Hexwood - Diana Wynne Jones
I wasn't quite sure what to make of Hexwood at first. Several different storylines - science fiction, arthurian fantasy and kids' adventure story - take place side by side and I wondered just how they could possibly come together. Then, just as I thought I understood, Wynne-Jones threw a curve ball that left me befuddled all over again. A clever, bizarre tale of a magical wood, knights and kings, and aliens rulers from a sophisticated futuristic culture. At the heart of it all is the Bannus, a machine that warps and manipulates time and reality until neither you, nor the characters within the pages, are quite sure what's real and what is imagined. But through it all is a strangely compelling charm, and Diana Wynne-Jones leads you through so adeptly that you never doubt that it will all make sense in the end. She does not disappoint.
The Etymologicon - Mark Forsyth
What Katie Watched
I've recently discovered the 2000s science fiction show Firefly, which was sadly cancelled after a single season. (They returned with the film Serenity in lieu of a second season.) Firefly is best described as a "pirate space western," if you can imagine such a thing, and has a wonderful cast, compelling plot and is packed with witty dialogue and humour. My best friend and I would celebrate "Firefly Fridays" when we would quite easily sit through three or four episodes on our day off.
Also, after hearing a lot about The Big Bang Theory from every direction, I borrowed the first two seasons from my friend John. At first I wasn't too sure - the characters seemed too much based on stereotypes of nerds and geek culture. Come on! I thought, People don't really act like that! ... Until I realised that, I often thought a lot like Sheldon - though I wouldn't say it out loud, and my area of nerdism is language and story, rather than science. He also reminds me an awful lot of a certain family member if he were to be turned into a sitcom character. I just wish the show would show more female and non-science geeks. We do exist! However, I have just bought the boxset of seasons 1-4, so I may find that more characters turn up later on.
What Katie Listened To
I recently dug out my Lord of the Rings film soundtracks to put onto my computer. These were the first film soundtracks I ever bought, and it was after this that I really started to notice music on TV and in the cinema, rather than just taking it for granted. Lord of the Rings has a really gorgeous score, from the chirpy, cosy "Concerning Hobbits" theme, to the rural, regal Rohan and majestic Gondor music. I love it!
This is my absolute favourite piece of music from the whole trilogy (in the film it takes place when the beacons are being lit.) I don't think I'm capable of listening to this without waving my arms around like a crazed conductor and "da da da"-ing along at the top of my voice.