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So once again I find myself signing up to more challenges despite last year’s poor showing, but I am nothing if not optimistic and willing to have a go at the following:

The Graphic Novel Challenge 2010

An excuse to read comics (as if I needed one), an excuse to frequent Forbidden Planet even more than I do now (as if I needed one of those either), and excuse to re-read The Sandman (and to persuade Silvery Dude to have a go at volume 2). Sounds like a plan to me..

 42 Challenge

42 sci-fi things in 42 weeks.

Irresistible, did quite well last year, one of the few that I managed to finish, lots to read and watch so hopeful of an equally good result this year. Not making a list, far too much to ponder on, but at the very least Dr Who: The End of Time will be near the top….

And last but my no means least, a companion to The 42 is Carl’s Sci-Fi Experience 2010, an excuse to wallow in all things sc-fi for a couple of months. Again, not planning to make a list but I’ll just see what takes my fancy….

So Christmas 2009 – not quite what I had expected. Stinking cold from 19 December onwards meant that I had little or no voice for significant parts of the holiday season (cheers all round from family, friends and co-workers as you might imagine) and I was also working most of the time (including part of Christmas Eve though I did give in to my cold around lunchtime). Christmas Day itself – opened presents, fell asleep for most of the day, dinner wonderful but late. That’s the advantage of just the two of us on the day, we can play it by ear and only have ourselves to please.

Main highlights so far:

  • The Gruffalo on Christmas Day was the surprising TV highlight for me – really sweet and very nicely done
  • Dr Who – well, a bit disappointing but I’m reserving my judgement until I’ve seen part two as this was so obviously a first-part-setting-up-the-big-denoument episode; but David Tennant was as lovely as ever, especially when he looked like he was going to cry….
  • Sherlock Holmes – the big Christmas movie outing – great fun, will review over on Screen God shortly

But what of the presents? Well, bookwise I did quite well:

  • Vintage Handbags by Marnie Fogg – almost obscene in its wonderfulness, a big glossy history of handbags from the 1920s, I am going to be dipping into this one a lot
  • The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon – asked for this simply because I loved the cover
  • Under the Dome by Stephen King – well, couldn’t resist asking for this one then completely forgot about it; when given the package to unwrap I thought “don’t remember asking for anything this big” – should have known!
  • Martyrs and Murderers: the Guise Family and the Making of Europe by Stuart Carroll – sixteenth century, what can I say?
  • Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII’s Discarded bride by Elizabeth Norton – ditto
  • The Great Silence 1918-1920 by Juliet Nicolson – the period just after the end of WWI and its impact on the social fabric, looks fascinating
  • Strange Days Indeed by Francis Wheen – a history of the 1970s which I am really looking forward to reading, given that it covers the decade when I was a teenager
  • Alice in Wonderland, illustrated by Rodney Matthews – when I was a student I was much more of a Roger Dean fan but I’ve come to appreciate Matthews more over the years and this is a beautiful volume
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, illustrated by Hunt Emerson – a graphic novel version of one of my favourite poems
  • Amphigorey: fifteen books by Edward Gorey – huge Gorey fan, ’nuff said
  • Angel With Two Faces by Nicola Upson – sequel to her earlier Josephine Tey crime story
  • Tamsin by Peter S Beagle – picked up from other blogs
  • The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor – ditto
  • Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge – just loved the cover
  • Lovecraft Unbound, edited by Ellen Datlow – Joyce Carol Oates does Lovecraft, worth it for that alone
  • Boneshaker by Cherie Priest – steampunk, really been looking forward to this one
  • Vanessa and Virginia by Susan Sellars – and a bit of Bloomsbury to round things off

So that lot should keep me busy for a while……

What can I say? The past fortnight has been absolutely hectic at work and at home, with big projects hitting important milestones, crazy working hours, preparations for Christmas and hardly any reading time to speak of.

But, hopefully, with the holidays coming up I can catch my breath a tiny wee bit, actually read some books, wallow in the David-Tennant-obsessed BBC for the rest of the year, and resume something resembling a decent blogging schedule.

Or not.

And the first thing to do is to report back on Fall into Reading 2009. In my original post I set myself the following goals; progress noted alongside:

  • read the six books I took on holiday with me (managed three, the others are still firmly on my list)
  • read Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates (nope, and no chance between now and 31 December)
  • finish the 42 Challenge on time (done – hurrah!)
  • finish Carl’s RIP IV challenge on time (not done but read three which, as kind readers reminded me, wasn’t bad)
  • restart the Reading Muriel Spark project (nope again)

At the time I thought it was quite a bit to do, and I was right, but it was certainly worth a try and some of these will spread into 2010 I’m sure (looking at you, Joyce and Muriel…)

Mostly reporting back on TV watching this month:

Bride of the Book God

Follow brideofthebook on Twitter

Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

The Sunday


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December 2009