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!