205 Books: Algeria

whathedayowesthenightAlgeria is next in line for 205 Books. I’ve had a quick look around on the interwebs and have decided to go with What the Day Owes the Night by Yasmina Khadra. The main problem with this decision stems from the fact that my local library does not have e-copies and the only paper copy is currently on loan. It’s due back on October 12, so this will give you all the chance to find your own copies. And until then, or until I get the little postcard telling me the book’s waiting for me, I’ll be reading the second book of The Chronicles of the Black Gate. Again.  You should as well. Or maybe start with book 1, if you really want.


The Age Old Request…

Something I should have added to my last post…

The hardest thing about independent publishing is getting the word out, so if you don’t do reviews, sharing and tweeting stuff about the book would be greatly appreciated. The one little thing you do, a thing that takes a minute, might be the thing that really starts the ball rolling. Not just for me but for any other writer or artist you are vaguely interested in supporting. 

And if there is anyone who has a blog or does do reviews on Amazon, I might be able to organise a review copy for you.

One way or the other, please, go at it, send word out into the world. If nothing else, it sounds better coming from someone that isn’t me. :).

The Great Mozart Marathon: Episode 3


Okay, I’ll get this out there now… I don’t really like the harpsichord. It’s kinda like the slide guitar of the keyboard world for me. (And yes, I know it’s old and the technology moved on and all that, but still.)

I did quite like the 1st movement though, despite that. But while I’m doing comparisons that everyone else will probably not see, the 2nd movement sounded a bit like the UB40 of classical music. Yes, Mozart was 7 or something years old when he wrote this so comparing him to some musicians who have somehow made a living with their elevator reggae for 40 years or something may not be very fair, but I stand by it. The 3rd movement didn’t leave much of an impression at all. (Maybe I was still thinking about UB40 and my mind was mush.)

So, nothing revelatory today but I thought I needed to get the next episode done or I’d be doing this until I’m 72.

The Great Mozart Marathon: Episode 2


Mozart’s first violin sonata. This was his first composition for more than one instrument and it seems to me his first real attempt at a proper composition (though I’m no expert). The previous ones seem more like exercises in composition. (Yes, I know, he was 5 or 6, give the kid a break.)

I hated the first (Allegro) movement. The harpsichord just seemed to repeat ad-infinitum in the background. The second (Andante) movement, though, I enjoyed. Much more harpsichord movement and it seemed that the violin worked with it more instead of just hanging out in the same piece of music. Overall the piece is obviously much more advanced than the previous ones, so any sort of comparison (for me) is hard.

So, that’s all from me. Stay tuned for the next violin sonata…

Around the World in 205 Books


With my Great Mozart Marathon off and running it is time to introduce my next “project”.

I do quite a bit of reading (though I am pretty slow) but generally stick to fantasy and science fiction. And I generally stick to the more well-known (in the west) authors. Now, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that, but I thought I would try to branch out a bit anyway. So, as the title of this blog entry suggests, I am going Around the World in 205 Books.

I’m reading The Scar by China Mieville at the moment (and loving it, BTW) but after that I’m going to find a book by an author from Afganistan because Afganistan is the first county in an alphabetical list. Or, failing that, a book set in Afganistan or… You get the picture. Then Albanian, Algeria, Andorra and so on. All the way to Zimbabwe. According to my list, which I found on the American State Department website, that is 205 countries. (Though somewhere else on the web said there were only 196 countries, so who knows. My list does include Taiwan, which technically isn’t a country, but I’m not sure where any other discrepancies might be, unless some new counties have formed recently.) Anyway, 205 it is.

After each book I’ll be doing a review. Or at least posting something about it. And I am not guaranteeing to finish every book. If it is crap I might just dump it and move on to the next country (and come back to that one later).

At this point, my choice for Afganistan is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. He does live in American but has the required background and, I have to say, there really weren’t all that many choices that I could find. If someone else has any suggestions, be sure to let me know. If there are any suggestions for the upcoming countries, let me know them as well.

If it comes down to a choice between two books that sound interesting I will be probably be leaning towards books by women, just because, and books that are shorter, for the obvious reason that I will probably be doing this thing for the rest of my life, (one a month is about 17 years…) especially since I will not just be reading books for this challenge.

So, let me know what you think. Offer some suggestions. Offer to accompany me on this wild and wonderful (and bloody crazy) journey.

The Great Mozart Marathon- Episode 1

So, it’s been a while since my crazy Year of Poetry ended and I was looking for something else to do. (I wasn’t actually, but you know.) So, now I have it, my new project. The Great Mozart Marathon.

What I will be doing is listening to every one of Mozart’s compositions chronologically. Well, that’s the plan. I will be looking for them on YouTube so I don’t have to pay, and it is quite possible (though unlikely) that I won’t be able to find some. If that happens I’ll see what else I can do. (If I miss any, please let me know.)

Now, I’m not an expert on any type of music and I picked Mozart ‘randomly’. (The other choices were probably Bach, Beethoven, Handel and Hayden. They seem like the big names to me though, as noted earlier, I’m not an expert.)

So, I’m starting right now with his first few short works.


I don’t want to keep saying “I’m not an expert” so I won’t and I’ll just have to hope that people coming along later pick up on that fact on their own.

But, to me, the jump in the maturity of the music after the first two piece is noticeable. (Admittedly, this could also be about the performance.) According to the website that I’m getting the list from (http://www.mozartproject.org/compositions/) the first ones were written in ‘Early 1761’. The rest were from Dec 1761 to Jan 1762. (All were written in Salzburg, which probably isn’t really relevant to the level of dissecting that I’ll be doing 🙂 .) Minuet in F and Allegro in F are probably my two favourites. (Maybe I just like F?)

Anyway, that’s it for today. Stay tuned for more episodes in the Great Mozart Marathon. These episodes will come along whenever I feel like it. I will not be trying to keep to any type of schedule with them. I will be announcing another ‘project’ ver soon as well. That will not be run like clockwork either.