Friday, 19 December 2008

Coffee Morning - Want or Chuck?

Good morning everyone. I am currently in a bit of a tizz as I am not yet finished my Christmas shopping. Thursday I managed to do more than I would have done had I been at work but still not managed to get husband his gifts! Oh well, always got tomorrow! 

So next Thursday is the day a lot of us will be celebrating something or other and eating far too much food and drinking far too much drink. I will be celebrating the wonders of commercialism (I am not religious but am a hypocrite and celebrate Christmas) and eating turkey and partaking in a glass or 7 of wine. I have put my requests in with Santa and await with baited breath to see if he gets it right this year. I got a set of knives and some baking trays last year!

Anyway, I am sure most of you will have heard of the game "Marry, snog, chuck off a cliff" where you chose a celeb you would marry, one you would snog and one you would cheerfully chuck off a cliff or other high point. As we are all writers I thought I would do a different take on it for today's coffee morning.

So my questions for you today are these:

  1. Which book do you wish you had written?
  2. Which book do you really regret reading?
  3. Which author do you admire, either for the wonderful work they have written or the fact they seem to be doing well out of writing total tripe?
  4. What book would you like to find in your stocking/under the tree this year?

My answers would be:
  1.  'The Power of One' by Bryce Courtenay for the beauty of the words and the fact I could visualise Africa and the events unfolding clearly in my mind as I read it.
  2.  'Chasing Harry Winston' by Lauren Weisberger. Didn't like the characters, had no empathy for them and thought the whole thing was rather shallow.
  3. Dan Brown. I just don't get it. I have no desire to read his books. I have read the blurb on the cover but it just seems to be overrated and over hyped. Doesn't appeal to me at all but he seems to be doing rather well out of it all.
  4. I'd like Jaime Oliver's Ministry of Food or Alan Carr's book Look Who It is!: My Story

And as for the celeb version I would go for: Marry - Michael Vartan, Snog - David Beckham and Chuck Off A Cliff - Jeremy Clarkson

Last of all I would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays and that you enjoy celebrating whatever it is that brings you joy. Me I like shopping and eating so this is like my nirvana!


JJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flowerpot said...

Great topic Sarah - have to get my thinking cap on. Brain gone numb - back later!

Flowerpot said...

OK - trying to decide WHICH book I should chose to have written. I love Bel Canto but also The Magician's Asst by Ann Patchett. Her mother is an amazing writer too!

2. This is a tricky one. The book that instantly springs to mind is by a very well known novelist who I've mnet and like very much. So I dont like to say I'm afraid. I will say that her earlier books were fab but her latest ones just don't grab me. Though they're still selling well. I've stopped reading her.

3. I totally admire Elizabeth Berg. She is SUCH a wonderful writer, I'm in total awe.

4. Funnily enough, I have to look at this later as Himself tends to give me stuff I don't want, so we agreed that we will go togehter and he will buy me a book I would like to read. Anything by Joan Barfoot would do it for me - anewly discovered Canadian writer who I think is wonderful.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Juliette M said...

Oooh fantastic question Sarah. I too have so far failed at my Chrimble shopping, and The Ginger Guitarist's present is stuck somewhere between America and here... WAH.

1 I wish I had written American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Except if I had it would be American Gods by Juliette McAlroy, obviously. :) It's an incredible book and I know that if I had written it, it wouldnt be half as good. If you haven't read it, why are you still eyeing my post and not in a bookshop pronto?

2 I regret reading Will, by Christopher Rush. Although it was well written, the Tudor execution/torture scenes gave me nightmares for weeks, and it tarnished Shakespeare for me, turning him into a lecherous, sweary old git. Yes, very well written, and beautiful prose, but horrible all the same. I also regret getting hooked on Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series, because although I think they are tripe (books 1-9 of Anita were cool, after that it all went downhill fast) they are like a train wreck, and I can't stop buying them...

Oh, and I wish I hadnt read Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. I dont get why it's supposedly so wonderful, and the heroine made my teeth itch with annoyance - I wanted to slap her constantly.

3 I admire J K Rowling, for what she's done with Harry Potter. Love her or loathe her (and I am in the former camp, most of the time) she has created a new hero for children and adults alike, and a whole new world of magic. I've got to respect that, comparisons with Dahl/Yolen/Wynne Jones aside. I also admire (of course) Neil Gaiman, who is consistently brilliant, and the man who made me enjoy reading short stories.

4 I would like to find George R R Martin's A Dance With Dragons in my stocking, but as it's not out til April, I am denied! I'll settle for The Eiffel Tower murders novel that Caroline mentioned in her blog today :)

As for the celeb game, I'll marry Neil Gaiman (yes I know he is married already - shhhh), snog David Tennant and chuck Simon Cowell off a cliff (where Caroline will catch him)

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Great question indeed! I wish I had written so many books it's hard to choose, but my book of the year for 2008 is 'Lottery' by Patricia Wood so I'll go for that one. I regret reading psychological thrillers by Val McDermid and Ruth Rendell for the nightmares they induced - I only read one by each and never, ever again (although I enjoy Val McDermid's straightforward whodunits). The author I admire most in the world is Doris Lessing, she's been my hero for ages. And the book I'd like to find is the poetry book Top Bloke buys me every year, not the SAME book every year obviously so I don't know what it'll be but I always look forward to it as he's a great chooser and it will be something really, really good.

K.Imaginelli said...

I love this topic! Great job, SarahG!!

1) I wish I'd written "Atonement." (So brilliant!)

2) I regret reading James Patterson's "The Beach House"; Now that I know what all goes into writing a book, I try not to bash an author's work but this guy doesn't even write his novels (he comes up with the plot and someone else fills in the details, which explains why a book with a really compelling premise read like an outline)

3) I bow down to Susan Minot, author of Evening. I also really admire Anita Shreve. I secretly wish I had Stephenie Meyer's career --would love to hang out with Rob Pattinson's hair. :) Although I thought she did a good job of creating this unputdownable love story with a super hot hero, I hated Twilight (the book) by the time I got to the end and seriously wanted to drop kick the heroine.

4) I would like to find several books that won't be out until later in 2009 under my tree: Deirdre Shaw's "Love or Something Like It" and Cailtin Macy's collection of stories, "Spoiled."

As for the celebrity version, I'd totally marry Tom Welling (Clark Kent on Smallville), I'd snog Rob Pattison, and I'd chuck pretty boys Zac Enfron and Chace Crawford off a very high cliff. (I'd chuck Brad Pitt off a cliff too).

That was fun!

Graeme K Talboys said...

Ooh. Blimey. So many.

I wish I had written... (hops up and down trying to decide)... Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner. Clear, gentle, stunning.

Regret? Well, I looked at the first paragraph of The DaVinci Code and have been depressed ever since that something so badly written could (a) get into print and (b) sell by the lorry load.

Joint honours for admiration go to Mike Moorcock for proving that popular fiction can be well written and that an author of popular fiction can also write serious stuff in an accessible way; and to Joanna Russ for pretty much the same reasons.

Under the tree I would like to find Mervyn Peake: The Man and His Art by Sebastian Peake. (And if there was The Complete Buster Keaton Short Films next to it I wouldn't complain - not technically a book, well, not a book at all, but still worth having).

As for the other three questions, I will remain silent on the first two (same person); as for the third, I'd be busy all next year pushing people over.

Kate said...

Morning all. There’s a Starbucks about to open down the road from us and so I want a double-triple choc mocha latte with marshmallows etc etc.
Great question! Hard to answer!
1.So many! I’ve probably mentioned him before but I love Antony Capella’s books for their fab love stories and gorgeous detail, and so it’s fitting for Coffee Break that I pick his latest, The Various Flavours of Coffee.
2. I have a new resolution along the ‘do as you would be done by’ lines and I know how hurtful it can be to read nasty stuff about your books so won’t answer this one…
3. Many again here, but I love Lisa Jewell’s books because they have consistent wit and warmth, and are also based on a profound affection for London (which is such a great antidote to the nastiness of newspaper headlines etc).
4. It would be nice to find my own next book (which I haven’t started), already written, but as Santa is unlikely to deliver that, I’d like a glorious recipe book with amazing pictures. The Leon book looks fabulous. I have so much fiction on my to be read pile that I couldn't stand the guilt of finding another novel, I think!

Leatherdykeuk said...

1.Kate Atkinson's Human Croquet. This was so close to what I wanted to write for 'Halcyon Days' that I ended up changing the whole plot of mine so that it was nothing like hers.

2.Annie Sanders' Busy Woman Seeks Wife I honestly thought this was going to be a lesbian romance. Readable, certainly, but nothing out of the ordinary.

3. Neil Gaiman. My favourite writer, I think, though I haven't read all of his books yet. I hope my books have the otherworldly sparkle that his urban fantasies do.

4. Stephanie Weeks' Triplex Coniunctio. My blog-partner and one of my favourite writers. Getting this is unlikely as it's out of print.

Rowan Coleman said...

Hi every one HAPPY CHRISTMAS! This is such a great idea Sarah!

I wish I'd written a great Victorian novel - anything by Eliot or a Brone - what exvciting pioneering times for women writers. However, I would have to have been a) A Victorian and b)an actual genius - and neither of those things apply, sigh.
I really wish that I'd neve read The Da Vinci Code. I got suckered in by all the other millions of people reading it on the tube. And I will say Dan Brown has a great idea and real knack for plotting in that book but I couldn't give two hoots for his characters or what happened to them. Still he's a millionaire and people love him so I'm probably wrong.
Is it cheesey to say I admire my fellow racers the most? ok, so the writers who career I admire for consistent great work and longevity in a traditonally fickle industry plus genuine loveliness is Katy Fforde.
I want to read Pippi Longstock again, and the fab Lauren Childs has illustrated anew version - so I'd love that.

As an aside my new writer friend Katy Regan who has her first novel out next feb and is currently working on her 2nd would really like to join our ranks. She is going to leave comment here and hopefully can be added soon.

Happy Christmas everyone

Rowan Coleman said...

p.s sory for dreadful typos battery on laptop about ot go flat!

JJ said...

Ooh, fab question.

The book I wish I'd written is the very recently read, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

The book(s) I really regret reading were two books that a book club made me read. Both were by the same person but I truly thought they were embarrassing.

Whether you like her or not, I admire that JK Rowling has got children, and particularly boys reading. And I admire that she's got a better deal for children's authors. (Okay, so I know she got the best deal...)

I'd like to find 'What I think about when I'm Running' by Haruki Murakami under the tree, as it's the only one I asked for. I prefer Husband not to choose my reading material as he either gets it spot on and I've already read it or hopelessly wrong.

A big cheers to every one. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

PS I have deleted my previous post and reposted here because I felt uncomfortable naming the poor woman!

Calistro said...

Great topic Sarah!

Here's my answers:

1. Which book do you wish you had written?

Bridget Jones's Diary - because now I'd be a multimillionaire and living in the LA sunshine. Um...seriously..."After You'd Gone" by Maggie O'Farrell - it's so well written and has stayed with me for a long, long time. Reading that book increased my urge to write.

2. Which book do you really regret reading?

I don't really regret reading any books because you learn something from all of them - good and bad (the bad in particular make me feel so much better about my own writing!). In the old days I'd read a rubbish book all the way through in the hope it would get better the further I went but these days I have a poor attention span and a view that life is short so if a book doesn't grab me I stop reading.

3. Which author do you admire, either for the wonderful work they have written or the fact they seem to be doing well out of writing total tripe?

Margaret Atwood - I love the way she writes, love her voice, love her wit, love the fact her writing is intelligent, makes me thinks AND can be funny. Just love her really.

4. What book would you like to find in your stocking/under the tree this year?

Oooh tricky one. I've asked for a few books for Christmas so I'd be delighted to find any of the following in my stocking:

Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale (apparently it's lots of correspondence between Russell T. Davis and his writers as they wrote Doctor Who and is a big insight into the writing process)

Something to Tell You - Hanif Kureishi (I've read all his other books but not this one, yet)

The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories (a 'how to' book)

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler - read good things about this on someone's blog

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer - I want to see what all the fuss is about

The Body Language Bible - love all this stuff, useful for writing too.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova - another book I've read good things about on blogs.

Captain Black said...

Not finished your Xmas shopping? I haven't even started mine yet!

So... Let's play.

Marry: Cally.
Snog: Jen.
Chuck off cliff: Myself. Would probably have to after that.

Oh, you mean real celebrities. Doh!

1. I wish I'd written Pandora's Star, because it just blew me away.

2. I really regret reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves, because now I can't type a badly punctuated phone text message without undergoing two days of therapy.

3. I admire most of the authors I read, as now I'm beginning to realise just what's involved.

4. I would like to find Nigella under the tree, because then she'd be where I left her.

Happy festivities, one and all!

ps. I agree with K.I. about The Beach House. I never even managed to finish it, although I'm a big fan of some of James Patterson's other work.

Paige said...

Happy Holidays to everyone! I hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

What a fantastic post Sarah!

1. Which book do you wish you had written?

Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella. This is the type of book I would love to produce. Fun, Easy, Escapism...

2. Which book do you really regret reading?

There are a few but I'm not going to name them. I don't want to be b*tchy. If I started to name them, I'd go into great details!

3.Which author do you admire, either for the wonderful work they have written or the fact they seem to be doing well out of writing total tripe?

Well, I think that would have to be JK Rowling. For her ambition to keep on subbing after countless publishers said no to Harry P. It gives writers like me, some hope.

4. What book would you like to find in your stocking/under the tree this year?

There's not really any at the moment. However I would like to see loads of book tokens under the tree so should I see a book I want I can get it! :)

Celeb Version:

Marry - Milo Ventimiglia
Snog - Colin Firth
Chuck - Daniel Craig

Cathy said...

My choices are not original:

1. After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell made me realise that books can be complex, beautifully written and still very commercial.

2. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was a waste of time, I only finished it because I was on a train and had nothing else to read.

3.I admire Anita Shreve and Margaret Atwood, who both write intelligent and well-crafted fiction, and Jodi Picoult for finding a formula which deals with deeper topics in a very commercial manner.

4. I hope I will receive An Angel at my Table by Janet Frame this Christmas.

Debs said...

This is a great post. I think I've finished my shopping, but always manage to forget something important. Hope you all have a fab Christmas.

1. The one I'm reading now, which is The House at Riverton, because it's incredibly well written and I'm completely absorbed by it.

2. I won't say the name, but it was a bestseller this year, and it appears everyone seemed to think it was brilliant, except for me, although that could say more about me, than the book?!

3 I admire so many authors, and to be honest, now I know how difficult it is to write a book, I admire anyone who succeeds at all.

4. So many to choose from, but if I had to choose, it would be, Hello Fatty by Dawn French.

Celeb version:
Marry - Richard Armitage
Snog - Rupert Penry Jones
Chuck Off A Cliff - David Van Day

Calistro said...

Captain - Oi! I must protest on behalf of me and Jen that you'd chuck yourself off a cliff after marrying me and snogging her! Rather than killing yourself you should be patting yourself on the back for pulling women so blatantly out of your league :op

Calistro said...


Re celeb version:

Marry - Paul Merton
Snog - Glen Hansard (from The Frames)
Chuck Off a Cliff - John Barrowman (sorry Caroline! He's getting more and more over-exposed and annoying and his new album? Urrggh!)

Clare Sudders said...

I wish I'd written The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak.

I admire Jim Dodge, a great author. And also Bete de Jour, who has just got a book deal. It's well deserved, he's a great writer / blogger.

I regret reading... hmmm. I don't really do regrets, but... let me see... Ahgels and Demons by Dan Brown. I loved Da Vince Code, but Angels and Demons was just like reading the same book twice.

A Secret Alchemy, by Emma Darwin. I read her first and loved it, and would love to see what the second is like.

Clare Sudders said...

P.S. Celebrities. Marry Charlie Brooker, Snog Johnny Deppe, Chuck James Cameron.

wordtryst said...

Happy Holidays, everyone! May all your writerly dreams come true in 2009!

Wish I'd written: The God of Small Things by Arundathi Roy. Lovely, lyrical writing.

Regret reading: Delta of Venus by Anais Nin. Looked forward to reading this for years. Got it a few months ago. Couldn't finish.

Author I admire: Yann Martel - for writing Life of Pi, a totally implausible book about a boy and a tiger at sea. Riveted me up to the very last page.

I can't think of a celeb I'd marry, except maybe Yann Martel based on his writing and photo alone. Would snog (I'm guessing this means sleep with) a few, tart that I am: Hill Harper, Ralph Fiennes, Clive Owen, the guy who plays Dr. House. I'd chuck that irritating Brad Pitt over a cliff except that it'd cause too much of a stir.

liz fenwick said...

Ooooo, tough, tough,tough...

I wish I have written The thirteenth Tales because I floated through the words in that book.

I hated Atonement and didn't finish it - but it wasn't for the writing it was for the pain in it; I am a whimp I know, I hate wasted lives

So many authors I admire that it's hard to pick but i think that Rowan has it right. Katie Fforde. She is so lovely and i enjoy her books so much as they sweep me away from the grind......

Now for the celeb option.......

Marry Hugh Jackman
Snog Ben Barnes (BTW Wordtryst - snog means 'make out')
Chuck Jim Carey over a cliff.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.

Lily Sheehan said...

1.I wish I had written PS I love you. To have the most gorgeous man (Gerard Butler) playing a character I had created would be soo brilliant!!
2.I dont regret reading anything because if I dislike it I wont get past the 2nd chapter.
3.Celia Ahern - I love her books and she is my age. I wish I was as successful as her.
4.Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince because I STILL havent read it yet.
Celeb version: Marry: Gerard Butler, Snog Noel Fielding and chuck Timmy Mallet off a cliff!!