Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May Book Buys 2010.

Well, this month having Mother's Day within the first week for the Southern Hemisphere, I thought to purchase something along that theme for my cousin in New York; as she has just had a lovely little baby girl in January.  I had planned to get a couple of books and send them on their way to her.  However, my plan backfired when I e-mailed her and asked what she'd like to read (after all, I have a massive collection of books to choose from; and whatever she chose, I may have) and she told me not to go to the trouble.  
So, here I am with two books I bought all about motherhood and raising children when I have none of my own.  The first one is 'Can I Give Them Back Now?' by Joanna Simmons and Jay Curtis.  This was bought at the Book Cafe at Garden City for around $5.00 and I thought it would be a funny look at bringing up children.
The second one I purchased was 'Mums:  A Celebration of
Motherhood' by various authors and edited by Sarah Brown & Gil McNeil.  It's all short stories and memories of how the Mums of famous people shaped their lives.  I thought it would be a lovely addition to my cousin's collection for her to read little bits and pieces of when her baby was sleeping or when she found that little bit of peace when she had that little bit of time to herself enough to read just a snippet. I apologise for not giving you the photograph of the cover; it's a hardcover, dark blue book.  So, I photographed the title page instead.
Then, I found a book in amongst the Library Book Cull that I thought would be appropriate for baby Annabell.  It's a first edition copy of 'Sun and Moon' by Naomi Mitchell; a Greek tale about a brother and sister who were kept within the confines of their castle by their parents.  Then, one day, the brother escaped and experienced the world while the sister stayed at the castle.  I thought it would be a lovely story for when Annabell was old enough to read.
So, they were my purchases and finds for this month.  Stay tuned for next month; you never know what I may find in the most unusual places.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary & Sewing Circle by Lois Battle

Florabama is a small town down off the freeway where plots of cotton grow, the roads are dirt and you can sip a Coca Cola while thinking about love and money.  This small town was also where 'Cherished Lady' had a large factory full of hard-working women who cut lace, sewed garments and knew nothing but to sit at a sewing machine all day and make lingerie.  This was until the factory closed its doors and moved south of the border where they could make more garments and more money; making the worker work for less money.  This left the workers in Florabama with no other skills than sewing and cutting lace.  
At the same time, Bonnie Duke Cullman had just begun the first day on the rest of her life... her divorce was final and she had been left with nothing.  So, when the job came up to help these women, she jumped at the chance to start anew.  And just like the women at 'Cherished Lady', Bonnie had been downsized from a life of she had become accustomed to.  The life was of money, credit cards and a loving husband; however it had ended so quickly.  When Bonnie finds a job for them all at a childrens' boutique in Atlanta, they all band together to get the order finished before Easter.  But all doesn't go quite to plan as Bonnie's car breaks down and she has to get the garments to Atlanta somehow.  Can she trust a young, woman who never liked doing anything she suggested from the beginning? Or does it all fall apart at the seams.

I don't normally read women's fiction. However, I wanted something that was light and not too challenging for the last few weeks; as I was going away on a holiday and wanted to be able to come home and pick it up from where I left off.  After this last week, I did and found I could pick it up quite easily.  What a wonderful book.  I do love the way Florabama is described to me; as it looks like a town I could easily get into for a while to escape from life for a while.  And I do look forward to reading more of Lois' books.

I'm unable to find an official website for Lois Battle right now.  However, I'll keep an eye out for one in the future.  She has written seven other books about strong, outgoing women.  This one I've reviewed is her most recent one published in 2001.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bookcrossing Meet Up In Mooloolaba

I love receiving books from people.  And what I love more is meeting up with people with like interests.  Today, this is exactly what my Mum and I did here in Mooloolaba.  We're staying at the Mantra Hotel on the Beach (I won a competition a few months back and this is her Mother's Day gift from me to her) and so, we thought to stay for a few more days.  I thought to get a Bookcrossing Meet-Up going while we were up here.

We had a coffee on the Esplanade and there were more than your usual selection of books.  I had brought along my whole AVL bag (well, most of it) and it went around the table and came back with quite a few books taken out.  Mum and I were offered a lot of books too.
The first book I noticed was 'Big Bang' by Simon Singh.  It's a simple - yet very long - explanation of what the Big Bang Theory is all about.  Being a person who doesn't understand physics but would love to, I saw this book and straight away grabbed it.  Then, there were two Nicholas Sparks books: 'At First Sight' and 'Dear John'.  I was told they're great books and so I'm looking forward to reading them sometime either this year or next year.  Then there is
'Taste-Berry Tales'.  A book of stories by various authors. I do like these books, they are very interesting and light to read normally and so to read a few of the stories once in a while means you don't have to commit yourself if you don't wish to.  My last one was 'The Hotel New Hampshire' by John Irving.  I've been trying to read some of his older work as he's put out a new book recently and I'd like to see if his work has changed from years ago to today.
And seeing today's only Tuesday, you never know what other books I may yet find up here on the Sunshine Coast before the week is out!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Can I Give Them Back Now? by Joanna Simmons & Jay Curtis

This A-Z book gives a whole new meaning to being a parent; actually, it shows how funny and infuriating it can be sometimes.  Joanna Simmons and Jay Curtis take an often dark and occasionally shocking stance on what it is to be a parent; at how much people really do love their children, but sometimes... 

Initially, I bought this book for my cousin in New York.  However, I've found that she doesn't have much time to read with her new little addition to the family.  So, I thought to have a quick look-through of this book myself and found it funny in so many ways.

Joanna Simmons has written other books on interiors and property.  This book is her most recent one published; this time with a co-author.
There isn't much on the net about Jay Curtis; so I'm unable to tell you much about her.  However, I'll be putting up Joanna Simmons' link on the sidebar if you're interested in her other books and her.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Thousand Paths to a Peaceful Life by David Baird

When you've had enough of the stresses of life and you're ready to explode, this book is full of sayings and quiet prayers for meditation for when life is too stressful to help you deal with it all.  The beautiful gold on gold cover is the first thing that relaxes you as you wonder what's inside it.  And, instead of reading it from cover to cover, just flip it open to a page and read the odd saying or two... they're in no particular order.  It's wonderful.

I received this wonderful book in a large parcel full of goodies from the most generous Bookcrosser around:  Shemchin.  It was a horrible day when I checked my PO Box and picked up this parcel with this book enclosed; along with 'Reeces' Peanut Buttercups and other reads too!  But this one stays by my bed for the nights where I can't sleep.  It has helped me with all kinds of problems and so I think this would be one book I'd take with me if I had to pick out one book. 

When I googled David Baird's name, not much came up but a Wiki reference (and there wasn't anything in there but some links; pretty useless) and some photos of him.  Then, I found of the books he's written.  However this particular one is out of print.  So, if you are given a copy or find a good copy in a second-hand shop, do buy it as it's worthwhile to have in your collection.

My Mum's Book Cull

Last week, Mum asked me to help her with her books and culling them.  So, first, we wrote out all the titles to get and idea of which books she had and what we could do with them... and did the have some books!!!  We found some great out-of-print books and some brilliant cookbooks from times gone by.  Then, I found a book that was given to me as a present and
Mum gave it back to me.  It's an Asian Cookbook (and I'm looking forward to working through it to make some of the stir-fries in it!  Yummo!).
I also scored some other wonderful books like Doris Lessing's 'The Pit' and 'Kewpie Doll' by Barbara Hanrahan.  Then, there were some books you don't see around anymore like 'Noddy's Car Gets A Squeak'
by Enid Blyton and the original 'The Sound of Music' book.  I was so amazed they were still in their original covers and in such good condition.  Well, the Noddy book has always looked like that, but the other one I've never seen before.  I saw a few physical fitness ones where you used the old-style rock dance methods to keep fit (for example The Charleston or the Boogie-Woogie to fast rock music).  And when I looked through the book, it looked like fun; so I thought to give it a try this Winter to keep off the extra weight I normally put on.

So, which books have you scored recently from a clean-out at a friends or relative's house?  Were they all you wished for and more?  Or were they from out of left field?  Do share which books you've acquired just because they were going to a charity or were out of date.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Love Is A Mixed Tape by Rob Sheffield

Rob met Renee way back when in the 1990's.  It wasn't meant to be; he was a shy geeky guy who's into music and she was an in-your-face extrovert; but the only thing they had in common was music and their love for it.  Music brought them together, married them in life and love and music helped Rob through the most horrendous part of love anyone can go through: losing a wife to a sudden death.
This memoir is a touching story about how music shaped Rob Sheffield's life with his wife; and how it got him back on track.  Now a music critic for Rolling Stone, Rob Sheffield's book will touch a chord with anyone who has a collection of mixed tapes in their house.  And you know, we've all got them for one reason or another.

I remember making them for different times in my life; and it never crossed my mind to write a book about them.  However, Rob Sheffield has made writing about love and music and mixed tapes a great thing.  He's made me look into my mixed tapes and remember when I made them and why.  If you're into music, this is a book you must read this year.

I haven't found an official website for Rob Sheffield; the best I've found for you is on Wikipedia, and I hate to say this but I don't really trust the information on that site (I would much rather give you an official site to run around on of an author).  So, I'll put in the Wiki site on the sidebar for now until a proper site can be found for him.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reading Across the Generations

Yesterday, I was a my Mum's house sorting out her collection of books.  What Mum wanted to do was figure out what she had and what she wanted to keep.  So, I suggested we wrote out all the titles, sorted them in to fiction and non-fiction and then work on them from there.  It took us around three or four hours to write down almost all the book titles.  We found books from her past that Grandma had read her; and
eventually she herself had read to me.  Then, I found one Mum had gotten from Sunday School called 'Ned The Lonely Donkey'.  The book is still in fair condition.  And it's a lovely story written for children around the ages of 7 - 10.  However, it's a completely different kind of book you'd find for child of the same age for today.  The pictures inside it are drawn and coloured in with an innocent story about Ned the Donkey.  However, today, a lot of other little books that are aimed at children in the same age group have embossed pages, are full of wild adventures and brightly-coloured pages with a story to match.  

So, how have the books from your parents' time changed compared to the books you used to read as a child?  Mine were either hard cover or paperback.  Sometimes - if I was lucky - I'd get a book with pictures of the movie that had just been made from it on the cover.  For me, books were like oxygen - and they still are - as I love to read for pleasure now instead of escapism.  
Books changed the way people see the world.  And when they were published years ago - even before the ISBN came into play - they were something to be kept and treasured in families.  So, what has happened to your family's books?  Do you still have them?  Or have they been given to charity or other family members?