Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The End of Summer of Fun... But Not of Fun

Wow!  It's the end of February - the last day of Summer here in Australia; therefore, the last day of The Summer of Fun Event!  What a great time I've had doing this.  
I know I did an overview of it all yesterday.  However, I'd like to thank you all for taking part, for being patient with me, for adding your comments; but most of all I hope you had as much fun enjoying the posts and links and interviews as I did putting this all together.  It's been great!
I know I didn't put in as many book reviews as I had hoped, however, a lot of other things took off for me over the holidays that I didn't plan.  But that's what happens when you live life isn't it?  As John Lennon once said:  'Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans' ... and that's what happened over the last three months of this event.  It was unexpected and enjoyable, but I hope to make next year's event as interesting as this one.  
Next year's Summer of Fun Event 2012 will have everything this one has had, and I hope to have more interviews with authors, more YouTube interviews and other things going on as well.  I'll keep you posted about it as the event approaches toward the end of the year.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Summer of Fun Event - An Overview

Tomorrow is the last day of this great 3-month event!  How much has happened over this Summer?  Lots!  And there's so much more to do next year too!  There was a lot uploaded, interviews on YouTube (which I'll be keeping throughout the year once or twice a month), a few book reviews, bookstore reviews, links to poets sites, other links to book blogs and even more links to great and beautiful bookstores and libraries.  I wrote about books, old books, new books and other aspects of books... and there was an interview with Estelle Pinney as well (this is something I'll be improving on; getting more interviews with more authors by next year's event).

We chatted about collections - yours, mine and other people's - and how they're all kept.  And reading!  What we're reading, what we'd like to be reading, what books we've bought to read recently and products that hold and light up the pages of our books too.  Authors have been talked about, and how they changed our lives and why we keep going back and reading their books again and again; while other authors, we read their works once - and that's it, we don't go back.  

Yes, the last three months have been full of the complete joy of books.  We've all read to our heart's content about everything there is about the written word; and you know, I'm going to miss how busy this has made me.  However, it might kick-start something in me.  I'll get myself out there to look into bookstores and review them more around Brisbane.  I'll find more places to go in the search of the written word - old and new - and keep you all informed about it.  

So, until my next post... and until tomorrow... happy reading!

Monday, February 27, 2012

February Book Purchases!

This month hasn't been a big one for buying books, but the ones I have bought were good ones.  They piqued my interest and I wanted them for a reason; and isn't that the main reason for buying a book?  Well, okay, not necessarily, but for a good part of the time, it is, right?  I'll keep telling myself the same thing.
But first thing's first, I noticed I didn't do a January Book Purchases notice.  So,I'll be including some of what I bought in January in this as well... but not all the books I bought as I don't remember all the books I've purchased (I'm beginning to write them all down in a notebook to keep track that way in case I forget again).  
The only books I recall buying is 'Active Dreaming' by Robert Moss and 'Christian Slater: Back From the Edge' by Nigel Goodall.  But I don't remember which one was bought when.  I do remember that the Nigel Goodall book is out of print and I had to order it from the UK and waited three weeks for it; and it's only up-to-date until 2005, otherwise, it's a great book on his life until then.  The 'Active Dreaming' book is a brilliant reference book on our dreaming lives and how they aren't different to our waking lives; they actually interact.  It's not a book you read from beginning to end, but you delve in wherever you need the info and jump from part to part.  Now, I like that kind of book where it's not all that demanding.

In February, I wasn't in any big hurry to buy a book - after all I have so many here to dive into!  But I did read a review on 'Oryx and Crake' by Margaret Atwood and found out it was the book before 'The Year of the Flood' so I thought it was a good idea to read it before I jumped into her book that I bought myself for Christmas.  This was easier said than done!  I asked for it, but it was out of stock and I had to wait until was in stock at the warehouse.  This book took about two weeks to arrive.  I didn't mind waiting, it gave me time to do other reading and work on my paintings.
Then, I started planning my garden again.  It's been years since I worked on it and changed it; and this year I'm going to make some major changes to it and turn it into something I've always wanted - a proper little garden of hidden treasures.  The first thing I hunted down was a Gardening Journal big enough to be used over a few years, hold all the clippings from newspapers and other things I'd like and it had to have enough note paper in it for me to write on.  And I found a big one for $4.95 at the Book Warehouse just last week or so.  I'm very impressed!  A nice hard-covered book with everything I need to record and help care for any plant I choose to go into my garden.
So, what great finds have you made with books over the last month or so?  Were they useful and practical like my Gardening Journal?  Or just lovely books to own just because they were there?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore

This is a lovely 15 minute film that was posted on Bookcrossing last night and I thought - before going off to bed - that I'd have a look at it.  Well!  What a lovely film about books and how they can cure the human soul.  Take the time and enjoy this; it's well worth it.

Golden Oldies

I remember when my Grandparents were around - mainly on my Mum's side of the family - they had a couple of bookcases chock full of books in the side verandah of their old Queenslander home at Tarragindi here in Brisbane.  I loved delving into that side verandah because it was always full of dusty old books that nobody read anymore and things that nobody looked at or used anymore.
However, when both Grandma and Grandpa weren't around anymore, a lot the things I used to fiddle with and books I read and pored through were shared amongst the family.  These books were old, out-of-date and very unusual; and I wondered if anyone would have a use for them anymore.
However, as I matured, I found that these books found a place on my bookshelves and take pride of place there.  Once such book is 'Short History of the English People' by John Richard Green.  My Grandpa owned a 34th edition of this book which was printed in 1926, but it was first printed in 1874.  Then, it was reprinted many times, expanded upon and then had an epilogue added onto it before this edition was printed.  I have searched around for another book just like it; however my search has dug up another two volumes, but they are either out of print or in just as poor condition as the copy of my first volume.
Other books that I have dug up are all sitting in the bookcase next to my computer desk out of direct sunlight to keep the spines from fading and pages from turning yellow.  Yes, I inherited a fair few books from that old house and quite a few of them have funny names.  There's one looking at me right now titled 'Receipts for Everything: The Book You Want: How To Cure Everything. How To Do Everything'.  It's a book by a certain Dr Chase who published all his recipes for everyone to use.  According to this book, you can cure everything from Whooping Cough to Chronic Gout... oh boy!  But then, again, back in the old days, everything had to be cured and worked with by house hold and pantry items in the first place; this is how medicine began isn't it?
So, what old books have you inherited and have been unable to let go of?  Know have an idea of which ones it is for me, so share yours with the rest of us.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lost In Translation

Last night, I stayed up late and watched the film version of 'The Wave' by Todd Strasser.  The book was based in the same place as the real-life incident: California.  However, the film was made in Germany;  so there were sub-titles.  I love foreign films and didn't mind this.  However, I thought it would have been better if the movie had stayed true to its word of the book and kept the characters and storyline in the place it originally took place; even though it was a more modern and up-to-date way of looking at things.
In this 2008 movie, they used the internet, MySpace, texting and e-mail.  I also found that the old-fashioned ways of bullying and gang warfare was still around and mixed in very well.  However, it still missed the point in that this is an American-based book; and this movie version disappointment me a bit, even though the plot and the way the story carried along was quite strong I did get lost a little in some places because the actions moved faster than the words on the screen.  And this is where it being made in English would have paid off.  

This isn't the only book where it hasn't been translated onto the silver - or small - screen well.  And it's not the author's fault for signing off to the wrong people.  They are made promises and the promises aren't held up; making the films one-sided and totally missing the point.  
I have noticed that 'The Stand' by Stephen King could have been made better.  It was a two-part tele-movie where the first part kicked-butt, and yet the second part fell apart.  However the book was a brilliant read!  And that's the thing with his books, a lot of them don't translate well onto the screen; and it's because they are multifaceted and the directors and screen-writers can't get the same feel as Stephen King into the scripts as he does in his own books.

However, there's always the other way around.  Yes, I've seen books that are drawn from films; and some work but most don't.  For some reason, there's people out there who think that a film/movie would make a good book, but when it does come out, it's a big farce.  I remember when 'The Fifth Element' came out as a film it was a funny and fun thrill ride with Bruce Willis out there saving the world and universe (well, okay, when doesn't he?).  However, about two years later, I found the book to it as a novelisation of the movie; and wondered who's bright idea that was.  I bought it to see how bad it was, and didn't get past chapter two when I gave it away.  It was the corniest, most far-fetched and dreadfully-written book I've ever found; and I swore I'd never buy another.  
Then, my brother asked me to look for 'Johnny Mnemonic'.  I knew it had been a movie as he had rented it out on VCR when I was younger, however, I didn't know it was book now.  It took me four years to find it, and it was the only book I found was worth finding.  After I gave it to Gabe (my brother), he read it and said it was just as good as the film.  However, I just looked up this movie, and it's from a book by William Gibson; this means we were both misinformed.  Now that says something about good writing.  You've either got it; or you don't... which means, you can either grab the action, feeling and dialogue from the film, silver and small screen and put it onto the page properly or you can't.  
Are there any books that you know of that have translated to the big screen - or even the small screen - that have done it well?  Or have there been movies that have done the switch to books in just the same way in a very good way?  Drop me a line and let us all know which ones are your favourites.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Who's Who of Reading What.

It's late here in Brisbane.  All the lights around the other units in my complex are out and my place is about the only one that has its lights on.  I don't sleep very well most nights and have to wait until my mind slows down enough for me to get into the sleep mode; and until it does, I'm stuck with being sleepless in Brisbane.  

However, it's at these late hours I have my best ideas.

Tonight, I've been running around on Google looking up famous people who read.  I don't care if they're actors or musicians, if they're dead or alive, if they're politicians, fellow writers, or nobodies... so long they read.  And I'd like to know exactly what they read so we can all get an idea what makes the famous people we look up to and follow for a good part of our lives tick.  Why they are how they are and where they are in their lives; and is it because of what they read?
However, I couldn't find a single, recent article - that wasn't written last year - to put up here.  So, I'm putting out the word:  do you know anyone famous who reads a multitude of books?  Do they have a massive library - like most writers - or do they just love to read while traveling across the globe like most musicians while they're on tour.  Love to hear about who you know who reads... it'd be interesting to know who reads what; and who we never thought would read, and does.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Active Dreaming by Robert Moss

Have you ever had a dream where you can move around and talk in it, have complex conversations, read books or newspapers, signs and remember landmarks of where you live and even travel to other countries.  And yet, when you wake up, you remember these dreams as clearly as you remember what you had for breakfast yesterday?  Well, have I got a book for you!  'Active Dreaming' by Robert Moss is a great reference book on this particular subject.
This book works on the assumption that you already keep a dream journal; and if you don't, to start one.  It's not a book that you read from beginning to end like most you find on the market.  I have found that if I need to look at a subject, I'm interested in, I'll just look it up in the contents and go to it, read about it and then be happy with what I have found out.  And seeing I have already got a couple of detailed dream journals dating back quite a few years, I see that this book advised me to buy an Index book and write down symbols of my dreams and dates of when they occurred.  
This book is most certainly for those who want to learn more about their dream worlds and what affect it has on their real, waking world.  It's not a massively thick book, but Robert has done his homework, and is an accomplished author with other works as well to his name; which are worth looking up and adding to this one.  So, until my next post, happy reading.

A Week To Go!

I just looked at my calendar and there's a little over a week to go until my Summer of Fun Event is over, complete, finished!  Wow!  Three months can zip by in a blink if you don't watch out... and really it's been a lot of fun.
Before I began typing this post up, I looked over the last three months of posts and found that there was a lot of things that were done and said... however, I didn't do that many book reviews (only about three if I remember right).  This is because I have been fighting a losing battle with Stephen King's new book and another writer - David Foster Wallace - and then there was Christian Slater's biography (which was a great book on his life right up until 2005 or so).  However, now I'm busily re-organising my shelves  and finding books that I haven't seen in yonks... plenty of them too... to take on the Good Reads Autumn Challenge.  i took on their Summer Challenge and didn't get very far; so this is my chance to pick up where I left off and hopefully get some seriously focused reading done; as well as some reviews.
And seeing this event went off so well, I thought to keep it running over next Summer as well; as an annual event.  So, what are your thoughts on this.  Have you got any ideas of where I could improve on this event where I didn't use them this time around?  If so, please leave a comment and let me know, I'd love to know your ideas so I can put them into next year's event.  This year was so much fun putting together.  Well, I'll keep on working until the end of this one and start planning next Summer's event by July or so.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Interview With John Irving

John Irving is an author I admire; and yet I have yet to read his work fully.  He was somebody I wished I could get into the works of, however, it's been hard and yet I still buy his books and attempt to read them.
Here is an interview that was uploaded onto YouTube in February last year from France which goes for 11 minutes.  He talks about books, his life and everything how he became a writer and why he loves what he does.  Must thank france24english for uploading this interview for us.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Few Days of Silence

I've been cut off from my phone over the last week; and this wasn't my fault.  However, I did get in and look at things around my place which needed doing while I waited five days to have the phone line fixed.  
One of those things was to read a little more.  Isn't it strange how when one thing is removed from your life, you start looking around to replace it with something else very quickly to relieve the boredom that you know will sneak up on you?  I bought a book last month titled 'Active Dreaming' by Robert Moss.  I purchased it on Boundary Street in West End here in Brisbane and have found it the most wonderful reference book about just that; our dreams.  I had gone out and bought an Index Book and began index symbols in my dreams and came up with a lot of them; so many I didn't realise that I had actually dreamt of a camel until I wrote it down twice! 
The next book I was reading was '11-22-63' by Stephen King.  Now, this one has taken me a while to get through.  It's slowly getting around to what the story is about and I'm glad as it's something I don't wish to put down and push to one side just yet.  No, Stephen has pulled me in this far, I'm not giving up on this gem... not when he's given me all of this history and brilliance from his mind.  
And just yesterday, I picked up a book from QBD at Garden City titled 'Oryx and Crake' by Margaret Atwood.  I haven't read any of her work before; however I'm finding it very much like 'The Bee-Loud Glade' by Steve Himmer.  I do like this book very much, so far; and yet I'm only up to page 40.  So, what happens when the phone lines vanish on you?  Or the power goes out and you have a few days to yourself?  Do you get into reading more?  Do you sew or knit?  Is there a painting your pick at?  Let us know.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

By The Light At Night

Once in a while, we all use one:  a reading light.  However with so many out on the market right now, which ones do you like to use?  Which ones are the real deal and which ones are just posers (good looking but really do nothing at all).  I have road-tested three such lamps and found there was one that I love; and funnily enough it was one I scored from a magazine that I use the most.
The first one is a headlamp you attach to your head with an elastic strap and switch it on.  It's quite good, runs on lithium batteries and is nice and bright.  However, it's not easy to remove and even harder to switch off; but it is useful for around the house for other times as well.
The second one is a Mighty Bright Reading Lamp which I won from Good Reading Magazine for writing in a letter to them.  My letter was published in their monthly magazine and the lamp arrived in the mail.  How very cool!  And the best thing is that this little lamp has a flexible neck, you can use one or two lights and it clips onto your book or you can sit it onto the table... very convenient.
The third reading lamp is really weird.  Mum and Dad gave me it to see if I liked it only due to the fact that they felt it didn't really work for them.  Mum found it didn't light the right parts of the book she was reading and Dad found it wasn't bright enough for the size book he was reading and the light didn't reach all the way down the page; even when he tried to move its neck, it moved back to where it was originally set.  So, I brought it home and thought to try it out; and sure enough, this light-weight little lamp may be cute, looking like and acting like a little robot, when you opened it.  It swung open, switched on and arced over... very futuristic.  However, its appeal stops right here.  Nothing about this light works the way you want it to.  And putting it back together in a hurry is harder than it looks.

So, what reading lamps have you come by that have worked for you?  Where did you get them?  Were they cheap and nasty and worked like a dream, or expensive and didn't work at all?  Love to hear from you all.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Interview With Douglas Adams

It's early and there's nothing on television - and I thankfully turned it off.  So, here I am looking around on YouTube for an interview to share with you all; and who should I find but an interview of Douglas Adams!  Here you all are!  It was uploaded only last year!
Must thank OneTiredNumbers on YouTube for uploading this wonderful 22 minute interview of this brilliant sci-fi author whose life was cut short far too soon!

Books You Avoid

Recently, I've won a few romance novels on the internet.  Now, this is genre I don't normally read as I find it a little too much on the fluffy side; yes, I avoid reading mainstream romance.  It's something I have avoided since I was a teenager and my Mum called it smut and told me it wasn't to be read.  But that was then and this is now and I thought to try it out; seeing I've been a big Stephen King reader for most of my life.  So far, it's okay, I guess.  I don't mind it.
There's other types of genres I avoid as well; not just romance.  Apocalypse-type books where the world is coming to an end doesn't do anything for me.  I don't see the need for them.  However, I do enjoy reading books where the author has created new worlds where there are other Earths like ours - but a little different - so there's a bit of space travel involved.  
Chick-lit is another one that is a no-no on my list.  Over the years, I have tried a few times to get in and read this genre and it just doesn't work for me.  Sometimes, I'll find one book that's labeled as a chick-lit and it's not supposed to be one and it'll a good comedy to read; while other times I'll pick up another one and it'll be a very big whine about this and that and nothing else that is of great interest to me.  This is not what I want to read; however to quite a few of my friends, they love this one and rave about how much they love the characters.  I guess there's something I'm missing in these types of genres; or maybe, I've found my genre and am just a little set in my ways, and have become more set as I've gotten older. What do you think?
So, do tell us, what do you avoid reading?  Is there a solid reason behind it or do you just hate reading a particular genre because it holds no interest for you?  Until my next post, happy reading! 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

20 of the World's Most Beautiful Bookstores

I spotted the link for this on Captivated Reader blog and thought to put it here as well.  So, really I must thank her for thinking of it first.  However, seeing I have been doing bookstore reviews from around my hometown of Brisbane here in Australia, I thought to add some of the most beautiful ones you can find around this wonderful world of ours; which only proves that e-readers aren't really taking over completely.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Interview with Pip Ballentine and Tee Morris

I've been on YouTube again looking around for interviews with authors.  This time I found one with a pair of Steampunk authors: Pip Ballentine and Tee Morris who write this popular genre.  Must thank .tv and BWELA for uploading this interview onto YouTube.
 The trailer they talk about isn't revealed at the end of the interview.  So, I looked around and found it for you.