Sunday, 27 December 2009


I'm in the mood to make a New Years resolution, and seeing as how I'm talking about it here, I suppose it'd better be book related.

I've just been updating my book spreadsheet. I've bought an awful lot of books in the past few weeks. I started out resolutely refusing to step into Borders as the closing down signs went up, but eventually the brightly coloured signs lured me in. Even if the staff seemed intent on playing depressing Christmas music to make themselves feel better.

I found a lot of Jean Plaidy and a few other things I'm sure I would have never picked up, had it not been for the empty shelves.

With all these purchases, I found it necessary to rid myself of a fair few books, and I was ruthless - stripping my shelves of things long since bought but never touched. Three gigantic bags went off to Oxfam, although I wasn't quite as ruthless as my father who got rid of 300+ books in one fell swoop.

Now - on to this resolution. I don't think I can stop myself from buying books. After all, there are bargains and true finds waiting for me out there, and if they present themselves, they'll have to be bought.

No - my resolution is to read nothing that I don't already own at this precise moment in time (that would be Sunday 27th December, 8.22pm). That gives me 430 books to choose from, so the phrase 'I've got nothing to read' should never pass my lips. Wish me luck, and strength, dear comrades in books - I think I'm gonna need it!

Friday, 25 December 2009

Christmas Eve

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring - except for the blogger rearranging her books.

So, it's Christmas time again, and I'm sure many of you will have a stack of books on your wish list. What have you stopped yourself from buying in recent weeks in the vague hope that someone else will have bought it for you?

In our family, we have a number of traditions. The party for my sister's birthday has in recent years made way for a trip to the pantomime for her children, so she can have a meal with her husband (and my other sister can finish off the last bits and bobs without fear of interruption). Christingle service is also a big part of the day, as well as forcing seven children between the ages of fourteen and three to sing carols around the tree. Actually - this year, they sang Jingle Bells instead of the usual Away in a Manger, which was different!

But the biggest tradition is the tree book. When my father was a lad, this consisted of the latest annual, and was a means of shutting the children up for five minutes. Nowadays, the whole family get a book (so that's about 15 books that need to be bought ... err, can I say that for once I was glad Borders had a huge closing down sale, or is that just mean?), and we all sit around as they are dished out. I was HUGELY pleased with mine, and I'd been dropping hints to dad for quite a while - and for that read, I sent him the Amazon link, so he'd get it exactly right. I am now the proud owner of 'Mary Poppins', which I've never read, and am quite excited about.

The clock has just turned over and it is officially now one minute past midnight, so I can now officially wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope you all have a wonderful time and find yourself in possession of those books that you've been longing for!

Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Poem of the week

I had this sent to me and I love it!


This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future’s
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect

Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.

by U.A. Fanthorpe

Is it snowing where you are? Oxford looks like it's been dusted with icing sugar, but there's not enough for snowmen or the like. Truly weather for sitting indoors curled up with a good book. I've got A.S.Byatt on the go, but I think a bit of Dickens is called for - Pickwick Papers perhaps?

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas Quiz

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a little something to test those brain cells, and so here is my round from my book club quiz, from whence I have just returned.

These are first lines from novels. All you have to do is tell me which novel, and who wrote it .... I know there will be great temptation to google, but as an incentive, I can promise a prize to the person with the highest number of right answers. And if you do feel the need to cheat, would you mind saying so - in the spirit of Christmas!

Also, apologies for the total silence - it's been mega busy at work. If anyone wants to know the complete ins and outs of the Oxford interview process, let me know, but I won't go in to details now!

Quiz time!!!!

1). The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

2). All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion.

3). It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.

4). The Primroses were over.

5). Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.

6). Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours that they meant to murder him.

7). A strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the grave and beautiful name of sadness.

8). No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own.

9). He – for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it – was in the act of slicing at the head of a Moor which swung from the rafters.

10). I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.

11). It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.

12). Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

13). It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

14). The boys, as they talked to the girls from Marica Blaine School, stood on the far side of their bicycles holding the handlebars, which established a protective fence of bicycle between the sexes, and the impression that at any moment the boys were likely to be away.

15). Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.