localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
I am Having A Week. I've had rows with Tesco's customer service, the pollen count is insane and there's a lot of pressure for a big family (suprise) event that reminds me why I both absolutely love being in a big family, and at the same time why it's a pain in the neck! (Someone should observe us and then write a big HP fic replacing us with Weasleys, we're probably more chaotic!)
So rather than whinge incessantly about how stressed I am I'm going to write about books.

I recently bought three e-books from Riptide Publishing online. The conversion rate of dollars to pounds in my favour, but also because the other month when I was not spending anything and also in the middle of lent so had no fanfiction to distract me, I went through every book I thought I might like on the site and read the extracts!

The first one I read was Portside by Elyan Smith cut for spoilers ) Overall, I liked it but it is more a short story than a novella in my view.

Next I read Second Hand by Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullinan and Covet Thy Neighbour by L.A.Witt

cut for discussion potential spoilers ) So in conclusion, I liked both of them, but I really really liked Second Hand. A LOT. I just wanted moooorrrreee.
localfreak: Willo the Wisp (Willo the Wisp)
In 2012 I read 40 books and watched 44 films

This is (once again) a decline in books (last year I read 45) but an increase in films (last year I watched 37).

Books
I think I could attribute some of my drop in the books both to reading some rather hefty tomes and also a lot of Uni reading. (and fic, always the fic).

Best Book I Read for the First Time in 2012 was:

I kind of want to say one of the Temeraire books I read, but the problem is I can't actually remember what happened in which book. So probably Robbie Ross: Oscar Wilde's True Love by J. Fryer

The Worst Book I Read in 2012 was:

Becoming Jane Eyre by S Kohler it had random pointless obsessions with sex and sex parts early on which (figuratively at least) dropped off but the book never really recovered.

The Funniest Book was:

Wow, again, I don't read many funny books do I? Was probably The Masters of Sitcom from Hancock to Steptoe by C Stephens it's non-fiction but included a lot of extracts from scripts.

The most poignant/moving book:

The Book Thief by M Zusak

Favourite Re-read/Old Favourite:

I re-read What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge which is one of my absolute favourites. I also however re-read On Writing by Steven King which I (again) couldn't bear to put down.

Full list of my books of 2012: http://listography.com/localfreak/books/books_of_2012

Films

I don't usually do New Year's Resolution. But last year I privately resolved that, now my home town has a cinema, I would Go To The Pictures More, even if it meant going on my own. By my reckoning I saw 14 films at the cinema, just over 1 per month which I am very pleased about.

The Best Film I Watched in 2012:

I watched A LOT of awesome films. At the pictures I particularly loved Avengers Assemble but I also loved The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Rise of the Guardians quite a lot.

Also following the Avengers I then watched A LOT of superhero films this year and fell madly for Iron Man and Iron Man 2 (BLACK WIDOW!). I watched a lot of seriously cool stuff this year.

The Worst Film I watched in 2012:

The worst film I watched at the cinema was undoubtedly We Bought a Zoo which was (in turns) dull, predictable, tripey, lacking in animals and ever so slightly culturally insensitive (Fine so you took a RL story based in the UK and set it in the USA? That's fine. What isn't fine is then having the Zoo's Grand Opening on 7/7. It just felt like...seriously lost in translation here. And it was boring.

The worst film I watched all year however has to be A Christmas Carol the Musical which happened to be the only Christmassy thing on telly the Saturday before Christmas, when I was putting up the tree. WORDS FAIL to fully explain the mawkish, badly acted, badly directed schmaltz that totally lacked any of the sublteties that provide the needed tension in the story. Fail. Bad film. If it was a choice again between that or Jeremy Kyle...okay so it would still win but I would not be so quick to make that call.

The Funniest Film Was: probably either Avengers Assemble or Rise of the Guardians. Or My Best Friend Is A Vampire

The Most Uplifting Film Was: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Because it was WONDERFUL.

Favourite Re-Watch:

Either Passport to Pimlico which is one of my all-time-absolute favourite films or Basil, the Great Mouse Detective

Full list of my films for 2012: http://listography.com/localfreak/movies/films_of_2012
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
Was a bit under a cloud today. No particular reason why, everything was just very grey and bleh. Maybe it's because I was so marvellously productive yesterday (got SO MUCH work done I was AMAZED) that today was always going to be a comedown. Or maybe it's because that brief sense of "Yeah go me! Look at all the stuff I've finally done!" only lasts a short time before mountains more Effing spreadsheet data piles up before me once more. It is the time-consuming nature of it that makes it so unremittingly dull.

My readings for my next module should be available from Monday, however, so that's something to look forward to. A chance to give the brain a bit of a stretch. I also finished The Masters of Sitcom: From Hancock to Steptoe about Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. It was interesting. I have a love of stories about writers, and also am very fond of BBC Comedy- Hancock, Steptoe and Son and all of their kind of ilk (The Navy Lark, Round the Horne, Beyond Our Ken, Dad's Army, 'Allo 'Allo, Open All Hours etc etc). It was mostly a series of extracts from scripts- many of whom the original recordings the Beeb taped over and no one has heard/seen since their first broadcast. It was quite fun and I spent a lot of time reading out the 'good bits' to Nanny and Mum on occasions. It does I think require at least some knoweldge of the title programmes though. Otherwise it would be so hard to imagine the right voices!
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
First Monday back is probably the hardest day in the world. Killer headache for most of the day. I was going to do some sort of rec post but my brain is cabbaged to it will have to wait. I've read my first two books of the year now. The first was Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler

my thoughts )

The second one is the reason I was going to do a fannish post soon. For I have been reading Harry Potter/Temeraire crossovers. And Then a Sharpe/Temeraire crossover. I'd heard about Temeraire books before but as I am iffy both on historical novels (my mum reads a lot of them and although I want to like them I often find them hard going) and fantasy I wasn't really tempted. But then there were crossovers and it all started sounding kind of lovely and fun and not like "You must travel to the great fire pits of Agrisin-Baye and there battle the forces you find before snatching the dragon's egg from the eye of the Unburning Fires" kind of book. So I made up my mind to ask a friend to lend them to me. Then on Saturday I realised we had some in the library. Amusingly, I was first disappointed to find the second and third but not the first in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section, and then found out that the first one (and the fourth) both lived downstairs in the Historical section. Lol. So, still wary, I only got the first one out (in case I didn't like it).

I finished it in a day. Suffice to say I really did like it and found the friendship between Laurence and Temeraire absolutely adorable and fun and I am not at work for three weeks. Now, I do have about a MILLION books to read in the meantime so I must make the tricky decision: Do I send a messenger to the library to exchange book one for book two OR do I wait patiently and read something else in the meantime. There is merit to both. On the one hand I did like the first book and am holding off reading the Temeraire-only fic until I read the others because of spoilers, so the desire to Read THem All is quite a pull, on the other hand I don't want to read them all so fast I get story-fatigue. It has been the killer of books past, and often the reason I don't read many books that run in a series. It doesn't mean I stop liking them, but if I dive in too quick I then find myself unable to read them again for years at a time. It happened with Prisoner of Azkaban- I read it about six times in a month some years ago, and haven't been able to focus on reading it since. It doesn't mean I don't like it anymore but I just find myself unable to look at it. It's a bit like if you've ever eaten too much of something- when Muppets in Space came out at the pictures myself and a friend went to see it and she ordered a large bag of popcorn to herself, so I did the same. I ended up giving her the half I couldn't finish and haven't been able to stomach sweet popcorn since.

So I'm not sure. On the one hand it could be good for me to wait to get book two for a few weeks, on the other hand I'm not sure I'll last that long, particularly as I have access from home to the library catalogue and I know that we have a copy of the second book in the local library. I'd have to bomb-it home to get there before it shut one day but still...
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (DH-scarboard)
So I've signed up to Good Reads since the demise of the virtual bookshelf I was using previously. And Good Reads is pretty popular these days. Radio 4 have mentioned it and everything.

So I added a few old books and then set to adding my current reading and, when finished, maybe reviewing. In doing so I reviewed my first ebook fiction purchase (all others so far have been academic) The Bestseller by Stephen Leather. I bought it because I was in the mood for a thriller and I've heard a lot of good things about the author.

And I didn't really like the book. It was clever- working in cycles, referring to self, characters' comments overshadowing what you know is going to happen to them etc but it wasn't enjoyable. And so I gave it one star and left my review of why I didn't enjoy it.

And the author replied.

This is so bloody embarrasing. I am relieved at least that I reviewed articulately: there is not a word of it that I would hurriedly take back, but I'm left feeling like I should apologise to the author for not liking his book. I feel like his response makes me want to not write bad reviews, which is of course nonsense because I only review things I have an opinion on, bad or good, and I don't wish to censor that. The whole point of posting reviews online in places like good reads is so that other people can read them and make an assessment as to whether they wish to read the book or not.

The author also responded to someone rating his novel one star without reviewing in less than the polite terms with which he responded to me.

I do not like this. It offers quite the conundrum too. In the world of fanfiction, reviewing a story means you knowingly wish to tell the author directly what you think, but on somewhere like good reads I do not expect the author to read or respond to my review- good or bad- because I am not, when reviewing on somewhere like that, addressing them. I don't want to have to feel like I should apologise for not liking their story, or only post good reviews for fear the author might read them and their feelings will be hurt, and I most certainly don't want to be flamed by an author going "they're MY TOYS AND YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND".

It's a very rocky sort of cyberspace this. Any navigational aids available?

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