Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Renewing Myself

As we have had family visiting from overseas this past month I have not read anything. February has been a washout book wise. That's okay though. As James mentioned in my last post on comments from James Reads Books I am busy living life.  That is certainly true and thank you to James for easing my guilt re: not reading.  I know, it happens.

We have participated in all manner of things. Sea planes, wildlife sanctuaries, restaurants, a movie, as well as a fast boat trip around the southern coast of Tasmania in a lightning and thunder storm, participating in a group "seasick-in" over the back railings. I'll leave it at that.

In the book world the Penguin black and white classics have arrived in Hobart. I have decided to get the set as it is the 80th anniversary of the publishing of Penguin books. Yes it is an indulgence and I won't be able to read them until 1 April because of the TBR challenge and I am determined to finish that.

Next week I begin To Kill A Mockingbird for the Grand Ledge Michigan High school class of 68 book group that started this month.  This has been great fun, catching up with several classmates I have not seen since high school. No I don't recognise their pictures now, we are all in our 6th decade and I cannot believe it. Some people look the same, others do not.  I can't believe we are all so old. We sure don't feel or act it. (Well not always anyway.)
Listening: I will finish up the Rosie Project.  I don't think I will bother with the Rosie Effect. It is a funny read but I get the gist of things now around Aspergers and having worked with many people on all levels of the Autism/Aspergers spectrum for so many years I think I'll move on to other reads.

I would like to get into the books on my shelves that contain the Penguin sets.  I have about 40 Penguin series/boxed sets and they are starting to draw me in to the boxes, saying "Me first, Please".

I want to do a big cull of my library too. I have been given so many books by people who know I collect Penguins but the books I receive are not the collectable ones. I have a couple of friends who have given me any book they find anywhere with a Penguin icon on it.  It is getting to be ridiculous.
(As part of the culling stay tuned for book giveaways- anywhere in the world.)
Before long I will have more than Penguin Publishing does. They need to move on to other homes and I think I'll start the Book Phantom project up in earnest again.

Well that's me for this week.  Company leaves next Monday. I have some routine household chores to catch up on, cleaning up of the library that has had a mattress and clothes strewn around it all month. Time to catch up with friends, meetings of my volunteer organisation, planning of holidays, bike rides and lots and lots of reading.  But what a blast of a time we've had this past month. It's been exhilarating and exhausting.

PS- Stay tuned for Travellin' Penguin who is now 3 dimensional. I found a great little Penguin on my tourism travels that looks so much like this little guy and I thought I'd take him on some of my travels and photograph him in various places. You know, kind of like the neighbour who steals your garden gnome and photographs him at the Eiffel Tower or a dude ranch in America.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Seaplane Trip up East Coast Tasmania

Books have kind of gone out the window though my sister in law seems to be able to get some reading done. She was able to finish Olive Kitteridge. I read this book several years ago when it came out and loved it. We also watched the BBC production of the mini series last week. We thought it stuck to the book pretty well and was very good. Frances McDormand was excellent as Olive.














She is currently reading Isablle Allende's book Maya's Notebook. She has another Isabelle Allende book coming up with her Canadian book group so this is a good introduction to Allende.

I am reading Pat Conroy's Beach Music still but it is dragging still. I think I will probably give it up and move to something lighter. I am finding it too hard to concentrate with days currently filled with activities of company.  It isn't often we get company down here in Tasmania as we are so far from everyone in North America so we tend to overdo it when someone does visit.  I'll be catching up with books in March.

Today we took a Seaplane trip from the waterfront of Hobart up the east coast of Tasmania to Wine Glass Bay in the Coles Bay area. Lonely Planet has named these beaches as the  number one beaches in the world. Can't get much better than that.

The plane landed at the beach and we hopped out of the plane, walked to the beach, had some morning tea and biscuits and then back in the plane for the return trip.  It was very misty out and the shoreline was absolutely stunning. I have put a few photos here.

We still have a couple more day trips to do before our sister/sister-in-law returns home. I hope we last that long as we are all exhausting ourselves with fun.




Friday, 13 February 2015

Back From Sydney- Company and Books

I had a good trip to Sydney. My sister in law was supposed to have arrived on the Wednesday from Canada and I was to meet her at the airport. However after a Canadian blizzard and then a plane with engine problems the flight from Toronto to Los Angeles was cancelled. The following day the flight from Los Angeles to Sydney was full and a seat could not be found so she finally arrived on the Friday morning.

As I had arrived on the Tuesday that left me with almost 3 full days to get into all kinds of book trouble in Sydney.  On the Wednesday I headed straight to Kinokuniya, which is a large, Japanese owned book store in the heart of Sydney.  For those visiting Sydney who have not been there before it is a large, lovely book store in the Victoria Galleries on George Street across from the Queen Victoria building.  Although the books are new I love looking at the large selection of art books, classic fiction, travel writing and Japanese inspired stationery and pens.

Their Facebook cover page

I probably spent a good hour or so just looking at all the books. There is a large section of Books about Books.  I love those books.  I found a wonderful book called "Books- Over 100 Top Ten lists" but more on that further on.

I also like to look at all the classic fiction. They must have every book on classic fiction known to man (new books of course). The have big racks of Penguins and Vintage and I love looking at all of the covers and series. Then I walked down to the travel writing section. There are books about people travelling in country by bicycle, camel, motorbike, walking, sailing. If you can move your body from point A to point B it is in the travel writing section.  I stayed strong and did not buy any as I have many TBR travel books of my own and I am participating the TBR challenge until 1 April.

Next stop was the stationery section. Beautiful Japanese papers, pens with ink of every colour, blank journals (don't you just love the myriad of blank journals on the market).  Then their is the art section which has art history, large coffee table books, graphic books on shelves that seem to not end, graphic arts and all genres of Japanese lit that I can hardly begin to comprehend.  There are some additional areas that are quite large of all books printed in Chinese and Japanese languages but sadly, not speaking or reading these languages I can only look at the covers.

The reference and academic sections also take a large part of the store and I spend quite a bit of time looking at the anthologies of writing from many countries as well as text type books about Australian Lit, American Lit, English Lit and literature books from many other countries.

It is a wonderful store to browse in. So far I had not been too tempted to buy any books. I promised myself I would go in with the attitude of simply browsing.

Then I saw this on the New Books shelves.

All book bloggers share a love of bookish lists.


This book has big heavy pages. It feels wonderful in your hands. There are so many illustrations of book covers. And there are over 100 lists relating to  Top 10 books. It was published in 2014 by Bounty Books which evidently is a subsidiary of Octopus books. I was not familiar with this publisher.  Okay, I picked it up. I also looked through it. Yes I also walked straight to the front counter and put my hard earned cash on the counter and they put it in a bag I bought (yes I saw it on the way to the cash register and it was love at first site. )

Have I read it yet?  No.  I am doing the TBR Challenge until 1 April aren't I. Did I read even one list?  Well I actually did. The book fell open to that page. Do you believe that? Yes I read the page about the top ten Enduring Romantic Heroes in Books.  I did have to know what kind of lists are in this book. According to the Table of Contents the lists revolve around the following categories.

Compelling Characters, Imagine That, Out of This World, Relativity, World of Books and Page Turners. 

It is rather vague but I have I even thumbed through to check out more of the lists? No, I am going to treat myself with this book on April 1. Then I will find a very comfortable seat and I will look into all 100 of the lists.  I might even find a challenge in this book of things to read for the second half of the year.

In the  meantime I continue on with Pat Conroy's Beach Music.  I have to admit I am not reading much this month. It is summer here. We do have company staying in our house and we are exploring Tasmania. We are eating, drinking and laughing our way around this great state of ours. We are filled with good Tasmanian red wine, soft drinks, cheeses, meats, fresh summer berries and produce. We try to read at night after days in the sun and on the road and all we can do is fall asleep.

We have visited the Wooden Boat festival down at the harbour that is held every 2 years. We have also had lunch at GrandVewe. It is a sheep dairy farm with a wonderfully modern restaurant where you can taste their variety of cheeses and then have a glass of wine, or beer or a great cappuccino, Devonshire teas and lunch as one looks over the river and the fields of green and sheep. It is truly beautiful. Photos of each are below.
Wooden Boat Festival- 2015

The view from the restaurant at Grandvewe

We will be forging our way through February quite quickly I think with many more adventures on the agenda. Tuesday will be a seaplane trip off the coast of the state so stay tuned as the Penguin does more travelling in his home state.




Monday, 2 February 2015

A Little Holiday for a Week

On The Move
I am going to have a little hiatus in Sydney beginning tomorrow so I won't be around the blog much.
My sister in law is visiting from Canada and I'm meeting her in Sydney and we're going to hang out once she gets over her jet lag a bit.

While she recovers I hope to visit a couple of book shops I didn't get to last visit, eat some lovely Chinese food in Chinatown, get to the markets and generally relax a bit without a household a dogs and cats and people.

Then on Sunday we'll come back to Tassie and she'll enjoy our sights here for a month.  It's going to be a busy time. We don't get many relatives visiting from North America so it's always lovely when they do come this far.

On the book front I am still reading Pride and Prejudice. I'm almost finished and hope to read on the plane. I have my ear plugs ready for the noise of a small squeally child that I know will sit somewhere close to me.

I am still enjoying the book but do find it slower going. I have gotten used to the language (pretty much) and I love the people in it and their little dilemmas.  I find myself re-reading passages because I like the sound of them so much. It is a complete escape from modern life in this, our year of 2015 with all the media coverage of the awful things in life.

I wouldn't mind being in a horse and carriage going down back roads on the way to balls and all of the gossip that occurs at them.

I will be back before you know it.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Monday Moods

I must laugh as I have realised since I retired I really like Monday.  It seems like a clean slate, the beginning of a new week, much like the new year but on a smaller scale.

Looking ahead to bookish goals for this week there is one major one really. That is to finish Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  I am one of the one or two people in the world that has not read this book.

American Lit classes never covered it and I must say it isn't the most recommended read in Australia either. However I felt I could not live a lifetime without reading it.

I won't review it. What could I possibly say that hasn't been said by a million people before me. I am enjoying it though. Very much.  I have the boxed set of Jane Austen Penguin classics books and I don't know if it is the story itself or the cloth covered book I am enjoying so much. I jest.

The beautiful cloth covered Penguin Classics
There is a specific set of 7 Jane Austen books that I have and am now enjoying.
 I was told I must read at least three Jane Austen books to get the language in hand. Well that has not been true. I have figured that out rather quickly and if I were to read it out loud I think I might sound rather English instead of this cross between an American and Australian accent I now have.

The copy I am currently reading

I must say I did google the words. "Which Jane Austen book should I read first?"  It was a toss up between Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. I will read Sense.... next.

I quite like this Penguin copy of the book too

I have seen the films and mini series of both and did enjoy them. So I sort of know which way the story goes.  I do enjoy Austen's sense of humour. I am thankful for that because the books wouldn't be what they are without it. I love her observations of people. She really had a knack for it. (I realised what a scholarly sentence that just was.)

I would dearly love to own a copy of this book.
I collect the Penguin Illustrated classics and haven't acquired it yet.

I really enjoy all of the various book covers these books come with also. I thought I would scatter a few of them throughout this post.  I just can't see reading Austen on a kindle. I think you must have the covers because most of them are quite gorgeous. However I did find a couple I didn't like.

 Not much else is happening this week. Today is Australia Day and we have a lunch with friends today. That will be fun.

This is just bizarre.

Wednesday is my bike club day.  Nothing like reading Jane Austen and riding with a motorbike club the next.  Kind of defeats the image of the tough biker.

I am getting ready to go to Sydney again next week.  I have five nights there but will address that more next week.  I am meeting my sister in law who is arriving from Ontario, Canada. She has had enough of bitter cold and snow and is spending a month here. I hope Tasmania warms up a bit for her. It still has a ways to go to qualify as summer here in most people's books.

Jane Austen as pulp fiction. It does make me laugh.

That kind of wraps up this Monday. Stay tuned to see how the week turns out here on Friday.

Happy reading and what books are you reading this week? What other activities will keep you busy?