! Really, I prefer being able to go at my own pace. Reading seems a lot less passive that just listening to a tape, and I'm not sure I could sit still and concentrate in that case. Maybe one day I'll borrow something from the library and have a go? Actually, the local cheap bookshop (Banana books, if proxam or other Livingston-local readers are present ;)) have a 3-for-£10 offer on at the moment, which I believe is quite good. They have two Iain Banks ones, but I still don't think I'm that tempted. ________________________ And... (this challenge is like Chinese whispers, with odd questions showing up at the end for no apparent reason ;) ) Q: Last book you bought/read? A: Rarely the same thing in my case - I think I have a few books on my groaning shelves (or rather, packed in boxes at the moment waiting for the move!) that I bought urm... more than two years ago (*shame*) and still haven't got 'round to. Not that I don't want to read them - I just keep buying them faster than I can keep up with myself! Anyway: Last book I finished reading was Space by Stephen Baxter (urm... four stars!), and currently have both The Sword of Shannara (Terry Brooks) and The Coffin Dancer (Jeffrey Deaver) on the go - don't like reading the latter before bed, you see - and equally get a little embarrassed being seen with the former at work! ;) Bought: well, still waiting for the delivery, but I had to have the new Dark Tower book - Wolves of the Calla - by Stephen King! Unfortunately it's £25 (!!) but Amazon's half price was much nicer! For the free postage (spend £25 or more) I got two others - Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea Quartet (as so many people go on about it!) and The Windsingers by Megan Lindholm (aka Robin Hobb) 'cos I have the rest of the series already. And - next book I plan to buy is Robin Hobb's Fool's Fate - saw how thick the hardback was and decided it was worth the tenner Amazon are charging! :) ================================= And finally a word from our sponsor: "This challenge was originally set by MALU, please join in, read other people's entries and pass the challenge on to another bookworm! Thanks for reading and rating this opinion. "
This is a Q&A challenge, or competition, originally set by MALU. It's not in the correct category but we're still waiting for that to be added. It will be moved as soon as the category is added. I've hunted down this category - Competition Archive - which seems to fit the bill in the meantime (after all, nobody likes a dirty big NU slapped on their review). * What is your favourite genre? - I don't really have one. I quite like non-fiction: travel guides, WW1 histories, local history etc. Apart from that, I would say contemporary fiction. * Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century? - Not really. I've read quite a lot of them, and have tried to read more, but sometimes the language is just so..... dated. The last one I read was the 'Barchester Chronicles' and frankly, it bored me to tears. * Are you interested in thrillers? Not as much as I used to be - I can't take the excitement these days! I think I prefer 'whodunnits' - they're a kind of thriller, aren't they? * What about horror stories? - What about them? Oh right. I liked them when I was a youngster, but when I realised that real-life was far more scarier than ghosts and vampires, I kind of lost interest. It ranks slightly above Sci-Fi for me. * Do you read Science Fiction? - Not if I can help it. I've tried, but I find that the authors usually disappear up their own arse. A classic example of all that's wrong with the genre is Iain Banks. he writes fantastic, fantastical novels which can be very strange and surreal. But when he writes sci-fi as Iain M. Banks, he leaves me stone cold. * How many Harry Potter books have you read? - Including the latest one? None. I keep meaning to read one, if for no other reason than to cleanse those cynical thoughts that the whole thing is nothing more than hype. Surely millions of people can't be lining up at midnight to buy a substantially long-winded children's book just because everybody else does? I mean, people just aren't that gullible, are they? * Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies? - Not about famous people, no. I mean, I have read some, but I don't really enjoy them. And especially not about football players and their wives, or soap 'stars'. Which reminds me, apparently David Beckham is starting his second book soon.....as soon as he finishes reading 'See Spot Run'. I've just finished reading the WW1 diaries of General James Jack which I suppose is autobiographical, but not in the usual meaning of the word. * Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child? - The first book I actually remember reading was 'Biggles', although I must have read lots before that. I also remember reading Jules Verne, RL Stevenson, Mark Twain etc. I used to have an English teacher at high school who took us for 'Current Affairs'. For reasons known only to him, his idea of CA was to read us 'The Hobbit' as though he was a member of the RSC. That was good! * Have you re-read these books as a grown-up? - I usually only read a book twice by mistake. There are too many books out there to re-read. * Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you? - No. I can't think of anything that's influenced me, books or otherwise. Although i have been known to occasionally be under the influence of beer. Q: Which are your favourite authors? - Dasheil Hammet, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Robert Goddard, Iain Banks, Irvine Welsh, Alasdair Gray, Jeffrey Archer, Tom Sharpe, Kinky Friedman, Muriel Spark, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell........ and many, many mo re. * Which book would you take with you on a desert island? - 'How to Survive on a Desert Island' by Ray Mears. (If there is such a book). Less flippantly, I'd take a writing book. * What is your attitude towards translations? - ¿Que? A book's a book. If it's translated into English, what's the problem? I'm sure many of them lose something in the process, but not having read them in their original language, who can tell? * Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them? - I occasionally buy books or am given one as a gift. But generally, I borrow from the library and sometimes borrow from friends. I don't care about owning a book - once I've read it, I'm finished with it. Stealing is wrong and admitting to doing it in print is rather unwise. * When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books? - Who cares about the cover - it's the contents that count. I'll buy hardback books around the same time I spend 500 quid on a bottle of wine. * Have you ever tried Audio Books? - A few. If I have to drive a long distance, or I'm just spending a lot of time in the car, on my own, I find they're a great alternative to just listening to music. Besides, it's rather dangerous, not to mention illegal, to read when you're driving. ________________________________________________ If you want to participate in this challenge, choose one of the Top 10 categories you're sure you'll never want to write in, or indeed, this category. Use the title of this opinion, then copy the questions and fill in your answers. Thanks for reading ©proxam2003
I have to say, the customer service for this company is the worst I have seen. I bought a CD on line, which is hard to come by. I had my doubts whether the CD would actually be in stock, but as it let me buy it, I thought wonderful! After reading a review on this company, which had not been good, I started to worry about whether I was going to recieve it this year! So, I phoned their techincal support number. Now, bearing in mind this was during office hours, no-one would pick up the phone!! I left a message on their answering machine asking them to phone me. They never did. I emailed them and used the order update on the web to leave a message asking whether I was going to receive the goods and whether it was in stock. No reply. The next day, I received an automated email saying (oh, surprise) that my CD was not in stock, but that I could cancel. Why couldn't someone tell me this earlier? Needless to say, I cancelled and will not be buying anything from this company again. I am sure they are wonderful, if they have your goods in stock.
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