Category Archives: books

Neil Gaiman’s Australian Tour

One of my favourite authors’ is coming to Australia at the end of April/beginning of May to do a whole heap of book signings and author talks.

His Australian tour dates are listed here.

Anyone want to join me at Books Kinokuniya in Sydney on the 6th May at 6pm?

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Light Reading?

Besides doing two loads of laundry and taking the dogs for a walk, I have spent the remainder of the day on the couch reading.  Such a relaxing way to spend a Saturday.  I have read two books this afternoon, “A Child Called It” and “A Brother’s Journey”.  Both books are about surviving child abuse.  The authors are brothers and both tell their version of growing up in the same abusive household.  Not exactly light reading, but the books were ones I couldn’t put down.  It was amazing the extent of their abuse and yet nobody did anything until it was almost too late.  The older brother got pulled out of the house and put in foster care, but the younger brother was left there to survive as best he could.  Back in the 70s nobody talked about child abuse, what happened behind closed doors stayed behind closed doors.  Today there is much more awareness about it, but still not enough to save kids from abusive situations or to stop things before they get a chance to escalate to the point of abuse.  With women having kids to cash in on the baby bonus without any thought about how they can afford to care for the children, I can see the incidence of child abuse and neglect escalating in Australia.  Already the foster care system is at breaking point, it simply can not provide for the number of children needing care.  I am sure as hell the Howard government never thought about these kids when they decided to throw money at women, who have no business having kids, for them to breed and keep on breeding.  I wonder if the Rudd government has the balls to scrap this scheme and put the money towards providing paid maternity leave and a better foster care system.

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Elven Moments

Stone FairyOne of my favourite authors is Elizabeth Moon. I was introduce to her work by Lelak who has most of her books. I started with the amazing trilogy, “The Deeds of Paksenarrion” which I feel in love with instantly. If you are a D&D player, a Lord of the Rings fan or just love a good fantasy novel, definitely check these books out. I then went on to her “Vatta War” series which I simply adore and am now re-reading waiting for the new book to come out. Elizabeth has also written an amazing book called “The Speed of Dark” which is a futuristic book about autism and what happens when scientist develop a “cure”.

Anyway, Elizabeth has a live journal account which, of course, I read and occasionally comment on. Her latest entry was about her birthday and how excited she was that her age this year was a multiple of her birthdate. Learning that someone else got excited about the mathematical proprieties of their birthdate and age, I wrote back;

“A fellow Pisces. Happy Birthday! May all your birthday wishes come true.
I am also glad I am not the only one that gets excited when their birthdate is mathematically related to their age. I was born on the third of the third and this year I am 33. I am unbelievably excited by this fact.”

To which she replied:

“Oh, that’s cool! Thirty-three was the birthday when I bought a pair of Earth Shoes, and the friend with me commented that I might or might not be a hobbit. Why? I asked. Well, she said, you certainly weren’t grown up at 21, which is the age of maturity for humans, and 33 is the age of maturity for hobbits…but you just bought a pair of Earth Shoes, which isn’t a marker of adulthood, exactly, so maybe you’re not a hobbit, you’re an elf.

It was in her honor, sort of, that my husband and I declared that our 33rd anniversary was our “hobbit anniversary” because our marriage had finally grown up. We might not have, but the marriage had.

So, if you’re a hobbit (in any way) this is the year you became mature. And if you’re not mature, maybe you’re an elf.”

I am deeply humbled that she has taken time out of her hectic schedule to reply and that it was such a geeky comment fills me with joy. Also, it touches on something I have been musing over since turning 33. I don’t feel mature and I doubt I every will. I have been waiting for that magical moment when I become an adult and feel all adult-like and mature. That moment has never come and I suspect it never will. I guess that means I am an elf.

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The Importance of the Humble Paperback Book

Reading is one of those pleasures in life that I wish I had more time for. I love nothing better than on a rainy day just curling up on the couch under a doona with a beagle sleeping on my feet and reading a book. It is pure bliss. But the most important part of that experience is the humble paperback book itself. I wholeheartedly agree with the unnamed author of Reading? It’s Already Covered (the SMH didn’t bother to note who wrote it) when he/she sings the praises of the paperback book over the e-book. I can see the appeal of the e-book, especially for people who are traveling or commuting to work. To have 200 books on one handheld reader is much more easier to carry around than 200 paperbacks. However, when at home, I just can’t see the appeal of sitting down with a e-book when you can sit down with a paperback. An e-book looks exactly the same regardless of what book you are reading, but with paperbacks, every single book is unique. It feels different in your hands than the book you read previously, the pages smell different and if you are a disgusting person like I am, then the food stains on the pages are different. Actually it is kinda fun playing identify the food stain on books – you get bonus points if you are eating the same food as the stain.

If e-books took off, what would book cover designers do for a living? Also what else would we line every single wall in our living room with if not with bookcases? Bookstores would be reduced to an ATM like contraption in which you could plug in your e-book and download the latest bestseller. Second hand bookstores would no longer exist except for a small handful to cater for those weird people who collect paper books. Yuck! Imagine that horrible future. I love technology, but this is one area where technology is not welcome. It would take away the many simple pleasures I have in my life. I can spend hours wandering through a bookstore and even longer in second hand bookstores. I find it extremely relaxing, although it is a bit frustrating as there are so many books I want to buy, but can not afford to. Also there is a sensory competent to reading books that an e-book just can not replicate.

I will not be one of those people racing to purchase the new Amazon Kindle or the Dymocks’ iLiad. I will be at home on my couch with my paperback book.

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Bah Humbug

I am having a rough couple of days.  My fibro has flared up once again and is attacking my legs.  I am in pain, having problems walking and am extremely grumpy.  Unfortunately this has coincided with friends of ours coming up from Melbourne to visit for the weekend.   Needless to say, I haven’t been a great host.  I just want to curl up into a little ball and wish the world away.  Our friends are currently amusing themselves walking around Darling Harbour, a place I probably wouldn’t join them even if I was feeling well.  It is just so trashy, touristy and highly commercial.

To get myself mentally away from the pain, I have been curled up on the couch reading Elizabeth Moon’s Trading in Danger which is the first book of the Vatta War series.  I love Elizabeth Moon’s work and the Vatta War series is my favourite.  I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who loves a good sci-fi adventure and loves seeing strong female characters in literature.  Despite the pain, I have had a nice weekend lost in a good book.

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The Joy of Books

With the release of Kindle over in the US, I thought it was time to praise the paper version of the humble book. Even though e-book readers look very sleek, I can’t just imagine curling up on the couch on a rainy day with one. Reading is not only an intellectual pursuit, but it is a very tactical one as well. An electronic device can’t replicate the feel of the paper or the smell of a book and you certainly can’t reminisce over what you were doing the last time you read the book by looking at the stains on the pages.

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