A new feature!

Posted in Books and Films, Geeky Tech Stuff on September 4th, 2006 by Coffee

Well, instead of doing all the things I should have been doing, like writing overdue emails and hanging out the washing, I’ve added a new feature to this blog thing.

If you look down the bottom of the right hand side bar you’ll see a summary of the books I’m reading or have stacked up on the shelf waiting to read.

I haven’t got all the related pages looking quite as I’d like them to yet, but it’s good enough for now. Changing other people’s code is always fun. It’s all done with a nifty plug-in to the blog software I found on the net called now-reading, which means I can stop work on doing the same thing!

The plug-in even runs off to get images and information from Amazon based on the ISBN code, so I don’t have to do any digging around. All good.

The Confusion and The System of the World

Posted in Books and Films on May 1st, 2006 by Coffee

A couple of weeks holiday, and another public holiday when we got back was enough to get me to the end this superb series.

I have one big problem with it though. There are no more books! The way it’s written makes it something that you feel should just go on and on like Eastenders or something. And that is in part, I think, due to the way it ends. In some big trilogies, absolutely everything seems to get resolved and explained away etc, but in this series just enough does. Even right up to the end, even though there is a climax, or reckoning, if you want to see it as that, you get the feeling that life will go on and there is more coming in life for all the characters.

Now I just have to wait for a year or two to forget enough about it all to read it again….

Earth, Air, Fire and Custard

Posted in Books and Films on March 7th, 2006 by Coffee

Taking a break from the Neal Stephenson epic, last weekend was spent reading the one of the latest from Tom Holt. Earth, Air, Fire and Custard is the third in his series that started with The Portable Door set in what must be one of the weirdest places to work. Weirder even than a UK government department. I’ll let you read about it if you want, rather then trying to explain. I don’t think I could.

What’s so good about these books is the way Holt can get across the feeling that for his main characters this is just like the most mundane, boring job that I’ve ever done, despite all the chaos and mayhem that is going on around them. And there is certainly plenty of that! As well as the filing.

It’s good to try not to worry about working out just what the hell is going on for a while safe in the knowledge that it will all be explained sometime, somehow. Maybe.

I also really like a bit at the end where one of the characters is asked to explain New Zealand to another: “Well I don’t really know a lot. It’s sort of near Australia, and the people are sort of like Australians only not quite so bouncy, and they filmed the Lord of the Rings there, and I think that’s about it really.” Sums it up really!

Really good fun.


Posted in Books and Films on February 24th, 2006 by Coffee

Finally got around to finishing Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. What a fantastic book! Best part is that there is still 2 more to go in the series, and they’re just as long.

It’s been really interesting wandering around some bits of London and seeing some of the sites described in the book in a slightly different way. And learning a bit more history about the place too, in an interesting way.

And after reading his other book Cryptonomicon it’s been fun to see the ancestors of characters in that novel pop up in Quicksilver.

It’s been really surprising how long it’s taken me to get through though. Not beacause it’s so long, but becaue I’m not reading on the tube any more. The trip to and from work just isn’t long enough any more to bother taking a book . The free Metro each morning is just long enough to get me to and from work every day (as long as there are no delays) without lugging a book as well. Still, at the rate that I normally go through books, that’s not a bad thing. Leaves me something to do on holidays.