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February 2013
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Back Viewing 0 - 50  

Pick one:

Harry Styles
6(46.2%)
Alain de Botton
7(53.8%)

Pick one:

Richard Dawkins
6(46.2%)
Rowan Williams
7(53.8%)


Context if context be needed be.

Tags:

Which would you rather fight?

100 duck-sized horses
11(68.8%)
1 horse-sized duck
5(31.2%)

Tags:

Which piece would you vote off the island?

Battleship
1(8.3%)
Boot
0(0.0%)
Car
0(0.0%)
Hat
0(0.0%)
Iron
5(41.7%)
Scottie dog
3(25.0%)
Thimble
1(8.3%)
Wheelbarrow
2(16.7%)

Pick one:

Orville
9(69.2%)
Cuddles
4(30.8%)

Tags:

Driving down the M1 the other day, we got talking about the possibility of getting a new car. At one point, I said: "Well, I doubt we'll ever own a brand new car." My wife was taken aback by this. Turns out that whilst I don't know anyone who has ever bought a brand new car, her whole family do this.

Have you ever bought a brand new car?

Yes
11(42.3%)
No
15(57.7%)

Do you view buying a brand new car as a typical activity?

Yes
4(15.4%)
No
22(84.6%)

Tags:

Pick one:

Eggs and sausage and a side of toast
9(42.9%)
Coffee and a roll
5(23.8%)
Hash browns, over easy
2(9.5%)
Chilli in a bowl
5(23.8%)

What kind of pies?

Meat
12(57.1%)
Sweet
7(33.3%)
Summat else
1(4.8%)
Pies? Do you think I'm some sort of commoner?
1(4.8%)

Tags: ,

Pick one:

Chips
12(44.4%)
Lobster
3(11.1%)
Salad
3(11.1%)
Pickles
5(18.5%)
Cheesecake
4(14.8%)

Tags: ,

Pick one:

Pablo Picasso
8(53.3%)
Rothko
5(33.3%)
Rilke
2(13.3%)

Tags: ,

Do you eat the skins of baked potatoes?

Yes
38(95.0%)
No
2(5.0%)


Context.

Tags:

Irene is pronounced:

I-reen
32(88.9%)
I-ree-nee
4(11.1%)

Tags:

The instruction to a lazy student is:

Show your work
9(45.0%)
Show your working
11(55.0%)

Tags:

World Book Night asked people to nominate their top ten books to create a list that would feed into the selection of next year’s titles to be given away. Here is the list, usual rules apply.

1 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
2 Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
3 The Book Thief Markus Zusak
4 Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
5 The Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger
6 The Lord of the Rings J. R. R. Tolkien
7 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams

8 Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
9 Rebecca Daphne Du Maurier
10 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
11 American Gods Neil Gaiman
12 A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini
13 Harry Potter Adult Hardback Boxed Set J. K. Rowling
14 The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon
15 The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien
16 One Day David Nicholls
17 Birdsong Sebastian Faulks
18 The Help Kathryn Stockett
19 Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
20 Good Omens Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

21 The Notebook Nicholas Sparks
22 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson
23 The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood
24 The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
25 Little Women Louisa M. Alcott

26 Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden
27 The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
28 Atonement Ian McEwan
29 Room Emma Donoghue
30 Catch-22 Joseph Heller
31 We Need to Talk About Kevin Lionel Shriver
32 His Dark Materials Philip Pullman
33 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis De Bernieres
34 The Island Victoria Hislop
35 Neverwhere Neil Gaiman
36 The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver
37 The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger
38 Chocolat Joanne Harris
39 Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro
40 The Five People You Meet in Heaven Mitch Albom
41 One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
42 Animal Farm George Orwell

43 The Pillars of the Earth Ken Follett
44 The Eyre Affair Jasper Fforde
45 Tess of the D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy
46 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl

47 I Capture the Castle Dodie Smith
48 The Wasp Factory Iain Banks
49 Life of Pi Yann Martel
50 The Road Cormac McCarthy
51 Great Expectations Charles Dickens
52 Dracula Bram Stoker
53 The Secret History Donna Tartt
54 Small Island Andrea Levy
55 The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett
56 Lord of the Flies William Golding
57 Persuasion Jane Austen
58 A Prayer for Owen Meany John Irving
59 Notes from a Small Island Bill Bryson
60 Watership Down Richard Adams
61 Night Watch Terry Pratchett
62 Brave New World Aldous Huxley
63 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Mark Haddon

64 Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell Susanna Clarke
65 The Color Purple Alice Walker
66 My Sister’s Keeper Jodi Picoult
67 The Stand Stephen King
68 Cloud Atlas David Mitchell
69 The Master and Margarita Mikhail Bulgakov
70 Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
71 Cold Comfort Farm Stella Gibbons
72 Frankenstein Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
73 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Mary Ann Shaffer
74 The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde
75 Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell
76 The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman
77 The Woman in White Wilkie Collins
78 The Princess Bride William Goldman
79 A Suitable Boy Vikram Seth
80 Perfume Patrick Suskind
81 The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas
82 The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy
83 Middlemarch George Eliot
84 Dune Frank Herbert
85 Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel
86 Stardust Neil Gaiman
87 Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
88 Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie
89 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone J. K. Rowling
90 Shantaram Gregory David Roberts
91 The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro
92 Possession: A Romance A. S. Byatt
93 Tales of the City Armistead Maupin
94 Kafka on the Shore Haruki Murakami
95 The Magus John Fowles
96 The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas John Boyne
97 A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry
98 Alias Grace Margaret Atwood
99 Norwegian Wood Haruki Murakami
100 The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami

People really like Gaiman, don't they?

Tags:

Annoying?

Yes
5(38.5%)
No
8(61.5%)


Context.

Tags:

Will Obama be re-elected?

Yes
22(78.6%)
No
6(21.4%)

Poll #1724991 Herbal

Which two of these ingredients are mentioned in the name of my tea?

Hibiscus (45%)
3(8.8%)
Rosehip (15%)
5(14.7%)
Liquorice root (10%)
2(5.9%)
Cranberries (10%)
8(23.5%)
Apple (10%)
2(5.9%)
Elderflowers (5%)
8(23.5%)
Natural raspberry flavouring (5%)
6(17.6%)

Tags:

Have you heard of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton?

Yes
22(55.0%)
No
18(45.0%)

Have you read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton?

Yes
11(28.2%)
No
28(71.8%)

Tags: ,

Pick one:

Russia
21(72.4%)
Quatar
8(27.6%)

Pick one:

Ray Winston
14(45.2%)
Sean Bean
17(54.8%)

Pick one:

Cowboys
9(30.0%)
Aliens
21(70.0%)

Pick one:

Ra
7(23.3%)
Zeus
5(16.7%)
Odin
18(60.0%)

Tags:

Christmas Day bird?

Turkey
9(25.0%)
Goose
5(13.9%)
Chicken
0(0.0%)
Duck
4(11.1%)
Game bird
1(2.8%)
Mammal
4(11.1%)
Fish
0(0.0%)
Nut roast, special flan or some other Christmassy vegetarian wrongness
6(16.7%)
Just a normal meal, innit
4(11.1%)
I really haven't thought that far ahead
3(8.3%)

Tags:

Do you have an advent calendar?

Yes
11(26.2%)
No
31(73.8%)

Did you get someone else an advent calendar?

Yes
4(9.8%)
No
37(90.2%)

Are you expecting to have a stocking?

Yes
13(31.0%)
No
29(69.0%)

Are you making a stocking for someone else?

Yes
14(34.1%)
No
27(65.9%)

Tags:

I'd hit it:

William Windsor
2(6.5%)
Kate Middleton
13(41.9%)
Nah, mate. Nah.
16(51.6%)

Ever been Southamption?

Yes
18(54.5%)
No
15(45.5%)

Ever been Scunthorpe?

Yes
4(12.1%)
No
29(87.9%)

Have you ever been to Nando's?

Yes
19(57.6%)
No
14(42.4%)

Tags: ,

Poll #1630257 There can be only one...

Pick one:

Echinacea and raspberry
1(7.1%)
Blackcurrent, ginseng and vanilla
3(21.4%)
Cranberry, raspberry and elderflower
10(71.4%)

Nettle tea:

GOOD
8(53.3%)
BAD
7(46.7%)

Lady GaGa

GOOD
20(62.5%)
BAD
12(37.5%)

Meat

GOOD
28(82.4%)
BAD
6(17.6%)

Lady GaGa's meat dress

GOOD
12(37.5%)
BAD
20(62.5%)

Gillets

GOOD
11(37.9%)
BAD
18(62.1%)

Kedgeree

GOOD
17(54.8%)
BAD
14(45.2%)

Andrew Marr

GOOD
15(48.4%)
BAD
16(51.6%)

Mah jong

GOOD
27(84.4%)
BAD
5(15.6%)

Gap years

GOOD
18(56.2%)
BAD
14(43.8%)

Formica

GOOD
10(30.3%)
BAD
23(69.7%)

Nick Cave

GOOD
26(78.8%)
BAD
7(21.2%)

Special bonus Nick Cave question:

Sapho
7(29.2%)
Auden
17(70.8%)

Tick any you have read:

Dryden
14(6.2%)
Pope
19(8.4%)
Swift
26(11.6%)
Byron
24(10.7%)
Keats
27(12.0%)
Shelley,
25(11.1%)
Austen
33(14.7%)
Dickens
31(13.8%)
Hardy
26(11.6%)

Tags: ,

Pick one:

Tyrone Payton
1(25.0%)
Chip Ellsworth III
3(75.0%)

Pick one:

Louis Winthorpe III
2(33.3%)
Billy Ray Valentine
4(66.7%)

Pick one:

Sufjan Stephens
5(100.0%)
Gucci Mane
0(0.0%)

Tags:

#29 Swords & Dark Magic, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders

Read for review for SF Site.

#30 By George by Wesley Stace

Recommended by ajr as his book of 2009. My wife got about half way through before putting it down as boring but I'm not sure what her problem was. It is a family mystery told by characters from two different generations, one of whom is a ventriloquist's dummy. Perhaps slightly contrived but very satisfying.

I also hadn't realised that the author is John Wesley Harding. The singer, not the gun in every hand guy.

#31The Servants by MM Smith

Another of Michael Marshall Smith's transparent psuedonyms which in this instance announces his move into children's literature. I don't think MMS could write a bad book but he's certainly written a dull. Specifically it is a worthy but dull Young Boy's Cancer Primer.

#32 The Fire Gospels by Michel Faber

Another minor work from a major author. This is part of the Canongate Myths series and concerns the discovery of a fifth gospel that shows that there was no resurrection. It unfolds much as you would imagine and whilst Faber is always an impressive writer, I wish he had written something more substantial.

#33 Far North by Marcel Thoreux

As I mentioned to coalescent, I think this is probably a better novel than The City & The City but I would have still given the Arthur C Clarke Award to China Mieville. I'm not usually a fan of post-apocalypse novels - too limited - but this is wonderful, a sort of science fictional version of Primo Levi.

#34 The Rule Of Bone by Russell Banks

Coming of age is used quite casually to refer to pretty much all children's novels. This is the real thing though; a novel about a child who accidently and then deliberately sets out to discover the the right way to live. Bone lives in a small town in upstate New York. His interests are typical - weed, heavy metal and petty crime - but then he discovers Rastafarianism. Again, it can be a little contrived but it is immensely powerful as Bone opens himself up to a new way of understanding only to run up against the inherent limitations both of this philosophy and of the world itself.

Pick one:

Shadow-crouching
2(15.4%)
Edge-peering
3(23.1%)
Edge-tracking
2(15.4%)
Rim-teetering
1(7.7%)
Crack-following
0(0.0%)
Point-sniffing
1(7.7%)
Gap-straddling
2(15.4%)
Crevice-sniffing
1(7.7%)
Sill-perching
0(0.0%)
Rear-end-anchored-locomotion
1(7.7%)
Wall-clinging
0(0.0%)

Tags:

Books: March - July

Oh man, I have fallen so far behind.

#15 Pig Tales by Marie Darrieussecq (translated by Linda Coverdale)

A modern version of Candide and that is high praise indeed.

#16 The Magus by John Fowles

I think perhaps I was too old for this but I still loved it. More Fowles for me in the near future.

#17 The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by JK Jemisin

This was terrible and I'm amazed by the positive reception it received. I put this down to an unholy trinity of things the internet loves: epic fantasy, YA and fanfic.

#18 The Hidden by Tobias Hill

I love Hill but I think this is as close he has come to writing a by-the-numbers book. My reading experience was perhaps adversely effected by the fact it has been compared to The Magus and it is nothing like it (I understand where the comparison comes from but no). It also one of those unfortunate novels which has the author's hidden intent clearly signalled by the cover. In this case it is a huge cover quote from the Observer which describes it as "one of the finest novels written so far about our age of terror". Which rather gives the game away.

Anyway, this is Hill doing everything he does so well - a detached, gnomic protagonist; restrained, exacting imagery; an obsession with peeling away the surface - but it feels like he is repeating himself.

#19 A Guide To Fantasy Literature by Philip Martin

Read for review for SF Site.

#20 Scott Pilgrim 4
#21 Scott Pilgrim 5

More of the same. Which is a good thing.

#22 The Part About The Critics by Roberto Bolano

Yes, I hacked 2666 into its constituent novellas but I didn't make it passed the first one.

#23 Katja From The Punk Band

Read for review for SF Site.

#24 Monsters Of Men by Patrick Ness

Read for review for Strange Horizons.

#25 A Country You Have Never Seen by Joanna Russ

A collection of reviews, essays and letters. Great contents, duff book. Further thoughts forthcoming in a Vector editorial.

#26 Wetlands by Charlotte Roche

I absolutely loved this. Two fingers up to body horror and social conditioning. there is a nice profile of Roche here.

#27 Transition by Iain Banks

What I was looking for was a Big Idea novel. Transition seemed to offer that in the idea of transitioning itself but in the end it was just too familiar. Torture? Check. Incest? Check. Morally ambiguous instruments of a highly interventionist state that believes it knows best? Check. In fact, the Concern is nothing but the multiverse version of Contact. You could get a fair approximation of Transition by simply mashing Complicity with Use Of Weapons (despite all the chaff that Banks throws up at the beginning to disorient the reader).

There is also a note of late Ken MacLeod creeping in with the Christian Terrorist stuff. It is so obvious and cheap.

#28 Scott Pilgrim 6

More of the same but mostly a big old showdown, albeit with some backstory which I really liked. What about Kim Pine though?

I am mostly going to be doing Clarke reading from now on so updates will continue to be sporadic.

Poll #1567314 Inspired by CDC

Pick one:

China Miéville
24(66.7%)
Morrissey
12(33.3%)

Tags:

Poll #1557459 In honour of Arthur C Clarke

Coolest?

Salman Rushdie
7(33.3%)
A Stormtrooper
14(66.7%)

Tags:

Prefered Cheddar strength:

Mild
4(9.8%)
Medium
3(7.3%)
Mature
9(22.0%)
Extra mature
24(58.5%)
I am some sort of non-Cheddar eating idiot
1(2.4%)

Tags: ,

Punch is usually

Hot
3(14.3%)
Cold
18(85.7%)

Tags: ,

Pick one:

Neil Young, Blur, Bruce Springsteen
26(86.7%)
U2, Muse, Stevie Wonder
4(13.3%)

Avatar:

GOOD
8(32.0%)
BAD
17(68.0%)

Which is the odd one out?

Franz Ferdinand
5(20.0%)
Bloc Party
11(44.0%)
The Killers
9(36.0%)

JD Salinger:

GOOD
17(63.0%)
BAD
10(37.0%)

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