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  1. Well, it's been a while since I even thought of updating, so bear with me. I may be a little rusty with this concept of writing about myself and what's going on at length.

    Of late I've been somewhat inundated by work and stress. I've managed to overcome a knee injury to immediately find myself sidelined again by a back strain. I've also started to work on a new project, an epic space opera with a Dune influence (more updates on that when things really start to roll; thus far, I've been in the planning stage).

    But what I really want to write about is the book list of must-read books I've been making of late. It would be fair to say that, for a supposedly educated twenty-year-old, I've missed out on a surprising amount of books. I've never read Pride and Prejudice, Tess of the D'Urbervilles has never previously interested me, and I've never gone beyond the front cover of Catch-22.

    I've broken this list down: SF is my preferred genre, and my 'must-reads' there have numbered 31. Works of non-fiction clock in at about a dozen. Modern classics aplenty (around 20) are there, alongside a slightly smaller number of older classics.

    Perhaps the most surprising category of these 'must-reads' are the contemporary works I want to read over the coming months. The Da Vinci Code... Twilight... They're not exactly classics, so why bother with them? I've always found it interesting to broaden my horizons with works such as those as well as the many hundreds of actual classics.

    I've already knocked the first book off the list. Iain M. Banks' Look To Windward was completed last week with the sound of me in awe in the background. I'm a big fan of Banks, and Windward didn't let me down in the slightest.

    Just to sign off, if people want to make recommendations, I'm open to them. My horizons need broadening, and what better way to find new books than to have them suggested to me?
  2. I was writing at about 2 in the morning the other night when I came up with this. It's unpolished and needs a bit more direction, but I was thinking of introducing it into Labyrinthine Ways as a prologue, with it taking place around six months before the story proper starts, and with it hopefully giving some definition to characters. It's unfinished, obviously, but if people could give me a little feedback that would be more than useful.

    * * *

    The young man struck a lone figure as he made his way up the cliffside path, leaving the clutch of oil lamps of the streets behind him as he ascended the craggy rock path, long strides making short word of the steep incline, turning a corner so the harbour beneath was out of sight.

    Night was falling, the narrow path being cast into long shadows by the boiling orb of the sun as it sank beneath the western horizon, unbearable incandescent white turning to an expanding ball of orange. Darkness had already fallen in the harbour, which was shielded from the sun by the cliffs, their long shadows stretching out to sea like a colossal hand extending its reach over a table of cards.

    Hummd Greig made the last few steps to the top of the cliff and looked around, brushing one of his long brown-black strands of hair from his eyes. He was tall, with an elegant, easy demeanour and a confidence in the set of his shoulders that bordered on youthful arrogance. One hand rested easily on the handle of a knife, ready to bring it to his defence whilst seeming completely at ease in his surroundings, not betraying any nervousness he may have possessed. With a smile, he continued to walk towards a second, smaller, figure.

    She was stood near the edge of the cliff, her back to Hummd as she gazed over the ocean, the angry reflection of the sun appearing to cast a thousand flames in the peaks and troughs of the waves. She had folded her arms, and seemed to be ignoring her auburn hair as it whipped around in the breeze atop the cliff, standing sentinel-like until Hummd walked up to her, arms wide to receive a hug in greeting. Only then did she turn, her young face thunderous as she raised a single open hand and slapped Hummd hard around the face.

    "Damn it, Rachel, I was only trying to be friendly."

    Rachel turned back away, her face streaked by tears. "Be friendly to someone who wants it, Hummd."

    "What have I done?"

    "What have you done?" Rachel echoed, incredulity in every syllable. She turned again, recrossing her arms as Hummd took a wary step out of her reach. "Hummd, what haven't you done?"
  3. It's official: I'm a cheapskate and a skinflint.

    I suppose that both of those things are to be expected, being a student and a Yorkshireman, but to suddenly discover the limits of what you'll spend on any given thing is quite a shock.

    Take yesterday as an example. I was sat up in the law hub working much of the day while the usual traffic of that part of the building went past me. Added to that traffic, however, was the congestion of a large queue to buy law society hoodies. There was quite some interest, as they have a new design, come in a new colour (black), and bear the line 'Make crime pay: become a lawyer' across the back. I stuck my head around the pillar next to the two tables where the president of the law society and her henchmen were presiding over the sales to have a gander at the price. On seeing the price, I promptly went back to my desk to carry on working. There's no way I'm paying £21 for a hoodie with a naff joke on the back.

    Today told me my limits less so. Myself and a (female) friend went to see Slumdog Millionaire, and for every pound I spent I felt myself die a little inside. The best part of £30 went on the two of us, and for me, that's a lot. When on a night out I seldom spend over a tenner (unless some cunning individual discovers that I've not bought a round - and even then I normally try to make it as cheap as possible).

    I think it's fair to say that when it comes to money I'm pretty tight, and I fear that it's going to get worse over coming months.