Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Puzzles versus Books

Puzzles please as well as Books.

Not only am I a bookworm, now I have become an avid Alphapuzzler (if there is such a word). I bought a tear-off daily calendar of these puzzles in January. I had never heard of them and disappointingly found the first one somewhat difficult. As a consequence I cheated and looked at the answer, which is printed on the back of the next day's puzzle. From then on I was hooked and I look forward each day to solving the puzzle, whilst drinking a cup of coffee.

On Saturday I did 4 puzzles the daily one from the calendar, two in the Daily Express, which I don't normally buy, and the weekly Enigma Code in the Radio Times. Most enjoyable and relaxing, also doing them stops me from doing boring stuff like cleaning windows etc. The downside is that they stop me from reading and blogging.

They don't take too long to do, which is also a point in their favour. They can be done anywhere without any equipment, other than a pen or pencil, don't take up any space and can be done whilst watching TV if the programme is not too taxing, unlike jigsaws - although I can listen to the radio whilst doing a jigsaw.

But - books are best.

My main read at the moment is Margaret Forster's biography of Daphne du Maurier. It's the centenary of her birth this year - I didn't realise that until I started the book. Radio 4 broadcast an adaptation of My Cousin Rachel on Saturday, which I listened to doing a jigsaw of Turner's Fighting Temeraire - a good combination of puzzles and books. Today I missed Radio 4's Afternoon Play The Alibi, by Du Maurier (I went to the tip!) I must remember to listen to it later as you can listen on online for 7 days after the broadcast.

I'm jumping between books again, having finished The Giant's House, deciding what to read next. I'm still reading The Woodlanders, just a few pages at a time until it grabs me completely and it looks as though it will soon. I've picked up and put down a library book, Blessings, by Anna Quindlen and will have to decide tomorrow whether to renew it or return it to the library - I hope it can be renewed.

Other books clamouring for attention are recent buys include-

  1. The Observations - Jane Harris, set in Scotland in 1863, promising to have "all the necessary ingredients for a Rebecca-like absorption" according to the blurb. How could I resist it?
  2. Human Traces - Sebastian Faulks - "an epic of a novel", ranging from England to Africa, with pioneering psychiatrists and an ex-patient from the 1870s up to the First World War. Psychiatry, philosophy and late 19th -early 20th century period - Penelope Lively says "Faulks is extremely good at capturing the voice of another century." Intriguing.
  3. Chocolat and
  4. The Lollipop Shoes - both by Joanne Harris, because I enjoyed Gentlemen & Players so much.

I've got way behind with the Thomas Hardy biography and Stephen Fry's Ode Less Travelled has had to be put on hold for the time being.


Danielle said...

Are those Alpha Puzzles like crossword puzzles? I have to say I am terrible at those, though I like the idea of them! I really want to listen to those Radio 4 recordings, but I am not sure I will have time now...how many days are left. Can you download them? I am not far into the Forster bio but the book is quite engaging! I was thinking tonight how much I'd like to start a book by Du Maurier, but I already have too many started and I am already reading her bio--so just be content!! I saw the movie adaptation of The Woodlanders, but I would like to read the book. I am finally getting into Tess. I think I have read nearly all of S. Faulk's books,and I am waiting until his newest comes out in paper. I broke down and ordered Joanne Harris's Lollipop Shoes from the Book Depository--I am looking forward to it!!

BooksPlease said...

I'm not too good at crosswords. I can't do the cryptic ones, but am ok on the quick ones. These get quite samey so I haven't done any for a while. I expect I'll find the Alphapuzzles samey after a while as well.

Alphapuzzles use a grid like a crossword puzzle, but each grid number represents a letter. Every letter of the alphabet is used and each puzzle gives you one, two or three letters, depending on the level of difficulty. There is a grid underneath the main grid showing the given letters and you just enter them in the main grid and then work out what the other letters are - by guesswork in my case. The calendar alphapuzzle also gives a clue, such as "Precious girl", which may or may not use some of the given letters and a target time to complete the puzzle. Other puzzles don't give clues.

I'll try to illustrate this in another post.

D said...

Don't forget Wilberforce by 16 June.