Sunday, July 5, 2015

Books-a Travellin' With Me

I love to travel and I love to read... thus meaning when I go on holidays, I take some books with me. However, I do come home with a box - or two - more in the boot of the car.

Last Thursday, I stayed overnight at a friend's house to work on a new painting and took a couple of books with me to read before bed. However that never happened - even though I put the Kurt Vonnegut bok on the bed with my glasses case next to it. Instead, I just snuggled down under the covers with my hand on the book and closed my eyes 'for a second' and crashed.

I woke up to my alarm at 6am the next morning in the dark with the book and my glasses case neatly on the floor next to my bed. My friend's husband had come in to turn off my light and found my attempt to read my book 'rather charming' and took it upon himself to make sure I didn't harm the book or my glasses case and put them onto the floor for me.  Yeah, I have great friends who know I love my books enough to not want to leave them where I'd probably damage them - or my glasses case.

But I do love to travel with my reading material so when I do get the time to read, I can just sit and read. What books to you love to take with you when you go on holidays? A bit of suspense and thrills? Or do you love being scared by some horror? Or are you at the other end of the scale where you're a big romantic? Me?  I love to read short stories and some non-fiction about writing and publishing. Until my next post, happy reading! 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Book Buys!

I have been good... really! I didn't so much buy any books, but acquired them. Okay, I added to my collection, but I didn't spend any more money.

Alright - I did sin and get some more books, but that's not the point, I bought only one book.

One! That was it! Honestly!

Good, now we got the confession out of the way of how many I bought and ... oh wait, I didn't tell you which ones I bought... here we go.

On 12th, June, I was out and about on a very wet week here in Brisbane.  I should have stayed home, but I didn't.  I wanted to get a few things done that Mum asked me to do, and so I drove out to a friend's house to drop off my late-Uncle's deed to his house (which this friends lives in). 
Well, he offered up some books to me, and I looked at a huge table covered in books he wanted to get rid of for nothing.  A lot of the topics weren't what I was interested in; but there were some that I am passionate about... so I took five books.
'Albatross Book of Verse: School Edition' edited by Louis Untermyer was one which Frank (our friend) had had since he was at school, and didn't mind letting go of. This book - and many like this book - are usually filled with verse you don't see anywhere else; and I love these books because of this.
'Black Gold & Intrigue: The Story of Mt Morgan' by Cyril Grabs. I don't know much about this one, but it's the story of Mount Morgan.
'Please Explain' by Karl Kruszelnicki is a book about science and about things we wonder about which sometimes we don't know the explanation to... so he's explained them to us in the best way he knows how.
'Crop Circles: Signs, Wonders and Mysteries' by Steve and Karen Alexander.  This title explains itself... and I love these things as they are mostly unexplained and very X-Files. 
'Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Home Improvement'. Now this is something I'd love to have a go at... see if it all works.
The book I bought and would love to see if it works on my stresses is 'Animal Kingdom' by Millie Margotta. It's a complex colouring book for adults with patterns and animals for us to colour in and add patterns to.  It was around $25.00 at Riot Art at Carindale Westfield here in Brisbane. I'll be photocopying some of the pages first to see how it goes... then I'll actually colour in the book.

Well, there you have it, the books I came across and now have in my collection this month.  Which ones did you get in your hot little hands this month?  Did you really wish for them, or were they bought just because they happened to be there and you wanted them on the spur of the moment?  Until my next post happy reading!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Adult Colouring-in Books

Okay... I'm jumping on the band wagon!

This is something I very rarely do, and I'm doing it because I have loved to colour in since I was very young; and have been an artist for so long that painting and colouring go hand-in-hand... 

So, yesterday, while I was out at Carindale Westfield Shopping Centre looking around at Riot Art, I bought 'Animal Kingdom' by Millie Margotta. It wasn't a cheap book but it was worth it... and really I was looking for medium-sized magnets, and they were out of stock - it seems all the stores are.

Well, I bought this book after looking at them all and haven't regretted it.  It's filled with so much and I don't want to just jump in and colour it in - as I'm not one to do that to an expensive book.  I'm going to photocopy some of the pages and colour them in and then after a while, I'll colour the originals in properly with good pencils.

I know that sounds weird, but because I don't have that much money laying around, I feel as though I have something here that needs to be savoured, relished and enjoyed to the very end... and that is just what I'm going to do.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Book I Have Had The Longest

I read online recently an article about books and how some people think that the old traditional hard covers and paperbacks are going to be a thing of the past... something only antiquated bookstores and hard-core collectors will have lining their walls and living rooms to show off when guests drop - kind of like works of art where nobody goes near them anymore.

However, I don't do that. My books are more than just artwork.  Yes they line the walls of my home office and yes, I do make artwork about them. But I make sure I read the books in my collection. I haven't seen books go in the direction of what people think they're going; in fact, it's the opposite.

People want the tactile feel of a real book.

They want to have that book in their hot little hands, to feel and smell the newness of the lovely new book which hasn't had its spine cracked, pages turned, or words read yet.  And many more people love the odour of the old books; the history of these wonderful tomes of where they've been of how long they've been around, what secrets they hold and whose homes, old bookstores, glory boxes and old back wardrobes they've been in for so many years before being found yet again to be read again - to reveal their beautiful secrets within their worn covers.

However, what I have said in the title is 'the book I have had the longest' ... not my oldest book - no, that's easy to point that out. Not my most out-of-print book/s... that's easier still.  I'm trying to pinpoint the book I've had in my possession the longest.

And you know something? I don't know... It could be 'The Sly Old Cat' by Enid Blyton in a little white hardcover that Mum gave me when I was little about a horrible little cat who tricked a mouse into being its meal (I mean, who writes this stuff?).
It could be 'Dips'n'Doodles' which is about a young girl who gets snow skis for her birthday, but is too scared to go on her first skiing lesson - especially when she finds out that the biggest thing stopping her is herself.
It could any of my 'Debbie' books... oh they're real collector's items.  They've been with me since I was around ten years old; and the illustrator passed away only a few years ago. The books were about the writer's daughter - I found out recently - and she looks just like the little girl in the book! They are lovely stories with a moral in the end.
So, any of those books were my first, and longest-kept books in my collection.  Which book has been with you the longest? Please do tell us by leaving a comment below, we'd love to know.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

'Harry Helps Grandpa Remember' Book Launch

Yesterday, I was at the book launch of 'Harry Helps Grandpa Remember' by Karen Tyrrell at the Logan North Library.  

There were families and children there from all backgrounds and fun was had by everyone as it was launched by a pantomime of the story!  The characters were loved by all as they took on the stage at the children's section in the library and the author herself, Karen Tyrrell, read out the book the all the children.

This book does have a serious message though. It carries a message that Grandparents get old, slow-moving - and sometimes - they have memory problems.  These memory problems can become very serious if they don't keep up with their favourite things, like reading, crosswords, Sudoku and socialising with others as well as cooking, gardening and dancing. 

If you'd like a copy of this book, go to Karen Tyrrell's site here and you buy yourself a copy, and you can find her other books there as well. Until my next post, happy reading.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Slowly, But Surely...

Over the last few months or so, I've had a few problems with writing - and reading - books.  It's been annoying the crap out of me to no end, but I can feel the block now loosening and see the tiny, growing light at the end of the tunnel.  That light is called 'Creativity' and my Muse.

Yeah, us writers have Muses and mine has been sulking somewhere and I have finally been able to not think about my work long enough to get in and do some creative work.

Now, I'm not writing, but I've gotten back into my painting.  Okay, it's not the written word, but it's the visual arts; which is similar, because I do book art, and it's great... I love painting about books and doing works on books.

Well, I've been working on two little paintings of books; and just yesterday, I placed a creepy eye behind some of those painted books, and left it alone for a bit to see how it goes - I hope it works out for me and I'll see how to put a nice eye on the other one.

Now, I'm thinking of going back over some of my flash fiction and working on editing some of my work there... yep, my creative side is coming back from the desert of Writer's Block - but it's a slow process, a really slow process - as I haven't been completely blocked for this long in both ways (reading books and writing them).  Usually, it's one or the other, not both.  Well, until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Book Score!

Yesterday, I was out and about in the rainy day here in Brisbane, and I found myself at Holland Park West at a friend's house.  He's been cleaning out his house - calling out to friends on Facebook to come and get things he doesn't want - and I called him to see if he was home.  Fortunately he was, and I so dropped around to give him something Mum asked me to drop off.

Well, what started out as a general conversation turned into us going into the downstairs basement area looking at his books he no longer needed or wanted.

A lot of them were from his naturopath days when he ran a business at Stones Corner; but being retired now, he finds he no longer needs them. But there were other books there too.  From anatomy to herbs, to gardening and meditation, he had books on pretty much everything!  I picked out a few books to bring home with me that I am extremely happy with!

'Albatross Book of Verse: School Edition'
'Gold: Black Gold The Story of Intrigue - the Story of Mount Morgan' by Cyril Grabs
'Please Explain' by Karl Kruszelnicki
'Crop Circles: Signs, Wonders and Mysteries' by Steve and Karen Alexander
'Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Home Improvement'

Now, there were many more books piled up there under his house, but I only chose those six... which I think is quite good of me; seeing how I really can't control myself around books normally. 

Well, that was my score for the day... what have you been getting your nose into lately? Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, June 5, 2015

My Reading Chair Is Home!

I'm so excited!

Yes me!  

For one thing I'm reading again... yes... it's a lot of being excited for that first thing.  I'm reading 'The Call of Cthulhu: And Other Weird Stories' by H.P Lovecraft.  What a wordsmith!  Really, he suckered me right in on the first story of this book - when really I normally just dive right in the middle of books which had short stories in them.

The second reason why I'm so excited is because my Reading Chair is finally home!  Yesterday afternoon, Ash Chapman Upholsterers delivered my chair and it's now sitting in my home office looking very sassy and regal.  I love it... but I love it more because I put a lot of care into fixing it up and getting it done up.

Oh!  Photos!  Here's a photo of the sweet chair with a brand new table next to it I scored at Far Pavilion (a place with all kinds a wild and interesting things for the home).  Isn't it a 'come and sit in me' kinda chair?  Isn't it a gorgeous, beautiful chair?  I love it.

Well, there's enough my gushing about my Reading Chair.  Now, it's your turn, show us all your favourite reading chair - now I've shown you mine. Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Book Buys!

I've been good this month with only three purchases over the whole month - and one of them was online - so that was very good.

The first book I purchased, I've had my eye on for a long time, 'Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways To Write Great Fiction, Get Published & Earn Your Audience' by Chuck Wendig. Now I've had my eye on this book for over six months and really wanted it... so I thought to search it out on Amazon; but they wouldn't send it to me because I was outside America.  Bummer!  So, I looked at other sites which did on Amazon and found CherryBooks.  They were in California - which meant it wouldn't take long to get here and the postage would be cheaper for me.  Within the week, I received my second-hand copy of Chuck's book and was reading it.

Then, I went for weeks without buying any books - honestly I did!  I looked through K-Mart where new books came out and walked through second-hand stores filled to the brim with books, but I just wasn't interested in any of them.

But I was out and about yesterday and drove to the Really Good Book Shop at Browns Plains and scored myself 'Labyrinth' by Kate Mosse and 'The Call of Cthulthu - and other stories' by H.P Lovecraft.  Two great books by two great authors. 

I've been meaning to get my nose into a Lovecraftian novel and pull myself out of this problematic slump I'm in, I think this book will do it.  

So, what have you been getting into?  Have you guys and gals bought anything this month newsworthy? Until my next post, happy reading!

Blogger Recognition Award

Today, I was told by one of my regular visitors, in a comment, that they had nominated me for a 'Blogger Recognition Award'. 

Now, I have this award, there's a few things I have to do to pass it on to the people I've nominated. 

1.  I must thank the person who nominated me.
2.  I must write a piece about my blog - to show it off - and talk about my how my blog came about, and then give a bit of blogging advice of beginners.
3.  Select 15 bloggers to share this award with and post their link down the bottom. 

Well, first thing's first!  I must thank Captivated Reader for this, as she's always been one of the first people to either read my posts and comment on them. She's also a fellow Bookcrosser who I helped into getting a blog together when she was hoping to get herself into the blogging world.

My Blog's Story

Okay... now, some of you know why I write this particular blog, but a lot of you don't.  As a majority of you know, I'm a huge collector of books.  But as to why I started the blog in the first place?  Well, it was basically to review all of my books in one place for the world to see them as I did.  
And because I have a huge collection of books which cover a variety of genres, I knew there would be a lot of them people across the world, on the net, who wouldn't have seen these book in their lives. 

Like I said, I'm a collector... so I have books which are rare, signed and out of print.  I was putting them all up on my blog here in the beginning.

Then, I ran out of space for pictures and started using the links to put photos up through photobucket.com. and it was easier for you guys to see more of my books through my photo album on there.

My blog started changing - morphing if you will - into something different, better. I started talking to authors and letting them know I had reviewed their books and they were willing to speak to me and do interviews with me as well.  I also got out of the office and started going to bookstores around my city and doing reviews on them. Then, e-books came into play and I started working on the differences between the traditional books and e-books, and how they are much of a muchness... and yet found no matter how you read your books, so long you're reading, it's all the same.

So, my blog has morphed in so many ways, changing in the ways of a garden does when it grows and is improved by the gardener.  It's been getting better and better over the years.  I've been writing books and reading them; but I've never moved away from this blog because of my love of books - collecting, reading and writing them alike.

Blogging Advice

Now, if you'd like to start your own blog, it's easy and hard.  The hard part is picking your platform - which blogging program you'd like to use.  There's plenty out there to pick from - WordPress, Blue, Blogger and others.  However, I've found a few of them a little complex for the beginner and chose Blogger for it's ease and also it doesn't expect you to be a computer whiz. You do have a certain amount of space for photos, though, so get used to using the link button up the top when you're posting. And it's great when you want to change your templates - however it'll feel complex at first, it's not  after a little while.  And the best thing with Blogger is that you can have quite a few blogs on differing subjects under the same manager and it doesn't cost you anything.

Okay, the high-tech stuff is out of the way, it's time to have fun... enjoy writing your blog. Make it colourful, speak the way you want to on it. I've got a few which consent forms on them (which is in your settings) and just be yourself... there's really no rules to blogging; except to keep up with it so you keep your followers interested.

Speaking of which:  it takes time for people to know you... so it might take a couple of years for people to follow you.  Facebook is a good place to share your blog. Also getting fellow bloggers - who blog on similar subjects as you do - onto your blog is a good thing.  You can make plenty of friends online through blogging.  For me, it's the list below... well, some of them:

Book View Cafe
Dreamworld Books
True Book Addict
The New Dork Review of Books
Calico Writes
The Space Between
Excelsior
Debbie Robson
The Passive Voice
Becky's Book Reviews
Wet Panty Stories

Oh no!  I have only eleven links... bummer!  These are the most recent bloggers on my 'Further Reading' on the side bar.  The others near the bottom are over two months old; and I don't want anything too old to be looked at here... sorry it's a few short.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Spick'n'Specs

There's good news...

I'm writing again - a little.

I'm also reading again - a little.

At least I'm getting in and doing a little of both things I love, and not peeling the paint off the walls of my townhouse, right?

After purchasing 'The Kick-Ass Writer' by Chuck Wendig, and reading the introduction out to my Mum - who found it was laugh-out-loud hilarious and wanted to look at the book - I've made time (yep, forced myself) to sit down for twenty minutes a day to read parts of the book.  

This has done me a lot of good. Not only has it given a good laugh about my craft, but it's made me think about what I've been writing as well.

Gotta throw Chuck a big thank you in his direction - and I know how too: he loves Tim Tams.  He got addicted to them when he visited Brisbane a few years ago and told us so in a blog post... so I'll be sending him some of those. 

But I've been writing a book for my niece. It's a book about life, an advice column about what I'd tell my own daughter - if I had one - and about things I've love her to know if we saw each other more. I write a few lines here and there; and I've got a book filled with one-line advice too I've been working on since she was twelve years old.

Hopefully I'll have it all finished before she's eighteen. Well, that's something I'm hoping for.  I was going to put recipes and how to remove stains from almost everything and anything and things I've found out in life on my own.

So... yeah, I've begun writing again - and reading too - but it's a slow, uphill climb. It will be for a while until I'm on top again with another book working away at me. Until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The World Loses Tanith Lee

One of my favourite of favourite writers passed away on Sunday, aged 67. 

Being unable to read until the age of 8, when her father taught her to read, Tanith Lee loved the written word throughout her life. She wrote and published her first vignette aged 21. She worked various jobs as a file clerk assistant and librarian while sending out her works to be considered for publication; and her first publications were children's fantasies 'The Dragon Hoard' and 'Animal Castle', published in 1971 and 1972.

In 1975, DAW published her first adult fantasy 'The Birthgrave'.  This company would go on to publish more than 20 of her SFF and horror works during the 1970's and 1980's.

In 1980, Tanith Lee received The British Fantasy Society's August Derleth Award for her book 'Death's Master'; as well as the World Fantasy Awards for the Best Short Story in 1983 and 1984.  She was also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Awards from the World Fantasy Convention in 2013 and the World Horror Association (WHA) in 2015.

Even though this great author has seemed to have fallen silent over the last few decades, it's not true; as a 'Guardian' interview from 2010 has put through a quote:

'If anyone ever wonders why there's nothing coming from me, it's not my fault.  I'm doing the work. No, I haven't deteriorated or gone insane. Suddenly, I just can't get anything into print.' 

This is something a lot of writers from the seventies seem to have problems with; that they have fallen out of favour in the publishing world in recent times. This unfortunately causes them to drop from out of favour and become forgotten in the publishing circles.  However, there's one thing publishing companies forget about fans... we never forget our favourite writers. 

And, Tanith Lee will be one we will never forget.