pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Arthur Conan Doyle. The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. The Gathering Edge (e)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. The Truth (e) (re-read)
Kai Ashante Wilson. A Taste of Honey (e)

Non-fiction books in progress
Michael Troughton. Patrick Troughton

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Paul Beatty. The Sellout
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Frances Hodgson Burnett. The Secret Garden (e) (re-read)
Kenneth Grahame, GMW Wemyss, Markham Shaw Pyle. The Annotated Wind in the Willows, for adults and sensible children (or, possibly, children and sensible adults) (e)
Josephine Tey. A Shilling for Candles

In progress
Terry Pratchett. The Fifth Elephant (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Pauline Scudamore. Spike

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Michael Troughton. Patrick Troughton
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
David McGillivray, Walter Zerlin Jnr. The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Operatic Society's Production of The Mikado
Terry Pratchett. Carpe Jugulum (e)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. The Fifth Elephant (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Pauline Scudamore. Spike

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Josephine Tey. A Shilling for Candles
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Lois McMaster Bujold. The Curse of Chalion (re-read)
Lee Falk, Ray Moore. The Phantom: The Complete Newspaper Dailies volume 1
Gail Carson Levine. Fairest
Anne McCaffrey. The Ship Who Sang (e) (re-read)
Anthony Price. A New Kind of War (e)
John Scalzi. The End of All Things
John Scalzi. The Human Division
Ursula Vernon. Summer in Orcus (e)

In progress
Katherine Addison. The Goblin Emperor (e)
Terry Pratchett. The Last Continent (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books In progress
Pauline Scudamore. Spike

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Anthony Price. A Prospect of Vengeance
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Janet Kagan. Hellspark (e) (re-read)
Janet Kagan. Mirabile (e)
Terry Pratchett. Interesting Times (e) (re-read)
Noah Smith. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

In progress
Diane Duane. Deep Wizardry (e) (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Maskerade (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books In progress
Adrian Goldsworthy. Augustus (e)

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
William Shakespeare. Hamlet
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Lionel Bart. Oliver!
Lois McMaster Bujold. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (e)
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire (e)
T Kingfisher. The Raven and the Reindeer (e)
Tim Powers. On Stranger Tides (e) (re-read)
Manly Wade Wellman. The Beyonders (e)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. Soul Music (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Harley Granville-Barker. Prefaces to Shakespeare: Hamlet

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
William Shakespeare. Hamlet
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Matt Fraction, Christian Ward. Ody-C volume 1
George MacDonald. The Princess and Curdie

In progress
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Dragon in Exile (e)
Terry Pratchett. Small Gods (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Jung Chang. Empress Dowager Cixi

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Terry Pratchett. Lords and Ladies
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Ben Aaronovitch. Foxglove Summer (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Plan B (re-read)
Tamora Pierce The Fire in the Forging (e)
Terry Pratchett. Pyramids (e) (re-read)

In progress
Frances Hodgson Burnett. The Lost Prince (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. I Dare (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Guards! Guards! (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Simon Singh. Big Bang

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Tamora Pierce The Healing in the Vine
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Brian Clevinger. Tesladyne Industries Field Guide
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Carpe Diem (re-read)
Tamora Pierce The Power in the Storm (e)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Plan B (re-read)
Tamora Pierce The Fire in the Forging (e)
Terry Pratchett. Pyramids (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Simon Singh. Big Bang

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. I Dare
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Out-of-Town Sister couldn't make it for family Christmas this year, but the rest of the immediate family could, and we had a nice afternoon together in a shady part of the parents' yard. Two different people gave me TARDIS-shaped money boxes, one containing a fortune in jelly babies. My mother gave me, among other things I received more graciously, a can opener and frying pan, which I suspect was a Hint. (It's not as if I don't already own multiples of both already; in fact, I'm pretty sure one of my other can openers was also a Hint.) I gave the elder of my nieces The Book With No Pictures.


2. When Out-of-Town Brother is in town, our usual bonding activity is video games, but this year I got him to help me try out a couple of board games that I backed on Kickstarter but have never had a chance to play.

A Study in Emerald is a game of conspiratorial maneuvring in a world ruled by the Great Old Ones, with each player either attempting to overthrow the tentacle of tyranny or working as a loyal servant of Thing and Country. It has lots of dice and counters and cards and rules, and took almost as long to set up and read the rules the first time as it did to play, but I can see myself warming to it if I ever get to play it often enough to internalize the details.

Machine of Death is a collaborative storytelling game set in a world where there is a machine that produces accurate but cryptic predictions about how people are going to die; the players are a group of assassins who have been given a list of targets and have to plan and then carry out assassinations that fit their respective predictions. It was a lot of fun; more difficult than it looked in the demo videos I've seen, but I suspect that's because we only had two players.

We also played a few games of Star Fluxx and Once Upon a Time.


3. Less successful was my attempt to introduce the family to Dixit. It turned out not to be a good moment for it; there was a lot else going on, we only managed to get the minimum number of players, Younger Niece kept trying to make off with the score counters, and we only managed to get in one round before we had to stop, in which everybody got all the clues so we ended up on a draw. Oh, well; there's always next time.


4. The arrival of summer has meant the realisation of all the holes in my summer wardrobe and more clothing shopping. And more trying on multiple things just to find one that fits. Although when I did find something that fit I could really tell the difference, which reassures me that the difficulty of finding it is the clothes and not just me. (And perhaps, thinking back, that one particular shop. I forgot to mention, last time I was complaining about this, that at that one shop there was a shirt I tried on that was so badly cut that one sleeve fit fine but I couldn't get my arm all the way into the other.)


5. BBC Radio 4 recently aired a six-part adaptation of Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's comic novel about the end of the world. All the episodes are available on the official website for the next few weeks, even to people in foreign parts.
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Tamora Pierce The Magic in the Weaving
Terry Pratchett. Wyrd Sisters (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Carpe Diem (e) (re-read)
Tamora Pierce The Power in the Storm (e)
Terry Pratchett. Pyramids (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books - abandoned
Mark Latham. The Political Bubble

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Plan B
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Terry Pratchett. Mort (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Saltation (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Sourcery (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Daniel Boyarin. The Jewish Gospels
Nigel West. MI5

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Agent of Change
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Local Custom (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Scout's Progress (re-read)
Gail Carson Levine. Ella Enchanted (e) (re-read)
Tamora Pierce. Trickster's Queen

Non-fiction books in progress
Joachim Fest. Plotting Hitler's Death

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Ellen Raskin. The Westing Game
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Lynley Dodd. Hairy Maclary's Caterwaul Caper
Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell. Fortunately the Milk
Catherine Jinks. Pagan's Daughter
Catherine Jinks. A Very Unusual Pursuit
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Trade Secret (e)
Bernard Marshall. Cedric the Forester (e)
Tamora Pierce. Trickster's Choice
Susie Poole. All These Things
Terry Pratchett. Raising Steam
Michael Rosen, Helen Oxenbury. We're Going On a Bear Hunt

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Local Custom (re-read)
Tamora Pierce. Trickster's Queen

Non-fiction books in progress
Joachim Fest. Plotting Hitler's Death

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Scout's Progress
pedanther: (cheerful)
I gather this is also a part of the Yuletide experience, so here are a dozen good stories from this year's collection that were written neither by nor for me.

To begin with, the one that I've been recommending to pretty much everyone who stands still long enough:

Four Things that Weren't Adequately Covered in Mulan's R.A. Training (4540 words)

Mulan is a Resident Assistant on a dormitory floor at a college. Gosh, some of the students on her floor come from really screwed-up families.

In which the Disney Princesses are translated into modern college students sharing a dormitory, supporting each other as they deal with weird health problems, annoying acquaintances, and a variety of screwed-up family histories.

Fortunately, Belle has a Doctorate in the University of Googling Everything and after Aurora fell asleep in the middle of a conversation about last week's Dr. Who, she said, "You know what I bet you have? I bet you have NARCOLEPSY."

also: American Gods, Arm Joe, Asimov's robots, Black Books, The Fifth Element, Galaxy Quest, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Sneakers, and ... )

The Ten Stupidest Things I've Heard Since Richard III's Remains Were Identified

Tudor Spies and Perfidy (750 words)

A meeting of the University of Leicester excavation team.

Fewer Than Ten Scenes From the Second Coming of Richard III (5500 words)

The discovery of Richard III's remains in Leicester brings a number of visitors to the city, most of them dead. Tourism may suffer. A handful of vignettes from this critical turning point in English history.

First you need to read the blog post, if you haven't already. There were quite a few "what if some of these things were true?" stories in Yuletide this year, but these are two of my favourites.

"Tudor Spies and Perfidy" is short and hilarious. "Fewer Than Ten Scenes" is longer, also funny, with a poignant turn at the end.
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
GK Chesterton. The Wisdom of Father Brown (e)
William Finn, Rachel Sheinkin. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Barbara Hambly. A Free Man of Color
Nina Kiriki Hoffman. The Thread That Binds the Bones
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Balance of Trade (re-read)
Elinor Whitney. Tod of the Fens (e)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Trade Secret (e)
Tamora Pierce. Trickster's Choice

Non-fiction books in progress
Joachim Fest. Plotting Hitler's Death

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Tamora Pierce. Trickster's Queen
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
(anthology). Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01

In progress
GK Chesterton. The Innocence of Father Brown (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Crystal Soldier (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Chad Orzel. How to Teach Physics to Your Dog

In progress
Chad Orzel. How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Crystal Dragon
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. From the "I always assume everyone has heard about these already" department: Neil Gaiman's novel Neverwhere is being adapted into a six-part radio drama, with a cast that's wall-to-wall British acting talent, led by James McAvoy as Richard Mayhew, Benedict Cumberbatch as the angel Islington, and Anthony Head & David Schofield as Messrs. Croup & Vandemar. More details are on his blog.

Also forthcoming from Neil Gaiman: his second Doctor Who episode. Details are not on his blog, except this one: that it guest stars Warwick Davis.


2. A recent discussion at Ana Mardoll's blog got onto the subject of the loaded term "Mary Sue", and started trying to come up with more descriptive alternatives. Two terms have gained traction at the time of writing: "Magic Goose Hero" (so implausibly irresistible that all the characters want to grab on despite it making no sense for them to want to do so) for the character, and "Protagonist Centred Everything" for the problem. And this is the thing which came out in the discussion that I hope catches on, even if none of the actual terms do - that when a story revolves around an impossibly awesome protagonist, the protagonist and the problem are not one and the same. When the plot and other characters exist only to showcase how awesome the protagonist is, they're all part of the problem too.


3. Still reading along with Mark Reads Tortall. Nearing the end of the last book in the Lioness Quartet now, and things are starting to really come together. It's not as easy to stick to the one-chapter-at-a-time schedule as it used to be.


4. One of the nice things about the new washing machine is that it has a delayed start function, which means that I can load it up before I go to bed and wake up to newly-washed clothes in the morning. In theory. In practice, I need more work on getting the timing right - I got up on Saturday morning and went to see if the laundry cycle was finished, and arrived just in time to see it start.

(Also in washing machine news: I don't need a new stool after all, because the existing laundry chair - which the laundry basket sits in while I'm taking clothes out and hanging them up - is a good height for the job.)

(Yes, it's an exciting life I lead. I've learned to live with it.)


5. If somebody had told me Casino Royale opens with Freddy Fisher going down for treason, I might have watched it much sooner. (Or perhaps not. But it did provide a nice unexpected moment of interest. As did Alan Jackson's brief and ill-fated stint in MI6 a bit later, though him I admit I couldn't place until the credits.)

I don't think I'm really the target audience for this sort of thing, though; most of the big bravura action sequences had me, well before they ended, muttering "Yes, very nice, but can we get back to the plot now?"
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Ben Aaronovitch. Whispers Under Ground
Neil Gaiman, et al. Sandman: The Kindly Ones (re-read)
Neil Gaiman, et al. Sandman: The Wake (re-read)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Dragon Ship (e)
Naomi Novik. Crucible of Gold
Ellis Peters. Death to the Landlords!
Vernor Vinge. The Children of the Sky

Abandoned
Franz Kafka. The Trial

Non-fiction books in progress
Douglas A. Anderson, Verlyn Flieger. J.R.R. Tolkien On Fairy-stories
Barbara Sher, Barbara Smith. I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Greg Weisman, Karine Charlebois. Gargoyles: Bad Guys
pedanther: (Default)
1. I'm re-reading the last few volumes of Sandman along with Mark Reads Sandman. (To start with I just dipped into the books when I wanted to check a detail, then I started re-reading bits, and now it's definitely a continuous re-read.)

I don't think I've mentioned Mark Reads here before, though I keep meaning to. The general premise is that Mark reads a popular work of fiction that he doesn't know anything about, one chapter a day, and after each chapter he writes and blogs a post reacting to the events of the chapter and trying to predict where the story's going next.
Read more... )
Things Mark has read include Harry Potter, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, His Dark Materials, and The Hunger Games. He also has a companion blog, Mark Watches, where he's currently episode-by-episoding his way through Buffy and Angel.


2. I've more or less given up on the multiplayer aspect of Worlds in Time, the Doctor Who online multiplayer game, and am working my way through the storyline as if it were single-player mode, accompanied only by the computer-operated assistants. Read more... )


3. Meanwhile, Portal 2 has an actual single-player storyline that I've been working my way through. Read more... )


4. For my thoughts on Brave and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, see my previous Five Things post.


5. I went to see Steel Magnolias mainly because I had several friends in the cast; I wasn't at all sure it would be my kind of thing. As it turned out, I liked it a lot. This suggests that there may be whole unexplored areas of fiction that have drifted by me because they seemed on the surface to be not my kind of thing. If so, I'm not sure I want to know; it's not as if I don't have a large enough pile of things to read and watch as it is.

(There's probably some clever way to tie this back around to point 1, since one of the things Mark Reads is built on is Mark discovering and falling in love with works that he'd previously drifted by because they superficially appeared to be not his kind of thing. But it's late, and I'm tired, and I'm not going to bother.)

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