Friday, 4 January 2013

Recent Reads.

It's been a while since I last regaled the Internet with tales of the last books I have read.  Understandably I didn't manage to read very much in November and I think my prose suffered a little for that.

However, in December I made up for it by reading five books and neglected my writing. Well technically I read three novels and two graphic novels...

The first book I read was one I started trying to read another year but couldn't get into but this time I  persevered and ended up getting entranced by Life of Pi.

This is as the title would suggest is a story about someones life.  The life of Piscine Molitor Patel, aka Pi and the various challenges in his life but mainly his watery ordeal.  I'll let you get hold of a copy or watch the film and find out the rest of the story.

Almost immediately after finishing Life of Pi I was given another book to read.  This book was a book that Paul had got out of the library that appealed to me but was unable to steal off him when he borrowed it for himself. Later he got in out of Sheffield Central Library again especially for me.  The book? Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch.

When Paul was reading this book it appealed to me because of the mixture of magical elements and contemporary crime fiction story.  If you know me then you'll know I do enjoy a bit of magic or science fiction entwined into my yarns... crime stories aren't normally my cup of tea but I've enjoyed Jasper Fford's nursery crime series, Paul Magr's Brenda & Effy/ Iris Wildthyme books and Dean Koontz's Frankenstein series so maybe my tastes are changing as I age.

So I ended up devouring that book in a matter of days and enjoyed the mixture of crime drama tropes, magic, geeky references and reminders of puppet shows I hadn't thought about in years.  It made me laugh doubly hard at this years Doctor Who Christmas special actually...

Well once I'd finished Rivers of London I launched into reading the sequel Moon Over Soho that Paul has kindly renewed for me after he'd read it.
This book was just as enjoyable as the first one with the continued magical crime fighting adventures of everyone's favourite apprentice wizard copper and techno geek Peter Grant.  I probably read these books a bit too fast but I did really enjoy them, the only tiny bit that irritated me was that the main character is sometimes a bit dismissive about everywhere that isn't London but then again I'm not a Londoner.  Maybe that's a plus point for some people... I guess if I ever finish my novels people will ask why my characters are always Northern lasses but I guess that's all I know!

Still I'm looking forward to stealing the next book in this series from Paul when he gets it out of the library.  I also like how Ben Aaronovitch has written for Doctor Who like Paul Magrs. (I told my Paul this and he was not impressed! Even less so when I suggested I should try to do the same...)

Next on my book binge hit list was Volume 7 The Calm Before, this was a long anticipated read as I hadn't had my fix of the Walking Dead graphic novels for a year by this point.

I was lucky enough to receive this as one of mine and Paul's joint Christmas presents along with the next book, which was unsurprisingly Volume 8 Made to Suffer.
Both were gripping graphic novels and I won't give any spoilers away to anyone who hasn't got this far but they do a good job of telling the tale of a group of survivors and the trials they face after the zombie apocalypse.  If you haven't read them, give them a go they're brilliant but be warned you'll get hooked fast! Now I just need an excuse for getting volume 9...

After completing these I then started on to my next lot of literary crack and dove into George R.R Martin's A Game of Thrones.
Obviously this is a completely different book to Life of Pi, Rivers of London, Moon Over Soho or The Walking Dead Graphic novels but I think it's good to read something different for a while.  This is good because my sister and her boyfriend bought me this...
Technically it's seven books although it's kind of five I am reliably informed.  So far I'm about a quarter of the way through A Game of Thrones and I'm not not running to read it at every opportunity but I don't like to put it down when I start.  This is obviously a good thing as I can also get some other things done like write this! (Although I should be working on my fiction *cough cough*...)  It also reminds me of the days when I used to hole myself away with fantasy books and read until the books were finished, also another good sign.

I think that this A Song of Ice and Fire boxset should keep me out of trouble for a little bit or at least until I don't know mid June?

Now I think I'm going to attempt to introduce my anti-heroine to her latest predicament then nestle down with a good book!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The year that was... and the one to come!

Well 2012 has now been and gone a lot faster than I'd expected it to. It's been quite a good year for me considering that I started it jobless and then quickly found a new role at my current workplace.

 I also tried to start a photoblog with the aim of taking a photograph everyday but fell behind quite quickly.  It was a good idea and I think I'll re-try it again this year.

This was a year of baking and exercise which saw me take part in two work bake offs, I sporadically went to the work gym and did a few dance shows and improved my bollywood and belly dancing.  In July my 52 recipe challenge ended, which I also sadly didn't manage this is something I am also considering attempting to do again.  Do you think it's a good idea and what recipes would you suggest I do?

Since then I've been thinking of different things to write about and tried to keep a commentary of this years NaNoWrimo attempt going whilst I wrote.  This year I actually managed 50,000 words in a month for the first time ever which is a real achievement! Now I just need to tie up my lose ends and finish the first draft... 
Since November I've mainly been stressing about Christmas, suffering from sniffles, binge reading, snapping guitar strings, attempting to play guitar and doodling.

Now it's 2013 I'm starting to try to work out how to put my plans for this year into action. They don't involve getting published, slimming down to a size 8 or becoming Jimi Hendrix like at guitar. (Although I do keep toying with the idea of getting to the level where I could form a band with that or the Uke...) This year I'm thinking of setting myself a few challenges like blogging more at least weekly, writing everyday, trying roller skating, actually going climbing/ice skating/ playing badminton this year, dancing more, learning a song on both instruments and not beating myself up if this doesn't happen.  Those as well as planning more things like the baking club and trips to the South, Wales and Scotland if my friends will have me! Maybe if I'll play my cards right I might even start some good habits like writing 1,000 words a day. (Because 365,000 words in a year is a doable target... if I focus!)

So what are your challenges for 2013? Do you challenge me to do anything else that I've missed off this list?