Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Purchases

I've been good in more ways than one this month!  Yes, I have.  For one thing, I didn't buy any books until the second half of the month; and secondly, the books I did buy were all second-hand and brilliant too.  Some of them were books I hadn't seen before - which is always a bonus.
These four books were found at the Springwood East Community Centre and I was there on St Patrick's Day - which so happened to be on the same day as The World's Greatest Shave here in Australia.  This latter event is something I take part in because it raises money for blood cancer research.  Anyway, here goes:
'Born on a Rotten Day' by Hazel Dixon-Cooper is a funny book that looks at the darker side of the zodiac.  Over the decades we've been hypnotised with the sugar-coated, cutsie descriptions of what our star signs mean.  Well!  Hazel has ripped the wool off this reader's eyes and made it funny in the process! 
'You Suck' by Christopher Moore is a book that I spotted immediately and picked up mainly because I know he's got a great reputation for being a hilarious writer.  So, I thought to give him a try.  Also, because I have been in a reading slump lately and usually reading a funny book or two gets me out of it.  So, I'll be reading this one soon.
'The Music and the Artistry of the Beatles' by Mark Hertsgaard.  I love collecting books about bands and musicians; as it gives and inside picture to how they tick.  So, I couldn't pass this one up.
'Native Wisdom for White Minds' by Anne Wilson Schaef.  For a long time - since I was in high school - I have had a respect for the North American Indian Tribes.  I have collected their Dream Catchers and Prayer Circles and other items as well as books and useful things for around my house.  Now, I have another book about their wisdom and words.
So, these are the books I've added to my collection this month.  Which books have you collected lately?  Have you read them yet?  Or where they gifts?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, March 30, 2012

No Comment

I have a problem... a big one.  It's got to do with all of you guys who have a blog on my Blog Roll on the side bar.  Now, some of you may have noticed that I haven't been commenting lately.


The problem is that I have been unable to.  Google is no help as they just won't answer any of my questions; and there's another blogger out there who has the same problems as me.  And all Google will ask me is: 'what format are you using? What browser are you using?' 

Um, does that really make a difference? No. 

I just need some help getting in and being able to comment on the pages and blogs I want - and need - to comment on.  if I can't, well, I'm sorry about that guys.  I'd like to be able to e-mail you personally.  You can find me at Bookcrossing under my screen name there and let me know your e-mail address and I can talk to you through your e-mail until Google gets their heads out of the sand to help people comment on blogs because - well, face it - this is driving me nuts!  
It's been almost 4 days and I'm unable to talk to any of you on your blogs - well maybe one or two of you, but not all 25 of your blogs and that's not good.

So, if you can help me, please do leave me a comment and help me with this problem.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reading Mojo Returns!

Have you ever lost the urge to read, paint, play music, sing or enjoy something you usually enjoy and just feel you can't do it because the magic of your mojo taking off on you?  If so, that's exactly what's happened over the last few weeks.  I've wanted to read, but nothing has really held my interest; and seeing I had a broken toe, I thought I'd have plenty of time to get into some serious reading.  Boy! Was I wrong!
So, now, I'm back into reading - and loving it - I thought to let you guys in on what I've got my nose into.  There's 'Death, Taxes and a French Manicure' by Diane Kelly.  I'm up to chapter three in it and began reading it last Saturday.  Then, I started reading the hilarious last book of Douglas Adams that he never got to finish before his untimely passing.  I'm not that far into it, but if I need something that's hilariously funny and isn't too taxing on my mind (which I do find his work is like this), I get into that.  
So, these are the books I'm reading right now.  Which books are you reading right now?  Or are you in a slump like I was.  It's always good to have a slump once in a while as you get to do other things around your house.  For me, I got in and did up my garden - well, the first part of it - and now, I'm saving up for the next part of it.  And while I'm doing that (as I like to spend up big on a garden; not in spits and spats), I'm working on keeping my house tidier than it normally is.  So, what do you get up to when you're in a slump?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Question Time

I've been feeling better lately and able to get around without the walking stick.  My foot is still a little sore, but not anywhere as bad as it was last week.  So, I thought to do something totally different and take a page out of another blogger's post and have a go at what they're doing.  I thought to get you guys to ask me any question you like - and I'd like to avoid a few things on this one too (like this blogger) and please keep your questions to:

Basic likes and dislikes
books and reading
writing and blogging
music and bands

So, let's keep the questions clean and unloaded (I mean no politics and nothing on religion please as I don't want to talk about that here).  And until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Born on a Rotten Day by Hazel Dixon-Cooper

Every now and then, I come across a book which really tickles my funny bone.  And this is one of them.  I love reading books that look at the hilarious side of things that we normally take for granted; like our zodiacs.  This book takes our typical, normal and what author Hazel Dixon-Cooper calls our 'own inner brat'.  Forget that Librans are indecisive and that Virgos are Perfectionists... this book will tell you exactly how horrible those star signs really are underneath all that sugar-coating we've been hypnotised with all these years.

I found this book at a Community Thrift Sale two weeks ago, and sat down with my Mum to have a good look at it before going out again that day.  We giggled and laughed at everything that was wrong with us as well as everyone else in the family - and this book came up trumps with everyone.  It told the hard, cold facts and we weren't about to say it was lying either - well because how can you escape who you really are?

I've tried looking for this book online for you all, however, just trying to find the author was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  Besides Hazel's home site - which I found through Google easily enough - I couldn't find anything of her works through the publisher she went through in New York.  However, I did find a great site for rare and out of print books!  What a way to find one thing when looking for another!  Well, until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Keeping Track

Being a big reader - who's reading mojo is currently gone AWOL - I've had time to sit and think about a lot of things; and do a lot of things other than read.  I've been gardening, updating my old television and sorting out my paintbrushes (and have I got a lot of old brushes that needed tossing out!).  And this got me thinking about how others track their reading... as I track mine in different ways.
I began tracking my reading in 2001 when I wanted to see how many books in one year I could read.  So, I grabbed a journal Mum gave me and began writing them down.  In that year, I read only 8 books.  However, I found that I had only a library down the road to use as my main source of books; and a few bookstores.  The bus service wasn't very good, so I couldn't get very far to find good books. 
By around 2007, I my reading quota rose markedly from the teens to 22; and at around that number, it stayed; until this year where I've only read 2 books this year and it's March.  So, how many books do you read per year?  How do you keep track of them?  Do you write them down in a book - like I do? Or is there an online site you use, or don't you keep track at all and just read and read and read without a care?  Leave a comment and let us know how you keep track of your reading and which sites you find the best.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Monday, March 19, 2012

In Miniature

Everyone loves a library; however when a community is too small to have one, and there's a phone company downsizing their old phone booths, there's always a great idea to combine the two!  And in the UK, some of the smaller towns and villages have done just that!

Library In A Phone Box 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Community Centre Buy-Up!

Today, I was up nice and early and out the door by 9am to be at the Springwood East Community Centre for their thrift sale.  Almost everything there was under $5.00!  This ranged from t-shirts, plants, knick-knacks, shoes and also books!  So, Mum picked me up and we drove there nice and early to look around.  I had a quick gander, however, I was back looking at the plants to see what I could nab for my garden.  I picked out four plants and paid under $20 for them all (and even scored a lovely pot with some succulents and that was $5.00!).
But it was the books I looked at last; as they were the things I really didn't wish to crash and burn on.  Seeing I already have plenty to choose from, I wanted to pick out only what I wanted - needed - to read and I wanted to do this carefully and in an unrushed manner too.  So, I picked out four great ones I thought would pick up my spirits after the dull old week of sitting around on my butt waiting for a tiny bone to heal:  'You Suck' by Christopher Moore caught my eye immediately.  And being a funny writer, I thought it would make me laugh; also it's a vampire novel too. 
Then, I found 'Born on a Rotten Day: Illuminating and Coping With the Dark Side of the Zodiac' by Hazel Dixon-Cooper.  Now, talk about funny!  My Mum got her nose into this book and laughed her head off at her star sign then just had to look up Dad's; which had her snorting as she read!  So, I'm looking forward to using this on as a good one to read for a giggle on any day when I'm wondering exactly why my friends are like they are.  I found one on the Beatles titled: 'The Music and the Artistry of the Beatles' by Mark Hertsgaard.  I haven't seen this one around before, but it does look like a good read.  And the last one was a book Mum handed me and I bought because it's a Native North American Indian Spiritual one; and I love that kind of thing:  'Native Wisdom for White Minds' by Anne Wilson Schaef.  
Before we knew it, we were off to my parent's house and then off to the World's Greatest Shave event!  I didn't raise as much money as I did last year; but I did colour and shave.  I looked like a melted packet of skittles... all the colours of the rainbow!  And I got a little bit shaved under my red tresses... shocked the hell outa Mum! Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What I've Been Up To...

With my butt stuck in a seat for a very good reason and my foot up on the lounge and coffee table - and at times, a dis-used shredder bin - I've been getting creative with the time I have on my hands for my toe to heal.  And believe me, when you've broken something as tiny as one of these things, you really know the pain of it when you twist the wrong way!  However, seeing I've organised my reading pile, started knitting more (and the scrap scarf is looking good now) and gotten into writing a book for my niece, I thought to let you guys in on what I'm reading right now.
I thought to begin again on a biography that I tried out two years ago about Anais Nin; as I find her fascinating, entitled:  'The Erotic Life of Anais Nin' by Noel Riley Fitch.  The last time I opened its pages, I found it wasn't really my thing.  However this time, I'm totally pulled into her story.  Isn't it strange what a couple of years does for a book and how much your taste changes - and how quickly as well?  I am enjoying it right now and have gotten further into it than I did a few years back when I bought it at Cumquat Books at Annerley here in Brisbane.  It's a great store filled to the brim with a fantastic array of books; and I will do a review on it when I find my way to it sometime this year.
Otherwise, I'm reading 'Good Reading' Magazine for this month, which is filled with great articles and reviews (of course!) and I'm loving the book bite about author's libraries... makes me want to go out and buy the book, just to own it. 
Anyway, that's what I've been up to this week in the way of reading and books.  Otherwise I went out and did my grocery shopping and found my way to the post office today to pay for my PO Box only to find, when I arrived, that I forgot my wallet!  Damn, well, there's always tomorrow.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Guilty Pile

As you've all read below, I've broken a toe on my left foot; and now I have a week or so to sit around get some serious reading done.  So, today, I pulled out my trusty backpack which traveled around the UK with me in 1997 and brought it upstairs with me to pack with the books that I've got by my bed.  All of these books have been started, but not finished.  These books are my Guilty Pile; the books that haven't been finished but were great when I started them.  Have you got a pile such as this? I'm sure you have and just haven't gotten around to finishing any of them.  
Well, my broken toe has given me the opportunity to get in and do some serious reading; starting with these books.  And here's the list:

'The Dreaming Void' by Peter F Hamilton
'The Troy Game: Hades' Daughter' by Sara Douglass
'11-22-63' by Stephen King
'The Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes In New England' by Brock Clarke
'Star-Begotten' by H.G. Wells
'Oryx and Crake' by Margaret Atwood
'Neuromancer' by William Gibson
'Redeeming the Rogue' by Donna MacMeans
'Owls Do Cry' by Janet Frame

So, there you go.  My pile of books that have been sitting by my bed waiting for me to finish them.  I'm ashamed to have let them stay there for so long and not finish them.  I hope to finish them - one by one - soon and let you in on how good they were.  Which books do you have that are sitting awaiting for you to finish them with a bookmark a quarter or halfway through them?  Have you picked them up and finished them, or are they still waiting for you?  Or did you do what I did and almost forget them?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I Have Time To Read More!

Today, I was supposed to be getting ready for a costume party... actually, I was.  I had the outfit all ready.  The badges on my jacket, my shoes, my stocking socks were washed and my docs were polished and ready to wear.  What I wasn't ready for was the broken toe I was about to suffer at 8am when I missed the last two steps on my internal staircase!  I've lived in this townhouse for 9 1/2 years and not once have I ever fallen down these particular stairs... ever!  And of all days, my body decides to become a clutz it's now???
So, after a trip to the doctors and getting an X-ray (the last one for the day; lucky me!), I find that I've broken the tiniest bone in the second-last toe of my left foot!  I'm now on a walking stick and ordered to not walk around!  How can that happen when I live alone and am so used to getting everything myself?  
Now, I've got a week to catch up on my reading, painting and other things which involve sitting in one place and not moving an inch.  This means, I can paint my portrait; and really work on it for hours on end.  I can play my piano (so long I don't press on the pedals) and I can read, read, read to my heart's content the books I've been meaning to finish up.  How good is that?  I've been in a reading slump, busy as hell with other things; organising my garden, cleaning out the house and working on cleaning out my house.  Now, I've been forced to sit still and look at my books and get in and read them one by one.  It's a good way of figuring out exactly what I need to do.  But before I go to bed tonight, I'm going to do some much-needed stretching so I'm not so sore tomorrow... mainly because I did land really hard on my knees this morning!  Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Writers As Well As Readers?

Who amongst us here is a writer as well as a reader.  Well, I can put my hand up right now; as I have enjoyed the written word for a very long time in more ways than one.  When I was little I found reading an absolute pleasure, however, it was when the teachers at school put a pencil in my hand and taught me to write that reading and writing worked hand in hand.  I thought it was a magical world I had been allowed into and I found I didn't wish to let go of it.

Now, who has found that in the written language of books and writing itself?  You as well?  Great!  I'm not the only one who has felt that way.  

Over the last few years, I have found that I am writing more and more stories and books; and they aren't anything like what I wrote in my 20's.  These are more descriptive, mature and interestingly unusual ones.  I am writing about things I normally would be terrified of writing about; however now I'm not.  Have any of you had this happen to you?  Where you have found the taboos of youth have been stripped away as you have grown older and your fears are no longer fears and they seem silly compared to how you used to see them?
Books were the same way for me years ago.  When I was in my teens, Stephen King was the absolute of horror.  He scared me real good and kept me up at night.  However, there's other things that can do that to me - and other authors - as well he can and so the fear they describe is a lot different as I have grown.  And strangely enough, I have learned to pass that same kind of fear into my own writing in a similar way.
So, do you write books, novellas or poetry and short stories and enjoy reading books as well?  Or are you only a reader?  Would love to know.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bookcrossing Links People Across The World

I saw this link on Bookcrossing and thought you'd all like to read and/or listen to this interview on two subjects; one of them being on

Voice of America 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Marking My Spot

In the last few days, I was off into the city to see Henri Matisse' exhibition.  It was a brilliant - and massive - showing of all of his drawings and some of his paintings.  However, I have found that I buy bookmarks whenever I go into the city; no matter what I see.  I love these things.
I have bookmarks from all over the world; when I never used to.  And how my large collection started out is a cool story and a very arty one too.  I had a great idea for a piece of work concerning books and art but I needed bookmarks... so I dug up all of my bookmark; all 10 of them.  I needed more.  So, I jumped onto Bookcrossing and requested the most unusual request to my friends on there:  I needed their old bookmarks, their unused bookmarks, the bookmarks that have never been used and would love to travel to a faraway country.  Over the next three or four months, I received hundreds of envelopes and parcels chock full of bookmarks!  And I also worked on getting them into some kind of order.  Six months or so after I had requested the bookmarks, I had worked really hard on the piece of artwork - and finished it... put on the perspex and then I fixed it up and photographed it; ready to show my friends on Bookcrossing.  They were impressed with what had happened to their bookmarks.  And the best thing was that I had plenty left over as gifts.  I now have a large collection of them which I used whenever I need to. 

From the Andy Warhole Exhibition in 2010

From Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition at Southbank 2010
The remaining bookmarks from my 2008 bookmark request on Bookcrossing.
However, I do buy more when I go to an exhibition in the city.  I bought some at the Andy Warhole Exhibition in 2010; as well as a few other little things.  Then, I bought some at the Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition when it visited Brisbane (and what an exhibition that was!).  And this year, I bought more bookmarks at the Henri Matisse Exhibition.  And I buy these bookmarks as souvenirs to remember their visits; as most of the time, the other things in the gift stores are far too expensive.  
So, when you go out to these kinds of things, do you buy bookmarks as souvenirs?  Or is it other things that catch your eye?  Do you purchase souvenir buttons or maybe a pen (and you've got hundreds of pens compared to my bookmarks).  Until my next post, happy reading!