Posts tagged ‘Books’

Katie Came Home

Well, no, that’s what I do every day anyway, so there’s nothing too exciting about that. What I really mean is, I lost the impetus to write anything at all quite abruptly earlier this year, but it came back, equally abruptly, when I listened closely yesterday to Shawn Colvin’s Sunny Came Home (which, incidentally, has been among Katie’s Top 100 for several years). Now, I had just finished re-reading Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (which has caused me to start re-incorporating words like ‘schism’ and ‘flaneur’ [HELLO VRIC!!!] into my vocabulary), so it came quite naturally that I listened to Sunny with Lemony Snicket in mind.

Has anyone else read the series and found the song to almost be like an eerie sequel?

No? OK, look.

(I’m afraid you’ll have to have read the books in order to get what I’m going to say)

Sunny came home to her favourite room

Sunny sat down in the kitchen

In the books, Sunny Baudelaire’s favourite room would have been the kitchen. She was the chef among the siblings, even as a baby, and in The Beatrice Letters, was said to have discussed her recipes on the radio.

She opened a book…

Books featured very prominently in ASOUE, and the greatest reader in it was her brother, Klaus.

… and a box of tools…

Shades of her sister Violet, the inventor. Symbols of both her siblings in the same sentence and in their marked absence. What happened to them?

Sunny came home with a mission

Very VFD.

Days go by, I’m hypnotized…

That happened to Klaus at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill.

It’s time for a few small repairs…

Like Violet would have taken care of.

Strike a match, go on and do it…

I close my eyes and fly out of my mind into the fire…

THE most ASOUE-esque symbol of all: fire, which destroyed all the important buildings in the series – the Baudelaire and Quagmire mansions, the VFD headquarters, Caligari Carnival and Hotel Denouement.

Doesn’t the song sound just like a sinister follow-up in which Sunny loses her beloved siblings, turns to the dark side and becomes a fire-setter instead of a volunteer? After all, in The Beatrice Letters, the three kids have grown up and mysteriously disappeared, with no confirmation of whether they are dead or alive.

Right. Back to reality. The fact is, Sunny Came Home PRECEDED ASOUE by a good three years, so there is no way that it was intended to be related to the series, and all the connections therefore really only exist in my own mind <ducks rotten vegetables being thrown>.

But try doing what I did – read the books and then listen to the song, and perhaps you may come to agree that “miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear”.


September 30, 2010 at 16:41 4 comments

Dumbledore Was Gay?!!!

Albus Dumbledore

Image from Wiki

Call me slow, but I haven’t been checking out Harry Potter sites for a while. I discovered the fact on Wiki, and almost laughed out loud in the office.

It’s just that I never even thought of Albus Dumbledore as having a sex life. Yes, part of this is me making the crass mistake of equating sex with youth. However, most of the incredulity stems from unexpectedness. I would have reacted the same way if it had been Gandalf.

Or Saruman. Hahahahaha.

Oops, better check that out before I laugh… OK, I’m good. Hahahahaha.

Despite critics who denounce this aspect as child-corrupting and anti-Christian, I must say that my first reaction (after laughing) is admiration for JK Rowling’s detailed character development. Trust her to have thought of that.

It does make contextual sense for Dumbledore to have fallen in love with Grindelwald. From an interview:

“He lost his moral compass completely when he fell in love and I think subsequently became very mistrusting of his own judgment in those matters so became quite asexual. He led a celibate and bookish life.”

That’s very clever, and shows understanding of human nature. It was also brave… however, by the time Ms. Rowling declared the fact, HP was already irrevocably well-received, and such controversy would only have increased publicity.

Isn’t ‘gay’ a terrible word for homosexuality?

May 17, 2009 at 09:41 Leave a comment

Top 100 Books To Read: The BBC Big Read

Skyping with Monty led to the topic of books and the Top 100 list. Inspired, I have searched out BBC’s list and copied it here. The ones I’ve completed are marked ♦ and the ones I didn’t like and didn’t complete are marked ◊. The ones I really love are marked, of course, with a ♥. Here goes:

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien ♦
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen ♦ ♥
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling ♦
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell ♦
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis ♦
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë ♦
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller ◊
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë ♦
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier ♦
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger ♦
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame ♦
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens ♦
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott ♦ ♥
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy ◊
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling ♦
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling ♦
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling ♦
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien ♦
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy ♦
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot ♦
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving ♦ ♥
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck ♦
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll ♦
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens ♦
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl ♦
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson ♦
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen ♦ ♥
39. Dune, Frank Herbert ♦
40. Emma, Jane Austen ♦ ♥
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery ♦ ♥
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams ♦
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald ♦
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas ♦
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell ♦
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens ♦
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy ♦
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett ♦
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck ♦
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy ♦
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth ◊
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell ♦ ♥
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden ♦
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens ♦
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett ♦ ♥
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton ♦
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman ♦
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett ♦ ♥
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding ♦ ♥
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind ♦ ♥
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett ♦ ♥
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding ♦
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins ♦ ♥
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy ♦
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett ♦ ♥
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie  ♦

I’m really pleased to see so many Terry Pratchetts on the list, especially since I don’t know how many more he can churn out before dementia takes over. I did think that at least one from Reaper Man, Feet Of Clay, Witches Abroad, Wyrd Sisters and Pyramids might have made the list too.

Jane Austen – yeah! Hurray for Emma! I also applaud the inclusion of the two Brontes.

Rebecca, haha. Everybody’s guilty pleasure. It made me look out for Virginia Andrews, heh heh.

I feel snarkily pleased at the exclusion of Twilight and Anne Rice. Did not like these. My vote for a modern vampire story would be Robin McKinley’s Sunshine.

Why A Christmas Carol instead of A Tale Of Two Cities, which was much less annoying?

I’d expected at least one solo Neil Gaiman entry – though I suppose Sandman may not count as a novel-novel, and my personal favourite, The Graveyard Book, was published way after this list was compiled. Speaking of which, no Rudyard Kipling?

What about Laura Ingalls Wilder? James Herriot? LM Montgomery’s Emily as well as Anne? Where was Dracula, or Frankenstein? Charlotte’s Web – how could it not be there? War Of The Worlds? Lolita – where’s my Lolita? Kazuo Ishiguro – how could they have omitted him? Agatha Christie’s spectacular 10 Little Indians, or perhaps Mousetrap, if they might consider a play? Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest? Samuel Shem’s House Of God? Michael Ende’s Momo, or The Neverending Story? Audrey Niffeneger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife, which made me cry quarts? Peter Carey’s Oscar And Lucinda? PG Wodehouse? Margaret Atwood? Doris Lessing? Possibly Alexander McCall Smith or Jodi Picoult? And since Stephen King is there, why not Dean Koontz? 

Eeps, my little rant has made me wonder how much money I’ve spent buying these books. Heh. My count of completed books is 52 – kinda more than I’d expected, because my taste in books can be quite juvenile (loved Lemony Snicket – where was he? And Malory Towers!) and uncerebral (examples withheld, as quite insulting).

I wonder if it’s true that the average person has read only six books on the list. I couldn’t find that bit on the BBC website… but if it’s on the Internet, it MUST be true, right (hur hur, hyuk)?

I think that I just might be able to clear the full hundred in the next five years. Kinokuniya, here I come!

April 13, 2009 at 09:09 Leave a comment

Welcome to my blog!

My blog-name is Katie but I will not respond if you call me that in real life because it's not my real name. Yes, I do practise virtual-world paranoia. No, I do not enjoy stalkers. But I do enjoy writing and having folks reading said writing, so welcome to my world. It's nice to meet you.

Playing in my head over and over again argh

I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce)

Book(s) of the moment

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

Books read in 2010 and 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) - 'cos the movie's coming out!
Frankenstein: Lost Souls (Dean Koontz) - ah, bugger, it's part of a series! Now I hafta find all the books...
Dismantled (Jennifer McMahon) - oh, good one
Tigerlily's Orchids (Ruth Rendell)
Shutter Island (Dennis LeHane) - reminds me too much of work
Holy Fools (Joanne Harris) - it's official: I prefer her scary books
A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Unauthorized Autobiography; The Beatrice Letters (Lemony Snicket)
The Little Friend (Donna Tartt)
The main books - 11 so far - of the Southern Vampire series; the Aurora Teagarden series except for A Fool & His Honey - that makes it 7; Sweet & Deadly (Charlaine Harris)
The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)
Room: A Novel (Emma Donaghue)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The Bachman Books (Stephen King)
Men At Arms (Terry Pratchett)
Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
The Fifth Elephant (Terry Pratchett)
Beauty (Robin McKinley)
The Sandman, Vol 1 (Neil Gaiman)
The Burden (Agatha Christie) - her crime novels are waaay better
Snuff (Terry Pratchett)

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I started my first photoblog on 3 May, 2009. Each post features one picture, with a little story of how it came about. Do take a look by clicking on: Manx Pictures
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Disclaimers: 1) I cannot help but bitch about work sometimes, but everything here comes under the realm of personal remarks, and nothing here is said in my professional capacity. Nor does anything here reflect the opinion of the institutions that employ me. This is just me shooting off. 2) Most identities have been anonymized, particularly those of folks I know on a personal basis. Same goes for my workplaces. However, commercial and public places and figures remain named. Otherwise some things just wouldn't make sense. 3) Links and sources have been provided where appropriate and possible. They are not meant to challenge anyone's ownership. If this causes any discomfort or offence, please let me know.


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