Friday, June 29, 2012

June Book Buys!

It's been a busy week - and month - for me in the book arena.  I've been reading books, obtaining books, buying books and showing off my books... and that's a lot for anyone!
This month, I've been very bad in my habits and bought up books when I should have left them well-enough alone.  However, I guess that's what happens when you just can't help yourself when you see something you've been looking for and want to read it.  And these books are books I've wanted to read for a long time; have bought just because they were there to own.
'How Long Is A Piece of String' by Rob Eastaway and Jeremy Wyndham explain to the ordinary person why things happen in plain English.  I have yet to read this book, but I do enjoy books that are like this; and do look forward to the other two books advertised on the back.  I bought this on 1, June at the Book Warehouse at Arndale, Springwood.
'The Wind Through the Keyhole' by Stephen King was bought from QBD Garden City for around $23.00 - a full $10 off the full price; and when I saw it was a Dark Tower Series book, I couldn't pass it up!  So, into my shopping bag it went! 
'He's Just Not Into You' by Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo, 'Temple' by Matthew Reilly, 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' by Louis de Bernieres, 'Sally's Story' by Sally Morgan (a children's edition of 'My Place' by the same author), 'Roget's Thesaurus of Synonyms & Antonyms' printed 1972, 'SF Collection' by various authors were all bought at the Thrift Store down the road from me on 26,June for around $4.00!  What a steal!  
I have obtained some books from my late Uncle Allan's estate; which are lovely.  There's poetry books, sci-fi fantasy books and a very old book of verse by an Islamic Cleric who wrote love poetry (how wonderful is that?).  And I have the fortune of adding them to my collection.  
So, that's the additions to my book collection this month.  It's a lot more than it would be normally; but they are all books I look forward to getting into over time.  So, what have you purchased over the last month?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

An Interview With Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I was sent this link through Facebook from a great friend of mine who knows I love writers and authors.  And so I've been sitting here watching it and listening to it while I've been doing other things online.  I thought to share what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had to say to us all about mystery novels and other thing on his mind.  He covers so much in the 10 minutes on here, it's hard to describe it.  But I do love the way he comes on and is followed by his lovely dog and pats him before he stands up as well, before leaving.  Very gentlemanly indeed!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wet Day Thrift Shop Finds

Today, it's cold, wet and miserable... and this week isn't going to get much better!  It'll be wet, rainy and cold.  So, today, I thought to relish in this Wintery weather and get out in it.  I had spent two days inside doing what I could to keep myself from going stir crazy; now it was time to buy some veggies from the new fruit shop down the road and books from the Thrift Store as well.
So, off I walked, all rugged up in my coat and Docs down the road and I found plenty of books to add to my collection - and here's me saying I was going to be good this year!  Yeah, sure!  Anyway, I took my blue shopping trolley along because I knew I'd have some heavy stuff to bring home.
The books that were there were amazing. I even found one by a politician (Paul Keating!) and quickly put it back.
However, I found some books I've wanted to read for ages and yet haven't been able to find, such as: 'He's Just Not That Into You' by Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo, 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' by Louis De Bernieres, 'Temple' by Matthew Reilly and a couple of others that I never thought I'd find: 'Sally's Story' by Sally Morgan which is a childrens' version of 'My Place' by the same author.  Then, I found 'Roget's Thesaurus of Synonyms & Antonyms'.  It was printed in 1972 and I thought I'd never find this book anywhere as they are out of print in this style.  So, I grabbed that and put that in my bag.  Then, I found a really cool book that wasn't in the shelves, 'The SF Collection'  This book is in hardcover, rather light-weight and very much full of short stories from every sci-fi author around from the classic Isaac Asimov to Anne McCaffrey.  Brilliant!  I'm so happy I bought all these books today.  They are sure to be read in the next year and reviewed.  I can't wait to get my nose into them all at some point in time.
Well, what have you bought recently?  Were they thrift-store bargains, or brand new purchases?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

An Interview with Ged Maybury

Ged Maybury has been a writer of Young Adult fiction for a few decades.  However, since his arrival from New Zealand to Australia, his interest in Steampunk has increased; as his writing has changed and morphed into another style, which has attracted a new, growing audience of style, action and old-world charm mixed with the new world ways.
I once met Ged Maybury in his early days of writing when he was writing for Young Adults and he did a workshop for the Logan Writers' Guild at the Logan North Library (before it was moved and The Lions Den AFL Club was built in its place) at Springwood here in Logan City.  It was a great day spent with him; and once our time ran out in the room, we took him to a coffee shop nearby and we all had afternoon tea with him.  It was a memorable and fun time we had with this great author; one I'll never forget.
However, I have found a short interview of his from two months ago on YouTube about his new book; and I thought you guys would love to see it.  Until my next post, happy reading!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Collections Exhbition

I haven't written much lately, but that's because I'm working on something really exciting right now in my artistic arena.  About three weeks ago, I was asked if I'd like to take part in an exhibition to show off one of my collections.  As you all know I collect all kinds and types of books.  Well, I collect other things as well (including vinyls, handbags, coin purses and dvds).  So, I thought to apply to the five workshops at the Logan Art Gallery - where I work as a volunteer - and take part.
I'll be showing off my passion for books, the written word, Bookcrossing and why I collect rare, out-of-print and first edition books.  However, the great part of this is that I won't be showing the originals of my collection.  I'll be making copies of them and making sure I keep them at home.  This is where the artistic side of me comes into play.  So far we are into the 2nd week and I'm totally enjoying myself with the nine other collectors; and I'm the only book collector out of them.
Last week, I got to show off some of my lovely books to the others and tell them how I got into collecting - which totally fascinated them.  And today, we went on a bus outing into the Brisbane City to the Art Gallery to suss out the different ways we could display our collections and brainstorm our ideas in a different setting other than the Logan Art Gallery.
Next week, we'll be back at the workshop area at the Logan Art Gallery starting work on our individual exhibits which are going to come together at the Home Festival in Pineapple Park next month.  I can't wait until Monday to go to the Thrift Shop down the road to buy some books and get into working with the pages from old books with the preparation.  If you'd like to read up on it all, just go to the link below:

There's an album attached to the second post if you'd like to have a look at our outing today.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Judging A Book By Its Cover

It's getting late here and it's become very quiet.  However, I'm surrounded by books with all kinds of cover art on each of them.  And a question has popped into my head... did I buy these books just for the cover art, or to read?  
Well, there are books that I do love to look at and the storyline really does leave a lot to be desired.  But on the other side of the coin, there's also books I bought with the best intention of reading; and never got around to it.
In my collection, I have some great Stephen King books that have brilliant covers, but I don't like reading them.  But then, the ones that have the most ugly covers have the best stories; how ironic is that?  Then, there's books that I have acquired that have the most boring covers and yet the storyline inside is just a boring as the cover.  Then, I've bought a few books of an author - such as Hugh Lunn - and I've never read a single one!  And he's such a great character in writing as well as in person.  But then, there's great classics which have nothing but the title on the cover (you know the Penguin Classics books which are orange and white; very plain really) and yet the story inside is brilliant!  
In fact, I have collected a few John Irving books - who I've been trying to get into - but my brain just seems to enjoy the tactile description of his characters and not the storyline he depicts.  And after around four chapters, I lose interest every time... stupid really... and I really should give those books of his away if I can't get into them.
I have so many books by so many authors that I want to read - but I haven't gotten into - and yet they are all surrounding me in my small home office in their shelves patiently awaiting for me to read them.  However, I still wonder if it's the cover art that pulled me in and not the author's work - their skill as a storyteller - that did it.  
So, what does it for you?  Are you an arty person and pulled in by the pretty pictures on the front of the book; or are you a pure, avid reader and are pulled in by the author and their ability... or are you a bit of both?  I think we are all a bit of both as we are very visual creatures yet we also love a good story to keep our minds active and stimulated.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Me & Her by Karen Tyrrell

Being a school teacher isn't easy; especially when so much is expected of you from the parents of some of the students.  Karen's life at school is hard, however when the parents of a couple of students begin to make her life so stressful she can't cope anymore, she finds that it begins to affect her personal life as well.  While on their way to a school reunion, her husband has to take her to a hospital because he finds she isn't making any sense to him.
However, by the time they return, things seem fine; but they're not.  Nightmares haunt her while she sleeps and working at school with children who try to provoke her is really taking its toll.  So, Karen does the one thing she knows:  she runs away.  She packs a bag, pulls out all her money from an ATM and stays at a cheap hotel for a week where she thinks she's okay.  This is until the police find her and take her to a hospital for her own good.

This book is an amazing journey through a serious medical and personal hell one of my friends went through.  It's hard to talk about mental illness and even harder to write about it.  However, Karen Tyrell has done it in this brilliant book.  I found it a tough read and haven't been able to finish it as it's something I can't really handle.  I will keep the book and try to read it at a later date,though.  This is well worth a read; and is available on Amazon as well as in e-book form too.

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Nose Between the Pages

Over the last week, I've been working on cooking different kinds of hot breakfasts.  So, I've been leafing through cookbooks; and don't ya love doing that in Winter?  Looking for new things to cook to keep your stomach from grumbling in the mornings?  Well!  I made myself some delicious pancakes from Annette Sims' cookbook: 'Simply Too Good To Be True!' and they turned out beautiful!  Such a pity I misplaced the maple syrup I bought last week!  They were delicious nonetheless!
Then, on the afternoon I cooked the pancakes (and after I cleaned up the mess from them; which never seemed to end!), I settled into my lounge with a plunger coffee and some home-made cake and my feet up on the coffee table began reading 'The Gunslinger' by Stephen King.  This is the first book of The Dark Tower Series.  I haven't really wanted to read any of this series, but in the last week, I looked at how many I had in it and found that I had 70% of the series in my possession.  So, I thought: 'Why not!' and sat down and began reading the first book! And it's fantastic... I'm reading around 30 - 40 pages in each two-hour sitting; and for me that's a lot!
So, what are you getting your nose into lately?  A great book or series?  Or have you got a reading slump (like I did earlier this year)?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Prophets of Science Fiction

I've been watching this fantastic show on SBS over the last few weeks called 'The Prophets of Science Fiction' where futurists and Physicists are looking at sci-fi writers and finding that their books and stories from the late 1800's all spoke about what has gone on in today's world.
They covered great writers such as George Lucas, H.G. Wells and Isaac Asimov who all spoke of robots either helping us or hindering us, lasers, space travel and things that just didn't exist in their times.  I found it an absolutely brilliant show and didn't wish to miss it.  
On this show, they cover everything in a particular writer's life from where they were born to how many books they wrote and to how their work has affected our lives today.  It's amazing how much we do lean back on authors of the past to figure out what we need to do with science today; as they were our futurists of today in their own time.  Unfortunately, not a lot of them were taken seriously and when they tried to talk to people about anything, they were shut down quickly as what they said usually scared others.  So, the only way they could get their messages across to the public was through fiction; as it was less confronting and easier to accept, because it couldn't actually happen... could it?
That's the beauty of science fiction.  You can make up the most incredible things and - you never know - it may come to be accepted into society fifty years from now.  As it has written into a book by H.G. Wells that an Atom Bomb was used in one of his war-time books, around a century later, it was actually put to use in World War II (this was quoted in the show and it gave me the creeps).
Last night was the final of the show and I was kind of sad it was gone.  However, I do hope they put up another show of it as I find this kind of thing fascinating; to talk about authors and their works this way from specific genres.  It helps us understand the way people think and how particular authors lives, wrote and how they saw the world.  Have you seen this show?  If so, what did you think of it?  I thought having Ridley Scott as the host brilliant; and they were interviewing a host of other futurists and physicists was a great initiative as well.  I'd watch it again if something like it was brought onto the air again.  Until my next post, Happy Reading. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Series Reading

I've been reading other blogs lately that everyone either loves reading books in a series or they don't.  There's no middle of the road, it's a love or hate relationship.  Actually, I don't think it's that at all.  There's some series that click with people and some that don't.  
I've been loaned a trilogy of books by Peter F Hamilton.  He's a great sci-fi writer.  He's not complicated and gets right into the story.  However, his books are the size and weight of doorstops!  I found one of The Dream Trilogy series and not the other two; and one of my friends has the other two.  So, we put our heads together and thought to share.  Well!  My friend zipped through all three books and then handed them onto me.  I jumped in and only read to chapter two of book one and found it was such a mammoth read I couldn't get any further (sorry Geoff!).  But really, do books have to be so physically huge to carry the story along?
I have easily followed Raymond E Fiest's 'Magician' series along; and I stumbled upon that one by mistake while holidaying in Cairns one time.  I bought it at a second-hand store where the money went to build shelters for beaten women.  This one book led to another, and then another - then the next thing I knew I was buying the whole five of the series.  And you know?  I've still got those books in my collection to read.  I just can't part with them.
I've read 'Lord of the Ring's and 'The Hobbit' before it; however couldn't get into any other works by Tolkien, which is a pity as I do love his works.
Peter Straub and Stephen King both worked on a two-parter book together called 'The Talisman' and 'Black House'.  I bought the first one in Cairns (in the same place as I bought 'Magician') and found a copy of the next one at a garage sale to buy and keep as the libraries didn't like how slow I read at the time.  I still have these two books; and really I must read them again as the storyline is brilliant!
Even Stephen King has done a great, well-known series called 'The Dark Tower Series'.  Now, I was late in getting in on this one; but I'm there.  To start with I was given 'The Drawing of the Three' but it fell apart on me and I had to throw it out.  So, I ended up buying the first one - 'The Gunslinger' and tried reading it.  But my head wasn't really in it.  So, I kept it (as it was brand new I don't give away those books; especially when I want to read them) and was given 'Wizard and Glass' by my brother; which I also kept (and is the fourth book).  Eventually, Mum bought me 'Song of Susannah' and I found 'The Wind Through the Keyhole' (the latter was bought on Thursday this week).  So, I'm slowly getting the whole series together.  I only need three more books and I'm set to read them at my leisure.  The one mistake I've made with reading a series is reading them back to back; as they get a little too much.  So, I'll read one, then read something in between, then read the next one.
So, what is your favourite series to read?  Be it from childhood or from now?  Please do leave a comment and let us know.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

We Lose Ray Bradbury

On Tuesday night, Ray Bradbury passed away in Los Angeles aged 91 from a long illness.  He has penned more than 500 books in his lifetime love with sci-fi fiction and has a massive fan base around the world; which spans more than one generation of readers.  He wrote such classics as 'Something Wicked Comes This Way' and 'Fahrenheit 451' which are still read today.
"In science fiction, we dream," he told The New York Times. "In order to colonise in space, to rebuild our cities ... to tackle any number of problems, we must imagine the future, including the new technologies that are required ...
"Science fiction is also a great way to pretend you are writing about the future when in reality you are attacking the recent past and the present."
Bradbury didn't embrace technology or the internet; even though he wrote about the future in his novels and stories.  He called the internet a scam perpetrated by computer companies, was disdainful of automatic teller machines and denounced video games as "a waste of time for men with nothing else to do." 
He was a self-educated man; as he never went to college and read his way through libraries and published his first works in pulp magazines to start with.   In 1950 Bradbury published 'The Martian Chronicles' - a tale of Earthlings fleeing a troubled planet and their conflicts with residents on Mars. It was given a glowing review by influential critic Christopher Isherwood, which Bradbury credited with launching his career.  
In a career spanning more than seventy years, other well-known titles include 'Dandelion Wine', 'I Sing the Body Electric' and 'From the Dust Returned' and he wrote hundreds of short stories as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays and screenplays.  Ray Bradbury will be greatly missed in this world of books and sci-fi as we take off into the future he wrote of.  I have only begun reading his work - and love it completely - and will definitely go hunting for more of his works to read them all.  May he Rest In Peace.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I bought my monthly magazine of 'Good Reading' on Thursday afternoon and began reading it at my chiropractors while I waited for my appointment to come up (I'm always a little early with doctors). Anyway, I came upon an article in the magazine for this month about books that have notes in the margins, highlighted bits and underlines.  The editor herself does these things to her own books and says it's her way of understanding the books she reads better, finding parts she enjoys easier and being able to look up parts she needs as well.
Personally, I find this kind of thing done to a book a big turn-off.  When I peruse a book in a second-hand bookstore, I want nice clean pages to read, without underlines, notes or any other bits of other people's thoughts in the margins.  If I want to take notes from a book, I'll get a separate notepad and a pen and note down the page number, chapter and where exactly I saw the thing that I spotted and put in a little post-it note to remind me to look there later.  Writing in a book isn't needed seeing post-it notes have been invented and they don't damage or leave marks in your books.  And if you keep good-enough notebooks, you need not lose them.
Besides, I was always taught that writing in a book - any book - was something you just didn't do.  Even in high school, it was frowned upon by my teachers; and so I didn't do anything like it.  I didn't even dog-ear my books - instead using a bookmark of some kind.  So, I've been very kind to my books and they have been kept nice, clean and free of pen/pencil marks or highlighter pens.  
Now, what do you think?  Do you write in the margins and underline in your own personal books?  If so, why?  If not, is it because of what you were taught?  Or is it because of your own personal reasons?  Well until my next post, Happy Reading!