Saturday 29 November 2014

Sydney for 4 days

I am off on a little break and girl's week out in Sydney. Every year my friend and I plan a girl's week out in Sydney that involves a performance at the Sydney Theatre Co.  Plans changed a bit for this year as my good friend who I generally go with had a few health issues and is unable to go. However I am still going and another friend is going to join me on Tuesday for a couple of days.
I will have Sunday afternoon, Monday and Tuesday morning to do a few things on my own and then my friend is arriving to go to the play Cyrano de Bergerac Tuesday night. Richard Roxburgh is in it and we are looking forward to seeing him.

Wednesday will be a mad dash for the day into the city shopping and seeing the Christmas window displays and then we come home on Thursday morning.  I adore  Sydney. It is a beautiful city and the harbour must be one of the most beautiful in the world with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.  There are a couple of bookstores on my itinerary but I don't plan on buying many books if any.  I am focusing on the  TBR ones already on my shelves.

Stay tuned in and I'll be sharing my visit here and am looking forward to the short break from "real life". I know the time will pass quickly so I am ready to dive in and enjoy.

Monday 24 November 2014

2015 TBR Challenge

I decided awhile ago I wasn't going to do any more challenges because I lose interest in them too quickly.
  However, Roof Beam Reader (here) has announced the 6th TBR (To Be Read) Challenge for 2015. The following is the challenge as it reads on that website.

The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months).
1. Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2014 or later (any book published in the year 2013 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile – I WILL be checking publication dates). Caveat: Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books end up in the “can’t get through” pile.
2. To be eligible, you must sign-up with Mr. Linky below – link to your list (so create it ahead of time!) and add updated links to each book’s review. Books must be read and must be reviewed (doesn’t have to be too fancy) in order to count as completed.
3. The link you post in the Mr. Linky below must be to your “master list” (see mine below). This is where you will keep track of your books completed, crossing them out and/or dating them as you go along, and updating the list with the links to each review (so there’s one easy, convenient way to find your list and all your reviews for the challenge). See THIS LINK for an idea of what I mean. Your complete and final list must be posted by January 15th, 2015.
I will have no trouble finding books on my shelf that were published before 2014. Most have been on it for more than a year. However there are two differences I am adding to my challenge.
Time to read my own books
I will promise to read 15 books in the year from my shelves and I am not going to list them ahead of time. I have too much of a problem with listing books now for those books I will read next year. I will simply have a list of 15 spaces and I will fill the spaces as I go. I love reading according to my mood, my interest level and also in line with how much energy I have. Some weeks I don't have the energy for a heavy duty classic, other weeks that is all I want to read. As long as I finish the 15 books I don't think this should matter. I will talk about the books as I go.  I am looking forward to 2015 reading year and I hope to do okay with this challenge. I often feel guilty I have so many wonderful books and I still bring them home from the second hand shop or the library. Time to toughen up and read what I have. I am hoping this challenge will keep me on track. I'll look forward to seeing how other bloggers are going too.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Grimm's Fairy Tales is New Again

I was lucky enough to get a book voucher for my birthday this past weekend from a friend.  I have been looking at this book of Grimm's Fairy Tales for awhile now and I made up the shortfall and treated myself to it.
As a child I must have read every Grimm's fairy tale a thousand and one times. I loved them. I loved the people who lived in the woods. I loved the animals that came out at night and scared everyone in the woods. The forests were always really deep. The noises were always creaky and sometimes a bat flew by. Okay, I am mixing it up with Edgar Allan Poe or Vincent Price.

The girls had such interesting friendships with
elves, or dwarfs or little men. The horses always tossed their manes and galloped through forests or over fences with little people riding them with no saddles.....and there were princes with lots of wealth.

There was magic and mysticism and scary enough events at times but not so much as to stop reading.

On a rainy afternoon I'd close myself off into my room and the whole day would pass. Or I'd take my things outdoors and find a nice spot in the yard on a summer's day.

Thumbing through this book made me remember lots of wonderful times from childhood.

But this is not just any copy. It is an annotated copy from Norton and Company. Evidently they have a series of annotated copies of books and wouldn't it be lovely to have all of them. Only kidding.

The illustrations are big and in colour. Some are in black and white line drawings.  Some are small and in the corner of pages as one reads.

I hope to reread these tales and see if I enjoy them as much as I once did. I am sure I will look at them with a different eye because the last time I read them was 55 years ago. Wow, now that is hard to believe.  But I know I am going to treasure this book and I also know it will have its own space on the bookshelf.

I'll let you know how I go with some of these stories. It might be a lovely thing to write for a Sunday post.

What experiences do you have of the fairy tales you read as a child?

Monday 17 November 2014

It's Monday ! What are you reading?

from Sheila at Book Journey
Michael Connelly has a new book out, The Burning Room and that is what we are both reading in this household.
It is on our Kindles.  I have read every book Michael Connelly has ever written.  I don't read a lot of crime fiction though I tend to like it. I also read somewhere if you want to learn about the geography of a place then read crime fiction in that area.  It does tend to be true as these detectives do drive all over creation.

So far I am really enjoying this book but then I am only about 44% into it. I love the fact that Kindle tells you what percentage of the book you have read.

Our weekend was relatively quiet.  The week's activities and taking care of my old dog, Wally, who is 14 years old and has to get up at 4:30 to
do his business outdoors tires me out. He is up at 4:30 and then back to bed to get up about 5:30 to 6:00 for breakfast. Once the birds start making noise he is ready to get up. Once he wakes up he wakes up the other two dogs and the two cats who all converge on the kitchen. I always think, "Why do I have all these animals?" but when they all settle down to eat and their little tales are wagging I am glad to be up with them.  It wakes me up and then I have a couple of hours to do emails, Facebook and read blogs. It is very quiet with all of them asleep again.  But the lack of sleep does catch up so yesterday I slept most of the day.

I had a great birthday on Saturday and Mr. Penguin took the dogs and I to the beach for a run (the dogs, not us) and then out to dinner.  I got gifts for both  motorbiking and reading.  A gorgeous black leather jacket for the bike and a Penguin boxed set of the current popular chefs from a friend and a book voucher from another friend. All in all a good haul.  Birthdays are really fun usually. It is just a shame one has to get older though to enjoy them.

I am also finishing up the vintage Penguin "Buried Alive" that I will write about in more detail. I generally don't have two fiction books going but I had a day where I spent time soaking in a bubble bath and I can't read my Kindle in the bath. The Penguin worked much better.

I hope everyone has a good week and does at least one or two things that are bookish.
The very spoiled Wally

Friday 14 November 2014

Visiting an Old Friend's Penguins

I used to work with a speech pathologist quite a few years ago who was a good 20 years older than me. Well, the years went by and we have now both retired and I still see her once in awhile for a coffee.  Actually it is funny because there is a coffee group of retired speech pathologists that meet once a month.  I always think of all of us as the "old crumblies" with affection of course.

This friend of mine recently sold their family home and went into smaller accommodation.  I have said to her for years she really should sell me any old Penguins she has. ( I knew she had quite a few.)  Of course the time wasn't right and I didn't think anything more of it.

I particularly like the cover of the F. Scott Fitzgerald book and of course The Natural is a good baseball tale.
The other day I had a voice mail from a book dealer in Battery Point. "I've got a box of Penguins here and you're welcome to go through them."  Now, that is always music to my ears so I said I would be in the following afternoon.

I was happy to find another Iris Murdoch book I didn't have and doesn't the Richard Bissell book look so 60's.
The shop is called Kookaburra Books And Antiques and they sell second hand books, some antiques and vintage clothing. Quite a combination.  They don't have a web page but they do have a Facebook page.

I stopped in yesterday afternoon and in fact he did have a box of Penguin books. He had collected a whole big  shipment of books from someone in the area who was moving and he took the lot.

Yet another Iris Murdoch and I love the covers of all of these.
I went through the box and found 10 I didn't have and 2 more that were first published ones that were going to replace a couple of reprints I had.  He was going to charge me a reasonable price (I have noticed that Penguins have dropped in price significantly now the Collectors tv program is not all the rage).  

As I thumbed through them I found a receipt for services in one of the books. It was dated 1994 and guess what.  It was addressed to my old speech pathology friend whose Penguins I always wanted to buy.  So I ended up getting them anyway and probably didn't pay anymore for them than I would have from her.  It really is funny how things work out.  Of course everyone knows in Tasmania there is only 2 degrees of separation. 

Thursday 13 November 2014

A Regular Mish Mash of Bookish Activities

Where does the time go?  This year has been whizzing by and I feel like I am in the middle of a large snowball gathering momentum going downhill.

I have been reading, garage sale-ing, library hunting and just generally having a good time. Let me share a few things that have been going on in this little island state of ours.

***Our weekly Play Reading class through U3A (University of the Third Age) finished Dylan Thomas's Under Milkwood. I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it but the language in this play is stunning. We all really loved it and hearing  the varied voices of our members in the class reading it were beautiful. We really got into it. Several of us also listened to the audio edition with Richard Burton reading it. We also had fun with the Welsh words but several of our members knew how to pronounce them.

I love the way people decorate their gardens. 

***There have been numerous garage sales going on in our area lately. There was the National Trail of Garage sales where people everywhere held one for charity. So a friend of mine and I got up early one day, got the listing out of the Saturday newspaper and hit the road. I was looking for Penguins. I only found one but I did find a terra cotta echidna to put next to my terra cotta bird bath in the front yard. I really didn't expect to find a terra cotta echidna, not that I even knew I wanted one until I saw it.

An old hardware store building in Oatlands
***Speaking of garage sales, the little midlands city of Oatlands, about an hour north of Hobart had a garage sale day also. The advertisement said, "The entire town was holding a garage sale".  I thought maybe I'd find some Penguin books up there so another friend of mine and I headed up to Oatlands on the Sunday.  We should have been aware of the weather as we drove up the Midlands Hwy and saw snow on all of the hills. Once in Oatlands we visited about 8 houses, didn't find many Penguins,  maybe one from memory but marvelled at the weather. Tasmania has 4 seasons in a day at the best of times but we didn't expect we'd go from sun, to rain to blizzard, snow, sleet and hail all in about 3 hours.  We foraged on.  I felt like a pony express rider.  We gave up the garage sale-ing as we found all the properties with the balloons tied out front and headed to a warm cafe where we ate bananas wrapped in warm crepes with chocolate/maple syrup on them topped up with cream and ice cream and hot cappuccinos.  Lovely food.

***I am also on the dog's home auxiliary in Hobart and we held a garage sale too. We raised over $400.00 for the dogs and we had so many books plus other stuff it wasn't even funny. At the end of the day we piled it all into the back of my car and took it to Vinnie's.  Some of this stuff we have hauled from garage sale to market that many times we were sick of it.  Vinnie's were glad to get it.
We're heading in to the Christmas raffle season next. Love those dogs. (P.S. We have a zero euthanasia policy. Dogs take as long as they need and work with foster carers if needed before they find their forever homes.)

A real mess of books at the Dog's Home garage sale.
*** On the Library Loot front I found a book my cousin had talked about years ago and I never forgot it. I saw it in the library catalogue and had to bring it home. Even though I finally sorted all of the books from my own library and found treasures I forgot I had I do need to read this book. It is simply the title that sucked me in.  The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.  It is a book of short stories and having grown up in the 50's with t.v. shows of the Lone Ranger and Tonto I must see what this book is about.

***To top all of this activity off I also just finished Willy Vlautin's book The Free.  I heard an interview on the ABC radio with the author the other day.  The whole discussion was him talking about how he writes about "regular" people who struggle with daily life in America.  He lives in Portland Oregon and this book took place in the northwest of the U.S.A. There are various reviews of this book on line, The Guardian and the New York Times reviews being the most interesting (according to me) so I won't attempt to review it but I will say I loved it.
It is the story of LeRoy, a returned Iraqi war veteran and the characters around him as he lies in a hospital bed coming in and out of conscienceness from his war wounds and then later a botched suicide attempt. There is his girlfriend, Jeanette, and Pauline his nurse who has her own story line through out the book with Jo (Carol) who is a teenage drug addict and her ageing mentally ill father. My favourite character was Freddie who worked in the home that LeRoy was in and he also worked for a lazy paint store owner in order to raise enough money to try and save his house.  He had large medical bills due to a disabled daughter.

Now I know all of this sounds quite dire but the portrayal of the characters is the strength of this book. Everyone is very kind and simply trying to get through their own burdens as they go through life was suspenseful.  There is an alternate story within the book from LeRoy who is dreaming and relates an entire tale of a dystopian adventure with Jeanette and himself. This is based on his war experiences and how they play out in his sub-conscience. This story alone is quite riveting.  I loved this book and I must say (without giving anything away), the ending really threw me.

I noticed on Amazon Willy Vlautin has written quite a few books and I look forward to reading another one.  If anyone else has read any books by this author I would love to hear about it.

I guess that catches everyone up with the past three weeks and hopefully I'll be better organised in the next three weeks to get back online sooner.
Whew !