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The Bibliophagus Beagle

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About The Bibliophagus Beagle

  • Rank
    Settling In

Profile Information

  • Reading now?
    Look to Windward
  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location:
    Near Bolton, Lancashire
  • Interests
    Reading, Writing, Jogging, Darts, Science and Nature.
  1. James Patterson

    Dull, simplistic writing and eminently forgettable characters. I've read perhaps 8 of his novels . . . And that was 7 too many. Not my cup of tea, at all. But, hey, each to their own. Horses for courses, etc.
  2. Your Top 10 Authors!

    Very tough. Terry Pratchett George Orwell Stephen King Mark Twain Rudyard Kipling RA Salvatore (Drizzt books are a guilty pleasure - like Jack Reacher books) Richard Dawkins Alexandre Dumas Charles Dickens Neil Gaiman Just missing out: Shakespeare (he'll do fine without my adoration, I'm sure) Lee Child (love Jack Reacher, who is not Tom Cruise!) George RR Martin Joe Abercrombie Robin Hobb
  3. Greatest love story ever written?

    You'd have to go some to beat Dickens' David Copperfield. Perhaps . . The Odyssey by Homer? Husband and wife reunited after years of tumult and tragedy. Punished by the Gods (no deity likes smart people!) for being smarter than your average Grecian, Odysseus just wants to get home to his wife and son after the Trojan war. He does, eventually, and they all live happily ever after - I'd like to think!
  4. Non Fiction

    Hitchens work is excellent. He was a fine writer and orator, and a decent mammal. Yet another beloved casualty of ineffable entropy. He is sorely missed.
  5. Douglas Adams

    Adams was to Asimov, what Terry* was to Tolkein. *Pratchett. Both are sadly missed . . .
  6. Edgar Allan Poe

    Poe's Dupin stories (e.g. The Purloined Letter, etc.) pre-date Sherlock Holmes and are considered as one of the first examples of detective fiction. His poetry is underrated and I loved reading most of his short stories, particularly The Tell-Tale Heart. Despite all this, I still think of his portrayal as a coffee-drinking, chain-smoking Goth in an episode of South Park. . . . Pop culture stains us all as roll-ups do fingers. ;p
  7. Stephen King

    A lovely couple of friends recently bought me 'Nightmares and Dreamscapes' as a birthday gift. I've seen a few posts which doff-the-cap towards this short story compilation, which is nice and encouraging. I hope I will enjoy it as much as some of you have.
  8. Science Fiction Masterworks

    I didn't mind that one, although I thought starship troopers was better - the film is one of my guilty celluloid pleasures. I know Stranger in a Strange Land has has some mixed reviews, but I'm going to try that at some point, too.
  9. What's the weather like?

    I live in England, where different weather visits like ADHD relatives at Christmas. At the moment, it's fairly warm, with steel-grey skies, high humidity and Britain's constant breeze dialled up to about four out of ten.
  10. Your Top 10 books!

    So hard to do, but I'll try. In no particular order: The Jungle Book (I or II) - Kipling. The Count of Monte Cristo - Dumas. Animal Farm - Orwell. 1984 - Orwell. Les Miserables - Hugo. IT - King. The Lord of the Rings - Tolkein. Any book by Pratchett, but, especially, one of my beloved (almost read-to-bits) Discworld novels. Frankenstein - Shelley. David Copperfield - Dickens. They are the books which come to mind, but they'll no doubt change hourly, daily, monthly and yearly.
  11. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie and its sequels. Brilliant books. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. Old Man's War by John Scalci(?) The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks. The Farseer trilogy (starts with Assassin's Apprentice) by Robin Hobb
  12. Top 5 books you would not recommend

    Wouldn't recommend: Unbearable lightness of being - Kundera. Awful. Just awful. I could barely remember anything of it immediately upon completion except that it (perhaps) features a couple that didn't like each other. The author then documented and analysed their doomed and depressing relationship with rather questionable pulp-psychology, which seemed rather pretentious and deliberately obtuse. Do not read. Waste of time. Life's too short for rubbish books. Jane Eyre - Bronte. Brilliantly written in typically long, well crafted and beautiful Victorian sentences.Unfortunately, I found the plot lacking and I could not identify with nor connect with the characters. I read Tess of the D'urbervilles shortly afterwards and was struck by the fact that, albeit in worse prose, the story gripped me more completely from start to finish. With Jane Eyre, I marvelled at how it was wrought but unfortunately it did not enchant me at all. Midnight's Children - Rushdie. The only book by Rushdie I have read - although I wouldn't mind reading The Satanic Verses, just to see what the fuss is about. In many ways, I disliked this book for the opposite reason I gave for Jane Eyre. Midnight's Children is an interesting idea with a decent plot, but the writing was not to my taste. I was a fan of the writing style of Rushdie's late friend Christopher Hitchens and thought Rushdie might be similar in style: but it was apples and oranges. Rushdie has none of Hitchen's Orwellian or Swiftian brevity in his sentence construction. His sentences were so convoluted and long, at times, that it took several readings to pin down his intended meaning. Moby Dick - Melville. Just a very hard read, with little gain at the end. The central premise and plot is great but its execution is clumsy and the prose can be leaden at times. Quite regularly, actually. Like the KJ Bible, there are gems hidden within its covers but you have to wade through mountains of literary dirt to find the small diamonds.
  13. What are your top three classics?

    Les Miserables - Hugo The Count of Monte Cristo - Dumas Animal Farm - Orwell Tough call. I like many classics. David Copperfield, Whitefang, Tess of the D'urbervilles, Frankenstein, Iliad and Odyssey, Dracula, The Jungle Books, Sherlock Holmes stories, The Once and Future King, The Lord of the Rings, The Foundation Trilogy, 1984, The Phantom of the Opera, etc.
  14. Help needed with dystopian titles

    A Canticle for Leibowitz. The Penultimate Truth. We. The Man in the High Castle. The Children of Men. The Drowned World.
  15. Favourite Stephen King?

    I've read a few of King's novels and compilations, but by no means all of them. My favourites would have to be IT and The Stand. I also enjoyed Needful Things, Pet Cemetery, The Long Walk and The Dome (it has a surprising and Interesting reference to Lee Child's Jack Reacher character). I just couldn't like Salem's Lot - I wanted to, it was a good premise, but in the end I didn't enjoy it. One of many books I expected to like by the glowing reviews, but did not - for one reason or another. (For example, in sci-fi, I didn't like Farenheit 451 or Slaughterhouse Five - which would put me in the minority, I would assume, of science fiction fans.) Some people have suggested that King struggles with the novel format and should stick to short stories. I wouldn't go that far but, after reading a few of his collections of short stories, I'd say they might have a slight point. Some of his best writing is found there, or at least some of his best unadulterated prose, undiluted by less refined fare - like filler content, gratuitous descriptive asides, parochial genealogies or back-stories and other such unnecessary expository passages (or should that be pages!)