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Source: Times Educational Supplement

The list is in order.

Which one of those below have you read (italics), do you own (bold) or dislike (struck through)?

Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
Harry Potter (series) J.K. Rowling

Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
The Lord of the Rings (series) J.R.R. Tolkien

The Book Thief Markus Zusak
The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
The Hunger Games (series) Suzanne Collins
The Time Traveller’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger
The Chronicles of Narnia (series) C.S. Lewis
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck
Birdsong Sebastian Faulks
His Dark Materials (series) Philip Pullman

The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
Life of Pi Yann Martel
Tess of the d’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy
Rebecca Daphne du Maurier
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies William Golding
Matilda Roald Dahl
Catch-22 Joseph Heller

Millennium (series) Stieg Larsson

Animal Farm George Orwell
The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood
Persuasion Jane Austen
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Kensuke’s Kingdom Michael Morpurgo
Goodnight Mister Tom Michelle Magorian
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas John Boyne
Little Women Louisa May Alcott
One Day David Nicholls
We Need to Talk About Kevin Lionel Shriver
The Twits Roald Dahl
Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel
A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini
The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
Frankenstein Mary Shelley
Great Expectations Charles Dickens

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Bernieres
George’s Marvellous Medicine Roald Dahl
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams

Room Emma Donoghue
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
Atonement Ian McEwan
Emma Jane Austen
Middlemarch George Eliot

The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Color Purple Alice Walker
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle
Brave New World Aldous Huxley
Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen

The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll
Charlotte’s Web E.B. White
Dracula Bram Stoker
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
A Prayer for Owen Meany John Irving
The Secret History Donna Tartt

The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver
Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy
Skellig David Almond
The Woman in White Wilkie Collins
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell
Game of Thrones (series) George R.R. Martin
David Copperfield Charles Dickens

Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro
Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak
Twilight (series) Stephenie Meyer
Beloved Toni Morrison
The Help Kathryn Stockett
Sherlock Holmes (series) Arthur Conan Doyle
Half of a Yellow Sun Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Moneyball Michael Lewis
My Family and Other Animals Gerald Durrell
Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden
On the Road Jack Kerouac
Cloud Atlas David Mitchell
Wild Swans Jung Chang
Anne of Green Gables L.M. Montgomery
Les Miserables Victor Hugo

Room on the Broom Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Private Peaceful Michael Morpurgo
Noughts and Crosses Malorie Blackman
Cider with Rosie Laurie Lee
Danny the Champion of the World Roald Dahl

Down and Out in Paris and London George Orwell
The Magic Faraway Tree Enid Blyton
The Witches Roald Dahl
The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy
Holes Louis Sachar
The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde.


From james_nicoll who got it from martin_wisse

Which one of those below have you read (italics), do you own (bold) or dislike (struck through)?

The Handmaid’s Tale (1985)
Ender’s Game (1985)
Radio Free Albemuth (1985)
Always Coming Home (1985)
This Is the Way the World Ends (1985)
Galápagos (1985)
The Falling Woman (1986)
The Shore of Women (1986)
A Door Into Ocean (1986)
Soldiers of Paradise (1987)
Life During Wartime (1987)
The Sea and Summer (1987)
Cyteen (1988)
Neverness (1988)
The Steerswoman (1989)
Grass (1989)
Use of Weapons (1990)
Queen of Angels (1990)
Barrayar (1991)
Synners (1991)
Sarah Canary (1991)
White Queen (1991)
Eternal Light (1991)
Stations of the Tide (1991)
Timelike Infinity (1992)
Dead Girls (1992)
Jumper (1992)
China Mountain Zhang (1992)
Red Mars (1992)
A Fire Upon the Deep (1992)
Aristoi (1992)
Doomsday Book (1992)
Parable of the Sower (1993)
Ammonite (1993)
Chimera (1993)
Nightside the Long Sun (1993)
Brittle Innings (1994)
Permutation City (1994)
Blood (1994)
Mother of Storms (1995)
Sailing Bright Eternity (1995)
Galatea 2.2 (1995)
The Diamond Age (1995)
The Transmigration of Souls (1996)
The Fortunate Fall (1996)
The Sparrow/Children of God (1996/1998)
Holy Fire (1996)
Night Lamp (1996)
In the Garden of Iden (1997)
Forever Peace (1997)
Glimmering (1997)
As She Climbed Across the Table (1997)
The Cassini Division (1998)
Bloom (1998)
Vast (1998)
The Golden Globe (1998)
Headlong (1999)
Cave of Stars (1999)
Genesis (2000)
Super-Cannes (2000)
Under the Skin (2000)
Perdido Street Station (2000)
Distance Haze (2000)
Revelation Space trilogy (2000)
Salt (2000)
Ventus (2001)
The Cassandra Complex (2001)
Light (2002)
Altered Carbon (2002)
The Separation (2002)
The Golden Age (2002)
The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003)
Natural History (2003)
The Labyrinth Key / Spears of God
River of Gods (2004)
The Plot Against America (2004)
Never Let Me Go (2005)
The House of Storms (2005)
Counting Heads (2005)
Air (Or, Have Not Have) (2005)
Accelerando (2005)
Spin (2005)
My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time (2006)
The Road (2006)
Temeraire /His Majesty’s Dragon (2006)
Blindsight (2006)
HARM (2007)
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (2007)
The Secret City (2007)
In War Times (2007)
Postsingular (2007)
Shadow of the Scorpion (2008)
The Hunger Games trilogy (2008-2010)
Little Brother (2008)
The Alchemy of Stone (2008)
The Windup Girl (2009)
Steal Across the Sky(2009)
Boneshaker (2009)
Zoo City (2010)
Zero History (2010)
The Quantum Thief (2010)

All hail Cthulhu

From http://echinoblog.blogspot.com/2008/05/giant-monster-starfish-alert-aka.html

This is Labidiaster annulatus an Antarctic benthopelagic predator that is it eats mobile, active, swimming prey, mainly Krill. It is both pretty large (60cm diameter) and common, one of the most abundant starfish in the South Shetland and Antarctic Peninsular regions. It can have up to at least forty five arms.

Peace Dividend

At the end of the Cold War there was a lot of talk about a peace dividend, that a significant amount of money would be freed up by cutting military budgets in a less dangerous world. Many people wonder what happened to it. There was in fact a peace dividend. The US military budget has grown as a share of GDP since 1999 but is still over 1% of GDP lower than 1988 just before the end of the Cold War. The UK military budget also dropped from 1988 to 2000 and has remained largely stable since then.

From Gapminder <http://www.gapminder.org> data originally from the World Bank. You can graphically compare large sets of statistics both on a linear and log scale at the site and download Gapminder world to do so locally, the program also gives easy access to the raw data.

Military expenditure (% GDP)
YearUnited StatesUnited Kingdom


Britain has a highly consolidated banking sector, and has for a long time. The original consolidation happened from about 1880 to 1920 and left the sector with five big players; the original big five and a number of medium sized banks.

  • Barclays
  • Lloyds
  • Midland
  • National Provincial
  • Westminster
In the early 1970s National Provincial and Westminster merged to form National Westminster which later changed its name to NatWest leaving the big four.

  • Barclays
  • Lloyds
  • Midland
  • NatWest

With the demutualisation of most of the big building societies as medium sized banks and a series of subsequent mergers and takeovers led to a new big five by 2001

  • Barclays
  • HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland) Formed by a merger of two of the biggest medium sized banks Halifax, a former building society and the Bank of Scotland
  • HSBC (Hong Kong Shanghai Bank) took over Midland
  • Lloyds TSB (Lloyds merged with the medium sized TSB (Trustee Savings Bank)
  • RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) the medium sized Royal Bank of Scotland took over NatWest

With the credit crunch this dropped to four

  • Barclays
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds Banking Group Lloyds TSB took over the troubled HBOS after the takeover was 43% nationalised as HBOS turned out to be in much worse condition than expected
  • RBS got into serious trouble and was 84% nationalised

The crisis also saw several medium sized banks get into difficulty and Banco Santander acquire three medium sized banks which it intends to merge, this will lead to a new big five

  • Barclays
  • Banco Santander merger of three former building societies Abby (formally Abby National), Alliance & Leicester and the retail and deposit operations of the failed Bradford & Bingley
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • RBS

The final fate of Northern Rock another medium sized ex building society remains unclear.

There are a two other big banks or bank like organisations left that aren't part of the big five but are of a similar size and covered by state guarantees due to clearly being too systemically important to fail. So you could argue that there is actually a big seven.

  • Nationwide the last big building society, substantially bigger than all the rest put together and comparable in size to the big five
  • Standard Chartered a UK listed bank doing almost all of its business in Asia and Africa, actually has a market capitalisation bigger than Barclays despite this it has virtually no public profile

Photovoltaic cells

A few years ago we had a solar hot water panel fitted to the house, today we had a set of photovoltaic panels fitted. While in a standard market this would not be a financially viable proposition the feed in tariff means that the unit price from selling the excess power during the day (the feed in tariff) is about twice the wholesale price of electricity and therefore they are a viable proposition with the feed in tariff being guaranteed for the next twenty five years. The value of the feed in tariff is such that some companies are fitting the PV panels for free in return for the income from  the excess power following domestic consumption, we have not gone for such a deal and have instead paid the full cost however we do then keep the full profit and take the risk that the guarantee will not be maintained.

Writing Meme

Based on one entry (the one on libel)

I write like
Edgar Allan Poe

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Based on a different entry (the one on hated books)

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Based on yet another entry (why I have little sympathy for Israel)

I write like
Kurt Vonnegut

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Seen on james_nicoll, who got similar results.


Voting Meme

Help brett-dunbar and get your own badge!
(The Livejournal Electioniser was made by robhu)


Political quiz for Europe


It recomended the Welsh Liberal Democrats, which is correct. I'm literally a card carrying Libreral Democrat.