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.