Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Top Reads of 2009

This year, I have conquered last year's number of books read last year! And throughout the year, I reviewed almost all of them. So, I thought to let you all in on the ones that have stuck in my mind this year as my top reads. This list is in no particular order, here they are!

1. 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde.
2. 'I Am Legend' by Richard Matheson
3. 'I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings' by Maya Angelou
4. 'The Uncommon Reader' by Alan Bennett
5. 'A Life in Time & Space: The David Tennant Biography' by Nigel Goodall
6. 'Watchmen' by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
7. 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky
8. 'Blood Music' by Greg Bear
9. 'The Wave' by Todd Strasser
10.'Tuesdays With Morrie' by Mitch Albom

There you have it. My list of favourites out of twenty-seven books I've read this year. I'm currently reading 'Make Lemonade' by Virginia Euwer Wolff; and it's pretty good so far. I may yet add it to next year's list when I get going on 2010's Reading List. Otherwise, Happy Reading over the Holiday period.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December Book Buys 2009

Wow! This month has just flown by; and I thought to get this done a week before so save me time (also because I'm taking the time off from 'My Reading List' too). December has been a very quiet month on the book purchasing calendar with only three books that I've bought this time around. And because I've been concentrating on sending out Christmas Cards, getting the right gift for the right people and packing for the coast, I'm afraid, these few are all there is. But as the saying goes: good things come in small packages... or is it numbers?

'The Circle Dreamer' by Melaina Feranda was bought at Bayer's Trading Post Pty Ltd at Redland Bay here in Queensland. It's a nice shop that sells anything and everything; but it was the books that I found were amazingly cheap, yet in very good condition. When I read the back of this one, I found it was for young adults, yet I didn't want to leave it behind; thinking it may be a good light read one day in the future.

'Finbar's Hotel' devised and edited by Dermot Bolger. I bought this one at the same place as the above book. However, I no longer have this one in my shelves. I sent this book away to a good Bookcrossing friend of mine in Maroochydore. She loves these kinds of books; so I wrapped it up with 'On The Road' by Jack Kerouac and gave it to her for Christmas (along with 3kg of other books I thought she'd love too!). Unfortunately, there's no book cover for this one; however I should have taken a photo of it before sending off for this purpose.

'Under The Dome' by Stephen King was a book I bought at QBD at Garden City. This was on of my Christmas gifts for myself; as I have always bought myself a gift for this time of year (when you live alone, you do). I have heard bad reviews about this book, however, I believe that all writers - no matter who they are or how good they are, have books that are average; and SK is no exception.

So, there you have it! My book purchases for this month; and therefore this year! This year has flown by us so quickly. But I will most definitely see you all back here in the New Year with more books to review and talk about, more authors and their books to discuss and a competition or two to tempt you with. And until then, I wish you a very Happy Holidays to you all and a Safe and Prosperous New Year! Happy Reading you to all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Results of Do Nothing But Read Day

I had a very dull day to work with and didn't get any reading done until the afternoon when the rain settled in. Beforehand though, as you can see, I posted which books I'll be taking with me to the coast, the washing up was done and figured out a few things to be packed for next week, then I practiced a bit of the piano and settled into the lounge and read only two of the planned four books.

In 'The Great American Bus Ride' by Irma Kurtz, she took me partway across the top of America in the dead of Winter during snow storms and blizzards. Irma was stuck in the small town of Lancing for three days until one of the locals took her to the next town to catch the next Greyhound Bus to keep her going. She met a Native Indian who had been waiting at a freezing bus station for twenty-seven hours; yet he wasn't complaining. This is where I put the book down. I had read around thirty-five pages and decided to go onto my next book.

I was also traveling in 'Arthur' by Stephen Lawhead; however, we traveled by sea up the east coast of England from Londinium towards Scotland. He was hoping to talk to Lord Lot and secure himself and his warband a fleet of ships from Lot to fight the Sea Wolves and the Picts. Merlin was not happy about this as Lot's stepmother was his worst enemy and carried his fate in her hands; and his fate was death. The last scene I saw was the fleet of ships on the ocean heading out... and what a sight it was! I only got to read around twenty-five to thirty pages of this one before it was time to get in and clean up a little before dinner.

So, what books did you get into on Sunday? Let met know and and how far did you get into them? Which scene was your favourite? And did you get past any slow parts and into interesting parts?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Reads

As we all go on the Christmas Holiday Break, I'll be thinking about what you'll all be getting your noses into in the book world. I thought to let you in on my reading list for the holidays while I'm away. You see, I'll be reading as well as purchasing books on my vacation; yes, there's plenty of second-hand places to find some really unusual books where I'm going. Last year, I took four books with me, read one, got halfway through another and didn't read the other two. But I returned with fifteen other books! That's right! You read right. I weight the back of the car down with more books than I arrived with. Dad couldn't believe it! The wonderful thing is: I gave a lot of those books to friends. And some of those books are still awaiting their turn to be read; patiently sitting on my shelves for that day when I'll pick them up and read them. So, here's what I'll be taking to the coast with me.

'Make Lemonade' by Virginia Euwer Wolff. I've already begun it; and have found it very interesting and light. However, I'll see if I can get through it this week before I take off because of the other book I'm planning to take.

'Under The Dome' by Stephen King'. This is a book that I bought for myself for Christmas and have it wrapped up under the tree. So, once it's been unwrapped on the Big Day, I'll be packing it into the suitcase to take with me to while away the hours. I have read that this book a little average for SK, but every writer has their average books. Personally, I reckon he's got something brilliant that he's pacifying us with this for now until he publishes his next big book that'll blow us out of the water!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Reading Plans For 20th, December 2009!

The books I mainly have half-finished are stashed next to my bed. Honestly, I'm the worst person when it comes to putting a good book down and reading a bookring from Bookcrossing. Once I've finished a bookring, I totally forget that I was reading that first book in the first place and look for something else to read! Horror of horrors! What a dreadful person I am to just abandon a book by my bed in that fashion. So, tomorrow, I'm going to pick up some of the books I've left by my bed half-finished an have a go at them; and here are their titles:

'The Great American Bus Ride' by Irma Kurtz was given to me by a Bookcrosser and I dove straight into it! I love traveling - whether it be myself through my own means or through a book - I love it. However, once I found another book that needed reading within a certain amount of time in the mail, I put this one down and by my bed it stayed. This will be a good read tomorrow.

'Adam's Navel' by Michael Sims is another book I was given by a Bookcrosser. And I find it fascinating; yet it's a little on the boring side. But at times, when I've found it hard to sleep, I've have read bits and pieces
of it. But tomorrow, I'll read a big chunk of it if I can.

'Arthur' by Stephen Lawhead has been haunting my bedhead for a long time. I have read the first two books of this series and this book has gotten me bogged for some reason; and it's the third time I've tried to read it! Tomorrow is the day I'll get past the dull part I'm in and push into some good medieval action!

'The Day It Rained Forever' By Ray Bradbury is a book of short stories that I've found on my bookshelf with a bookmark in it. And I'll be poking my nose into this one tomorrow as well!

So, there you have it. My choice of books for tomorrow. I'll be reading between the hours of roughly 10am until late afternoon hopefully. And with these books by my side, I'm sure I'll be in good company.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do Nothing But Read For A Day!

Another blogger has had the greatest idea; and I thought to pass it on to you people to see if you'd like to take part. It's a do nothing and read for a day. Seeing you're all book lovers and readers, I think it sounds like a great challenge the get through some of the books we've gotten our noses into, read three-quarters of then put down for one reason or another.

So, how about it? On the 20th, December, we sit down and read for the whole day and don't worry about the housework, what's on television, anything else that's happening in the world that day and get our noses into our favourite thing to do!

I'm most definitely taking part; so you won't be seeing me on here or on

Friday, December 11, 2009

Good Spy Guide: Disguise & Make-Up by Rigby/Usborne Pocketbooks

For the ultimate in disguises on how to make a fake scar to making new eyebrows without having to go to the lengths of shaving your own off, this book will show you the ins and outs of being the perfect make-up artist and best kind of spy in your own home... and kids it's aimed at you! It's a funny and interesting way of whiling away the hours on a boring weekend during school holidays or trying to figure out which disguise would be the coolest for next Halloween (now there's an idea!).

I don't remember when I got this book as it's been in my possession for such a long time, I have never known my life without it. But I do remember trying out some of the scar and cut techniques in its pages; and found them pretty cool; even if my parents didn't think they weren't all that convincing. I've put this book into the database in and it didn't come up with it; so it may be out of print, or had a new title and reprint. In any case, it's a fun book for kids to fiddle around with.

At around the 1980's the popular Pocketbooks came out on the market that were fun and enjoyable to kids to get into. This one (The Good Spy Guide: Disguise & Make-Up) was published in 1978 and there were others published around 1980, 1981 and 1983 all on different subjects from 'Spotter's Guide to Flags' ,'Spotters Guide to Dinosaurs' and 'Spotters Guide to Airliners & Airlines' and also 'Fun With Electronics'. Being a company that was all for teaching kids a fun way of learning, they were popular and are now hard books to find or out of print.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ex Libris: Confession of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

Now, this is a book I just had to talk about before I finished it. It's a beautiful account of woman's love for her books and what she sees them as; along with her husband, George. In each chapter is a personal and touching view of how they married their two book collections together, what happened when they went on holidays and what books she read when she was pregnant (which she found interesting as much as I did). This wonderful - yet thin - book is a must on every booklover's To Be Read list. However, I will be looking out for my own copy to add to my personal collection.

I never thought there'd be a book out there like this. And now there is, it's inspired me to write again about my passion of books through my own life; as I began a book similar to it about a year or so ago. So, I will continue with the work on it.

I'd love to tell you about Anne Fadiman; however I've been unable to find an official website about her. I'll keep on searching and keep you all posted about it when I find one; and also put it into the sidebar.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Two Books on Mozart by Two Very Different Authors

Last year, around this time of year, I bought two books in Mullumbimby at the Book Barn. This shop is actually an old bank; which still has its vault (but they took the door off for safety reasons). Every time I'm in Mullum, I find that shop and wander through its shelves to see if there's a book or two there that's begging for a home with me. And last year, I found two books that were from two different eras, yet were on the same subject. I'll begin with the oldest and most interesting one: 'Mozart: His Character, His Work' by Alfred Einstein was the one that I found first. Its red cover doesn't look much, but I look beyond that every time. On opening it, I found this book was written by Alfred Einstein (which has had people talking about whether or not both Alfred or Albert are related; and still we're not sure). I had in my hands a 1946, first edition of this book. Its red cover is faded but the spine is still in good condition with the wording still legible; with only a little wear on the top and bottom of the spine from being teased on and off a previous owner's bookshelf numerous times. I began to read it and found it wasn't too heavy in content; however, I haven't completed reading it yet once I returned home.

The next book I bought from the same place was by Robert W. Gutman
titled: 'Mozart: A Cultural Biography'. It's much thicker and was published in 1999. It's been covered in plastic and has been cared for differently than the other book. However, the difference with this book to the other is that this one covers Mozart's family and friends as with the other book, the author covers his work and character. So, I have the good fortune to own two books about the same person that cover two totally different parts of Mozart's life. I do look forward to reading about him soon and letting you know if they are worth tracking down. I'll keep you all posted.