Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May Book Buys!

Wow!  Did I fall off the book preserving wagon or what this month?  I made myself a promise to read as many books in my collection as I could; and what do I do?  I go out and add to it instead.  Oh well, I guess we all do this from time to time.  It's the fun of having books in our hands and homes, isn't it?  This month, I bought about seven books.  Yep, I almost got to 10 books.  Fortunately, they weren't expensive and so I didn't break the bank on any of them.
The first one was 'Her & Me' by Karen Tyrrell which I bought at her book launch on 1st, May at the Logan North Library here in Logan City.  I purchased it for $20 and she signed it for me after her talk, cutting the cake (and it was delicious chocolate cake too!) and then I headed off home. 
Then the very next day, I went to the thrift store down the road from me and purchased 'Under the Tuscan Sun' by Frances Mayes, 'Head Over Heels' by Hugh Lunn and 'The Complete Works of W. Somerset Mauugham for $2.50.  I always get a great deal at this place and so walked away with three great books.
On the 5th, May, I attended a Writer's Gathering at The Coffee Club at Springwood giving me a chance to talk about writing, books and publishing with fellow authors.  I also had the chance to purchase books off these authors as well.  I bought another book there titled 'Dark Legacy' by M.A. Anderson for $16.00 and she signed it as well.  I'm part way through it right now and it looks like a great, dark read!
I took Mum out on 10th, May for an early Mother's Day lunch and day out.  And just before she went off to her hairdresser's, I dropped into the QBD at Garden City and bought myself 'Other People's Diaries' by Kathy Webb for $7.99 and 'The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook' by Mireille Guiliano for $9.99.  Both these books look like great reads; and I found the recipes in the cookbook great (especially the Ratatouille; which I'm getting really great at cooking). 
So, what did you buy this month?  Where they books they wanted and needed, or where they books that you bought on impulse and regretted later on?  Until my next post, Happy Reading!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Keeping Track

As a collector of books, it's not unusual for me to keep collections of journals or diaries that other people wrote.  I have my Grandpa's journals kept in the desk he made; and they span from 1926 to around 1984.  He lead an amazing life and wrote every day.  
I find that there are fictional diaries of people I find fascinating that I collect as well.  For example, I found a couple of journals that were written around WWII by two different people who did totally different jobs, but socialised within the same circles.  The first one is 'Observations From The Bar: Aerobleu, Paris 1947 - 1950' by Leslie Anne Nash.  She is a bar tender of a bar in Paris in the middle of the Second World War and it's of her dealings with people, who came into the bar and how Paris looked at that time.  The second one of these was written by a man who frequented the bar - a pilot - who was in love with her and it's titled 'Aerobleu: Pilot's Journal, 1939 - 1959' by Max Morgan.  I love both these books and their format is totally different to any book I have ever owned in my life, so I have never parted with them.  Really, I should read them again; as they were great books.
I have 'The Diary of Anne Frank' as well; however, I've never finished it, but I have tried.  
And I also have my own journals.  They may be a little bland - of everyday things - but there are some high points where I go places, enjoy a great night out, go on holidays (and there I use a travel journal) but then, I journal for my private reasons.  I get the best ideas for writing.  I also have around 35 journals I've written in since I began journaling in 1997; and have had to store some away in containers!  Now, that's a lot of journals to keep!  My journals aren't all the same.  I buy them from a particular store and they cost around $25.00 each and have gorgeous colours and designs on them, are fully-lined and have plenty of space in them to write in the margins if needs be.  But there's a funny thing I do with my journals.  Seeing that while I keep the one I'm using on hand in the living room (as I sometimes write during a television show late at night before bed), I sometimes find the most fascinating things during shows and adverts are said and shown to me; and I must write them down!  So, in the back of all of my journals, I have to leave around 3 pages spare so I can write down book titles, people's names, websites, ideas and other things I find interesting from the television... and I title it 'To Google'.  I began doing this about two years ago and have about four journals filled up at the back with all kinds of things that have been scribbled down in note form.  The funny thing is that sometimes, I'll remember it's there and find it and use those notes while other times, I won't.
So, do you keep a journal? How long have you kept yours?  Is it for ideas, your personal private thoughts or other things as well?  Do you do what I do with mine and scribble ideas in the back?  If so, what kinds of ideas do you have in yours?  Until my next post, Happy Reading!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Towel Day!

Today was towel day; and I thought to wait until it was almost over to tell you all what I did to commemorate this day dedicated to the works of Douglas Addams; the true Hitchhiker of our galaxies.
Initially, I forgot to take my towel out to collect the mail with me.  Darn!  Oh well, when I arrived home, I used it to dry off my feet twice.  The first time at the front door when I took off my shoes - as it had been raining the door mat got wet when I stepped out of my sneakers - and the second time I was coming in from the back yard from uncovering my herbs.  
It rained all day.  So, I didn't go out.  Instead, I did a bit of house work and cleaned the shower.  The towel was used to wipe down the glass wall of the cubical and now it's drying in the bathroom.  

So, what did you do with your towel today?  Until my next post, Happy Reading!

Death, Taxes and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly

Tara Holloway is a special agent on the IRS's payroll and she makes sure that you  pay your taxes; and keeps her finger on the pulse her love life at the same time.  After all, she needs one!
After being attacked by a small-time tax cheat who slices her wrist open with a box-cutter, Tara is put onto a case where she has to be under cover with an agent from the DEA.  They are tailing - of all people - an ice-cream man who is suspected of selling drugs from his truck in the poorest area of town.  And Tara and her partner for this case get down and dirty dressing in clothes she'd rather give to charity; and dressing like anyone but herself.
While she's working this case, an even bigger case falls in her lap; in the shape of a handsome, well-built landscape gardener called Brett.  He's working for some really big, dirty scammers who are stealing money off the retired folks and leaving them with empty bank accounts and nothing to live on.  But with Brett in her sights as a possible hotty to land, the small-time drug-dealer ice-cream man to bust, can Tara really handle everything on her plate right now?  Can she trust Brett with her heart and with what her job is?  Or is Brett in cahoots with the scammers and will she have to arrest the man who has become a big part of her world?

I won this book on The Romance Bandits site and thought it was the typical run-of-the-mill romance.  But before I turned the first page, I was laughing out loud!  By the end of chapter one, I was really gunning for main character (literally; as she can shoot a gun!) and by the time Tara met Brett and scored her first kiss, I wanted to meet the guy and steal him off her... only kidding.  Before I knew it I was putting aside an hour or two to read this book and today I finished it!  What a funny, sassy, hot book to read; and a great spin to put on romances.  I swear that I won't look at romance novels the same again.

Diane Kelly is a tax attorney by day, a writer by night.  A recipient of the 2009 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Element, she has received more than two dozen RWA chapter awards.  Diane's fiction, tax and humor pieces have appeared in True Love magazine, Writer's Digest Yearbook, Romance Writers' Report, Byline magazine and other publications.  'Death Taxes and a French Manicure' is her first mystery novel, with more in the series to come. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Great Expectations

I love bookstores - any bookstores - and when I go into them, I find there's a few things I expect to find in them to make them the types of places I'd come back to.  

Variety is the spice of life.  And so it is the same with bookstores.  You gotta be able to walk into a bookstore and find exactly what you're looking for; be it sports, non-fiction, cookbooks, textbooks from the past, world atlas' or chick lit, you have to be able to find what you're into in any bookstore you venture into.  If you can't find everything you want, the owner isn't doing you - or the public - any favours.

Light and Smell have always gotten a way to either bother me or keep me looking around.  If the place isn't well-lit, I'm not going to bother going back to it.  Some bookstores have plenty of old-fashioned lamps here and there - all in use - to give the place character and that homy feeling where you don't want to leave.  And that's great!  However, if there's a doorway into a room and that room has no light in it (or no source where you can use a light or a torch in some way), you're not going be enticed back to the store again, are you?
And with smells?  There's nothing worse than a bookstore that has that mouldy smell about it.  It says that the place leaks - or the air-conditioning does - and that some of its carpets aren't cared for and books will have absorbed that smell too.  Now, you're not going to want to take home a book with that smell and add it to your collection; are you?  I have also ventured into a bookstore where all I did was sneeze.  The place was so dusty that the further I ventured in, the worse the dust was - and the place was a great bookstore!  I wanted to go back but how could I when I ended up using up all my tissues before picking out a book?

Ordering in.  If you can't order in a book from outside, it's not worth it.  This means, the store owner doesn't talk to other second-hand bookstores and doesn't have the net hooked up.  Or if they do, they don't know how to use it.

Toilets.  I hate to say this, but some bookstores are situated nowhere near public toilets; and I have found it a great relief when I have needed to use the Ladies and found the bookstore I'm in has one at the back of the store.  And what surprised me more was how clean it was kept!  I have come across some places in the city where if you want to go to the toilet, you have run across the street, into another building, to the top floor and use the only ladies toilets... this is not a good look and has happened to me once.  I haven't been back to that bookstore in the city for that reason.

Layby.  If you can't do this, forget going back.  You're going to make the effort to go to their store to pay off something they are going to hang onto for you.  It's an insult to you if they say no.

Coffee Shop.  If there's none instore, the owner should know where there's one nearby; a good one too.  The coffee shop shouldn't be more than two blocks from where their store is and shouldn't be too expensive to have something to eat there either; no matter what the place looks like, you can have a great coffee in the most interesting places.

So, what do you look for in a bookstore.  What I've mentioned may be going over-the-top a little.  However, it's a little list of what I mainly look for in a bookstore - any bookstore - and so I find it's something we all should start looking into with bookstores, to be a little fussy about them.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano

Bonjour!  For those who love to cook and love to learn different cooking techniques, I must let you in a little secret:  I totally immerse myself in cooking when it comes to making a meal.  Being a person who hardly ever buys take-away and wouldn't have a clue what to buy when I'm asked what kind of food I'd like when I'm at Hungry Jacks (aka Burger King), I've often got my nose between the pages of a cookbook or two to learn how to cook new and interesting meals.  
And this book is one of those cookbooks that is a must for any kitchen.  Two weeks ago, I bought it - not for the title - to learn how to make Ratatouille; as I know it's a dish from the south of France, but I didn't know how to make it.  Being a vegetarian, it was perfect for me to make.  Mireille sets out this book in such a way you can't go wrong with how to cook each meal.  And the best thing is that most of the food is straight from your pantry or fridge or market down the road; nothing too fancy and you've heard of everything she's talking about.
I found the Ratatouille recipe such a cinch to make, and so delicious, that I didn't want to stop there.  I began looking through the book again for my next meal!  Now, Mireille Guiliano is famous for the book 'French Women Don't Get Fat', letting us in on how the French woman eats and how they keep their figure throughout their lives without gaining too much weight.  However, having the cookbook just goes to show us how easy it is to keep ourselves well-fed with good, flavoursome food and yet, not have to want more than what we really want.  
I am so happy to have bought this book and added it to my cookbook collection.  It will be used time and again in my kitchen and I will most definitely make some of the meals in it part of my own personal recipe book that I use all the time.  So, do go out and find 'French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook', it's worthy of being in anyone's cookbook collection; as it's very useful.  The book is cut up into its own respective sections of Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner - so it covers all our usual bases for when our stomachs want something different and yet delicious!  Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Last Night In Twisted River by John Irving

This book begins with a death of a young man named Angel who drowns. The first few chapters are well-written.  I love how the characters fit in well with each other, the feelings that are put across are brilliant!  I love it right up until around chapter four when John Irving began repeating himself every half page.  
There is something about books that John Irving writes that make me want to attempt reading them again and again.  Now, I have never completed one of his works; and it's because around a third way through, something happens in the writing I lose interest.  I'm not sure if it's because of the way he writes, the way the story has twisted around or how I'm feeling at the time, but I don't see the whole story the same way as I did three pages ago (even though I go back and re-read it, it changes in the same place; I see where it has changed).
So, I'm afraid to say, this is another of John Irving's works I've been unable to complete.  The other one was 'The World According to Garp' which was turned into a fantastic movie, but the book was something I couldn't fathom.  I guess it's each to their own.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How Do You Read?

I know this sounds like a simple enough question.  However, I have been asked this lately and it's been a difficult question to answer.  How do I read?  Books?  Magazines?  Newspapers?  It doesn't matter what I read, but how I read them does.  
Then, I posed the question to a man I got talking to yesterday morning on my way to the chemist and he said he had difficulty reading whole books.  He told me he read the blurb of the book, then the first few pages of the first chapter, and then flipped to one of the chapters in the middle and read a few pages of that and then he got the idea of the book and put it down; thinking that he knew the ending.
I found this an unusual way of reading a book; not uncommon, but unusual.  I've heard of people reading books like this because they're time-poor and feel as thought sitting and reading a whole book would take up too much of their time.
However, how he reads a book is exactly how I find a book to buy.  I read the blurb - sure - but what I do next is flip to chapter five and read the first few paragraphs.  If I'm interested, good.  Then, I find chapter nine and read some paragraphs of that; and that's how a book is found to be interesting to me.  
I read books in a different way, though.  I make time to read them.  I spend around 2 or 3 hours reading a book while drinking a nice coffee or tea in my lounge with my feet up on the coffee table.  Or if it's a nice day outside, I'll be sitting out in my yard getting into the pages of a book and reading under the shade of the Lilly-Pilly Trees in the corner of my yard.  How lovely is that?  It only takes a few hours for me to do, and I totally enjoy myself as I escape with a book.
I can't read on a bus or other public transport, it's too distracting, but - funnily enough - I used to do it all the time when I was much younger.  I guess our attention span changes over time.
So, how do you read what you read?  In long spurts while curled up in bed or on your lounge with a nice hot drink?  Or outside in the fresh air?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Winter Reading

Here in Brisbane, the cooler weather has struck us early and so, I've been looking at what I'm going to read while I'm locked up in my house during the cooler months of the year with my little bird and a mug of hot chocolate by my side.  
There's a few books I'd like to get through in the next few months.  However, I'm not going to be solidly sticking to a list, the ones here are going to be hopefuls of mine that I've had my eye on for a while, or I've recently brought into the house and they look good.

'Death, Taxes and a French Manicure' by Diane Kelly 
'The Devil and Miss Jones' by Kate Walker
'The Seal' by Adriana Koulias
'Other People's Diaries' by Kathy Webb
'Dark Legacy' by M.A. Anderson
'Me & Her' by Karen Tyrrell

Now, the first and last ones are books I'm halfway through; and I'm going to finish both of them in the next week or so.  Then, I'll see what I can do about the other books I've got listed here.  I've picked a good variety - some thick, some thin, a romance or two, a general fiction and a fantasy novel... all totally different from each other.  So I get to read a good choice of books this Winter.  Well, what have you got in store for your Winter reading?  And if you're just coming out of your Winter Hibernation, and into your Spring/Summertime, what have you got planned to read over the next few months?  Leave a comment below and let us all know.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Broken Promises

Aarrgh!  I made myself a promise this year, and I've promptly broken it!  This doesn't look good, not good at all.  It's May and I've gone out and bought up to seven books this month; when I made myself the big promise not to buy too many each month and to try to read the ones I already have in my collection.  
However, with a reading slump that haunted me and more books than I know what to do with, I found myself cleaning up my house more than reading.  Isn't it strange how other things take over when you really don't have your nose in between the pages as you've promised yourself?
Now, though, I've begun reading again - three months after I found myself stuck - and I'm happily flying through another new book.  Yay!  But this means I've been buying books.  Darn!  I went out last week and forgot to take a book with me; so while I was out at Garden City, I thought to browse through QBD and promised myself not to buy anything; and yet, I came out of there with two books!  Jeez!  Will I ever learn?  I had to find a place to put these new additions to my collection.  Thankfully, one of them is a cookbook, so that wasn't too hard to put away as there's plenty of room in the cookbook shelf to fill.
So, have you promised yourself something like this - a ban on buying new books - and broken it just as easily?  Or was it something else you broke your own promise on?  Let us know.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Maurice Sendak Passes Away

Born 10th, June, 1928, Maurice Sendak, the author of many children's picture books - including 'Where the Wild Things Are' - sadly passed away yesterday aged 83.  Born in Brooklyn, NYC, Maurice the youngest of three siblings of an  impecunious dressmaker.  

While everyone in Sendak's family told stories, remembered gruesome fairy tales and Jewish folklore, and drew pictures, his other childhood influence was the cinema.  He had written and illustrated his first book by the age of six; his was a childhood of observing from a window, drawing the children outside – he watched faces, guessed emotions, all his life; as he was a sickly child, constantly quarantined ("I learned early on that it was a very chancy business, being alive") and missing school, so Natalie, nine years older, was always having him "dumped on her", and he remembered both her great love and her demonic rages.  He even put her into the third book of the trilogy of 'Where the Wild Things Are' as Ida.  'In the Night Kitchen', was his most personal book, and his favourite, a tribute to Natalie "who is Ida, very brave, very strong, very frightening, taking care of me" (the "Baby" of the story).
In high school, which he loathed desperately, he worked for All-American Comics, filling in backgrounds and storylines for the Mutt and Jeff strip, and in 1948 he and his elder brother Jack began to make animated wooden toys, which led to his working as a window designer in the New York toyshop FAO Schwarz.
Sendak was 21 or so at Christmas-time, when he decided to "draw his face off", and filled the whole shop-front with drawings from the Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol'. It was "like putting a huge hook in the water and waiting for a fish to be caught". A Harper and Row editor, Ursula Nordstrom, rose to the bait, commissioned him to illustrate The Wonderful Farm by Marcel Aymé, published in 1951, and became a lifelong friend. At that time he was getting the only formal art training he ever had, by attending night school at the Art Students League of New York for two years.
Sendak relished the miracle of having survived so long, having always faced up to the "arbitrary nature of life" – his European relatives perished in Nazi camps, his parents never hid from his baby self how close he was to death, and at the age of 39 he had a major heart attack. Pragmatically, he set out to accomplish more in what time he had, and he cared deeply about the life we were bequeathing our children. For this complex man and great artist had "an intense nostalgia, a passionate affiliaton for childhood", and those very accomplishments are the finest of all bequests.

Since 1951 his 90-odd titles have sold nearly 30m copies in the US alone. His renowned work Where the Wild Things Are (1963), with worldwide sales of more than 19m, was a turning point not only in his own career but in the history of children's books.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Towel Day

Yes!  It's here again - well, because it's May... we must remember Towel Day on 25th of this month!  This day commemorates all the work of that great and funnily brilliant Douglas Adams.  He kept us laughing all these years with 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' and 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency' (the latter of which has been turned into a four-part television series this year).
So, this is just a short reminder to you all who are a big fan of this wonderful writer to take your towel with you on 25th, May as you never know when and where you'll need it!  

And remember..... don't panic!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Today, I left the house early to catch a bus to meet up at The Coffee Club at Springwood to a writers' meet-up.  This is a place where a group of writers, editors, copy writers, bloggers and other like-minded people get together for coffee and a meal to talk about what they love the most.... writing and books.  
Well, it was everything I thought it was going to be - more.  I found the first people I sat with didn't say anything to me... just chatted to each other and ignored me completely.  They didn't even try to include me in the conversation; so I knew I wasn't wanted and left them to their own private universe in search of others to chat to; and found them.
Karen Tyrrell was there from Tuesday's book launch at the Logan North Library and she was thrilled I could make it.  Then, I saw Pat Hill - and old friend of mine I've known for around 15 years from the Logan Writers' Guild - and we chatted about what we were up to.  She was trying to  get people from her old high school to write about what they did in their lives; however getting people who were 60+ to write anything is hard when they're not into writing like she is.  
I noticed a bust on the table of a very ugly, head with its tongue sticking out!  And on closer inspection, I saw it the prop from 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom'... very cool!  I loved it so much I took a couple of photos!  And while sitting where I was - which was ironically in the middle of the tables - I got to talking with an editor, a vampire writer, sci-fi writer and a chick-lit writer.  We all got along really well.
At around 12:30pm, there were only around 5 of us left and we go to talking about writers being unable to talk about their craft too much with family and friends; so we don't drive them nuts with what we're doing.  And we all agreed that it can be a very lonely feeling when you can't talk to many people about it; and groups and gatherings like these are a great outlet for people like us.  
So, am I going back to this again?  Yes.  I love the social feel and that I get to go out and talk to other writers.  I love how it's at a coffee shop and we get to eat and drink and enjoy the fresh air.  And best of all, it's great exercise for me as I have to catch a bus and walk from the bus station to get there.  Not a bad deal for me at all.  So, do you attend any kind of writers group or book club?  If so, where is it?  A coffee shop - like mine - or at somebody's home?  Or is it out at a restaurant for dinner once a month or so?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, May 4, 2012

An Interview With Hugh Lunn

Hugh Lunn is one of the great Aussie authors who have made a mark in our history as a brilliant and funny story-teller.  He has traveled the world throughout his life and met many wonderful people in his long and interesting life.  I have been fortunate enough to interview him via an e-mail today when I took a chance and contacted him with a few questions; and tonight, I found this wonderful reply in my in-box.  None of the below has been changed or edited.

1.  How did you become interested in writing in general?  Was is a natural curiosity or something that came later in life?

I became a cadet reporter in 1960 on the Courier-Mail and had to learn to type to write little stories. In Hong Kong aged 23 I got a job writing for magazines and wrote columns etc. Eventually wrote longer and longer stories in London and eventually sold my Brisbane house and moved to fulltime books on Jan 1 1988 to write a book on my childhood. Three publishers told me not to because ‘there is no market for Aust childhood autobiography! That book “Over the Top with Jim’ is still in print 24 years later with ABCBooks. And it has never been out of print.

2.  How many countries have you traveled to in your life as a writer? 
Lots. In 1965 I got into “Red China” when you couldn’t get in. Wrote a book about it decades later called “Spies Like Us”, which has had 3 different publishers in Australia in the 17 years since and is still in print with ABCBooks. I was a Reuters correspondent in Vietnam for more than a year; Singapore for a year; Indonesia for a year. Lived in Hong Kong for seven months. London for 3 years. Stayed in Norway and travelled thro Russia and Poland and Germany and visited Paris often and Nice and Monte Carlo. Been to Cambodia and Tashkent and Thailand and Malaysia and West Papua and P-NG …. All as a young man.
3.  As an author, have you ever put yourself into your novels or your articles? 
I used to get criticized a lot by my colleagues for putting myself in my newspaper articles in the 70s and 80s (now they all do it). But I found everything in life needs some of your own philosophy in it – so even when writing about my childhood the adult was having his say (13 times by my count, tho no one seems to notice). Even in “Spies” I managed to twice campaign about the knocking down of old Queensland homes in Brisbane.

4.  Have you got a favourite author you read and have followed the career of?  Do you have a collection of their books? 
I have complete collection of Eric Blair and all the biographies written on him. I love his clear clean way of writing and try to emulate him. I couldn’t write my first book “Vietnam: a reporter’s war” properly until I read his “Homage to Catalona”.

5.  Do you collect books as a hobby?  If so, how many - approximately - do you have and what genres do they cover? 
No I don’t, but I have hundreds of books. I like true stories.

6.  How long does it normally take to get one of your books published?   
My Vietnam book took 17 years because I was an unknown nook writer: from 1968-1985. Now it takes about two years. I have had 15 published.

7.  Which one of your books have you written is your favourite?  Or do they all hold a special place in your heart? 
People write to tell me which is their favourite , or which character is their favourite. Mine is “The Great Fletch” because I always wanted to capture the amazing life of my best friend, an only child I’d known since we were babies together at Annerley and travelled the world with... And when he died, I did so, and it’s just been re-printed! On the last two pages of the book I called for this Brisbane boy to be included in the Hall of fame at Melbourne Park – and two years later on Rod Laver Arena Ken Fletcher was Indducted into the Melbourne Park Hall of fame with his on and daughter unveiling a bronze bust of him on a pillar while Federer and Nadal and Laver and Emerson and Rosewall etc watched. My wife and I were invited down to the ceremony and I was asked to speak about Fletch at the President’s dinner beforehand.
Now some fun questions:

1.  What's your favourite colour? green

2.  Where you do love to holiday?  Or do you love to stay in Queensland and Australia? 
Don’t seem to get any holidays. I love Kingscliff.

3.   What's your favourite food from which country? 
A Salad Tomate in Paris. A mango juice in Djakarta. A good meat pie in Brisbane.

4.  What is your favourite past-time when you were a child?  Do you see any children doing it now? 
Climbing trees. No. 

So, there you have it!  A fun interview with a great man.  I have met Hugh a few times at some of his book launches and talks throughout Logan Libraries and he's very funny and attracts all types of people from all walks of life and generations.  His work is well worth a read.  I have three of his books in my collection which I'm going to read this year and I will review as well.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Currently Reading

I've got my nose between the pages of a book again - yay!  And I'm darn proud of myself!  It did take a while to find the right book to take my interest; and it was an author I normally find an absolute yawn!  'Last Night In Twisted River' by John Irving is a book I bought two years ago for my birthday when a friend posted me a QBD gift voucher.  I took my time looking at the books to buy and knew that if I thought the storyline was good, I was likely to enjoy it; and I do.  I'm reading up to 30 pages in about an hour each afternoon, so I should get through this very thick book quickly.
The next one is a light, funny, quirky romance novel I won on Romance Bandits (you can find the link to this site on the sidebar) titled 'Death, Taxes and a French Manicure' by Diane Kelly.  It's about a Dallas IRS agent who is under cover with a partner when she falls for a suspect who is very hot, sexy and ... yes, he's hot for her too.  However, she doesn't want to get too close in case he's more than just a suspect and ends up being jailbait.  But he is very sexy!  Will she be able to keep her hands off him?  Let's hope so!  I read this one when I want to have a good giggle and relax before I go to sleep at night as John Irving's book is chock full of information I'd rather read in the afternoon and Diane Kelly's light, fun romance is something to enjoy and relax with.  
So, what have you been getting your nose into lately?  Do drop by and leave a comment letting us all into your reading habits.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Karen Tyrrell's Book Launch

Tonight, I was out at the Logan North Library at the book launch of 'Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness' by Karen Tyrrell.  I arrived there at around 5:30pm and was greeted by Karen herself and a few people she had been working with to make the book take off as well as her charming husband who was working hard behind the scenes putting piles of the books out on the tables for people to buy.  And as I've been watching her from across cyberspace and through Facebook work on her book, I'm pleased to see it in real life finally!

Once I had gotten myself a cup of coffee and some nibblies found there were other kindred spirits amongst us (other writers that is) we were all asked to sit and the Lord Mayor, Pam Parker, stepped up to the dais to make the first speech for the night; and to launch Karen's book.  Karen then took over and told us how the idea for the book came to her and why she wrote it.  She spoke on how working in a school where she was bullied by parents and students caused her to have a mental break; taking her through the frightening world of the medical and psychiatric system.
And after she read some choice pieces from her book, she left the rest to us to read!  Of course, I bought a copy and she has signed it for me.  I'm looking forward to reading it soon as well.
Once Karen finished her speech, she cut the 'Me & Her' chocolate cake and was off signing books for everyone! I had a great time at this book launch and can't wait to read the book!  
And to celebrate Karen's success, I've got four bookmarks of 'Her & Me' that I picked up at the launch to give away.  The first four to comment here are the winners!  Until my next post, happy reading!