Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The World Loses Maeve Binchy

The writing world has been losing a lot of authors of late; and in the last few weeks, we have lost two.  There has been Margaret Mahy from New Zealand, who is known to be a national treasure there; one of my friends - Ged Maybury - knew as a close friend and fellow author when he lived there.  She will be missed by many people of all ages.  Margaret is famous for her children's books - something I didn't know.  Some titles I have found familiar are: 'Organ Music', 'Maddigan's Quest' and I have seen the book cover of 'The Dark Blue 100-Ride Bus Ticket' once when somebody was reading it on a bus.  It looked like a cool cover and I wondered who the author was; and didn't know until I saw it on a site just now.
And now, we have lost Maeve Binchy only last night.  She was 72 years old and had suffered a short illness before she passed away.  Maeve has been famous for many books such as 'Tara Road', 'Circle of Friends' and 'Quentins' - the first two books were made into films.  
It's always sad to lose such great writers as these from our world because we feel as though they've left us only words to remember them by.  However, that's never the case.  What writers have left us - when they leave this world - is their legacy of works, for us to read, to remember and always go back to in case we miss them dearly, so we can talk to them again and revisit their worlds anytime we wish.  This is why they wrote - and why any writer writes - to leave behind a part of our world with you all (as I'm a writer as well) so you can always enjoy no matter where you are, who you are or what's going on in your life.  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July Book Buys

This month, I've been good; very good... and I'm happy to say that I have kept to a good budget and not bought too much in the way of books.  This is a good sign that I've been looking at my budget and my reading pile and realised I really had to get in and read some of the books I already have.  So, I have been looking at some of the books that were sitting just inside the door of my office.
Well, I did buy two books this past month and they were ones that were interesting to me.  The first was bought really early in the month - when I was looking for the second volume of The Dark Tower Series written by Stephen King.  Okay, so I was only a quarter way through 'The Gunslinger' but I knew I'd get through it quickly once I sat down and really got into it.  So, I bought 'The Drawing of the Three' and it's been about a fortnight and I've begun this second book - and now I'm about a quarter through it and loving it! 
The second book I bought is 'The Big Questions: Physics' by Michael Brooks.  This book is a funny and interesting way of looking at Physics; and it's written for people are not good at maths, so it's set in a way where even the a person who has the least amount of maths knowledge will understand it.  There were two others there for $9.99 but I couldn't afford them - maybe next time! But until next time, I'll keep this one.

Other books I've had the opportunity to come across - and not bought - are books that I picked up at a trade at a Bookcrossing trade at O'Malley's in the city just last Sunday.  Mum and I both had a great time while there, eating and drinking hot drinks while chatting about everything.  But time sped by too fast and we had to leave... however we did pick up a great lot of books and I ended up giving away a fair few books as well; some of them quite old childrens' books.  Mum picked up one book she wanted and I picked up 'Nights In Rodanthe' by Nicholas Sparks, 'March' by Geraldine Brooks, 'The Lady and the Unicorn' by Tracy Chevalier and 'Shape-Shifter' by Roy Lewis.  I've heard of two of the books, but not of the others; however I am looking forward to reading these books at some point over the next year.  Well, until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

'Other People's Diaries' by Kathy Webb

Alice Day is a washed-up writer who was once well-known and famous from her one and only book titled 'Her Life My Life'.  But that was a decade ago; and since then, she has gotten married, had children and settled into the humdrum of domestic life.  But she wants to write again and get back into being known again.  
So, after working at a local bookstore in Brisbane for a few weeks, she finds that the people who frequent its cafe are not happy.  It's not the service or the books they're not happy about; it's their lives.  This gets her thinking about how much our lives have changed and she begins looking through her Grandmother's belongings and listening to her cassette tapes - the same ones which inspired her first book - and Alice is yet again inspired to write.  This time, it's not about herself, or her family or anything like that - this time, she wants to help other people by changing the small things in their lives which will impact on the bigger things in a positive way.  But will this project work?

I have another book by Kathy Webb, however it's under two different names; and I didn't know it was her until I saw what other books she had written in the front of this one - 'Inheriting Jack' - and so I thought that this book would be a good one to get into as a light one between The Dark Tower books.  But I have found it goes around in circles a fair bit and hit on more of the same characters instead of all of them evenly.  I found it very confusing and couldn't tell which character was which after a while - and I'm not yet halfway through it - and this is a worry when it's a book like this.
I've tried looking for an official website about Kathy Webb, but have only tracked down one other book review about this book which informs us that Kathy Webb and Kris Wilson are sisters who work from different parts of the world to write books together; and this book is their third book.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

'The Gunslinger' by Stephen King

Roland is a Gunslinger - the last of his kind - who is on a quest to The Dark Tower.  How he came to be on this quest is a bit of mystery, however, he knows that he's after the man in dressed in black and he must reach him before he arrives at The Dark Tower.
Walking through the endless deserts where nothing lives, he comes upon people who are barely scratching out a living and aren't really sure why they're there; and yet they are.  He shares meals with them, and stories, then moves on until he stays in a town where he meets a woman who owns a bar and she is cursed with a silent question which is constantly on the tip of her tongue each time she sees an undead man enter her bar.  This curse is the works of the man in black - and Roland knows it.  He tries to help her, and the people of this town, but fails and ends up leaving it a ghost town.
Roland is left alone yet again to walk through the desert until he comes across a weigh station where he finds a young boy sitting out the front sleeping, whose name is Jake.  Jake doesn't know how long he has been in this world, but he knows where he came from:  a place called New York City.  He's heard of the man in black and hates being alone. So, Roland offers to take him away from this lonely place.  But is it to help him escape from the desert, or is Jake a pawn in the chess game that the man in black has created to force Roland's hand and make him fight?

I have known of The Dark Tower Series for a long time; but have yet to get in and read it; thinking I didn't have the books in my collection to start.  However, when I recently bought the last - and most recent - book from QBD at Garden City, I found I had most of the books of the 8-book series!  So, I thought it was time I started reading them; and I'd find the ones I needed when the time came around to get them.
As you all know, I have been a Stephen King reader, and a big fan of his, for a very long time.  I love his past work, however have found his recent dabble in literature hard to get into.  The Dark Tower Series is an on-going project he began a very long time ago; and he was reminded to finish it when he survived a major car accident, and so he is.  I look forward to reading more of this series this year.  Until my next post, Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What Are You Reading?

It's smack-dab in the middle of Winter - and getting closer to the time of the RNA (Royal National Annual Show) here in Brisbane and I've been wondering what everyone's gotten into over the last cooler weeks of Winter here in Australia.  We have had some really radically colder and wetter weather than usual, and this is a great time to get our noses into some great books.
Now, I haven't been reading all that much.  But over the last week, I have zoomed through the last half of 'The Gunslinger' by Stephen King and have only 3 pages to go on it before I pick up something else to read.  This will make it 8 books I've read this year!  Not as many as last year, but I'm getting there.

So, how many books have you gotten through this year?  Or have you had a slump like I have?  Or have you been busily studying this year and haven't had the choice to read what you want?  Let us in on what you've been given to read... I always find things like that fascinating.  Until my next post, happy reading!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bookcrossing Meet-Up in Brisbane

Today, I was out and about in Brisbane City; and it wasn't nice and sunny.  Instead it was Wintery and windy, but I didn't let that interfere with why I was there with my Mum.  We had been invited to a Bookcrossing Meet-Up at O'Malley's on the Queen Street Mall.  
But there were a few little glitches - like, for example, I forgot my keycard which had all my money on it!  Yep, I left it at home!  I didn't know I had done this until I stepped off the bus.  I knew I had forgotten something, I just didn't know what! Boy, did I feel dumb asking Mum for money!  But we didn't let this ruin our day.
We found O'Malleys and went down the steps into the basement bar where the atmosphere was totally Irish!  It was a great place with large television screens, a large bar, a window where you could order the biggest bloody Guinness pie you're likely to lay eyes on and an area called 'The Library' for us readers who want pint but also wish to catch up with our reading too.  And this is where our group gathered!  Mum and I unpacked our books soon after we introduced ourselves and settled in for a few hours of drinking and chatting about books, Bookcrossing and having a bite to eat.  
At around 3pm, we had all picked out our books, swapped them over and enjoyed ourselves - and eaten ourselves into a nice, sleepy stupor - but it was time to go home.  So, I packed up my blue trolley with our chosen books (and the books that were left over from what I had brought along) and Mum and I bid farewell to our new Bookcrossing friends.  I'm looking forward to our next meeting.  I'll take along more books to swap. Until my next post, Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Altered Book is Complete!

With the Home Festival now postponed until late August, I'm happy to say that I've been able to add some finishing touches to the Altered Book.  It's been a lot of fun and very tiring to do this piece and I'm now catching up on reading that I've missed out on over the last month... and boy!  Have I missed my reading!  I've either been too busy to pick up a book or too darn tired to even think about it.  And on Thursday afternoon, after switching off the computer, I went outside, sat out in the sun and read 30 pages of 'The Gunslinger' by Stephen King; catching up with a lot of what I've been dying to read for so long!
I can read the Altered Book without thinking there's more work to do on it and just let it dry out until the time of Festival... and now it's a waiting game too, to get the work into the Logan Art Gallery.
And I thought you guys would love to see the book in it's entirety as it's been a great thing work on.  It's a great thing to have my time to myself again; and be able to read more books and do reviews again for you guys.  I really did miss them.

Altered Book - Complete 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Be Cool... Be Smart... Be A Reader!

I was out yesterday doing my shopping when my bus drove past a local primary school and the big sign out the front had the above on its board.  I loved it!  So, this morning, I walked up there after the children were in class and took a few photos of it.  
However, I've found that a lot of children now don't read as much as we used to when I was younger.  I have always been a reader; and it's maybe because I'm from a family where most of my relatives love to read as well.  But even then, there are children - who are from a well-read background - who don't like to read; and it makes me wonder why. With all this technology around, books are easier to get a hold of than ever!  And that's a great thing.  They can come in any shape or form you want and still children aren't reading as much as they did 20 years ago.

So, why is it that our life of everything needing to be done yesterday, X-Box, Facebook and all the other bits of right-now gadgetry that reading a book (even if it's in an e-book edition) is pushed off to one side in favour for a 3D movie?  It's something I'd like to know.  A lot of kids are missing out on something brilliant and wonderful and they possess it right inside their minds - it's their imagination.  Also this year being the National Year of Reading, I'm finding it dreadful that some children don't like books, and yet they won't try them.  So,why not try it out - something you've never tried - and see how it goes.  What have you got to lose?  Nothing, right?  Well, it is cool and smart ... so why not be a reader?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

'The Zodiac Library: Libra' by Derek & Julia Parker

Are you typical of your Star Sign?  Am I?  Well, apparently in this book I am a typical Libran - as I am one - and that's not all.  This old-style, well-researched book is a tell-all record of exactly what a Libran is like right from childhood, to teenager, adult, being in love, workmate, during courtship, marriage, what kind or Mum/Dad they'll make - well, everything you'd want to know about how us Librans would work.
And the best thing about this book is that there are eleven others on the other Star Sign around that are set out exactly the same; so there's no big mystery about what we are all like.

Mum gave me this book she found while looking through the many books at Uncle Allan's house.  He was a Libran; and she thought that seeing I love to read anything about my star sign, I'd like it.  I got a good giggle out of it and will still enjoy it off and on - as I don't read these books all the way through, but pick bits and pieces out of them, using them like a reference book.  These books are well worth tracking down and looking for.

I have tracked down a site for you all to have a look at about Derek and Julia Parker.  It's a very interesting one and has a list of all the books they've worked on individually and together as writers and editors.  So, I thought to put the link here - and on the sidebar - and let you have a look at it a your leisure.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Only Two Weeks To Go!

I'm so excited!  And at that same time, I'm so exhausted!  The Home Festival here in Brisbane is only a week and a half away and I've still got to get my display finished.  I need the Altered Book finished up, painted and the story about why I love to collect, read and write books completed.
Since last Saturday, I've worked on around four or five pages, glued together my fair share of them, gotten glue on the kitchen table, paint all over me.  Every day, for 2 - 3 hours each day (including weekends), I've been working on this Altered Book.  I have also been working on cutting out things from writing and old 'Good Reading' magazines (these date back to 2009 and 2010, so they're really old magazines I don't read anymore but I don't wish to throw away).  

I'm thinking of working here at home instead of going to the Logan Art Gallery so I have all the things I need right here.  And if I need something to eat, I can have it... or if there's a brush I need, I have it - you know, all the equipments right here at home.

I can't wait until this exhibition is over and finished.  I'm able to keep my gear and use it as I wish too.  Well, until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Altered Books

A few weeks ago, I told you guys about the Home Festival which is being held at Kangaroo Point here in Brisbane.  I'm working on a joint installation at Pineapple Park there where 9 other collectors and I are showing why we collect the things we do.
It's week 4 of the workshops - which means we have only 2 weeks left until the Home Festival itself!  How exciting!  Also, how stressful!  Yesterday, we got the laminating machine in and I finished up one lot of my works - the painted pages!  And now, all I need to concentrate on is the Altered Book.
I have gotten the first quarter of the book all glued up and done, taken a chapter out (to give it room and so there's not so many pages to go through) and after I finish the story completely and it's all dry, all I have left to do is to paint it up and do the cover.  It sounds like a lot, but really it's not.  I have had a lot of fun doing this project with other people who have similar interests in collecting like me to work with.  We can all talk and chat about our addiction to our own things and have a good laugh at our little problems with our work.  Well, until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Colds & Flu Reads

It's that time of the year here in Australia - cold and flu season that is - and people are being knocked off their feet and into bed for days on end by this dreaded flu season.  However, I've noticed that when I'm sick, I read like you wouldn't believe, and I don't stay in bed for long.  Normally, I force myself out of bed, have a boiling hot shower and get my butt out into the Winter sunshine and have a good, thick book in my hands while there's a hot cup of tea in the other.

So, my question to you guys is:  do you read while you're laid up with the colds and flu?  Or do you listen to your ipod, surf the net or make tons of popcorn and watch all the dvds in your collection?  What do you get up to during the times you're sick; seeing you know what I get up to... until my next post, happy reading!