The Magic Finger – by Roald Dahl

31 01 2013

I’ve leant my other Hunger Games books out, so grabbed the next Roald Dahl book in the series while I wait! This one is so short, only 50 odd pages, and lots of that is illustrations! I thought I’d never read it before, but as I got about halfway through I realised I definitely knew the story.

Utterly brilliant, hardly about the finger at all, but about a family that shoots ducks, and how they are punished by the finger…. Easy to read in one sitting, definitely recommended for a quick laugh!

the magic finger

The Hunger Games – by Suzanne Collins

29 01 2013

Wow, I don’t know when I last read a book this quickly! I saw the film earlier this year, and it was great, but the book (as always) just tells you so much more.

The whole concept behind it is truly horrific. Twelve districts, under rule of “The Capitol”, each year, a girl and boy are taken from each district and put in an arena to fight to the death. All for TV.

And yet it’s told so well, I literally couldn’t put it down. It’s written in the first person, and so it’s just like she’s chatting to you, telling you her story. It makes the relationships and feelings infinitely more believable.

Just a fab book – can’t wait to read the next one!

the hunger games

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – by Roald Dahl

20 01 2013

This is the second book I’ve finished this week! Although I guess you can see why…!

charlie and the chocolate factory

Such a classic though, it deserves to be read lots! And as happened when I read James and the Giant Peach last year, I found bits I couldn’t remember in the slightest! There’s a fantastic chapter about square sweets that look round:

[from chapter 23 – Square sweets that look round]
On the table there were rows and rows of small white square-shaped
sweets. The sweets looked very much like square sugar lumps – except that each of them
had a funny little pink face painted on one side. At the end of the table, a number of
Oompa-Loompas were busily painting more faces on more sweets.
‘There you are!’ cried Mr Wonka. ‘Square sweets that look round!’
‘They don’t look round to me,’ said Mike Teavee.
‘They look square,’ said Veruca Salt. ‘They look completely square.’
‘But they are square,’ said Mr Wonka. ‘I never said they weren’t.’
‘You said they were round!’ said Veruca Salt.
‘I never said anything of the sort,’ said Mr Wonka. ‘I said they looked round.’
‘But they don’t look round!’ said Veruca Salt.’ They look square!’
‘They look round,’ insisted Mr Wonka.
‘They most certainly do not look round!’ cried Veruca Salt.
‘Veruca, darling,’ said Mrs Salt, ‘pay no attention to Mr Wonka! He’s lying to you!’
‘My dear old fish,’ said Mr Wonka, ‘go and boil your head!’
‘How dare you speak to me like that!’ shouted Mrs Salt.
‘Oh, do shut up,’ said Mr Wonka. ‘Now watch this!’
He took a key from his pocket, and unlocked the door, and flung it open … and suddenly … at the sound of the door opening, all the rows of little square sweets looked quickly round to see who was coming in. The tiny faces actually turned towards the door and stared at Mr Wonka.
‘There you are!’ he cried triumphantly. ‘They’re looking round! There’s no argument about it! They are square sweets that look round!’

These days it’s hard to read it without picture both of the big films that have been made of it.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – 1971

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – 2005

It’s rare for a remake to ever live up to the original, but in this case, in so many ways, the newer film is much closer to the book than the old film. I guess the other film changed it’s title but it’s still the same story. In the newer film, the Oompa Loompas use the ‘correct’ words for their songs (although the classic oopma loompa doopa de doo from the old film will remain a classic!), and Veruca Salt has the same story as in the book, whereas they changed the squirrels for geese in the old film! The old film also had a scene where Charlie and his Grandpa were caught breaking rules, which just isn’t in Charlie’s character, or the book, and a whole plot with Arthur Slugworth trying to get each child to steal a recipe. Not that the newer film was perfect! Willy Wonka seemed high as a kite for half of it, and there was a whole plotline about his relationship with his father who was a dentist, which was totally surreal.

At the end of the day though, they’re both fab films – the old has some beautiful songs in it (other than the oompa loompa songs! (check out pure imagination and the candyman can) And I’d highly recommend watching both of them – and reading the book of course!

But really, one film has a chocolate waterfall and river that look like thin hot chocolate, the other that looks like proper melted chocolate – which would you rather?!

charlie and the chocolate factory-a

charlie and the chocolate factory-b

Things that make you go hmm: cut in two

18 01 2013

You can cut something in half, or cut it in two. Technically these should be opposite, when in fact they’re exactly the same!

Life of Pi – by Yann Martel

17 01 2013

Obviously this is one of the films of the moment with lots of Oscar nominations etc, but before it was a film it was a well respected book, actually winning the Man Booker Prize in 2002. (This is the first time I’ve ever read a Man Booker Prize winner, and I’m probably prouder than I should be!)

Before I read the book I was told the first 60-90 pages are a bit of a slog, but then suddenly you won’t be able to put it down, and there’s a massive twist at the end that’ll make you want to go back and re-read half of it!

I can testify to that last bit – I’d love to re-read chunks of it now, but I have to say I found the first chunk of the book as fascinating as the rest as we learnt about this guys background and childhood, what makes him who he is.

The book is so clever and totally draws you in like a good book should. Highly recommended!

life of pi

Things that make you go hmm: having a temperature

16 01 2013

A couple of years ago, someone I know had a call from their mum to say their sister “had blood pressure”. We all joked that that was a good thing so she wasn’t a mess on the floor, of course, what was actually meant was that she had high blood pressure.

So why is it we regularly say someone “has a temperature” when they’re ill rather than has a high temperature?

Yes I have a Mr Men thermometer – what of it? 🙂

Things that make you go hmm: Biannual!

11 01 2013

Does biannual mean twice a year or every two years? Same for weekly, month, etc!

A few more resolutions for 2013

6 01 2013

In the last week I’ve come up with a few more I’m just adding to the list I made at the start of the year!

  • Better bedtime routine – I’m awful at sitting on my laptop in bed until last thing, so new rule – unless I’m using it in my room in the evening, if there’s nothing I need it for when I go up from the lounge to bed, it gets shut down downstairs. Yes I can use my smartphone, but once I’ve lain down to read, that also doesn’t get touched again ’til morning (unless it goes off etc). I’ve heard a lot about it not being good to have things like computers in the room you sleep – in a shared house this isn’t always avoided, but at least going to bed I’m aiming that the laptop is the first thing to be switched off.
  • Sort through my photos and print off some for a photo album – this was apparently in the telegraph top 10 resolutions this year that were read out in church this morning. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for years now, I’ve had a digital camera of some form or another since late 2004 – that’s a lot of pictures to sort through!
  • Put clothes away at night – at the moment, anything that doesn’t need to go in the wash I just chuck over the clothes rail when I go to bed, this very quickly piles into a mountain. The aim is to actually put things on hangers at night! This weekend I had a massive sort out of my room and sorted out that mountain, so the starting point is there ready and waiting!

In addition, I kept up my five year diary through all of last year, and so aim to keep that up, but it’s not so much of a resolution as I did it last year already – that’s like saying, I resolve to cook myself dinner, it’s something I was already doing!

“Worry” by Adrian Plass

5 01 2013

No burglars came again last night
Just as they failed to come the night before,
and for all the nights I can remember
No burglars yet again although I listened, as I always do, for them
Once more they did not oil and ease the rusty bolt that
holds the garden gate
Behind the shed beside the house
Nor did I hear them moving in the yard
at some hear-sobbing wretched hour
It was the ticking of a clock upon my wall
That sounded like the pad of evil steps a hundred feet away
They did not creep inside, their blind-from-birth brutality
reduced to stealth and whispers
They did not stand above me.
Were not there with threats and ugly promises, intoxicated
by the scent of fear incontinent
Nor did they then, with weapons that I meekly placed into
their hands, proceed to sever from my chilled insides the
screaming child who has evaded birth for so long now
They did not not come
They were not there again last night.
And what if they should never come?
Such a waste of nights
I might have slept
But if I had, I feel quite sure
They would have come
Those burglars – oh, yes, they would have come

From “Silences and Nonsenses – Collected Poetry, Doggerel, and Whimsy” by Adrian Plass. Published 2010 by Authentic Media
No copyright infringement intended, just thought this was a brilliant poem and wanted to share – will happily remove if requested.

Things that make you go hmm: Triple or Treble?

4 01 2013

I’m not a linguist by any means, by qualification I’m a mathematician!
But I’ve been pondering this question:

What’s the difference/is there a difference between “Triple” and “Treble”?

Obviously “treble” can be used in situations where triple can’t, in reference to music, but I think this really is a different word (like “row” and “row” are totally different words). But with the implication of the number three, is there actually a difference between “treble” or “triple”?!