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gosh, it's been a while...

So, I'm going to cheat and steal this idea from somebody somewhere on tumblr...

Q&A Monday

1. If you were in a pageant and had to perform a talent, what would it be?
Singing. Or I might recite a moving poem.

2. What is your biggest beauty-related regret?
The blonde streaks I had put in my hair once - all the extra knots were very annoying!

3. Do you have a celebrity look-alike?
I don't think so...

4. What is your natural hair color?
Dark brown.
5. Ever met a celebrity?
Michael Shanks, who plays Daniel Jackson on Stargate: SG1. I have his autograph in one of my journals.

6. Fave/least fave housewife from any of the Real Housewives shows on BRAVO?
oh please...

7. Workout regimen?
A walk with a pretty view and some daydreaming mixed, and the scantiest of stretching sessions afterward if I feel so inclined.

8. Dream gift?
Books! And chocolate! And a pair of woollen socks* - proper socks, not the rubbish from a department store that wears out in two weeks!

9. Are you a good/bad cook?
When forced to, I can produce yummy things in the kitchen.

10. What is your favorite food?
Chocolate, coffee, anything that Harry gets to eat at Hogwarts.

* you should be aware that this is a reference to one exceedingly clever wizard!

feathers:

oh coffee I love thee!

I just discovered that without constant cups of instant coffee I have pretty much no energy, and a solitary latte only gets me feeling just myself. I cannot do anything without coffee. Somewhat tragic, but mostly great because I really love coffee!

And I know most of you think instant coffee is disgusting, but I really only like drinking Moccona Rich now - gives me a better buzz than french pressed coffee, and then I can do things. Like uni work. I even want to do the uni work, all that thinking, not just have the passing thought 'I should work on my essay' and then keeping on reading The Time Traveler's Wife (which is fantastic!) or watching telly.

So that's that.

I'm going to read for my essay now.

Hope everything's fabbity and buzzy for you!

feathers:

the growth of a short story...

Draft one: on paper, about a third of the necessary length. Then I got stuck, so began to type it up, which resulted in

Draft two: got to nearly 2000 words, which I posted online for my classmates to read and comment on (most of their comments were rubbish, but there were some I found helpful. Pet hate with comments - 'I don't understand this reference' - clearly, dear, you need to read more!

Draft three: scrawling over the printed draft two.

Draft four: eight handwritten pages of short story, neatening, extending and correcting draft three.

I am about to embark on draft five, which is typing up draft four whilst improving the style and neglecting to put in the content that looks stupid.

Then I will print that and make sure it all makes sense and sounds okay, and proofread it. Then I will fix the mistakes on the computer and print the final edit, which is still draft five, really, and add the coversheet, post the story to my uni and hope for a High Distinction!

feathers:

books read meme

For those of you wishing for (slighter) deeper insights into my reading.

1. Best book of 2011?
Tete-a-tete - the biography of Beauvoir and Sartre that Hazel Rowley wrote. Well written and very insightful.

2. Worst book of 2011?
Any of the Christmas Romances - so contrived and yet so delightful to read (and repeatedly snort over).

3. Most disappointing book of 2011?
The Heir by Vita Sackville-West - foolish me expected something wonderful by someone so closely connected with Virginia Woolf. One should just read Virginia Woolf, she never disappoints, though she does often confound and discombobulate (I am thinking of The Waves, which I am still reading - possibly stuck, but I shall persevere, later...)

4. Most surprising (in a good way) book of 2011?
Palo Alto by James Franco. I did not expect a book written by a mere actor (what a snob I am!) to be so dense and gripping and, quite frankly, well written.
Also Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes - very diverse range of writing styles in such a slim volume, and so intriguing!

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?
My Big Birkett - I don't often recommend books to people, but I did recommend this one, and The Bell Jar.

6. Best series you discovered in 2011?
(Pass)

7. Favourite new authors you discovered in 2011?
Mikhail Bulgakov, Hazel Rowley, James Franco (really hope he comes out with something else!)

8. Most hilarious read of 2011?
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Also, a close second, My Big Birkett by Lisa Shanahan.

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
Ashling by Isobelle Carmody.

10. Book you most anticipated in 2011?
The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper - which I shall go on anticipating until April 2012 because that is when it will be published!

11. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2011?
Can't decide. Let's go with All My Road Before Me because it's a plain black hardcover that in no way influence your mind's perceptions of the words within.

12. Most memorable character in 2011?
Quite honestly, Harry Potter. It's always Harry Potter.

13. Most beautifully written book in 2011?
Claudine's House by Colette.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?
All My Road Before Me - aka Jack's Diary. I was reading this for about two months (amongst other things).

15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?
Paradise Lost to finally finish, more like! Next year I shall (finally!) finish /i>Ulysses</i> by James Joyce, and Dante's The Divine Comedy.

feathers:

Books read this year

...and quite an eclectic mix it is. The majority of them are really great, and they are all worth reading. One must 'read a something of everything and everything of something' - Lord Henry P. Brougham. And as I have (re)read all of Harry Potter among this year's books, I have definitely achieved both of these aims!

Books First Time Read:

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
various authors, A Wilderness Christmas (Yes, more trashy Christmas romances!)
Susanna Kearsley, Mariana
Kelley Armstrong, Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic

Maggie O'Farrell, After You'd Gone
James Franco, Palo Alto (a great, gritty book)
Jon McGregor, So Many Ways to Begin (loved this)
Scot Gardner, Bookmark Days
Thalia Kalipsakis, What Supergirl Did Next

Italo Calvino, If On a Winter's Night a Traveller
Jessica Adams, Vintage Alice (can't blame this one on a cold. One needs chick lit sometimes.)
Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood
Charles de Lint, Promises to Keep
Brigid Lowry, Guitar Highway Rose

Julia Green, Drawing with Light
Brigid Lowry, Triple Ripple
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Ruth Elwin Harris, The Beckoning Hills, and The Silent Shore

Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot
David Malouf, An Imaginary Life
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
David R George III, Star Trek: The Fire and the Rose (Live long and prosper!)
Eunice Lipton, Alias Oylmpia (really inspiring and interesting)

Hazel Rowley, Tete-a-Tete: the Lives and Loves of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean Rhys, Sleep It Off Lady
Penni Russon, Little Bird
Neil Gaiman, M is for Magic
Pete Hautman, Rash

Mary Ellen Jordan, Balanda: my year in Arnhem Land
Kathleen O'Brien, Christmas in Hawthorn Bay
Lisa Plumley, Once upon a Christmas
Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis – really amazing! You need to read this!

Helen Garner, Joe Cinque's Consolation(I love the stuff we read for uni!)
Julie Anne Peters, Define “Normal”
Lisa Shanahan, My Big Birkett – absolutely hilarious and also rather touching
Joanne Horniman, About a Girl
Pia Jane Bijkerk, My Heart Wanders (really lovely)

Penni Russon, The Indigo Girls
Jeanette Winterson, Tanglewreck
Georgia Blain, Closed for Winter
Daniel Blythe, Autonomy (a Doctor Who novel with rubbish writing but a good storyline)
Una McCormack, The King's Dragon (a Doctor Who novel with writing that makes me happy!)

Penny Tangey, Loving Richard Feynman
Deborah Ellis, The Heaven Shop
Katie Fforde, Love Letters (my cold made me read it!)
Mistletoe Kisses, three Christmas romances. Middle one was my favourite of these. I have a cold!
Alice Garner, The Student Chronicles (much too short and not enough depth)

Vita Sackville-West, The Heir (not much good, though I did finish it, and I don't finish bad books)
Michael Noonan, The December Boys
Isobelle Carmody, Ashling (approx. 150,000 words – I know it's very nerdy to figure that out), and very absorbing - the sort of book where if somebody dares to distract you from it you become very grumpy.
Walter Hooper (ed.), All my road before me: the diary of CS Lewis 1922-1927
Simmone Howell, Notes from the teenage underground

Carmel Bird, Dear Writer
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita – Fantastic!
John Milton, Paradise Lost – finally finished it after three years. What an epic book with which to finish the year.


Re-reads:

JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
JK Rowling, all Harry Potter books
JK Rowling, Tales of the Beedle the Bard

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
Shakespeare, Othello (audiobook - does count as 'read'!)
Alyssa Brugman, Walking Naked
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (if you haven't read this before, do!)
James Aldridge, The Girl from the Sea

Michelle Cooper, A Brief History of Montmaray and The FitzOsbornes in Exile - so lovely I have to refrain from reading them over and over when I have them out from the library!
Rosamunde Pilcher, Winter Solstice (I was sick!)
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares(so fabbity!)
Colette, Claudine's House - practically a reader's dream life



78 books
target: 144 books
pet peeve: 'all in one movement'
best word: 'persnickety' (a description of Dash)
best concept: 'real eclipse' – rendering usual eclipses pretend! Thank you, Milton!

finally finished it!

I have finished Paradise Lost. I was determined to finish it by the end of the year, and I have! Yay! Took a good three hours to read the last 70 or so pages, but I have managed it. My brain feels a bit befuddled now.

Now to do a 'books read for the year' post, and then to enjoy some New Year revelry - Military Tattoo, Stephen Fry Live at the Opera House, The Year That was 2011. I do love the idiot box: sometimes one's brain needs rotting goodness.

From the old year, Farewell!

not much happening

I have been

- Christmas shopping
- drinking coffee
- drinking tea
- buying HP album stickers (but not the album), and there are some very cool ones
- admiring Malfoy's sneer
- admiring Ron's horrified faces
- remembering how fantastic the HP ex was, esp Snape and McG's costumes, and Hagrid's hut.
- wanting to knit leg warmers (even though it's summer here)
- writing a bit
- not studying for my summer subject
- disliking the computer keyboard I am currently using
- sadly returning library books
- having the pleasure of borrowing more library books
- talking to people!
- having fun at work because the EFTPOS terminals were down and it made things interesting!

And that is the end of my cheaterly update!

'wibbly wobbly stuff' *

Here are some things I've been upto:

housework yesterday (I think my mind must be turning: I cleaned the oven!)

dentist today, for a consultation which revealed that it is going to require a lot of money to make my teeth happy. I need nine fillings! Maybe I should eat less sugary rubbish until I get those done... oh the torture of not eating sugary goodnesses!

my rabbit is sitting on my bed, looking very cute and cleaning his nose!

I borrowed a knitting book from the library with the most beautiful projects in it!

I'm reading Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, in which the Master is a man devoted to truth and the only one able to resist the devil's trickery. So, not a bit like the Master in Doctor Who!

I've added some cute new things to my tumblr: my tumblr

I finally finished reading CS Lewis' diary on Sunday night. It took a while, but it was interesting reading. If it hadn't been there's no way I would have spent all those hours on it!

I really do have an excessive amount of library books out - over 30! And I don't want to return any of them!

~

*I just love the sound of that phrase! I was going to make the subject of this post 'bits and bobs', but then 'wibbly wobbly stuff' reminded me of its wonderful qualities and I couldn't resist. Where would we be without the Doctor eh?

on writing spaces

CS Lewis wrote about his brother's study in his two-room hut on the army base: 'The sitting room with stove, easy chair, pictures, and all his French books, is very snug. I notice that a study in a hut, or a cave, or the cabin of a ship can be snug in a way that is impossible for a mere room in a house, the snugness there being a victory, a sort of defiant comfortableness - whereas in a house of course, one demands comfort and is simply annoyed at its absense' (All my road before me, p. 342).

In Isobelle Carmody's Ashling, Fian is borrowing the captain's cabin on the Cutter, because of all the books about the sea the captain has. Elspeth goes to talk with him in that tiny cabin: 'He had to flatten himself against the wall to get the door to the tiny chamber open, but there was hardly enough room even when it was closed. He waved me to the only seat that would fit, and propped himself on the corner of the rickety wooden table piled high with books' (p. 440). Though truly tiny, the cabin sounds comfortable indeed - no doubt, the effect of all those books.

But not only cramped places make good studies, witness this room (found on tumblr):



That's all for now!

in the doldrums...

I have a cold. Nursing it is a serious business involving lots of hot water with lemon and honey and a lot of reading and DVD watching. I have so far read Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher and Love Letters by Katie Fforde (one needs fluff at such times) and watched, My Sister's Keeper, four episodes of Doctor Who and three of Cranford. Love the BBC! Going to watch more Cranford soon.

Also have had cough lollies, chocolate, juice, a banana, lots of toast. Highly recommend the chocolate if you're feeling poorly! And the complete self-indulgence. The cold seems to affect me less badly if I rest while my body fights it. Though staying in bed or in an armchair for hours does get annoying after a while.

Hope you're all alright!

feathers:

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all owls should ponder

Milton
Shakespeare
Kierkegaard
Emily Dickinson
Isobelle Carmody
Simone Weil
Betty Smith
Sartre
Camus
Seamus Heaney
Dostoyevsky
Kerouac
Isobelle Carmody
Ursula le Guin
Alice Walker
David Malouf
Tolstoy
Michelle Cooper
Dorothy L Sayers
Charles Williams
JK Rowling
CS Lewis
Simone de Beauvoir
Dorothy Parker
Pearl S Buck
Maya Angelou
Henry Lawson
Mikhail Bulgakov
Edna St Vincent-Millay
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