What I did on my summer holidays

I’m back from England! Actually, I’ve been back for just over a week but I’ve been recovering from a long, horrid flight and the crap that appeared when I got to work so I haven’t really been in a blogging mood.

It was a fantastic holiday. I did all the things that I planned to do, saw all the friends that I’d hoped to and ate a truly epic quantity of clotted cream.

I have a serious weakness for a good cream tea and I managed to fit in several 🙂

I’m torn in picking what the highlight of the holiday was. The day when Mum, my sister and I went on the London Eye and had tea at Brown’s hotel was a definite highlight. We had amazing weather so the view from the Eye was terrific and the tea was amazing. Now that we’ve done Brown’s and Claridge’s, Mum and sis suggested that we need to try all the good London hotels during my future trips. So I think we’ll be working our way through the Savoy, the Dorchester, The Lanesborough and the Langham. We may also take in Fornum and Mason.

The Ritz has too many tourists, so we’ll skip that.

Then in a few years we can compare! And maybe try them all again!

The other big highlight was the trip to Hay on Wye. That was with my parents and we spent two days there, managing to cover around half the bookshops. The town was in preparation mode for the festival that started a few days after our visit and also for the Jubilee, so it was a fun experience without the insane crowds that the festival generates.

Most importantly, between Hay and the local secondhand bookshop I came home with a huge treasure trove of books. I’m still in full-0n Hugo reading mode so I can’t make a start on the stack yet, but I’m excited about them. The hardcover Chalet School books are particular treasures because they’re the full text as opposed to the edited/cut versions that appeared in paperback.

The list is behind the cut. It’s long, trust me. I’ll be posting Hugo reads and movies over the next few days.


We’re all going on a summer holiday…

By the time anyone reads this, I will be in the wilds of south east England. I may be posting a bit or I may not – it’s largely dependent on how exhausted I am by the insane schedule I’ve set myself.

I’ve calculated that, out of the fifteen days that I’m away, only five do not have definite all day plans. Yet. The second week is going to be less frantic than the first week so I could add an activity or two depending on how I’m feeling. There is a solid chance that people will be sitting on me to force me to rest if I start getting that grey-green look that I get just before I collapse.

Many of my activities involve a fair bit of travel (planes, trains and automobiles are literal here) so there is going to be a fair bit of reading time despite my schedule. Thus, I spent a couple of evenings loading up my Kindle and iPad with the following:

Huntress by Malinda Lo
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
The House on Durrow Street by Galen Beckett
Feed by Mira Grant (Hugo pre-read)
Deadline by Mira Grant (Hugo nominee)
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (Hugo pre-read)

New Avengers Breakout
New Avengers Sentry

Plus the latest couple of issues of Batgirl, Nightwing, Demon Knights, Stormwatch, Saucer County, X-Men and Wolverine, Avengers Assemble and the new Black Widow prequel. I’ve also got three issues of Asimov’s to catch up on.

As I’m also planning to hit a lot of bookshops while I’m away, it looks like I shouldn’t run out of reading material 🙂

I have a confession

I’m having a bit of a comics addiction right now. The lovely Comixology app for my iPad is entirely to blame: the comics look amazing and it’s so easy to just press ‘Buy’ and download new things.

Not that I’m complaining 😀

I tried a few times in my teens and early twenties to get into comics but the lack of availability (no local comic shop, WH Smith usually only had one or two issues out of each run and then a series would disappear) and lack of knowledge on where to start made it pretty near impossible.

The Internet makes it pretty easy to figure out where to start with different series and I even now know about comics outside the standard DC/Marvel superhero arena. Marvellous! More

2011: A year in books

Well, not quite. I’ll save you from the enourmous review list of books. I will give you The List for 2011:

1. A Suitable Vengeance – Elizabeth George
2. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
3. Daughter of Time – Joshephine Tey
4. Mistborn: The Final Empire – Brandon Sanderson
5. Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine (January 2011)
6. The Sleeping Beauty – Mercedes Lackey
7. The Alchemyst – Michael Scott
8. The Well of Ascension – Brandon Sanderson
9. Septimus Heap Book One: Magyk – Angie Sage
10. Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine (Feburary 2011)
11. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
12. Cotillion – Georgette Heyer
13. Soulless – Gail Carriger
14. From Doon With Death – Ruth Rendell
15. A Great and Terrible Beauty – Libba Bray
16. Doomsday Book – Connie Willis
17. Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper book 1 – Tamora Pierce
18. Changeless – Gail Carriger
19. To Say Nothing Of The Dog – Connie Willis
20. Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine (March 2011)
21. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
22. Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld
23. Blameless – Gail Carriger
24. Foundation: Intrigues – Mercedes Lackey
25. Mistborn: The Hero of Ages – Brandon Sanderson
26. For the Sake of Elena – Elizabeth George
27. The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation – Ian Mortimer
28. Declare – Tim Powers
29. Archer’s Goon – Diana Wynne Jones
30. Logopolis – Christopher H. Bidmead
31. Dancing Shoes – Noel Streatfield
32. Rivers of London/Midnight Riot – Ben Aaronovitch
33. Sea Glass – Maria V. Snyder
34. Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine (April/May 2011)
35. Generosity – Richard Powers
36. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
37. The Exploits of the Chalet School – Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
38. Rosemary and Rue – Seannan McGuire
39. Joey and Co. in the Tirol – Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
40. Jo Returns to the Chalet School – Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
41. Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine (June 2011)
42. Pheonix and Ashes – Mercedes Lackey
43. Firerose – Mercedes Lackey
44. Tortall and other lands – Tamora Pierce
45. Heartless – Gail Carriger
46. Red Seas Under Red Skies – Scott Lynch
47. Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine (July 2011)
48. Unnatural Issue – Mercedes Lackey
49. Bloodhound – Tamora Pierce
50. Tongues of Serpents – Naomi Novik
51. Maise Dobbs – Jacqueline Winspear
52. The Last Dragonlord – Joanne Bertin
53. Birds of a Feather – Jacqueline Winspear
54. Dissolution – C J Sansom
55. The Castle of Otranto – Horace Walpole
56. Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine (August 2011)
57. The Magicians and Mrs. Quent – Galen Beckett
58. Hospital Sketches – Louise May Alcott
59. The Children of Green Knowe – Lucy M. Boston
60. Witch Week – Diana Wynne Jones
61. Perdito Street Station – China Mieville
62. Ash – Melinda Lao
63. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
64. Missing Joseph – Elizabeth George
65. Changes – Mercedes Lackey
66. Blackout – Connie Willis
67. All Clear – Connie Willis
68. Charmed Life – Diana Wynne Jones
69. Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine (September 2011)
70. Fables: Legends in Exile – Bill Willingham (Vertigo)
71. Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine (October/November 2011)
72. The Curse of Fenric – Ian Briggs
73. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
74. Point One: Issue #1 (Marvel)
75. Dark Fire – C J Sansom
76. Thud! – Terry Pratchett
77. Book Smart – Jimmy Palmiotti (Kickstart)
78. Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins
79. Virals – Kathy Reichs
80. Mastiff – Tamora Pierce
81. Batgirl Issues 1-4 – Gail Simone (DC New 52)
82. Persuasion – Jane Austen
83. Astonishing X-Men Vol 3. Issues 1-6 – Joss Whedon and John Cassady
84. The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett
Yup, 84 books this year and that is five more than last year. None of them have been complete duds, although there have been a couple of ‘meh’ reads.

I’ve discovered the joy of Connie Willis (definitely my favourite author of the year) and been thrilled by Mistborn. I’ve loved the C J Sansom books (who wouldn’t love mysteries set in Henry VIII’s reign) and my iPad has given me access to some amazing comis. I got so caught up in The Magicians and Mrs. Quent that I had to order pizza instead of cooking one night so that I could finish it. Diana Wynne Jones kept me reading late into the night and a group read finally got me through Northanger Abbey.

I’m a bit divided about my favourite books of 2011, but here are the main candidates:

Daughter of Time – Joshephine Tey
Mistborn: The Hero of Ages – Brandon Sanderson
Soulless – Gail Carriger
Doomsday Book – Connie Willis (and her other books, except that would be half the list)
The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
Unnatural Issue – Mercedes Lackey
Dissolution – C J Sansom
Mastiff – Tamora Pierce
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett
Astonishing X-Men Vol 3. Issues 1-6 – Joss Whedon and John Cassady

The worst books of 2011 is easier, although they weren’t dreadful, just not that brilliant:

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
Septimus Heap Book One: Magyk – Angie Sage
Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine (September 2011)
Virals – Kathy Reichs

My thread for the 75 books for 2012 on LibraryThing is here so follow along for next years books if you’re interested!

Er, why is it December already?

(This post was very witty. But WordPress ate everything except the first sentence and I had to re-write it. I forgot most of the jokes. Argh)

Normally I’d title this one “I aten’t dead (still)”, but I suspect that I’ve used that title too often…

I’m not, though. Dead, I mean.

It’s been a weird year, largely featuring my battle to get the colitis into remission, which has involved several rounds of steroids and a variety of increasingly powerful drugs. Thankfully we’ve finally got there and I’m now on some lovely strong immune suppressors (plus a couple of other things) and the steroids stopped three months ago.

Unfortunately the stopping of the steroids meant the return of the back pain. That is being investigated. Ugh.

Still, looking at how ill I felt this time last year, I think that I’ve still made progress. At least I’m able to eat normally again and retain my food, which I think we can all agree is an important thing. I’m slimmer than I was, but at least I’m here 🙂

What else have I been up to? Not a lot. The big trip that I’d planned in September had to be cancelled due to another flare so much of the last few months has been pretty quiet.

I’ve read lots of books, become a (bigger) TV addict (thank you, Netflix in my Wii, DVD manufacturers and my new iPad with BBC Global iPlayer) and achieved very little knitting. Professionally has been better: despite all the illness, doctor/hospital visits, tests and drugs, I managed to get promoted at work and we successfully released a big bit of software last month. Not too shabby, I think.

So, why have I finally dusted this thing off? Well, it’s easy – books!

And maybe, TV!

As I am pretty terrible about updating on things like what I’m doing and how my life is, why don’t I fill in the gaps with book nattering? My page for this year’s books is here and I’ll be setting up something for 2012 soon.

Also, I’m doing a book challenge next year so I need to get myself signed up and a thread started for that. So much reading to do!

Good thing reading is my first big love 🙂