Friday, November 27, 2009

David Copperfield's Tales of the Impossible

This lovely hard cover book is full of stories of the impossible and magic where each of them leaves you wondering how the authors came to write them; and what wonderful writers they are! I don't fully remember how I came to own this book, however, I don't ever wish to be rid of it as within its gorgeous pages are authors such as Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz and Raymond E Feist; just to name three. Even David Copperfield writes the first story called 'Snow' and I find his words are incredible; and I see him more than just an illusionist and magician in life. He's also got a talent with words. So, if your tastes in books and reading include magic, what-if situations and the impossible, this is definitely worth tracking down for a read.

I've found a lot of information on David Copperfield's official website that I can't cut and paste here. So, I'll put a link to it on the sidebar so you can click on it and find the information about this book and other projects he has taken part in over his life; as well as follow where his show is going to be next.

The Day It Rained Forever by Ray Bradbury

I have to tell the truth with this one, I have never read any of his books until I received this one in the mail early this month. And the moment I began reading it later that afternoon, I found myself absolutely pulled into his style and his wonderful flexibility with his stories. Each story has a different feel and style from one to the other; and that's how a good story-teller should be. What I also found is that Ray Bradbury didn't bury me with too much detail or make his writing heavy with too many repetitive and descriptive words. And this is the magic about his work; even though I'm only just now delving into his books. Now, though, I'd like to read longer works he's written; not just his short stories, I want to see if his words have the same effect as they do in his short stories.

Ray Bradbury
was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. He graduated from a Los Angeles high school in 1938. Although his formal education ended there, he became a "student of life," selling newspapers on L.A. street corners from 1938 to 1942, spending his nights in the public library and his days at the typewriter. He became a full-time writer in 1943, and contributed numerous short stories to periodicals before publishing a collection of them, Dark Carnival, in 1947.
On the occasion of his 80th birthday in August 2000, Bradbury said, "The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was twelve. In any event, here I am, eighty years old, feeling no different, full of a great sense of joy, and glad for the long life that has been allowed me. I have good plans for the next ten or twenty years, and I hope you'll come along."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Father Christmas Letters by JRR Tolkien

When JRR Tolkien's children were young, and they wrote letters to Father Christmas, he thought to play a game with them and have Father Christmas write them back. This began when they were very young and Tolkien continued this over some years until they became too old do to it; until the fantasy wore off. However, the letters from both parties were kept as what was written in them had begun to shape into a story for the children to follow. Tolkien had included drawings and detailed descriptions of Father Christmas with his Reindeer and where he lived during the year. This is a very special book to have in any collection of a Tolkien fan; particularly if you have the hardcover green book (which is sadly out of print now). However, I've been able to find 5 copies on with prices ranging between $31.00 and $300.00 all in fine condition. But all is not lost! You can acquire a miniature 3-book lot of this book in its own case wrapped in plastic (which I received a few years ago; and I've kept it in its wrappings to keep it in good shape).

I'm a very big fan of JRR Tolkien and have been collecting his work over the last decade or so. In coming posts, I will review a few books that have been hard to find or were a limited print run so you know what to look out for in case you wish to take up the thrilling - and rather addictive - hobby of hunting for rare and out of print books.

JRR Tolkien (1892-1973) was a major scholar of the English language, specialising in Old and Middle English. Twice Professor of Anglo-Saxon (Old English) at the University of Oxford, he also wrote a number of stories, including most famously The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955), which are set in a pre-historic era in an invented version of the world which he called by the Middle English name of Middle-earth. This was peopled by Men (and women), Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, Orcs (or Goblins) and of course Hobbits. He has regularly been condemned by the Eng. Lit. establishment, with honourable exceptions, but loved by literally millions of readers worldwide.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November Book Buys

Wow! Another month's gone by so quickly; and I've been out and about purchasing books here and there and everywhere as well! And you'd be surprised what I've been getting onto my shelves lately! Have a gander!

My first purchase this month was at an Adra-Care Store of a few classics. There was 'The Invisible Man' by H.G Wells, 'The Damned and the Beautiful' by F.Scott Fitzgerald, 'Last of the Ranshai' by Mickey Zucker Reichert and 'Heathcliff: The Sequel To Wuthering Heights' by Lin haire-Sargeant; as well as 'The Dream House' by Rachel Hore. Yes. All of these came from a charity store down the road from me and at bargain basement prices too!

Then, I decided to have a 'Name That Painting; Win An Art Book' Competition when I decided to
finish one of my paintings from years ago. So, I found a great art book at QBD as the prize (which will be drawn at the end of January 2010!). It's 'Barrington Barber Drawing Class: Learn to Draw in 12 Lessons'. This was the only brand new book I bought this month... and what a book! Now, QBD have a large range of art books that cater for a wide range of artists from oil painters to chalk pastel artists. So, I thought a drawing book that taught the winner of my competition how to draw from scratch was a good idea (and would help the seasoned artist to practice the techniques they have forgotten).

Then, recently, I purchased a foreign book. It 'The Dark
Half' by Stephen King in German. I bought this little beauty from the 'Bayers Trading Post Pty Ltd' at Redland Bay here in Queensland. This place was on my way to the markets sells some of the most unusual stuff around; and has a good number of books at a very good price! It's worth checking out. The link to their site in on the sidebar.

So, there you have it! This month's purchases... not a bad lot of books, eh? Well, until next month. Happy Reading and I hope you keep looking for bargains as much as I do!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just After Sunset by Stephen King

Each story in this book has one thing in common: they all happen within a time span of just after sunset. That is the time between the sun dipping below the horizon, the streetlights coming on and the daytime creatures and night creatures switching shifts... yeah, you know the time. And Stephen King has thought about that time and written up a good lot of stories that are guaranteed to keep you up well past your bedtime reading them; then make you rethink about turning off your light.

I bought this book some time ago and immediately read some of the stories. However, I didn't go from beginning to end; I read them all over that place - picking and choosing the ones that had interesting titles. Now, this isn't how I normally read short story books; and I'm glad I decided to read it this way because it gave me a great idea at how good this book is. The further I got into it, the creepier the stories got! So, if you like to gradually get scared more little by little, this is definitely the book for you!

Stephen King is the one of the best-selling writers and story-tellers of our generation. He's been scaring the life out of us since the early 1970's with such favourites as 'The Stand', 'IT', 'Carrie' and 'Christine'. His more recent works have still pulled the same fans ('Hearts of Atlantis', 'Bag of Bones', 'From A Buick 8' and 'Cell') and doesn't intend to stop writing. He lives in Bangor, Maine with his wife, Tabitha. His official website is on the sidebar for more information.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The New Twenty Book Treasury

There are times in my life that I just love to sit and read a few condensed books put out by Reader's Digest. And this is one of those books. When I first bought this one, I was young and didn't really know what I was buying at the time; not until I got this one home. All I read inside the front cover was 'First Edition' and paid the small price that the charity store was asking for. The next - and only other thing I wanted - from this book was the first book from it: 'The First Lady of the Seeing Eye' by Morris Frank and Blake Clark. This book is about the very first guide dog that was trained up for a visually impaired man and the difficulties he and the dog came across once they were left to their own devices in the real world.

I have a few books by Reader's Digest in my book collection that I love to read from time to time. However, I'm always hesitant to let them go.
I have yet to read more than just that first story in this particular book. If you want to good read of any book, do go out to a charity store and you will find them; all condensed books or their famous magazine.

Reader's Digest is a very popular company that publishes books, vinyls, cd's and other forms of entertainment. Check out their website on the side bar for more information.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Witch Book edited by Rand McNally & Company

What a wonderful book to read at any age. This gorgeous hard cover beauty is big and bold with lovely stories of all kinds about witches and their lives inside it by various authors. The pictures are lovely and well drawn; and the quality I don't see around anymore. And the stories are different from each as each are told in the great story-telling style that has vanished from the shelves of today. Even though there's only eight stories, there will be one that stay with you well after you close the covers of this rather heavy book. Mine? Well, it's 'Wanted: One Witch!'...

I'm not sure why I've kept this book; however
I read this book when I was young and haven't let it go; and don't intend to let it off my shelves. It's absolutely beautiful. I haven't found it on; however that doesn't mean it's not around. It just means it's hard to find and could possibly be out of print.

Unfortunately, I've been unable to find anything about the publishing company online. However, I'll be looking into the authors who wrote the stories in this book for you soon and adding to this post. So, keep an eye on the side bar for their official websites as well as here for more information about them; you never know, they may have written other popular fiction for children and we didn't know about this one.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Name That Painting Competition.

On one of my other blogs (A Natural Background), I have painting I'm fixing up. However, I don't have a name for it yet. It's my own art and I painted it years ago and rushed it.

I can hear you wondering what this has to do with books... well...

So, here's what I'd like you - the follower of my blog/s - to do. Help me name the painting for me. The person who I find has given it the best name will win an art book. I will post internationally and the competition will be drawn at the end of January 2010 (when the painting has been completed). So, this will give you plenty of time to think of a suitable name for this un-named piece.

You can enter as many times a you want and I'll be contacting the winner through the comments section for their address (if I don't have your e-mail address).

Good luck

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

It's 1985 and there's somebody out there killing off the masked heroes from the 1960's. One by one they're dying off from either cancer or are being murdered in cold blood. But who is doing it? The police are at a complete loss and the others who haven't been targeted yet are in hiding. There haven't been great heroes like these people since a law was passed that it was illegal to be a renegade. So, some of the retired ones are determined to find out who is killing off their friends - even if they don't socialise with them anymore - because they are the only people they can reminisce with about the good, old days when they kicked butt.
However, there's something else hovering on the horizon. This something is a war. Not the one in the Middle East that the government is concerned about; the one that is going to be waged against the population of New York... and the Earth. But can the remaining heroes figure out who is behind both the murders and the war in time to save mankind?

I have been a very big fan of graphic novels for a long time. However the ones I've read are somewhat thinner than this one; and they were sold monthly. This is one novel that I held out for to read instead of seeing the film all because I know it was going to be better than what Hollywood was going to pump out.

Alan Moore was born in Northampton in 1953. He was the oldest son of a brewery worker and a printer. Moore's childhood and youth was influenced with the poverty of his family and environment. After being expelled from a conservative secondary school in 1971, he was unemployed with no job qualifications. Moore began working with
Embryo a magazine he and his friends began publishing; which led to his involvement in the Northampton Art Lab. In 1979, Moore began working as a cartoonist for the weekly music magazine Sounds. Moore decided to focus his efforts on writing and less on arts.
In 1982 and 1983, Moore had The British Eagle Awards for Best Comics Writer. His exceptional writing skills won him his first American series Saga of the Swamp Thing. In addition to this series, he also penned several other DC titles such as Tales of the Green Lantern Corps, Batman Annual and several Superman titles. In 1986, Moore came out with Watchmen when DC was reconstructing their comic's universe.
Currently, Moore has his own imprint, America's Best Comics (ABC), under which he's once again paving new territory with several new series: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Promethea, Tom Strong, Tom Strong's Terrific Tales, Tomorrow Stories and Top Ten. Moore's other projects include CD's and a book or two…in addition to his desire to become a magician.

Dave Gibbons, born April 14th in 1949, has been playing a major role in the world of comics for over 30 years now. He began his comics career in 1973, when he started to contribute to the magazine 2000. Since then he has drawn and written for all the major publishers in North America and his home country Great Britain. His work has been and still is published all over the world. He has depicted the adventures of SUPERMAN, BATMAN, DR WHO, DAN DARE and GREEN LANTERN, amongst many many others.He co-created the long running ROGUE TROOPER for 2000 A.D., where he also worked on HARLEM HEROES In 1982, he began drawing the 'Green Lantern' series for a memorable run. Real big success came when he collaborated with Alan Moore on the famous'WATCHMEN' for D.C. comics in 1986/87, for which he got an Hugo award.
With Watchmen coming out as a major motion-picture from director Zack Snyder ("300") with designs tightly based on Dave's work in the comic, Dave has a book called "WATCHING THE WATCHMEN" coming out (detailing the origin of the comic, including script pages, breakdowns, early designs and lots more).
His contributions to comics are just too numerous to mention them all here, go look at the checklist to find out about all of his work. He currently lives in Britain with his wife and son and you can see him frequently at conventions there.

Check out these guy's fan sites I've put on the sidebar for more info!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Pinkish, Purplish, Bluish Egg by Bill Peet

Myrtle is a dove whose nest is empty and she's very depressed about it. So, she goes in search for some eggs to sit on so she feels useful. She searches far and wide to find the right kind of eggs to take to her nest and finds a massive one in a cave one day. However, she wonders how she's going to get it back to the nest; until some playful squirrels roll it around and up the tree and put there for her.
It's not long until the other birds and animals notice that pinkish, purplish, bluish egg dominating Myrtle's rather small nest and her sitting on it to keep it warm. And even sooner that the birds and animals voice their opinions of how ridiculous she looks atop of that egg. Even the owl says that egg will never hatch because it's too cold and she's not big enough to keep it warm.
But the egg does hatch; and what comes out of it isn't a bird... in fact, it's far from anything that looks like it.

Bill Peet is famous for working with Walt Disney and writing and illustrating many children's books. There's so much to look at and read on his website that I think I'll let you have a look at it on the sidebar yourself; as I don't really know what to put in here.