Thoughts of a geek

24 July 2009

21/100

Filed under: Books, Lists, Me — Tags: , , — qwandor @ 9:43 pm

This book quiz has been going around Facebook a bit, so here I join in.

BEGINS
The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions:
Copy this into your NOTES. Put an ‘x’ next to those you have read. Tag other book nerds.

[ ] 1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
[x] 2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
It was ages ago though; I could not remember very much when I watched the movies.
[ ] 3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
[ ] 4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
[x] 5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
We studied this in school, in year 9 I think. Or maybe it was year 11, I cannot remember. My English teacher in year 9 and 11 really liked books (and movies) about racism in the American south.
[x] 6 The Bible – God (the whole thing)
Well, most of it anyway.
[ ] 7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
[x] 8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
1984 and Animal Farm are the two books by Orwell that I have read. Did you hear about the recent controversy with Amazon deleting them both remotely from the Kindles of people who had purchased the e-books? Nice irony there.
[ ] 9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
[ ] 10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Total: 4

[ ] 11 Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
I think I may have started this at some point, but gave up on it.
[ ] 12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
[ ] 13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
[ ] 14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
[ ] 15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
[x] 16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
[ ] 17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
[ ] 18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
[ ] 19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
[ ] 20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

Total: 1

[ ] 21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
[ ] 22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
[ ] 23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
[ ] 24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
[x] 25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Again, I read the series ages ago (at some point while in primary school anyway), and so had forgotten most of it by the time I watched the movie of the first one. Oh, and there was the BBC TV version too. That had amusingly terrible special effects.
[ ] 27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
[ ] 28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
[ ] 29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
I think I might have read part of it, but not the whole thing.
[x] 30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

Total: 2

[ ] 31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
[ ] 32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
[x] 33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Yep, and the BBC miniseries or whatever it was. It was a bit funny having seen that and then seeing the more recent movies.
[ ] 34 Emma – Jane Austen
[ ] 35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
[x] 36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
Well, 33 → 36
[ ] 37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
[ ] 38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
[ ] 39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
[x] 40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

Total: 3

[x] 41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
[ ] 42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
[ ] 43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
[ ] 44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
[ ] 45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
[x] 46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
I think? I could be wrong. Again, a long time ago.
[ ] 47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
[ ] 48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
[x] 49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
I studied this in school too. Studying a book, reading bits over and over again, having to write essays about it, takes all the enjoyment out of it.
[ ] 50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

Total: 3

[ ] 51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
[x] 52 Dune – Frank Herbert
I read quite a few of the Dune series, despite finding them fairly dull. I may have been too young for them.
[ ] 53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
[ ] 54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
[ ] 55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
[ ] 56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
[ ] 57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
[x] 58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
I think I read 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 all around the same time, one summer, mostly while camping at the Mahia Peninsula. That campground no longer exists. It was demolished to build a subdivision of houses, but then the developers ran out of money or something, and they never got built. There are roads, some lamps, gardens and cleared land (they got rid of almost all the pine trees from the old campground and flattened it more), but no houses. I later read This Perfect Day and Logan’s Run, for a bit more along similar lines. (Well, Logan’s Run is a bit ridiculous. The movie is amusing, primarily for what it says about the time it was made.)
[ ] 59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night – Mark Haddon
[ ] 60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Total: 2

[ ] 61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
[ ] 62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
[ ] 63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
[ ] 64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
[ ] 65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
[ ] 66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
[ ] 67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
[ ] 68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
[ ] 69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
[ ] 70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

Total: 0

[ ] 71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
[ ] 72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
[x] 73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
[ ] 74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
[ ] 75 Ulysses – James Joyce
[ ] 76 The Inferno – Dante
[x] 77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
I think? It sounds familiar anyway.
[ ] 78 Germinal – Emile Zola
[ ] 79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
[ ] 80 Possession – AS Byatt

Total: 2

[ ] 81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
[ ] 82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
[ ] 83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
[ ] 84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
[ ] 85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
[ ] 86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mxistry
[x] 87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
[ ] 88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
[ ] 89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
[x] 90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
I am not sure whether I read all of this. But I probably did.

Total: 2

[ ] 91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
[ ] 92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
[ ] 93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Apparently Iain Banks is Iain M. Banks, some of whose books I have read.
[x] 94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
[ ] 95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
[ ] 96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
[ ] 97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
[ ] 98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
[x] 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
I never was keen on Roald Dahl, but I think I read this.
[ ] 100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Total: 2

Grand Total: 21

19 October 2008

Photopia

Filed under: Books, Computers — Tags: , , , — qwandor @ 9:48 pm

I recently played a small interactive fiction called Photopia. It was quite interesting, and short enough that it can be played in one sitting (an hour or two, I think). It is more of a story and less of a game than most IF, which I liked: it has a mostly linear structure, with interactivity used mostly to put the player into the place of the characters. The few puzzles are straightforward and not frustrating, rather being used to draw the player into the story. It takes an interesting approach in several ways, with the player taking on the role of different characters in different scenes, and alternating between real-life scenes and a story told by one of the characters. It also makes use of colour in an unusual way, to link scenes.

If you enjoy reading short stories or novellas, I recommend it. You can download Photopia here, and play it on one of the many Z-machine interpreters available for pretty much every platform out there. Also see the author’s site for more information (about halfway down the page).

26 February 2008

Book recommendation: Infinity Beach

Filed under: Books — qwandor @ 8:20 pm

I recently read Infinity Beach by Jack McDevitt, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys science fiction.

It is set about a thousand years in the future, when humans have settled on planets in a number of other solar systems but no other life has been found on any of the many planets explored. Humanity has reached the point where everybody can live a comfortable life, but there is no longer any real progress. The main character, Dr. Kim Brandywine, works for an organisation aiming to find extra-terrestrial intelligence but does not really believe that there is any life in the universe beyond that brought from Earth. This slowly starts to change when an old acquaintance suggests to her that the failed SETI expedition in which her sister died may not have been what it seemed. She begins to investigate, and becomes increasingly obsessed with discovering what happened as she uncovers evidence that the four crew of the expedition were apparently anxious to hide something.

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