Saturday, February 28, 2009

Weekly Geeks

This week we are going to rewind to May 2008 when Dewey picked one of my favorite Weekly Geeks themes: Political and Social Issues. Since we have many new members to the Weekly Geeks Event, I thought it might be fun to revisit this fantastic theme.Here is how to play:1. Choose a political or social issue that matters to you. If you were a Weekly Geek last May and already did this theme, pick a different theme than the one you did at that time.2. Educate readers about your topic by telling us a little about it and any involvement you've had in this issue.3. Find books addressing your issue; they do not necessarily have to be books you’ve read. They can be non fiction, fiction, poetry, etc...Give a little synopsis of the book or a link to the description.4. Use images which you feel illustrate your topic.

Okay. I had to really think about this one because, shamefully, there's not a lot I feel all that passionate about and I used up most of them when we did this topic last time.

There is, however, one thing. The media.

I work for a newspaper. I like to think we're not a dying breed but in this day and age of instant, worldwide communication, who knows? But that's not my issue.

My issue is what passes for ''news" now. Mainly, how celebrity gossip has somehow become mainstream and is no longer relegated to the likes of Entertainment Tonight and trashy magazines.

The lines have become crossed so often that if they are still there they are almost completely faded. Information about the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus are passed on with the same gravitas as news about the war in Iraq, or the global recession.

They're not news. And while I admit that a small, venal part of me does want to know about what the famous people are doing, I don't want it in the same neighbourhood as my daily news. It waters down and distracts us from what is actually important.

And although I am a very, very small cog in the media wheel, sometimes I am ashamed of my industry. Once, we had integrity. Once, people looked to us for information, balanced news and sound commentary.

But how seriously can we be taken when we breathlessly report on the birth/adoption of the latest celebrity child, or the breakup of the latest celebrity marriage in the same newscast as we hear about global economic meltdown and devastating bushfires?

What happened to our gravitas?

If you search media on Amazon, there comes up a long list of books and commentaries on the media.

This one, to me, sounds the most interesting:
And this image sums up my thoughts perfectly:
Happy Weekly Geeks!
Live long and prosper. :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dewey's Books Mini-Challenge

Try Something New: A Mini-Challenge is being hosted by Nymeth here:

where you can see the full explanation.

I had to stop and think for a bit about what I would choose if I participated in the challenge. Then it came to me. I don't really read a lot of non-fiction, so that's the way I'm going to go. I can also tie it in with a couple of other challenges _ the Read Your Own Books challenge and the 100+ Books Challenge as I already have a couple in mind:

Travels through France and Italy, by Tobias Smollett and Great Adventures in Archaeology by Robert Silverberg, both of which have been sitting on my bookshelves for longer than I care to think.

If I do read non-fiction, I tend to go for biographies or autobiographies, so this is definitely outside my comfort zone.

Should be fun!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Twilight and the Reading Week

I haven't been doing very many book reviews here lately.
I'm aiming to change that, but we'll see.

I've just finished reading the Twilight saga _ or, I should say, I've escaped from its toils. I had aimed to read a Twilight book, read something else, read another one ... but it didn't work out that way. Despite the fact that the plot, the characters and the vampires annoyed me (a lot) I couldn't stay away from the damn things. I wish I knew why.


Anyway, they're done with now (woo hoo) and are up on Trade Me. I also (finally) finished my how-long re-read of the Lord of the Rings. Honestly, it's been in progress for so long that I could easily start it all over again. But, I won't.

So, on the agenda for now is What to Do When Someone Dies by Nicci French, then The Magician of Hoad, by Margaret Mahy.

I've given up on a February classic, and will start over next month,with Mrs Dalloway.

Peace and rainbows.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Weekly Geeks 5

For this week's edition of Weekly Geeks, we're going to take a closer look at character names. What are some of your favorite character names? Go to or a baby name site, and look up a favorite character's name. What does their name mean? Do you think the meaning fits the character? Why or why not?If you'd like, look up your own name as well and share the meaning.

When I was young, and impressionable, I read The Lord of the Rings, and thought that Arwen was the most beautiful name I had ever heard. I still do.
In Elvish it means "noble maiden." Very fitting, for the character, both in the books and the movies.

My name is a derivative of Mary, and there is a pretty detailed description here:

Happy Weekly Geeks everyone _ live long, and prosper:)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Another classic bites the dust

Sigh. I started Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, and it seemed to be going well. I wasn't overly enthused, but didn't actively hate it so I kept going.

Until. The wife of the character of Tom Builder dies in childbirth - in the middle of winter in a forest. Tom and his family are travelling around, scratching out a living while Tom looks for work.

So. His wife, who we have already heard Tom loves very much, dies. Tom digs a grave and buries her, and then exposes the baby to the winter elements. Cruel yes, but I can understand his 12th-century reasoning _ he still has two children to feed and no convenient wetnurse for the baby in the middle of winter. What stopped me was this:
Tom suffers an attack of the guilts, and he and his children return for the baby, who is gone. They lie down for a bit of a sleep and Tom wakes up to find a woman he had met before lying down with him. They do the horizontal tango, and she tells him she's been waiting for a man like him. Then Tom asks her to marry him, after they find out the baby had been discovered by a monk.

That bugged me. Really?? So grief-stricken the DAY after your wife has died and you expose your newborn to a harsh winter, you shag some woman in the forest who you then ask to marry you.

I'm sorry, but I can't buy into that. Not even in the 12th century.

So. A new classic for February. I had a probables v possibles list here:

I'm thinking either Dracula, or Howard's End, to replace it. Otherwise, my list will just completely derail.


Monday, February 9, 2009

The Reading Week

Mmmm ... food ... Patrick is walking now, and watching him trot along is soooooo funny - he looks like a wee orangutan (well, not really, because he's no orange and hairy) with his arms up for balance. Aw.
Anyway. Reading.
I'm still not entirely on-track. I'm reading New Moon, which is irritating me a lot, but I bought the books of Amazon and I'm determined to read the bloody things before I flog them on Trade Me. Heh.

I know, why would I read a book that's irritating me? I don't really know either. I read Twilight, and thought ''eh'' but then suddenly wanted to read the rest. Which were permanently out at the library, and pretty much sold out at the bookstores. Enter Amazon. Go Amazon!!!

Right now, I can't decide who is annoying me more _ Bella, or Edward. Anyway.
Also on the agenda this week is, finally, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, which is February's classic. It's just bad timing that my non-reading/sulking about work week came when it did. However, I have two weeks off from the 19th and if I start it now, I should be able to dent it fairly decently.

For the weekend, now that I have Sundays off (woot!) I'm lining up What to do When Someone Dies by Nicci French. I've read most of theirs and to be honest find the plots a bit repetitive _ woman in danger! no one believes her! BUT they do write pretty well and the novels are always fast-paced. (I'm saying ''they'' because I belive Nicci French is actually two people).

So my plan, for this week, and hopefully every other week, is to have two books on the go for weekdays and then something else for Saturday and Sunday. It's a good theory. I'm fond of it, but it's fragile :)

Oh! I finished Nation last week. Loved it. The story, the characters, the writing ... pretty much everything. Sir Terry Pratchett, right at the top of his game.
That'll have to do for a review for now - let's rebuild the reading first.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Weekly Geeks 4

This week, at we are asked to judge a book by its cover.
I chose The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, because there aren't that many covers, and I'm a bit crap at uploading photos. Also, it's one of my favourite books. :)

These are the three photos I found:

I quite like them all and I believe the middle one is the one that most people are familiar with. I have the first one, illustrated by Chris Riddell; mostly because that was the one that was released here.

That's it.
Happy Weekly Geeks - live long and prosper :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Reading Week

Well after five days of not-reading I think I'm back on track. I'm about halfway through Nation, by Sir Terry Pratchett, and I'm loving it lots and lots.
The Count of Monte Cristo had to go back to the library, as I was out of renewals, but I haven't given up on it. The classic for this month is another doozy: The Pillars of the Earth but I'm thinking it might be an easier read than the Count. Plus also, I have two weeks off at the end of February which will most likely translate into more reading time.
I need to throw another one on the pile _ either a review book, or a library book We went yesterday and I got out ... eight ...? books.
But I have those for a month, so probably a review book for work.
Just not sure which one yet.
Have a great week :)