Friday, March 27, 2009

top five songs

The thing is, it's Friday, it's after 5, and I'm going home. But I wanted to do this, so maybe a sketch now and more later...

The Impression that I Get- Mighty, Mighty Bosstones

Yellow- Coldplay

I Must Belong Somewhere- Bright Eyes

Man, I can't choose... More later
Have a good weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

top five fantasy

I liked writing that so much I'm going to do another one. Maybe I'll do daily top 5 lists. Maybe I won't. You'll just have to wait and see...

I'm not including The Lord of the Rings in this list, you probably all know I love it. I didn't include the Bible in the last list either, but they both loom large.

I know that a lot of people look down on fantasy, but I think that this is unfair and unwarranted. I want to make a list of books that will appeal to a range of people and maybe interest any non-fantasy readers out there.

Top 5 fantasy books you should read (in no particular order):

The Last Unicorn- Peter Beagle
This is an amazing book, it's got everything- it's funny, it's sad, it's bittersweet and moving and the characters stay with you afterwards. Read it and we can discuss together what it means...

The Wizard of Earthsea- Ursula le Guin
Ursula le Guin is pretty great, and so is this trilogy (well, kind of trilogy). These are pretty sad books, and are about power, and balance, and death- all those important things. Writing is spare and elegaic, or so I think.

The Discworld Series- Terry Pratchett
I've read almost all of them at least twice. Fantasy satire on the real world, Terry Pratchett's encyclopedic knowledge never ceases to amaze me. People are put off by the large size of teh series- don't be, all the books stand alone. Some of my favourites: Men At Arms, Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music.

Perdido St. Station- China Mieville
Unlike the books listed above, I've only read this one once. But maybe that's because my family doesn't own it. It's an engrossing world- kind of fantasy, kind of thriller, conducted in an urban industrial dystopia. It's incredibly engaging and the world is so well drawn I'm going to recommend it.

The Once and Future King- T.H. White
I think this has to be my favourite retelling of the Arthurian legend (sorry Mists of Avalon fans)- it's imaginative, the characters are sympthetic, it deals with the uneasy relationship of power and violence, in a way that only becomes irritating in The Prophecies of Merlin. The first book is so child-like, but they kind of grow up with Arthur. Incredibly lovable. And what would a good fantasy list be without something Arthurian?

I feel like this list is a bit arbitrary, because there are some great books that should be on here. I'll just mention a few in passing: The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Alan Garner; The Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper; Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake; Foxmask, Juliet Marillier; The Plum-Rain Scroll, Ruth Manley (similar, but superior, to Lian Hearn)... Once I start thinking about it, more keep springing to mind. But these are a good place to start.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

influences

At the moment everyone on facebook is making up lists of their 5 top books etc. for different categories, in a manner reminiscent of High Fidelity, but I really feel that a top five deserves a blog post to be dealt with fully. So here are some top 5 lists of mine:

Top 5 most influential books, in chronological order:

-Fairytales
I don't remember which book. All I know is that for the first half of kindergarten I couldn't read at all, but then somehow I started, and the first word I remember reading is "grandmother", I'm assuming this was 'Little Red Riding Hood'. That was such an exciting moment, and the start of a lifelong love of words.

- The Treasures of the Snow, Patricia St. John
Reading this book is the first time that I remember really thinking about what I believe and making a conscious decision that yes, I would like to count myself a follower of Jesus. So pretty important for me...

-The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
This book pretty much sealed my fate as a bookish fantasy nerd, I loved it so much. I read it again every year for years.

- Possession, A.S. Byatt
I read this while taking trains around England after finishing my HSC, it was the perfect combination of book and place, and made me decide that studying English would be a fun and glamorous activity (which may well surprise those who've read it).

- Beowulf, Seamus Heaney translation
I read this just before starting uni, decided that Old English was amazing, also influenced by Possession, switched a course from Archaeology to English so I could do ASNAC in second year, and ended up doing honours in Old English.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

just when i thought that the randomness had gone...

I was reading an article today about posters which have been popping up on lampposts in Melbourne and entertaining the local populace by saying things like:
"I like doing stuff but I always end up doing the same stuff again and again. I'd like to meet up with people who like doing stuff, preferably different stuff to my stuff..."
And signing it 'Craig'
Some think it was an ad for a classifieds website.

But it turns out there was (already?) someone in New York doing the same thing and signing off 'Chris'. You can find out about it here:
http://zoomdoggle.com/2009/03/honorary-doggler-chris-not-craig/
These people believe that the originals were a spoof of the website.

Anyway it's pretty random and the website made me smile, so I felt I should share it. I saw an unusual poster on the corner of Enmore Rd and Stanmore Rd last night, but didn't get a chance to get a proper look. I all can really say is that it was up pretty high, and I think it involved the word "throbbing". More later... Perhaps.