26. A book with multiple authors

I’m actually skipping writing about a book I read before this one firstly because this is an awesome book, and secondly because I don’t know what to write about Anthony Bourdain yet.

So this is another book about books. It’s kind of my favourite genre.

I just love reading about what other people think of books. Though not reviews, per se. I like knowing what they think about books or what it made them feel or what makes it great. I don’t want to know plot. If you can convince me it’s a good book without really talking about plot then I might read it and I don’t want any spoilers.

This book sees a whole bunch of Australian authors who mostly write for children and teens talk about books that affected them most. I didn’t read it with post its beside me this time but I should have.

It is completely fascinating to see how books imapct on people and then to consider how they may have impacted on you. I don’t know if I could pick just one book to say affected me most, and some of the authors don’t just choose one.

Jane Eyre or Northanger Abbey are my go to books for a re read but that’s mostly because I like the story. Nothing jumps to mind in terms of having a profound effect on the trajectory of my life. I do wish I had every Teen Power Inc ever written but alas I borrowed them from the library. 

I’m going to have to give it some more thought and get back to you.

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.

Staring down fifty

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. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Coming up on my next blog: Another recipe or review. Probably.

38. A Book Set in Australia

 

This is another one of those cross category books. It could have been non fiction, or mystery, recommended by a family member, or written by a female author. But I have chosen to include it as my book set in Australia.

I don’t read many books written by Australians, and definitely not really any set in Australia. I was kind of turned off them by study at school and university.  For every engaging Melina Marchetta out there, there is also a John Marsden or David Malouf or Tim Winton. I find Australian authors and novels set in Australia to be dour. They seem to perpetually focus on the lucky country turned sour. The hardship of the convicts seems to permeate to the present day throughout the literature, like nothing can ever be truly good here because there is that underlying criminality, that at heart all Australians and their dreams are bad. I find life is tough enough without having to spend my free time reading about it.

That being said, I do have a favourite Australian author – Helen Garner. But only her non fiction. At uni we had to read Joe Cinque’s Consolation and it was fascinating. This House of Grief is no less fascinating, though Garner seems to be becoming softer in her old age.

For this story Garner attended the trial of a man accused of killing his children by driving them into a dam.

What makes her crime non fiction writing so interesting is that we the reader see all the information through Garner’s eyes. She has to tell us about the evidence, about how the accused and witnesses appear in the trial. All the facts are painted with her emotion. When I started reading I didn’t agree with her point of view. I could see where she was coming from but I thought she was being naive. As I read more she had me questioning my own position as she began questioning hers.

A book like this always throws up more questions than it answers. It makes for great conversation. My whole family has read it, and so we debate over coffee our opinions.

What struck me is that there is no doubt whether he did it or not. He did murder his  children. What is in doubt is his intent. Did he mean to do it or not? Now that I have my own kid I have to believe he did it on purpose. Even though your initial response would be to free yourself first (it’s the whole put your own oxygen mask on first in the airplane principle) there is no way you wouldn’t do everything you could to then save your children.

Guilty is my verdict.

What’s yours?

Coming up on my next blog: I am reading more and more. Plus I want to talk about caffeine. Odd combination I know.

Second Time Lucky (Friday Book Club)

This week I have finished another three books.
And they are very different.
One Young Adult novel, one Adult novel, and one Non Fiction text.
It was a week of second chances and perseverance.

The first book I finished was City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I have been meaning to read this book since I heard they were turning it into a movie. I like teen fiction in general and like to read them before they get stylised by Hollywood, usually I don’t end up seeing the film because I like the books too much.
I tried to start reading this book about a month ago. I went and borrowed it specifically from the library. I read maybe two pages and didn’t really get what was going on and didn’t really care and so I stopped reading and returned it to the library. It wasn’t really the books fault that first time. When I started reading I was in a loud place where I couldn’t really concentrate and that gave me a bad experience. I can’t read in loud places, I need absolute silence. Sometimes I find it hard to write with noise going on around me, like now I had to switch from the radio to my own music even though Triple J are broadcasting from Splendour because I can’t concentrate while they interview the acts. And I can’t even sleep if there is any light or noise. I need the conditions to be vampiric. I am just a little bit hysterical in this way.
The twist at the end of this novel is stupid. The author has really shot herself in the foot because she has dashed the hopes of all her teen readers (and me) in terms of one way the plot could (and should) have developed. Not to worry though, there are four more in the series (and then two more in the same world I think). And they will probably make up next Friday’s post.

20130726-180400.jpg

Then on Monday a work colleague leant me the new Patrick Ness novel that I have been wanting to read but didn’t want to pay for. Now that I am finished it and reflecting I kind of feel that it reminds me a bit of the JK Rowling adult novel The Casual Vacancy. I probably feel this way because she has been in the news a lot this week and Ness’ novel is also set in suburban England. But that is really where the comparisons end.
Ness has built his own story around the myth of The Crane Wife and makes explicit reference to The Decemberists’ version of this story, an album I own and have enjoyed for years. I love Ness’ writing style, he is such a good writer that I couldn’t finish his Chaos Walking series because he was making bad things happen to characters I liked. He just has a really eloquent style.

20130726-180434.jpg

I have been reading this non-fiction book for almost a whole year. I bought it at the British Museum when I was in London in September last year. It’s not that I couldn’t have got a copy at home, it’s just that was the first place I saw it and I wanted to get something of a souvenir from the museum besides Egyptian cat book ends. It took me a long time to read because it made me really drowsy. And because it’s non-fiction it does not really have a compelling plot that keeps me reading.
Basically each chapter is about one important object in the Museum’s collection. Which in itself is interesting. But it was written for a radio show, so there are bits of expert opinion interspersed in with the main narration. It just doesn’t really flow. I think it would have been better if I had been reading the text as I was walking around the museum looking at all these objects.

Coming up on my next blog: Insightful social commentary and the like.

(Non) Fiction : Friday Book Club

Two books this week. Two very different books.

20130628-093807.jpg

I forced myself to finish the Julian Barnes essays because I knew I would need to write about something today. Really I wanted to stop reading half way through, but I persevered and only ended up skipping one.
He is just a bit pompous. One thing that I hate above almost anything else is when authors use another language in their text and don’t translate it. This is not so bad in a novel because maybe the character is from that country and so speaks that language and the author may use it to highlight their displacement or confusion. When someone does it in a non fiction text though, it is just rude and irritating. You’re not showing me how clever you are, you are showing me how discriminatory you are. I don’t speak French, and therefore if I am to understand your meaning you need to explain it to me.
Most of the text was just self indulgent twaddle. I didn’t really learn anything and he didn’t really excite or interest me with any of the authors or texts he chose. There were only three things I got out of it. I want to read Madame Bovary, there are two memoirs by remain poets that sound are uncannily similar and that Barnes should stick to writing fiction.

The other book I read, I had to finish because I needed to know what happened so I didn’t have nightmares.

Boyne’s novel is pretty straight forward without too many tricks or embellishments and really is just a classic ghost story. Naturally I loved it. I got what I paid for. I really like his writing, though this is the first if his novel’s for adults that I have read.

Now onto holiday reading, I have an Atwood, Funke and Murakami on the shelf.

Coming up on my next blog: relaxation!

Friday Book Club celebrates half century

Despite the fact that I was only really at work for three days this week, it has felt like an eternity. Time seems to have slowed significantly, as if the world knows that it’s only two weeks until I have holidays and is making it an incredibly tedious process to get there.

The same aspects of time seem to have been applied to my reading habits this week. I do a little reading every day and yet I feel like I am getting nowhere. I get the feeling that this may be because of the reading material I have chosen.

I have decided that I am not going to finish the Gilmore Girls companion. Some of the things I have read have started spoiling the show for me and I can’t watch now without thinking that Lauren Graham doesn’t really want to be associated with the best show of all time, especially after it employed her for so long.

Last weekend I went a bit crazy in Dymocks and spent all the vouchers I had been given for Christmas and my birthday. I ended up with three books and six dollars left over.

20130614-103041.jpg

And I think this is where I made my first error. Two of the books I bought are non-fiction. I have already started the Julian Barnes one, and while it is interesting it makes me extremely sleepy when I read it. And so I have only read two of the essays so far.

And then today I learn that Neil Gaiman has a new novel out that I think I would totally love to read and I should have got that instead.

20130614-103148.jpg

At work I have been trying to read City of Bones. And I just can’t get into it. I just feel like I don’t have enough time to devote to it and the first page confused me and seemed incredibly convoluted and I don’t really have time for any of that. I wanted to read it because I heard they are making a movie of it and I like to read the books before I see the movies. At least that is always my intention. Usually I end of liking the books so much that I can’t bring myself to watch the movies (like Twilight, Beautiful Creatures, The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson) or if I do I am left feeling disappointed (like with I am Number Four).

20130614-103237.jpg

But I am still aiming to reach 100 books by the end of the year so I am going to have to force myself to get cracking!

You might also like to know that yesterday and today’s post mark half way through my blogging year. I know we are in June and thus it seems obvious that I would be half way but it seems to have snuck up on me and is going quite quickly compared to everything else.
So happy half century blog, now I feel I can say I am on the downhill run.

Coming up on my next blog: Will I finally get those Krispy Kremes I have been desiring?

My whole life flashed before my eyes

Creative writing is one of those things which you either have or you don’t. I don’t really think that you can work on being a good imaginative writer.
Most people tend to try and write too much (which is what I think has given rise to the teen trilogy, but that’s another blog post). They try to write someone’s whole life, everything that happens in a single day, year or lifetime. And it ends up sounding like a recount. This happened and then that and then this other thing. There is no time for description, for getting to know things and characters.

In a good novel things happen, but not at the expense of the reader’s understanding, or their entertainment.

It is better to have one idea.
In detail.
Descriptive detail.

But then things can go the other way.

Where something is so concentrated, so detailed, that it becomes boring. Like the Tom Bombadil bit in The Fellowship of the Ring.
I
just
don’t
care.

At school I chose the English that let you be creative (that is, I studied all the English that I possibly could, that the curriculum would allow). And so part of that was writing an extended piece and I chose short story. I feel now that I may have been better off choosing essay, but hey, I was young and naïve and thought I could write. What I realise now is that I could not. Half way through the course I had finished my first draft and the feedback I got was that it was too complicated. People didn’t understand what I was trying to say. So in the end I pretty much had to rewrite it. And it didn’t turn out much better but it was at least a little more entertaining and straightforward.
Let’s just say I wrote an epic fantasy story about good and evil.
Really, what was I thinking?

And when I read things that other people wrote for the same course, my husband for example, I wonder why I even bothered.

At university people were also subjected to my attempts at creative writing. But this time it was creative non-fiction. It sounds like an oxymoron but I think it is my favourite form of writing. I wrote my favourite thing ever for that course.

Luckily, I have rambled so much today about creative writing that I won’t actually be doing any in this post.

Lucky you.

And after yesterday’s post this article in the Sydney Morning Herald Queen of Shock Fiction Brought to Book. Which I clicked on because it sounded suitably salacious on a Wednesday afternoon after work, but within which I found my niche genre.

autofiction – a form of fictionalised autobiography –

I feel like all writers must do this in some form or another. Though perhaps it is best if you only use yourself and your own stories.

Coming up on my next blog: I try and use ABC iview.