Friday, March 25, 2011

March Book Buys!

Well, I had a really big splurge this month; and it was great to a point, but really, I should be saving up for what I'm aiming for - and overseas trip.  And splurging on books is something I promised I would try and hold back on this year... I didn't last very long did I?
My first purchase was a great classic of 'Catch-22' by Joseph Heller.  I bought this one at Bent Books in West End and it was a real bargain for $12.00.  The place is most certainly on my must-see-again list... and I will go back there to see it again.
My next purchase was 'Christine' by Stephen King.  I had a copy of this book, but my brother borrowed it and he lent it to somebody else and they lent it to another; and well, we all know how it ends up... the book took a walk into the fog of being lost.  But it doesn't bother me when this happens, I know I can always find another copy; like this one for around $7.00.
Then, Borders and Angus & Robertson had their closing down sale last weekend!  And what a sale!  It was at Garden City at Mount Gravatt; and Mum took me along to pick up a book.  I was going to watch the polite melee of people picking and choosing amongst the books and I became one of the customers as I picked out a great lot of books.  I found 'Perfume' by Patrick Suskind, 'Blockade Billy' by Stephen King, 'The Evolutionary Void' by Peter F. Hamilton (which was a gift from Mum actually) and a 'Will Kit' too as well as 'Australia's Writers and Poets' by John Miller.  I bought five of these books for around $24.00; 75% off... not bad for brand new books.
In the last week, I was at the Book Warehouse at Arndale in Springwood, Logan City, and found a good lot of books.  I bought 'Sons and Lovers' by D H Lawrence and 'You Are Here' by Christopher Potter.  This book is about the universe and how it came to be from the Big Bang in the most basic of terms for us people who have loved the stars and galaxies, but don't have a clue about physics.
And just today, I bought a book from the same place on my way through titled 'Mary Poppins She Wrote: The Life of P.I. Travers' by Valerie Lawson.  This is a book about the woman who wrote Mary Poppins; and it covers a lot of travel and people and has two lots of photographs in the centre too.  
So, as you can see, I well and truly fell off the book wagon.  Next month, I'll be better controlled and doing more reviews and less purchasing (fingers crossed!).  Until my next post, happy reading.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Buying On the Run

Yesterday, I wasn't feeling all that well.  My left ear was sore and so I was off to the doctors to get it looked at.  While it wasn't anything bad, I had to get some drops from the chemist in case it turned into something worse.  While waiting for the script, I thought a walk to The Book Warehouse couldn't hurt; and it didn't.
This is one of my favourite places to drop into while I'm on the run looking at books.  It's got all the hottest titles, some I haven't heard of, all the classics, some great kids books and a collection of books to consider buying.  And yesterday, I bought two.  The first one being 'Sons and Lovers' by D.H Lawrence.  A classic that I've never read, but heard so much about.  I've also heard this author is a rather kinky writer for his time.  So, that's another reason I wanted to buy it.
The other one is about a subject I love:  space and the universe.  It's titled:  'You Are Here' by Christopher Potter.  This is a funny and uncomplicated book about our universe and how it was made for those of us who don't have any idea how the psychics side of the Milky Way was made; and really would like to know.  I do have another book like this one, but it has completely confused me on the first few pages.  I hope this one doesn't.
When I returned home from the doctor and chemist, I found Mum was sorting out her Bookcrossing books to send off into the Wild.  So, I looked through the pile and asked if I could nab a few; and she said yes.  I picked up one and said I'd love to have 'The Liar' by Stephen Fry.  Now, I find this guy brilliant; and personally, if there was one person I could listen to speak all day, it would be this man.  He has such a wonderful voice; and is so intelligent, and he has a wonderful sense of humour.  
Well, they were my additions to my book collection this week.  It seems that I've fallen off the proverbial wagon this month - from making too many book purchases. But this is what happens when a big book company goes out of business... I get buying!  I'm just happy I didn't go biting into my holiday fund.  Until my next post, happy reading! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

A young Shepard is sent on a journey for his Personal Legend by a gypsy when he visits a town on his usual route through his lands.  So, he takes a chance, sells his sheep and begins his journey that takes him away from the comforts of his homelands and across the Great Desert.  The young man learns many things from many people he meets during this journey; from a king to a man who owns a crystal shop to an Englishman who owns many books who is searching for the alchemist.  While the young man takes his journey, he finds his Personal Legend takes him in many different directions, but it never changes.  And he's taught one main lesson:  never to ignore his Personal Legend, or to stop listening to it, or it will stop leading him in his life.

At first, I found this book hard to get into, but then, it became something I couldn't put down.  It doesn't have any chapter headings, so you can easily keep reading and reading and lose track of time; which made it easy for me to read up to 50 pages in one sitting.  So, I read this book in about four long sittings; and found it was brilliantly written and didn't bog me down with too much detail, pulling me along, letting me colour in the background with my own brush.

Paulo Coelho, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August 1947.  He was the son of Pedro Queima Coehlo de Souza, an engineer and his wife, Lygia, a homemaker.
Early on, Paulo dreamed of an artistic career, which was frowned upon in his middle-class household.  In the austere surroundings of a strict Jesuit school, Paulo discovered his true vocation: to be a writer.  Paulo's parents had different plans for him, however.  When their attempts to suppress his devotion to literature failed they took it as a sign of mental illness; and at seventeen, his father had him committed to a mental institution, twice, where he entured session of electroconvulsive "therapy".  His parents brought his back there once more after be became more involved with a theatre group and began to work as a journalist.
Paulo was always a nonconformist and a seeker of the new.  In 1968, in the excitement of the guerrilla and hippie movement too hold in Brazil, Paulo embraced progressive politics and joined the peace-and-love generation.  He sought spiritual experience, traveling all over Latin America in the footsteps of Carlos Cataneda.  He worked in theatre and dabbled in journalism, launching an alternative magazine called 2001.  He began to collaborate with music producer Raul Seixas as lyricist, transforming the Brazilian rock scene.  In 1973, Paulo and Raul joined the Alternative Society, an organisation that defended the individual's right to free expression, and began publishing a series of comic strips calling for more freedom.  Members of the organisation were detained and imprisoned.  Two days later, Paulo was kidnapped and tortured by a group of paramilitaries.
Due to this profound experience, he decided that at the age of twenty-six, he had had enough of living life on the edge and wanted to be "normal".  He worked as an executive in the music industry then tried his hand at writing; but didn't get into it seriously until after had an encounter with a stranger.  First, saw the man in a vision, then met him in a cafe in Amsterdam.  The stranger suggested that Paulo should return to Catholicsm and study the benign side of magic.  He also encouraged Paulo to walk the Road of Santiago de Compostela, the medieval pilgrim's route.
In 1987, a year after completing that pilgrimage, Paulo wrote The Pilgrimage:  Diary of Magus.  The book describes his experiences and his discovery that the extraordinary occurs in the lives of ordinary people.  A year later, Paulo wrote a very different book, The Alchemist.  The first edition sold only nine hundred copies and publishing house decided not to reprint.  Paulo would not surrender his dream; and found another - bigger - publishing house.
He wrote Brida (a work still unpublished in English) that received a lot of attention in the press and both The Alchemist and The Pilgrimage appear on the best seller lists.  The Alchemist went on to sell more copies than any other book in Brazilian literary history.

I'm currently looking for an official website for Paulo Coelho; however it only comes up with a Wiki page; something I'm not happy with.  So, I'll keep on searching for you all.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Angus & Robertson Closing Down Sale

As you all know, Borders Bookstores have had financial difficulties in the last few years.  However, here in Australia, Angus & Robertson Bookstores and Borders were working together; and so when Borders finally had to close its doors, so did one of our longest running and most important book publishers and bookstores in Australia has to close its doors.  And why not go out with bang at Garden City than with a 75% off all books sale.  And today, Mum and I took off to that.  
At first, she was there just to pick up a book; and I was there to be good and watch the people politely fight over the books that were left (as half the bookstore had already been emptied since this morning; and the store is closing on Sunday).  Instead, Mum bought two books and I bought five.  Yeah, I broke my promise to back off on my purchasing spree each month... so much for promises!  But just look at what I got myself!  All of these books are brand new and they were 75% off the full price!  What bargains!  And Mum bought me the really thick one... how good is that?
We had a great day out and I'm glad that I got one book off my wish list... and that's a great thing.  The one problem I have now is trying to find a place to put these books - as I do each time I go book shopping.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Afternoon of Reading Results

It was a lovely day yesterday to get into reading; it was was also a good day to get a bit of housework done.  And once most of it was out of the way, I pulled out the deckchair, grabbed my books and ice cold Cranberry juice, camera and phones; then put Little Miss Stevie outside with me and settled in for a good few hours of reading.
My first book was 'Catch-22' by Joseph Heller.  I read from page 55 to 93 in about an hour and half.  I find reading about the war - any war - hard going; but once I enjoyed how the words were put together, and ignored the fact it was talking about the war, I enjoyed it.
Then 'The Gargoyle' by Andrew Davidson was next.  And it was also a totally different turn of pace too.  A lighter and more elegant style of writing; I enjoyed it to a point.  I did find parts of what I read a tad boring.  I read from page 117 to 141 in around an hour.
'The Alchemist' by Paulo Choelho is a book that I've recently picked up and have put down for one reason; and that's because it doesn't have chapter headings.  I like them for the fact that you can usually mark your way through a book with them.  However, this was something that bothered me about this book.  Once I got back into the book, I enjoyed pages 82 - 106 immensely; reading them in thirty-five minutes; and could have read more if I didn't have to get in and start thinking about dinner; as it was only half an hour away from 4pm and I needed to get in early.  
So, there was my afternoon of reading; and this got me wondering if any of you have done this kind of thing before; set yourself a challenge and tried to get through as many books as you could like I have.  I found this very relaxing and enjoyable, and will do it again soon.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

An Afternoon of Reading

It's been a while since I got my nose into a good few chapters of books; as socially, I've been on-the-go.  So, today, I thought it would be a good challenge to catch up on reading some chapters of some good books.
As of midday today, I'll be collecting together 'Catch-22' by Joseph Heller and getting a few chapters read of that.  I'm a couple of chapters in; but I want to get further into it than I am.  Each time I get into the book I'm often in bed; and by the time I want to read more, I'm too tired and have to turn out the light.
The next book I'll get into is 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Ceolho.  I've gotten a fair way into this - and have enjoyed it - however, for some reason, I've put it down.  I must get back into it and get reading it again.  I think it's because it has no chapter headings that it's put me off; but I'll keep going and see how I go with it.
Then, there's 'The Gargoyle' by Andrew Davidson.  This is a book I've had on my bed-head for a long time; and I have been meaning to get my nose into again.  It's a great book; and I want to finish it as I have heard great things about it and the author has written more books I'd like to read as well.  
So, this is what I'm doing this afternoon.  I'll be setting up either out the front of my unit or in my carport (most probably that latter as it'll be nice and cool; and I'll have more space to spread out) and I'll let you know tomorrow how far I got with each book, and how many pages and chapters I read of each.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Colourful Reading Place

Yesterday, I went out to a party.  But on the way, my friend, Geoff Treagus, and I drove through the West End of Brisbane to have a look at an art gallery we were planning of getting some of our work put into later on this year; but it was closed.
However, while we were waiting, we decided to drop into 'Bent Books' on Boundary Street.  Its big colourful awning is the first thing you see; and then there's the inviting lots of books that are sitting out the front to tempt you inside to peruse the floor to ceiling shelves.  The floors are old and creaky and the store is fully air-conditioned; and the books are just lovely, as are the owners, who know everything about their stock and relate well with their customers.  
There was one book that caught my attention from across the store and so I grabbed it off the shelf and was thinking I was going to pay dearly for it; but I was pleasantly surprised to find that 'Catch-22' by Joseph Heller only cost me $12.00 and it's in very good condition.  They sold gorgeous bookmarks for $3.50 and so I bought one of those as well and I grabbed one of two Bent Books business cards.
This bookstore is on the right street in West End, with a huge array of books and with the right people running it.  And if they don't have the books, the owners are more than happy to point you in the the right direction - to another bookstore in Brisbane City - so you can find the books you're after.  I do recommend you check out this bookstore.  It's not open after dark, though, so make a day of it and check it out one day or weekend while you're in West End.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The New Logan Central Library Grand Opening!

At long last, the Logan Central Library's new location is finally open for business; and has been for a little while.  It's been a long time in coming, but this library has been kept inside the Logan City Council Chambers for some years and been needing an upgrade for a long time.  And when Bi-Lo closed its doors a few years ago, the LCC began building the new library where the old warehouse was; and a bigger premises for the library meant more space, better times for the public to come and look and borrow books and longer business hours; as well as a more centralised area for the place to be.  And doesn't it look just brilliant?  I love the look of it.  There's even a bookstore on the end of it too!  Now, that's a library!  A place to borrow as well as to buy books too!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Been Readin'

I know that February doesn't look like I've been anywhere near a book; but really I've had my nose stuck in many of them.  And I've also been out and about running around raising funds for The World's Greatest Shave, attending the River of Hope Festival, moving a new television unit into my house and old furniture out into my carport... and in amongst that I've been poking my nose in 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho.  A book about the journey of a young boy who grows into a young man following his dream to find treasure; and how it takes him across not only a desert but through many trades and working and talking with many people to realise that it's the journey that turns him into a man not the treasure he sought out in the first place.  But reading the book is an adventure in itself with writing as refreshing as a Summer breeze and no chapters to speak of.
I've been looking into the last issue of 'Good Reading' Magazine and am looking forward to buying next month's issue to read up on an interview with Jeffery Archer.  Now, I've been past his house in the UK in 1997... a very nice stately old house with trees all around, a large circular drive and brick and steel fence lining the road.  However, the people who were driving me to another destination didn't stop for me to get a photo... pity, it would have been a good one.  The best thing is that I have the memory of it.
I'm also struggling with 'Neuromancer' by William Gibson.  It's fantastically written; yet hard to get into, and reminds me of 'Snow Crash' by Neil Stephenson in a lot of ways.  So, that's what I've been busy reading.  What have you gotten your nose into lately?  Until my next post, keep reading!