Monday 25 October 2021

Favourite Halloween treats

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews is definitely not for me - I am not a Halloween person. I don't decorate, I don't buy sweets in for kids - in fact every year we go out for dinner so we don't have to pretend to be out. I envy America its rules about the porch light being out meaning no treats here, because here in the UK kids will bang on every door regardless.

And they terrify my cats.

However, as a child I used to go to my best friend's house for a Halloween party, so I do have some experience of Halloween treats. Her parents were very big on apple bobbing, and after we had dunked our faces they would give everyone a freshly-made toffee apple. I didn't care for Halloween even then, but I did love those toffee apples.

So what's your favourite Halloween treat?

Monday 18 October 2021

Scariest book I've ever read

Despite the fact that I love horror films, I don't often read horror books, so I had to think about this topic from Long and Short Reviews. Somehow the creep factor that I enjoy in a film doesn't seem to carry over into books for me. I don't mind the occasional Stephen King, such as Carrie, but I didn't find it especially scary.

So I ended up choosing The Woman in Black.

The Woman in Black has been adapted into films and a play, both of which are quite a different animal from the book. Certainly the most recent film, while scary, had very little in common with the book apart from the woman and the rocking chair. The book, however, while understated, does have a certain poignance that grips you, making you want a happy ending even though you know there won't be one.

So what's the scariest book you've ever read? 

Monday 11 October 2021

An odd or useless talent

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an easy one for me, as I practise this one a lot, particularly recently.

Many years ago I had the intention of moving to the US and getting my green card. To that end I started memorising state capitals, presidents and so forth as I assumed those were the sorts of things I would be asked. Life happened and I never went, but I also never lost the ability to remember and continue to memorise these facts - most of which are completely useless.

I'm currently reading a book about the vice-presidents of America and have been memorising those. Will I ever need to know who the three VPs for Franklin D. Roosevelt were? Not unless I decide to appear on a quiz show, but hey, I've already been on The Chase, so why not? You may well see me on Pointless or Impossible, hoping against hope that a question about US states or presidents comes up.

So what odd or useless talent do you have?

Monday 4 October 2021

Required reading in school - yay or nay? And why?

 Growing up in the UK at the time I did, I think I'm at a bit of a disadvantage for this topic from Long and Short Reviews. My school didn't so much have required reading as "this is what you're studying for English lit, like it or lump it." I could live with having to read particular books, but not with the way my school did it.

There is nothing more likely to kick the stuffing out of a good book than being forced to sit in class taking turns to read it out, one paragraph at a time. The number of times I had to sit and listen to the worst reader fumble their way through every word was utterly ridiculous. Why couldn't they just tell us to read it at home? Surely if we didn't bother it would become obvious when we failed the tests?

I can prove this too by "To Kill a Mockingbird". My class didn't do this one (we got "Lord of the Flies" instead) but another class did, and they all utterly hated it. Later on I read the book myself under my own steam and really enjoyed it, probably because I wasn't being made to write essays on why Scout's teacher was a mother figure.

So how do you feel about required reading?