29. A favourite book from your past

 I can’t remember why I picked up this book originally, or how many of the four books I have actually read

   
But I’ve chosen the following

 
As a favourite book from my past, not so much for the novel itself, but rather for the time that I read it.

Now, A Wizard of Earthsea is your pretty basic fantasy novel that deals with good and evil and how they balance in the self. It’s got a pretty good demon metaphor that at the end makes you go “oh, that’s deep”, but other than that there’s not much to write home about.

In year 9 my English was given this book to read. We had an enthusiastic new (young) teacher so along with all the normal things you do with novel study – character analysis, themes, literary techniques – we also did some of the most fun activities that I can still remember and think fondly of today.

One of the things about the novel is that, like many fantasy stories, the protagonist goes on a journey. He sails around a bunch of islands fleeing this demon. So as part of our study our teacher asked us to create a travel guide for the world of the novel. It was perhaps one of the most fun activities I have ever done. My friend and I partnered up and we raided the local travel agents for old brochures to cut out pictures from . We embellished on the descriptions of some of the settings and made up five day itineraries for potential travellers. Like I said, it was so much fun. It’s those activities, rather than the novel itself, that make me think back fondly about this text.

I recently found my workbook from this class, obviously I had loved it so much that I kept my book for more than a decade. Flipping through it reminded me of so many good times with my friends in this class (even being forced to watch Schindler’s List) and of the amazing teacher I had (who pretty much chose my career path for me).

When I re read the book I felt like a lot of plot was missing which makes me think that perhaps I did read some of the others as well. Or perhaps it’s just easier for me to read now that I’m twenty eight and not fourteen.

It’s not my favourite book from my childhood, nor is it even a favourite book that I have read this year, but it reminds me of such a happy and creative and formative time in my life that it fulfills this category perfectly.
Coming up on my next blog: It’s practically Christmas.

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Fifty so Fine

Books 2015
1. How to traumatise your children.

2. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.

3. Thinking about it only makes it worse… by David Mitchell.

4. Sleeping Like A Baby by Pinky McKay

5. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James

6. Empire State by Jason Shiga

7. Masters of doom

8. Harry potter

9. FitzOsbournes 

10. This House of Grief by Helen Garner

11. Baby Dracula

12. Baby Jabberwocky

13. Slinky Malinky

14. Baby Days by Alison Lester

15. Faking It by Gabrielle Tozer

16. Stuffocation

17. Storm by Tim Minchin

18. King Lear by Shakespeare

19. Raging Heat by Richard Castle

20. The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell

21. The Life of a Stupid Man by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

22. The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

23. How we weep and laugh at the same thing by Michel de Montaigne

24. Veronica Mars: Mr Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas

25. I don’t like koala by 

26. The Greatest Gatsby by Tohby Riddle

27. Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer

28. Pandora Jones: Reckoning by Barry Jonsberg

29. The Heir by Keira Cass

30. Anxiety as an Ally

31. The Heir by Keira Cass

32. The Guest Cat

31. Unwanted by Amanda Holohan

32. Saga Volume One

33. Saga Volume Two

34. The life changing art of tidying by Marie Kondo

35. Y: The Last Man Volume One

36. Winter girls by Laurie Halse Anderson

37. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

38. Saga Volume Three

39. Saga Volume Four

40. Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery

41. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

42. The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore

43. To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix

44. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

45. House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones 

46. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

47. Stardust by Neil Gaiman

48. Emma by Alexander McCall-Smith

49. Saga Volume Five

50. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
Haven’t quite finished he challenge though.
Coming up on my next blog: The annual Christmas trek to the city.

Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth

This is not a blog about parenting. Even though I have a kid I try to avoid writing about him where possible as I like to think I have a life outside him. It’s also not about parenting because I really don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t think you should go around giving advice about raising children until yours is grown up and hasn’t turned into a psychopathic adult.

But there is one thing that I need to moan about. And that’s teething.

Whoever designed the teething process is incredibly cruel. It has to be the worst part of growing in the entire spectrum of life. 

These impossibly sharp mountains break through soft and sensitive skin,

  
One. At. A. Time.

It’s a terrible terrible process and there is not a lot you can do about it. 

The problem is that teeth are vital. You can only go around gumming things for so long. There are so many foods you can’t eat without teeth. Fun foods, like most meat, and tacos.

The other problem is you just don’t know how long it’s going to go on for.  It would be better that they all came out at once. Just an awful week of pain and sleepless nights. But they don’t. They come out in cribs and drabs. Sometimes poking their head through and then deciding they don’t like the weather and so disappear back into the gum.

It’s a neverending process. And it’s just awful.

Goodbye Gazette

Well my local paper is ruined.

And no, it’s not because I ran over it or it got rained on, it’s because it’s been taken over by Fairfax Media (or some such) and now all the articles are generic trash they flog to every paper in their portfolio.

I loved my local paper. I read it religiously. Waiting every Wednesday to hear that thump on the drive way. It’s how I knew Springwood was getting its own farmer’s market and how Judith Lucy was going to be in town. It’s how I got the job that got me through university. It’s how I know everything going on in my community. 

Or it used to be.

Now they’ve changed the font and the layout.

And really, if I wanted to read all that rubbish I’d buy the Telegraph.

Vale Blue Mountains Gazette.
Coming up on my next blog: Books and TV.

2. A Classic Romance

  
I didn’t even know this book was coming out! I just happened to be in a library when it arrived for cataloging and when I saw the words

Regency romance

I knew I had to read it.

I was going to read Gone With the Wind for this category, but seeing as we are less than two months away from the end of the year I didn’t really like my chances. I could also have used this book for the still unfilled colour and character title categories but it fits much better here.

It seems every blog post I. Telling you how great Garth Nix is, and this one is to be no different. He is just such an amazing author and every time he puts pen to paper he comes up with story gold. At the back of the novel he says this novel came out of a story he had written many years ago and put aside. I’m so glad he picked it back up again and tweaked it because it is just perfect. Well, maybe not perfect. I would have liked it longer, or as part of a series (I know this is scandalous for me as I am always bemoaning the fact that authors can’t seem to write stand alone novels anymore and always have to write trilogies, but I wish Nix would), because I love Truthful and just want to keep reading about her and her world.

This novel is exactly what it claims to be.

  
If Jane Austen was a fantasy author his could have been written by her.

It has all the best parts of Regency romance novels –

  • Young adventurous debutant ✔️
  • Mysterious but handsome gentleman ✔️
  • Hatred (or at least dislike) at first sight ✔️
  • Lots of mix ups and misunderstandings ✔️

All with the added benefit of magic. Simply perfect.
Coming up on my next blog: I’ve exhausted my supply of Garth Nix. On to other authors.

24. A book you can read in a day

I used to be really good at completing this category. When I was a librarian I could knock off about four books a week. And even though I still read YA fiction, having the kid means my time for reading (really any time to myself) has become severely limited. I thought I was going to manage to finish House of Many Ways in a day, but alas it was not so. So now the only thing it seems I can manage to complete in one sitting are magazines and comics.

  
I first started reading Saga back in July. I was looking for a different Brian K Vaughan comic, which is apparently only available to read online, and e dude at the comic store in Canberra suggested I might try this one instead. I’m really glad he did because I love it, and pretty much everything else Vaughan has done, except Ex Machina.

It’s a bit violent, a bit racy, but at its core it has just the most amazing story and characters.

Every time I finish a volume I wish it wasn’t a comic because I have to wait so long t read more. But if it want a comic I probably wouldn’t be reading it because it’s not really my kind of genre. It’s kind of like a gorier, sexier Romeo and Juliet. Its very dramatic (hence the title), and what really makes it is the artwork.

I love the narration style too. It’s told in past tense by one of the characters who keeps hinting at all the bad stuff that is going to happen. This is good because I know that the characters I like are probably going to get hurt, but because I’m prepared for it I won’t mind quite so much.

Getting this volume was a bit of an ordeal.

I thought I would ‘shop local’ so ordered it through my local independent bookstore. It should have arrived in a couple of weeks. Instead it took three months. When I went on holiday to Melbourne I saw it and didn’t buy it. Because I didn’t want to leave the bookstore with an unsellable book because they don’t have any of the other volumes. So when it finally comes in its hardcover and forty dollars. But I had to buy it because I couldn’t get it anywhere else.

Lesson learned.
Coming up on my next blog: Everything else I’ve forgotten to blog about.