Saturday, January 29, 2011

January Book Buys

Welcome to a new year of reading, book-buying and sharing too.  And this year has been exciting already too with Brisbane City having a massive flood just after Christmas, wet school holidays and many people, schools and homes displaced.  Seeing I live in Brisbane, my family was one of the fortunate ones who didn't get caught in the rising flood waters; however, seeing how much rain we had, it didn't stop me from going out and buying books either. Well, this month, I'm glad to say that I got out there and bought some good books; books I'll be getting my nose into at some point in the next year or so. And here they are:
I bought the only two of the month at Garden City on the same day; how lucky is that?  To find that very books I wanted on the same day?  Well, there was 'Full Dark, No Stars' by Stephen King from QBD purchased for $22.99 which cheaper than anywhere else I looked for a brand new book.
Then, there was 'Baudolino' by Umberto Eco which I found at The Book Cafe while I was having a coffee and something to eat; actually it was while I was waiting for my order to show up that I found this one and 'Blood Music' by Greg Bear.  But being a fantastic classic that book is; how much I enjoyed it, I thought to leave it for another to find it, so I put it back on the shelf.
The next few weeks, I didn't buy anything.  In fact, I was given the next couple of books by Mum.  These books were being tossed out by some people at Weight-Watchers and were free; so she picked them up and offered them to me.  There was 'The Ultimate Aphrodisiac' by Robert G. Barrett and 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' by Bill Bryson.  Now, I'm not big on Bill Bryson, but I've heard this book is funny.  And then, I was asked by some friends to do a book review on their son's books titled 'Code Name: Millicent' by Bryon Williams.  It's about a cat who is a spy trying to catch out the drug trade in Nimbin in New South Wales.  I'm currently up to chapter three after only a few hours of reading it yesterday afternoon to kill some time.  And now, I'm hooked on it.  I'm not really a cat person, but this cat is just lovely and tough.  I'll be doing a thorough review of the book soon.
So, that's my books for this month - bought, donated to me and borrowed - and so they are most certainly a motley crew aren't they?  What did you get into buying?  Did any of you Brisbane/Queenslanders get to go to the Life Line Bookfest?  If so, what did you buy?  If not, don't worry, there's another in June/July.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Summer Holiday Reading

As many of you may have heard, Brisbane City has had some pretty horrible floods; the worse since 1974 actually.  And so, it's gotten me into reading more since it was raining over the Christmas/New Year break; more than usual.  I got two books completed that I began last year, and have delved into another two after them.
The first two were 'Shades of Midnight' by Lara Adrain.  This is the seventh book of the Midnight Breed series; and it took me a little while to get through it as Christmas was mega-busy and so I found I was very tired from all the family functions and dinners.  But then, once they were over and done with, I got back into its pages with vigor.  Then there was 'He Died With A Felafel In His Hand' by John Birmingham that had me giggling into the late hours of the night about shared accommodation.
Then, I got my hands on 'The Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in new England' by Brock Clarke.  It's a good book about a man who accidentally burnt down Emily Dickenson's house when he was young; along with two people inside (who he didn't know was there) and he was sent to prison for it.  When he gets out, he goes to uni, meets his wife, marries and they find jobs and move to a lovely home.  He thinks his life is pretty good until other writers' homes being to be burnt down; but he's not doing it.
The other one I'm reading is 'Neuromancer' by William Gibson.  It's a strange one, and hard to get into, but once you do, it's hard to put down.  I love the language, the time it's set in and how everything works in it.  Brilliantly written; but totally confusing; yet makes sense in a weird kind of way. 

So, what are you reading over this time of year?  How many books have you already read?  Are you getting through them fast or are you a slow reader; digesting all you read at your own pace?  

Monday, January 10, 2011

LifeLine Bookfest 2011! It's Still On... dates have changed.

Yes, you read right! The Lifeline Bookfest is on again at the Brisbane Convention Centre.  The date it begins is 15th, January at 8:30am and the admission is FREE!  

Now, for those who can't - or don't like to - go to this one, there's one in June as well!  How good is that?  All money raised from the biggest book sale in the universe goes to the less fortunate... so if you live in Brisbane (or the surrounding areas), make tracks to this wonderful event of books, books and more books!  
You can train it in or bus it in.  I catch a bus from Logan and get off in front of the Museum (not at Southbank).  The MC is a man dressed looking like a safari hunter from the 1940's and he has got the most lovely speaking voice... so if you have little kids with you and they get lost, he's the guy to go to.

There's coffee outlets outside for you to keep up your caffeine levels and plenty of seating all around the place for you when you've finished your big spend-up at this wonderful book sale.
And remember:  if you can't make it this time - or can't find what you're looking for - there is another in June.  That's the one I usually hit because it's a cooler time of the year and I find it easier to get around in my Docs.

Edit:  Due to the flood crisis in Brisbane City, I'm not sure if the this book fair is going ahead.  I have posted on Lifeline's Facebook; but there has been no response and I have tried calling them but have only received a recorded message.  But I do know that the West End district of Brisbane City - which is where the Convention Centre, where this event is held, has been evacuated as of yesterday or the day before. 

I have seen adverts on the television tonight that the Book Fest is going ahead.  It is being held between the dates of 29th, January - 6th, February.  Let's hope it's a success! 

He Died With A Felafel In His Hand' by John Birmingham

John Birmingham has lived in over eighty shared houses spanning across three states of Australia.  There's nothing he hasn't seen; and nothing can shock him.  He learned a lot from people he'd least expect would be big problems; and found that traveling with people he lived with was nothing but problems.  Filled with almost unbelievable stories from him - and from others who have also had funny stories about living in shared houses - John Birmingham has written a light, funny and laugh-out-loud account of what it's like to live in shared accommodation with just about anyone.

I love this book.  Seeing I've lived in a shared house, I can relate to about three of the stories out of the many John Birmingham told in this book... but only the three.  There have been my own weird and funny stories I've got of my own while living in shared accommodation that people wouldn't believe; yet they happened.  But, of course, that's a story for another time.  I did love reading this book as it was easy to pick up and and put down and wasn't demanding; as some books are.  So, if you want a good light, hilarious read, this is the book for you.

John Birmingham was born in Ipswich, Queensland, in 1964 and published is debut novel, 'He Died With A Felafel In His Hand' in 1994; which became a cult classic for today's youth, and eventually a best seller.  For his second book, he used a pen name, 'The Search for Savage Henry' by Harrison Biscuit.  This book is currently out of print; however you can buy it on the official site shop (which I've installed on the sidebar).  This was followed by a shared house comedy 'The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco' 'How To Be A Man' was his fourth book, which John co-wrote with Dirk Flinhart, published in 1998.
'He died With A Felafel In His Hand' was turned into be a successful play and - eventually - a movie, starring Noah Taylor and Sophie Lee.  This book was published in Italy and England in 1997.  It was The Guardian's book of the week and described by Loaded as "one of the funniest books ever". 'Leviathan', a history of Sydney, was published by Random House in 1999.  In 2002, Duffy & Snellgrove published two pocket-sized guides by Birmingham 'The Felafel Guide to Sex' and 'The Felafel Guide to Getting Wasted'

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Shades of Midnight by Lara Adrian

There has been a mass killing in the Alaskan township of Harmony.  As peaceful as this place sounds, it has torn apart by this tragedy as the family who was murdered was known in some way by everyone in Harmony; especially by Alex, who had lived in this freezing oasis since she was around six with her father, who only passed away 6 months ago.  When she happens to come upon it during a supplies drop, she recognises the way these people suffered; it was the same way her Mother and her brother, Ritchie had been horribly killed.
Meanwhile back in Boston, Lucan and his brothers-in-arms choose the only Breed who can survive the freezing North Alaskan Winter, Kade, to go and find out all he can to see why this has happened.  Kade not only knows the area of Harmony well, but his family owns a Darkhaven there; however when he arrives, he finds that it's not as peaceful as he had hoped, it's worse than when he left the year before.  Will he be able to make peace with his family, find out who the murderer of the family is and figure out exactly why his Breed nerves jump all over the place when he's in the presence of Alex in time to save the entire township of Harmony before the whole place is turned in to a bloodbath?

This is the seventh book of the series; and I waited until this one came along before I added it to the rest of them to post them all off in one hit to the next person in line for this book spiral on Bookcrossing.  I thought it would be not only fair, but cheaper in the longrun.  This book is a little slower than the others; but it does have it's hot spots that melt the snow when you're following Kade and Alex through the freezing temperatures of Harmony.  Definitely read it on a hot Summer night to cool you down.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year - A New Endevour!

I've loved being here on blogspot; really I have.  And I think I'll be here for a long time yet.  However, it's time to spread the word of this blog and its ideas a little further than this here bookcase and purple/lilac background with the links and official sites of the authors.  I've decided to start a group on Facebook for My Reading List; and to make it easy, I've called it the same thing as this blog; or here's the link: My Reading List Group
It's only been opened today, so there's not much on there; and only a few people I know who are book lovers and readers as members.  However, if you'd like to have a look and make any suggestions on how to make it better, I'll take it all on board.  Hoping to see you there.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Reading Plans for 2011.

Happy New Year to you all!  And I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas - or however you celebrate this time of the year; depending on your beliefs.  So, what are your reading plans for this year? Mine?  Well, seeing I've read such wonderful books for the last year or so, I'm hoping to get my nose into some newer titles and classics as well; as well as my usual mixture of non-fiction that I add in.
This year, I'm not going to be stuck with a book for a few months like I was last year; which was unfortunately for me, 'Under The Dome'.  This book had many followers who said it was brilliant King at his very best, yet it had a few like me who didn't think all that well-written.  But I did see another book that had just been published recently by him in 'Borders' the other day and it looks promising as it has four short novels in it and I was very tempted to purchase it to see how it went.  But I want to finish the reading list I have first before buying any more books this year.
So, this year, I'll be delving into books such as:
'Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living' by Carrie Tiffany
'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' by James Joyce
'Bless Me, Ultima' by Rudolfo Anaya
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' by F. Scott Fitzgerald
'Big Bang' by Simon Singh
'The Six Sacred Stones' by Matthew Reilly
'A Left-Handed History of the World' by Ed Wright

There's another fifteen books that I am eying off on my Mt To Be Read and these are just a few that are on the top of that pile of books that I aim to read this read.  To me they sound brilliant; and I can't wait to get my nose into them.  However, I'm reading a few books right now that I need to finish before I start on any of these.

'Shades of Midnight' by Lara Adrian
'He Died With A Felafel in His Hand' by John Birmingham
'Neuromancer' by William Gibson

All of these books are fantastic reads; but I do aim to finish 'Shades of Midnight' first as it needs to be sent off overseas with the other six books that are sitting by my bed waiting to leave with it.  I'm really looking forward to reading and reviewing more and more books for you all to read and get into.
And I'm also working on my own writings too; which I haven't been doing for a while and I've just gotten back into.  Both reading and writing make my life a lot easier and happier.  So, what are you getting your nose into at this time of the year and what kind of fiction makes you the happiest?