Saturday 30 April 2011

Dying Light - Stuart MacBride

Logan MacRae is in trouble. His last op went completely wrong. Not only was there no stolen goods as his tip promised but someone under his team ended up shot and is now dying. As a result MacRae has been removed from his usual team and placed with the rest of the screw ups under DI Steel. Now he has Steel on his back constantly as he is the only one on the team she can rely on not to mess up everything he touches. There is a prostitute killer on the loose and this falls into the hands of Steel and his team. Logan has to catch him quickly so that Steel can move on up out of screw up squad. He just hopes she will take him with her. Meanwhile his old boss DI Insch is investigating a pyromaniac who locks people in their homes before petrol bombing it. MacRae lends a hand with the case in the hopes that it will get him away from Steel.

The story seemed to be a little slow moving compared to "Cold Granite" yet there was a lot more going on. Logan is working two cases which could get confusing but surprisingly doesn't. Actually, I was glad because I would have missed DI Insch constantly filling his face with sweets and using them as rewards when one of his PCs gets something right. Both cases are so completely different that it's easy to keep them apart. At one point I thought it was going to turn out that both cases were in some way going to be part of a bigger crime (Deaver does this a lot) but turns out not to be the case. I think I would have been disappointed if it had been.

The relationship between MacRae and Steel is very different from MacRae and Insch. Steel doesn't do anything by the book. She just wants to solve the murder and move on even if the facts don't quite fit. This frustrated MacRae and he believes that she's going to bring him down with her. Steel also doesn't like it when he goes and does his own investigating without informing her which he believes is so she can take credit. The constant logger heads leads to a lot of humour. Mainly sarcasm. Like most Scot's I love sarcasm and Scot's can do sarcasm well. I had planned on a few quotes to show what I mean but Scot's also love their profanities and the humour was filled with them.

The humour is the first reason why I love these books but the second reason is that Logan MacRae is human. I am sure I mentioned this in my review of the first book. He is likeable and his bosses, for the most part, like and respect him. He's good at his job and seems to have a nack for putting things together. He isn't perfect though. He manages to offend the wrong people, he struggles to keep his girlfriend happy, he messes up at least once or twice in a book and he is a champion sulker.

The pace of the book is the only thing that really let it down and I think that might have more to do with me than the book itself. Certainly was enjoyable (although a bit gruesome at times). It's only the author's second book and I can't wait to see what other problems Logan MacRae manages to create for himself.

Friday 29 April 2011

1602 - Neil Gaiman or Do I like Graphic Novels?

Dr Strange and Sir Nicholas Fury are both in the employ of Queen Elizabeth I and they both distrust each other. However, they share the same concern that the strange weather could mean the end of the world. Not to mention the threat on Witchbreads from King James of Scotland, Spanish Inquisitors and Doom. Soon they must work together to combat all of these threats and help save the world.

I have always loved super heroes but growing up I never read any of the comics. Ever Saturday though I would watch Spiderman, X-Men or the Fantastic Four. My knowledge of comic book super heroes is limited to those and to the films I watched later. When I was little a comic book meant the Beano. Later I thought about trying to get into them but where do you start? There are so many different ones and I would want to start from the very beginning. So I didn't even try. I picked up this one because I love Neil Gaiman and it seemed like my limited knowledge would be enough.

I was right thankfully. Reading the introduction by Gaiman was enough to give me an idea of the characters I could expect. Many of whom I would recognise from the cartoons. What I liked about this book is that it took aspects of history. Queen Elizabeth at the end of her reign, James I at the start of his, the witch hunts and the Spanish Inquisition. I enjoyed it and had it played more on these parts then maybe I would have enjoyed it all the more. Sadly I grew quickly bored and had to force myself to finish it. It all seemed a little too easy but should I really expect more from a graphic novel? My knowledge of them isn't that great so I can't answer that myself. I did love the art work. There were a few prints within that I thought was very well done but that's not enough for me.

Truth is I wonder if maybe I am just not the graphic novel type. A few years ago a friend was surprised by the fact that I had never read one (he was aware of my other geeky interests). He said the same thing about having never watched anime other than "Spirited Away". He was right about that and I now have a collection of these films which I love. I trusted him with the graphic novels and picked up several (including this one). I never did get round to reading them though. So I have decided to theme May. It will be the month I decide whether or not I can appreciate graphic novels. It will also give me a chance to get through the pile I have. I am probably going to start with Heroes vol 1 and 2 as they are closer at hand.
Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!

Summer is coming quickly - what 2011 summer release are you are most looking forward to?

I haven't kept up to date with new releases for the last few month in an effort to be good. I had a look though just for this question and there is honestly nothing that stands out. I would quite like to read "The Wise Man's Fear" by Patrick Rothfuss which is already out. I read the first one and enjoyed it. It was about three years ago now though so I would have to read it again I think. I will also want to read "Smokin' Seventeen" by Janet Evanovich despite being disappointed by the last few. I can wait until it comes out in paperback though.

The book I am really looking forward to isn't out until October. It's "iq84" by Haruki Murakami. I love his books and I have read them all unfortunately so the wait for this has been excruciating. I have read quite a lot of articles about it already and I have a feeling this might be his best yet. In Japan it was published in three volumes but thankfully it's being published in the one here. Not sure I could take extra waiting.

My sister is over so as soon as I am free I promise to hop around other blogs.

Thursday 28 April 2011

A Confederacy Of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

Ignatius J. Reilly is a highly educated genius who is completely unappreciated by the world around him. He is forced to live life putting up with the deviates around him as he tries to educate them all. He spends his days locked in his room writing his tablets. Then his mother decides that he needs to finally get a job at the age of 30. Out on the work force he creates disaster wherever he goes. Finally landing a job as a hot dog vendor he decides to use that opportunity to put the world to rights as the rest of New Orleans looks on in horror and amusement.

Ingatius is one of the most repulsive and irritating characters I have ever come across which I think is saying something. When I first started reading the book I thought I was going to hate it. I couldn't look away and eventually I got over how disgusting he is and actually found myself giggling. One of my particular favourites is when he tried to organise the gay political party believing that they should take over world in order to create world peace. World leaders would be too busy coming together over musicals and costume parties to be at war. Funnily enough it doesn't quite go as planned.

At one point he suggests some back ground reading. It's important to study history although he tells the individual to ignore the Renaissance and the Enlightenment as he describes it as "dangerous propaganda." What tickled me though was that for the contemporary period he recommended comics especially Batman.

The rest of the characters are just as absurd as Ignatius although not quite as entertaining. There is his poor mother who finally gets a life for herself away from her son although it does lead to her believing that Ignatius needs a padded cell. She's also a bit of a drinker which is constantly mentioned through out but with a son like that who can blame her. Then there is Myrna, Ignatius' rival and trouble maker who is just as bad as he is. I wish there had been more scene's with her but the letter writing was funny as was Ignatius' reaction to them. Then there was Miss Trixie, Mrs Levy and Lena Lee. My favourite though was Patrolman Mancusa who as a form of punishment is forced to patrol the streets in different disguises until he arrests someone suspicious.

In the end I surprised myself by loving the book. I though it was extremely funny although it felt more like I was laughing at these characters than laughing with.

Wednesday 27 April 2011


Since the readathon a few weeks ago I have been following a blog called A Literary Odyssey (it's a great blog, you should check it out). The writer of this blog hosts readalongs which I love the sound of. It's like an online book group. I noticed that the next book is The Iliad and so I have decided to join in.

I bought the book at the start of the year and it is still waiting on me (I have other books that have been sitting there a few years so it's actually lucky to have such a short wait). I bought it and The Odyssey because I keep coming across references to them in science fiction books. In a few they are even used in detail. The first real reference (or the one I noticed) was in Tad Williams "Otherland" series. It's a fantastic series and part of the fun was recognising all the books including, The Day of The Triffids and The Wizard of Oz. Some of the main characters are trapped in one of the battles during The Iliad whilst later another believes he is Odysseus. Those were some of my favourite parts and it did pique my interest.

More recently I read Dan Simmons Ilium which also has references to different books but mainly The Iliad. In this case the battles were being re-enacted (although only the Gods and the scholar were aware it was a re-enactment) with the Gods watching on. It increased my interest once again and so I picked it up. If I had done the top ten of most daunting books during the Tuesday Rewind this would have been on the list. Poetry is not my strong point and I have never attempted classics such as this. I want to though which is why I am looking forward to joining in the readalong. The idea of Greek Gods, myths and legends have always appealed to me.

If you want to join in to there is a sign up on the blog. It starts Sunday.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Mean Girls

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

I wasn't sure how to interpret this weeks prompt. Does it just mean bitch like the film or villains? I decided to do it a little as both otherwise I don't think I would have a top ten.

1. Zania (The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood). There is nothing at all redeemable about this character. She is willing to tell the most awful lies in order to push herself into the lives of these three women (including dying of cancer). She then steals their men and rips apart their lives. She claims she is doing it for them but I get the sense she enjoys it too much.

2. Miss Havisham (Great Expecations - Charles Dickens). Hardly a 'girl' but she does fit the title. So bitter and twisted from her own disappointment she decides to manipulate everyone around her in order to get her revenge on the world.

3. Anne Boleyn (Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel). In history she can be viewed as a victim of her family. We don't really see that in this book though. What you do see is that she is powerful with the ear of the King and should not be crossed.

4. Catherine (Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte). Spoiled, selfish and manipulative. You almost feel sorry for Heathcliffe (almost).

5. Cathy Ames (East of Eden - John Steinbeck). Manipulative, mercenary and murderous. She'll stop at nothing to get what she wants, including murdering her own parents.

6. Marisa Coulter (His Dark Materials Trilogy - Philip Pullman). She does redeem herself at one point by showing some kindness to her daughter. She is still cold and manipulative and was the one to put her daughter in danger in the first place.

7. Joyce Barnhardt (Stephanie Plum series - Janet Evanovich). Probably the most like the term 'mean girl' in this list. She has picked on Stephanie since school. Now she loves nothing more than humiliating her. She had an affair with her husband and sleeps with Stephanie's boss in order to get put on her cases. Also loves to go after Stephanie's current love interest.

8. Monica Morel (Morganville Vampire series - Rachel Caine). Another closer to the term 'mean girl'. Her family are powerful and she uses that to start increase her own power amongst her piers. A bit of a sociopath as she is goes beyond bullying and has even attempted murder.

9. Mrs Danvers (Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier). Manipulative and a little unstable. So besotted with her dead mistress she even tries to convince the new Mrs De Winter to kill herself. I love the fact that the Danvers character is used as an army in Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. I bet any army facing them would surrender.

10. Lucrezia Borgia - Beautiful, powerful, cold and jealous. Willing to have a young girl put to death out of misplaced jealousy.

Quite a few of mine are from classics. They really knew how to do a female villain back then. I found this quite difficult for a few reasons. The first one being that these days (or because of what I mainly read) the bitch/villain usually has some redeemable quality or a change of heart. Even some of my list might be viewed as a victim of circumstance as much as anything else. Also I have a shocking memory. I keep a list of all the books I've read and flicking back through it I had difficulty in trying to remember if they contained a character who would make this last. Actually, I came across a few books I forgot I had read. Thank goodness I now keep a book journal.

Monday 25 April 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This is a book meme by Book Journey.

This Week I read;

"Dead In The Family" by Charlaine Harris
"Into the Darkest Corner" by Elizabeth Haynes
The Passage" by Justin Cronin.

I managed to review all three and my favourite was the passage. I also quite liked the Haynes book and look forward to her publishing her next one.

I am now reading;

"A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole
Dying Light" by Stuart MacBride.

Going by my pace I will finish them this week. I haven't decided what to read after that though. Keep changing my mind.

Sunday 24 April 2011

The Passage - Justin Cronin

A secret branch of the US army has bee experimenting with a virus in the hopes of creating the ultimate soldier. The virus prevents illness and increases various abilities. Unfortunately, that's not all it does. All twelve of the men who have been infected have turned into monsters. They can manipulate those caring for them and eventually get free and passing on the virus to those they bite. Soon the virus is spreading and those who aren't killed are turned into what the survivors call smokes. Peter, from one small colony of humans, believes that their only hope is a girl who has been wondering the US for 100 years now. The smokes don't touch her and she seems to have some very strange abilities.

I had high expectations of this book before it was even published. I am glad to say that not only did it not disappoint, for me anyway, it exceeded those expectations. This isn't just your normal vampire tale. Yes, vampirism being a virus is hardly new but it was more than that. It was also a dystopian novel. Whilst I love a good vampire story dystopian trumps vampire any day.

The first third of the book is set not long from now. It sets up the story giving background into those infected by the virus and how it got loose. Completely necessary but I felt a little frustrated by it. I wanted the story to move on. I think though that it had more to do with my being so busy at the time and was unable to spend as much time reading it as I would have liked. So there is my first piece of advice. If you do decide to read this book then make sure you have plenty of time to sit and enjoy it. This section actually reminded me of Stephen King because of the way he built it up and went into such detail about each of the characters. I have since read that it's been compared to King's "The Stand" which just happens to be my favourite King book.

After this section the book jumps almost a hundred years to one small colony of survivors who may be facing the end. This is where I lost the feeling of a King book and this is where I truly began to love it. It was so completely different from the first third it felt like a different book. The walker, Amy makes an appearance and one of the colonists, Peter, believes that she holds the key to their survival. From this point there was so many different twists and turns I found it difficult to put down. I even caught myself shouting no when something happened to a character I had grown fond of.

I loved the fact that the vampires weren't really your atypical supernatural beings. As the plot develops we do learn a lot more about them. Some things that would surprise you and they do share some of characteristics to your standard vampire (other than the blood drinking though I am not telling). I also found myself feeling sympathetic towards them which I think was what the author was wanting. That doesn't make it any less scary though and there was one scene set in LA that I thought might cause me to put the book in the freezer.

This book is definitely going on my list of favourite books read this year. I am just gutted that I have to wait until the second part of the trilogy. I should warn you that this author is mean and ended his book on a cliffhanger.

Saturday 23 April 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

"If you find a book you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?"

I found this quite a hard question to answer. Had I been asked this a few years ago I would have said yes. When I first came across Douglas Coupland I read the rest of his books within a year. I now wait somewhat impatiently for each of his new books. Lesson there is I don't do well with waiting. Not long after I discovered I loved Haruki Murakami. I was a little slower in reading his books because I wanted to savour them. Not slow enough because I am now waiting impatiently for his next one (iq84 which is out in the UK in October). It doesn't matter that none of these books are part of a series therefore it's not like I am waiting for the story to continue. I love their books that much I want to see what they come up with next.

I have done the same thing with series though. I did it with Kelley Armstrong, Charlaine Harris, Jeffery Deaver (although slower than the others) and Jasper Fforde. Like the stand alones I now have to wait impatiently for the next ones. I always tell myself I should slow it down for a few reasons. Mainly because I don't like to wait. Somehow knowing that I can easily pick up another by the author makes me feel better. Also, in terms of series, if it's a long wait I am liable to forget a lot of what's happened before.

Recently I have been good. I am trying to get through the +100 books I have on my shelf still to read so my book buying has slowed right down. I could quite easily go out and by the rest of the Charlie Parker series and the entire backlist of Barbara Kingsolver, Hilary Mantel. Ian McEwan, Cormic McCarthy, Philip Roth to name a few.

There is always that worry mind you that when you discover an author you love that it's really just that one book and the rest prove to be a disappointment. The only example I can think of is Audrey Niffenegger. In this case I read her first book "The Time Traveller's Wife" when it was first released. Had a long wait for her second one and I wish I hadn't read it. It puts me off giving the first one a re-read or even trying any others she might later release.

Friday 22 April 2011

Dead In The Family - Charlaine Harris (goodbye Sookie).

Sookie is trying to recover from the effects of the fairy war. Unfortunately life doesn't really give her that chance. The Vampire who is now King of the area has sent a lieutenant to keep an eye on things. Instead he seems more intent on removing Sookie's boyfriend Eric from power. Sookie's flatmate has moved out and her fairy cousin has moved in. Were's are fighting for their rights now that they have revealed themselves. Eric's maker and brother turn up. Bill doesn't look like he is recovering from silver poisoning and someone has dumped a body on Sookie's land.

Sounds like a lot doesn't it? Truth is not much is happening. There are all these little things which in the end don't really add up to anything new. The power struggle with Victor could have been interesting and at the start that did seem to be where it was going. There was even mention of spies which would have added to the interest. Sadly, after being mentioned a few times through the book, it was never dealt with. Maybe it's being kept for another book but the rest of the story seemed trivial. Eric's maker turning up was another point of interest that only lead to disappointment. He had the power to make Eric do anything and yet it fizzled away to him needing help to control the brother. The were's involvement also proved to be small. Another power struggle that Sookie was dragged into thanks to her fairy family who were never sure if they really wanted to hurt her or not.

What this boils down to (and the reason for the addition to the title of this post) is that maybe I should stop reading these books. I loved them once but now I seem to be reading them just in case I miss out. I devoured these books once and yet this one has been sitting on my shelf since it was first released over a year ago. I believe in never saying never but I won't be going out of my way to read future releases.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Book Covers!

Since there have been a few book cover prompts of late I thought I would share some of my favourites.

The less busy a cover is the more it's going to attract me as is the case with all of Murakami's book covers. Whilst this book isn't my favourite out of his work it's certainly one of my favourite covers.

I love all the Penguin cloth bound books and if I had money to spare I would certainly think about collecting them all. I restricted myself to one and I picked the cover that appealed to me most. I love the silver on black.

Notice a theme with my black and white books? I actually had the original covers which I don't mind so much. I lent them to a friend though who then moved away and I never got them back. When these lovely covers came out I treated myself. Plus mine are signed so they are also known as my babies.

Yes a cover that isn't black and white. This actually represents vintage classics. I love their covers and when buying a classic I will usually pick up one of these rather than the black penguin editions. I would quite happily collect them all if I could.

Booking Through Thursday

CAN you judge a book by it's cover?

Okay I put my hand up and admit that I do. I am a magpie for lovely covers. I can't help it and I think a lot of people are the same. Whilst I will be attracted to a pretty cover I will still read the back to see if I think I will like the content. Book covers are important and I think that some publishers miss that. I am sure I talked about this during a top ten Tuesday meme of worst covers. They can attract new readers which is what you want after all.

When I was in my YA phase I got a proof copy of Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley. I picked it up because it was so pretty. Whilst I am not the girliest of people it does sometimes come out unexpectedly and this was one of those times. The book was black and shiny with lots of pink. This was one of those times where the pretty cover did not match the content. It was one of the most awful books I have ever read and I think that was the start of my move away from YA (should point out I still read one every now and then). It's not the first time I have made that mistake and it probably won't be the last time either.

Anything by Haruki Murakami. There is just something about those black and white covers. It's true they aren't actually pretty but they always stood out for me and it was those covers that made me pick one up. I fell in love with the author straight away and have since read everything he has written. One of those times where it did work. I am now impatiently waiting for his new book, iq84.

I have listed before covers that were awful and didn't represent the books well. At the top of the list was New York by Edward Rutherfurd. The reason I bring that one up again as it was such a fantastic book and yet I almost didn't give it a second look thanks to the fact that it had a mass market, cheap feel to it. I can't believe I almost missed out on a great read.

So yes, you can judge a book by it's cover but you have to be careful. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't and sometimes you could be missing out based on that initial judgement.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Into The Darkest Hour - Elizabeth Haynes

Cathy is 28 and suffers from severe OCD. It was brought on after being physically and mentally abused by her controlling boyfriend. He is now in prison and she is left to pick up the pieces of her life. Her entire routine is based around checks all to make sure she is safe and that he hasn't been in her flat even though she knows it's impossible. Anything new frightens her and some shocks and surprises bring on severe panic attacks. She has managed to hide this from everyone until a young man moves in upstairs who gives her the push she needs to seek help.

This generally isn't a book I would pick up. It was suggested for my book group by my friend which is the only reason I gave it a shot. I am glad I did as I loved this book. I became emotionally involved very quickly. The story alternates between two time lines. You see both the start and end of the abuse and then four years later as she tries to keep her life together. I think this is what I loved about the book. At the age of 24 Cathy loves life. There isn't a night when she isn't out and her friends are the most important thing in her life. She loves to flirt and just loves life in general. You then flash to her life now. She has no social life. Her clothes are all practical. She has cut herself off from all her friends and she spends her time feeling anxious and frightened on a good day.

As Cathy starts on the road to recovery with the help of Stuart you see how her boyfriend Lee slowly began to control her life and how she was stuck there. You understand how her OCD has manifested itself with all the mind control games Lee played on her. Cleverly done I thought and this split time line allows you to feel more sympathy for the main character as well as gain more understanding.

This was meant to be my travel book whilst I read The Passage at home. I got to a certain point though where I had to keep reading (was up to 3am last night finishing it). It was difficult to read about the physical abuse but I had to keep going. I had to know that the character survived and that Lee didn't win (he is released from prison about half way through the book). I have a few friends who have some mental health issues (mainly severe depression) and felt that it gave a good understanding into it. I think the author certainly did her homework there.

Another reason I liked it is that Cathy has her flaws even from the start. Her life before was almost frivolous and she and her friends could be a little catty at times. After the events she could be a little stroppy and didn't always like to protected. A good thing I think as it meant that she wanted to get better for herself and not just because the lovely man upstairs was helping her.

One thing that bothered me (which always bothers me in books) is how easy it was for Cathy and Stuart to fall in love. He is a Dr who specialises with mental health problems, depression in particular. He deals with people who have Cathy's problems all the time and he doesn't want to treat Cathy as he likes her. Fair enough but all they talk about is her OCD. Cathy is still recovering from the trauma of her last relationship and Stuart himself had his heart broken. Both want to take it slow and yet that is eventually out the window. Don't get me wrong, despite the fact that I don't have a romantic bone in my body I was routing for them it just niggled at me a little.

A great book but I think there are a lot of people out there who would be unable to read the scenes of domestic violence which could be quite horrific.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Childhood favourites!

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme by the Broke and the Bookish. This week were to choose any of the previous top tens. I picked Childhood favourites.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. I couldn't have a list without this on it. I loved this so much I don't know how many times I checked it out the library. A tiger turns up at the door and is invited in to tea. He eats everything the family has in their fridge and cupboards. I loved both the story and the illustrations.

George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. As a kid I devoured all Dahl books. The first one that was read to me was Charlies and the Chocolate Factory. This one though remains my favourite. It was probably my evil streak which was attracted to it. Unlike the gran in this book both of mine were lovely ladies and yet I wanted to make them a potion to see if they would grow taller than the house. Thankfully my mum vetoed the idea (have a feeling it had more to do with the mess I would make).

The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. This was a birthday present from my favourite aunt. She usually got me books for my birthday and I love that. This book though I didn't like straight away. Took me a few attempts to get past the first few pages. I think it was because Mary was so unlikable at the start (which she was meant to be). Determined not to let my aunt down I finally did make it through the book and loved it. It then became one of those books I would read over and over again. Drawing secret gardens became a favourite too after that.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read the entire series in one sitting when I was off school sick. I loved it from the start. I just couldn't imagine a life where your dad would build the house you would live in. It was all so different and I remember my mum telling me that it was based on true stories. This made it all the more appealing.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This was a present from my parents, probably because I loved the Secret Garden so much. It became a firm favourite and again one I read over and over again. I loved the idea that this little girl used her imagination to help get her through tough times. That she was still able to be kind to her friends despite it all and of course that it all turned right in the end. There was just something magical about it.

What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. I don't actually remember much about these books although I remember loving them. I do remember Katy was the oldest of four children who were brought up by their father and an unappreciated aunt. Katy had a fiery temper which her father was always trying to help her with. At one point she has an accident and she has to learn to walk again. It's only then she appreciates what her aunt does for them. My favourite in the series was actually What Katy Did at School. I had a thing for boarding school stories and was disappointed that it was so short.

Gemma by Noel Streatfield. Gemma is taken in by her cousins who are all talented musicians. They perform regularly. Gemma wants to be one of them and she takes up the banjo. I have always wanted to learn to play the banjo thanks to this series. I am sure Gemma was a little selfish and spoiled at the start of the book and was quickly taught to be otherwise through her cousins. It was the music side of things that appealed to me though.

Emily Of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery. I did read the Anne of Green Gables books growing up but whilst I liked them they weren't my favourite. I preferred the Emily books. The character Emily had her flaws (unlike Anne if I remember correctly) and it was for this that I liked her more. Like Anne she is an orphan but is taken in by her aunts and cousin. She learns life on the farm and makes friends in the process. She also has to convince her aunt that writing isn't a waste of time. It still shocks me that these books are now out of print.

Malory Towers by Enid Blyton. Criticise Blyton all you want but when I was growing up no one thought they were particularly harmful. I read some of the Famous Five but I wasn't particularly interested in those. If I wanted detective stories I read Nancy Drew. As I mentioned earlier I love books about boarding schools and the Malory Towers series were my favourite. Yes, I know now that they were sexist amongst other things but I liked stories of midnight feasts, pranks and school plays. At that age I didn't think about the negative side. It was just good fun and for that they are on my list.

The Diary Of Anne Frank. This is another book I read over and over again although I haven't done so in years now. I found this book so heart breaking because it was real and yet so inspiring. It was a book we had to read in primary school and I am glad that we did.

You will notice that almost all of my childhood favourites have female leads. There is a reason for that. I was such a girly girl back then plus much of what I read was influenced by what my mum read when she was little. My dad didn't read much until his late teens so he didn't really have favourite books to share with me. Later when he tried with the Hobbit it was too late. I wasn't interested in reading about smelly boys. As an adult I realise I missed out on so much; Huckleberry Finn, Wind and the Willows and of course The Hobbit to name but a few. There are also other books that I loved but didn't quite make the list; anything by Shirley Hughes, My Naughty Little Sister, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna and The Children of Primrose Lane.

Monday 18 April 2011

The Story Of Martha - Dan Abnett

The Doctor is a prisoner of the Master and the Earth is held prisoner by him with the help of the tochlofane. The Master also has Jack and her family and there is nothing Martha can do. Reluctantly she leaves them behind on the Valiant but she will be back. She has a year. A year to travel the world and help save the Doctor and her family. A year to bring down the master and she has to do this on her own.

Yep, I am a geek and I proudly wear my geek badge for all to see. I have loved Doctor Who since I was a child thanks to my parents who would by the classics on VHS. I rarely read the books though as they usually aren't that good. Occasionally I will pick one up if the story interests me. This one did. I thought it was a fantastic idea to write Martha's tales of her travelling the Earth and trying to get everyone to believe in the Doctor. Once again though it was a little disappointing. It follows Martha over the first six months and that's split with tales of her travels with the Doctor, tales she is telling survivors.

Details of Martha being with the underground come from when she is just arriving or just leaving. She is being followed by a human working for the master which could have been interesting but that too follows a similar pattern. He arrives either too late or has been deliberately misdirected. That is until they reach Japan and something is wrong there that isn't the work of the Master. Martha and this man are forced to work together very briefly. Again that could have been interesting but this was just the last chapter of the book. The last two pages jumps six months to her returning to the UK.

I think this book had such great potential, or the idea did anyway and it failed. There could have been more focus on Martha's travels and human survival which is what I thought it was going to be about. It wasn't that bad though. It was an easy read which was why I decided to use it as my travelling book last week. I would have found it mildly entertaining had I not expected more from it.

It's Monday!

What are you Reading Monday is a meme from Book Journey.

As predicted I didn't get much reading done. I have read about 200 pages of The passage which is only a small dent. I am very much liking it but because of my little time and the fact that it's mainly been shorter books I have been reading lately it hasn't been moving fast enough for me. Hopefully this week will be different. As it's a huge hardback I read The Story Of Martha whilst out and about. An easy read. Also it could have been fantastic but fails. I am going to review it later if you are interested.

This week I am going to finish The Passage and start Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. I decided to go with my book group choice after all. I will probably read this when I am out this week. Not exactly a light read by the looks of it but certainly more portable than the book I am currently reading.

Thursday 14 April 2011

Booking Through Thursday

In a related question to last week’s– I was reading the other day a quote from JFK Jr who said on the death of his mother, that she died surrounded by family, friends, and her books. Apparently, Jackie’s books were very much a part of HER, her personality, her sense of self. Up until recently, people could browse your bookshelves and learn a lot about you–what your interests are, your range of topics, favorite authors, how much you read (or at least buy books). More and more, though, this is changing. People aren’t buying books so much as borrowing them from the library. Or reading them on their e-readers or computers. There’s nothing PHYSICAL on the shelves to tell strangers in your home, for better or worse, who you ARE. Do you think this is a good thing? Bad? Discuss!

I am undecided on the ereader. I have tried and don't particularly like reading with them and yet I can still see the appeal. I think if I travelled for work much like I used to I would have said yes when my dad offered to get me a kindle for Christmas. They have their positive sides for new authors particularly with the way the book industry is going. I could go into more detail here but this isn't what this prompt is about.

This is actually one of the things I hate about ereaders and what worries me about books in the future. How can you share an ebook? Is that possible? I haven't looked into it enough to know if you can share. I have a group of friends I meet quite regularly. We aren't a book group. We meet to catch up, have some coffee and do a little shopping. We are all readers though and some of our tastes do match. Every time we get together one of us has a big bag of books and DVDs to lend out. It's almost become like a swap meet and we all love it. It's something we all look forward to very much. It's more of a social thing than a reading thing and I am sure there are others out there who do something similar. I hate the idea that this would no longer be possible in the future.

I also have a book group and we do the same thing. When we are picking books we usually bring physical copies of our suggestions along for people to see. Even if they aren't always picked they tend to be loaned out to others. Again with the rise in popularity of ereaders (there are only one or two of us who have them mind you) that would disappear. We also bring along books that we have talked about in the past to pass on.

How many of us readers out there check out a friends book case when visiting? You can't help it (thankfully all my friends are the same and so don't mind). It's the first thing I look at. How do they display their books? Do we have the same taste? How many of these have I read? Are there any authors in there I should take a note of? All of these things pass through my mind.

I personally think we will loose out on a lot if the world turned to just ereaders. The one thing I discovered from last weeks prompt is that we are all proud to be readers and display our books if we can. We want people to see what we read in the hopes that we find someone else to share that with. This would be lost, sharing with friends would be lost and we ourselves might miss out on a fantastic book because we haven't come across it. For these reasons it's a bad thing and it actually makes me a little sad.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Frequent Commenter Award - my first award!

Yay! My blog has won it's first award. This is from Gabriel Reads. Thank you Gabriel.

For this award I have now to pass it on to at least two others, recommend four books and recommend four blogs. I would have awarded pwb of curiosity killed by bookworm but she was also awarded this by Gabriel. So I am awarding it to Imaginary friends and Sally of Elifylop.

Four books I recommend;

1. One Day - David Nicholls
2. White Teeth - Zadie Smith
3. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
4. Jpod - Douglas Coupland

Four book blogs I recommend;

1. This Week At The Library.
2. Books I Done Read.
3. Curiosity Killed the Bookworm.
4. The Eye Of Loni's Storm.

Thanks again for the award Gabriel.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I'd like to see become movies.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers’ answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND fill out Mr. Linky . I If you can't come up with ten, don't worry about it---post as many as you can! This week is Top Ten Books you would love to see as Movies.

As a rule I hate movie and tv adaptations. They rarely do the book justice. Sometimes the book has been changed so much it's unrecognisable. I could probably list on one hand the number of films taken from books that I like (in other words I like it enough that I can ignore any changes - almost). In saying that I have a list on the condition that it is done properly!

1. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. This was one of my favourite books last year. There is just so much involved in it that I think it could translate to film well. Of course it is rather large so realistically huge chunks may have to be cut out. I would love to see it in film because of the history. The narrator works for artist Diego and has a friendship with his wife Frida Kahlo. He worked for Trotsky. He was in America during the depression and was caught up in the riots. Since he worked for Kahlo and Trotsky he was accused of being a communist and was in America when everyone was afraid of communism. Like I said quite a lot but I think if done properly it could translate well.

2. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. A teen book that doesn't glamourise the paranormal world that centres round the plot. In this book it's fairies and they aren't nice. They are scary and vicious and cold. They amuse themselves by playing pranks on humans who generally can't see them. The main character is one of the few who can yet she knows if she acknowledges it she's in trouble. The King of the fairies must make this character his Queen in order to gain control. It's not romantic it's dark and creepy. If this aspect of it is the main one in the film I think it could be a fantastic film

3. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. I cannot rave enough about this series of books. A skeleton detective who can do magic. A young sidekick learning the ropes. It's filled with snappy humour and magic and lots of action. Like Wicked Lovely it doesn't glamourise the paranormal. It's scary and dangerous. I think it would be difficult to translate mind you but if it was done properly it would make an AMAZING film.

4. Greg Mandal series by Peter F. Hamilton. I love science fiction books although I don't read them as much as I used to. A lot of the classics have already been turned into films. I think that some of my favourites would be just too difficult to change into movies. There would have to be so many changes that they would lose something. Like the Nights Dawn Trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton. I think it would be too easy for it to become a spoof. How can you take seriously Al Capone back from the dead and possessing a body (bet your laughing but in the book it does work). The Greg Mandal series is set in the same universe but quite a bit before. It's during the development of the technologies that are in the trilogy. They are more crime based sci fi and for this reason I think it could work.

5. Alone In Berlin by Hans Fallada. I think could make a fantastic film. They would need to get the fear of that era right. Particularly the fear of friends turning on each other. A middle aged couple who lose their son in the war and in their grief decide to rebel against the Nazi's. It's small and their fear is great but they feel it's a step they have to take. This would be a heartbreaking film, scary and I think could become a classic. I imagine that if this is done in the way it should be done it would be an award winner.

6. Hustle (also published as Spanish Fly) by Will Ferguson. Set during the great depression a young boy joins a couple of con artists and they con their way from town to town. This could be a funny and exciting film. No need for special effects. Just some good costumes, good setting and fantastic acting. This era is an interesting one and the book shows many different aspects of it. I think it could easily be translated to film.

7. Little Friend by Donna Tartt. Whilst my favourite book by Donna Tartt is actually "The Secret History" I think this one would make the better film. A little girl determined to find out who killed her brother when she was just a baby. Her eyes are set on a family who have been in and out of prison. Whilst they are up to something did they really kill him? Meanwhile her family life is far from ideal. Her mum retreats after the death of her son, the father abandons them and so she is brought up by the housekeeper, three great aunties and a tough grandmother who all prefer her spaced out sister. Harriet is a tough like her grandmother and despite the characters in the book not really getting her I liked her. It's quite a sad story. I think if told from Harriet's point of view it could make a good film.

8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Okay this is the second book I have chosen set in Nazi Germany and whilst I realise there are lots of these films out there the two that I have mentioned I believe would stand out. Liesal's parents have been taken away to a concentration camp and she is being looked after by a kind old couple. Liesal steals her first book during the funeral of her brother and it then becomes her coping mechanism. Another sad story but it also has the kindness of strangers, hope and friendship. I loved this book and cried many times reading it. The only thing that might cause problems is that the narrator is death.

9. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I picked this one because I have an obsession with this period at the moment and this was another of my favourite books last year. The book is set during the rise on Anne Boleyn and the fall of Cardinal Wolsey. It's from the point of view of Cromwell (which is in itself unusual) who is just an honest family man who is trying to do the best he can to help the King. I think the problem with this wouldn't be will it translate but would it gain enough interest. Unlike a lot of books it doesn't glamourise the era and so it might not garner enough interest when adapted into a film. If it was glamourised I know that I wouldn't want to see it as it wouldn't be true to the book.

10. Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire. I reviewed this not so long ago so I won't go into detail about the book. I would love to see this as a film because of it's historical aspects. For me it would have to play on the Italian setting and bring to the forefront Lucretia and her history (which the book does do). I think it could be done well so long as it stays true to the book which focuses on the period as well as the setting.

I did have another on the list but I have since changed my mind. I thought of the Charlie Parker series by John Connolly. The reason I changed my mind is that I think it would be better as a long running tv series instead. Some of the characters like Angel need more than a film to develop. Plus the connection between all the characters and then Charlie Parkers background needs more than that. I still think it could adapt well to the screen but a tv series would be better.

I have said all this but if any of these were adapted I would be nervous about it. Would need to wait and see what others think as I wouldn't want to taint some of my favourite books.

Monday 11 April 2011

Monday! What Are You Reading!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between! D This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! This is a meme from Book Journey.

Thanks to the readathon I have a fair list of what I read last week. It would have contained only one otherwise as I was reading a history book which I tend to read slower than fiction. So last week I read;

The Six Wives of Henry VIII - Antonia Fraser
I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie
The Body In the Library - Agatha Christie
Shiver - Maggie Striefvater.

My favourite one was the Henry VIII book. Sometimes with non fiction I feel the need to read fiction alongside it. Not so with this one. If you want drama you should really read up on this part of history (it's better than the fictionalised versions).

This week I plan on finally reading The Passage by Justin Cronin. Gabriel from Gabriel Reads put me in mind to reading it. I bought it the week it was released and it's been collecting dust since (that should surprise no one). Not sure I will get to read much else this week as I have a lot of other things on. If I do I am torn between my book group choice Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes and Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (I am swaying more towards John Kennedy Toole).

The Six Wives of Henry VIII - Antonia Fraser

It really is what it says on the tin. A history of the six wives of Henry VIII. Funnily enough it begins with Catherine of Aragon and her betrothal to Henry's brother, Arthur. It ends not with Catherine Parr (Henry's last wife) but with the death of Anna of Cleve's (Henry's fourth wife) who survived them all by about 10 years. This has been sitting on my tbr pile for about 6 months. I picked it up whilst reading a book on Mary Queen of Scots (also by Fraser).

A few weeks ago I watched the second season of the Tudors which is a guilty pleasure of mine. To wash away the dirty taint of guilt I decided to read this. It's well written and engaging. It's not one of those history books that seems like a chore to read. The focus is on his wives but much of Henry himself is in this book. You can't really talk about the wives without also talking about Henry. I read a book not that long ago about him (only a brief history) and I came away disgusted. It depicted him as a selfish spoiled brat of a man who is prone to tantrums when he doesn't get his own way. I still think he was those things but thanks to this book I also think he was more than that. I gained more sympathy for the man who lived in the shadow of his father. The bulk of the book is focused on his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Not surprising considering she moved to England to marry Arthur at age 15 then married Henry in her early twenties. They were then married for 24 years before Henry was able to have the marriage annulled and marry Anne Boleyn. His marriage to the rest of his wives total just over 10 years.

It also may surprise most people that much of that first marriage was a happy one. The reason for Henry's unhappiness was biology. The inability to produce a son. The need of an heir was an obsession for Henry (as I am sure it was for many monarchs during this time) and he blamed his wives for not producing one. The book is extremely sympathetic to the wives. Fraser is famous for this sympathy and I felt it was almost biased when reading "Mary Queen of Scots". In this case though she did show the faults of all the wives but still put them across as victims, which they were. As well as sympathy for the wives I felt very sorry for Mary and Elizabeth who were made illegitimate by their own father (despite him showing affection for them). There was even sympathy for Cromwell who is notoriously depicted as a vile character. Not so here, instead he is shown as a true servant of the King.

I could go on and recount everything about this book I found interesting. Needless to say I now want to read more on Mary, Elizabeth and Cromwell. I do have a book on Mary somewhere so after a break I think that will be my next non fiction book.

Sunday 10 April 2011

And it's done!

Goodbye readathon, it has been fun. I managed a total of 19hours reading with a few internet distractions (all readathon related). Not to bad for my first time. I also read four of my five books. I read a total of 1377 pages. I imagine I might have read that last book had I managed that extra five hours in the middle, maybe.

Things I learned;
* I do need a wee nap to break it up otherwise headaches will haunt me
* Poirot rocks
* facewipes and tea help
* I am over YA paranormal romance books.
* Readers make great people.
* check bread is okay beforehand
* more savory snacks than sweet.
* go with gut book wise. Really wanted to finish a history book I was reading for the end but instead read a book form my pile that I didn't enjoy in the end.

I am sure there are more but that's all I remember for now. It is 1pm and it feels like early hours of the morning. I will stay up though as I won't sleep tonight otherwise. More importantly I had fun doing this and I got to see some really cool blogs I might have missed out on otherwise.

I am not going to give a full review of the last book "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater. I think it's safe to say I didn't enjoy it. There was nothing wrong with the writing I just found it very boring. Yet another hint that maybe I should stop reading YA books (I know that won't happen though). There was nothing original about it. Boy is a werewolf and in love with a girl who isn't. A little bit more to it than that but not much more. I won't be reading the rest in the series.

Definitely going to take part in this again. I know a number of friends who might be interested too and if I can get my act together organising it then maybe we could raise some money for charity.

Big thanks to everyone who cheered me on. I did appreciate it.

Saturday 9 April 2011

Readathon #4

Hour 17 - I am definitely going for a nap now. 50 pages into Shiver and it's irritating me. Why must all arty mums be scatter brained?

Hour22 - I am awake again. I wouldn't say raring to go as I am still tired. However, I am picking up my book again for hours 22 to the end.

Hour24 - woo hoo, it's the last hour and I might actuall finish book number four. Meanwhile I am going to do the last mini challenge which is in the form of a survey

1. The last hour before my nap. My head hurt and I knew I wasn't going to stay awake much longer.
2. I think picking a couple of books from an easy but favourite series is a good idea. For me it was Agatha Christie and I think I will pick a couple more of those for next time.
3. no improvements.
4. I thought the mini challenges were a fantastic idea and whilst I didn't take part in all I still thought they were fun.
5. I have read three and might finish book 4.
6. Finished books - I Am Number Four, The Mysterious Affair at Styles and The Body In The
7. My favourite book was The Mysterious Affair at Styles
8. My least favourite is the one I am reading now, Shiver.
9. NA
10. I am definitely going to do this again. If I have the time I am going to get some friends involved and raise money for charity.

The Body In The Library - Agatha Christie

Colonel and Mrs Bantray wake up to their made crying that there is a body in the library. Thinking his maid has gone quite mad the Colonel goes (is sent) to investigate. Sure enough a young blond women is dead in their library. Mrs Bantray is excited as this sort of thing only happens in books and so calls up her friend Mrs Marple straight after the police are called. Turns out the girl is Ruby Keene, a dancer from nearby hotel. Mrs Bantray and Mrs Marple head out to investigate and discover that lots of people might want this girl dead but no one seems to have had the time to do it.

I was highly amused by just how excited Mrs Bantray was. Sure her husband is suspected of murder but she decides take advantage of it and have some good fun with her friend MissMarple. Not the sort of reaction you would expect. Sadly for a good chunk of the book after that it's mainly police investigation and not a lot of Miss Marple. Oh and by the way if I was Miss Marple I would be offended by the number of times she is described as a spinster. She has a spinster face and spinster clothes and I am sure there were other similar descriptions.

I don't know if it was down to being so tired but I quickly became bored of the story. There just wasn't enough of Miss Marple. And there certainly should have been more of Mrs Bantray whom I found very entertaining. I think what also spoiled it is that for the last half of the book I was sure I had seen the tv adaptation of it but could only remember blond hair and clipped nails. Wasn't until the end was revealed that I remembered I had seen it. Meant instead of trying to work out who the murderer was I was trying to rack my brains as to what else I could remember.

Readathon #3

Hour14 - I am flagging now. I am just over half way through my third book and it's the easiest one of the bunch (so far) and shortest. I would like to sleep now but know I must keep going. Keep thinking a wee nap might help but that wee nap will turn into 8 hrs.

Hour15 - Face wipes have helped a bit. About 2/3 of my way through book three. Definitely would have finished it by now normally.

Hour16 - Woo hoo! I have finished book 3. Took a lot longer than it should have done. I put it down to being so tired. I am reading for one more hour, cause it's a new book, and then I am NAPPING. Don't worry, I will set my alarm so I don't miss the rest of the readathon. Anyways, my next book is going to be "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater.

Midway Survey!

So we are into hour 12 and I am actually feeling okay. Must be all that diet pepsi and tea. Anyway, I thought I would take a break and do the midway survey that's hosted over at Dewey's Readathon.

1. Right now I am reading "The Body In The Library" by Agatha Christie.
2. So far I have managed to read two books. That's one more than I actually thought I would do.
3. Not really that excited about the rest of my books. Now that I have a taste for Christie I want more.
4. I didn't have to plan any holidays but I did tell friends I couldn't make plans today so I could take part.
5. My sister did send me messages earlier in the event. I explained what I was doing and she left me alone after that. I did think mind you that I was going to get a phone call from her tonight which I would have cut short (guiltily). Other than that the only interruprions have been mind doing things like this.
6. No real surprises about the readathon. What will surprise me is if I manage it. I do like the fact though that everyone is being so supportive of each other.
7. No improvements to the organisation of the readathon itself. I however, will ensure I have mold free bread so I can have the toast I was craving two hours ago. Will also organise some fundraising.
8. Oops, I kinda answered what I would do differently with number 7.
9. I am getting tired. I was getting tired 3 hours ago but keeping getting my wind back. Not sure how long that will last.
10. hmmm, the only tips I really have for other readers is ones that I have read myself already. Choose your books wisely. Short ones that you feel excited about and a mix of them too. I think if I really had picked all Christie I would be bored by now. Also break it up with visiting blogs, twitter and taking part in mini challenges. Or even doing something boring around this house. Just anything so you aren't straining your eyes.

The Mysterious Affair At Styles - Agatha Christie

Hastings is on leave from the war and bumps in to an old acquaintance, John Cavendish. All is not right at Styles Hall. John's mother has remarried and all are convinced that he is only after her money. Meanwhile John himself is tight for money and having to rely on his mother. Hi wife is acting strangely with a doctor famed for his knowledge of poisons. Brother Lawrence, a nervous young man, is also behaving rather strangely and good old companion, Evelyn, has walked out after telling Mrs Inglethorp exactly what she thinks of her new husband. All this comes to a head a few weeks into Hastings stay when poor Mrs Inglethorp is murdered in a seemingly locked room. Who could have done it? Luckily Hasting bumps into old friend Poirot who happily helps them out.

Have I mentioned before just how much I love Poirot? Yet I have read very few of these books. Something I must rectify. I loved all the cliche characters. The money grabbing husband, the money pinched sons, the young ward beholden to the mistress of the house and so many more. All these things appeal to me which is just as well as it's exactly what I got. Yet it was still a surprise for whilst I was admonishing Hastings for his stupidity I myself got it wrong.

I think if anyone wants to have a go at reading Christie (and I do recommend them as good old fashioned fun) then this is a good one to start with. It's Poirot's first case which was why I bought this one in the first place.

Readathon #2

Hour7 - So in hour six I finished my first book, reviewed it and had some dinner. Was nice to have a wee break. I am now 20 pages into "The Mysterious Affair At Styles" by Agatha Christie. Loving how different in style this is to the first book I read.

Hour9 - spent the last hour soaking in a bubble bath with my book. Would have been tempted with a glass of wine too if I didn't think I would want to sleep after. Struggling a bit on the tiredness front and it's only 9pm. Going to spend hour 9 in the kitchen with a cup of tea. Thanks for the idea JustJacF.

Hour11 - Had a cup of tea with my book during hour 9 and 10 and it did me the world of good. Finished another book.

I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore

Number Four is an alien hiding on earth. He and eight others like him escaped from his home world after Mogadorians destroyed their world. Only when they come of age will they be able to fight back and get back their home. Until then they are scattered round the Earth with a guardian each. The Mogadorians are hunting them down and must kill them in order. Three are dead and number four is next.

A good premise I thought. Started with number 4 (I am going to call him John from now on) and his guardian Henri on the move again. They find a new town and this time John stops blending in as he has done so many times in the past. This of course brings him unwanted attention. I got a little bored with it in the middle. John decides to stand up to bullies, falls in love and makes friends. Something happens that gets him noticed so Henri wants them to leave. Of course John doesn't. Hardly original at this point.

The inevitable happens and this is where it gets good. Lots of questions are answered and of course there is the fight scene. Lots of questions are also left unanswered just in time for the second book.

I did like it but it wasn't quite as good as I was expecting it to be. If I am honest I preferred the first Percy Jackson book by Rick Riordon. Will still read the sequel as I am dying to get some of those answers.

Readathon #1

So it's the start of the readathon in half an hour. I have my snacks, my diet coke and I am going to begin with "I am Number Four". In terms of updates I am just going to edit this post. Seems easier than having a new blog post every hour. I'll also be on twitter. When/if I finish a book I will post a review and start a new readathon post (which is why I am numbering them).

Some questions from Dewey's Read-a-thon

1)Where are you reading from today? My bedroom. Will possibly move to the kitchen and then living room at some point.

2)Three random facts about me… I am a knitter, sci fi fan and wish I was tallker

3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? 5 but doubtful as to how much I will finish

4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? Not really but if I manage it then I plan on doing it for charity next time.

5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time? I'm a newbie and so far have got lots of good advice from veterans.

Hour3 - About 1/3 of the way through my book. Enjoying it so far but am easily distracted by the internet, lol. Think for the rest of hour three I am going to make some tea and move to sit in the kitchen (laptop, mobil and iPad staying up here).

Hour5 - Think I may finish the book this hour!

Friday 8 April 2011

My Readathon Books

I finally decided on five books for the readathon. "I Am Number Four" is the only one which hasn't been sitting on my shelf collecting dust for the last two years. It's also the first one I plan on reading as I have been dying to do so since I saw a review of it in SFX over a year ago. Yes, I know I can't have been dying that much. A friend recently recommended it (although she warned me not to go see the film) and so I purchased it a few weeks ago.

I went through a very small Agatha Christie phase. I read some of her short stories and decided to read some of her others. I picked up these two in a sale and they have been sitting there ever since. I have been meaning to get round to reading them as I do have a soft spot for Poirot. My mum watches all the tv adaptations and I remember watching them with her. For some reason Poirot appealed to me more than Miss Marple did.

"The Wind Singer" and "Shiver" were recommendations from my friend the children's reader. I haven't been in the mood to read children's books lately (much to the disgust of my friend) which is why they have been collecting dust. I have to confess I have given a few children's books away that I knew I wasn't going to read. For some reason these two didn't make the cull.

Not sure I will read all of them as I do tend to read slow when I am tired. If I do miraculously finish them and I have time to spare I have another YA book in the pile.

Oh, and the readathon starts at 12pm GMT which means I start reading at 1pm. Not bad. Was worried I was going to have to get up at crazy o'clock.

Thursday 7 April 2011

Booking Through Thursday

So … the books that you own (however many there may be) … do you display them proudly right there in plain sight for all the world to see? (At least the world that comes into your living room.) Or do you keep them tucked away in your office or bedroom or library or closet or someplace less “public?”

I wish I had the space to display my books properly. I would love nothing better than to sit and rearrange them. It's the geek in me (or anal retentive depending on how you look at it). I have thought about how I would display them when I do have the space (my ultimate goal). First of all I have so many they will need a room to themselves. Would I alphabetise them a-z by author? Or would I split them into genre and then alphabetise? I have a pile of precious signed books, would I keep them separate? Would I keep my craft books (of which I have over 60) separate? I can't decide. I would probably play about with them and change it several times before I am happy. I have a friend who has floor to ceiling bookcases round two walls of her living room and they are displayed in alpha order. I would have thought it would make her living room cluttered but it doesn't. I must have sat admiring them for a good twenty minutes. My books are piled everywhere. My bookcases are doubled up. I have one space especially for my signed and limited edition books and that's full. I have stacks in wardrobes, piled up anywhere out the road. They are tidy and in some kind of order and done in a way so that the house doesn't look cluttered and the books won't be damaged. Every so often I do a cull but there are some books I just can't part with.

If you love book displays you should go to a website called Bookshelf Porn. It's not how it sounds. There are some amazing photo's of different ways books are displayed. One of my favourites at the moment (which seems to be fairly popular just now) is to display them in order of colour. Looks quite effective. The image below isn't the best I've seen but it gives you the idea (was also taken from the above website). Honestly, go check it out.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

This weeks top ten is book covers we would like to redesign. I actually found this very difficult despite the many rants I have had with friends over book covers. I am a firm believer that publishers should hire a bookseller or two to teach them that covers sell books as much as names do. Anyway, before I give you my list I'd like to add that it is rare for an author to get any say in their cover desing unless of course they are self published. I actually only know of one and he was already famous for being an artist before he became published. Maybe why he was allowed to insist he did the art work for his own covers.

1. New York by Edward Rutherfurd. I love the book but hate the cover. A New York skyline makes sense considering the subject. It also doesn't look too bad from the photo. However, how many of us can safely say they have seen much more inspiring images of the New York? Plus what this photo doesn't tell you that it is cheaply made. Designed for a mass market book. All his books are mass market and I have no idea why. Actually, I do. They are rather large and so it's obviously cheaper to have them bound this way. Whilst it doesn't spoil my enjoyment of the book itself it makes me sad as I wonder how many people passed it by like I almost did.

2. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. As a rule I don't mind children's covers. A lot of them are starting to look the same thanks to popularisation of certain themes. A few years ago that may have bothered me but I actually only read them now when my friend encourages (insists) that I do. I picked this one up because of the film (which I haven't seen) and then it took me months to get round to reading it. I loved the book and I am now reluctant to see the film. I digress, I don't hate the cover design itself. I don't love it either. It is though an example of one of those glossy books that peal easily. This irritates me. Book shops tend to have insist that the people making their promotional stickers use and adhesive that isn't going to damage the books. With this type of glossy book it makes no difference. The gloss will come away with the sticker and you are left with a matt patch in one corner. It's frustrating because there are glossy covers out there that don't do it.

3. Wicked by Gregory Maguire. This is the cover I have and I love it. I think most people who read it after the musical came out will be more familiar with the green and black cover design. Now I don't hate the new one. I just prefer this one. I love the simplicity of it and the fact that the illustration looks like it was done with a printing block. I hate it when a publisher takes a perfectly lovely cover and changes it to suit the growing popularity of the title. Incidentally, most of these books had similar covers originally. I just think this looks more hand crafted.

4. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. I know I said that I usually don't mind children's covers yet I have another one here. Actually, once again I don't completely dislike this cover. I just have cover envy. This is one of those rare occasions that I prefer the US edition over the UK. I follow Westerfeld on twitter and so saw the cover months before it was released. You have no idea how disappointed I was when I saw this one. Thankfully, I was going on holiday to the US that year and so it went to the top of my book buying list. So I am now a proud owner of the edition that I wanted in the first place. Had I not been on that holiday I know I could have ordered it online but not sure I would have bothered. Oh, and yes, I've still not read it.

5. Film Tie-Ins. Warning rant ahead. I HATE them. That goes for tv tie ins too. They tend to be more cheaply made. Usually they just us the image of the film poster (how original of them) or the faces of the actors. It irritates me no end. I have been known to want to read a book because the film adaptation looks good. I refuse though to buy the ugly film version. It's a blot on my bookcase. I actually don't know anyone who likes them. Not only that, with the case of I, Robot some poor soul might actually think that the book is like the film and not realise it sucked all the goodness out of the book before filling it with special effects and product placement.

6. SF and Fantasy Masterworks. I'm not sure when this series was first published. I do remember the bookshop have lots of them and I would always pick up one or two when I was in. I discovered many a favourite author through them. The covers weren't exactly artistically done. In fact they looked very 80's in some cases. I loved the fact that the publisher had put this large collection together though and I did want to collect many of them. I think they are hard to get now. If I could I would have them released again as a series but with up to date striking covers.

7. Under the Dome by Stephen King. I actually don't like the hardback edition or these paperbacks. With the hardback I couldn't get the Simpsons movie out of my head. Actually, reading the book I couldn't get the Simpsons movie out of my head. These jackets are so unlike King though. I honestly thought when I first saw them that they were the cover of a Jodi Piccoult book or something similar. I really did do a double take when the name registered. I just don't think the covers suit the book.

8. The umpteenth new jacket in so many months. It is just money grabbing. The book industry is suffering just now and it's the YA market which is keeping some publishers above that red line. So they try to make the most out of it. Seriously though. How many editions of the twilight books do they need to release. There is the first lot, the hardback box set, the limited boxed editions of each book, the black with the red pages, the film covers and now the white with the red covers. I remember seeing it on twitter before they come out and I jokingly asked if they were going to bring white sparkly editions out next. Sadly the publisher thought I was serious and I didn't have the heart to tell them it was sarcasm. It's almost like they are taking advantage of young teenagers who will want all these collections of the same books. It's also a little sad that the publishers are putting all their money into this one book series instead of trying to find the next big thing.

9. Genre jackets. Have you noticed that most genres are filled with mass markets with poor covers? You walk into fiction or even the children's department and you will find that these mass market books are a rarity even amongs new author. Crime in particular is the highest selling type of book. Yet publishers put no money into their covers (or so it seems) or books. The only time they do is when they decide to rejacket them to encourage a wider market (I am thinking of the John Connolly books which were rejacketed to encourage more women to buy them). I'm not saying that every book deserves to have a little more care with their cover design but it would be nice if more of an effort was made. Especially with the books that are supposed to be classics. There are lots of authors who are revered for their classic sci fi titles and yet their books have horrendous cheaply made covers.

I am afraid I don't have another. I could rant about some of the non fiction covers but none specifically spring to mind.

EDIT: I finally came up with a tenth!

I don't hate the cover. It does have the handsome Rett Butler on it after all. I would just love to see it updated though. I would be very interested to see what an artist would come up with. I loved the book. I think I read it because it was on a book list years ago and I didn't expect to like it. Thought it was going to be a trumped up romance novel which it wasn't.