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Gardening with Amazon - update


111003 – since I bought a garden sieve I’ve got a new category of weirdness from Amazon recommendations:

Bought: heavy-duty garden sieve …
… Black & Decker saw
… cabbage collars
… Carole King CD
… dustbin incinerator
… electric lawnmower cable [“genuine Flymo”]
… electric plug adaptor
… face shield & visor [sieving can be really dangerous!]
… gas hob lighter
… One Man and his Dig [kindle book about a man and his allotment]
… safety goggles
… silver ladies’ abalone pendant [I’m not a silver lady!]
… The Silver Pigs [Roman crime novel]
… snow shovel
… Thermos water bottle
… TV multi-connector switch
… wall thermometer

And some add-ons to old sections:

3-tier plant stand …
… apple mini display port
… coffee maker
… cookery book support
… folding saw
… ironing board
… pasta drying rack [!]
… Union Jack doormat
… wok

Beach umbrella …
… child’s safety gate
… children’s book set
… Duracell batteries
… food mixer set
… jumbo crayons
… Lego
… magnetic lamp with hook
… microwave oven
… Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut
… towel “Alien Force”

Bird nest box …
… garden fairy lights
… window thermometer

Butterfly garden nectar feeder …
… action camcorder

Container gardening through the year …
… Grave secret (“When she was 15, Harper Connelly was struck by a bolt of lightning, which left her with a spiderweb of red over her body, headaches, and episodes of weakness …And she can find dead people”.)

Plant pot, self-watering …
… ornamental bird bath
… solar fairy lights
… squirrel feeder

Really small gardens …
… bathroom scales
… Chris Rea CD

Velcro plant ties …
… Alan Titchmarsh secateurs
… armchair seat cushion
… cat repellent
… crevice tool for Dyson vacuum
… jam strainer kit
USB mains charger
… wooden toy train

Wall Mounted Hose Reel …
… Bluetooth Headset

Water feeder …
… brain training electronic game
… Nintendo game pack

Waterfalls, ponds and streams …
… Blueprint 3 (explicit) mp3 download

Wild bird feeder …
… fertiliser spreader
… garden tool hooks
… grass seed, multi-purpose [to feed the birds?]
… Imogen Heap CD
… insect-repellent wrist and ankle bands

Gold star for anyone who can spot a connection between a 3-tier plant stand and an ironing board – or between a beach umbrella and a microwave oven.

More blog posts by franl155

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Oh, Yes, franl155, Been There, Done That! Can you spot the connection between a breadmaker and ladies' shoes and handbags? Nor me.

14 Dec, 2011


That's hilarious! The buckshot approach, presumably.

14 Dec, 2011


Great blog, Fran...

Lean on the ironing board and draw a picture of a sieve, using Jumbo crayons ...
... your picture will certainly repel the cats, and, as they retreat, they can wipe their paws on the Union Jack doormat... ;o)

14 Dec, 2011


Another reason I don't like shopping online....the junk email just gets on my nerves!!
Maybe the connection is where to stuff them all :))))

14 Dec, 2011


Lol. Scottish :o)))

14 Dec, 2011


Lol Scottish, the connection between a 3-tier plant stand and an ironing board is you have to add water and between a beach umbrella and a microwave oven they both have to be opened.

14 Dec, 2011


I disagree, I know for a fact that Carole King, Chris Rea and Imogen Heap all have that same seive ; )

14 Dec, 2011


LOL to all of you! I've been collecting these ever since I started wondering why Amazon was recommending this stuff, and saw at the bottom "becausae you bought xxx" - I can'teven begin to imagine what possible "key word" would apply to connect them.

If anyone else has any, please share!

Breadmaker and ladies' shoes/handbags - all take a lot of dough? *wince*

14 Dec, 2011


I've bought a couple of books on Amazon, (my very 1st order), in the last few weeks but 3, yes THREE times I was sent a different one from the one I ordered. I sent them an email after I returned the 2nd book saying if the 3rd time they didn't get it right I would tell everyone I know about their terrible service! At least the 3rd time it was a book I hadn't read, it interested me so I kept it.

On the other hand to be perfectly fair to Amazon it was a 2nd hand book I was trying to get hold of & it was sent out by a company operating under the "umbrella" of Amazon.

One of the books I ordered, though 2nd hand, surprised me when it arrived as, for the price of a 2nd hand paperback, I got what looked like a new hard cover book! :-))

I haven't bothered to check their "recommendations" but I don't receive emails from them unless I order a book or write to complain that the book I was sent wasn't the one I ordered! Oh, I still haven't received the original title ordered! Now given up! :-((

15 Dec, 2011


I have been extremely impressed with Amazon so far. If there have been problems, they have been sorted pretty quickly, and the worst of these have been due to the couriers they've used. What a shame you've had such negative experiences, Balcony. The "because you've ordered this......" e-mails are a bit of a nuisance, but more amusing than not. I think I must be their number one customer in Italy.....

15 Dec, 2011


These recommedations aren't sent via email: when you log into Amazoon they have a tag "recommendations for you", and I go through them when I'm particularly bored or can't summon the energy to get a life! Though they do send "special offer" emails that motly get junked unopened.

Amazon Marketplace can be a bit hit and miss - it's like eBay on Amazon, only with fixed prices - Amazon's there to oversee. There should be a "problems with this order?" tab on the order, Balcony; (lol, the only time you don't see it is when the order is from Amazon itself, then it's a hell of a job to find out how to complain).

Most sellers know what they're doing and are pretty good at it: after all, negative feedback can seriousyl affect future sales, so it pays them to. I had one book that failed to appear after three weeks, so I contacted the seller, got a refund. Two weeks later the book turned up, having come from North of England to London via Wales, for some reason! So I contacted the seller again and paid for it via PayPal.

But sending out the wrong book can't be blamed on the Post Office!

I did get a wrong book once: the payment slip was addressed to someone else, so I contacted he seller, saying that person probably had my book and should I send it to them and ask for mine, or send it back to them and let them sort it out. They said, it'd be too much hassle, keep the book, and they sent me the right one within a few days.

Persevere, Balcony: pursue the claim, and take it to Amazon if you can't get satisfaction from the seller. 99.9% of Amazon and Marketplace is good;you just had the bad luck to find the 0.01%

15 Dec, 2011


Yeah, but 3 times in a row??? From three different sellers on Amazon??? For the same title that their webpages say is in stock? The packing slip with the right title but the wrong book in the packet???

That's a lot of bad luck!!!

16 Dec, 2011


three times???? there's a bit in Ian Fleming's "Goldfinger" - "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

Three times is appalling bad luck. Have you tried looking on eBay? Or give me the title and author and I'll see if I can get it, and then send it to you!

17 Dec, 2011


Thanks very much for your offer, Fran, but I'll try again after the Christmas rush is over. It's a Sci-Fi book, a StarTrek novel. I have the 2nd part but have not been able to get hold of the 1st part.

Just this evening I was watching "Startrek:The Movie"! I didn't know it was on till I turned the PC off & the TV on.

17 Dec, 2011


ah, right! i saw the first Trek film at the cinema, was ok, but the special effects did tend to get in the way. I've only kept the DVDs of films 2-4, they're almost a seriel rather than a series, didn't bother watching the 7th.

what was the title? I have a lot of Trek ebooks that I'm thinking of getting rid of, might as well get rid of them you-wards!

18 Dec, 2011


It would be a shame to get rid of the books, I'd gladly take any you don't want. I belong to a booksharing site called "". I exchange books with other people all over the world, though since losing my job I now only send within the UK, international postage is now becoming exorbitant!

I read a book then register it on the site & they give me 0,1 point for every book I register as willing to exchange. You need at least 1 point to be able to "mooch" (exchange) a book you would like to read. So you start uploading at least 10 books you are willing to exchange. This list is then made visible to other members, if a member sees a book on your list they would like to read they send you a "mooch request" through the site. When you get the request you decide if you are willing to send it or not, probably because of postage concerns. If you send it you receive 1 point (UK) or 3 points (international) in return & vice versa, you can "mooch" a book from somebody else's list & when you receive it you are deducted a point (UK) or 3 (International). I've been a member for about 3 or 4 years now.

The title I was trying to get from Amazon is: "Startrek: The Next Generation: Gemworld", Book One of two. I already have book two. The 2nd time I ordered the book I was sent another copy of book 2 which I had already received through "mooching" it on the booksharing site. Book one isn't available through the site. Nobody has included it in their list.

The site is every bit as addictive to a reader as GoY is to gardeners! :-))

19 Dec, 2011


lol it sounds addictive!

I checked my ebooks, could'nt find any Trek, did a search and found lots - of talking books, only two TMG and neither the title you wanted. Sorry, could have sworn they were ebooks (did swear!)

I don't real ebooks much because the text is normal size - I can zoom right in, but can only get a couple or wrods onscreen at a time, and constantly scrolling back and forth as well as up and down is a real as well as a metaphorical pain.

I have to convert pdfs to Word, enlarge the font and then reformat it, line by line (ebooks seem to be set by line, not by paragraph, so I can get fifty lines each with one or two words on); I have to close up the paragraphs and get the book back int something resembling its orginal layout. By the time I've done all that, I'm so sick of the sight of it that I can't face actually reading it! Still, it's there for another time.

Have you heard about Gutenburg? They do free downloads of classic and classical ebooks in all genres.

19 Dec, 2011


Thanks for that info, & yes, I do know about Gutenberg, I seem to remember downloading a couple of books a long time ago but I suppose there were few that really interested me.

How do you manage to post on here if you have to make the font of your ebooks so big? Could you afford to buy one on these new types of bookreaders like Amazon's Kindle? They are on sale for £89. W.H.Smith's have a slightly cheaper version £70+. With them you wouldn't be tied to a computer & it seems you can adjust the size of the fonts used as well as having a much more natural experience of holding a reader that's a similar size to a paperback but thinner & can store many 100s of books. I was looking at one in Tesco just a week or so ago & they are impressive pieces of technology - you don't need any more skills I believe than switching it on/off & choosing the book you want to read. Certainly if you can manage a PC then these readers are a "piece of cake"! I wonder if Santa will put one in my stocking? LOL!

21 Dec, 2011


Do beware, Balcony & Fran! I have heard that the books available for download onto Kindle cost as much as, if not more than buying the book itself. The publishers are artificially keeping the prices high and with no overheads, are making a mint! I've also found that the sort of books available aren't at all the sort of thing that I would want to read (C-list "celebrity" ghosted memoirs amongst other things) Other than that, they sound a wonderful idea. Maybe I should take a look at Gutenberg.

21 Dec, 2011


Thanks for that, Gattina. I've seen the Kindles on Amazoan and even got a life-sizecardboard thing in my last Amazon order. I thought they'd be bigger. I'm hesitant to invest in one until I know that they enlarge text enough to make it accessble to me - the BBC Radio 4 programme for blind people, In Touch, did a review and said the new one doesn't do speech, as some of the previous ones did.

I'm also wary about gettng locked into having to get all the books from one supplier because that's all that'll work on their machine. And one would be stuck with only the ebooks that that supplier supplies - one couldn't pick and choose. *s* as I don't read popular literature I think I'd not use the machine much!

I need to check things out a lot more before I make a decision - well, before I make a decision to buy! At least I'd want to see one in action, to try it out before committing myself. That's the prob: where does one go to try-before-you-buy?

No doubt the prices will come down in time - lol I'm old enough to remember when videos first made a splash - you can buy a DVD recorder now for less than those early videos were being sold for - and you could probably have a week's holiday on what they wanted for the video player!

Anything new will cost, and the price will come down once the novelty's worn off and there's enough competition to make them cut prices . But if they're the only supplier, then they have you over a barrel - you buy from them at their price, or you don't buy at all.

I'm a bit of a techno-dodo - well, a low-tech fan. The more complicated things are, the more there is to go wrong with them, and the more it costs to repair or replace. Real books don't depend on batterypower, or need anti-glare screens! And who needs to carry a couple of hundred books around with them at any given time?

Mind you, some books can be a bit weighty - I have a couple of garden encyclopedias that I can't get into becaues I simply can't hold them close enough to my eyes - but I doubt they'd be Kindled anyway.

22 Dec, 2011


Actually, Balcony, GoY is one of the most accessible sites that I have on my favourites. There are some pretty horrific sites, where I have to stand up and lean right over to get close enough to be able to make out the tiny text.

It’s partly because the text here is large and clear, and partly because I don’t need sunglasses to protect me from a glaring white background! The background is the real problem: I need to get close enough to see the words but need to back off because otherwise the background glare does my eyes and my head in.

I often write posts in Word, then copy and paste into the GoY window [that’s what I’m doing now] – much easier to see and it spellchecks as I go along, rather than posting, seeing an error, then going back to edit it out. Then seeing another one …

I’m a bit wary of Kindle & Co – I need to be able to try it out, see how well it works for me – or doesn’t work for me – before I commit to buying. I got a cardboard cut out of a life-size Kindle in my last Amazon order – surprised me, I thought they’d be bigger. But if I need to zoom to 130% on a 42” TV that I’m using as a monitor, how big will the Kindle be able to show text? One word at a time?

I use the built-in Word alternative, white text on blue background, much easier on my eyes (I’d use Access a lot more - or at all - if I could tone down the background glare!), and I have the zoom set to “page width” so I can get a whole line onscreen – this means that I have to have the font size large enough to be able to see at that level zoom. And I tweaked the “display” so that menus etc are off-white, again to reduce the glare. This is my default theme, though it took me dozens of tries to arrive at it!

I just thought to take a screenshot of your post – I don’t know if one can add photos to posts, but if not I’ll add to my photos and you can see how I see. I’ve also taken a screenshot of my Word setup, so you can see how I see as I’m typing these words.

22 Dec, 2011


Absolutely right on all fronts, Fran. I don't read "popular" fiction or "celebrity" books of any kind, either. A friend of mine has an iPad instead of a Kindle, and it does much the same things, plus a lot of other stuff, but with a much better choice of reading matter, and I believe the choice of font size is comprehensive, HOWEVER, you'd need a second mortgage to buy one, and although bigger, it is still small. I'm sticking to the paper portables for now. I have six huge bookcases full of 'em, and I HATE throwing any of them away - I get through about 3-4 books a week (well, I used to, before I found GoY to fill the sleepless hours) and go back to my favourites again and again, usually until they fall apart.

22 Dec, 2011


lol know what you mean about GoY, it's addictive, isn't it?

I don't have an i-anything, and I'm rather proud of that! It's a bit like my trying to find an mp3 player I could use: most of the ones on sale would be one-use-only, because once I put them down I'd never find them again.

At the moment, my books are stacked on the floor - I packed them in 2008 for a move that didn't happen and only unboxed them a few months ago. Boy, do I miss being able to just pick a book off a shelf! There's no room in this flat for bookcases, but I've got a walk-in cubboard 150cm square, and I'm trying to get that shelved for my library.

I hate getting rid of books, too - and sometimes I wish I hadn't; I'll get tired of a book and pass it on, then miss it and go out and buy another copy. I used to donate my books, vids, cds anddvds to my local library - keep what they want, sell the rest for library funds. But I was surprised to be tole, the last time I tried, that they don't want books any more. Shee, a library that doesn't want books! So now they go to the local charity shop.

I have to cull them now and then - the last time I counted, I had just over two and a half thousand, so I need to make space for new ones, and the only way is to retire old ones. So many of them I've not read - my vision's changed since I bought them and some are now inaccessible, and others I just haven't got round to; some are just too heavy for me to hold close enough to my eyes - I must get a reading stand or something. I read the Harry Potters lying on my bed; when my back ached, I'd kneel up, until my feet went to sleep, then lie down again, and so on.

22 Dec, 2011


The only books I've given away recently was the entire Harry Potter set (we've still got a duplicate of one of them - not sure how) and it hardly made enough space to cope with the current overflow. OH is getting very stern with me about book parcels arriving from Amazon that we have to accommodate. (A lot of them are for him - he seems to forget that!) When we were in the UK we used to give boxes of books to charity shops and second-hand book shops, then, a few months later, be browsing and find a book we'd donated and BUY IT BACK AGAIN!

22 Dec, 2011


lol been there, done that ... I'm trying to list all my books, to make sure I don't double up, but I've bought stuff in charity shops that would match the one I had at home, and when I get home, I find that it WAS the one I had at home!

lol, you ought to remind your OH about the parable of the beam in one's own eye!

I'm trying to curb my Amazon book-buyng - my vision's not too good these days and there's no way of telling how accessible a book will be - most are ok but you do get some that have to be read with a microscope! But bookshops are problematical too; I can't read the titles on the lower or upper shelves, so I'm stuck with just what's on the middle shelves. And having to read the spines with my head tilted at 90 degrees isn't very comfortable.

But at least I can flick though the book and see how readable it is for me - and how relevant: so many fiction books have titles that are totally over my head, and even reference books can't always be relied on - I've been trying to find "small garden" books but the definition of "small" varies wildly! I finally found a "tiny garden" book that I thought would be about the right size; and even that assumes a bigger space than I actually have.

I'm still trying to get back the books I had when I was a teen - my mother thought I had too many and took the obvious step to remedy that. But books that cost 3/6 then can now cost up to £300, cos they're old and out of print and therefore "collectable". sigh, I want to read 'em, not buy 'em as investments.

22 Dec, 2011


Mine have had so many readings, they are all falling apart. I still can't bring myself to write in margins or tear a book apart or burn it - childhood strictures, I think. Books are intrinsically valuable (not in money terms) and almost sacrosanct!

22 Dec, 2011


Agreed! I have almost a reverene for books, and will not wantonly destroy or deface them - though I have written in the margins now and then, to add a note to what's printed - one dictionary of rhyming slang didn't have a term that is often used round our way so I added it in the margin.

Quite a few of my older books have been so loved that only Sellotape holds them together! I used to buy transparent sticky-backed plastic to cut into covers, but that only protected the cover and spine, it didn't hold the pages together.

In this part of London, there's a flood alert warning, which is the old wartime sirens. It sounded once, years ago, giving an hour's warning of an incoming - my first thought was, how do I protect my books? I spent time stacking them as high off the floor as I could (lived on the ground floor then). Thankfully, it was a false alarm, but I still spent time trying to save my books that I could have used in running away!

I feel revolted at public book-burnings: to me, it's a short step from destorying ideas to destroying the people who had those ideas - look at the Inquisition, or Nazi Germany to see where that ends up!

22 Dec, 2011


Your last comment immediately brought to mind "Fahrenheit 450" (Can't remember the number exactly, it's the temp at which paper burns!). I've seen the film on TV as well.

23 Dec, 2011


I think it's "451", so you were close! I've got the book somewhere, but the operative word there is the last one ... Not seen the film; I'll have to check up and see who's in it. Was it any good?

24 Dec, 2011


WOW! I was close, wasn't I? LOL!

Can't remember much about the film now! It was a long time ago. I don't think it left much of an impression on me as otherwise I would remember it better! I recall it more because of the book of the same title.

25 Dec, 2011


I mostly remember it because of Michael Moore's Farenheit 9-11 - I've got the book somwhere, I'm sure. Well, I think - really need to get those stacks sorted!

Very few film-of-the-book live up to expectations - the only film adaptation which I prefer to the book was The Dirty Dozen - but then I saw the film before I read the book, and that might have been a factor.

26 Dec, 2011


I find that as well, so does my wife! We are nearly always disappointed by a book made into a film later.

One of my favourite authors of all time - in Sci-Fi - was Isaac Asimov. On one of my visits to Spain to see our boys, the older of the two took me to the cinema to see the film, "based" on Asimov's novel, "I, Robot". If he could have seen it he would have risen from his grave to denounce the terrible transformation of his book. The only similitude between the film & the book was the title & the use of his name. ;-((

I have read a few books after reading the film/episode but in these cases the book was practically a transliteration of the film/episode. That's particularly true of the many StarTrek novels I've read. In that case it doesn't bother me in the least, in fact I can practically "watch" the episode in my mind again!

26 Dec, 2011


Same here, Balcony. One of my all time favourite books is Captain Corelli's Mandolin - so complex, so clever, so beautifully written and so sad. The travesty with Nicholas Gage in caused an uproar in Italy - they thought it showed the Italians in a bad light and made them all out to be wimps, buffoons and idiots, which is so far from the truth of the original. I HATED the film.

26 Dec, 2011


The "stereotypes" created for a national type are almost impossible to be rid of. :-(( Like the British "stiff upper lip" & the pinstripe suits complete with rolled up brolly & a rolled up newspaper under one arm! Oh, I forgot, the bowler hat as well! The French & Spanish have stereotypes as well that don't correspond to the truth either!

I'm afraid we have to live with national stereotypes & then when we meet a person that looks nothing like the "picture" we have in our minds of the person from another country then we realize that people the world over are just like us!

26 Dec, 2011


I am afraid the perceived British stereotype these days tends to be the drunken soccer hooligan, Balcony, or, hereabouts, the silent, unfriendly "closed" type. So often we are told - "But you aren't at all English - you are so friendly!" It's a bit of a back-handed compliment.

26 Dec, 2011


lol that's Hollywood for you - most film villains these days have upper-class English accents. And a "common" English accent don't seem to get a look in - other than Michael Caine, and even his accent's gone up-market a bit.

Which area of Trek are you into, Balcony? judging from a different convo, I'd gues TNG? I'm still stuck on the original series; trying to try the others, but not managed it yet. Sigh, I remember when Trek fan fiction began to be published: there were some really dire books, and I think I bought most of them. But we were so grateful then for *any* Trek fiction.

I've not seen I Robot, thanks for the warning! I do have Bicentennial Man, with Robin Williams; it doesn't detract too badly from what I remember the story to be, though it's years since I last read it.

*s* Seems the best films are made from short stories, rather than novels: The Birds, Rollerball, The Man Who Would Be King were all short stories (Can you imagine the last one with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart?? that was the original plan, but very luckily it fell thourgh, and we got Caine and Connery instead. I can just imagine a Victorian-era soldier in India going "you dirty rat!")

Asmimov, Clarke would be my tops, with Bradbury and Heinlien close behind. I used to borrow my dad's SF books, and that was the era he was into. I could never really get into "new wave" or "popular" SF - I did try feminist SF once, but only once: they seemed more keen to make men the villains than to have a good story. Maybe I was just unlucky with my chioce of book. And before SF became "popular", people denigrated it for "escapism" - ha, SF was worrying about over population and pollution back in the 40s - if only politicians had looked so far ahead!

oh, ps: there was a "new" stereotype going around a while ago: when the first BNP councillor got elected in Tower Hamlets, suddenly "all cockneys are racists", to which I said, if we were, it wouldn't have been just one that got voted in! and he'd have lasted longer than five minutes!

pps: lol, I remember a London Transport ad trying to get people to leave their cars at home: it was at the time that The Search for Spock was out, and the ad featured the poster wth the caption "By the time you find somwhere to park, they'll have found him"!

27 Dec, 2011


Ursula Le Guin is a really excellent Sci-Fi writer & during this last year I've read several books by women authors that were really first class, can't remember their names at this moment.
The authors you mention are all well known to me as I've read most of the books they've published.

While checking out some of the books I've still got I found I have a book by Ursula Le Guin - in Spanish - called Exile Planet. I also have a lot of Asimov's books in Spanish, some of them are hardbacks that my children bought me for my birthdays or Christmas when we lived in Spain. I also have Heinlein's "History of the Future" Vol l,ll & lV, all in Spanish. I've had them since 1995! I must read them again! Theodore Sturgeon was another writer I used to like but I haven't read any of his works since 2008, again in Spanish. At present I have at least 30 books by Asimov - all in Spanish - on my bookshelves!

As for Startrek novels I've read some from all the different series I think! Perhaps the most are from TOS & TNG but also from DS9 as well as a few from Voyager. I have around 20 books at present but I've had more in the past. I've read most of them twice.

@Gattina: I can sympathise there with you as when I lived in Spain I was quite often ashamed to be British as the football fans nearly always brought a very negative image with them & it would be up to a couple of weeks later before people would forget about them. I was giving private English classes most of my last years in Spain so I met lots of people of all ages up close every day.

29 Dec, 2011


I was at the Ostend Beer Fest oh, thirty years ago - and the English (not fair to spread the blame amongst the other three nations of Brits - though when people say "British" they usually mean "English") made me ashamed - epitome of drunken slob/yob lout-ness. There must have been a dozen nations there, but guess which one started the fights and the smashing-up of the halls??

Balcony, have you read "Uhura's Song" by Janet Kagan? if not, you're in for a treat - that is a perfect story, THE Trek novel: i've read it at least six times, and enjoyed it every time: I keep spotting tiny details that I hadn't consciously noticed before that add to the story. I'm sure I'll find yet more on the next reading.

I've got a lot of Anne McCaffrey and Andre Norton - probably many oother women writers too, espeically in anthologies - but they're SF writers, not *feminist* SF writers - they managed to do that job without feeling the need to parade that banner.

30 Dec, 2011


No, I haven't read "Uhura's Song". Didn't even know it existed! I shall have to see if anyone has it up for swap on BookMooch where I get most of my books from.

I'm afraid the two women writers you mention are unknown to me. The women authors I've mentioned or read during this year haven't seemed at all *feminist* to me! Ursula Le Guin seemed at least as good, if not better, than many male authors. Amongst the women writers of Sci-Fi I read this year there was one whose name I now seem to recall, Catherine Asaro, I think, whose books I had to read. I took out one written by her from the library & when I finished it I had to look for other books she had written & I seem to remember I enjoyed them all!

Wishing you a Happy New Year 2012! :-))

31 Dec, 2011


Anne McCaffrey wrote the "Pern" series of books - dragonriders and such, and Andre Norton wrote the "Witch World" series. I spent ages trying to find out the order to buy the Pern books in, because each one I checked listed the series in a different order: then i found a "the series should be read in this order" in one and went by that.

Women don't have to be feminists to get ideas across - I don't consider myself a "feminist" poet; I was very surprised to have that label applied to me in a review - I'm just me. I don't go around man-bashing, though I do voice objections to some men's habits of thought and therefore behaviour. To me, the idea of making a point is to jab peole lightly and make them jump a bit, and maybe unconsciously think a bit - a point isn't designed to beat people over the head!

I checked my ebooks yesterday, and was rather dismayed to find that I have over 20 gb of them! I acquired a load of SF ebooks, most of which I've never heard of and will probably never get around to reading: I remember a short story by one author, but now I've got twenty other titles, and all I want is that short story again. *s* want some ebooks???

In the old days, if an SF author's first name was just an initial, chances were it was a woman writer - SF was very male-heavy and a woman writer who gave her first name in full wasn't likely to be successful. Women weren't supposed to like reading SF - I have an anthology which has the original magazine blurb for each story, and one advises "lady readers" not to skip the story because it starts off all technical, but to persevere and they'll find the might like it! sigh.

1 Jan, 2012


I know next to nothing about SF writers, but thinking of the "Women's" publishing house "Virago" - the name says it all, doesn't it? In any genre.

1 Jan, 2012


lol sure do. I generally avoided "women's writing" shelves in the bookshop I used to go to - same as I avoided "black writing" and "gay writing". - it suggests they're not mainstream, or can't compete on equal terms unless tey're separately labelled. I'm not bothered wheter an author is a woman, black, gay or indeed all three! just so long as the book is well written and doesn't grind too many axes too obviously

1 Jan, 2012


Hear, hear, Fran!

2 Jan, 2012


whew, glad it's not just me! *s* tend to think it is just me mots of the time - I'm the only fem I know who likes SF and doesn't like chick-fic or those huge family sagas - I possibly would if I ever tried one, but there's enough stuff that I know I want to read to make the experiment.

And I avoid Booker Prize winers and anyting the critics rave over - many years ago I had a book by Salman Rushdie - no idea why, or how, and no idea of the title, but the name stuck in my mind: I read the first page, didn't understand it, read it again, ditto, read it a third time, then binned it. Sigh, I'm not cut out for "literature"!

2 Jan, 2012


It took me years to get into some of the "better-known" books, like "Midnight's Children" and I bought "Lord of the Rings" to read in hospital when I had my daughter - I actually managed to finish reading it some time shortly after her 21st birthday. HOWEVER, it took me about three or four goes to get into "Captain Corelli's Mandolin", but once I had, it was a revelation, and a thoroughly good and beautifully written read. Ditto for "Wolf Hall". Now I'm retired, I have more time to summon up the concentration necessary for the heavier stuff. I still have to intersperse it with the lighter books and a very heavy dose of non-fiction, or I'd get literary indigestion. I've just counted up the books on my bedside table, and I'm currently reading 7, plus a load of seed catalogues.

2 Jan, 2012


there's an old Chinse proverb: "There is no worse thief than a bad book", and I agree! I suppose that the definition of a "bad book" varies with whoever's defining it; but it could be widened to include any books that one doesn't feel drawn to. I don't read newspapers, so I don't have access to book reviews, so I've no idea what's available.

I bought the complete Lord of the Rings with my first week's wages after being unemployed for over a year - and I made a note of it in the book, which is the only reason I've still got it (I lent it to a "friend", who said he'd have kept it but for that note). I've read it three or four times, though I confess I skip most of the poetry after the first time.

I packed my books for a move that didn't happen in 2008; they're still waiting to get sorted and shelved. I'll have so many old friends to catch up with that I doubt I'll have time for new books. Some of them will have to go - the text and font size used in books varies widely, and some will no longer be accessible to me without undue strain.

I soft of prefer re-reading books than experimenting with new ones, comfortable, can relax with them as one can with old friends - I get talking books from the RNIB, and i did pick out some at random, to get new books that I might like, but they come randomly.

I'll have plenty to read once the books get sorted: last time I counted, I had just over two and a half thousand; they probably need pruning just for space reasons - they were all bought with the sincere intention of being read, but if I've not read them in a year, then I must conclude that I probably never will - last year don't count, they've not been get-at-able!

3 Jan, 2012


When we moved out here, the bulk of boxes in the removal van held books - books, books and more books. Very heavy they were, too. And that was AFTER we'd gone through and pruned them quite drastically. Every now and then I sift through the shelves and take an armful or two that I think we can do without, and shove them in a box up in the loft. If, after a couple of years we haven't missed them - out they go, but when I gather them up for the final trip to the second-hand shop or the great tip in the sky, I am afraid that more than a few get a reprieve!
I don't know about any of the rest of you readers, but I begin to find some of the "classic" books begin to become unreadable - D.H.Lawrence is a case in point. I now find him mannered and insufferably verbose, as well as a miserable git. T.E. Lawrence, on the other hand is probably a little too dry, but concise and beautifully written. Jane Austen will never die. Mary Renault - well, what can I say? An underrated gem. If you don't know her work, try it some day. Her "The Persian Boy" is my all-time favourite book. If I could write half as well as that, I should die happy.

3 Jan, 2012


I hate getting rid of books: ther are some that I'd got fed up with and passed on, but year or so later I went out and bought them again, so I'm wary of getting rid of any book now; I should try the loft method to see if I miss them.

Years ago, I got the Seven Pillars Of Wisdom from the library; it must have been the original printing, because there were gaps in the writign: sometimes paragraph-length, sometimes nearly a whole page. This puzzled me, but I thought, maybe the printers had to remove stuff for legal reasons, and rather than reset the whole book, they left the blanks in. It was intruiging to try to guess what had been taken out, going by the paragraphs before and after!

I never got into Lawrence (DH, not of Arabia!) and probably won't try now you've said that! or Austen or Bronte or any of the others of that era: I have a couple of Austen ebooks, but I doubt I'll get round to them. Keeping them even so - I hate discarding even ebooks, even though it's not like it's a real physical book.

I don't think I've heard of Mary Renault, at least it rings no obvious bells; I'll have to check her out.

Styles change in writing: I have some old books that have spaces before punctuation: like this , or this : it looks odd now, but I suppose it was the right way back then. I wonder what the style will be in the future? some books I've looked at (can't say "read"!) only seem to have heard of full stops and dashes, of which there is an overload!

3 Jan, 2012


I am afraid that in a situation like this, i.e. writing a blog, my punctuation goes all to pot, and it doesn't seem to be a terrible sin, but if I were writing prose, or a book, I should definitely mind my Ps and Qs. If I read a book and find grammar or spelling mistakes, or Malapropisms, it immediately devalues it and its writers worth, and I can't be bothered to continue. There don't seem to be any proof-readers out there any more. I am afraid Daughter and I are language anoraks, and hurl invective at the t.v. screen when people who should know better get it wrong. It doesn't mean we get it right 100% of the time ourselves, though. ;-))))

3 Jan, 2012


*s* I'm a bit that way myself; even with my poor vision, any grammatical error seems to leap out from the page at me, and I think, Who edited this book and what are they being paid for if they can't spot this?? One I had was particularly painful; it kept switching frompast to present tense with no rhyme or reason that I could detect - I found that I was paying more attention to that than to the story, and gave up on it.

Blogs, emails and such are transient, and aren't expected to be edited and proof-read before posting - though I do go back and edit mine if I notice a typo!

Misuse of the language rarely fails to irritate me - "data" used as a singular, though that's becoming the norm these days. One that never fails to wind me up is the use of "like" when people mean "as" or "such as" - "like I was saying".

British History for Dummies does this all the way through: when I read "People like the Romans or Ancient Greeks", my immediate thought was, Can't they like both? And even the BBC is falling into this habit: someone said, "People like the Nazis", and I thought, Do they? I wonder why?

And so many people don't understand the difference between "can" and "may" - in a chat room, someone asked, Can I pm you? and didn't understand when I replied, I don't know, can you?

Sigh, this is going to be the standard English of the future, if it isn't already, and we're fighting a losing battle. But then, I suppose that people in Chaucer's day complained about the debasement of the English that they were taught as children and grew up with.

3 Jan, 2012


Oh Fran, It's such a relief to find someone else who feels this way! I felt I was in a minority of one!

3 Jan, 2012


lol the feeling of relief is very much mutual! we can't change the way things are going, but we can go down with our colours nailed firmly to the mast!!

3 Jan, 2012



4 Jan, 2012

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