Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Summer’s Not Quite Finished Yet

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Face it, I’m English and am therefore obsessed with the weather…

Since the beginning of August my friends on Facebook and the Brits I follow on Twitter have been moaning that autumn has come early this year. I think this year has been a fantastic summer. We barely had any rain from around April to the end of July and then when the rain did come in August it was proper heavy quick hot summer stormy rain. As far as I’m concerned my summer is not over just yet.

This feels like the first year in a long time that we have had clear distinct seasons in the UK. Normally our seasons seem to range from a brief period of cold and dry, to an even briefer period of warmish, linked together by a whole lot of wet, grey and miserable. Maybe it is just because I have taken more advantage of the good weather to get out sketching this year.

We have taken the risk on the English weather three years running for our summer holidays and so far we’ve been lucky. We have had a few rainy days but these were all the better for hiding inside and catching up on the growing book pile (virtual book pile that is, it is far too easy to spend money on the Amazon Kindle). This year the weather was good enough that at least one evening we were able to sit out at the beach watching the sun set over the sea while drinking bottles of cold cider (yes we were sat on a park bench drinking cider straight from the bottle but the view made it classy OK?! ;)

Btw for an amusing take on the English obsession with the weather and more side splitting yet embarrassingly accurate observations of other English quirks please read the book Watching The English by Kate Fox I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Welcome to Your New Home

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

First of all some obvious news…With help from Mat I have finally got around to to setting up a permanent home for my blog. I have also found a theme that I like and customised it a bit with some of my drawings. (although I did not know how to do a lot of what Mat showed me I was a little perturbed by how much I understood. I think over the years I have absorbed a lot more geekyness through proximity to Mat than I had thought! ;)

This is quite a boring post so I decided to decorate it with the original scans used for my blog banner:

Sketching kit drawn with materials shown

I have also been thinking about what else I want to keep on this blog. A couple of years ago I found a book cataloguing service through Facebook called Visual Bookshelf (provided by Living Social). I found this a very useful way of keeping track of the books I had been reading and keeping a note of books I wanted to read when I couldn’t afford to buy them straight away. It was also a great source for reviews etc. Unfortunately since I started to use it, Visual bookshelf has actually got more difficult to use and has lost functionality (iPhone app and blog widgets are no longer available).

Although I started this blog mainly to make sure I don’t stop sketching, I dare say I will probably use it to talk about books now and then as what I am reading, just like the music I listen to has such an effect on my mood.

Camera – pen and ink and watercolour and white gel pen

I really wanted to add some kind of widget to my blog showing what I am reading and the favourite books that I will read again and again. As visual Bookshelf no longer let’s you do this I decided to export my collection to a new service. But which one to choose? I had a look around and found that LibraryThing and Goodreads seem to do what I want (ability to import and export my collection, a customisable non-flash based widget to use on my blog, a facebook app and an iPhone app). I couldn’t find out much more from their websites so I decided I would test Goodreads for a bit and see how it goes as that seems to be more widely used.

Importing my collection was really easy and I quite like that you can add custom bookshelves as well as the standard, read, reading and want to read. I’m not convinced by the Javascript widget yet, it seemed to be broken when I first put it in, but it is now working (after I fiddled with it a bit and then gave up and asked Mat to sort the rest out for me) and I think it looks OK.

Headphones – Zig real brush pens and water brush and white gel pen

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Creative Commons License
All artwork by
Amy Stace published on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Reading Now
A Game of Thrones
Read Recently
Her Fearful Symmetry
Water for Elephants
A Week in December
Tickling the English
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ
The Little Stranger
Thinking In Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism
What Alice Forgot
Favorite Books
Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1
The Gargoyle
The Girl Who Played With Fire
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Gentlemen and Players
Breaking Dawn
Midnight Sun
New Moon
The Hobbit
The Book Thief
The Matchmaker of Perigord
The Lollipop Shoes
The Day of the Triffids
The Subtle Knife
The Kraken Wakes