Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Avid Reader Bookstore

Yesterday afternoon, I took off to West End here in Brisbane to meet up with a friend of mine.  And we decided to make our meeting place the lizard.  However, I didn't have a clue where that was; so we changed it to 'Avid Reader' bookstore.  At 1pm, we met up there and wandered around the spacious interior perusing the books on display.  They were all in their own well-marked, distinct sections of this lovely store which took you away from the busy, loud main street of Boundary Street and into a secluded, book-filled arena that any book-lover could spend hours in. 
And if it wasn't the books that would keep you look around, it was the coffee shop at the back.  Yes, Avid Reader has the most lovely little cafe tucked away at the back which has kept people coming back for their fare and atmosphere for years.  The children's section had me boggled.  This little room of books was made up of bookcases tucked full of books ranging from picture books to young adult; and it was in a little book-made room next to the cafe so parents could keep and eye on their kids with large signs throughout asking them to not have food or drink inside here and explaining why (in the language that only kids understand).  It's great!  And if I was kid, I'd be tucked away there in the corner, never to come out to go home.
Besides the huge amount of books, there were also book gadgets at the counter.  From book lights, bookmarks and mugs with scrabble letters on them, to journals, notebooks of all sizes and wonderful pens and other nick-nacks, they also had a booklet explaining what the assets were in owning an e-reader was.  This is a great thing; as this means Avid Reader not only sells books, but they also advocate e-readers as being a part of the book world.  I also spotted over near the door - before I left this wonderful book heaven - a rack of books that the employees stacked up with books they recommended customers to read.  This was a rack that was full of all kinds of titles that shows that the people who work there are also big readers and lovers of the written word.  So, I do recommend you go and peruse this store.  You never know how long you'll spend in it.
However, as my friend, Will, and I stepped out the front and looked at the windows - which had tall, flat bookcases with books facing out toward the streets - we saw a table full of books that were discounted for anyone to buy.  These books are at a quarter off the full price.  I was most tempted to grab one, however, I didn't instead just looked at all of them and walked on by.  Yes, this bookstore is just as tempting at Bent Books up the road, and just as brilliantly stocked.  However, this bookstore stocks brand new books.  And if that's what you're looking for, this is the place to go.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Conversation With Stephen King

I've been surfing YouTube and found a few interviews with authors. However, I wanted to find something that was indepth and personal about an author.  And so, when I stumbled upon this conversation with Stephen King that was uploaded early last year, I thought you'd like it.  For the first 40 seconds or so, he doesn't say anything, but give it time, Steve will.  He talks for 26 minutes about his books and writing; mainly about 'Full Dark, No Stars'

Must thank SimonSchulster for uploading this video to Youtube.  

2012 The Year of Reading

This year is the year of reading.  Each year, there's a national endeavour of what that year represents, and this is the year of the book and reading books and finding time to read and - most of all - encouraging young people to get in and making it a habit to pick up books and read them.
With the world using the electronic means of entertaining themselves, us humans are turning away from books, musical instruments and other family-orientated things that would keep us more connected with each other.  It's more likely now that each child has a computer or television set in their rooms, an iPod or iPhone plugged into their ears and would go for days without talking to anyone in their homes.  However, when I was growing up - as it was with my parents - we spent time together playing board games, talking about our day over dinner and watching a movie together in the living room (actually, we did the latter because there was only one television in the house and we had only four channels to pick from if we were lucky).  
For me, books were always a passion of mine; and my parents were thankful I wasn't into video games.  Being an avid reader meant that if I received a book for my birthday or Christmas, I'd read it a dozen times and rarely become sick of it.  And if I did, there was a library up the road I could borrow books from.  Even now, a book received as a present is a wonderful thing and I couldn't even think of myself owning an e-reader.  
However, this year, it doesn't matter if you read a book on an e-reader or Kindle, so long you pick up a book and read it, and get some of your family and friends to take up the habit by reading for an hour a week.  Personally, I can knock off an hour a day; but that's me.  There's people I know who say they can't sit and read for hours on end and have never read a book.  However, for every person who doesn't like reading, there is sure to be a great author for them and their interests, no matter who they are.
And so, this year, in August, there is going to be a day where you can read for an hour; and see how far you get through a book.  Work up to it by reading for a few minutes a day.  Be it before you go to bed, or after you wake up, while you're waiting for kettle to boil for a cup of tea or waiting outside the school to pick up the kids, reading at any time is good for your brain; and it's great for a child's growing brain as they're is still learning and they can learn as they read.
There's a fantastic site you can go to for more information about this National Year of Reading and you can join in with this great project; as well as your children and family.  So, what are you waiting for?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

'Christian Slater Back From the Edge' by Nigel Goodall

Born into a stage and movie family, Christian Slater had acting in his blood from the very beginning of his life.  His parents met at an acting school in New York City and - after a quick courtship - married and had Christian in 1969.  His life growing up wasn't like most kids, as he was often in the wings of theatres and in dressing rooms watching his father get ready for performances.  His mother - Mary Jo Slater - became a casting agent and she helped him with his roles in some of his movies; however she didn't like most of his choices.  
This book is a very informative, detailed account of Christian Slater's life.  It's the good, the bad and the ugly sides of his personal and movie lives which nobody else had written; and I'm glad it was written by Nigel Goodall.  There's some great photos of Christian in the book and it's so easy to read you can get through over thirty pages in one sitting easily. 
However, this book is also out of print and can only be found in the UK in the hard cover format.  I had to order my copy through The American Bookstore here in Brisbane and wait for it to arrive three weeks later.  Otherwise, if you can get your hands on a copy of this book, it is well worth a read. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Keeping Count Online

I've been a member of a few online book clubs since I joined the internet way back when I was living at my folks house after a nasty break-up with an abusive ex-boyfriend in 2000.  This was around the time when dial-up turned into Broadband; and it was hideously expensive and not everyone could afford it.  Thank goodness it became something everyone could afford eventually, eh?  Well, I thought to put on here the few sites I use on a regular basis to search for books, catalogue some of my books and - at times - keep count of the books I read.

So, there you have it, a list of the most-used book sites I use.  They're also on the sidebar as well.  So, when this post is gone into the archives, you can all see them and use them still. Enjoy!  Which book sites are you constantly using?  Are they the same - or similar - sites to these?  Are there ones you'd like to see here?  If so, drop me a line in the comments below and let us in on your secret book site.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Altered Books

I love books like nobody else.  I can't stand destroying them or making them into anything else but reading material.  However, when books have come to the end of their lives; I just can't stand throwing them out.  So, this is what some artists live for... giving them a second life as art.

Now, this one above, I couldn't get any photos of because it's in the contract with touring exhibitions that we can't use cameras in the Logan Art Gallery while they are there.  So, if you'd like to see the catalogue, I've found it online for your convenience.  However, seeing Acrobat freezes up my computer in an instant, I thought to leave the browsing of it up to you guys.  Enjoy.

Friday, January 20, 2012

What Are You Reading?

It's the beginning of a new year and so I cleaned off the Reading List shelf for 2012 to put my read books; to watch them pile up as this wonderfully important year glide by.  And so far, I've gotten my nose into some great books - but they're nowhere near finished. I'm halfway through and at the beginning of them.
The first one I'm reading is '11-22-63' by Stephen King.  I bought this one in November last year and began reading it immediately.  However I'm three-quarters through it and have yet to finish it, and I've figured out why I haven't finished it in my usual fast time of reading books.  I love how King has set this book out, how he's written it.  It's beautiful in every way; so much so, I don't want the darned thing to finish.  So, I'm not rushing it and just letting it take me when I want to read it at the pace I want to read it.
The next book I'm begun - and have yet to get past the second chapter of is 'The Dreaming Void' by Peter F Hamilton.  A friend of mine and I have 'The Void Trilogy' together (I have the last two and he had the first book) and so we decided to join forces and read the books all at once.  Seeing he was the faster reader, he read them first and then handed them onto me.  Well, I began the first book and have been enjoying the lovely plain English that is so lacking in sci-fi fiction now.  I have put it down for a bit; but the great thing is that I can go back and pick it back up and not be lost.
The next book I've got my nose into - well and truly - is 'Christian Slater: Back From The Edge' by Nigel Goodall.  This book was published in 2005 and only printed in the UK; not exported here to Australia.  This was unfortunate as it went out of print almost as fast as it was in print.  So, I had to order it into The American Bookstore in the city.  It took three weeks to arrive and the day I picked it up, I was reading it on the way home.
So, what have you been getting your nose into over the last few weeks?  Have you been reading what you received for Christmas or something you snaffled from a yard sale?  Do tell.  And are you having problems reading a book you've gotten into - like me and the Stephen King book - let us know which books are the ones you're stuck on and can't get ahead.  Well, until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book Haul!

Usually, while I'm on holidays down the coast, I buy up big at the markets and enjoy the massive bargains.  Then, I arrive home and have to reorganise my bookshelves to make room for the new arrivals; and believe me, it's not easy!  This year, I stayed home again (and this time not because of the floods) and Mum took the opportunity and went to the markets for me.  I thought this was a sweet gesture; even though I didn't ask her to and wasn't expecting her to.  She had the best fun finding the most unexpected bargains in the most unusual places.
The first books we'll look at are 'The Chronicles of Naria' by C. S Lewis.  This is an unabridged edition of all the books which was published in 2001; well before the edition that was put out with the movies in 2010 - which came with a poster in the back.  Both editions I have are unabridged and both are worthwhile.  The next book was one that Mum didn't buy, but found at the laundry.  Now, at the holiday park laundry, people leave books in the laundry and they're picked up and replaced by others - a little like Bookcrossing but not - and yet it's a great way of everyone sharing their reading material around the place; so long you have a book to replace the one you've taken.  Mum picked up 'Court & Country: Studies in Tudor Social History' by A.L Rowse.  This is a non-fiction book studying the history of the Cornwall area of England.  Very interesting time of English Society.
Then, Mum found me some wonderful Stephen King books.  She was so excited about one that she called me on her mobile and told me about it at the market, then called me again once she got it back to the caravan; and little wonder it was a First Edition from the UK!  This particular book is 'Song of Susannah' from The Dark Tower Series.  What a find!  It's got a brilliant set of coloured plates inside, a beautiful dust jacket and it's never been read; as the attached bookmark is still folded up inside the book!  What a find!  Mum is so proud of it - and I am too.  You just don't find a book of this caliber anywhere anymore; especially from this series.
One of the plates that depict Sai King's character in The Dark Tower Series.

On the opposite page from the Sai King plate.
The next book of Stephen King's Mum found was 'Lisey's Story'.  I've been wanting to read this book for some time; however the price of it hasn't really gone down all that much.  So, each time I've seen it, it's been a little out of my reach.  When she told me she had seen it for a great price, I jumped at the chance of owning.  Mum told me that there were many titles of his where she was standing at the market.  And so, we went through a lot of them and she found I had most of them - to her amazement - and she decided to keep just the two she had picked up.
When Mum and Dad arrived at my place for coffee yesterday, I knew that 'Songs of Susannah' was going to be a big book, however I didn't know that 'Lisey's Story' was going to be an oversized paperback - nice and big to read.  I'm so pleased about what my Mum bought me (even though she didn't have to buy these books).  Now, just to find a spot in my overcrowded library for them!
So, over these holidays, have you scored a great book haul?  Did you personally oversee it or did somebody do it on your behalf; like my Mum did for me?  Until my next post, happy reading! 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

On The Hunt

I love books as much as any avid reader out there; and I love to collect them as well (as a good majority of you know).  However, what I love to do is hunt down books I would love to read and own.  These aren't just any books, these are books that are out-of-print and are rare as hell to find.  These are the challenge, my whale, my reason for going into second-hand bookstores armed with my handkerchiefs and antihistamines and looking through the dusty shelves for hours on end on wet, humid days.
However, there have been times where I've rejoiced and found some wonderful books by pure chance.  Stumbling upon an out-of-print book by accident is fate; really it is.  Hunting for one for years is like having a carrot dangled in front of your face just out of reach and yet you still want it so very badly.
Out-of-print and not published in Australia.
For me, yesterday was one of those days where the hunt for one of my most-hunted books came to an end.  'Christian Slater: Back from the Edge' by Nigell Goodall was a book I've been looking for since it came out in 2005.  However, it never hit the bookstores here.  So, I had to order it in through The American Bookstore and I had to wait three weeks for it to come in from the UK.  I don't care why it didn't come out here, but now I've got it, I am not letting it out of my sight.
There's other books I have that are out of print; such as 'The Letters of JRR Tolkien' edited by Humphery Carpenter.  This was my first out of print and extremely rare book I found; and I was on holidays when I did find it at a bookstore in Wales jammed in a bookcase in a dark attic room where I was forced to use a torch (talk about really going Indiana Jones kinda hunting!).  I also nearly ended up with the bookcase landing on me because it was so old!  
I have had other books that are out-of-print just land in my lap.  And strangely enough, when I posted them off (without knowing they weren't in print anymore), I've stumbled upon another better copy of the same book.  'The Stone and the Flute' is such a book.  I had a copy of this book from an old boyfriend; and I gave it away as somebody on Bookcrossing wished for it (and being the kind of person I am, if I'm not into that book right now, I'll give it away).  So, when I found out it was out-of-print, I started hunting for it.  And when the Life Line Bookfest came around mid-year 2009, I found a better copy of it there... actually, I found about four copies there for next to nothing.  
So, what books have you hunted around your city, country - or even the world - for?  Have they cost you a lot of money once you've gotten your hands on them?  Or did you spend very little cash on them (and scored a great deal?)?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace is a brilliant writer whose life was cut tragically short.  And his work wasn't discovered by me until recently when I found myself reading more book review blogs such as The New Dork Book Reviewer.  When Greg mentioned some of DFW's titles there, I just had to get in and read some of his work.
So, while I was cruising around on Bookcrossing one day, I found a bookray for 'Brief Interviews With Hideous Men' and put my name down for it.  A year or so passed and I received an e-mail from a Bookcrosser in South Africa saying she was almost finished with this very book.  I was so excited about it!  However, when I received it and began reading the short stories, my excitement waned a little.  I did enjoy the language, but the stories were long, complex and didn't hold my attention.  They were also about mainly - well - nothing really.  DFW had stories in this book about everyday conversations in airports, bars, restaurants and a couple of sordid stories titled after the title of the book which completely confused me.  
So, I don't really know what to make of this book.  It is a book of short stories; however none of them really make any sense.  I can't see anything about the characters.  He didn't make me care about any of them, there wasn't really any storyline or real use to them, so I didn't see much point in why he had them in the book; even though they were eloquently and so gorgeously written, they were also very hard to follow.  Most of his extremely long sentences made absolutely no sense at all.
David Foster Wallace must have written better books than this one; so I will look out for them and read them.  However, this one was not one that I would recommend for your reading pile, unless - of course - you like complex stories like his.  Until my next post, happy reading. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We're Mobile People!

Yes!  You've read right!  I've decided to turn this blog into a fully-mobile one.  So, if you've got an iTouch, iPad or iPhone where you take it everywhere with you and you'd like to read up on my blog (or anyone else's on my blog roll for that matter if they've switched on the mobile devices on their settings), you can.

Peruse, read and enjoy!  May My Reading List be yours for 2012! And until my next post, happy reading!

The Joy of Books.

On my blogroll, I have read many things and seen many links.  However, this on from Youtube has got to be the most beautiful one I've seen in a long time.  I'd love to see somebody make an e-reader do this and make it look as lovely.

Authors We Love

Being an avid reader and collector of books, I have found myself perusing bookstores for the right book, the exact read, the perfect read to purchase.  However, I have never found it.  The reason being?  Well, I guess I have high standards - sure - but there are so many books to pick from in the stores I go to that I'm never sure of which book I want (unless, of course I have a particular title in mind that I want and I can find it).  
Now, over the years, I have loved quite a few authors and they have shaped the way I write.  From the first books of my youth to the books I read now, the authors I pick to read have been wonderful guides in my life and imagination.  They have made me laugh, cry and believe in love and the bogeyman (yes, I'm looking at you Stephen King for that last one; I did read 'Night Shift' and that story was in it).  So, I thought to hand over my list of authors to you who have shaped the way I have read over my many reads of reading.  Now, for you new-comers of this blog, I have been reading books since I was 4 years old; so that's a long time, longer than most people as I taught myself to read.  So, here goes:

So, who has shaped your life of reading - or writing if you're a writer as well like me - from when you were a child?  Do you read from all genres or just one or two?  Let us know and until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Currently Reading

Seeing the New Year has just been and gone, and I haven't really had a lot of time to read lately - due to a more and usual social life - I've just recently sat down and picked up a book that arrived in the mail from Bookcrossing.  It's a bookray.  This is where a book goes on a permanent holiday... and it might come home, but then it might not.  The book I've gotten my nose into in the last day or so is:  'Brief Interviews With Hideous Men' by David Foster Wallace.  Now, he's a famous author who's no longer with us; but his work is very much reviewed.  And once I've finished this lot of stories, I'll let you know what I thought of them.
I'm still plodding through '11-22-63' by Stephen King.  While Christmas was upon us, I put it off to one side; and almost forgot about it.  But now the school holidays are coming to an end, I'm going to get back into this book again and make a good attempt at finishing it.  Unlike 'Under The Dome', this book is much more exciting and has a lot more promise to it.  
So, what are you currently reading?  Is it interesting or has it caused you to toss it off to one side?  Let us know what's keeping you reading.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Brand New Blog!

Bloggers like to advertise their blogger friends on their blogrolls.  However, I have a Bookcrossing friend who has just started up her own blog and I'd like to let you guys into it.  She's never done a blog before and so would like to introduce you to FeistyPom2Love's very new blog called Captivated Reader I hope you enjoy.  And be the first to follow it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

A New Year brings in a lot of things for everyone.  A new lot of reading, a new lot of books and a new lot of experiences.  I haven't been reading all that much over the last week due to Christmas and New Year celebrations, however I am hoping to get right back into it all.  
But on New Year's Eve, I did get out to a party at Camp Hill, here in Brisbane, and found that the people's house was one of the old-fashioned houses which was built in the old Queenslander style.  It's been renovated, however it still has the old-world charm about it; with stainglassed windows and decorative woodwork all around inside and out.  I also found they had a massive book collection in more than one place - but I only found one of the main collections out near the back verandah.  The books were inside this large glassed-in case with doors down the bottom.  What I loved about it was that their books weren't in any particular order and you could look at them for hours and still be surprised by the other titles that have been shoved in there.  Most of them were non-fiction, however I did find some fiction when I looked hard enough.  I found out about the hosts of this party that they were school teachers; however I was told beforehand they were, so it ruined the surprise of me figuring them out just by their books collection.
So, where did you find yourself on New Year's Eve?  Were you out and about or at a party at somebody's house - like me - where you could sus out their book collection?  And if you did, what did you find out about them?  Until my next post, happy reading!