Karie Bookish Dot Net

The Clare McLean Shortlist

AL Kennedy, the recent winner of the Costa Book Award, has been nominated for the brand-new Scottish literary award, the Clare McLean Award. She is joined on the shortlist by Ali Smith and Alasdair Gray for “Girl Meets Boy” and “Old Men In Love” respectively.

(Oh, did I mention that I have a first edition of “Old Men in Love” signed personally by Gray “To Karie says Alasdair”..? I just thought I’d slip that one in.)

I’m a touch excited by this. I should also get around to reading Gray’s latest novel – but I’m slightly anxious that I might defile my lovely copy somehow. Oh.

Me & QWERTY = <3

We went to the hospital today. I am going to have my brain-waves measured next week which is terribly exciting. I hope I do emit brain-waves and that they’ll be interesting enough to result in a diagnosis.

Right, let’s move on to something a bit more interesting:
+ Fun Facts about the QWERTY Keyboard
+ The QWERTY keyboard and how it was adapted in Russia/The Soviet Union
+ Why the QWERTY keyboard got its layout
+ The QWERTY Myth

Dodge Vs Lodge

Ah, the first of many possible author showdowns: David Dodge versus David Lodge. Popular culture author versus acclaimed literary critic and author. Is there really any competition here? Won’t Lodge just throw Dodge to the floor?

Ah, but to quote Øystein at the I <3 Books messageboard: “Well, Dodge has a packmule and a one-eyed goth-trannie; Lodge has a tilde-spewing factory and a cricket bat-shaped woman. Really, Lodge had no chance here, poor fellow.”

Also, I’d like to remind you, dear reader, that David Dodge wrote To Catch a Thief (the book). When did you last see Cary Grant or Grace Kelly in a David Lodge-based film?

NHS Delivers!

I’m seeing a neurologist on Wednesday which is great news. I’ve been waiting almost a month for this appointment. Stupid me for falling ill during the holiday season.

Re-Arranging Letters

Facebook has been asked to remove the Scrabulous application as it infringes upon Scrabble’s copyright. Scrabulous is one of the two reasons why I have not grown entirely tired of Facebook yet (the other being Staries where I’m trying to get above 19000 points because I’m a sad individual). I might reconsider my Facebook profile if Scrabulous is pulled – although there is something to be said about reconnecting with people you haven’t seen in fifteen years (what that ‘something’ is I will leave for you, dear reader, to decide).

On a much brighter note, this book just arrived in the post and seeing as I finished Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell last night, that is damn good timing. Thoughts on Strange & Norrell will be posted once I have finished processing it in my head.

Finally, the book widget question. Now Reading appears to be quite useful as a tracking tool rather than as a library tool. By that I mean that it enables me to track what I am reading (thus making the Books 2008 page rather obsolete) but it cannot keep track of my book collection. I’ll keep it for now but any book widget suggestions are still warmly welcomed.

Edit: more on Facebook, Scrabulous and infringing copyrights

Book Widgets

I have been playing around with widgets today trying to find the perfect a suitable library-type widget for displaying current and past reads. I found the Now Reading widget and it seemed great. It was simple, didn’t require me to sign up to a website (Shelfari, anyone?) nor did it provide me with intrusive graphics (Shelfari, again). Unfortunately I’ve discovered that Now Reading is so simple that it is difficult to manage.

So far I have added my novels by authors A to B. That’s a measly 50-something novels*, for your information. Now Reading requires me to first add books, then click on a different tab, then decide whether it is “on hold”, “currently reading” or “finished” then I can go back to initial page where the book has already been sorted according to its status – and I start the process again. It is clumsy and not entirely intuitive. I’m not too sure about the status updates either as I have a tendency to dip in and out of books (what do you mean that I’m the only one to use most of my books as reference?!). Finally, I wanted a straightforward “to be read” option which I cannot seem to find.

Any book/library widgets you can recommend?

* yes, I still mourn the passing of my old book collection. I had to part with 7/8ths of my collection when I moved from Denmark to Scotland. The loss pains me daily and I keep finding glaring omissions in my collection. Plus I am sure I have a particular book but then I realise that I used to have it. It’s no fun at all.

Joan Eardley

One of my biggest regrets about falling ill right now is that I have missed out on an exhibition of Joan Eardley’s work. She is probably my favourite Scottish painter and I had been looking forward to the National Gallery of Scotland’s first major Eardley exhibition. Before Christmas I was too busy to find time to make the trek to Edinburgh (and to be honest, the prospect of travelling anywhere near the middle of Edinburgh at the height of the shopping season scared me profoundly), but I had promised myself that post-Christmas I’d have a few weeks to catch up. As it turned out, I did not. Grrr.

But Eardley is wonderful. The painting I posted above (“Two Children”) can be seen at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove museum. The piece is big, powerful and almost overwhelming. It feels out of time – very modern, very traditional and very much of its time .. all at once. The Eardley paintings I have been fortunate to see all share this strange quality; they also share a quiet anger, an air of resigned melancholy. Her famous depictions of children have an odd, almost urban art feel to them coupled with a traditional motif (- and I cannot resist her almost nonchalant use of lettering). Eardley’s later landscapes are almost abstract by comparison.

In unrelated news, I’m halfway through Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I tried reading it a few years ago but gave up after 45 pages or so. This time I’m mostly confined to my bed and am enjoying taking my time with the book. Sometimes you have to be in the right frame of mind for a book to find you.

Apologies to WCW

This is just to say
that amazon.co.uk is
running a couple of promotions
which end on Sunday.
I just placed an order worth
roughly £18 for some fiction
that would’ve set me back far more.
Forgive me but the books were
so delicious
so sweet
and so cheap.

Destroy in Order to Create

To make a Dadaist poem:

* Take a newspaper.
* Take a pair of scissors.
* Choose an article as long as you are planning to make your poem.
* Cut out the article.
* Then cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them in a bag.
* Shake it gently.
* Then take out the scraps one after the other in the order in which they left the bag.
* Copy conscientiously.
* The poem will be like you.
* And here you are a writer, infinitely original and endowed with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar.

– Tristan Tzara


I am still home from work waiting for the Scottish NHS to discover what’s up with me. Ms 4thEd (formerly known as Ms Bookish) is getting sick and tired of being, well, tired and sick, I tell you.

In the meantime I am reading editorials on the US not-quite-but-almost election. I am reading books. I am occasionally cooking (when I’m not exhausted). I am getting twitchy.

I can’t even write a proper, entertaining blog post anymore. Boo.