Archive for September, 2013

DAY 10. – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving.

September 12, 2013 1 comment

For this subject I would have to say that it would be “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire. “Loving it” is perhaps a little too strong but it’s the closest I can think of.

I’m not entirely sure how I ended up reading it, but I am pretty sure it was a gift from Wife as a way to try and encourage me to go and see the show with her. She knows both my love of books and my loathing of musicals and I think that she thought this would bridge the gap.

Whilst it hasn’t made me any keener to see the show, I did find it a thoroughly enjoyable book; so much so that I went on to read the next two in the series.

As I am sure you know it tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West, starting well before Dorothy’s visit to Oz and ending with a fateful albeit well intentioned bucket of water.

The story gives you an entirely new perspective on both the events of the Wizard of Oz, the Witch and Oz itself.

I don’t know how close the musical is to the book; although my understanding is that there are significant differences. Whether you are a fan of the musical or just enjoy a good book I recommend giving it a try.



DAY 9. – Most overrated book.

September 11, 2013 5 comments

For me this was an easy one.

There is one book that stands out above all others for me, perhaps I am wrong, and perhaps I simply didn’t give it the credit it deserves, it does in my reading experience hold a singular award.

It is the only book, ever, that I can think of that I have not finished.

Literally nothing about this book held my attention, I didn’t care about the protagonist, I didn’t care about his problems, his goals, dreams or simply anything about him or his story.

I am guessing I might be the odd one out; it apparently has been named as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Wife purchased me the book as a gift due to my liking the film Conspiracy Theory in which Mel Gibson’s character has to purchase the book whenever he sees it, a plot device drawn from the mostly coincidental appearing of the book in the possessions of a number of murderers and assassins.  

The fact that she bought it specifically for me and yet I failed to read makes me somewhat sad as she put real thought in to purchasing it, but sadly there is nothing about the book that would make me go back!

EDIT: It seems I did not mention the actual book I am talking about. its The Catcher in the Rye.

DAY 8(ish). – Most underrated book.

September 10, 2013 Leave a comment

Apologies for the lack of posting I have taken to re-watching 24 and as I am sure you all know it’s very easy to lose track of time when engrossed in what is undoubtedly one of the best shows of all time!

Anyways, on to the book topic, I’m not sure what makes a book underrated. Is it a lack of critical acclaim, a lack of awareness, the fact then when you mention it to people they have simply never heard of it?

Overrated is easy, it’s a book that is the opposite of the above but despite all that it’s still not that good!

I’m going to go with a book that as far as I am aware has not won critical acclaim, is not all that well known and outside of a select few of my friends I am not sure anyone I know could hold a conversation with me about it.

The book is Snuff Fiction by Robert Rankin.

The book centres on the Millennium Bug, and the adventures of Doveston and is told as a biography as seen by his friend Edwin. As is standard in a Robert Rankin book it is set in and around Brentford although unlike a Robert Rankin book I don’t remember their being any sprouts.

Many of Rankin’s previous characters pick up a cameo as the story progresses and followers of the series will notice many nods to previous works. As with all of his works the story is crazy, the events totally mental and the jokes both bizarre and hilarious.

Add to that a brilliant explanation of the tax system and how to fix it and you get a dark, funny and (mis) informational book that is well worth a read.

DAY 7. – A guilty pleasure book.

September 5, 2013 Leave a comment

This so far, and looking down the list perhaps full stop has been the hardest question,  not because I have a chunk of books that fall into this category but because I genuinely have found it tough to think of one.

I read a lot and of a fairly broad selection of authors they do tend to fall into two or three genres and whilst they obviously won’t all be award winners there are not really any that I can think I would say I feel guilty about reading or even enjoying.

The best I think I can do is suggesting a genre, the “Divinci Code (not as good as Dan Brown) Mystery Thriller genre. The kind of thing you pick up in the airport before your flight because you realise haven’t bought quite enough books with you.

They generally have names like the “The Alexander Cipher”, the “Medici Secret” and “The First Apostle.” They are all generally page turners and (the good ones) make you think in some way but they are to me the male equivalent of “Closer” magazine. Something to give the brain a chance to wind down before you take on the next “real” book that you want to read.

That being said I have read and enjoyed all of the above and one of my favourite, and the most cheesy in this genre would have to be “Seven Ancient Wonders” by Matthew Reilly , with characters like Pooh Bear, Sky Monster and Princess Zoe it cant get any more ridiculous but manages to still keep you enthralled throughout the entire story, so much so that I purchased and read the sequel “The Six Sacred Stones”  

DAY 6. – Book you’ve read the most number of times.

September 4, 2013 Leave a comment

The answer to this one is a little of a weird one, I wouldn’t class it as one of my favourite books although I do have a fondness for it and it wouldn’t really fit into any of the other categories that this challenge asks about which considering I have read it more than any other it really should.

I don’t tend to read a lot of books more

My gut reaction was Shogun, but despite my love of this book upon reflection I realised I had actually on read it twice, my next thought was the Stand but again I can’t remember reading it more than twice.

Overall I don’t tend re-read books more than once, whilst I don’t claim to have some kind of superhuman memory, I can fairly accurately pick up most books that I have read, scan a paragraph and tell you what happens next, I have the same skill with TV shows often telling Wife that we have seen said episode of a show within the 1st ten seconds of it starting.

With this in mind even my most read book is at most something I have read a handful of times, and it’s one that doesn’t make the grade in any of the other categories mentioned on this  list but despite that is one that I have enjoyed a number of times.

Krokodil tears by Jack Yeovil

 Its part of the Demon Download cycle and loosely linked to the Games Workshop universe, but set in near future rather than Warhammer or 40k.

The story follows the exploits of juvenile delinquent Jassamyn Bonny,aka Jazzbeaux, aka Krokodil. She is essentially a female terminator,a gang leader who gets semi possessed by an extra-dimensional entity.

During her adventures she comes up against various bounty hunters, a High priest of a very dubious religious organisation and my favourite the Tasmanian Devil, a genius economist and psychopathic killer.

It’s not the stuff you would study in school, or that you would pass of as great literature but it sure is damn good fun! 

DAY 5. – Your “comfort” book.

September 3, 2013 1 comment

I’m not entirely sure what the meaning of this one is, I mean comfort book would suggest a book that you read when your feeling down, one that makes you laugh and gives you a general pick me up. But unless your reading something pretty short chances are that your mood will have changed by the time you get half way through.

At the same time if its your go to book the chances are that it would be the answer to topic number six, and if I can help it I want to avoid too much repetition.

In the end I have settled on Mort by Terry Pratchett, this may well also be the answer to number six, but as I have counted I can at least give something else that accolade as there are a number of books that give have captivated me enough to read them more than once, but there are few that I have left me with the warm fuzzy feeling that Mort and to be fair Terry Pratchett does as a whole.

Any visit to the Discworld is a good one but few have had the same impact on me as Mort, for many a year it was my internet handle and I even have a guitar with a Plaque dedicated to me in that name, given to me as a birthday present many years ago by a very thoughtful group of friends!

Mort charts the adventures of Death’s Apprentice and introduces us for the first time to Death as a main character as well as the minions of his household Binky, Ysabell and of course Albert!

Ready, Steady, Cook

September 2, 2013 3 comments

Wife worked really hard today, she found a recipe online, bought fresh ingredients and made from scratch a Cheese and Broccoli pasta bake.

She often takes a notion to do this, move out of her cooking comfort zone and be extra domesticated. It has on many occasions resulted in beautiful home cooked meals, such as Shepherd’s Pie, Hunters Chicken and my personal favorite moussaka.

On this occasion unfortunately it didn’t quite work out, instead of returning home to a lovely home cooked meal I was informed that I would need to visit the co-op to purchase something different for dinner as the resulting Pasta bake had not made the grade.

Despite my teasing of her cooking skills I was somewhat surprised, cooking from scratch is generally one of the few times that she actually takes notice of the instructions and as a rule ends up with perfectly cooked and delicious food.

It turns out that the reason was due to a missing ingredient and some “Ready Steady Cook” style cooking that sadly didn’t work out.

For future reference in case you’re wondering, stuffing mix is not a good substitute for flour!  


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