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Signing up for the 2010 Graphic Novel Challenge gave me the perfect excuse (in case I really thought I needed one) to re-read the Neil Gaiman Sandman series from scratch, alongside the fascinating-and-occasionally-dipped-into-but-never-properly-read Sandman Companion by Hy Bender. And of course you start at the beginning, with Preludes and Nocturnes.

The thing about the need for an excuse is that my TBR pile (which with my tendency to be unable to avoid buying books plus all the stuff the Book God has in his possession) has actually become a TBR room, if not taking over the whole house, and so any re-reading has to be carefully thought through because there are just so many new(ish) books waiting for me to pick them up.

This is a problem that will not go away for two reasons:

  • the Book God and I currently have a combined age of 106, and if you assume that we both started buying our own books as teenagers (let’s say arbitrarily 15) then that’s potentially 76 years of book buying

Which brings me to reason number 2:

  • I am constitutionally incapable of getting rid of anything vaguely book shaped. At all. So I almost certainly have just about everything I have bought since I was a teenager

So you can see my problem.

Nevertheless the draw of Sandman was irresistible and I ploughed on, really enjoying the opportunity to get back inside a world that I have always enjoyed. And then  another issue hit me – how do I review this? I mean, I can’t really review this as if I have come to it fresh, because I haven’t, and it is such a well-loved series and so many other bloggers have written about it all so eloquently. So I’m not going to attempt the feat at all.

I love it still, and if you haven’t read the series I urge you to have a go.

———–

I’ve also had a couple of relatively rare outings this week (I don’t count cocktails with Silvery Dude and friend on Wednesday because in my simple little mind that’s the sort of thing I should be doing every day); no, this is proper going out for the evening stuff, involving:

  • on Thursday, the Birmingham Royal Ballet performing Sleeping Beauty at the London Coliseum – wonderful stuff with costumes based on the court of Louis XIV and a classic fairy tale on stage the way it should be done
  • on Saturday, The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers at the Royal Albert Hall, with the full score performed live by the London Philharmonic Orchestra – and lovely to see Howard Shore, the composer, take a bow at the end.

And then home to Dr Who and River Song. What more could a girl want?

Phew.

Will review on Screen God once I’ve had the chance to watch again, but crikey, glad it’s all looking so good.

Not wanting to behave too much like a Twihard (it’s so undignified for a woman of my advancing years) but  Neil Gaiman is writing for Season Two of the Matt Smith Dr Who.

Two of my absolutest favourite things/people/stuff/whatever coming together in what will surely be a glorious televisual event.

Must be true – it’s on Mr G’s own blog plus at SFX

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……

doctorwhoSo I’ve now seen the one before the one before the last ever David Tennant episode.

And lo, it was remarkable, and worth waiting for.

As I try, and fail, to explain here.

AliceMunro

Just a few little bits and pieces that have grabbed my attention over the last couple of days. First things first, the good news that Alice Munro won the International Man Booker Prize. I love Alice Munro; the first of her books I read was The Moons of Jupiter back in (can you believe it) January 1986 and I’ve kept more or less up-to-date since (there may be a couple lurking somewhere that I haven’t quite got around to yet) But it’s great to see someone you admire win a prestigious prize like this, isn’t it?

Pandering to my geekery is news of the new companion for the next Dr Who. She is Karen Gillan and has been in the show before as a soothsayer in the Pompeii episode (and I’m going to have to go and look at my boxed set to see if I can find her….) The best thing in this BBC storyis the quote from The Great Steven Moffat who says she is “funny, and clever, and gorgeous, and sexy. Or Scottish, which is the quick way of saying it”. I will be using that one a lot over the coming weeks, I’m sure….. I know there’s (thankfully)  a lot of Mr Tennant still to come but I am beginning to get very interested in the possibilities for the 2010 series.

It was my wedding anniversary this weekend, and the Book God and I went out shopping. Various  purchases were made and it wouldn’t have been a proper day out without a visit to a book shop. The following additions to the library were obtained:

  • The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt – all about Nikola Tesla; I’ve been interested in him for years, long before David Bowie played him in The Prestige….
  • Mr Toppit by Charles Elton – one or two favourable reviews of this on book blogs, plus I’m pretty sure I heard him being interviewed on Radio 5 at some point
  • Snoop by Sam Gosling – or What Your Stuff Says About You; whenever I go to visit anyone in their home I immediately head to the bookshelves for scout around, and this is going to reinforce my nosy parker tendencies

Now all I have to do is find the time to read them….

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.

michelleryanI had the great pleasure of watching the latest Dr Who episode, Planet of the Dead, at the weekend as part of the 42 Challenge, and thoroughly good it was too. My review is here, along with some stuff about the remaining Tennant era stories.

f5a835e6d6485985dcfb9a19dc30314e_image_122x150I don’t normally do posts that are just about stuff, but it has been that kind of week really. I’ve finally caught up with my blog reading, having been out of touch really since the middle of January when my flu/trip to Glasgow/bad weather/work overload phase started. Everything is back to normal except for the work thing which is likely to continue for the rest of this year (but which I’m secretly enjoying, if I’m honest….) So I’ve resigned myself to blogging even more erratically than normal and not really commenting elsewhere (sorry guys) but you never know, if I get myself organised things might improve.

So, stuff:

  • I’m really very sad that Steven Page is leaving Barenaked Ladies – I know the band will probably continue and will still be great, but it just won’t be the same
  • One of my New Year’s resolutions was to buy fewer books and to read more from my tbr pile. I’ve done quite well, though helped by having my birthday at the end of January and getting my fix through the Book God’s gift-giving, but I have finally succumbed and bought two novels which I’ve been waiting for with bated breath – Drood by Dan Simmons(who can ignore a book which begins “My name is Wilkie Collins”?) and Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist (after last year’s Swedish vampires, we now have Swedish zombies). Irresistible.
  • I took delivery of some Dr Who figures as shown in the picture (along with a mini-Cyberman and mini-Dalek) – this is potentially very sad when you consider that I am a forty-seven year old woman, but I choose to see it as something positive – everyone has their particular enthusiasm and mine just happens to be a very small rubber David Tennant

All that plus the Book God and I are going to see Watchmen at the London IMAX tomorrow afternoon…………….

Updated – and Criminal Minds is back on British TV so Friday nights are fun again and I no longer have to wonder about who got blown up in the SUVs…

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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