Enduring Austen

Book crossing has gone brilliantly mad and official in Hampshire (a county in the south of the UK). Copies of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, donated by Penguin books, have been left on park benches, in trains, everywhere — with a note asking the finder to read the novel and to leave it where they finish it (or anywhere) for someone else to read. As bookcrossing etiquette dictates, each book has a unique number; the finder/adopter is encouraged to register where they found the book so that its journey can be tracked.

What heartens me is the choice of book — there is hope for us yet. However, I have to laugh at this: "Despite it technically being classed as littering, Peter Gibson, of Keep Britain Tidy spokesman, backed the idea. He said: ‘The only worry would be if a book was in a bad state and the pages were strewn across the street, so people would have to be careful about where they left it and what condition it was in.’ " Good to know we can all sleep easily at night with such vigilance watching over us.

(link via Bookglutton).

He who dares, wins

Pipe Oldman Trophy Beer Arab Here is a set of politically incorrect alphabet flashcards, in the style of Miffy. Some are more subtle than others: I post a few here so you get the picture. The site has a droll explanation of what motivated the artist, as well as the preliminary sketches and, of course, the complete alphabet, with multi-entries for some letters. (He has steered clear of "fat", though, currently very much in the news in the UK).

Link via Bibliophile Bullpen.

That Jane Eyre again

Those of us, like Amy of Books, Words, and Writing, and myself, who turned out to be Jane Eyre-alikes in the recent poll to determine which female literary character we most resemble, might be interested to read a post : Jane Eyre, not the typical governess, a "character analysis of the nineteenth century novel".

The plight of the governess could be summed up as: "If they have no husbands to toil for them, then they must win food for themselves."  Such is the embryo of modern equality and feminism, though of course governesses were not well paid, and expected to be subservient. Jane was a governess but managed to be strong-willed, independent and assertive, and indeed be granted true love on her own terms (unlike other literary heroines of her era). Somewhere there is a lesson for modern women in all of this, if my befuddled brain could but see it.

Nobels on the beach

This is the time of year when one reads in many newspapers and magazines suggestions of books to read on holiday. Cue standard article on the highbrow vs lowbrow: do you read Dan Brown or Dante on your vacation? (Or, at least, which do you admit to reading?)

Here is a very useful blog posting for those among us who want to impress colleagues after returning from that exclusive resort in Bali after recharging the batteries: Ten Nobel Prizewinners to Read this Summer. See the link for useful summaries of Gao Xingjian, Gunter Grass, Toni Morrison, et al. If you don’t fancy any of the ten Nobellists featured, there are plenty of text ads and related links to explore for alternatives.

Books of the week

Bibliophile, at her blog Another 52 books, has been reading a book (or more) a week. She has recently announced her archive, an index of all 52 weeks and the books reviewed during this time. The archive and the reading are a doubly impressive achievement. You can search the archive by fiction/nonfiction, author, editor, week, category. Very well worth a look, not least for ideas of what to read if you are short of those. Well done, Bibliophile.

When Bibliophile started her reading challenge "52 books", she knew only of one or two other bloggers doing the same. Now there are a lot more. She has collected links to other bloggers who have undertaken the book-(or more)-a-week challenge in this posting. Please visit and leave a comment if you are aware of bloggers who are undertaking similar challenges.

Daily sudoku 28 May

As a result of day 1 user testing (me), I am changing the format of the daily (?) sudoku link.

The question mark is because I will not always remember and/or may not always have time to blog each day.

I will continue to link to the daily killer sudoku (on the days I remember), but it turns out that to do the puzzle you have to download it from the link onto paper, it is not interactive. Old-fashioned pen on paper is a nice way to do sudokus, of course, but does not provide the instant gratification of link and click.

So I will post two links a day, one to the daily killer, and one to an interactive plain sudoku on the same site (as you can’t get an interactive killer free on that site). Here are today’s puzzles:

Killer sudoku 28 May. Level: easy. Link goes to downloadable puzzle.

Online sudoku 28 May.  Level: easy. Link goes to interactive, online puzzle.

The page at the second link also contains playing instructions, links and information about further sudoku-style opportunities (or horrors, if that’s your view of sudoku).