Friday, December 31, 2010

December Book Buys!

Now, I didn't buy any books until late in the month; and this is because the After Christmas Sales are to die for!  I love them and do get the best bargains possible at them.  But I hate the crowds... I do think getting in amongst the crowds are worth the hassle though.
The first books I bought are from QBD at Garden City.  I bought them on a Westfield Gift Voucher and am proud to say I went by another person's opinion this time.  One of my old friends - and job search people from a few years back - recommended 'The Six Sacred Stones' by Matthew Rielly to me; and I never bought it until this week.  He's a big fan of his; and I'm going to find out why next year or so when I get to reading it.
The next book in line I bought was a strange one that I had never heard of; but I found I might like as I've never heard of the author.  And new authors can be like food you've never tasted before; fun and exciting or poor and disgusting.  So, I thought to try out an author just like this in 'The Monsters of Templeton' by Lauren Groff.  I hope it's a good read; Stephen King certainly thought it was.
Today, I while I was out with my brother - who took me out to celebrate my birthday rather late (only because he was in Asia for it and didn't get a chance to give me a pressie) - I found 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' by F.Scott Fitzgerald and the most gorgeous orange 'Penguin' tin with book titles on it.  so, I bought those with my Westfield Voucher.  Very cool if you ask me!  
Well, that's my December Book Buys; and just in time too!  So, until next time I hope you guys have a wonderful new year and enjoy calling in your resolutions and fun for next year.  Happy Reading and until next time, keep doing just that.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Reads

Over the Christmas and New Year period, we all get time to read; be it on the actual day, or while we're on holidays watching the time pass by.  This year, I have decided against going to the coast; therefore, I won't be picking up any new reads at Brunswick Heads; thus giving myself time to get through any books I've put aside to read.  And seeing the weather here has begun to look a little more than weird, I'm really looking forward to getting in some serious reading time.
The three main books I've gotten my nose into right now are:  'Shades of Midnight' by Lara Adrian. This is the seventh book I've been waiting to read for some time now; and now I've had it for only two days and I'm past the one hundredth page.  Then, I began reading 'Neuromancer' by William Gibson.  This is a hard book to get into to start with, but once I got past the weirdness of some of the characters and understood how the whole thing worked; I realised, I was reading something very much like 'Snowcrash'... except it wasn't in present tense.  My third book is 'He Died With A Felafel In His Hand' by John Birmingham.  This is an Australian author who has had me in stitches with his experiences of shared houses and living.  And the book is such an easy read that it doesn't matter when I put it down or pick it up, I enjoy it anytime.
Well, now you know what I'm reading at the moment over the Christmas Holiday period.  Now, I'm curious about what you're all reading.  So, let us into what you've got either planned or what you've picked up over this time to keep yourself occupied.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Australia Loses Ruth Park

Today, Ruth Park passed away aged 93.  Born in New Zealand in 1917, Ruth Park moved to Sydney in 1942 to work in a newspaper where she met and married her husband.  They had five children and struggled to live as freelance writers.
Her first book, Harp In the South was unpublished, but won her 2,000 pounds in the Sydney Morning Herald literary competition.  The book shocked readers and caused scandal as the public read about the Irish family in the slums of Surrey Hills in Sydney and their way of life amongst the poverty, adolescent sex, wife beating and murder.  Angus & Roberston published Harp In the South as part of the Park's Prize in the UK and it was translated in 37 languages.
Ruth Park wrote other books including Poor Man's Orange, Swords and Crowns and Rings which won the Miles Franklin Award in 1977.  She also wrote Playing Beatie Bow and The Muddleheaded Wombat (based on her long-running radio serial); along with two dozen childrens books. 
Most of her books remain in print and she was pleased to remove the hyphen from the Muddle-headed Wombat for the 2010 edition of the book which contains an essay that was her last piece of writing.
Apart from stints in London and Norfolk Island and visits to New Zealand, Ruth Park mainly lived in Sydney in a Mosman apartment with harbour views.  She was known as one of the greatest Australian writers who made the biggest impact on literature in this country; along with Thea Astley and legendary Beatrice Davis.  Now all of them are gone into the history books of the written word. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Top Ten Favourites of 2010!

Just like last year, I'm putting up my top ten favourite books that I've read.  Now, these book are in no particular order - so there's no absolute favourites... just these ones stuck in my mind for this year that I loved and will most definitely read again at some point.

1.  'So Many Books, So Little Time' by Sara Nelson
2.  'Love Is A Mixed Tape' by Rob Sheffield
3.  'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury
4.  'The Brain That Changes Itself' by Dr. Norman Doidge, MD
5.  'The Monkey's Mask' by Dorothy Porter
6.  'Midnight Kiss' by Lara Adrian (Book 1 Midnight Breed Series)
7.  'How To Be A Villain' by Neil Zawacki
8.  'Johnathon Livingston Seagull: A Story' by Richard Bach
9.  'The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary & Sewing Circle' by Lois Battle
10. 'Veil of Midnight' by Lara Adrian (Book 6 Midnight Breed Series)
So, there you have it, my top ten.  I know I have included books one and six of a series, but they really are great... and I find that the first book of a series had to kick butt to get the reader in; so does the last book.  So, I absolutely enjoyed them both.  I'm currently reading 'He Died With A Felafel In His Hand' by John Birmingham.  There's some stories in that book have had me giggling and laughing out loud!  And yes, I'll be reviewing it soon along with a few others I plan to read over the Christmas New Year period.

So, did you enjoy any books this year that really stuck in your mind?  If so, share their titles with us.  Otherwise, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, hope Santa has brought you all the books, book vouchers you have wished for and you have the time to read as much as I have.  Here in Brisbane, we are in for a very wet Summer and so, there'll be plenty of time to read and review for you all.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How To Be A Vilain by Neil Zawacki

Have you ever dreamt of world domination?  When you were little, were your goals to be a Supreme dark overlord or a lawyer?  Do you find Unicorns, rainbows, puppies and cute things your worst nightmare?  Well, this could be the book for you... this book is how to be an absolute villain in the present day; and to make sure you don't make the same mistakes the bad guys in the movies do.
From picking out your evil name (which is a lot of fun really) to choosing where you underground lair will be, your main career to what kind evil laugh you decide on, this is a complete - if not funny - guide to finding your evil self. You're told about the heroes, death traps, tools of the trade and you're advised about evil henchmen too; even if you wish you didn't need them.  It also talks about dress and style... and which one you pick could really make or break your evil self.  

Personally, I enjoyed this book.  If the illustrations didn't have me giggling it was the funny types of ways to be evil that did.  I loved picking out my evil name... that's always the most fun (which by the way is: 'Mistress Death Hammer'.  It was from one of the ones in the book... but you can always make your own up).  I decided to get my nose into this book for two reasons:  for one thing it broke me away from the vampire romance I had my head into lately and it was a very quick and light read to zoom through for a day or two.  Otherwise, it got me laughing and isn't a book to be taken too seriously.

I've looked up Neil Zawacki, however I can't find an official website for him; not even Wikipedia is coughing up anything.  So, I'm afraid, he'll be an author we'll have to keep our evil eyes out for, eh?  Well, I will for you all.  Until I find another book he's written and try to get a website of his on here, I apologise for not being able to find him. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ashes of Midnight by Lara Adrian

Andreas Reichen is a Breed Vampire from Germany who out for revenge.  He has lost everything from the human woman he loves - Helene - to the Darkhaven he ran which was full of every last person who he was related to down to his nephew who had just been born.  Somebody had turned Helene into a Minion and he had to kill her to put her out of her misery; knowing he'd never get her back.  And the same person ordered the massacre of his people; leaving him with not only an empty mansion, but nobody to leave his Darkhaven to.  So, Andreas did the only thing he knew, he used the power he was born with to burn the place to the ground.  Then, used the same power to find the man who ordered his family's death,Wilhelm Roth.  However, when he was destroying his country home, he nearly destroyed Roth's breedmate, Claire, who was Andrea's first love.  After a few ups and downs, he knows he wants her back, but stealing another Breed's mate is against all the rules.  But will they find out a way to get around them and be together without them both being destroyed by the same man; and putting the Order in danger as well?

I began reading the Midnight Breed series about a month ago; and seeing I'm a moderate reader, reading six books in about a month and half is better than I usually do.  From the first page of book one, I was hooked; and seeing I was sent all six books in one box, I could just finish one book and begin the next one immediately.  This one is the last one thus far.  And it was only the other day I was contacted by the person who sent me the box of books and she told me that there was a seventh book... oh!  I can't wait to see where that one takes me!
Lara Adrian writes vampire romance.  I have written a piece about her a few posts down and included her link on the side bar; so I won't repeat myself here.  Just click and read more at your leisure.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November Book Buys!

I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I haven't bought any books this month.  Instead, I've been reading the 'Midnight Breed' series and that's about it.  So, I'm sorry to say but I've just been preparing for Christmas and its usual crowd-inducing problems.  Christmas Cards have been sent out, my tree is up early (only by a week) as after next week, everything is going to be turned into a big rush.  
However, I will keep you guys up to date with which books I'll be purchasing over the next few weeks for myself - as well as my family for Christmas, as I won a $100 Westfield Voucher to spend at any Westfield Shopping Centre from Triple M (a music station here in Australia).  And so, once that arrives, I'll be off looking in all kinds of stores there finding the best deals in everything and letting you all in on who's getting what from me; bookwise.
So, I'm sorry that there's nothing to report this month, but stay tuned, in the next week or so - when I do my Christmas Shopping in one day - there will be plenty!  Happy Reading otherwise and always grab the best deals.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Been Busy Reading

I haven't posted that many reviews lately - and for this I apologise.  I do have a very good reason for doing this.  I've been reading a 6-book series for the last month and a half.  Each book took me only a week to read and I've also been crook with a sinus infection - but that hasn't slowed my reading down.  Here in Brisbane, this sinus problem has been going around, so I'm not alone.  However, I've been waiting to finish the entire series to get in and do the whole review in one hit; as the story covers all the books and it juxtaposes throughout the books as it goes on.  So, this is why there hasn't been any book reviews and only book news lately.  I'm terribly sorry about this.  I should have told you guys, but I wanted to surprise you all with a great vampire series to get into.  
But... I can review it now, if you wish....

The 'Midnight Breed' series by Lara Adrian is a set of six books about a breed of vampires which have been around on Earth since the Middle Ages.  Their race landed here and began to feed of humans and breed with us; as we were the only species that could take to breeding with them.  However, they could only give birth to boys; and they had to find women who had a particular birthmark which made them breedmates.  
This series of books are well-detailed and wonderful in each story.  From book one where their leader, Lucan, finds his breedmate to the last one - which I'm currently reading - these books will keep you wanting more from Lara Adrian; in action, humour and romance.  Most definitely worth a read.  Mainly, these books are aimed to the women readers who like romance; but also vampire romance.  I would point these in the direction of readers who like Mills & Boon too as there are some love scenes that are really steamy.  So, do have a go at reading them all; as you won't be able to stop at just one!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Reading Plans

It's getting to this time of the year where I begin to look at what I'll be taking to the coast to read.  Now, I'd love to take all 50 or so of my reading list, but unfortunately, due to space, I can't.  So, I have to choose just a few to fit into my suitcase that doesn't weigh it down; and fortunately, the ones I've picked this year are smaller than last year.
'What Would MacGyver Do?' by Brendan Vaughan is the first off the list.  Now, I've heard a bit about this one where people have stories where they've had 'To MacGyver' it to fix something in situations where they've got the most unusual things.  And I'm sure we've all been in those situations where we've had to do it too.  Now, there's a book of anecdotes of this very thing.  The reviews of this book are mixed, but I'll see how is goes.
'Neuromancer' by William Gibson is a book I've had on my Wish List on Bookcrossing for a some time now, and finally somebody sent it to me through a book box.  I thought to take it with me down the coast to see how it goes; and see if I feel like reading sci-fi.
'Bless Me, Ultima' by Rudolfo Anaya is a classic written by a wonderful writer.  I haven't read any of this author's work; and look forward to reading this one on holidays.
'The Legacy' by David Suzuki is one book I've wanted to read all year.  And I thought that once I got it into my hot little hands I'd read it right away.  However, I'm involved with book spiral (a series of books that I've yet to finish and send off; I'm up to book 5 of the series of 6 right now) and am unable to begin this one just yet.  But this is something I've decided to put into the holiday reads because it looks like something to delve into at that time.
So, there you have it:  my Holiday Book Reads.  What have you planned to read this holiday season?  Do you plan your seasonal reads; and do you stick to the plan or waver from it (believe me, I do!)?  I look forward to reading these ones - and more - on my holidays.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Unexpected Bag of Books From Tasmania

It's been a while since I last posted; and so I thought to let you all know about a surprise that showed up in my PO Box.  On my way out to do the shopping, I checked the mail - as always - and found a parcel pick-up.  Normally, I'd leave that kind of thing until later in the afternoon when all my shopping is done.  However, today, I wanted to pick everything up as it looked like rain.  So, I did.
It was a parcel from Tasmania - from a Bookcrossing friend - who had received a prize from my Birthday Clearance.  She thought to put together a bag for me and sent it my way.  Well, what a surprise this was to find a 3kg bag to be given to me by the Sanjay at Slacks Creek.  I really wasn't expecting anything.  And the books are some I'd get my nose into in the next year or so.  There were 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' by Kaled Hosseini, 'The Legacy' by David Suzuki, 'Otherland Vol 1' by Tad Williams, 'Bless Me, Ultima' by Rudolfo Anaya and 'One Tree' by Stephen Donaldson.  Actually, one of them is off my Wish List ('Legacy' by David Suzuki')and another looks very fascinating too;('Bless Me, Ultima' by Rudulfo Anaya) both of them have been added to my Christmas Holiday Reading List.  Well, I thought to share this with you guys as it's always lovely to receive surprises in the mail; and even better to share it with people who share you passion.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rainy Day Reading-Time.

Here in Australia, we've been having some really unusual weather.  With our Summer approaching, it's supposed to be getting hotter; however that's not what happening.  Instead, it's been staying cooler and it's raining as well.  We're getting our fair share of storms as we've been expecting, but it's the heat we're missing right now.
So, this is keeping me holed up in the house reading a great series of books that arrived on my doorstep about a month ago.  It's the Midnight Breed series by Lara Adrian and I'm up to book four of six; and I'm reading these books at such a pace it's unbelievable!  I don't read books this fast usually and I'm just zooming through them as they're so addictive.
Before these, I was reading 'The Monkey's Mask' by Dorothy Porter.  This had me hooked from the first verse; and didn't let me go; what a book!  Otherwise, these next few books are going to be taking me right up until the Christmas holiday reading time where I'll get my nose into some serious sci-fi; as my Sci-fi bookbox came home this week.  In it, I found 'Neuromancer' by William Gibson.  This is a book I've had on my Bookcrossing wish list for a long time; and it was inside this box!  What a thrill to see it in there!  I'm looking forward to getting my nose into its pages when I'm at the coast.  Let's just hope it's not raining.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Illustrated Thrillers for Kids.

Now, I love to find new books for any age group of any genre.  However, when I received a phone call from my Mum on Saturday, she told me there were a collection at the Springwood Community Centre not far from her home called the 'Illustrated Classic Editions Thrillers'.   I asked what they looked liked.  Well, she said she'd get them and bring them to me.
That night, she brought them over to my house and showed them to me and I found they were large print and for kids.  I had the impression they were graphic novels.  However, they weren't.  There are six in all and all of them are written by the most classic writers around from the twentieth century and adapted for children between the ages of 9 and 12.  There are 'Tales of Mystery and Terror' by Edgar Allan Poe, 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson, 'The Invisible Man' by H.G. Wells, 'The Time Machine' by H.G. Wells and 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley.  All these books are in my shelves however these particular ones are adapted from the adult versions and put in to larger print for young minds to grasp quickly and have great illustrations.  Well worth looking for. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

October Book Buys!

It's been a busy month of buying reading material for me!  And seeing it was my birthday month, it was so much the better for me; as I received a book voucher on my big day too.
From the very first day, I was buying books; pretty bad, eh?  But the books I bought this month are worth it!  On 1/10/2010, I bought 'The Story of My Father' by Sue Miller.  This book is about Arthur Miller written by his daughter and how she lost him towards the end of his life.  I've loved this man's work and think it may be a good read. I purchased this one from The Book Warehouse at Arndale in Logan City.  Another I bought on this day was 'Selected Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson' edited by Ernest Mehew.  Now, this one sounds like something to get into.  This is another author I've admired in my life; and have wanted to know more about.
On the 8/10/2010, I used my QBD book voucher I received for my birthday.  One of my dear friends, Nick, sent it through the mail to me and knows my love of books; but I didn't expect him to send me a $50 book voucher.  Thank you again, Nick.  The books I bought with this voucher are: 'Nobody Here Gets Out Alive' by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, 'Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned' by Alan Alda, 'Send Yourself Roses' by Kathleen Turner  and 'Last Night In Twisted River' by John Irving.  These books sound brilliant and I can't wait to get my nose into all of them at some point in the future!
On 12/10/2010, the Logan Writers' Week was on and I attended an event at the Logan North Library where an author - and publisher - was there talking about the different ways to get published.  He was very informative and I took plenty of notes and got his website too.  I also bought one of the books there by him titled: 'Primary Instinct' by David P Reiter.  The most wonderful thing was that he signed it for me while I was there too.  What a lovely person!  I'll never let it go because of that. 
These were the books I purchased this month.  They're all great books and I hope to read a good lot of them in the coming months; or as the holidays roll onto Christmas.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wishful Reading Choices

Over the many years I've been an avid reader and collector of books, I have had a wish that I could read all the classics and be impressed with what I have read; or as impressed as everyone else.
When I was in high school, we were assigned wonderful books such as 'Old Man and the Sea' by Ernest Hemmingway, 'A Patch of Blue' by Elizabeth Kata and 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee.  However, I only read one of these book happily.  The other two were either the one I chose not to pick or one I just couldn't get into because there was something about it that bothered me; so I put it down.
Since this time of set reading material, I have tried to read these same books again; and succeeded in doing so with Elizabeth Kata's book.  It was as touching and wonderful as I remember when I was in high school.  When I received Harper Lee's book in the mail, I hesitate - as I did in high school - because of the hype that surrounded this book.  The same questions ran through my head:  what happened if I don't like it?  Will I get further this time than last time?  And you know, I read less than I did in high school and felt it was worse than I remembered in the senior classes.  I just couldn't get my head around its content and the way it was written.  Was it me?  Was I the problem?  I hoped not.
Actually, it wasn't; and I'm not.  I have read some great books that are hated by some of my friends for their own reasons.  But on the same token, they've read their own choices of books where I've not liked them at all.
I do wish to like - and love - some genres of books more than others.  I'd love to be able to read Mills & Boon novels; however I just feel physically repulsed by them.  So, for a little bit of romance, I read their darker, more sullen cousin:  Vampire Romance.  It's a bite into romance and fantasy... and yet it's a lot of fun!  
There's also Thrillers and Mysteries I'd love to be able to read too.  However, I'm better off watching the films than reading the books; as I find the books too slow.  But, I do love to read sci-fi by particular authors such as Ray Bradbury.  His story stories and longer works are just brilliant!
Classics from the turn of the last Century are something that I have to be in the mood for; whether it be 'War of the Worlds' or 'Pride and Prejudice', these are books I really do have to get into a certain frame of mind to be able to read properly.  I do enjoy reading anything by Oscar Wilde though; and would read 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' more than once.
Even more modern writers have me wanting to read them.  I've been trying to get into John Irving and Jack Kerouac; with disastrous results for the latter author.  I had about five of Kerouac's books, tried to read 'On The Road' and it took me eight months!  I found his work so slow and boring, I really had to push myself to finish it.  After I did, promised myself, I'd never force myself to read another boring book.  
So, is there a book - or genre or two - that you'd love to get your mind around?  Is there a list of books you'd love to get into, yet your mind just finds it an absolute yawn?  You've got an idea of mine, so give us an idea of yours.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stephen Fry Vs Language Mavens

On Bookcrossing recently, I saw this thread and found it absolutely brilliant.  I love Stephen Fry's voice and how it works with this illustration; and even without the YouTube, I still love how it sounds.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Horrific Reading Time!

I find that I read a lot more towards the end of the year; and this year is no acception.  This is especially in October when All Hallow's Eve is around, and my selection of reading become a little darker.  I tend to get my nose into horror, suspense and vampire romance just for kicks.
This year, I put my name down for a book spiral.  This is where I'm sent a whole series of books to read in one hit; then I pass them onto the next person on the list on Bookcrossing it's such a great thing to get into and a wonderful way to get yourself reading a lot of books without having to search your Mt To Be Read for inspiration.  And this book spiral is called 'The Midnight Breed' spiral; a vampire romance one, with a bit of action kicked into it for a change.  It's hot and saucy, but it's got the violence that's expected from the traditional vampires with their own kind of legend spun in for fun.
Another book I may get my nose into is 'Spooky South' a collection of short stories that have been collated and retold by an author from the Southern States in America.  What a great book this will be for Halloween too.

So, what kind of spooky reading to you get into at this time of year?  Or do you stick to your normal reading routine? 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Monkey's Mask by Dorothy Porter

There's been a murder of a young uni student.  She's a poet and her work spoke volumes about where her mind was at when it all went down.  Jill, the private detective Mickey's parents hired is down to earth, patient woman who sifts through the evidence the police seem to glean over as a school-girl crush.  During the investigation, things get strange as Jill becomes involved with Mickey's mother, Diane, and gets her nose into police files from other people she works with.  As time goes on, she begins to receive creepy phone messages on her answering machine spoken in a poetic way and the affair with Diane begins to wane.  However, this whole thing isn't over as Mickey's teacher - her mentor - is killed in a horrific car crash near Jill's home.  now she's a suspect (which doesn't last very long).  Just who killed Mickey?  In the most poetic and suspenseful book I've read in a long time, find out in 'The Monkey's Mask'.

I love reading this kind of book.  It got its hooks into me immediately and wouldn't let go; and I couldn't wait to get back to reading it when it came time to read again.  I loved this book in the wonderful way.  I will most definitely have to read more of Dorothy Porter's work.  This book is lesbian fiction; however, it's beautiful and sexy as well as gritty and gripping to the last poem.  Very much worth a read.

Dorothy Porter is one of Australia's most prominent authors and poets.  She wrote many collections and books over her fifty-four years and won The Book Age of the Year Award, Miles Franklin Award and the Christopher Brennan Award.  Dorothy was born in Sydney, Australia and passed away in 2008 in Melbourne of breast cancer.  I'm unable to find an official website for her; and so I'll still keep on looking for you to put onto the sidebar.   

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Armin

Two women from 1920's London spot an advertisement in 'The Times' wanting four people to rent a castle in Italy for the month of April.  Both of them want to go; but they wonder if they should.  As they plan how much it will cost, they figure out who to invite and find two other women to take with them.  One is Lady Caroline and the other Mrs Fisher.  The one difference about them all is that none of them have anything in common; except they love the castle they arrive at.  It's breath-takingly beautiful, overlooks the sea, has the most wonderful gardens surrounding it... yet, these four women will find that - as April moves on - they will be uplifted, changed and freed.

When I received this book in the mail, I thought it was going to be a wonderful, old-fashioned classic.  And it is.  However, I have found that it does ebb and flow in its chapters; something which bothers me when a writer really should speed up at the right places.  I found there was too much thinking; it's a very pensive book and something I find isn't to my liking.  So, I'm afraid to say that I didn't finish the book in the required time for two reasons:  the first was that I celebrated my birthday last Tuesday and I didn't get a chance to do anything much over the last few days but put together a home theatre system.  The other was that I lost interest in the book.  I did try to pick it up many times, however, it failed to keep me interested.  I guess it's just not my type of book.

Elizabeth von Arnim (née Mary Annette Beauchamp, `May’) was born 31 August 1866 at Kiribili Point, Sydney, Australia. In 1871 the Beauchamps left Australia to live in Switzerland for a time before settling in England. Arnim attended the Blythwood House School in London, then Queen's College School in Horn Lane, Acton in 1881.In 1889 she travelled abroad to Rome with her father when she met a German nobleman, Count Henning August von Arnim (1851–1910). Two years later they married in London at St. Stephen's, Kensington, 21 February 1891. 
Writing was the refuge for Arnim in her, what turned out to be, incompatible marriage. They were now living on the vast and somewhat neglected von Arnim estate, Nassenheide, in Pomerania.Arnim’s husband had increasing debts and was eventually sent to prison for fraud. This was when she created her pen name `Elizabeth' and launched her career as a writer by anonymously publishing her semi-autobiographical, brooding yet satirical Elizabeth and her German Garden. (1898) It would be such a success as to be reprinted twenty times in it's first year. A bitter-sweet memoir and companion to it was The Solitary Summer, (1899) and The Benefactress (1902) was also semi-autobiographical.
in August of 1910 Count Henning August von Arnim died. Arnim left London to move back to her beloved Switzerland, where she had such great memories from her youth. She built Château Soleil near Randogne sur Sierre, Valais.  In 1914 Arnim fell in love with John Francis Stanley Russell, second Earl Russell, (1865–1931) Bertrand Russell's older brother. They moved back to England and on 11 February 1916 she became Countess Russell. She almost immediately regretted this whirlwind marriage and fled to the United States. 
The same year Armin had left Russell for good. What many say is Arnim's masterpiece, Vera, (1921) is a condemnation of Russell. It would not be the lat time she caricatures him. The Enchanted April (1922) again contains themes of feminine protest and male tyranny. Four women leave gloomy London to embark on a rejuvenating trip to sunny southern Italy. There was also a movie based on it. Arnim's affair with Alexander Stuart Frere (1892–1984) inspired Love. (1925) Titles to follow were Father, (1931) The Jasmine Farm Mr Skeffington. (1940)  
(1934) and when World War II broke out however she travelled to the United States to reside there. Dealing with the one constant and consistent source of acceptance and love in her life, Arnim's autobiographical All the Dogs of my Life was printed in 1936. On 9 February 1941 Elizabeth von Arnim died from complications of influenza at the Riverside Infirmary in Charleston, South Carolina.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Birthday Purchases!

Today was a good day for book-buying.  For one thing it was raining and dull; thus a good day to read a book.  And another thing?  Well, I had in my bag of tricks my $50 QBD book voucher my wonderful friend, Nick, had posted to me.  So, once a doctor's appointment was out of the way, Mum and I went to Garden City and split up  to do our own things.  And QBD was my first port of call to see which books I'd be looking at to buy; but I ended up purchasing and not just looking.
The first one I found was in a bargain box - would you believe it? - and it was 'Last Night In Twisted River' by John Irving.  A whopper of a book but it was only $3.99 down from $35.00!  What a bargain; something I just can't pass up!  I look forward to getting my nose into this one as 'The First Tuesday Book Club' on the ABC recommended it as a great read; and now I have it in my hot little hands!
The next book I found in the bookshelves was 'Send Yourself Some Roses' by Kathleen Turner.  I love this woman.  She's a great actor and I love her movies (her most recent one was 'Marley & Me'; even though she had a cameo part, she was great in it!).  I look forward to reading this one too as I really loved her in 'Romancing The Stone' with Michael Douglas and the way she danced and had fun.
Then, I found 'Never Have Your Dog Stuffed' by Alan Alda.  I think this man is one of the funniest people on television and in the movies.  He's got a real charisma about him and it's something he had right from when he was Hawkeye Pierce in MASH... and it never went away.  I read his first book: 'Thing I Overheard While Talking to Myself' and have been looking forward to reading this one.
The last one was staring at me the whole time while I was looking through the shelves, but I didn't really notice it until the last minute.  I've been wanting to read this book for a long time 'No One Here Gets Out Alive' by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman.  When I saw this one - and last one - on the shelves, I just had to have it in my hands; and thus I did!  
So, there you have it, my birthday purchases from my $50 book voucher.  I had to put in a little of my own cash, but that's the rules of passion I guess.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Birthday Presents!

Today is my birthday!  And I had a great one!  Mum took me out to lunch and I received a $50 QBD Book Voucher, a $50 voucher to the Normanby Hotel in the city from Triple M, a coffee voucher from a place I know well, lunch at the Runcorn Tarvern (Mum paid) and we sussed out a nice new dvd player for me at WOW... not bad.  
Other pressies I scored are a couple of USB sticks, a Rockaways music voucher and a book from Dad by a local author titled 'The Riders' War: Battle For Today' by M A Clarke; and he got her to sign it too!  I'm looking forward to reading this one and telling you guys about it.  I hear she's currently working on a new one that follows this one.  So, I'll see how this book is and - if it's as good as the blurb says - I'll track down the next one.
I had dinner at Mum and Dad's place and came home early.  Well, that's all from me for now.  Just thought to let you guys know of my pressies this year for my birthday.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

So Many Books, So Little Time.

Have you ever found that you've wanted to read all the books on your wish list and Mt To Be Read, but just don't have the time?  Well, for me, it's the opposite that's true.  I have a lot of time on my hands, yet not many books get read all because I've got so many books on the go.  
Right now, I'm in the middle of a book called 'The Enchanted April' by Elizabeth Von Arman and even though it's a charming classic, I'm really not getting into it.  It's dragging just that bit - just enough - that I'm not really wanting to read it.  However, I am pushing on as the chapters I'm reading now are just a lull until it picks up again.
Then, there's Dorothy Porter's 'The Monkey's Mask' which is a murder mystery written totally in verse.  I'm loving it completely; and can't wait until the murderer is revealed to us all.  I have other books that are by my bed all with bookmarks sticking out of them.  There's 'Parrot and Olivier in America' by Peter Carey, 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell, 'The Gargoyle' by Andrew Davidson, 'The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul' by Douglas Adams and 'Hotel Bellevue' by Thomas Shapcott... all of these are at various stages of being read; all the bookmarks sitting out of the books marking the frozen spot in time on the pages that I left it for a little while for me in the real world; but not at all inside those pages.

I know that having all those book half-finished may seem a little excessive, but really, I did have every intention of completing them before moving on to the next book.  But it was my Mt To Be Read that beckoned me to pick up that next book - to try it out and read the first few paragraphs - to see if I'd like it.  And I did!  Then, the next thing I knew, I received one in the mail and I had to put down the books, read the one from the mailbox... and well, by the end of it, I had forgotten I had the other one on the floor.  Or I had lost interest in it and couldn't bring myself to admit it; well not yet.  
So, I've been trying to read all those books sitting by my bed in my spare time - the ones I've left there gathering dust bunnies - and one by one, I've finished them.  And seeing I do have a lot of time on my hands, it's a lot easier to read a book whenever I can - usually at night - and then once they're finished, I can either give them away, or hold onto them to read again at a later date to see if they have the same hold over me from the very first reading.  
So, are there books you have begun, put down - for whatever reason - and then picked up later and finished?  If so, which ones?  If you have and haven't completed them, let us know of them too.  We may have something in common in the way we read as well in what we read too.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September Book Buys!

Well, this month, I've only made one purchase of a book.  I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad one.  But I know for certain, it was a book I wanted in my collection.  
I bought 'Mark Twain - A Life' by Ron Powers'.  This is a writer I've always had a curiosity for.  He wrote about the most wonderful subjects and opened up the world to America right when it was getting exciting.  I bought this wonderful - yet heavy - book at The Book Warehouse at Arndale Shopping Centre in Springwood, Queensland on 17/9/2010.  I've yet to read it; so I have added it to the growing collection of biographies, memoirs and autobiographies I have.  That shelf is actually getting full to overflowing!  I gotta get in and read more; as I've only read four out of around thirty.
Until next month's book buys, take care and happy reading!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, MD

Throughout medical history, doctors were always taught that the brain was hardwired and once it was damaged in any way, it couldn't be repaired.  This book proves otherwise in the most inspiring way.  Norman Doidge takes us through the intricacies of the human brain - as well as our closest primate - showing us examples of brain mapping and how it has affected us through our lives.  An absolutely positive read without getting anyone lost in the process.

I personally have wanted this book from the moment I saw it on the shelves a few years ago at 'The River Bend Bookstore'.  However, I couldn't afford it then; and almost couldn't afford it when I bought it this year.  But, once I watched the program based on it and watched the programs on 'Catalyst' (a science show on the ABC here in Australia), I just had to own it and read it for myself.
Now, non-fiction takes a little while longer for me to read because of the facts and figures in it.  And so, when I found that a lot of the information in this book sounded very familiar to me, I was often left wondering how my brain had been affected.  You see, I have a patch on my brain that hasn't worked since I was 2 years old.  It was an area that had to do with mathematics and numbers.  Through my life, I have tried to understand numbers; and failed.  However, I have gotten into doing a number of other things and left the numbers because they don't really matter anymore to me.  This book most certainly affected me in a way that I will read it again (but will not do another review because of this one), but not for a while. 
If you really want to know more about the brain in terms that are easily understood, this is most definitely the book for you.  The book is bigger than it looks as it's got summaries in the back of each chapter and an index and two appendixes; the latter of which are worth reading.

Norman Doidge, MD is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher, author, essayist and poet.  He is on the research faculty at Columbia University's Centre of Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York, and the University of Toronto's Department of Psychiatry.  He is a native of Toronto.
I have found his official website.  However, there's so much information about his life, I'm not sure what to put up here, so I've decided to put his link on the side bar for you to go and have a look at it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Adding to the Collection

In the last few days, I've been helping my Mum with sorting out her books.  Well, okay, just recent ones she's received and hasn't found a place for yet.  So, on Friday, while I was over their way to see some doctors, I helped her go through her Bookcrossing stuff and books that she had packed up and scored a book or two.
The first one was one I had lent her from my birthday; but she hadn't gotten around to reading.  It's called 'Spooky South' by S.E. Scholosser.  It's a re-telling of the old campfire stories from the Southern States in the USA.  I love these kinds of stories; they are the kinds that become legendary.  And I do look forward to finally reading this one (there are quite a few I haven't read yet from my birthday last year as I received over 20 books from across the miles as a birthday bomb that Mum organised through Bookcrossing... it was so much fun!).  
The next book was from Mum's birthday last year; which I've had my eye on since she received it.  It 's called: 'An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England' by Brock Clarke.  It's a mystery novel with a funny twist to it.  And I love the read books that are based on writers and have that twist to it that pulls the reader in.  So, I'm looking forward to getting my nose into this one too.
So, these to are going to my ever-growing Mt To Be Read ... to be guarded over by Clifford.  He is getting concerned around being pushed off the shelf.  But I know he's got nothing to be concerned about.  I will read a few more books soon and he'll have more space to stretch out on.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy Birthday to the King of Horror!

Today, I'd like to say a big Happy Birthday to the King of Horror: Stephen King.  This man has written some of the creepiest and bloodiest books that's ever hit the bookshelves around the world; making Maine, USA the centre of horror.  

I remember the first time I tried to get my parents to allow me to read a Stephen King book.  It was 'Christine' and my older brother owned it.  Instead of sneaking around and reading it behind their backs (they would have found out about it), I got a smutty romance novel off one of my friends at school and began reading that.  Now, I've never liked romance novels, and was willing enough to read something I had absolutely no interest in to get my folks to let me read horror.  And, you know, it worked!  My Mum took the romance book off me and let me borrow my brother's copy of 'Christine'.  Sure it kept me awake for weeks afterwards, but it was worthwhile reading as I became the biggest Stephen King fan in my house.  I now own about 15 books of his in three languages (English, French and German); from 'Carrie' and 'Christine' to 'Salem's Lot', 'The Dead Zone', 'The Stand', 'Night Shift', 'On Writing' to more recent works such as 'Cell' and 'Under The Dome' 
The most wonderful thing is that this writer has had a brilliant effect on me as a writer as I grew into the craft.  I have read his biography and gotten into more books that are just as well-written as his; and in recent years, I have been unable to read anything that has too many adverbs.  I've also become my own worst critic and am always editing my own works over and over before I'm anywhere near happy with it.

So, for being a wonderful writer and inspiration to not just me - but others around the world - Happy Birthday, Stephen King.  Without your work, the world would be a less creepy place; and we'd have less-challenging books to read.  Keep them coming.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Busy Reading?

I often wonder about you guys.  I wonder what you read in your leisure time; when you're not working or studying during the year.  I don't do any paid work; so I feel I need to get my nose into a good non-fiction once in a while to keep my mind active and educated.  But what books do you read when you're chillin'?

I've been getting into some serious non-fiction reading lately of 'The Brain That Changes Itself' by Norman Doidge,MD.  What a book!  It's a bit of a hard slog for the first 80 pages or so, but once you've got the hang of the wording, you're fine.  I love how he approaches our brains and do believe that we can teach ourselves new things no matter what our age.
The other book I've been getting into is 'The Monkey's Mask' by Dorothy Porter.  It's a mystery thriller all written in a series of verse and poetry.  I love it and how cleanly it's written; and yet it's about such a controversial  subject matter.

So, do tell, what have you been up to in your spare time, before you turn out your light, on those hot Sunday afternoons when it's too hot to move from the cool verandah/porch?  What have you been getting your nose into?  What places have you been going without leaving the comfort of your homes?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Roald Dahl Day

The best storyteller in the world is having a birthday soon!  It's Roald Dahl and his birthday is next Monday, 13th, September!  
This is known as Roald Dahl Day in the UK and throughout the country they will be celebrating all kinds of things to commemorate this wonderful writer!  This writer was one who I read when I was growing up; and some of my favourites was 'The BFG' and 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'.  What were yours?  Did you collect all of his books, see all of his movies.  Were you fortunate enough to meet the man himself?  If so, leave a comment below and tell us your experience.
For more information about this wonderful day to remember and celebrate on the world's best story-teller's, click on Roald Dahl's link on the sidebar and it will take you straight there!  Or you can organise your own Roald Dahl celebrations for that day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Free Books!

Today was a wonderful day for me.  Now, you all know that I have a reasonable collection of books - okay about 500 or so, but I don't really know how many - and so to find more books would be adding to the collection and making me find more space for it.
Well, while I was walking to the bus stop to do my usual fortnightly shop, I passed a house that had a few bags of thing out next to the letterbox.  Now, these bags have been there for the last few days; and I've noticed a few of them have been growing legs of late.  I didn't take much notice of them (mainly because they're baby's clothes and I don't have children or know anyone who have children that young) until I saw one bag flap at me and I noticed it was a book cover.  Well!  I turned around walked back and found the whole bag was full of Vampire Romance, old-fashioned romance and chick-lit!  What a find!  There's 18 books in all and I didn't have pay a thing for them... I brought them home with me before going to the bus stop (yeah, I was running very early this morning) and am very happy with my find!  Now I have my Spring and Summer reading covered well and truly!

Monday, August 30, 2010

August Book Buys!

Well, it's been a relatively plain ol' month of me buying things this month; but also a month of buying a brand new book too!  What a great thing that is!  I had been eying off a book for a long time; and finally, I bought it at the more expensive price!  Yay!
Now, I only bought three books this month; but they were well worth forking out the money for.  And I only bought them because I want to read them at some point.
The first book I purchased was 'The Lost Diary of Don Juan' by James Carlton Brams.  It's a look at the man behind the myth of Don Juan and how the name became so famous throughout history and the world.  I've yet to read it, but I do have it on my Mt To Be Read.
The next book was purchased a few days after the first (on 8th, August) and it is 'The Brain That Changes Itself' by Norman Doidge, MD.  This book was turned into a television series that interested me greatly.  It's about how people with average intelligence - or other things mentally wrong with them - can form new pathways in their brains and learn new things.  It's called Neuroplasicity; and it's something that's been working for some time now for a lot of people with disabilities ranging from Autism to Stroke Victims; and it works.  When I saw the book on the shelves, I wanted and bought it with a book voucher; and now I'm reading it.  Very interesting stuff!
The third book is something I'm absolutely obsessed with:  being left-handed.  It's titled: 'The Left-Handed History of the World' by Ed Wright.  It's about the people throughout history who have been known left-handers and have change the world in some way.  It's a very interesting book; and I look forward to reading it soon.

So, there you have it.  My book purchases for this month!  Until next month's book purchases, I hope you keep reading as much as I am.  I'll be back doing more reviews soon; my reading schedule has been a little slow for a few weeks as I've been busy with another project.  Once that's finished, I'll be back doing what I love best.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

From the back cover:  'Six interlocking lives - one amazing adventure.  In a narrative that circles the globe and reaches from the 19th Century to a post-apocalyptic future, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of time, genre and language to offer an enthralling vision of humanity's will to power, and where it will lead us.'

I love reading unusual books; but this one just hasn't done it for me.  It's got all the hooks and wonderful bits I'd expect from an usual text but it took too long to pull me in with too many characters to keep a track of.  I found myself feeling dragged down and not wanting to read it when I really did need to get going with it.  So, I haven't finished this book and moved onto another.

Born in Southport in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Malvern, Worcestershire, studying for a degree in English and American Literature followed by an MA in Comparative Literature, at the University of Kent. He lived for a year in Sicily before moving to Hiroshima, Japan, where he taught English to technical students for eight years, before returning to England.
His first novel, Ghostwritten (1999).  His second novel, number9dream (2001), was shortlisted for the 2002 Man Booker Prize for fiction.  His third novel, Cloud Atlas (2004) was shortlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and was followed by Black Swan Green (2006).

David Mitchell lives in Ireland. His most recent book is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (2010).