Saturday, October 29, 2011

October Book Buys!

This month, I've been pretty good at not buying books; well, that was up until the day before my brother's birthday when I spotted the full volume of 'The Chronicles of Narnia' by C.S Lewis in QBD for $9.95.  What a steal!  Now, I've only owned the second book in that series to read since I was a child and that was it; now I own them all; along with a full-colour poster in the back!  Very cool!
The other three books I purchased were all purchased on one day while I was going out to the doctors.  I had to buy something for a Bookcrossing Birthday Buddy and couldn't find any books on her wish list.  So, I went out to The Book Warehouse to see if there was anything there I could buy for her.  I did have 'How to Hepburn' by Karen Karbo in mind for her; it's funny, witty and very informative about Katharine Hepburn, however, I didn't know what else to get for somebody who is hard to buy for.  And the last few birthdays, I have bought her Jodie Picoult book collections; and I thought she may becoming a little tired of receiving those and I wanted to be different.  
So, I bought 'Thief: A Love Story' by Peter Carey for her and added that one into the box I sent her along with a block of Whitaker's Dark Chocolate with almonds, two hand-made book-baggies (my own invention), a mug I bought her, and a Bookcrossing book as well as a birthday card I bought from the Southbank Markets of two Rainbow Lorikeets sitting together on a branch (like two buddies do!).  I posted the box off on Wednesday last week and I hope it arrived safely.
Another book I bought on 24th, October was 'And Another Thing...: Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Part Six of Three' by Eoin Colfer.  It was published two years ago; but I bought it for a little under $10.  A pretty good deal as I love Douglas Adams's work!  Such a funny man.
Well, they were the only books I bought this month; and they all had a purpose - thankfully!  Until next month's purchases, happy reading!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Good Reads Spring Challenge

Well, it's almost the end of October, and the Spring Challenge I taking part in on Good Reads; with one more month to go.  I have read some great books over the last two months; reviewing them as I finished them (just enter them into the Search Box on the side bar and they'll show up).
The first book I got my nose into was one that had been offered up at high school (in year 10 actually) but I didn't read it.  It's 'Old Man and the Sea' by Ernest Hemmingway.  I loved it from the very beginning to the very last page.  It was brilliantly written and had me on the edge of my seat - especially when he was fighting the fish.  Actually, there was a stage where I was sitting outside and I found that I gripping the book so hard that I had to stand up and begin walking around or I might do the old edition I owned some damage by accident (I was reading a 2nd edition of the book; and it was brilliant!  The publishers used two artists in the book for illustrations purely because they couldn't choose between them!  How great is that?).
The second book I read for the Spring Challenge was 'Red Dog' by Louis De Bernieres.  Now, I went and saw the touching film this book was turned into before I read this book; which is something I don't normally do.  However, not a week later, Mum showed up at my door and gave me a new copy of the book for me to read before she read it.  Well!  What a great book!  I couldn't put it down!  I laughed out loud and I cried my eyes out too!  And like the critics said about E.T. when it came out:  if you don't shed a tear, you've got a heart of stone.
I did have some problems with my third book I chose to read for this challenge:  'The Mists of Avalon' by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  I had heard some brilliant reviews about this book and thought I'd try to tackle this book... well, this was my third year on trying out this book - my third time.  However, each time I tried to get into it, something stopped me and the whole thing turned into one great big haze - kind of like the ocean spray that was taking over the castle that was hanging over the cliffs in the book!  I felt as though my mind turned in a haze too each time I picked up this tome... so it never got finished.
The fourth book I read was 'The Bee-Loud Glade' by Steve Himmer.  This was somewhat of a challenge within itself that I received in the mail.  It was something where I was invited to read for a book discussion early in October; and I accepted.  Seeing I don't normally go in for these, I thought it would be good for the Spring Challenge.  So, once it arrived, I dove straight in and knocked over 40 pages or so on the first day (as there was nothing else to do on that day).  Then, I was reading up to 30 pages a day until it was finished just this Monday gone at around 1am when I was kept awake by the beginnings of a dreadful cold.  This book is something completely different to what I'd normally read - a narrative - and yet it kept me interested the whole time.  I took part in some of the discussion on Goodreads and enjoyed the banter... enjoying the talks about how the book was written and the characters in the book and the nuts and bolts of this book as well as the back-story and other things about it.  When this book does come your way, don't hesitate to read it, as it's brilliantly written and will keep you thinking well after you've closed it.
With another month to go, you never now how much more there is to be read during this challenge.  Well, until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Narnia Chronicles Renewed and Other Reads!

This month, I've read more books than I thought I would; and I'm proud of myself.  However, I also purchased only one book thus far.  This book is 'The Chronicles of Narnia' by C.S. Lewis.  Now, I have only ever read 'The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe' by C.S Lewis and absolutely adored it!  So much I adored it, I ended up buying a copy of this very book for my niece so she could read it one Christmas (the same Christmas when the movie came out!).  Riley also loves the book.  Now, I was in QBD  the other day when I came upon a large volume of all the books - all seven of them - printed up in paperback for only $9.99!  I had been looking for this one for some time at this price without success; and finally, I found it and - of course - bought it.  I began reading it at Gloria Jeans' Coffee House to kill some time before I had to catch a bus home.
Other books I've been reading lately are 'The Bee-Loud Glade' by Steve Himmer.  I've written up a review of this one below and I'm only two or so short chapters from finishing it.  It's a very interesting narrative in such a way that it's not a heavy read and doesn't take long to plow through around thirty pages in one sitting.  In my first sitting, I read over forty pages - and that was because the book arrived late to me and I was in an online discussion and wished to keep up with them all.
The next book I've just begun is titled 'How to Hepburn' by Karen Karbo.  This book is a great little book and I'm only about twenty-five pages into it so far.  I am enjoying how far Katharine would have gone to get a part in a film, how brash she was (and stayed that way for her whole life) and how popular she became for being exactly who she was right up to the day she passed away.  I can't wait to get into this book this afternoon again and read more of it.  Well, now you know what I'm currently reading - and how it's all going - what are you all reading?  Let us know.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Book Baggies

I haven't been reading all that much lately.  It's not a focusing problem; it's something I've been working on lately.  And once I begin working on something I tend to drop everything else around me and concentrate on that one thing.  Yep, I become very single-minded.
As you all know, I received what I thought was a strange kind of present from my folks:  a sewing machine.  I really didn't expect it and didn't want it.  However, as the saying goes: when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  So, I began thinking about what I could do with this machine.  I'm an artistic person and wanted to work it in with my art; as well as integrating it with my love of reading and books.  So, I looked over the patterns Mum gave me and found a design for a pillowcase (but I have plenty of those!).  Then, it struck me!  I thought to design a simple baggie for books to protect them from wear and tear when you're out and about reading them.
I worked out the prototype from cheap, light material and then - just today - I worked on my first two real ones from good quality material.  And it's worked out well!  However, I'd like to have some people's opinions about them.  So, what do you think?  Would you buy them if I began making them?  Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts about my new baggies.  

I found that I can fit 2 books in one baggie along with a bookmark.

 I hope you all enjoy my new design on book baggies.  I can make them in any colour (the green ones I've got here are for one of my friends who loves this colour and it's her birthday soon).  So, until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

First Reads I'd Read Again

Now, we all have a list of books that we adore; and would love to go back and re-read again at a much slower pace if given the chance.  I have a good list of them bumping around my head and thought to share them with you.  I got this idea off The New Dork Review of Books  and thought to share mine as well here.

10. 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - the Trilogy in Four Parts' by Douglas Adams.  This book is hilariously funny and I had a paperback edition of it; and once I read it, I stupidly gave it away.  So, I hunted down another copy and found a hardcover copy; this is one book I'll keep forever.

9.  'Marley & Me' by John Grogan.  If there's any funnier book about a man and his dreadfully misbehaving dog, I'd like to read it... and then see it turned into a just-as-funny movie!

8. 'I Am Legend' by Richard Matheson.  Brilliantly written novella with just enough creepy to keep me interested; along with a collection of other stories to turn this book from a before bed read and into an afternoon read within 24 hours.

7. 'Watchmen' by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons.  I don't read graphic novels often, but when I do, it's usually due to them being brilliantly plotted and subplotted and because I've heard and read great reviews about them.  This one had the best reviews and I loved it completely.  Now, I want to own it.

6.  'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury.  I had heard a lot about this book; and received it for Christmas in 2010.  Over that Christmas/New Year break, it poured rain; giving me the chance to read it.  I finished it and gave it to my Mum; who got her nose into it immediately.  We both love the way his style is so dry and yet pulled us into the story effortlessly.

5.  'Other Colours' by Orhan Pamuk.  I had never heard of this author, but his words and stories are just beautifully written ... they are like oxygen to a reader like me.  If you ever come across this book, buy it and read it.

4.  'He Died With A Felafel in His Hand' by John Birmingham.  This Brisbane writer had me in stitches about where he had lived and how many people he had shared with.  Well-written book; and I'm sure I'll re-read it at some point.

3.  'The Dead Zone' by Stephen King.  Now, who doesn't like a book like this?  Any older books by SK are sure to get a great billing from me.  And this one is most definitely up on the top rankings there with me.

2. 'Blood Music' by Greg Bear.  I have read his works before and found him amazing.  And this book has been on my Wish List for a long time to read; and last year, I got to do just that.  I am so happy I did read it; and I did take my time in doing so.

1.  'The Stand' by Stephen King.  There are two editions put out by SK of this book:  the ordinary edition we all love and know.  Then, there's the unabridged edition where they've pushed all the stuff they took out back in... I've read both, and the unabridged one bored the crud out of me.  

So, which books are in your top 10 of books that you'd love to go back and read again for a first time?  Or just to re-read for the fun of it? 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Romance Bandits Win!

I look around at other blogs of book reviewers, writers and book lovers as well.  I also comment on their blogs as well to keep in touch.  In the last few weeks I've joined in the banter of The Romance Bandits just for a bit of fun and have been enjoying myself immensely.
Recently, I scrolled through their blog - which works through their 16 managers quickly and so it updates rapidly; and sometimes daily - and found I had won a book from one of them!  Yay!  Today, it arrived; and little did I know (until I opened it to photograph it), it was signed by the author!  How good is that!  So, here are the photos for you all to enjoy of my prize!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Bee-Loud Glade by Steve Himmer

What would you do if you were offered five million dollars to live in somebody's garden and be a hermit without saying a word for seven years?  Would you do it or not?  This is the the job offered to Finch, a man who used to work as a blogger for a company that manufactured plastic plants.  He found life not worthwhile and just stopped everything; until he found an offer on some spam he saw online which offered some work that was right up his alley.  He answered it and didn't expect anything in return... not until there was a knock at the door the following morning.

I won this book off The Next Best Book Blog and what I had to do to win it was to leave a comment of what I would do if I was not allowed to talk for seven years.  I was also invited to take part in a book/author discussion on Goodreads.  This was something I couldn't pass up and I've found it great fun and interesting to post what I've thought of the book as I've been reading it.  And this book is something I've found very easy to read as well.  Well worth looking into if you'd like something totally different to get into this Spring.

I haven't found much on Steve Himmer.  There's his blog and other information on him in the back of his most recent book.  However, that's about it.  So, I'll put his blog up on the side bar and you can have a look at it at your leisure.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Birthday Books!

Yesterday was my 38th Birthday and it was a very cool day; weather-wise.  Normally, here in Australia, Spring is nice and warm and sunny.  However, we ended up with a cloudy, cold day; but with a birthday to celebrate, we didn't let that interfere with occasion.
The day before, I received a parcel from a Bookcrosser in New Zealand - Sfogs - of two books.  One titled 'ShadowLight' by Mike Jefferies was my birthday book; and the other  was titled 'Unsettled' by Graham Walker.  This one was a bookring I'm taking part in and so I have to read this one before the month is out.  It's going well so far.
Yesterday, I didn't get any mail.  However, I did receive a very unusual gift from my parents:  a sewing machine.  I call it unusual, but really sewing is in my family's blood - we come from a long line of seamstresses and dressmakers.  I know how to sew, but I just don't like to.  Mum's hoping I pick it up again.
Today, I was on for volunteer work and picked up my mail at the post office of a 3kg bag from my Birthday Buddy off Bookcrossing, Froggirlwendy.  She lives here in Brisbane and is only on the other side of town; however we've never met.  We've been Birthday Buddies for a few years now; and send each other great birthday gifts each year, as our birthdays are both in October.  Today, my parcel from her arrived!  I was thrilled!  So, I took it to the Logan Art Gallery and opened it there!  There were four books - all registered on Bookcrossing - and a wrapped present for my birthday!  In the gaily wrapped pressie was two coin purse, a lovely card, a card with an inspirational quote on it, writing paper and ' 'The Lady of the Rivers' by Philippa Gregory.  The other books were titled:  'What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day' by Pearl Cleage, 'Sixty Lights' by Gail Jones, 'Death At Dawn' by Caro Peacock and 'The Mermaid Cafe' by Andy Maconachie.  None of these are on my Wish List on Bookcrossing, however, they do look like great reads!  And I look forward to reading them in the future - or better still, over Christmas!   Until my next post, happy reading!