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Everything posted by Darkstar

  1. I've read this story - I remember how it ends. Unfortunately I couldn't tell you what it is called or who it is by. Could be Heinlein as I used to read a lot of his stuff, or perhaps Ray Bradbury - the twist at the end is reminiscent of his SF.
  2. I've got several slang dictionaries as I'm interested in historical slang. I downloaded the grandaddy of them all, Grose (1815) from the Gutenberg project which is good for late 18th and early 19th century bad words. I also have a copy of Hotton dating from the 1870s which relied on Grose for a lot, but also has much updated material. The best of the modern slang dictionaires for my purposes, I think is Partridge, and I've got a copy of the 8th edition. Full title, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English.
  3. I started reading this earlier in the year. I thought it looked great when I bought it, and when I started to read it, it looked really promising. But I simply didn't connect with it. The idea was excellent, and it should have been really funny. But it wasn't. And I didn't like the characters. I didn't even finish it in the end, which is unlike me.
  4. The Wisdom of Crocodiles by Paul Hoffman
  5. Biggles Flies East by Captain WE Johns
  6. I always try and use disinterested properly, because I think the distinction between disinterested and uninterested is very useful to have, and if it's lost (as seems sadly likely) the only word to replace it with is neutral and it's not the same.
  7. I enjoy Dickens, and have done since I was a teenager. These days, I try and read or re-read at least one Dickens novel every year or so. This year's selection is going to be Our Mutual Friend, which I haven't read before. You're right - they can be hard going. I remember the first time I tried to read Bleak House, it took me months. I only persevered because it was a set text for SYS English. But I've read it voluntarily since, several times, and even enjoyed it. Part of the problem is, I think that they were written for people who had a lot more time on their hands for long books, or who were reading it as a serial - one issue a month for something like 18 months. Why not try one of the shorter ones? Oliver Twist say, and Nicholas Nickleby's a good one too.
  8. Darkstar

    Live 8

    Oh, Steely Dan were good. I had a couple of their albums.
  9. Patrick O'Brian was in the early stages of writing another Aubrey/Maturin novel when he died. I wish that hadn't been published.
  10. I do both. I borrow from my local library, and I pay large sums of money to my old university so I can continue to borrow books from their library, I buy and sell books on ebay and amazon, and I haunt bookstores. The only place I have never bought a book is a supermarket.
  11. Darkstar

    Live 8

    At the weekend I heard of two separate groups of people who are not now going to the Make Poverty History March in Edinburgh on the 2nd because they are so concerned about public safety. Since these groups were going to be taking busloads of schoolchildren they're quite right to be concerned. I expect similar decisions are being replicated across the country. This is a very great shame as it will lessen the impact the march (which has been in the planning for months) will have. It also shows that people in Scotland have a rather better idea of the numbers of people it is safe to have in Edinburgh than those calling for ridiculous numbers of people to come here.
  12. I've read two of his books - the Mad Monk of Gidleigh and A Moorland Hanging. I quite enjoyed the Mad Monk but was a bit taken aback at the blood bath at the end. However, having now read a second one where both characters and plot were heavily recycled, I'm less impressed. For example, Baldwin and wossname stay with a local knight with delinquent sons. A key plot point was a bastard that no one knew about. Once you knew that, the one wot dunnit was really obvious.
  13. I adore Pratchett and Feist, although I hate the way Feist seems to have done an 'official fan fiction' thing with the tales of the Riftwar series. I've read two of those and they were pretty dire. I came across Katherine Kurtz about twenty years or so ago, and really enjoyed them. I think I read the first two trilogies and the odd book from elsewhere in the sequence. But I never had them all so there was always something missing.
  14. I do a lot of driving on the A7 which is not a road with many places on it where it's safe to pass. Therefore getting stuck behind something can really affect the blood pressure, especially if they insist on driving at 35 or 40 everywhere. And that's including through villages. There are plenty of places to pull over, but do they? Hell no, I've seen up to a mile of traffic behind these cars sometimes. Drive at 40 if you want, but let others pass, for goodness sake!
  15. This was a competently written tale of medieval psychotherapy, but not one I liked sufficiently to want to read again. It wasn't helped by being written in the 1st person, which is not my favourite POV. There seems to be a fad at the moment, when writing 1st person historical novels to use the conceit that the narrator is writing from a point some years later, or even towards the end of their life – An Instance of the Fingerpost, was similar. I suppose this is intended to give the narrative a greater feel of verisimilitude, but it really isn’t necessary, especially when it is used to give potted histories of the later lives of the other characters in the novel, as happened here. I really didn’t need to know most of the information given, or want to know it either.
  16. Hating America: the new world sport by John Gibson
  17. One of my best holidays (not the best as I don't think there is one), was a road trip I did five years ago. Flew to San Francisco, hired a car and drove all the way up to Mount St Helens and back, via assorted volcanoes, cave systems, Yosemite, mountain passes etc etc. Took two weeks drove 3000 miles. Another time I went round the south of India by train with my mum. That was fun. Might manage an interail this year.
  18. Well there's at least one other Pompei thread, so you might well have done.
  19. Babies for beginners by Roni Jay
  20. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
  21. What annoyed me about this book was that so little time was devoted to the actual eruption. It all seemed to be squashed into the last chapter or so, when so much more could have been done. And what about the aftermath? I felt the end was so rushed - I think I've said this elsewhere - it was almost as if Harris had been contracted to write so many words, had reached his limit and tied it all up really quickly. This was a pity as it was OK up until then.
  22. A couple of years ago I found I was watching less and less TV - there was never anything I wanted to watch on, and when there was I would forget to watch it because I was doing something else. I haven't actually had the TV on to watch TV since last year - I still watch dvds and videos on it. I keep meaning to get a set top box to watch BBC4, but haven't got around to it yet. Having said that I spend a lot of time online. I keep hearing about all these reality shows and I don't think I'm missing much. I think having other, better things to do is the key. You could read a book (!), write a blog, write a novel, anything.
  23. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
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