Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone…

The School Subjects Tag…

One of our newer bloggers, notsomoderngirl, has come up with this great idea for a tag, and I’m delighted that’s she’s tagged me! My own schooldays are…ahem… a few years ago now, but fortunately I don’t think my answers are going to be graded, so even the Chemistry section doesn’t intimidate me!

1. Maths – What’s a book that left your head spinning in circles?

It’s got to be Children of Dune! I loved Dune and Dune Messiah, but this third one is seriously weird. My suspicion is that it wasn’t only the characters in the book that were indulging in mind-altering substances. This extract from my review will give you an idea of my befuddlement…

…has Paul really died in the desert? Who is the mysterious Preacher who keeps popping up and calling Alia names? If he is Paul, why is he trying to undermine his family’s rule? Why do Leto and Ghani want to get to Jacurutu? How come Leto is having prescient dreams if he’s not taking spice? What is the Golden Path that Leto keeps banging on about as the way to save something? Save what? Or who? Seriously – if you know the answers, do tell – personally I’m baffled!

God Emperor of Dune by BlazenMonk
God Emperor of Dune by BlazenMonk

2. English – Which book do you think has beautiful written expression?

Oh, so many! Hmm… I think I’ll pick this beautifully crafted metaphor from John Knowles’ book about boys preparing to go off as soldiers in WW2, A Separate Peace

Winter’s occupation seems to have conquered, overrun and destroyed everything, so that now there is no longer any resistance movement left in nature; all the juices are dead, every sprig of vitality snapped, and now winter itself, an old, corrupt, tired conqueror, loosens its grip on the desolation, recedes a little, grows careless in its watch; sick of victory and enfeebled by the absence of challenge, it begins to withdraw from the ruined countryside.

3. Physics – Who is your favourite scientifically minded character from a book/film?

Ah, that would have to be Dr Jekyll, I think, from both the book and the film. He proves conclusively that one should always experiment on other people before drinking the potion oneself…

The Spencer Tracy version from 1941
The Spencer Tracy version from 1941

4. Biology – Who is your favourite book/film/series character?

That would have to be Andy Dalziel, and frankly they don’t come much more biological than him! I love his attitude to life and his larger-than-life persona. But even though he does things his own way , he’s by no means a stereotypical maverick. And I love the way he and his junior colleague Peter Pascoe develop an unlikely friendship over the years, despite being almost polar opposites to each other in every way.

5. Chemistry – Who is your favourite literary couple?

Oh, come on! This can’t even be multiple choice!


6. French – What is your favourite foreign book/film/programme?

Oh dear, if there’s one thing reviewing has taught me, it’s that I’m incredibly insular when it comes to books, and with films 99.999% of everything I watch is either British or American. But I do have a real weakness for Indian novels, even though again they feel like a bit of a cheat since a) they’re written in English (the ones I read, that is) and b) I most enjoy them because of India’s connection to us via the British Empire and later the Commonwealth. I’ve enjoyed some Nordic crime in translation, though I’m not quite as hooked as a lot of the crime reading community. A difficult one… I’m going to say…

the-white-guard…The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov translated from the Russian by Michael Glenny. I read this very recently and haven’t reviewed it yet, but it’s fair to say I was blown away by it.

7. Art – Have you ever judged a book by its cover, even if you weren’t meant to?!

I truly don’t think I’ve ever picked a book purely on the basis of its cover. But I’ve rejected millions! All those cheesy romances with bare-chested men dressed in everything from kilts to cossack outfits – ugh! And the fifty-seven million identikit “psychological thrillers” with a girl (oh yes, never a woman!) in a red jacket walking or running away, and a giant sticker saying “the next Gone Girl/Girl on a Train etc” – double ugh! If they can’t be original on the cover, what hope is there for the content?! But here are a few covers I love…

8. History – What was the last historical book you read?

Hmm… that would be The White Guard again, so I won’t duplicate. And the one before that I didn’t like, so no to it too. Which takes me back to…


The Death of Kings by Rennie Airth. I really enjoy this crime series set just after WW2. Slower and more thoughtful than a lot of current crime fiction, and with a definite nod to the Golden Age. (Oh, and I adore this cover, too!)

9. Drama – What’s a book that you think has a lot of over-dramatic hype?

Nearly every new psychological thriller!

“A brilliant new original thriller that’s just like that last great thriller you read and has 48,932 twists including one that involves the supernatural because the writer couldn’t get out of the hole she’d dug without ghostly intervention!”


It always come with quotes from authors who share a publisher with the author of this book, and are desperate to hang on to their book deals…

“This author’s use of language is brilliantly innovative! She completely ignores the rules of grammar (and spelling, and the correct definition of words) and uses the “f” word in ways that will astound you!”

“Brilliantly original, the angst-ridden, alcoholic, drug-addicted protagonist of this story must battle sexism, racism, and homophobia while trying to recover from the grief of losing her entire family and six friends in a freak tornado in Auchtermuchty!”

“I loved this book so much – who’d have guessed that the dog actually contained the spirit of the murdered child back from the beyond to lead the police to the murderer? What a brilliant twist!”

10. Geography – Which literary destination would you really like to visit? (They can be real or fictional!)

I’d love to go for a night out in The Green Dragon pub in Hobbiton – hobbits seem to know how to have fun!

Ideally that would be the one in Middle Earth, but if for some reason I couldn’t get there, I’d settle for the one on the movie set in New Zealand…


Join me? Bloggers Night Out – BYOB*

*(Bring Your Own Book).

* * * * * *

Thanks again, notsomoderngirl – I had fun doing this! And as usual, I tag anyone who’d like to answer these questions… 😀

48 thoughts on “Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone…

  1. Of course I’d be in – it’s just across the way – well the New Zealand version is! 🙂 And I’m with you on the latest lost/distressed/depressed/victimised girl ‘thriller’.


  2. What a thoroughly marvellous quiz, and I am so HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I held my breath at overhyped, thinking I was going to be screeching and screaming at you in small, very angry finch fashion. Am so happy you rated Bulgakov so highly, laughed at the spoof chemistry………BUT I really can’t agree with Kalfus having companions. I think I almost rate that cover as peerless. I can hardly understand how it can be so enormously potent, so that thinking about the cover, never mind seeing it, brings it to my mind’s eye again. Oh, sorry, the question of course wasn’t ‘what is a cover you love’, but judging a book .and your answer is perfectly sensible……


    • Haha! I wish I’d thought of doing the bird, so to speak! But those red-jacketed girls really deserve it more – they could at least show some originality in colour choice! Trotsky’s nearly as much fun as Bulgakov – I’m thinking of becoming a totalitarian dictator now that I know how. But I’ll be kind (mostly) though I may insist that Ms Tartt wear red and spend eternity modelling for other people’s book covers. I love the Kalfus cover and totally don’t understand why they changed it – maybe to appeal more to men? I quite like the other cover too, but not nearly as much as this one…


  3. Oh, I just love your answers to this one, FictionFan! And it’s a great meme, too. I couldn’t agree more with your response to the ‘Drama’ question, too… And how did I know somehow that Mr. Darcy would find a way to make an appearance….? 😉 – Oh, and I do love the title of your post!


    • Thanks, Margot – yes, it’s a good tag this – I’ve run out of “interesting facts” about me! Haha! I’m a bit mean to these “girl” books, but they deserve it… 😉 I don’t understand how that man always manages to sneak in to my posts – but if he’d been my Chemistry teacher I may have paid a bit more attention…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved the comments on the “Girl” themed books. Now if they were called “copy-cat” thrillers……..
    Small, hairy, loves mushrooms – is there anybody in our family who isn’t a hobbit?


    • Haha! Thank you! Does that mean they’re going to bury me?? Ah, who else but my Darcy could appear there? (Oh, and Lizzie, I suppose…) Oh good – I’ll meet you there then. I’ll tell Rosie Cotton to get the beers ready…


  5. Ah, New Zealand looks so lovely! And I too am not one bit surprised at seeing the lovely Mr. Darcy included! Well done, ma’am — seems you haven’t forgotten how to “do school”!!


  6. Love your responses. Now I demand a copy of The Girl in a Red Coat! (Can that be the elusive FF walking in the snow?!) Perhaps we retitle it to Girl Catching a Train in a Red Coat to really make the connection….?

    I take issue with A Princess of Mars cover… There appears to be a bare chested swordsman saving the planet. I don’t think you were being completely honest. Alt-facts, perhaps? It’s quite contagious…


    • Haha! Nooooooo!! Just some generic girl – I’d be frightened to wear a red jacket these days, since I’ve discovered it apparently makes you the target of every murderer and stalker in the world – and even some in the other world!

      Arghhhhh! I’ve just had a vision of KellyAnne as the Princess and now I’m soooooo hoping she doesn’t get saved after all. A few centuries locked up in a Martian dungeon would do her good – she looks like she needs the rest…


  7. What a brilliant and original tag and your response to Drama was far better than your oh so predictable answer to Chemistry although I was surprised you hadn’t cropped the picture a little more snuggly around Darcy!!


    • It’s a good one isn’t it? Feel tagged, should you wish to join in! Haha – I’m so mean to these red-coated girls but they’re used to people being mean to them… 😉 I have a brand new fantasy of Darcy being my Chemistry teacher… suddenly the subject seems more interesting… *dreams*

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’d love to go to The Green Dragon – good choice! But I think I’ll stay put in Hobbiton, unlike Bilbo and Frodo. I’m not as brave as they are.

    As for book blurbs, I’ve always thought it would be really hard to write one that is original, true to the book, and still makes the book sound good! I wonder if people would still buy the books if the blurbs were a little more realistic…


    • It looks so lovely in that picture! I might have gone off with Strider to Gondor, but I’d have left Sam and Frodo to go to Mordor without me!

      I know – sometimes they definitely read as if written by someone who hasn’t read the book, which I feel should be the first requirement really! And I do understand the compulsion to declare that every book is brilliant, but it doesn’t really help… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a great survey! I don’t know how I’d answer most of these. I’d love to visit the Shire too. I just found out there’s a real one (sort of) in Spain, where we’re hoping to go this year. Darcy and Elizabeth would be a close match with Jamie and Claire for me (not fair really because we get so much more of Jamie and Claire).


    • You should try – consider yourself tagged if you’d like to have a go! Ooh, Spain might be easier to get to than New Zealand… or Middle Earth. You must take pics if you go, and blog them. 🙂 For some reason I’m the only person in the world who hasn’t watched Outlander, but I’ve heard Jamie’s a bit special… 😉


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