A wonderful prezzie in the mailbox.


Staying in the spirit of a A Web-less Life, all I want to say is, I love the Internet. I really do. You meet such awesome people online that you think it a cruel irony that none of them live as close to you as you would like. Or if you’re an optimist you would thank the Web for bringing you in touch with such wonderful people.

This is a gratitude post to say thanks to one such person, and perhaps gloat a bit 😛

My friend Martin over at LikeTheSunShone and Through The Magic Door sent me a wonderful present last week, a package chock-full of Sherlockian heaven! So I just wanted to say, Martin, thank you! What a wonderful soul you are, I really will treasure these. 🙂

Jealous, the rest of you? Well good news is, Martin is selling a library of books online at Ebay-just checked them out myself, an excellent selection of writing books and other non-fiction. So if you want to go take a look, his user name is bragglebone. You’ll find some real gems there!

Enjoy the rest of your week y’all!

NM  🙂

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DAY 24 – Book that contained your favourite scene


Yes, I know I’ve been incommunicado for this entire week, and therefore ruined my perfect track record for the 30-day Book challenge. I’m nearly towards the end though so I’ll just get cracking with No. 24- book that contains my favourite scene…

Oh dear. I already spoke about this on DAY 8. I don’t really want to talk about Dracula again so instead I’m changing today’s topic a bit. I decided to compile a Top 5 list of bombshell scenes. Scenes were I slapped myself on the forehead and thought, “Shit! I didn’t see that coming!”

I have to admit that sometimes I marvel at how slow my brain actually is. I’m a sucker for revelations. Whereas many people yawn and claim that a particular movie or book was predictable and they knew or had a feeling all along that so-and-so was the killer, I nearly am always surprised at the twists in the end. This probably explains why I love the mystery genre so much. Even a bad mystery will not disappoint me. Well I never claim to be the sharpest tool in the shed. So here goes…

    NM’s Top 5 Most Surprising Bombshell Book Scenes

*NB. GIVEN THE NATURE OF THIS LIST, THE FOLLOWING DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS!

1. Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling – Harry’s trip into Snape’s past reveals the Potion master’s love for Lily Potter. I was left dumbstruck for a few minutes after reading that scene.

2. Hound of the Baskervilles by AC Doyle – I mentioned my favourite scene from this book on DAY 1. The Man on the Tor was none other than the genius himself.

Why on earth would you put a picture of the killer with the murder weapon on the cover of a mystery novel?

3. Company of Liars by Karen Maitland – I nearly fell of my chair towards the end. I never would have guessed that the narrator was in fact, a woman.

4. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – Is that nice British man Lea Teabing the villainous mastermind behind all the chaos? No way dude!

5. Murders on the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe – This was one of those disappointing revelations but still the degree of surprise (or shock) was still very high. I mean, come on, even a genius would not have suspected a big, orange monkey as the killer!

NM 🙂

DAY 20 – Book you have read the most number of times


I sort of have an idea but it’s not like I keep a tally or something. If I really like a book, I do have a tendency to read it again after some time has passed. Therefore there are quite a few books out there that I’ve read at least twice.

Except for the Deathly Hallows, I read all of the Harry Potter books at least twice (I’ve read Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Azkaban 3 times).
Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian only got boring for me after my third go.
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sign of the Four and Study in Scarlet were both read twice although I think I also attempted Sign of the Four for the third time but eventually got bored with it half-way through.
Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers was also read twice though I’m not sure why I read it again-it’s not one of my favourites.

The book I have borrowed the most times from the library is the Complete Jack The Ripper by Donald Rumbelow, which is a non-fiction book. This might be due partly to the fact that at one time I was writing a Victorian murder story (I thought it was crap, so it lies unfinished) and was using this book as a reference. It’s still a great book anyway and I wouldn’t mind reading it again.

This leaves us with the two books that keep popping up in this Book Challenge.
I read Hound Of the Baskervilles either 3 or 4 times, I can’t remember. My Penguin Classic version of Dracula I read only once but I have read (as I mentioned in another post) a couple of other editions before and my Ladybird Childrens’ version I’ve gone through like a hundred times (although I know that one doesn’t count! ).

So who is the winner here? I’ll let Sherlock and the Count fight it out…

NM 🙂

DAY 17 – Shortest book you ever read


I found this topic to be quite bothersome to be honest. Because I’ve read so many short stories and Victorian novellas in my lifetime, it’s hard for me to distinguish them in terms of length.

Honestly I’m too lazy to search the internet for every book I had in mind just to check if they’re considered a short story or not. It’s all very confusing to me so I’m just going to go out on a limb here and wing it, as they say. If any of the books/stories I mention below are in fact short stories, please forgive me.

Collector's Library books. Penguin Classics and Wordsworth have nothing on these guys!

When thinking about this topic, I found myself pulling out a few Collectors’ Library books I have in my possession. Obviously due to their appearance, the books give the impression of being really short. They are quite small and cute with a very small font compared to ‘normal’ size books like a Wordsworths Classic for example.
So I wondered if it would be accurate of me to compare the number of pages in a Collectors’ Library book as suppose to a Wordsworth or Penguin.
Off course it could all just be an optical illusion and in font size they might be exactly the same (see, told you it was bothersome).

Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray (Wordsworths) has a respectable 256 pages; Hound of the Baskervilles (Collectors) has 200; and Jekyll and Hyde (Collectors) a paltry 96, actually 87 if you leave out all the title pages. Despite its size, the blurb to my copy of Jekyll And Hyde refers to it as a novel. Right….

Thinking back to all the other books I’ve read but don’t own: Le Fanu’s Carmilla, I remember as being quite short but don’t ask me how many pages it is for I read it a long time ago. And should I even consider Dickens’ A Christmas Carol? I always thought it was a short story but coming in at 128 pages (Penguin), that’s way more than Jekyll and Hyde!

Whether Christmas Carol is a shortie or not, it doesn’t matter. The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is still the shortest by a long shot (ha ha, see what I did there?) and therefore today’s winner.

I suppose you want me to tell you about the book? Truth is, there’s not much to tell. EVERYBODY knows this story even if they didn’t read it.
The term ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ has become synonymous with being two-faced, so while reading the story the suspense and mystery has already been killed due to this piece of general knowledge. I have no doubt that the book’s very first audience were probably thrilled out of their gaiters in finding out who Mr. Hyde really was, and obviously this initial reaction was the precedent that set in motion the success that the book was to have.

I could go into detail of how Stevenson based his story on a real Scottish nobleman named Deacon Brodie who lived in 18th century Edinburgh but do you really want a history lesson on a Friday? No I thought not.

A piece of Classic literature in under 100 pages. Quantity does not always mean quality, Mr. Dickens..

NM 🙂

DAY 14 – Book whose main character you want to marry


I really would like to pick Sherlock Holmes because I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a crush on him. But I won’t pick him, not because I’ve spoken about him to death in this Book Challenge, but also because we all know what an emotionally unavailable misanthrope he is, with not the highest regard for the ‘fairer’ sex. Basically he isn’t marriage material.

So here goes my search for the most suitable fictional suitor (can I declare myself a polygamist and marry all of them? Is that cheating?).

Here are the candidates:

Atticus Finch – A truly wonderful man who imparts excellent wisdom to his motherless children and is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in. (Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird)

Robert Langdon – I have a thing for intellectually smart men, so give me a break. (Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code)

Mr. George Knightley – Personally I think he’s way better than Mr. Darcy, whom every girl seems to be in love with for some reason. Frankly they can all have Darcy, I’d be perfectly happy with Knightley thank you very much! (Jane Austen’s Emma)

Dr. Henry Jekyll – Okay I know this is a strange one but I did think he was quite nice, that is before he had a mid-life crisis, went a bit crazy on us, drank some poison and became a jerk and ruined in his life in the process. Idiot.
(Robert Louise Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)

Owen Archer – A dishy medieval spy/sleuth (so what if he has only one eye?). (Candace Robb’s The Lady Chapel and other Owen Archer mysteries)

And finally…

John Thornton.
Even better than Mr. Knightley methinks, but I just had one problem here. I wasn’t sure if my choosing Thornton here was based on Richard Armitage’s portrayal of him in the BBC series of North and South in 2004.

Richard Armitage with Daniela Denby-Ashe in North And South

I will now admit that a couple of years ago I had no idea who Elizabeth Gaskell was and only became aware of her after watching this series which I absolutely loved. Armitage was so darn gorgeous as Thornton that I am now beginning to wonder if I would feel the same way about the character if I had not seen the series. Note that the same can be said about Knightley (Jeremy Northam might have influenced this one) but thankfully not about Langdon.
I think Tom Hanks is kind of goofy and not at all how I pictured the Harvard symbologist to be. It’s a miracle how Hanks’ face doesn’t even come into my head when I read Dan Brown!

So would I feel the same about Thornton from reading the book without the beautiful Armitage invading my brain?
I’m not entirely sure yet, but one thing is certain. I thought he was a perfect match for Margaret Hale, therefore he’s more than good enough for me.

So based on this, I say John Thornton is the winner! Yay!

NM 🙂

Day 10 and Day 11 of 30-day Book Challenge


Okay I’m breaking the rules here and including two days in one, for the simple reason that I don’t think a single post for each of the below is necessary.

Book that changed my life?

I thought long and hard about this and the truth is, there is no single book that has changed my life. Every book I have ever read has influenced me or my writing in some way or the other. Unless its absolute crap off course. But then, even The Ghosts of Sleath made an impact on me that was monumental.

Favourite Book from your favourite author?

My answer to this I have already covered in Day 1. Arthur Conan Doyle is my favourite author and it stands to reason that my favourite book of his would be Hound of the Baskervilles.

So its two for the price of one- sometimes a bargain means a compromise in quality. Sorry!

NM 🙂

Ps. for the full list of the 30-day Book Challenge click here.

DAY 07 of 30-day Book Challenge – Book you can quote or recite


There are many different lines that I can quote from many different books. No single book stands out.
If you had asked me this question 10 years ago, I would have stated without hesitation: Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
Obviously the only reason I knew it so well was because, as part of a Drama assignment in school, I chose Viola’s long monologue to re-enact. Twelfth Night is my favourite Shakespearean play and I really love that soliloquoy but for the life of me, I cannot remember a single word of it now!

I also impressed (or stunned) a friend once, while we both watched Hammer’s version of Dracula with Christopher Lee. Just to be a know-it-all, I recited, with precision timing, a few lines of dialogue seconds before the relevant characters said it themselves. I dare say, I think I scared her more than the movie did.
The one fictional character I love quoting the most however, is off course the Great Detective himself.
My favourite quote ever is on the mechanics of deduction:

Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

I don’t even have to look that up to check if I quoted it properly. It’s etched in my brain.
I’ll leave you with a few other gems from Mr. Sherlock Holmes: Continue reading