Friday, May 29, 2009

War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

After seeing the classic old film, I wanted to read the book. And so, two years ago, at Christmas, I got the chance when I received 50 Classic novels from my brother's then girlfriend. This was the first one I picked up.
Have you ever wondered what lived on other planets? What would happen if there was intelligent life on Mars and they decided to come and visit? What would they look like? One evening, in the small town of Woking, England, the people find out first hand what happens when a large oval, metallic capsule crashes into an area just outside of town and opens up. What occurs after that is horrific and the stuff of nightmares. The aliens build their machinery from humans and destroy anything trying to stop them as the rest of the planet is invaded and conquered. However it's not to last. Within the week, as observed by the narrator - who is a journalist - the aliens become sick and they all die. From what? Well, I can't ruin the entire story for you, can I?

H. G. Wells (1866-1946), English author, futurist, essayist, historian, socialist, and teacher wrote The War of the Worlds (1898).

Herbert George Wells was born on 21 September 1866 in Bromley, Kent County, England, son of Sarah Neal, maid to the upper classes, and Joseph Wells, shopkeeper and professional cricket player. The Wells were quite poor and it was not the happiest of marriages; they would soon live apart though neither re-married.
The popular novel foreshadowed things to come for the human race: robotics, World Wars, warfare tactics including aerial bombing, use of tanks and chemical weapons, and nuclear power. Part prophet, part pessimist, Wells was a prolific author not just of science fiction but also fiction and non, utopian and dystopian short stories, travel sketches, histories, and socio-political commentary. While his most popular works tend to show a bleak future for humanity, he was not without his sardonic and wry wit; Every time I see an adult on a bicycle I no longer despair for the human race.


Time and Again by Jack Finney

Si Morey is an illustrator who was asked by the U.S. Government to take part in an experiment; a top secret one. He was shown how it worked and - seeing he had a military record - they thought he'd be safe. All he had to do was observe and sketch what he saw and not interfere with anything. So, Si signed himself up and was trained to live in the year of 1882. However, did he really step out into that year? The U.S. Government believes he did; especially seeing he returned with a portfolio of sketches from a time that no longer exists. The bigger question for Si Morley is this: does he want to stay in his present time or go back for the woman he loves?

Jack Finney was born on 2nd, October 1911 and is one of the most incredible writers of time travel and sci-fi fiction around. This book is brilliantly written with a fantastic eye for detail and it will hold you to the very end. Jack Finney has also written another lot of books; such as: '3', 'About Time' and 'The Body Snatcher's. He passed away in California of pnemonia in 1995 survived by his wife, daughter and granddaughter.

The Writer's Idea Book by Jack Heffron

What a brilliant book. I love it. Jack Heffron wrote this book to assist writers from all walks of life to tap in to their ideas better; to find that font of ideas that everyone around thinks that they have at their disposal. This book was first spotted at my local library and I kept borrowing it and didn't want to give it back; so I jotted down the isbn and began hunting for it around the bookstores. However, finding it was out of print, I went to the only store I knew that could get it for me and now I find this book an absolute must that all writers - published and unpublished alike - should have on their shelves. Whether your work is going well, use this book to open your mind more and make it flow better.

Jack Heffron is an editorial of Clerisy Press, and had been a professional editor for more than 15 years. He is the author of three books for writers - 'The Writer's Idea Book', 'The Writer's Guide to Places' and 'The Writer's Idea Workshop'. A founding editor of Story Magazine, is a two-time winner of the National Magazine Award for Fiction and editor for the critically acclaimed Best Writing On Writing series. He has published short stories in many literary journals and twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His non-fiction has appeared in Oxford American, ESPN Magazine and Utne Reader among others. His work has been cited in Best American Travel Writing.

(bibiography: if you'd like to know more.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Letters From the Closet by Tony Ferrente & Paulette Jacobson

What a touching book. Page by page, it's correspondence between two friends who haven't seen each other for a long time. However, it's not your ordinary book; it's got letterboxes that fold open with a postcard slotted in, a letter hastily written and sent off on the next page and some pretty and sometimes lovely scenery. But what's written is very much Chinese Whispers about their lives and it's hard to read anything between the lines until you get to the last page.

I bought this book because the title made me curious and what was inside made me even more curious. And every now and again, I pull it off the bookshelf and read it slowly and look at its beautiful art work. It's cleverly made and thought out; it's also a must read.

However, I'm finding it difficult to find anything about the authors online. Except what is written in the back of the book, which isn't current, I have found around 4 people with Tony Ferrante's name and they're all different. So, if you have information I may be able to add here, please leave a comment and I'll add it onto this review.

3001 Jokes, Games and Puzzles for Kids edited by Ward Lock Ltd, London

Wow! They don't make these kinds of books anymore. This book is the kind of book that will keep any kid who has been banned from the computer, X-Box or shoved outside occupied... well, hopefully it will. It's full of games and puzzles that kept me very much entertained when I was young and I was constantly carrying it around reading the jokes (even though quite a few of them were lame) and trying to figure out the puzzles in it.

I haven't seen a book like this since it was put out. There was a series of them if I remember correctly and I happened to get one; which I took care of. Seeing I don't know the authors, I can't dig up much about them. Also, I don't know all that much about the pubishing company either. So, I'm really sorry about how short this one is. If you do happen to come across this particular book, grab it and have a good read of what a kid from the 1980's used to read when we were at the birth of the computer age.

The Official Rules At Home by Paul Dickson

What a hilariously funny book to have read. It's an A to Z of household rules that have been coined by people from all walks of life about how no matter what happens or what you do to in your life surrounding the household, you will once in a while find that not everything will go according to what you plan. Even the smallest things like a shoelace are there to ruin your day and make sure you miss the bus or train when you need to catch them on the most important days.

I got this one out of a Bookcrossing Surprise Bookbaggie put on by a fellow Bookcrosser. Once I looked at it and read a few of the things inside, I knew it was going to find a good home here; and it took me about a fortnight to read it.

Born in Yonkers, NY, Paul Dickson graduated from Wesleyan University in 1961 and was honoured as a Distinguished Alumnae of that institution in 2001. After graduating, he served in the US Navy and later worked for the McGraw-Hill Publications as a reporter. Since 1968, he has been a freelance writer contributing articles to the Smithsonian, Esquire, The Nation, Town & Country, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post and writing numerous books on a wide range of subjects.
Dickson is the founding member and former president of the Washington Independant Writers and a member of the National Press Club. He is a contributing editor at Washingtonian magazine and a consulting editor at Mirriam-Webster, Inc. He lives in Garrett Park, Maryland, with his wife Nancy who works with him as his first line editor and financial manager.


The Bachelor's Cat by L.F. Hoffman

When a ball of fur is found on the doorstep of man's house one cold morning, he does the right thing and takes it to an animal shelter. However, when the kitten returns a few days later, he takes it in and feeds it; deciding that it can't hurt to keep it for a while. Over the next few months and eventually years, this bachelor dates a few women that this cat shows a liking or disliking for in a few distinctively cat ways. Then, the man dates a woman the cat absolutely approves of and he makes the mistake of letting her go. Will he be able to get her back to keep his cat happy and finally find true love before she finds another?

I read this book over a weekend when my parent's television was in being fixed. It wasn't because I was a cat person; it was because I found it an endearing story about how animals can run our lives. And if we don't listen to them, they can be sometimes right about things.

Lynn F Hoffman holds a PhD in anthropology from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, where he wrote about men and women who go to sea in the American Merchant Marine. During the course of that research, he cooked on freighters and charter boats, served champagne to first-class, trans-Atlantic passengers. Dr Hoffman has crossed the Atlantic by steam, sail and plane. He is looking forward to rowing next time.
After a stint in the restaurant and bar business, Dr Hoffman returned to academia where he was a Scholar in Residence in Food and Culture in the Hotel and Restaurant Management Program at Dextrel for 15 years. He is the founder of the Drexel University Culinary Arts Major which accepted its first students in the Autumn of 1997. He's written restaurant reviews for the Philadelphia Weekly and Philadelphia Magazine as well as being the author of two textbooks: 'Good Food' and 'The Beer Book'.
Dr Hoffman is the author of the prize-winning novel 'Killers' and 1997's Christmas Selection from HarperCollins, 'The Bachelor's Cat'. 'Killers' has won awards from the Southwest Writer's Workshop and the Washington Prize for Fiction. His wine textbook 'The Short Course in Wine' is used in hospitality students and adult wine lovers. Another book he's written is titled 'Bang BANG' and it can be found on Dr Hoffman lives in South Philadelphia where he drinks homemade wine and shops in the Italian market.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda

In this book, Alan Alda talks and listens in on what he's heard himself say over his life at critical points from the ever-changing 1960's through to his first Broadway show to the present day America of September 11. He notes that 'doorways are where the truth is told' and wonders which particular things help lead a life of meaning; be it art, activism, family, money or fame. This is a candid book as questioning as it is incisive as Alda amuses and moves us with his uniquely witty meditations on questions great and small.

I found this book at a book sale and wanted to know more about the man who is Alan Alda. This brilliant actor made me laugh and giggle in MASH when I was young; and the re-runs are just as funny years later. And in this book, when I sat down and read it, I could hear his strong, quick-witted voice in my mind as I read along. As the years passed, I saw him in 'What Women Want' and found that he hasn't lost his appeal as he's a very charismatic man and will always be able to make anyone laugh through his acting or words.

Alan Alda has led a fantastic career in the leading role of Hawkeye in the famed sit-com MASH throughout the late 1970's to early 1980's when it finished. He has been acting from a young age, however never went to acting school (with the exception of playing Theatre Games) as he believed he was a natural performer and to go would ruin his gift for being a natural. Previous to this book is his other one titled: 'Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned'

Dips'N'Doodles by Catherine B Symons & Alvin M Westcott

Michael's eight years old and it's Christmastime. He received exactly what he wished for: ski equipment. His parents also paid for lessons so he could go skiing whenever he wanted to. So, off he goes to the slops and meets his instructor, Mr Jingles - who is called that because he usually wears bells on his boots. However that day, he had one on his hat. During the next week, Michael is taught all kinds of lessons about skiing and he loves it. Each day, he gets better and better at it as he practices on the slopes; until he is shown one slope by Mr Jingles called Dips'n'Doodles. This slope is an advanced slope and Mr Jingles thinks Michael is ready for it; but is he?

This book was one of my all-time favourite books. It came in hard cover and I loved it then and still love it now. When I was young, I had never seen snow - not until I was thirteen and visited the Australian Alps and learned to ski there. But when you're young and read about places you've never seen, it becomes a dream to visit them.

Alvin Westcott was born in March 1930 in Mt Kisco, NY. He attended Mt Kisco Elementary School and later graduated from Rome Free Academy in Rome, NY. Following high school, Alvin attended the State University College at Oneonta,NY and the B.S. degree in Elementary Education was conferred on him in 1955. He then went to teach in Mt Kisco Elementary School and the Quaker Ridge School of Scarsdale, NY. In 1957, he was selected to be a graduate fellow in elementary education at Syracuse University at which institution he received hi M.S. degree. Alvin Wescott is currently an emeritus professor from SUNY-Oswego, having taught there from 1959 - 1996. He is the author of 12 books and many magazine and journal articles. He currently writes for Oswego Palladium Times and the Oswegonian - the SUNY-Oswego student newspaper. His art work is regularly displayed in local exhibits and he builds unusual constructions; such as the plywood castle in Sterling. His latest written work is a novel called Gila which is set in Arizona in the 1870's. His Sig Tau fraternity brother, brother in law and sister still live in Oneonta.

Catherine Symons co-authored this book; however, there is some information in the back of the book but nothing current. So, I'll put in what was in the back of the book. Catherine Bracco Symons was born in Iron Mountain, Michigan and her elementary and secondary education was taken in Illinois and Wisconsin. In 1951, she received a B.B.A degree from Mount Mary College, Milwaulkee, Wisconsin and in 1954, as a scholarship student, she received a her M.A. degree in education from National College of Education, Evanston, Illinois. Catherine was a kindergaten teacher in the Evanston Public School System, Illinois, 1954-55; in the Appleton School System, Wisconsin, 1959-66 and in the U.S. Naval Air Station, Millington, Tennessee, 1967-68. She was also Principal of the Stephen Foster Elementary School, Appleton, Wisconsin, 1959-66. Catherine Bracco Symons has been a member of the National Education Association, Wisconsin; Education Association, Wisconsin Elementary School Principals Association and The Scriptors (Literary Group), Memphis, Tennessee. She is married to Thomas D. Symons, a member of Kymberly-Clark Corporation and they have three children.

I have searched the net for more current information on Catherine Symons, however I have not been able to find any. If you find out more info about her let me know and leave a comment.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Word Up by Various Authors

This is an anthology of Australian poetry by young and upcoming poets from all over this great brown country of ours. And it was the brilliant idea of an off-beat radio station in the early 1990's to get us to put pen to paper; unless we were already doing that and we needed help getting noticed. Triple J is a radio station on the FM band that is run by the Australian Broadcasting Commission that plays new and upcoming bands and unearths new talent to bring them into the spotlight of the public eye. This book was what they were trying to do with poetry as well. I sent in some of my work to be included, however it wasn't accepted.

I bought this book as a contributor to it and was only a little disappointed to find that my work wasn't included. But the work that was is absolutely cool, amazing and brilliantly funny and colourful too! Go out and find this book. I bought mine at 'The ABC Shop' in Brisbane City; however, you're probably best to find this particular copy online.

Triple J started out in Sydney as 2JJ - or Double J in the mid-1970's. Since then, it's been unearthing new talent and bringing brilliant and pumping music to its listeners without fail. In my 20's I was an avid listener for some time and found that they were always up for new things. When some of my favourite announcers left, I changed stations, but I do sometimes have a listen to see what they're up to. Triple J is on the FM band of 107.7 and has lasted the test of time - as well as the generation gap.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

About Time by Jack Finney

This book of twelve short stories is some of Jack Finney's best work. I love the way he turns the ordinary into the sublime through just a paragraph; a sentence, or a turn of phrase. This man is and will always be the one and only for me when it comes to time travel work. There is absolutely no comparison.

I first came across Jack Finney's work when my Mum lent me a book titled 'Time And Again' and for three days, I get didn't look up for so much as anything but food and toilet breaks. I actually fell asleep with the book in my hands each night... which says a lot. This little book of twelve short stories is like a taste of twelve little pies; a snapshot of what this man could be capable of... and more. In my honest opinion, I think this man wrote absolutely classic time travel and sci-fi. He belongs up there with Assimov and Tolkien.

Jack Finney was born on 2nd, October 1911 and he specialised in sci-fi and time travel books and short stories. He wrote 'The Invasion of the Body-Snatchers' and 'Time And Again'; the latter becoming a cult classic around the world. In 1954, his first book - 'Five Against The House' - was published and from there, he wrote more; his most famed and favoured one by millions was - and still is - 'Time And Again' which was published in 1970. Jack wrote a number of books and short stories until 1983 that have been loved by millions of fans all over; with 'The Invasion of the Body-Snatchers' being made into a film. His books are hard to find now; however I have found that 'Time And Again' has had another reprint (on Amazon I think) and the cover looks good! Jack Finney passed away on 14th, November 1995 from pnemonia in Greenbrae, California; survived by his wife, daughter and granddaughter.

The Wave by Moreton Rhue/Todd Strasser

The Wave is based on an incident that took place in a high school classroom in Palo Alto, California, in 1969. Ben Ross and his history class took part in an experiment when they were studying World War II when his class couldn't understand how the German people followed Hitler and the Nazis. Ben created an experimental movement called The Wave; and what starts out as a harmless game within his history class turns into a fast-moving cult-like following which gets out of control very quickly. But can Ben Ross and a few others of his students who have seen its affects and on-coming problems stop it before it takes over the entire community - let alone the school?

I first read this book in high school and loved it... even though I didn't finish it. So, years later, I read it again and loved it. And even now, in my thirty's I love still; even though it's a teen book. It's ideal for set reading in schools; even now as kids learn about how things can happen and peer group preasure through this kind of book.

Todd Stasser was born in New York and educated on Long Island, however he had always struggled with grammar and spelling during school. He travelled overseas to Europe and lived in a commune after dropping out of college; while there, he became a street musician and wrote poetry, songs and lots of letter home to friends back home. After returning, he studied literature and writing at Beloit College.
After college, Todd had a couple of jobs; one was at the Middleton Times Herald-Record Newspaper and later worked at Compton Advertising - both jobs were in New York City. In 1978, he sold his first novel Angel Dust Blues and used the money to start the Dr Wing Tip Shoo Fortune Cookie Company. Over the next 12 years, Todd sold more fortune cookies than books.
He is the author of more than 120 books that are aimed at teens and also children; with several of his books adapted into a television series and his novel 'How I Created My Perfect Prom Date' became a feature release 'Drive Me Crazy'.
Todd now divides his time between writing books and speaking at schools and conferences. When he's at home, he likes to play with his children, fish, play tennis, and ski. But his favourite new sport is surfing.


Exclusive by Eden Bradley, Jaci Burton & Lisa Renee Jones

This book is three of the sauciest and raunchiest stories you're ever likely to wrap your reading glasses around. The first one was about Devin who had never thought herself as kinky in any way; but once her friend talked her into a visit to an underground club, she was hooked - addicted to a guy called Shaye. The last story was a vampire erotica which I just got my teeth into and loved (because I do love those kinds of stories once in a while). However, the second story ran a little slow for me and so I skipped it, so I didn't read very far into it.

I was offered this book in a bookray in Bookcrossing last year and I put my name down for it and clean forgot it was there until it showed up in my PO Box about two weeks ago. So, once I got through it, I found it very interesting and raunchy; definitely one for bedtime reading!

Eden Bradley, Jaci Burton and Lisa Renee Jones are known as the Queens of erotic fiction. Together they've all been writing romantic fiction and erotica for some years now; however, in my search on the net, I've been unable to find too much about the three ladies to put here. However, if you'd like to google them and find out more, let me know how you go.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - The Trilogy in Four Parts by Douglas Adams

What can I say about this book without giving away too much about it's plot? This incredibly hilarious book had me giggling my head off every few pages and I'm still not sure what to write about it. Let's see... all I can say is that it's about a hyperspace bypass us Earthlings didn't know about, Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, a fish in the ear, making sure you have a towel (after all you never know when you'll need one!), The Ashes and the number 42.

Yep, that's all I can say about this book.

Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge in 1952, educated at Brentwoods School, Essex and St John's College Cambridge where in 1974, he gained a BA and later a MA in English Literature.
He was the creator of all the various manifestations of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which started life on the BBC Radio 4 series. Since it's first airing in March 1978, it has been transformed into a series of best selling novels, computer games, a record album and stage play. Throughout the 1980's, Adams wrote a collection of novels that were manifestations of The Hitchhiker's Guide and they were all successful and translated in to many languages. One of Douglas' all time personal favourites was written in 1990 when he teamed up with zoologist Mark Carwardine and wrote 'Last Chance to See' - a world wide search of endangered and rare species of animals.
Douglas was the founder of h2g2, formerly The Digital Village, a digital and media internet company with which he created the 1998 CD-ROM 'Starship Titanic' and a Codie Award-winning (1999) and BAFTA-nominated (1998) adventure game.
Douglas died unexpected at the age of 49 of a heart attack in California where he had been living with his wife and daughter in Santa Barbara in May 2001. At the time of his untimely death, he was working on a screenplay for a feature film version of Hitchhiker.

How to Write Love Letters by Michelle Lovric

This beautiful blue book is just enticing as it is without opening the cover. However, once you do, it goes through the history of love letters, where they come from and exactly how to write them. And that's not all, this book is very informative about which kind of paper, pen and how to verse things so that your letter really hits the right note for the person you're writing the letter for.

I bought this book some time ago when my boyfriend at the time had gone home (which was an 8 hour bus ride west to Roma in Central Queensland) and I wanted to keep the romance in our lives. It did help for some time; however I found the distance too much after some time. But I did learn how to write love letters and how to appreciate the written word more with the use of this book.

Michelle Lovric is a novelist, writer and anthologist whose last book, 'The Remedy', in 2005 was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She combines her written work with editing, designing and producing literary anthologies including her own translations of Latin and Italian poetry. Her book 'Love Letters' was a New York Times best seller. Michelle Lovric divides her time between London and Venice where she holds a workshop in her home - in London - with published writers of poetry and prose, fiction and memoir.

Christine by Stephen King

Arnie Cunningham is in love. But this kind of love isn't for a girl at Libertyville High, it's for a car; and her name is Christine. She is a blood-red, fat and finned, 1958 Plymouth Fury. From the first day Arnie clapped his coke-bottle glasses on her rotting wreck from the window of Dennis' Trans Am, he was gone! Body and soul. Dennis watched as his best friend from childhood changed from a bumbling square who was bullied every single day to a lean, tough and intimidating person that even he was afraid of crossing. The reason Dennis was so afraid wasn't because of what Arnie might do to him, it was what Christine will do to him. Anyone who had crossed Arnie in any way so far had ended up dead and Christine seemed to take on a life of her own when the sun went down. But how was Dennis and his new girlfriend going to stop Christine before she killed him with her love without being killed themselves?

This book was my very first Stephen King read. I was sixteen and Mum didn't approve of me reading romance novels all that much and I didn't like what was out there; but I wanted to read Stephen King. So, once I got into this, I ended leaving my reading lamp on more and more. However, I haven't left it out of my book collection just because I haven't read it recently. Strangely enough, the book is far bloodier than the film... but the film is downright creepy! And ironically, I ended up owning a red car when I finally did get into driving!

Stephen King has written over 30 books in his lucrative career as a horror writer. He's got a massive fan base of millions and his books have been translated in many languages and turned into as many films. He lives in Bangor, Maine with his wife, Tabitha.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Human Animal by Demond Morris

Despite what we look like today, us humans have got similar habits to our ancestors millions of years ago. We may have different eye colour, skin, hair styles and be armed with computers, the internet, mobile phones and automobiles however, deep in the primitive mind, we are still animals. We still have our rituals. We still love our wars on and off the footy or cricket field. Also, our gestures haven't changed all that much either.

I received this book from my Mum one Christmas when I begged her to buy it for me. It cost a small fortune; however, I found I couldn't get my mind around it. About a decade passed and I was spending New Year's Eve alone and I pulled it off the bookshelf, opened the front cover and delved straight in. Desmond Morris opened my mind and eyes to a new world of studying human behaviour; even my own. I look forward to tracking down his other works and reading them too.

Desmond Morris is one of the world's most recognised zoologists. When he became famous for his films and programmes on animal behaviour, he turned his attention to study human behaviour. He has been studying the human body and our animal behaviour for some time with his first book called 'The Naked Ape' which was published in 1967. Since then, he has written many other best sellers including 'The Human Zoo', 'Intimate Behaviour', 'Manwatching' and 'Bodywatching'. (From the back blurb of his book.)

The Stand by Stephen King

First came the plague - and they called it Captain Trips. This plague was so contagious and deadly it killed off a massive percentage of the population of the world. Some said it was the apocalypse, others figured out that they simply weren't going to get sick and decided that once they buried their dead, it was time to find others just like them. However, as a handful out of millions came out of the woodwork of wilderness and buildings of the larger cities, they sought to slowly build a new world from nothing. No television, no electricity, no gas and no government to run the countries of these new places.
But dark dreams began to warn the people of the Walkin' Dude. His red eyes pierced the night; seeing far distances and he himself appearing to be human, but somehow something wasn't quite right. The Walkin' Dude had many names, but they all knew he was evil. In the far west was his empire and it was growing fast. With the time of the real Apocalypse approaching, and the last massive struggle between good and evil, who will make a stand... and who will win the battle for the world.

I read this book when I was in high school in place of the set reading (because I couldn't get into 'To Kill A Mockingbird' and we had to read an American author so I chose Stephen King) and I was enthrawled from beginning to end. Years later, I read the unabridged version and found it had too much detail and there were a few things toward the end that I felt could have stayed in it; however they didn't.
I'm a huge fan of Stephen King and have been reading his books since I was in my mid-teens. My parents weren't always pleased that I enjoyed his work, but I have learned a lot about writing just from reading his words. Thank you, Stephen for your stories that scare me really good!

Stephen King is one of the world's most read and famous horror writers. Born in Portland, Maine in 1947, Stephen is the youngest of two siblings. He spent his time growing up traveling around Indiana and Conneticut and when he was eleven, his mother brought his brother - David - and himself back to Maine (Durham) for good.
His first publication was with Starling Mystery Stories in 1967 with 'The Glass Floor'. Throughout the early years of his marriage to Tabitha, he sold a lot of his stories to men's magazines. Many of the stories from these were gathered together into a book titled 'Night Shift' years later. In the Autumn of 1971, he took a teaching position at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. While teaching there, he continued to write books and stories. In the early Spring of 1973, Stephen's book 'Carrie' was accepted by Doubleday & Co and by Mother's Day he learned from his editor that he could leave teaching and write full time.
In the Autumn of 1974, the King's left Maine to live in Boulder, Colorado where Stephen wrote 'The Shining'. They returned to the Lakes District of Maine where he wrote 'The Stand' and 'The Dead Zone'.
Stephen King has written over 30 books during his life with millions of fans acros the globe who read them and visit his site regularly. Since he was in a horrible car accident in 1999, his fan base has increased and - I find - his writing has improved markedly.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Sal Paradise and his hero Dean Moriarty travel across the USA more than three times during the 1950's by boosting cars, drinking their lives away and getting together with women and picking up their fair share of hitch-hikers. All the while, Sal has around $10 in his pocket and not much else between his ears; but he's out there to have fun. Part adventure and tour novel, part autobiographical, Jack Kerouac could have done better than to offer such a luke-warm book to the public about his tour with his mate around his home country. I found it was torture to get through and the only time it picked up and got anywhere near interesting was in Part 5 when they went to Mexico. Why he didn't write it in the Mexico style all the way through it beyond me. However it took me 8 months to get through this horribly slow and dreadfully written book of drivel.

When I was younger - in high school in fact - I was first told about this book by my teachers. They said that I had the intellect to be able to read this callibre of literature. However, once I got my hands on it, I found it not to my liking at all and extremely repetitive. I was waiting for Jack to take me somewhere new and interesting; show me some new colourful things and experiences. However, he didn't.

Born in 1922, Jack Kerouac was born Jean-Louis Kerouac; the youngest of three children in the French-Canadian in working class Lowell, Massachusetts. He was an intense and serious child and devoted to his mother and forming important, close friendships with other boys, which he continued to do throughout his life. Jack began writing stories at a very young age, inspired first by a mysterious radio show. As he grew older, he failed at getting into college football, the US Military and felt as though he disappointed his father and so ended up sailing with the Merchant Marine. When he wasn't sailing, he was hanging around New York with a crowd that his parents didn't approve of, including Neal Cassidy, William S Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. Kerouac had already begun writing his first novel and found that his friends love it ('The Town and the City') however, it didn't make him famous. He would suffer seven years of rejection before his next book 'On The Road' was published and made him the money and fame he so badly wanted.
Jack spent the 1950's writing a number of books that never got published and so he carried them around in his rucksack. He excellent novel 'The Dharma Bums' describes a mountain climbing trip he went on at Yosemite with one of his friends.
When 'On The Road' was finally published in 1957, Jack Kerouac was much older and less wild than he was in the book. The fame the book brought after so many years of rejection and bitterness caused him to try and keep up the appearance of what he once was and he developed a severe drinking habit that dimmed his nature spirit and aged him prematurely.
As the years went on, Kerouac moved from California back to New York with his mother where he lived either with or very close to. However, his drinking slowly destroyed him. Even though he kept on writing and being published throughout the late 50's through the 1960's, he became a recluse, married twice; with the third one being successful. However, Kerouac's sudden fame had been the main thing that had destroyed him; along with alcohol. He finally moved back to Lowell with his third wife - Stella - and his mother where he died at home in 1969 at the age of 47.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Hotel: Upstairs, Downstairs in a Secret World by Jeffrey Robinson

This book was given to me by a Bookcrosser and from the first page to the last, I loved it. If you have ever stayed in a five star hotel, and have ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of hotel management, this is the book to read. In each chapter, it covers a particular section; from Front of House, to the delivery docks, this book has drama, sentimantality as well as miss-handled luggage, dinner with the Queen and a chef who has pounds and pounds of truffles... just in case!

Being a person who's stayed in at least one major hotel while traveling, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and got a few good laughs out of it. However, it's not for everyone. I lent it to my Dad and he couldn't get into it; so I guess it wasn't his cup of tea. Otherwise, I found it a good romp around a hotel in London. In the first few pages before the story, it does tell you which one it's based on, but the names of the people have been changed to protect the innocent and the embarrassed.

Jeffrey Robinson is a Native New Yorker but has been living in Europe for the last 30 years. He graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia. While at school, he wrote television and radio including a popular children's show.
Jeffrey Robinson is the best selling author of 24 books including 'The Laundrymen' and is currently working on his up and coming book titled: 'Follow the Money' about fraud, which will accompany his television series on fraud, electronic and economic crime.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cooking With The Young and the Restless editted by Robert Waldron & Martha Hollis

Yep, you read the title right. I own a book by the crew of the very Soap Opera people. This is a cookbook with a definite difference, though. It has recipes in it that are by the actors and they actually cooked them on the set and at home. And I tried one out once; and they definitely work! Everything's in pounds and ounces, but once I got that little detail out of the way, I had my fun looking at the other mouthwatering dishes!

This makes me wonder about other shows overseas. Have they had their fair share of favourite recipes they brought home from the set and vice verse. So, if you can, look around your charity stores for this one. Or look it up on the net with the isbn: 1558535489 and try and get your head around that it's just a book to laugh about; like I have. Or, you can do what I did, and try out one of the recipes and see how it goes.

What Food Is That & How Healthy Is It? by Jo Rogers (Chief Nutritionist)

You wouldn't believe where which food actually comes from orginally and what you can do with it! This book is chock full of information from the nutritional information you'd normally want to where it's grown, to how cook it, store it and which one to buy at the market for longevity and taste. My Mum got me this for me when I began looking at being a vegetarian and seriously took an interest in my health; and I'm glad she did because there's so much food companies are not telling us about our food. For example: did you know that powdered milk and store bought milk are pretty much the same thing; just one is liquid and other is a powder where you need to put water with it? Nowadays, the powdered milk that's out there is so much better for us that you don't really have to buy the store bought stuff at all if you're really watching your budget.

This book covers everything from fish to tofu, from mangos to meat. It's the complete nutritional guide to good health and has answered nearly every question I've had about what food I put in my mouth.

Josephine Rogers is the famous Australian Nutritionalist who introduced the concept of the Healthy Eating Pyramid to all Aussies. She was involved with the development of the Healthy Weight Range based on the Body Mass Index and the majority of the ANF information sheets and booklets were either written by or under the direction of Jo Rogers. Jo worked at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for over 40 years before retiring in 1989 and she became Chief Dietition for only 3 years before Dietetic Training and took on the role of the Food Service Manager in 1968. Jo was instrumental in having the University of Sydney provide a postgraduate training of dietitians, a course in which she lectured in for many years. She is the only person US has awarded an honarary degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. During her long career, she influenced the nutrition policy throughout Australia. Jo co-authored many books on nutrition and wrote many scientific papers and articles. Jo Rogers was awarded membership of the Order of Australia in 1980. However, she passed away on 3rd, September, 1996 of a multiple myeloma, after being cared for lovingly in the Prince Alfred Hospital; the same hospital she worked in for many years.

Debbie's Birthday Party by Gilbert Delahaye & Marcel Marlier

This is one of three 'Debbie' books I have and loved when I was a child. And I thought to review it for you all out there. Debbie's birthday is coming up and so, her family thought to make it a special one. There's the invites to be sent out, her dress to make in her favourite colour, the cake to bake and games to organise. This book is one of my favourites from the 'Debbie' collection and I have fond memories of reading it and dreaming about my perfect birthday party when I was a child.

I'm so glad I've got these books as far as I know, they are out of print due to the illustrater - Gilbert Delahaye - passing away in 1997. However, I'm still researching Marcel Marlier. If you would like to know more, I'm afraid you'll have to Google both men as they don't have an official website. This is unfortunate as I really did love these very beautifully written and illustrated books and they took me away into another world whenever I read them.

L'abero di Stefano/Stephen's Tree by Libby Hathorn

'Stephen's Tree' is about a young boy who finds a small Gum Tree is delivered to his father's plant nursery and he asks him if he can have it. His father, Mario, allows him to; seeing the tree is so small. One day, while the two are out doing errands, the tree is sold to a man who won't give it back and drives away with it. However, the tree isn't cared for by the man and when he moves from his house, he forgets he has it. So, when the next people move in, they don't know why it's not surviving and take it to the nursery where Mario offers up another plant as a replacement. That day, Mario and Stephen take the Gum Tree home and plant it in their small backyard where it grows happily and tall - like all Gum Trees do. This book is beautifully illustrated and the story is wonderfully told in simple English and Spanish. I do miss these kinds of books.

This wonderful book was given is uniquely set out in such a way that your child can learn another language as well as English. On the left page the story is written in Spanish while on the facing page, it's written in English. On the bottom of both pages is the most beautiful illustrations I've seen in books for a long time. This hard cover edition that I own was published in 1979 and I have treasured it since. If you ever come across another copy, I urge you to treasure it and learn the gorgeous, lilting language that is Spanish just so that you can read this book to your children.
I have been searching the net for a while now to find a book cover and have found it extremely difficult to find this book on sale anywhere in bookstores. When I looked into more, the prices for a hard cover, good condition 'Stephen Tree' runs into the hundreds of dollars. So, followers of 'My Reading List', you have one copy of this book stashed way, please do get it valued and care for it (as I have) as it's worth quite a bit.

Libby Hathorn has written many books since this first publication in 1979. She's a great Australian children's writer and has traveled abroad many times, was brought up in Sydney, NSW and lives there now. She's is famous for writing poetry, songs and novels as well as educational resources. Libby Hathorn has recently put out a new book called 'Fire Song'.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blood Calls by Caridad Pineiro

Diego Rivera has been in love with the up and coming artist, Romona Escobar, since he met her. However, this isn't something he should be doing seeing she's a client and he's one of the city's best art gallery's owner/curators - it's unethical. However, he just can't seem to think straight when he's anywhere near her. He's lured to her blood and her human scent. Diego hasn't been in a relationship for around five hundred years and he was hoping to keep it that way; however, it doesn't look like it's going to stay that way for long. Romona's life is in danger in more ways than one. She is very sick and may well die; also a very rich and greedy millionaire has threatened this beautiful woman's life; using her and her skills to build a forgery ring. However, will Diego unleash the demon that hides within him to save this woman who he cares for deeply before he loses her forever?

I was sent this dark and tortured book of vampire love and mystery by a fellow Bookcrosser and I devoured it within a few days; and turned out my light well after midnight! It's a wonderful installment from the good people at 'Silhouette' romance novels under the name of 'Nocturne' if you'd like to have a look around at some other books in this vein.

Caradid Paneiro is a best selling author of over 20 Vampire Romance novels throughout the US and Canada. She had published with 'Nocturne' for most of these books and has a new book coming out in November 2009 titled: 'Sins of the Flesh'. If you preorder your copy, just go to her site.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Marley & Me by John Grogan

Now, if anyone has ever owned a darling woofy in their lives, they will definitely relate to this book. Every little thing - good and bad - this dog does is wonderfully hilarious and painful at the same time. You'll spend one half of the book thinking that the owners won't come out of this without their arm being dislocated and the other half of it crying with laughter at the antics Marley gets up to John and his wife.

I read this book as a bookring through and loved it right through. Then, I knew what to buy my Mum for Christmas; and then spent a good part of my holidays at the coast listening to her giggle herself silly after lunch while sitting out the front of the annex of our caravan. I loved it that she loved it. And I'm sure you will too.

John Grogan has been a writer for a good part of his life because - he says - he wasn't good at much else all due to everything else at school escaping him. He soon got into the school newspapers and became a journalist. His first full-time writing job was at the 'Herald-Palladium' as a police reporter. Before there was the famed book about Marley, John worked at the 'Florida Sun-Sentinel' and he worked as the editor of Rodale's 'Organic Gardening' Magazine then he jumped back into working for a newspaper at the Philadelphia Inquirer before 'Marley & Me' began winding down from it's first great success in 2007. Then John began writing another book titled 'The Longest Trip' Home which was very close to his heart.


Time Flies by Bill Cosby

This is a laugh-out-loud account of how Bill Cosby notices little by little his life and his body isn't what it used to be; how age has caught up with him and what his mind is telling his body what it's supposed to do. However, the body - funnily enough - is a truthful vessel that tells him that not everthing he's trying to do is applicable; well, not now anyway. Bill Cosby tells us through brilliant, colourful narrative and stories his athletic years of high school and college.

My Pop owned this book - and two others of Bill Cosby's - and I was lucky enough to inherit them. Whenever I need a good giggle or pick-me-up, I pull one of these off the shelf and read it - absorb it into my soul - because Bill Cosby has been a staple of mine since I was young.

Bill Cosby has a few other books that can make you laugh from the snorting giggles to the laugh-out-loud ('Love and Marriage' and 'Childhood' and long with a few others). Has since written another book that is a non-fiction book that came out last year titled: 'Come On People'. I've read in reviews that the book is read as...'
to tar black communities and the black poor as dysfunctional, chronic whiners, and eternally searching for a government hand-out.' I haven't personally read this book and have found this change of genre interesting for the man who is known to be the man who can make anyone laugh. However, I will definitely be on the look out for other books he'll be penning in the future.


Friday, May 8, 2009

The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee

Jane lives a very sheltered life with her mother in permanent arrested development as the perfect child in house amongst the clouds. She does until one day, she goes out to a club with her friends and meets Silver. Silver is charming, witty, musical and handsome. Silver is also a robot.
Jane is to discover that true love and loyalty is expected from Silver. He is designed to love and be loyal. However, can Jane's untrustworthy, wealthy friends understand this? Can her mother? So, she flees from her sterile, life of luxury to live with her beautiful Silver man for the underworld of the city's slums. However, the forces of the government and big business are gathering against Silver and all of his kind. When machines become more superior to - and more human - to real humans, the only thing to do is dismantle them...

I first read this book in the mid 1980's and was completely touched by the love and charm of Silver. He was the ideal man... eeer... I mean robot. He was charming, could play music, sing and got along with everyone. However, the only problem with Silver was that he was the creation of Tanith Lee and she created a brilliant character that everyone loved. This was one of the first romances I read and I found it was to touching and yet futuristic enough to call it my first sci-fi novel as well. I have searched the net for the right book cover to match the one I have on my shelves without success; so I picked out the better-looking one from the two I kept being offered. I really wish the publishers showed the nice - more modern - one that didn't make Silver look so jaunty. So, I've done the next best thing and photographed the cover I wanted up on the post and uploaded it from my computer. This is because I find this cover more appealing than the ones I found on the net.

Tanith Lee has been working very hard on her books since 1986. And her other novels I have in my collection are 'Sabella' and 'Vivia'. However, after those two, I stopped collecting. There is news on the horizon of 'The Silver Metal Lover' being turned into a movie in the future; and so we better look out for that one! However, they are talking about Silver not having red hair; oh well, we can't win 'em all! Tanith has put out two books; one of novellas and one of short stories just this past year. And last August, she published 'Tempting the Gods' which was the first of a volume of a collection of hers; which will have another one out by the time I've posted this. A short YA novel titled 'Indigara' as well. Tanith has been doing a lot of research for her proposed dragons book 'The Firesmith'. She has also published some stories in 'Asimov', 'H.P Lovecraft Magazine', 'Weird Tales' and 'Noralanda/Leda' reprint. Also, there's a new Flat Earth Tale - 'The Snake' - to come in 'Realms of Fantasy'

(I found this info on: if you'd like more information and pictures of her as well).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Spare Room by Helen Garner

I bought this beautiful, small book at The Riverbend Bookstore on Oxford Street at Bulimba, Brisbane, last year. Once I got my nose into it every day in my backyard, I didn't leave it. Helen Garner is one author I had never read until now; and I should have picked up her work sooner. The book is about a woman, Helen, who cares for her dear friend Nicole who has come to visit her in Melbourne while she's receiving treatment for cancer.
During her stay, Nicole tries out strange and unusual treatments, goes to alternative doctors; and Helen is there to help her the whole time. Helen and Nicole have funny times and become closer as the time comes where something must be done about Nicole and her condition.
This is a brilliantly written book that doesn't dance around the subject, doesn't sugar-coat anything and has some beautiful imagery between its pages as well. I may have read this only last year, it feels as though I've only just put it down.

Helen Garner's writing has been described as demanding and quintessentially Australian. She was born in Geelong and has written many non-fiction books; however 'The Spare Room' is her first fiction novel in around fifteen years. Other novels she's had published are 'Postcards From Surfers', 'Monkey Grip' and 'The Children's Bach'.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Life In Time And Space - The Biography of David Tennant by Nigel Goodall

Out of the all of The Doctors on the show of Dr Who, this one has to the best-looking around... and a good lot of the population of the globe would agree with me. However, I wanted to know more about him than just him being The Doctor. David Tennant - the man - interested me. And so, when my older brother gave me this book for Christmas, I devoured it completely.

This actor has got to be one of the hardest working people I have ever read about. When he wasn't working on Dr Who, he was working on something else. This didn't leave much room for romance unfortunately; even though he does wish to settle down and have a family, David doesn't know when he'll find time for it amongst his work. He does have a supportive family; and even his father starred in one of the shows as an extra and totally enjoyed the experience.
In this book is plenty of current information of his acting history, photographs from Dr Who and other television shows David Tennant has starred in right up until 2007, as well as movies, books and audio-books he's done voiceovers for. In the back, it covers the awards he's won and have been nominated for as well. David Tennant is a well-rounded actor who has been working his craft from a young age. Even though he's under forty, he's brilliant and eager to work more and work hard for what he wants in life.

If you're looking for a well-written book about David Tennant, I wouldn't look past this one; it's unbiased and well-rounded. Nigel Goodall has written biographies for other famous people such as Christian Slater, Johnny Depp, The Rolling Stones, Cliff Richard (co-authored with Peter Lewry) and Demi Moore.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Beach Babylon by Imogen Edwards Jones & Anonymous

The first time I found out about this series of books was through the television show 'Hotel Babylon' which was aired at a horrendous time of night; but it was hilariously funny and off-beat! And I loved it. After that, I looked around for a any books along the same lines and found this book at Garden City QBD in a toss-out bin. So, I grabbed it and began reading it on the bus home; and never got my nose out of it!

'Beach Babylon' covers a week of gorgeous weather, bathing beauties, millionaires and parties that go all night. Then, it also shows the other side of hotel management in the tropics! The bad weather, the rioting locals and staff, the late supply boat and the feeling that the manager is very, very alone in this world - despite being a on a gorgeous tropical island! Yes, running a five star tropical resort in the middle of the ocean has its up and downs; but if you can deal with the stress of the it all, it's bloody worth it!

Imogen Edwards-Jones gets together with managers of hotels and airlines to put together books about these particular kinds of jobs. The books cover a week in the job and is a conglomeration of the good, the bad and the ugly of exactly what can happen in that occupation. Sometimes it's hilarious, sometimes it's dreadful. But the managers all do the job because they wouldn't want to do anything else. Her series of books are famous throughout the world and many people have followed her from her first. I've only just begun reading her work and am enjoying it thoroughly.

The Forever King by Molly Cochran & Warren Murphy

Imagine - if you will - that in each generation there was a true leader; pure of heart with a warrior's mind who was born only to rule over the Western Realms? If this were true, his name would be Arthur each time; and his destiny would be to draw a certain sword from a certain stone to become the High King of England and beyond.
Okay, now I've got you thinking about Arthur... bring him into the present day; and into New York City. Young Arthur from the projects is taken by his Aunt and an Englishman to the cold, dark countryside of England in a race against time. You see, Arthur has to do the very thing he did in his past lives and rule as he did eons ago. He must get to the Tor and pull the sword from the stone before it falls into the wrong hands and the future of the world as we know it turns dark forever.

I first read this book a few years ago; but it was my only copy and I loved it. So, I went in search of another copy to turn it into a bookring for Fortune was shining upon me that day I decided to walk in to a Salvation Army store because right there on the shelf was this very book and I took it off the shelf and it soon began its journey around the world to three people who loved it as much as I did. However, the book I sent didn't make the original journey and one of the BookCrossers was very generous and replaced it with another copy with a different cover; how wonderful! I may yet bookring next year after it's spent more time with me.

This book is Book 1 of a trilogy. So, once you've read this one, be on the look out for the other two: 'The Broken Sword' and 'The Third Sword' by the same authors; both are very popular as are the more recent works of Molly Cochran's.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ritual & Legacy: 2 Vampire Beach novels by Alex Duval

This book was an impulse purchase on my way home from Brisbane City. I had half an hour to kill and I found this in the Vampire Romance section of the QBD at Garden City, Mount Gravatt (one of my usual haunts when it comes to book-shopping as I always find a bargain there!). Anyway, I got home and got my nose straight into it.
Even though this is the second book of a series, it can carry a story on its own. It does juxtapose back to the first book (which now I have to buy to read and catch up on exactly what's been going on!) but it still has the romance, tension, murder and mayhem that Alex Duval is famous for... however, this isn't an adult's book, nope, it's YA book; and still, I found it brilliantly written and full of everything a ravenous Vampire Romance reader like myself is looking for.

Now, I do read the really steamy Vampire Romance ones, but this one is just as good as the vampire books I get into; and it's very much up with the times. It's storyline is based in California with Hollywood kids and rich, beautiful people where everything is still money, money, money... yet there's still the undead to think about - or is there?

The brilliance of Alex Duval is that he has put two books into one; giving his readers two wonderful stories for the price of around $20.00... not a bad price if you ask me. 'Ritual' is about the vampires of the local high school being hunted and killed by a Vampire Hunter. However, the families haven't heard of them in centuries; and so they don't really take the threat seriously, until one of their own kids get killed. Then, it's a matter for the police, who bring in a specialist from interstate who's got a nose for this kind of thing... or is he really in it to kill off the population of vampires in Hollywood?
'Legacy' was a little weaker I found. It was interesting still, however, I found it a little disjointed in places. I guess it was because the families were fighting over who should be going out with whom; that kind of got old really quickly for me. I'm not sure how another reader will feel about it. This story also has a lot to do with the vampires who were once human and how the transformation can affect them in the longrun.

Overall, both books in this one were wonderful. I definitely want to know what happens next... after all it's a series he's written and I'm all for reading a series. So, look for this author in future posts. I'll have had my nose in his other books in the next few months; without a doubt.

A Perfect Mess by Eric Abrahamson & David H. Freedman

If you think that life is too hard and you must keep your house neat and tidy, your work station organised to the teeth and your car so clean you can eat off the floor mats, this book is for you! Not only is it okay to be disorganised, but it's not okay to be too disorganised. I know that sounds really confusing; but there's a method to these to mens' madness. If you're too clean, you can get sick when you go visiting to a house that's not so clean and neat as yours. However, if you let your house go to the dogs and you begin hording stuff too much, you can also get sick and lose your way.

But it's not only houses that aren't organised... it's cities and countries too. You wouldn't believe who's not organised in the political world and the reason why it's okay not to make your bed first thing you get up in the morning will make you laugh out loud; but when you think about it, it really does make sense (and I haven't made my bed in ages; only just before I use it at night!).
This book may look and feel like a heavy read, but in truth, it's a light and funny read that will make you look at our lives in a whole different way. When you see another person's house and they're struggling to keep it tidy, it's only because it's how they were brought up. So, don't worry about washing those dishes straight after dinner, leave folding the laundry for another day and go outside and enjoy the garden, read this book and watch that cool dvd you've been meaning to watch. Life is too short to be so organised that all you do is clean your house; and this book proves it beyond a doubt.

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

This was passed to me as a Bookring in and I loved it from the first page to the last. I've also seen the movie of it with Sir Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft playing the main characters; and believe me, they were well-cast! This book is a great page-turner from beginning to end.

What starts out as a one-off purchase from between a book-lover in New York and a bookseller in the UK turns into a beautiful and life-long friendship that lasts the absolute distance across the Atlantic Ocean. Even during tough times, the two manage to keep sending letters and presents to each other.
This book was one which I wished wouldn't end; and I actually slowed down my reading of it as I came towards the end to slow it down. However, sadly, it did and - as I closed the cover of this touching and wonderful book - I wanted to open the front cover and re-read it again straight away!

You can find this book for sale on or any second-hand bookstore in your city/town. It's well worth the read. And see the movie too; as it's just the icing on the cake.

The Blank Page by John Dale

I've had this book on my shelf for years. I don't remember who gave it to me and I only read in it the last couple of years. However, it was a step back in time for me as this book was written in the 1980's; before computers, mobiles phones, cd's and the internet. This book is based on four struggling writers who are trying to get themselves published; living from one dole cheque to the next until they hear back from their agents and publishers. Each story is interlinked and based in Sydney in the mid-80's.

Being a writer myself, I could relate completely to these people. It's a tough old world out there when you're trying to get published; and it seems that nothing you do is working. So, when I picked up this book and began reading it, I was not only taken back to my time of when I decided to take my writing seriously (I was around the age of 13 or 14), but I was also very much in my element of being from the X-Generation; knowing what it's like to grow up in a world without i-pods, e-mails and mobile phones. Life was a lot simpler, but it was a lot tougher too. Simpler because people talked to each other more; tougher because it took a lot to get things done, more than today.

I've been looking around on the net for this book to let you all know where you may be able to find it. However during my prolonged searches, I've found out through google that this book is no longer in print; but the man who wrote it is a associate professor at the UTS and has written other books since and is still writing today some brilliant stuff. He published other books late last year and is currently researching a non-fiction book on terrorism.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

On Writing by Stephen King

This book is a marvelous and funny book to read. I first read it at around the turn of the Century and I still love to read it. Strangely enough, SK thought that if he wrote his own autobiography, he wouldn't be able to write as well as he used to. However, he was wrong. After he wrote this wonderful book of his life, information and exercises, his writing and books improved. I found the books that were published after 'On Writing - A Memoir' were more brilliant and focused than that others before it.

The best thing everyone got out of this was that he had created a website for the die-hard fans to congregate to; to ask the questions they've been burning to ask. This was one of the best things he did for us. Stephen King made himself more accessable without having to leave his house. It was a brilliant way to market himself and his books and to give everyone a heads-up on his interviews and anything else that was going on in his life.

'On Writing - A Memoir' is one of the best things to come out of Stephen King about himself. He didn't get George Beahm to write about him as he did with the other two biographies ('The Stephen King Story' and 'The Stephen King Companion') which I found left me feeling a little cold. This particular book by the very author made me feel like he was taking me along for the journey; much like he always has in his other books. Stephen always makes me feel like we're sitting down at a campfire and he's telling us a story; making sure we're sitting nice and close so we can hear it. However this story is about his life and how we can make it ours too.