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What Book Are You Reading
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# 1 : Tuesday 17-4-2012 @ 19:33
I am currently reading Dave Gorman vs The Rest of the World. It's very funny, if you've read anything else by Dave or by Danny Wallace you will like this

Synopsis courtesy of Amazon

Remember when you were a kid, and you used to go round to a friend's house to see if they were playing? Well, as adults we're not supposed to do that. Which is a shame... because Dave Gorman likes playing. He REALLY likes games. So he knocked on the biggest door you could ever imagine - the internet - and asked 76,000 people if they fancied a game. This is the story of what happened next.

Dave was up for anything and gamely played them at whatever they chose. He played some classics - Monopoly, Scrabble, dominoes and cribbage. He played many games he'd never heard of before - Khet, Kubb, Tikal or Smite anyone?

He played board games and physical games. He's thrown sticks, balls, frisbees and darts. He's rolled dice and he's drawn cards.

From Liverpool to Hampstead and from Croydon to Nottingham, Dave travelled the length and breadth of Britain meeting strangers in strange places -- their homes, at work, in the back rooms of pubs -- and getting some hardcore game action. From casual players to serious game geeks, from the rank amateur to the world champion, he discovered a nation of gamers more than happy to welcome him into their midst.

He's travelled all around the country and met all sorts of people - and it turns out us Brits are a competitive bunch! And it seems that playing games can teach you a lot about what makes the British tick. Of course, Dave hasn't been keeping score. Much.
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# 2 : Friday 1-6-2012 @ 01:27
The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller. There was a piece in the paper today because it won the Orange prize (last night?), and the article mentioned that the author hopes in will help to combat homophobia. So, I bought it on impulse this evening, and I am enjoying this story of Greek mythology. It is a retelling of the friendship between Achilles and Patroclus (not that I've read any other tellings of it).

If you'd told me this morning that I'd read about a centaur who talks to two thirteen-year-old boys and gets then to get up on his back because the walk is too long, and keep reading, I would not have believed you.

'You have been taught to ride, I suppose?'
We nodded, quickly.
'That is unfortunate. Forget what you learned. I do not like to be squeezed by legs, or tugged at. The one in front will hold onto my waist, the one behind will hold onto him. If you feel that you are going to fall, speak up.'

# 3 : Friday 1-6-2012 @ 08:19
I just finished A Clash of Kings and started The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice.

I was also reading a biography on Fernando Pessoa (early 20th century Portuguese poet).
# 4 : Friday 1-6-2012 @ 08:33
Someone said :
The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller. There was a piece in the paper today because it won the Orange prize (last night?), and the article mentioned that the author hopes in will help to combat homophobia.

Is it good? I'm always a bit skeptical of the Orange Prize. I just don't see the point of having a female only shortlist and a female only panel of judges.

I'm reading The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach now. It's about a baseball team in a small US college and is really good. Nothing much happens but it just kind of moves along at a steady pace. Fantastic writing and dialogue. Harbach is talking on Tuesday in the Dublin Writers Festival so I want to have it finished by then so I can go see him.
# 5 : Friday 1-6-2012 @ 09:32
I'm reading three at the moment, I usually have a couple of books on the go at the same time:

The Dance of Anger - Harriet Lerner
The Tibetan Book of the Dead - Robert A.F. Thurman
A Crown Imperilled - Raymond E Feist
# 6 : Friday 1-6-2012 @ 09:37
We Need To Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver.

Really enjoying this book. It's so well written. It so delicate and nuanced... check it out!
# 7 : Friday 1-6-2012 @ 13:38
Reading a book called 'Priest'.
# 8 : Saturday 2-6-2012 @ 13:11
Someone said :

Someone said :
The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller.

Is it good?

I stayed up till 4.30 reading it this morning. (Went to bed as light was breaking.) Now I want o put aside the taks that I had planned for today to continue reading it. (One of them id for my mother, so I won't be able to )
# 9 : Saturday 2-6-2012 @ 17:15
I am currently reading The People's State:East German Society from Hitler to Honecker by Mary Fulbrook.
# 10 : Saturday 2-6-2012 @ 20:04
"The God Delusion"
I didn't think it would have anything to say to me, but it is humourous and entertaining and interesting.
# 11 : Saturday 2-6-2012 @ 20:05
Dawkins is speaking at the Writers Festival on Tuesday too

http://www.dublinwritersfestival.com/event/richard-dawkins-in-con etc ...
# 12 : Saturday 2-6-2012 @ 20:12
Here's a great and hilarious picture book if anyone fancies reading it. It'll take a minute but should give you a giggle.

http://www.anorak.co.uk/301863/the-consumer/jon-klassens-i-want-m etc ...
# 13 : Sunday 3-6-2012 @ 17:09
Someone said :
I'm always a bit skeptical of the Orange Prize. I just don't see the point of having a female only shortlist and a female only panel of judges.

I read the following in yesterday's Guardian and thought it is an interesting perspective on that question.

This week winners were announced for two prizes with only one thing in common, apart from the lack of a clear identity: they both struggle to find women who satisfy them. Terry Pratchett, who will next week collect the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for comic fiction – he wins a set of Wodehouse novels, lots of Boly and the annual photo-opportunity with a pig – is the seventh male winner on the trot of an award won only once by a woman (Marina Lewycka in 2005).

Rahul Bhattacharya's Guyana-set novel The Sly Company of People Who Care took the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje prize for books evoking "the spirit of a place". The winners of Sir Christopher Ondaajte's £10,000 award, which seems to embrace its traditionalist image by climaxing in a black-tie dinner at a Pall Mall club, have been all-male since Louisa Waugh won for Hearing Birds Fly in 2004, the first year it was awarded.

Given their recent records, it looks unwise for both announcements to occur in the same week as the Orange prize. But what explains the apparent bias? In the case of the Wodehouse, one factor may be a shift from the original ideas of honouring "comic literature" (early shortlists included comedians' memoirs and even a collection of obituaries) to "comic fiction", thereby eliminating female writers of non-fiction such as Tina Fey, Marina Hyde, Caitlin Moran or Lynne Truss.

It may be relevant that the judges tend to be chaps; and it could be that publishers, after so many years of knock-backs for female comic writers, have stopped submitting them for an award that appears all too faithful to the Everyman in its title.

The Ondaatje prizes' recent judging panels hae been made up of teo women and one man. And the quality of these female judge's own writing about places – Michele ROberts on France, Kamila Shamsie on Pakistan (both judges this year, with Nick Laird), Sarah Waters (2011) on London and Kent, Kathleen Jamie (2010) on Scotland – makes you wonder why they've never found themselves collecting the award instead of handing it out.

The overlap with the Orange is a reminder that virtually all its recent winners, from Chimamanda Ngoi Adichie to Téa Obreht, have produced novels powerfully conjuring places, although how many of the American winners would have met the Ondaatje prize's obscure requirement for at least a stint of UK residence is unclear.

This year's choice of novelist was untypical, as recent winners have nudged the Ondaatje towards being an alternative to the Samuel Johnson non-fiction proze, stretching the meaning of the rubric's "sense of place" to encompass the entire country (Graham RObb's The Discrovery of France ) or even several countries (Edmund de Waal's The Hare with Amber Eyes ). And this doesn't favour women either, since, as Samuel Johnson shortlists indicate, weighty non-fiction tends to be male-dominated.

Let's hope that this time next year both prozes will surprise us. Zadie Smith's forthcoming NW is bound to be funny, and vividly to evoke the eponynmous part of London where it's set.
John Dugdale

# 14 : Sunday 3-6-2012 @ 17:11
Finished The Song of Achilles at 3.00 a.m. this morning. It's a long time since I stayed up to the small hours two nights in a row reading a book.

I recommend it.
# 15 : Sunday 3-6-2012 @ 19:22
The dark tower by stephen king
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