Archive for April, 2009

April 5, 2009

Exciting things that I have learnt in Dublin

There are many seagulls in this place. They spend inordinate amounts of time hanging around college, much as the pigeons used to do at school and at my former college (except without the loud pigeon sex and the phenomenal amounts of excreta). Occasionally they walk about on the lawns.

It was only a few months ago that I realised that they rarely stand still. Throughout the winter (I wondered if their feet were cold, but they’re still doing it) whenever they were on the ground they were constantly moving their feet so that one was always in the air. I don’t know why this is (and I hope someone who understands seagulls will tell me in the comments) but they look like they’re tapdancing. Are they? What gives, feathered tribe?

April 4, 2009

Homesickness (or the Return of Project Objectify)

I miss cricket. I miss watching it at home, hearing other people’s radios talking about it, going out and seeing it as the default on restaurant TVs.

On Friday morning on my way to college the bus stopped at a red light near a school. Kids in blue and white uniforms were playing cricket in the grounds, and I noticed the man sitting in front of me watching and grinning. It was actually really tempting to grab his shoulder and demand to know why he was smiling and did he like cricket and did he play. I did none of these – it’s alarming to be grabbed by random strangers on the bus.

Lack of television, etc. have not blinded me, however, to something I noticed over the Christmas holidays while I was staying with family who did have TV.

J.P Duminy. Pretty.

Yeah?

Also, A.B de Villiers. I cannot imagine why I have paid such little attention to South African cricket.

(Edit: Blogger is still running on Delhi time, and I’m quite a few time zones behind it. I wrote this on the evening of the 4th!)

April 3, 2009

Books, books, books

In the aftermath of term paper hell I have gathered around myself some excellent Children’s/YA. Now – what should I read, and in what order? (Keep in mind that I cannot read more than two or three books at a time)

1.Tamora Pierce, Terrier
2.Melissa Marr, Wicked Lovely
3.Michael de Larrabeiti, The Borrible Trilogy
4.Antonia Forest, End Of Term (this would be a reread)
5.Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
6.S.F Said, Varjak Paw

And…literary meme time, since lots of people seem to have done it.

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Terry Pratchett, I’d assume. Unless we’re counting my tiny Dublin bookshelf, in which case it’s a tie between Alan Garner and John Wyndham (three each)

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
Alice in Wonderland. The Puffin classics one with the Chris Riddell introduction, an older one illustrated by Tenniel and one illustrated by Peake.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
No

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
So many. Numair Salmalin. Psmith. Um. A lot of people.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
I honestly don’t know, most of my reading is rereading.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
The Lord of the Rings

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
Bearing in mind that this is also the year I read A Thing Beyond Forever and The Saga of Love Via Telephone…Tring Tring, I’m not sure if it’s fair for me to say Twilight. *shrug*

8) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Restricting it to authors I’d never read before, it’s a tie between Patrick Ness’ fantastic The Knife of Never Letting Go and Richard Marsh’s The Beetle.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
The Thuggery Affair by Antonia Forest. Drug running pigeons!

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
I don’t really know or care, but I wish they’d give it to Philip Roth so his fans would shut up about it.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Don’t know – like Belle, I think Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell could be great if done right.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Any of M.John Harrison’s Viriconium books. My brain would melt.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
No idea.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?
Considering my taste for the worst of Indian fiction, that’s pretty hard to decide.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
A Thing Beyond Forever. Or The Unnameable.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?
I have never seen an obscure Shakespeare play.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
The French, from what little I’ve read.

18) Roth or Updike?
Roth

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Neither

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Shakespeare

21) Austen or Eliot?
Austen

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I have multiple embarrassing gaps. America, France, Russia, India

23) What is your favorite novel?
I refuse to have one.

24) Play?
Titus Andronicus or The Real Inspector Hound.

25) Poem?
The Schooner “Flight”

26) Essay?
Most writers I like also seem to be amazing essayists. I’m going with “Old Men’s Trousers and the Making Strange of Things” by Alan Garner for now, but this is liable to change.

27) Short story?
“The Kiss” by Angela Carter, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula LeGuin, recently have fallen in love with “The Screwfly Solution” by Raccoona Sheldon/Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree Jr.

28) Work of nonfiction?
Can I say Dario Fo’s Nobel lecture?

29) Who is your favorite writer?
I refuse to have one.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
No clue

31) What is your desert island book?
Shaking a Leg by Angela Carter

32) And… what are you reading right now?
See above.

April 2, 2009

Business

1. I have decided to join Blog Every Day April because, well, it’ll force me to blog every day. This is the second day, and I really should have something better to post than an announcement that I will be blogging every day. But I have a deadline to meet tomorrow and this is the best I can do. But I promise that later posts will contain pictures. Some may even be illustrated.

2. In order to help with 1., and because everyone else seems to be putting fiction on their blogs, I have decided to write a series of short fiction based on my search terms. Feel free to leave some of your more interesting blog search terms in the comments, and I’ll have a go at those too. (Also, feel free to join in!)

April 1, 2009

Dogsploitation and false advertising

When I watched Watchmen a few weeks ago I spent the entire Rorschach/Dog killing scene with my eyes closed and was accused by a friend of wimpiness*. While this is possibly true, I had much less difficulty with watching human beings face gory deaths than seeing the animals die.

I am one of those people for whose sake the family pet will always mysteriously survive a movie. I cannot watch pets die. I really really cannot watch dogs die.

Which is one of the reasons I never read John Grogan’s Marley & Me when it came out. A labrador story where the dog died at the end was pretty much guaranteed to leave me completely gutted. I learned my lesson when I stupidly decided to read The Last Family in England on a plane.

For the last few days, every time I visit the I has a hotdog site (Every half hour or so. These are dark times; paper submissions loom and I need all the happiness I can get) I see adverts telling me that the movie has come out on dvd.

They’re calling it a comedy.

The dog dies!

* As in, easily scared. She was not (I think) accusing me of being this guy.