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30 July 2010

Funky Friday: Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A McKillip (cover)

Welcome to Funky Fridays! 
It is time we do something different to celebrate TGIF. Instead of focusing on the content of what we are reading (writing reviews, finding teasers to share, etc.), I thought I would start a meme on the covers of the books we are reading. There are some really amazing covers out there, and they really are worth sharing.

The Book Bites "Funky Friday" meme works like this:
  • Every Friday, have a look at the books you have read in the last week and choose the cover you loved the most. If you aren’t a big reader (some of us are freaks of nature) think about the last 5 books you read, and choose one from those).
  • If you know the name of the artist (it should be listed other side of the title page and is also sometimes on the back cover), please include it, so people can look into their art.  
  • Think about why you liked it. Was it because you loved the artist, the concept, the model? Or maybe it was really in keeping with the spirit of the story?
  • Find a picture of your favourite cover (scanned or online – if in doubt try and share it with us. I recommend a minimum size of 200x325 so you can see the cover clearly.
  • Tell us why you like it, what draws you to it, and tell us if it affected how you approached the book.
  • Enjoy all the pretty covers! There are so many amazing, creative, inspiring and meaningful designs floating around the traps. Friday seems like a good time to celebrate this.
  • Feel free to continue this on your own blog and share the funky Friday cover love! <3

The Book:
Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip
The Artist: 
Kinuko Y. Craft
The Cover:
(Click below for a close up)
Why I like it:
I have been drawn to both the stories Patricia A. McKillip writes, and the covers by Kinuko Y. Craft which normally adorn the cover. I can spend hours staring at all the tiny hidden details. They are like a puzzle you can only figure out as you read the novel. For example, the fish you see swimming all over the page are actually letters of a lost alphabet. They look pretty, but you don't know the significance until you read the book. I eventually want to find some Kinuko Y. Craft artwork for my walls.

Enid Blyton's novels to be modernised

Source: ABC

Phrases like "awful swotter" and "mercy me!" look set to vanish from children's vocabularies for good, with publishers announcing they are re-editing Enid Blyton's classic books.

The publishers of Blyton's children's books, such as the Famous Five series and Faraway Tree series, say they are erasing some words and phrases from the novels to replace them with modern versions.

Words and phrases reportedly getting the chop include "house mistress", which will be replaced with "teacher", "school tunic" which will be pasted over with "uniform" and "dirty tinker", which now becomes "traveller".

But children's literature experts say it is tragic that these expressions could be lost forever.

Children's Book Council president Maj Kirkland told ABC Radio that the language in Enid Blyton's books is unique and loved by children.

"Well we could say let's not stop with Enid Blyton, why not change Shakespeare?" she said.

She says language is specific a time and place and is defined by the context in which it is used.

Ms Kirkland says children understand this.

"My son loved the Faraway Tree. He enjoyed the words as well and he used to walk around the house saying 'awful swotter'," she said.

"Young people are often underestimated.

"Children don't always have to know exactly what the word means to enjoy the sound of those words."

Ms Kirkland says language is constantly being changed and she says efforts should be made to retain historical works.

"We're in a state of change so much. We have text language that we use on Twitter and how quickly does that change?" she said.

She says strange words used in Blyton's novels actually help children expand their vocabulary and become better communicators.

"It's a good chance for the adult and the child to talk about what it meant at the time," she said.

"They do build their vocabulary and build their understanding of the world."

She says if the books are going to be changed in any way the publishers could instead publish a glossary at the end of Blyton's books to explain unfamiliar words.

My two cents: I grew up reading Enid Blyton. The earliest book that was read to me, the first book I read to myself, and the books I collected as a child were all written by Enid Blyton. I bonded with both my parents over her books, as they had also grown up reading them. I was transported to a time before my own, with charming language, engaging characters and a sense of naiveté that I wish most children were able to keep. I also claim she is the reason I have always been mainly a fantasy reader. The only problem I ever had with Enid Blyton was her passive racism – but I think that was a product of her time, rather than an act of hate. I know some of her books have previously been in the headlines because her use of golliwogs in Noddy (which were substituted in a politically correct re-release of her stories in the 80s), and I have to say I saw them as dolls as a child, not as humans, and I was too naïve to realise their cultural origins until it was pointed out to me years later. Calling gypsies “dirty tinkers” is a sign of the times also. This racism still occurs today, yet it is never really touched on by the media – and history ignores the fact that they were also targeted by Hitler’s death camps.  What I am alluding to is different from the above story. I was kind of surprised that this article mentioned the “dirty tinkers” phrase in the context of editing Enid Blyton’s novels yet didn’t expand on it. It didn’t talk about racism, cultural insensitivities or ageing mores, just that it has dated slang. Despite the fact that we have all grown up with these books, and their inherent racism, it does appear, according to this article, that the books are being re-released solely because of the dated colloquialisms? WTF? I am taken aback. Those words and phrases have been dated for decades – even my mother growing up in the 60's and 70's wouldn’t have used these in general usage. And I don't think it matters that the words are no longer in our everyday usage.I think that broadens a child's mind. I know it did mine. I still love reading a lot of pre-80's children's literature, and I am fascinated by the colloquialisms that have passed in and out of fashion over the years. And they do come back. I am distraught. I think Enid Blyton's books will loose their charm! What do you think?

27 July 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I found this on Suz's blog, Suz's Space, who I met on Twitter.

My Teasers: 

"Unfortunately, everyone from Vikings to Apaches had a corvid in their mythology. Crows created or swallowed the world, delivered messages for a handful of gods, served as prophets, played tricks, and if they were Chinese, lived in the sun and had three legs."
~ Page 49 of Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
^I can see I am going to love this book!!!

26 July 2010

Manic Monday: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Each Monday (or the closest I can get to Monday) I will be posting a Past/Present/Future Reading Post called Manic Monday. I haven't been updating my reading list online, and not everyone is my friend on Goodreads to see what I have been reading. So this is a way for my friends and followers to get a glimpse at my reading agenda :D Just don't hate me if I post it on a Tuesday - it just indicates how "manic" my Monday really was! If you want to see more of what I have been reading, I try and update my Goodreads account with each book I am reading.

What I just finished reading
River's End by Nora Roberts
Stars: 4/5

Blurb from Goodreads:
Olivia's parents were among Hollywood's golden couples...until the night a monster came and took her mother away forever. A monster with the face of her father...

Sheltered from the truth, an older Olivia only dimly recalls her night of terror - but her recurring nightmares make her realize she must piece together the real story. Assisted by Noah Brady, the son of the officer who found her cowering in her closet so many years before, she may have her chance. Noah wants to reconstruct the night that has become an infamous part of Hollywood's history. He also wants to help Olivia and heal the longing in her lonely heart. But once the door to her past is opened, there's no telling what's waiting on the other side. For somewhere, not far away, the monster walks again...

Why I picked it up: I was bored and it was sitting next to my bed.
Why I finished it: I really love Nora Robert's suspense novels.
I'd give it to: Other Nora Robert's fans. However, I wouldn't give it to my mother because she kills them in various and devastating ways.

What I am reading now
Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Blurb from Goodreads:
As a mercenary who cleans up after magic goes wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate's going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale; a divine one.

When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta's paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more is at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest - and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can't stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city man not survive...

What I am reading next
I need to start reading On The Road soon. However, I am going to Galaxy tonight, and I can't promise I won't buy something shiny to read LOL

P.S. - Who do you think the best Paranormal Romance authors are?

23 July 2010

A-Z of Books - A Meme

For this meme, you list a favorite book that starts with each letter of the alphabet. If you don’t have a book for a letter (such as Z or X) than you can substitute a favorite book that simply has that letter in the title (e.g. The Lost City of Z or Hot Six by Janet Evanovich). However, you can only do this a maximum of 3 times. (Z, X, and Q. But not Z, X, Q, and V.) Books can be of any genre from fiction to non-fiction to poetry to textbooks.

This is a difficult task to fulfill, because obviously some letters, like S and T, have many books that might be favorites, whereas others, like Q and X are unlikely to present you with difficulties making a choice. I have chosen Fiction:

A: Alphabet of Thorn - Patricia McKillip
B:  Bitten - Kelley Armstrong
C:  Catching Fire  - Suzanne Collins
D: Dune - Frank Herbert
E: Empress of Mijak - Karen Miller
F: (The) Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan
G: (A) Guide to Old English - Bruce Mitchell (It was my text book when I learnt Anglo Saxon and still a favourite)
H: Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
I: (An) Ice Cold Grave - Charlaine Harris
J: (The) Jungle - Upton Sinclair
K: Merlin's Keep - Madeline Brent (I could have settled for a different K book, but I had to fight out which got to be the M book. This was easier!)
L: Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
M: Magician - Raymond E Fiest
N: Night Shift - Lilith Saintcrow
O: Obsidian Butterfly - Laurell K Hamilton
P: Persuasion - Jane Austen
Q: Quest - Shannah Jay
R: Red Phoenix - Kylie Chan
S: Some Place To Be Flying - Charles de Lint
T: The Painted Man - Peter V Brett
U: Unleash the Night - Sherrilyn Kenyon
V: (The) Vampire Lestat - Anne Rice
W: (The) Wood Wife - Terri Windling
X: Xone of Contention - Piers Anthony
Y: Yarrow - Charles de Lint
Z: Z for Zachariah - Robert C. O'Brien

What are yours?

22 July 2010

75 Signs You’re a Bibliophile

 I discovered this meme through one of my saved blog searches. I started giggling straight away, because it is so true! Some points are aimed at those who read more serious fiction and some at those who just read everything they can get their hands on. I am somewhere along that scale. There are some names I am not familiar with, but I have always concentrated on my genres and favourite classic literature, so it makes sense that I am not always familiar with obscure or unknown authors (who the hell is Zadie Smith?). Others items on this list, however, make me want to go back to the classics. I read 33 and had a craving to read A Modest Proposal again! I haven't been using that, but it works with not only how I think, my own obscure references only half my friends understand, but also with my politics. And yes, as I have mentioned previously, The Jungle is one of the best books ever written, and it is hard to eat processed meat because of it LOL  So please, read on and enjoy! I hope it gives you the giggles too! I am off to fondle some books now... and maybe get high on their scent. I'm not weird at all...

Source: Online University Reviews

We consider ourselves perched on the precipice of culture. Worshippers of the written word. Titans of tomes. Lovers of literature. We swarm the world with a voracious hunger cured only by sufficient mental and creative stimulation. We are in your office. We are in your schools. We may even be in your homes. You may even be one of us…

1. You actually completed an English degree.
Only a true bibliophile can survive 4-7 years of being told exactly how to interpret Finnegan’s Wake by a bearded, bespectacled man in a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches.

2. You actually started said English degree for reasons other than “Heathcliff is OMG HOT!”
And if you graduated with an English degree still thinking that Heathcliff is OMG HOT, then probably you should not go straight into a career. Probably you need to spend a brief stint in a mental institution.

3. Harold Bloom actually makes sense.
You will be a bibliophile for the ages if you actually develop a viable drinking game based on any of his works. English majors around the world will erect a statue in your honor. Assuming they actually have the money for it, which they don’t.

4. You’ve actually used the term “hack writer” unironically…
…and probably in reference to Stephanie Meyer as well. “Hack writer” is the literary connoisseur’s equivalent of “sellout” in the music industry. Not in terms of concept, of course, but rather when it comes to expressing status through terminology that’s both highly pretentious and embarrassingly true.

5. You fight to diversify the literary canon.
Great writing can come from anyone, anywhere. And a true bibliophile knows that the real literary canon is made up of far more than just a bunch of dead, high strung white guys. Oh, they contributed alright! But they are not the entirety.

6. You often find yourself wondering about whatever happened to Zadie Smith.
She’s still around, just not as prolific as the literati would like. Being a parent does that sometimes.

7. You have a little vein in your forehead that throbs whenever you hear about sparkly vampires.
If Sheridan Le Fanu and Bram Stoker came back to life and found out what became of their genuinely horrifying creations, they would probably crawl back into their graves and beg for the swift, cold mercy of death once more.

8. You laughed at the Thomas Pynchon episode of The Simpsons.
Because you got the jokes, of course. Not because you were pretending to get the jokes just to seem all intellectual.

9. Your loved ones tire of you spouting clichéd “The book was better” diatribes.
But you know better. Yes, yes you do. It’s not your fault the philistines haven’t picked up a work of fine literature since the Carter administration!

10. When other people incorrectly use the term “postmodernism,” a little portion of your soul disappears forever in a puff of suicidal depression.
Just because a work of art existed in the postmodern period does not inherently make it an adherent to the movement’s tenets!!

11. You have a crush on David Sedaris or Sarah Vowell.
It is a well-documented phenomenon that all modern-day bibliophiles find their hearts set aflutter at the mere mention of either David Sedaris or Sarah Vowell. You can’t argue with this statement. It’s science.

12. You have ardently argued that comic books deserve to be considered literature on par with more “acceptable” formats like short stories and novels.
And anyone who disagrees will likely be converted to your mindset after reading Maus, Watchmen, Persepolis or a volume of American Splendor.

13. Seeing “Based on the bestselling novel by…” in a movie trailer makes you dizzy.
Step outside, take a deep breath and sink $12 on a small Sprite to settle your stomach. It’ll all be over soon.

14. You’d read in the car if you could.
Some of the more daring bibliophiles amongst us are probably guilty of sneaking in a page or 2 at red lights…

15. Better yet, you take public transportation for reasons other than cost and the environment.
Because trains, buses and subways afford oh-so-much reading time that would otherwise be spent behind the wheel of a boring ol’ car.

16. Used, local and specialty bookstores are your kryptonite.
After a certain point, taking up crystal meth as a hobby may actually be kinder to one’s wallet than bibliophilia. But books don’t turn your teeth into pumice, which generally tips one’s favor towards the more expensive pursuit.

17. The New York Times Review of Books is among your browser bookmarks.
Even if their opinions boil your blood with the white-hot fury of a thousand supernovas, you still pop onto the site regularly to stay on top of the latest news and trends in the literary world.

18. You start a book blog just for the ARCs.
Setting up shop as an online literary critic opens the doors to receiving free books in the mail from eager publicists and authors who want to hear your opinions on what you did and did not like about them!

19. You ? your local library.
Whether you volunteer your time, money or old books, you do whatever you can to spread your love of the library and its myriad opportunities faster than Barry Allen on a caffeine bender.

20. You find Belle the least offensive of the Disney princesses.
Sure, she teaches young women about the joys of miring yourself in Stockholm syndrome! But she does enjoy reading and intellectual pursuits, which makes her slightly less misogynistic than the other aggressively marketed Disney ladies.

21. You know what the thunderclap that heralded the fall of Adam and Eve sounds like.

22. You own a cat, a grand selection of tea and/or coffee, an all-purpose tote bag for shopping (that may or may not be constructed of post-consumer recycled products), a knitting habit or some combination thereof.
For some reason, every passionate literary connoisseur inevitably possesses one or more of those 4 items. Nobody knows why. Not even science.

23. You know very well that used book stores are not where stimulating reads go to die.
It’s a cliché to compare used bookstores to finding diamonds in the rough and treasures in the sands and princes among frogs…but it’s actually the most apt way to describe a visit. Great books certainly do crop up while slogging through bubbleheaded swill by Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella.

24. Oprah’s Book Club makes you want to destroy something beautiful.
Sure she encourages her flock to pick up undeniable classics like The Color Purple, Song of Solomon and East of Eden, but these were already well-respected works. As much as she poses, Oprah never actually had a hand in discovering the writers OR their novels. When she’s left to her own devices, A Million Little Pieces happens.

25. Substance abuse seems glamorous and edgy.
William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway both won the Nobel Prize in spite of possessing livers that looked like the Toxic Avenger. Hunter S. Thompson must have managed to score the Teddy Roosevelt of immune systems, because that’s just about the only reasonable explanation regarding his ability to stay out of the hospital and get work done. All brilliant literary figures…all suffering from very serious psychological issues that needed addressing. Substance abuse should be considered a wrenching tragedy, not a writing strategy.

26. You actually know the difference between you’re/your, they’re/their/there and it’s/its.
And you deserve a pat on the back for it! Just don’t get cocky and start correcting everyone else in a condescending tone, OK?

27. You feel an overwhelmingly compelling need to refer to every cockroach you encounter as “Gregor.”
Bibliophiles living in Houston especially struggle with this problem.

28. The social events you look forward to most either involve the library, readings or lectures.
And why not? They’re excellent networking opportunities that provide great insight into an author’s beliefs and creative processes – not to mention exposure to exciting new literature! Plus, it’s a great way to meet cute boys and girls in sweater-vests.

29. You really, really relate to that one Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith.
The ending probably wrenched your heart out, grilled it up on a George Foreman, slapped it in a blender and forced it all down your panicking throat, didn’t it?

30. You think Kindles, Nooks, iPads and other electronic books take a little something away from the reading experience.
Just kidding! That actually makes you a Luddite.

31. You long to attend the Bloomsday Festival.
It really is a great event, and any bibliophile with the resources to hit up Dublin on June 16th would do well to attend. Even if Joyce isn’t your thing, it’s still very worthwhile, largely gratis and highly literate fun.

32. You know that irony is not rain on your wedding day or a free ride, but you’ve already paid.
Irony is selling an heirloom pocket watch to purchase beautiful combs for your wife’s luscious hair, only to find out she cut it and bought you a chain for the timepiece with the money. But who would have thought it figured?

33. Your solutions to any sociopolitical problem inevitably involve references to eating babies.
If a peer gets the reference and laughs, you are in good company. If a peer does not get the reference and laughs, you probably should examine his or her motives first before judging them a sociopath. They could just be harmless internet denizens in their downtime.

34. You prefer the term “erotica.”
Anaïs Nin certainly possessed enviable writing talent worthy of study and inclusion on numerous “Best of…” lists. But even if you slap a more elegant, euphamistic label on it, porn is still porn.

35. You worship Mignon Fogarty.
She is the one woman preventing the English language from devolving entirely into YouTube comments.

36. You’ve read the Bible, even though you’re not Christian.
Much of the “Western” literary canon built itself upon Christianity’s teachings, and a familiarity with them definitely renders the entirety of the Medieval period almost comprehensible.

37. You participate in LibriVox (or similar organization).
LibriVox and its ilk bring bibliophiles together to record public domain or licensed works of literature so that the visually impaired can enjoy them! All of them make for ideal volunteering opportunities for book junkies.

38. You know that Iceberg Slim is not a frozen cigarette that sank the Titanic.
Granted, most people probably wouldn’t think that anyways. But you get the idea.

39. You appreciate the Coen Brothers more than most people.
The Coen Brothers are the Talking Heads of the film industry – whip smart, undeniably legendary and highly, highly literate.

40. You actually read the included supplementary material.
To you, the forwards, afterwards and essays included in a volume deserve careful perusal just as much as the actual novels themselves.

41. The word “abridged” gives you a migraine.
Or, alternately, it sends you into an unstoppable rant about how abridging a story compromises the author’s original intent – even if the author him- or herself approved of the changes in the first place!

42. You love incorporating books into your home décor.
Some of the more intense cases among you may pick out tomes you love with covers that convey the specific aesthetic you desire. The bibliophiliac community is split over interior designers who construct furniture and other decorative items out of old books.

43. NPR holds a special place in your heart.
Not everyone agrees with NPR’s politics, but bibliophiles of all types flock to NPR’s reviews, interviews and news regarding the latest and greatest works of literary art.

44. You have one specific genre or subgenre that you absolutely hate and avoid at all costs.
And you know you hate it because you have actually read several books from the genre at hand. Right?

45. Broken spines seem almost like injuries.
More serious bibliophiles tend to anthropomorphize their collections on occasion, and breaking the spines of books almost makes them weep in empathy for its pain.

46. You sell your clothes and other possessions before you sell your books.
When bibliophiles need a little extra money quickly, they’d much rather dump their clothes and other necessities onto resale shops instead of hauling a load to a local shop specializing in used volumes.

47. You hate moving.
Not because you’re antisocial or agoraphobic, but because packing and unpacking hundreds – if not thousands – of books is a real pain in the patootie.

48. You’re reluctant to lend out your books.
Sure, you want to nurture a love and appreciation of the written word in your friends and loved ones. But what if they bend the spine? What if they dogear the pages? WHAT IF THEY SPILL COFFEE ON IT?!?! OH GOD THE THOUGHT OF IT JUST KILLS ME!!!

49. You consider dogearing a sacrilege.
Though a venial sin compared to the mortal offense of breaking a book’s spine, dogearing still compromises its delicate structure.

50. You never walk out of a bookstore empty-handed.
Even if you walk into a bookstore with no particular purchase in mind, you always seem to throw down the debit card for something that popped out. Always. Invariably.

51. You usually carry around 2 books at a time.
Because you never know when you’ll find yourself with some welcome free time. Unfortunately, said welcome free time may mean you finish your current read and need to start up on its follow-up.

52. Most of your volunteer work involves literacy.
When they want to give back to the community, most passionate bibliophiles look for charitable organizations that involve teaching people how to read, distributing books at shelters, reading to the elderly or blind and other literary causes.

53. When library hours get slashed, you faint like a Victorian lady listening to a bawdy story about ankle exposure.
Sadly, many libraries across the world have been forced to scale back their hours due to budget cuts. Bibliophiles responded to the news by contracting the vapors, and many sustained unfortunate head injuries as they crumpled to the floor in grief.

54. You spend hours upon hours browsing
Don’t let the name fool you – dissects storytelling, plot and character devices from ALL media. Prepare to lose significant expanses of time once you discover what people have written about your favorite books.

55. You got grounded often as a kid.
Not because you were an ill-behaved demon child, but rather because your parents always caught you huddled beneath your blankets with a flashlight in one hand and a book in the other. Also it was 2 AM. Also you had a math test the next morning.

56. You know that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42.
You also know how to properly mix a pan-galactic gargle blaster and the importance of bringing a towel with you wherever you go.

57. You can tell the difference between British and American English…
It’s a lot more than just “colour” vs. “color,” and you know it! Bonus points for any readers able to pick out Canadian English without any external hints.

58. …yet you frequently write in a blend of both.
Hey, it happens. Bibliophiles who pull double-duty as writers oftentimes find themselves merging grammatical and spelling conventions from British and American English without even realizing it. Kind of like Madonna’s accent, only not faked for attention.

59. You don’t take an iPod to the gym.
No amount of Lady Gaga’s warbling can get you up and moving quite like a favored book. There’s a reason why treadmills often come with a mechanism to support a chosen read…

60. You didn’t join a book club…you started one.
And you actually set up said book club so participants actually read rather than guzzle down wine, gossip about how Betty’s wife left her for a nubile young flight attendant and discuss why Mr. Darcy is OMG HOT and why every man ever should just drop everything and be him.

61. When walking through heavily-wooded areas, you are often disappointed to find no sign of the Ents.
A talking tree?! Are you mad?!

62. Every kid in your English class hated you.
It wasn’t out of pretentiousness that you always had the right answer or a viable alternate character interpretation! Honest! Relax. You’re among good company here, though. We believe you.

63. You enjoy reading the more obscure works in a popular writer’s oeuvre.
Even in the (frequent) incidents when a renowned literary figure’s best works remain the most popular, bibliophiles still love delving into their lesser-known writings with the burning desire to discover overlooked treasures.

64. You eagerly hope that future generations of humans grow beaks and seal-like flippers after evolving from shipwreck victims stranded on an isolated island.
(See what I did there?)

65. Someone always gives you a fancy bookmark as a gift every year…
Bibliophiles are actually quite easy to shop for, provided you don’t actually buy them books (they’re particular, you know). Just buy them a lovely, fancy bookmark for their birthdays and watch the gratitude unfold.

66. …and you usually use 2-4 at a time.
Many bibliophiles suffer from a particular form of ADD unique to their kind. Rather than reading 1 book at a time, they often have a multitude of different books going simultaneously. Usually this has to do with a read corresponding to a particular mood, though not infrequently do literature junkies simply grow too excited to wait.

67. You have a hard time eating sausage.
Thanks, Upton Sinclair!

68. Friends and family think you’re crazy for re-reading certain books.
At least once in his or her life, someone close to a bibliophile has honestly inquired as to why he or she feels the need to read literary works more than once. This is usually accompanied by a concerned, though rarely condescending, tone of voice. The same tone of voice parents usually use when asking teenagers if they’re on drugs.
If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will.

69. You used to spend recess reading.
Leave dodgeball to the troglodytes! There are worlds to explore! People to meet! Establishments to fight!

70. You are conflicted over the thought of writing on the pages.
Taking notes inside a book itself saves both paper and time. But it also starts cluttering up the pages and making re-reads much more difficult. This is a very serious issue that divides families and friends, if not individuals themselves.

71. You own multiple editions of the same book.
This also includes multiple translations of the same book as well. You know you’ve done it at least once. Don’t lie to me!

72. You go out of your way to place writers and their works into the proper context in order to best understand the book at hand.
Had Ignatius Rising not come out, nobody would have been able to figure out that John Kennedy Toole struggled with his sexuality and possessed mommy issues rivaled only by Buster Bluth.

73. You critically refer to the British as “imperialists.”
After exposure to enough postcolonialism, everyone does. Even some of the British. This mindset also applies to the Dutch, European-Americans and Spanish as well, depending on the literature consumed.

74. You know how to get away with (axe) murder.
Be a gravely poor former law student, possess altruistic intentions and spend 532 pages wallowing in existential torment regarding a spiritual status extremely similar to – yea, frequently misunderstood for – Nietzsche’s theory of the Übermensch.

75. You really, really, really, really, really, really, really like books.
At the end of the day, isn’t that more or less the literal definition of “bibliophile” when translated from the original Greek?

There’s no need to be afraid. You’re certainly not flying solo on this frequently bleak chunk of metal rocketing through an expansive, lonely cosmos. Just relax and embrace who you are, what you are. We certainly love you for it.

Book Survey VIII

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?
Brer Rabbit's A Rascal by Enid Blyton and Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. My dad used to read them to me when I was a baby, and they were some of the first books I learnt to read from. I also have a couple of books that my parents had as children, such as Robinson Crusoe which has my dad's name signed all through it from when he was learning to write. I need to get my own copy, because it is a keepsake and too fragile to read.

2. What is your current read, your last read and the book you'll read next?
Currently reading Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler, I finished reading Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts last night. Next I have to choose between Jack Keurouc, Kylie Chan and Ilona Andrews - hard choice!

3. What book did everyone like and you hated?
I tried reading a Dan Brown novel once. The guy I had a flirtation with at the time was always going on and on about it, and wanted me to read it to. I gave it away. I read about three pages and just couldn't read any more!

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

5. Which book are you saving for "retirement"?
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy?

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?
I always read my books in order.

7. Acknowledgments: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?
I find them fascinating.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?
I have no idea. I love reading Jane Austen, but I wouldn't like to be in the stories. Women back then had no options. Their life consisted of making the perfect marriage and popping out children - neither of which I am interested in. Also, the men are very bland. So let us move onto Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance shall we? Because all classical literature will have the same limitations for women. I am too much of a modern woman to be content raising children, being subservient and loving to a husband society deems as correct for social standing. If I went back in time, i would probably have been the local herb woman, living in the forest with lots of animals LOL So, modern book characters? Strong female characters, accepted by their menfolk as being equal, with a loving family and an interesting career, possibly with interesting talents or characteristics? I know - Emma from Kylie Chan's Dark Heaven series!

Normal every day Aussie girl, moves to Hong Kong in her late 20s, takes up a nanny position for a sweet little girl, whilst secretly doing her PhD, takes up martial arts as a beginner, becomes a prodigy, her employer just happens to be the god of martial arts, and so there is the whole Chinese mythology facet. Her friends are fascinating, so is her lover (the black turtle-snake god of martial arts) and she learns to not only become a brilliant martial artist, but to use energy, discovers she is some sort of unknown shapeshifter and ascends to immortal status eventually (I am just about to start reading that book). But it is basically a fair-dinkum Aussie chick who finds her place in the world without loosing her identity, or the things that make her tick. All this amazing stuff happens to her, yet she is still this daggy girl from Brisbane! I would dress better though!

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)?
Many of them.

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.
My mummy got The Oxford Dictionary for my 21st birthday.
I went to Amanda Palmer's Ninja Gig at the stairs of the Sydney Opera House, and at the book swap she arranged I picked up a copy of The Little Prince and got it signed by Amanda Palmer.

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?
I give books as birthday presents all the time.

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?
Merlin's Keep by Madeline Brent.

13. Any "required reading" you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad ten years later?
I liked everything I had to read for school.

14. What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?
I can't remember - I am always leaving things in mine, as I use what ever comes to hand as bookmarks: stickers from metal gigs (I just found one in my copy of The Painted Man LOL), postcards, letters, receipts, tags from clothes, slips of paper, gum leaves (they don't stain like flowers) and of course, some of my bookmarks.

15. Used or brand new?
Both! I love buying brand new, because I can keep up with my favourite series. But used books are just as valuable, and damn, but some of them smell great! I recently picked up two leather bound Bronte (Anne and Charlotte) and god they smell GOOD!

16. Stephen King: Literary genius or opiate of the masses?
Both! When you are a fan of the genre and actually sit down and read his books, you can see why he has such a following. I have to admit I have only read about five or six of his novels, but he is definitely one to admire! Particular favourite books of his are The Talisman and Carrie. I really love some of his short stories, such as "Jerusalem's Lot" from Night Shift.

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?
Yes. I know I have. I remember making a really big deal about it. But I can't, for the life of me, remember what it was!

18. Conversely, which book should NEVER have been introduced to celluloid?
Hundreds of them!

19. Have you ever read a book that's made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?
All the time! It is worse when the main character is a chef, but even if the characters are just throwing together some pasta it makes me wish I could magically cook a similar meal, without leaving my book (i.e. I need a slave).

20. Who is the person whose book advice you'll always take?
Sofia. Not only does she know me really well, like a lot of the same books as me, but she also works at Galaxy, a speculative fiction bookstore, which means she always knows about new books, series and authors.

20 July 2010

Trip to Galaxy & Abbey's, Peter V Brett booksigning in Sydney!

I am heading into Galaxy after work tonight. I really need something new to read. I love pay day! I have to remember to duck across to Abbey's and pick up a copy of On The Road by Jack Kerouac for the new book club. If you are in Sutherland Shire, or there abouts and are generally a bookish person, and want to discuss books with us, let me know. We each pick a book a month, and aren't limited to a genre. Anyway, first meeting is next month. So I need to pick up a copy of On the Road. What's the bet I forget to go to Abbey's again? I get distracted by Galaxy too much *sigh*

I am not quite sure what I am buying at Galaxy tonight. I haven't anything pressing to get, just a lot of books I would like to get. Wish me luck! I am going through a book drought, and I really need something to read... I have been chowing down on my Nora Robert's collection for something to do... I really need some fresh meat!

Other news: According to VoyagerBooks on Twitter, Peter V Brett will be at Galaxy on September 8th, after 5pm! I am still annoyed Galaxy doesn't have twitter and can't tell me themselves, but anyhoo... YEAY! Peter V Brett!! I can't wait! So I need to buy a hard cover of The Desert Spear, and make sure my ARC of The Painted Man is in good condition... and get a new paperback copy of The Painted Man for future reading. I am very excited! I got an ARC from a few years ago, and I was hooked! Bonnie did too, and now we are both staunch loyalists when it comes to Pete.

19 July 2010

Manic Monday: Mind Over Matter by Nora Roberts

Each Monday (or the closest I can get to Monday) I will be posting a Past/Present/Future Reading Post called Manic Monday. I haven't been updating my reading list online, and not everyone is my friend on Goodreads to see what I have been reading. So this is a way for my friends and followers to get a glimpse at my reading agenda :D Just don't hate me if I post it on a Tuesday - it just indicates how "manic" my Monday really was! If you want to see more of what I have been reading, I try and update my Goodreads account with each book I am reading.

What I just finished reading
Skin Trade by Laurell K Hamilton
Stars: 4/5

Blurb from Goodreads:
When a vampire serial killer sends Anita Blake a grisly souvenir from Las Vegas, she has to warn Sin City's local authorities what they're dealing with. Only it's worse than she thought. Ten officers and one executioner have been slain-paranormal style. Anita heads to Vegas, where's she's joined by three other federal marshals, including the ruthless Edward. It's a good thing he always has her back, because when she gets close to the bodies, Anita senses "tiger" too strongly to ignore it. The weretigers are very powerful in Las Vegas, which means the odds of her rubbing someone important the wrong way just got a lot higher.

What I am reading now
Mind Over Matter by Nora Roberts

Blurb from Goodreads:

Theatrical agent Aurora Fields kept her personal life strictly separate from her professional one, but lines were crossed the moment she met David Brady. He had asked her client to participate in his documentary on paranormal phenomena. Aurora agreed, but stayed on hand to protect the woman from exploitation as fiercely as a mother tigress. Somehow, David saw that Aurora's tough self-image was a little soft around the edges, and he was determined to discover what she was trying to hide. He'd always considered himself a good judge of people, so why did each moment he spent with Aurora leave her as enigmatic--and enticing--as before?

What I am reading next
I have no idea. Until Wednesday, when I go and buy more books from Galaxy, I am just picking books at random. I can't wait for pay day!

P.S. - Who do you think the best Paranormal Romance authors are?

12 July 2010

Book Survey VII

1) One Book That Changed Your Life:
Brer Rabbit’s a Rascal by Enid Blyton. You may think that novel is a little limited in life changing potential, however, some of my earliest memories are of my Dad reading it to me when I was about three. It was also one of the first books I learnt to read. It still fires my brain cells! Brer Rabbit is the first trickster motif that I fell in love with. It started a trend that will probably follow me til I die. It's also one of the reasons I was fascinated by anthropology and creation myths. Most cultures have a trickster figure present, and rather than being a side character, they tend to be key to the mythos of the culture. They also aren’t a negative or "evil" figure as they are mostly interpreted, but one of curiosity, intelligence, and change.

2) One Book You Have To Read More Than Once:
One? ONE??!! You are kidding right? It would be easier to list books I have only read once *snickers*

3) One Book You'd Want On A Desert Island:
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. If I was stranded with no distractions I could then do it justice. Every time I become immersed in it, a new paperback I have been waiting for arrives at Galaxy, and I put it aside again. It is in Middle English, written between 1387 and 1400 AD, so I have to dive into the language to be able to read it smoothly. Just a hint, reading Middle English is easier if you sound out the words you don't know - they tend to be archaic forms of Modern English, and whilst the spelling can appear alien at times, often times, they do sound similar enough to deduce.

4) Two Books That Made You Laugh:
Anything by Terry Pratchett or Piers Antony! :D

5) One Book That Made You Cry:
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson.

6) One Book You'd Wish You'd Written:
Beowulf. It is a saga, not a novel, but I love the story, and I love the Old English poetry style. I love the words as well - both speaking them, and the imagery they invoke. They have compound words like swan-rād (swan-road = sea), hringedstefna (ring-curved = ship's prowl), etc. which have such beautiful connotations. There are so many of them. If you read Beowulf, or The Battle of Maldon or any other Anglo Saxon verse, you stumble over all these beautiful words. The compound words for sea (mere) are beautiful - whale-road, swan-road, swan-path, whale-path, sea-path, whale-way (hwælweg) etc - there is even a poem written about the sea being another woman and leaving a warrior's wife at home crying because the mistress (the sea) has stolen her man. I love their culture, and just reading their words and poetry show you why! The other thing I really love and admire about Anglo Saxon poetry is the alliteration. I have always been drawn to alliteration, and the Anglo Saxon's were masters! Their poetry was originally spoken, not written, and it is so easy to chant. It just rolls off the tongue. It is also very rhythmical, with the half-lines broken by a caesura. There is just something about Anglo Saxon poetry that fires my synapses. And if I could write anything in the world, though out time and space, it would be an amazing piece of Old English poetry like Beowulf.

7) One Book You Wish Was NEVER Written:
I don't have one. I can see why all books have been written, and I am anti-censorship. Just because I don't appreciate a book, does not make it unworthy of someone else's time.

8) Two Books You Are Currently Reading:
Checkers by John Marsden and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

9) One Book You've Been Meaning To Read:
1984 by George Orwell.

Manic Monday: Checkers by John Marsden

Each Monday (or the closest I can get to Monday) I will be posting a Past/Present/Future Reading Post called Manic Monday. I haven't been updating my reading list online, and not everyone is my friend on Goodreads to see what I have been reading. So this is a way for my friends and followers to get a glimpse at my reading agenda :D Just don't hate me if I post it on a Tuesday - it just indicates how "manic" my Monday really was! If you want to see more of what I have been reading, I try and update my Goodreads account with each book I am reading.

What I just finished reading
Smoke and Ashes by Tanya Huff
4/5 Stars

Blurb from Goodreads:
Fledgling wizard Tony is now an assistant director on "Darkest Night," the syndicated TV series about a vampire detective. But it's hard to concentrate on the latest episode when a Demonic Convergence is allowing lesser demons entry to our world, and the sexy stuntwoman, Leah, is also an immortal Demongate whose death would open the way to unimaginable peril. Can Tony halt the Convergence, keep Leah alive, and still have a career? Or will his artistic ambitions-not to mention the rest of the world-go up in smoke?

What I am reading now
Checkers by John Marsden

Blurb from Goodreads:
Australian author John Marsden's gripping suspense stories--with his signature shocking climaxes--have made him the John Grisham of the young adult set around the globe. Checkers, following this tradition, is the riveting story of a teenage girl who loses not only her family but her sanity when her father is suspected of participating in a financial scam--one that the media has traced to the highest levels of the Australian government. Telling the story in first-person flashbacks as the girl recuperates in a mental institution, Marsden symbolizes his protagonist's powerlessness by never revealing her name. The result is an eerie sense that she could be any teenager trying to understand her parent's cryptic behavior and motives. The only completely honest relationship the girl has is with her beloved dog Checkers, a gift from her father upon closing his most important deal. Checkers "wasn't the kind of dog you hug really tight, like a Labrador.... He had too much independence, too much pride," but he becomes the only source of comfort for the girl once the story breaks about her father's shady business practices. She never dreamed that the connection the reporters are searching for could be running around in her own backyard. Fraught with tension and political intrigue, Checkers is an intelligent page-turner for teens.

What I am reading next
I am still working my way through the many books I bought as part of the Galaxy EOFYS sale. On top of that, I went to the Lifeline Book Fair at Sutherland on Saturday, and I bought even MORE books!!! The thing is, with so many new books, I have no set reading order planned. Most of the books I haven't read before, or haven't even heard of the authors. It means I am doing a lot of picking and choosing before I start a new one. I bought more than 40 books in the last few weeks.

P.S. - Who do you think the best Paranormal Romance authors are?

06 July 2010

Manic Monday: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

I haven't been posting any entries related to my own reading lately. They have all been fillers. Part of the reason is my sewing machine is holding my computer captive, and I am doing all my internetting from my phone (naughty sewing machine! LOL this is Rage Against The Sewing Machine! I started a blog of that name, but because I haven’t been using either my computer or my sewing machine it is practically empty! ;-p Anyhoo...). Basically, because my sewing machine is fighting for possession of my computer (I think they have a wild passionate affair brewing, personally. That is one possessive sewing machine!) I haven't had time to review any books, or update my reading lists. Most of my books are written down on paper, and the rest are stacked waiting to be added. I will spam you with those later. But right now, I thought I would start a new segment. Hopefully I should be able to do this on weekly, but don’t hate me if I miss one. I thought I would do a Past/Present/Future Reading Post - which I will call Manic Monday (because I love that song!)

What I just finished reading
Storm Watcher by Lillith Saintcrow
3/5 Stars
Blurb from Goodreads:
All Mariamne Niege wants to do is finish her thesis and get a job. Unfortunately, her life isn't that simple. She's a Guardian now, and her visions of the future have grown so intense she is literally blind to the world while in their grip. Not to mention that her Watcher, Hanson, is sleeping on her couch and scaring her roommates when he's not shepherding her through the visions and calming her progressively worsening nightmares. Then the earthquakes start, warning of an even bigger disaster approaching—a disaster that could level her beloved city and claim both hers and her best friend’s lives. A disaster that her visions say could be triggered by Hanson.

Hanson has his own problems. He joined the Watchers to atone for a life of lies, but it seems the only way he can protect Mari is to use some of his less than honest talents. She is the only witch who can ease the agony of being a Watcher, and the only woman in the world he wants. But the distance between them grows daily, and the entire city is uneasy as the earthquakes start. Then Mari's house is broken into and her roommates slaughtered by the Dark. In order to save Mari from the evil that hunts her, he's going to have to become more of what frightens her. It's a hell of a choice, and one he isn't sure he can make...

What I am reading now

Wicked Lovely by Mellisa Marr
Blurb from Goodreads:
Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty-especially if they learn of her Sight-and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.
But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. His is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost-regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; everything.
Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first-century faery tale.

What I am reading next
I am not completely sure! Nalini Sing has Bonds of Justice just released, and I will try and buy that at my PnR book club at Galaxy on Thursday night.
I have a big bag of books that I bought at Galaxy's EOFYS sale - 16 for $16. Total bargain! The last four books I have been reading have been from there. Some I chose, but others I asked my friends from book club to suggest for me. It should be interesting to see if I like them all!
Lifeline is having a big book sale in Sutherland next weekend, and I am going with Bonnie and Sarah, and maybe Maria. I am taking my car, and a lot of money. Hopefully I will find a number of books I haven’t read by authors I love!!! That reminds me, I need to sit down and figure out which David Gemmell, Raymond E Fiest, Mercedes Lackey and Nora Roberts I own so I don't double dip! ;-p

Ironically, I am posting this on Tuesday. I had this typed up last night but didn't have time to send it. Unfortuately when I arrived home I realised I can't blog from my phone, and so I had to hit Publish today.

Please have a look at this post if you get a chance: Who do you think the best Paranormal Romance authors are?
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