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im-a-weekly-geekThis week’s Weekly Geeks topic was suggested by Sheri of A Novel Menagerie. She writes: “Reading Challenges: a help or a hurt? Do you find that the reading challenges keep you organized and goal-oriented? Or, do you find that as you near the end of a challenge that you’ve failed because you fell short of your original goals? As a result of some reading challenges, I’ve picked up books that I would have otherwise never heard of or picked up; that, frankly, I have loved. Have you experienced the same with challenges? If so, which ones? Do you have favorite reading challenges?” As we pass the halfway point of 2009, how are you doing with your reading challenges? Did you participate in any challenges this year?

Well, if you read my last post you will know that I certainly failed Once Upon a Time III, and I had already given up on Becky’s Arthurian Challenge, but am still technically involved in the following:

  • The 2nd Canadian Book Challenge – well that’s not going to happen, finishes at the beginning of July and I haven’t read any of the 13 books on my list
  • Non-Fiction Five Challenge – I have hopes of completing this one though haven’t actually started yet….
  • The Dream King Challenge – doing well with this one, just a graphic novel to read
  • 100 Shots of Short – have stalled a bit here but have high hopes of getting started again soon
  • Art History Reading Challenge – only one read but at least this runs until the end of the year

Not a great track record (I did better last year). I think the problem is that I love the idea of challenges because of the thematic nature but there is a time limit for each one and I know that if I’m under pressure then reading is the first thing to get hit. It’s also the case that a bit of me begins to rebel at the idea that I must read a particular book or selection of books when I just want to pick up anything I fancy.

So I guess what I’m saying is that they are a great idea but I sign up for too many and crack under the pressure….

im-a-weekly-geekSo I thought to myself this week’s task doesn’t look too difficult, I just need to pull together a post on writers from my home town – how hard can that be? After all, Paisley has got lots of well-known people – we have actors (Tom Conti, David Tennant, Gerard Butler); we have musicians (Gerry Rafferty, Paolo Nutini) and of course we have footballers (especially the great Archie Gemmill). But writers, well….

I found three, one poet plus two who are more screenwriters than authors but I don’t care, I’m going to stretch this theme as far as I can!

  • Robert Tannahill, weaver and poet from the late 18th and early 19th centuries with a political bent, tragically died by his own hand as poets are wont to do…
  • John Byrne, parter of Tilda Swinton, playwright and artist, responsible for one of the best and funniest BBC TV series of the 1980s i.e. Tutti Frutti which is finally being relaeased on DVD this year.
  • Steven Moffat, writer of some of the very best Dr Who episodes since the series was revived, taking over full responsibility with the new Doctor in 2010 and an all-round good bloke.

im-a-weekly-geekThe Weekly Geeks topic is historical fiction, with an interesting choice of questions to consider. But the more I contemplated it,  the more I realised that it’s not quite as straightforward an issue to comment on as I had thought.

My relationship to historical fiction has changed over the years; in my teens I really enjoyed Jean Plaidy (especially her series on (surprise, surprise) Mary Queen of Scots and Catherine de Medici), but as I studied more history (that’s what my degree is, after all) I pulled away from reading fiction set in the period I was most interested in – the sixteenth century. And that’s because the little things, the niggly not quite right stuff, the playing about with the facts for dramatic purposes began to annoy me more and more.

So most of the historical fiction I read is in the crime genre, particularly the Victorian period and even more particularly anything vaguely reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes.

But if you asked me to pick the one historical novel that really impressed me and that I have gone back to more than once, then I would have to say Katherine by Anya Seton. A huge, sprawling, romantic blockbuster of a novel which had a huge impact, and I say that as someone who doesn’t do romance at all. I first read it when I was fifteen and fell in love then and there with John of Gaunt, and nothing I’ve learned about him since has changed my mind.

books-weekly-geekThis week’s topic is what’s in a name, and it’s all about the meanings of favourite character names and whether they suit the character or not (to paraphrase what was described much better here).

On eof my favourite novels is Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin (long overdue for a re-read) and one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was the main character with the wonderful name of Polly Solo-Miller Demarest.  So I thought I’d find out what the name Polly meant.

What was interesting was that I found different meanings in different places, I assume becuase Polly as a name in it’s own right is fairly new (in the UK it’s usually a diminutive of Mary). The meanings were “bitter” and “great sorrow”. The second one I can see fitting in the context of the story (which is about a woman in love with two men, a synopsis which doesn’t do justice to how light and well-written the novel is) but bitter didn’t seem right to me at all.

And that makes me wonder whether the author just liked the sound of the name, or whether she had researched and carefully picked it….

im-a-weekly-geekBride of the Book God is two today; no cakes to share with you all unfortunately but it did seem a good time to reflect on this week’s Weekly Geek theme, which is:

What does being a member mean to you? What do you enjoy about the group? What are some of your more memorable Weekly Geeks that we could do again? What could be improved as we continue the legacy that Dewey gave us?

The thing which is so enjoyable about Weekly Geeks for me is the sense of community created when we all focus on the same thing at (roughly) the same time. One of the reasons I started to blog was to encourage me to read more regularly, give me the chance to share my thoughts with other bloggers, and to find out what others had to say, and that’s reinforced by Weekly Geeks.

I’m not sure I have any particular favourites, but I did always enjoy the “housekeeping” weeks when Dewey used to encourage us all to catch up with reviews or take a look at where we were with our challenges.

And the best thing we can do in terms of Dewey’s legacy is to keep Weekly Geeks going.

Going back to the fact that this blog has hit the terrible two stage, I’m not organised enough to have thought about a competition or giveaway, but I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who stops by, whether they make a comment or not; it is very much appreciated and nice to know that, in the blogsphere (unlike real life) I’m not just talking to myself!

dewey3a_pIt’s a strange thing when the loss of someone that you have never met has an effect on you, but I was really very sad to read in the blogosphere earlier this week that Dewey had passed away, and moved to read many of the posts on other blogs which talked so eloquently about the impact she had on so many lives.

In terms of posting, I was an intermittent Weekly Geek but I checked without fail every weekend to see what suggestions Dewey had for us all, and they were always intriguing even when I didn’t feel able to participate. And it’s clear from the many comments that she contributed so much to building a book blog community.

My thoughts are with Dewey’s family at this sad time.

This week’s theme is: catch up on… something.

Weekly Geeks #6 was catch up on reviews week, but so many of you organized bloggers were caught up with reviews that you chose to catch up on other things. So I kept in mind that a catch-up week every now and then will probably be welcome. At this point, I’m very behind on several blog tasks, so I thought maybe you might be, too!

Some suggestions:

Catch up on….

…challenges

…organizing your sidebar

…updating lists of some sort (I need to deal with my giveaways list!)

…making links wherever (challenge lists, monthly reading summaries, etc.)

…bloghopping

…your TBR pile

…your library books

…updating your blogroll

…updating your reader

…???

How to:

1. Decide what you need to catch up on.

2. Write a post if you feel like it, telling your readers what you intend to catch up on. If you do that, you can sign Mr Linky right away with the link to that specific post.

3. Catch up!

4. Write a post near the end of the week (Thursday or Friday) summarizing how your catch-up week went. If you didn’t sign Mr Linky with your intentions post, sign it with your summary post.

The Hidden Side of a Leaf .

So what am I going to try to catch up on?

  • book posts = a review of Rape: A Love Story plus a post on my intentions for the Fall Into Reading Challenge
  • film posts = reviews of Fantasia 2000 and Michael Clayton on my other blog Bride of the Screen God
  • challenges = finish reading my third novel for RIP III
  • update my blogroll

And how did I do?

  • book posts = Completed
  • film posts = Completed
  • challenges = Completed
  • blogroll = Failed

So 3 out of 4 isn’t bad, I suppose. I will get that blogroll sorted out one day soon…….

This week’s Weekly Geeks theme is to talk about the magazines we read.

I’m going to be selective here because I read a lot of magazines; this is probably why I don’t read as many books each year as I should but I like the different reading experience you can get from a magazine.

Dewey gave us a very helpful meme which I’ll use some of, so here goes (in no particular order):

Empire: monthly film magazine which I have been buying since it was first launched in August 1989, and I have kept every copy, so there is a very high stack in the corner of my study! I love movies, I love knowing what’s coming up so I can plan what I want to see, I love the behind-the-scenes stuff and this magazine says it all.

Of particular interest this month = The Big Preview which covers the 45 most exciting movies on the horizon…..

What this says about me = film geek

 

Fortean Times: I’ve been subscribing to this for at least 10 years, probably more. I adore this magazine, it covers all the weird and wonderful things that happen in the world, legends, mysteries, conspiracies, the lot. I’m fascinated by what people believe and why.

Of particular interest this month = an article about the Golem.

What this says about me = I’m a bit strange?

 

 

The Word: Monthly music magazine, I’ve been subscribing for 3 or 4 years. Gives me lots of info on new music, but covers lots of older stuff and I suppose is of particular interest to the older (more mature?) music fan. Always articulate, never dull.

Of particular interest this month = Dead Rock Stars, 15 sorely missed musicians.

What this says about me = grumpy old woman.

 

Vanity Fair: One of my indulgences (I get Vogue as well), this is often stuck with women’s magazines here in the UK but I’ve always thought it was more than that, covering politics and business as well as Hollywood and glamour.

Of particular interest this month = article on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

What this says about me = I like a bit of glossy

 

 

Slightly Foxed: A quarterly magazine about books, with a focus on older and out of print works; I’ve been subscribing for 3 years. I often find little gems in here that I’ve never come across before. Wonderfully well written.

Of particular interest this edition = Sue Gee writing about reading Mrs Dalloway

What this says about me = I can be independent-minded (it says so on the back cover)

 

Illustration: This quarterly is probably the most beautiful magazine I buy. It’s all about illustration (as you can guess from the title) but doesn’t just focus on books. It’s a real feast for the eyes and I’m always tempted into buying something after each edition.

Of particular interest this edition = an article on the leading illustrators of World War One

What this says about me = I love beautiful books.

 

There are many more magazines I could talk about; I suppose these are the ones that I would be most reluctant to give up.

And this week’s theme is Challenges.

If you participate in any challenges, get organized! Update your lists, post about any you haven’t mentioned, add links of reviews to your lists if you do that, go to the challenge blog if there is one and post there, etc.

If you don’t participate in any challenges, then join one!

Towards the end of the week, write a wrap-up post about getting your challenges organized OR if you’re joining your first challenge, post about that any time during the week.

——————————-

So, what did I decide to do, having got myself organised and talked about challenges in this post? Well, I’ve completed my first challenge and thought I would sign up for two more:

I’ll post my lists for these separately, once I’ve got them organised. I’ve also set up a completed challenges page where I can remind myself that I can do it if I really, really try!

Oh, and I posted on my first completed read for The Non-Fiction Five challenge.

 

 

The challenge for this week was to take some photos and post on them, linking to other blogs participating in the challenge.

I wanted to do something book-related but a little different from the piles of books I photograph for my monthly purchase update.

So the photo I have taken is of my reading chair – a bit dull perhaps but some significant books have been read in this chair – complete with footstool, cushions and a selection of blankets for those winter days when the ankles can get a bit cold. If you look closely you can see numerous piles of books  in the background – these are stacked on the floor while we go through the process of commissioning bespoke bookshelves having finally admitted that we’ve run out of room. That might be a future post (or two) so watch this space.

I was pleased to see Karen’s post which gave me comfort that I’m not the only person with a significant tbr pile.

I meant to take a few more pictures but got sidetracked by work stuff so this will have to do for now. But just you wait until those bookshelves are installed……

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.

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