The Long and the Short of It – New Challenges to Beat the Rut!

Hello my effulgent, ethereal Bookbaggers!

Recently I divulged a deep dark secret to you all about my book polygamy – books and I are (or were) in a rut and it was going to take some work to pull out of it. I also gave you a teaser about a possible challenge (or as it turns out challenges!) which I hoped would facilitate healing the rift a little. Perhaps just talking about the rut helped because that afternoon I finished the last story in Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody and it was so good and left me with such hope for my bookish relationship that I jumped right into a challenge before I had even worked out the rules!

In all fairness, I have been mulling over (*cough*procrastinating*cough*) two possible challenges for a while, one which would help me get back into the two titans on my reading pile – The Sending by Isobelle Carmody and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini – and one which would address the collections of short stories I often neglect, and get me onto a few short books/novellas that have been highly recommended to me. All I had worked out so far was that collectively I had over 1000 pages left in The Sending and Brisingr, I wanted to try to read one short story a week, and I wanted to throw out my usual method of choosing books and pick a book under 200 when I next finished one.

I had already established that I had three books on various TBR piles which were under 200 pages – Highrise by J G Ballard, which Sarah has wanted me to read forever; A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, which I have been meaning to read for years; and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson which my workmate Scott proclaimed essential reading – and then I discovered that one of my library books – The Game by Diana Wynne Jones - was also part of the under-200 club, which of course I was tickled pink about because that meant I had a candidate from each pile (Highrise being on the Borrowed-From-Others pile since Sarah lent it to me; A Clockwork Orange on the Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read pile; and I Am Legend on a second pile I have made of my own unread books since the old one was getting too tall, which I’m just calling the New-Books-Bought pile)!

I decided right then and there that I was starting the challenge so I collected the contenders, separated their names out of the Jar-Of-Choosing and picked a slip at random.

The four contenders eagerly waiting to be chosen

The four contenders eagerly waiting to be chosen

The book picked was The Game, which I thought nicely fitting as Metro Winds was also a library book and I was pretty certain it would also do it’s job of rut-breaking because A. It’s not only short, but is technically a children’s book so simple in language and structure, the literary equivalent of wearing training wheels; B. The blurb and cover are quite alluring; and C. Diana Wynne Jones. I was completely right as I zipped through The Game in two sittings (would’ve been one if I hadn’t started it on the way to work) and was all inspired to get to another short read!

This time I asked my mum if she could pick one of the three remaining slips (as she didn’t know what the colours meant she would be completely impartial) and lo and behold she chose Highrise :D I started it yesterday on the way home from work and 30-odd pages in I’m already intrigued and from what Sarah has told me I should ready myself for a disturbing ride :) (pretty sure putting a smiley face after that means I’m about 10% psychopath)

As I’m already onto the second book in the challenge let’s make it official:

Short and Sweet challenge badge

And these are the rules I’ve scrounged up:

  1. Whenever a book is finished choose from the nominated contenders with under 200 pages
  2. Continue until all books under 200 pages are finished
  3. In addition, read at least 1 short story a week (currently from The Living Dead anthology)
  4. Update progress once a week

As I said above the contenders (that is the ones left :P ) are:

a clockwork orange

Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

i am legend

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

If I discover any others in the under-200 club lurking on my bookshelf or piles, I’ll add them to the list :)

As for the challenge to rekindle my romance with The Sending and Brisingr:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badge

The rules I’ve set myself for this challenge are:

  1. Read at least 50 pages of The Sending and/or Brisingr each week
  2. I will try to read at least 1 chapter from each book, but failing that at least a few pages of one and the rest from the other – basically I want to read a bit of both every week not just the 50 pages from one while the other is neglected
  3. The challenge will end when I’ve finished both books… since collectively they have 1065 pages left, if I keep to my quota it’ll take me about 22 weeks (which considering I love the number 22, is pretty neat-o :) )
  4. I’ll do an update once a week along with my progress in Short and Sweet 

As with past challenges you are welcome to join me and tweak the challenge in whatever way works for you, and feel free to nab the challenge badges to use on your blog/site/face/whatever.

Stay tuned for an update in my progress, but probably not next week as I will be enjoying my short Easter break, a mixture of fun (friends from Sydney are visiting and I’m going to Swancon) and stuff I’m trying to fit into office hours while I’m off work (dentist, nutritionist, and exercise physiologist appointments). In fact, even though I’ve jumped the gun with one of the challenges I hear by officially start them on Monday the 21st and will do my first update the Monday after (or at least some time that week :P )

On that note, I bid you farewell for the moment Bookbaggers and leave you with a gif of ferrets stealing shit, coz why not? :P

ferrets stealing stuff

Book Polygamist Marriage Difficulties; or My Affair with Graphic Novels

My polygamist relationship with books is in a rut. This has happened before and we have gotten through it. My loyal spouses have forgiven dalliances with a series of flashy, superficial harlots (mostly from the realms of TV and portable gaming, Pokemon being a reoccurring tryst) as they know that I will eventually grow bored and come crawling back, but my recent indiscretions hit a bit close to home. While the same five books have remained at my side since last year, or very early January, my eye has been wandering and my tastes have taken a graphic turn…graphic novels that is. Since finishing Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger on the 4th of January, I have enjoyed seventeen graphic novel or comic mistresses and until recently my traditional books have been barely touched.

It’s not their fault of course. In my less proud moments I may have blamed my infidelity on the size of both The Sending by Isobelle Carmody and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, but that’s pretty hypocritical considering I’m “plus-size” myself. I’ve also found myself judging two of the others – The Living Dead by Various and Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody - for almost the opposite failing as they’re anthologies of short fiction, a genre I am notoriously bad at neglecting. And lastly my treatment of one of my beloveds, Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, is bordering on abuse as not only have I been cruelly ignoring it, but it has also been rolling around in my handbag for a while, receiving bent corners, scuffed pages and a sad curling of the cover design.

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And what have I been doing whilst my steadfast books have been collecting dust or taking endless trips in a bottomless pit of whatever-the-hell-women-chuck-in-their-handbags (am I right gents?)? Parading past an almost endless array of beautiful, glamorous, flawless graphic novels which smugly sit atop the pile of books, likely taunting them while I caress their glossy pages.

While I don’t want to end my graphic novel affair, guilt and a longing for pages covered in text has drawn me back to my loyal novels. Guards! Guards! has been lovingly extracted from the receptacle I call “The Red TARDIS” to rest once more atop the pile in safety, and I have once again turned my attention onto it’s Discworld tale of dragons, magic and incompetent policing. Metro Winds and The Living Dead have both been revisited, and with renewed fervour for Isobelle Carmody’s short story game, the former is almost complete. I am yet to embrace The Sending and Brisingr once more, but methinks a mini-break over Easter will rekindle our romance.

While I did feel bad about my book snubbing, I have to say a quick word about the graphic novels that have distracted me. During my somewhat boring and highly budgeted Christmas/New Years break, and then into the first months of the work year where I faced a complete change in location, responsibilities and staffing around me, graphic novels were there for me with their exciting visuals, quickly engaging stories and a healthy dash of humor. If I didn’t have them I would probably not have read at all, which in my mind is a worse reading rut, so for that they deserve some credit.

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As a further step toward renewed marital bliss I’m also planning to embark on my first challenge of 2014. At the moment I’m still working out reasonable goals and the like, but I will say that it will involves my two large tomes (The Sending and Brisingr) as well as at least one book of short stories (The Living Dead on its lonesome probably as Metro Winds is one short story from the end and will likely be finished before the end of the week) and future candidates that are under 200 pages. I hope to finalise how the challenge will go and post about it next week, before I have a short break over Easter :)

I hope my little polygamist confession struck a cord with some of my Bookbaggers. While I can’t imagine sticking to only one book at a time, sometimes my reading habits cause lulls as well as peak periods. As a community I think book-lovers can drift over into judgemental territory on occasion, proclaiming someone “not a true book-lover” if they don’t read in a certain way; or only read certain genres; or enjoy other formats such as film, television and gaming; or just go through a time where they’re not reading. I don’t think it’s my place to judge them back, but in my mind the fantastic world of books would be more welcoming if we all excepted that we’re different and that even if you take the good part of a year to finish one book; or choose to only read romance novels; or abandon that best-seller for a bit to binge-watch Game of Thrones; or take a break from reading altogether to recharge your waning enthusiasm – we’re still readers and that’s just fantastic :)

On that note, I’m going old school again:

happy reading! (…or not – i’m not judging :p)

The 2013 Book Polygamist Awards!

Welcome Ladies, Gentlemen and super-intelligent cats who secretly surf the web while their owner is at work, to the 3rd Annual Book Polygamist Awards!

Since 2011 the Awards have been publicly aired on my humble little blog, rather than the bottomless pit of Facebook, or the relative privacy of my book journal, and as long as Book Polygamist sticks around each year I will share my quirky Awards with you, my precious few Bookbaggers :)

Like last year and the year before the Awards will be broken up into two categories: the Annual Awards, which are the same each year, and the Special Awards, which change with the calibre of books read and any patterns I notice.

This year, since I read more comics/graphic novels than ever before there will be some Awards specifically for the format i.e. Best Inside Art.

So without further ado I present: The 2013 Book Polygamist Awards!!!

Annual Awards

Shortest Read (Book):

the-amber-amuletThe Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey - approximately 1 hour

Honorable Mentions:

The Tiny Wife by  Andrew Kaufman - approximately 2 hours

Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen - 6 days

Longest Read:

Tales of mystery and imaginationTales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe - 1 year, 1 month and 1 day!!!

Honorable Mentions:

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller - 43 weeks, 6 days!!

Kraken by China Miéville - 30 weeks, 3 days!

Most Books/Graphic Novels Read by a Single Author:

Gaiman,_Neil_(2007) Neil Gaiman - 2 books (Anansi Boys and Neverwhere) and 6 Graphic Novels (The Sandman Vol # 1, #2, #3 and # 4; Death: The High Cost of Living; and The Books of Magic)

Honorable Mentions:

Stacia Kane – 5 (Unholy Ghosts; Unholy Magic; City of Ghosts; Sacrificial Magic; Chasing Magic)

Gail Carriger – 5 (Changeless; Blameless; Heartless; Soulless Vol #1; Etiquette and Espionage)

Best “New” Author Award:

Every year I try to discover authors I’ve never read before (in addition to my old favourites and follow-ups to “new” authors from previous years) and then I compile a list of ones I want to read more from, and pick one from the bunch that’s the stand-out. It’s always a tricky process because I find so many great authors that are new to me, but usually I just weigh-up the impact they made on me with the amount of work they have that I can continue on with, plus take into account how new they are to writing, and how unknown they were to me (and sometimes others) before I discovered their work. In the case of the winner for this year I had never heard of them before picking up the first book, and since then their series was one of the highlights of my reading year and has become a bit of an obsession for me and my best friend, Sarah :)

stacia kaneStacia Kane (Unholy GhostsUnholy MagicCity of GhostsSacrificial MagicChasing Magic)

Honorable Mentions:

 China Miéville (Kraken)

 Max Brooks (World War Z)

 Jasper Fforde (Shades of Grey)

Special Awards

The Best End to a Series Award:

house of many waysHouse of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

Honorable Mention:

chasing magicChasing Magic by Stacia Kane

This is a cheeky honorable mention because it’s not actually the end of the series, but at the time of reading it I did think it was the end, and it was a fucking awesome end! Lucky for me and Sarah the next book is due to be published at some point :D

The Best Start to a Series Award:

shadesofgreyShades of Grey (Shades of Grey Book 1) by Jasper Fforde

Honorable Mentions:

Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen

The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman (writer), Sam Kieth (penciler),Malcolm Jones III (inker), Robbie Busch (colourist), Todd Klein (letterer)

 FreakAngels #1 by Warren Ellis (writer) and Paul Duffield (artist)

The Longest and Strangest Title Award:

BookofHumanInsectsThe Book of Human Insects by Osamu Tezuka

Honorable Mention:

Ball Peen Hammer by Adam Rapp  (author) and George O’Connor (artist)

The Tick That Off The Bucket List Award:

catch22Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

in 2013 I continued the accidental tradition of reading a book from my Top 10 Classics I Want to Read list – in accidental order and all! – which definitely deserved another award! To continue this tradition I will have to read The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger this year so I better locate it quick smart :P

The My Brain Hurts But I Love It! Award:

kraken-by-china-mieville-UKKraken by China Miéville

As I said in my Top 10 Books I Read in 2013 list, this book was the literary equivalent of taking a trip and at times the language and sheer craziness of the world hurt my brain, but I loved every second of it! :P

Honorable Mentions:

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Best Cover Art (Book):

the-tiny-wifeThe Tiny Wife by  Andrew Kaufman

Honorable Mentions:

shadesofgreyShades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Neverwhere (1)Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

kraken-by-china-mieville-UKKraken by China Miéville

the-amber-amuletThe Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey

Best Cover Art (Graphic Novel):

willow wonderlandBuffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow – Wonderland 
by Jeff ParkerChristos N. Gage (writers) Brian Ching (penciler), Jason Gorder (inker),
Michelle Madsen (colourist), David Mack (cover artist), and Joss Whedon (executive producer)

Honorable Mentions:

persepolis coverPersepolis by Marjane Satrapi

the unwritten vol 1The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (The Unwritten, Volume # 1) by Mike Carey (writer), Peter Gross (artist), Chris Chuckry and Jeanne McGee(colourists) and Todd Klein (letterer)

BallPeenHammer_COVER_300rgb(1)Ball Peen Hammer by Adam Rapp  (author) and George O’Connor (artist)

buffy talesBuffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales by Joss WhedonJane Espenson,  Becky Cloonan (writers)
Tim Sale,Doug PetrieLeinil Francis YuGene Colan and others (artists)

Best Inside Art (Graphic Novel):

buffy talesBuffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales by Joss WhedonJane Espenson,  Becky Cloonan (writers)
Tim Sale,Doug PetrieLeinil Francis YuGene Colan and others (artists)

This is a bit of a cop-out as this anthology contains a whole bunch of amazing artists making it the easy choice, but with such diverse art from story to story this was a clear winner. Below is an example of some of my favourite art styles for you to ogle :P

Buffy tales art

Honorable Mentions:

Zombies Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Jim McCann (writers), David Baldeon (penciller), and Jordi Tarragona (inker)

Star Trek TNG: Hive by Brannon Braga (story) and Joe Corroney (art)

Most Fun Challenge:

comiccompanions-badge

While I set myself some great challenges last year, I had to choose Comic Companions as the best as it led me to read so many amazing comics and graphic novels! This year I’m not continuing this challenge but I’ve decided the graphic novels pile is just as important as the others so I’ve been going through the same process in reading them – when I finish one I pick another from the pile (or rather a random green piece of paper from my book-choosing jar so I don’t have to choose which wonderful graphic novel I want to read next – I’m chance’s bitch instead :) )

Best Book Chosen for Old Books October:

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

guards guardsI haven’t actually finished Guards! Guards! since I’ve been pretty slack with reading this year, and I got distracted with other books and comics at the end of last year, so I’ve been reading this very funny Discworld novel for a while, but every time I do read a bit its highly entertaining! Plus the other book I chose for Old Books October is Brisingr by Christopher Paolini which I have been even more slack with, so this was a no-brainer :P

Best Graphic Novel Chosen for Old Books October:

The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman (writer), Kelley JonesMalcolm Jones IIIMike DringenbergMatt WagnerP. Craig Russell,George PrattDick Giordano (artists), Daniel VozzoSteve Oliff (colourists), and Todd Klein (letterer)

sandman4

Best Book Chosen for New Books November:

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

shadesofgrey

Best Graphic Novel Chosen for New Books November:

 FreakAngels #1 by Warren Ellis (writer) and Paul Duffield (artist)

freak angels vol 1

2013 was a really interesting year for me, both in my reading life and personal/professional life, and I certainly have some good memories from it. I hope all my Bookbaggers also had an excellent year with a bevy of brilliant books (gosh I love alliteration :P) and tons of good memories, and that your 2014 is just as fruitful :)

Top 10 Books I Read in 2013

1. Catch 22 by Joseph Hellercatch22

This was the first book that came to mind when compiling my top books of the year, firstly because I read it for a decent chunk of the year, from mid-January to mid-November, secondly because it was part of my War & Pages challenge, and thirdly because it really was a memorable and affecting book. If you’ve always wanted to read Catch 22, don’t let my slowpokeishness (yes that’s a word now) deter you – sometimes I just take ages reading a certain book, and it has nothing to do with the quality of writing or my enjoyment of it. I recently lent it to my 17-year-old brother whose been in a bit of a reading rut, and he’s zipped through it in a couple of weeks. Granted, he’s out of high-school now and looking for a job so he has some time on his hands, but if a teenage boy who is somewhat out of practice with regular reading can breeze through it, it is possible :) Recommended to people who like war stories but think they don’t address the absurdity of war enough.

2. Kraken by China Miévillekraken-by-china-mieville-UK

This is another book that I read for ages – from  mid-January again to mid-August, because every time I read a bit it was the literary equivalent of a hallucination and I needed a moment for it to sink in. Not only was it a wonderfully bizarre premise – when a giant, preserved squid inexplicably disappears from the Museum of Natural History the young scientist who preserved it in the first place is thrust into an alternative, hidden facet of London with countless cults, magic-working cops, and terrifying baddies with unfathomable abilities – but Miéville has such a unique writing style with fantastical word combos and evocative metaphors (check out the Notable Quotables from Kraken to see what I mean). This one may not be for everyone, but if like me you enjoy books that are a little different (or a lot different!) and a good brain-twister then give Kraken a go. You cannot resist the Kraken! :P

3. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaimananansi boys

This was the first Neil Gaiman title I read last year, in March, and as with every Gaiman book I’d read previously (Good Omens; Coraline; Stardust and American Gods) it instantly became my favourite…until the next one :P The thing that stood Anansi Boys apart from the others I’d read was it was so funny in a witty, quirky sort of way that I’ve now come to associate with Gaiman, along with his themes of modern mythology, Gods masquerading as everyday people and family relationships. For people who have never read Gaiman, this would be an excellent starting point.

4. World War Z by Max Brooks

world-war-z-book-coverThis was the other book in my War & Pages challenge but that was not the only reason it was a highlight this year. It was, without question the smartest, most realistic, and most chilling zombie book I have ever read, and creepily true to what would likely happen if we were to face a zombie epidemic. On top of that it was a novel that crossed genres in an unexpected way. Yes, it was a zombie book so lumped in with horror and the like, but there were so many moments where it was more like a war-time drama and the zombies just replaced the traditional foes. Also because it was a series of personal accounts that wove together to get the big picture of each stage of the war, it was quite similar to an anthology, but a clever one where all the stories are connected. I would recommend this even to people who aren’t normally fans of the zombie genre, but if the undead interest you this is a must-read!

5. Neverwhere by Neil Gaimanneverwhere

As my comment above with Anansi Boys would suggest, Neverwhere instantly rose to the top of the Neil Gaiman pyramid in my eyes once I started it, and the next one will have to be pretty fantastic to take its place. This book had so many elements that have made Neil Gaiman break into my list of favourite authors in the last few years – humor, heart, glorious descriptions, an immersive world with so many unexpected and interesting details, and a true modern fairytale sort of storyline – but it also reminded me of one of my other top reads of the year, Kraken, in that it was about a hidden London. I would recommend Neverwhere to pretty much anyone with even the slightest interest in urban fantasy, and in fact I have already put my best friend Sarah onto it (she loved it too so huzzah!) and my brother, who read the graphic novel adaptation since I don’t own the book and will likely read the original when he can.

6. House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

house of many waysI have talked before about how much I enjoyed the first two books in the Howl/Castle series, and this third and final installment was no different, in fact this would have to be my favourite, which I never expected as Howl’s Moving Castle was so wonderful and the first in the series often outshines the rest. Every moment of this book was a delight, and it quickly became like an old friend that I was happy to see every day after work. While I’m sad that there are no more books in the series I am sure I will find other Diana Wynne Jones books just as magical and I also want to add the Howl/Castle series to my collection so I can revisit them over the years :) I would definitely recommend this for older children, young adults and adults who need a bit of magic and laughter in their life.

7. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

shadesofgreyThis fantastic book I read near the end of the year (over about a week in December, just after the start of my holidays) and in fact, I haven’t even talked about it on here yet, except for  a couple of Notable QuotablesShades of Grey is one of those books that has such a fascinating and odd world (one in which colours are a precious commodity and you are categorised by what area of the colour wheel you can see) that you are instantly drawn in by all the little mysteries and the sheer oddity of things which are perfectly commonplace to the characters. I became so caught up while reading it that it was pretty much all I could talk about, and when I wasn’t reading it (which wasn’t often) my mind was turning things over trying to puzzle them out. It was also one of those books that I wanted to just read, but I was enjoying it so much that I started to ration it so it wouldn’t be over so fast. Luckily, when I got to the end with a multitude of questions, old and new, still buzzing around my head, I saw that it was the first in a trilogy. Unluckily, despite it being published in 2010 the sequel isn’t expected until about 2015 as Jasper Fforde has been writing up a storm in multiple other series. So really that’s a bit of a lucky point too, because even though I have a bit of a wait, there is heaps of his work out there that I can turn to, plus he has a fabulous website with a page dedicated to Shades of Grey. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a sort-of dystopian story which is clever and has a lot of humor.

8. The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

the thief of always

Thief of Always was a bit of a backwards step for me, as I have read a fair amount of Barker before, but pretty much all of it was very adult and quite lengthy, while this is a short children’s book complete with illustrations on some pages. Sarah had recommended it to me for years as it was her first trip into the mind of Barker, so when I bought it at an op-shop I put it on my pile, and as fate would have it, it got picked in January of last year. At first it was odd to be reading a Barker book which didn’t instantly disturb me with his unique brand of creepy (mainly gore and violence mixed in with sexual depravity), but despite the PG rating I quickly discovered that this was just as creepy as his other works, just in a different way. This story got to the heart of childhood fear and once I started it was like I was transported back to that time, and imagining myself at the age of the characters if I were in their position. Plus, maybe because it’s a kids book the story was like a twisted fairy tale, which I always love and unlike many Barker novels, it got to have a happy ending. I would recommend this book to kids and young adults as a perfect entrance into the realm of Clive Barker.

9. The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey

the-amber-amulet

It’s probably no surprise that a Craig Silvey book would be on my Top 10 as his two previous novels are at the top of my Top 10 Books of All Time (which may have changed slightly since writing it, but not for the Craig Silvey books :P) but The Amber Amulet was very different. Firstly, it was originally a short story featured in 10 short stories you must read in 2010, a free anthology given out when you bought a book from Get Reading’s “50 Books You Can’t Put Down” campaign. Itthen got turned into a play toured by the Barking Gecko Theatre Company in 2012, then a short film airing at the Sydney Film Festival in 2012 where it won the Crystal Bear for Best Short. It’s 4th incarnation was this lovely little book filled with drawings, clippings and diagrams to make a beautiful hybrid of children’s literature, short adult fiction and graphic novel which pulls at the heart-strings, makes you think and also makes you giggle. I have already passed this on to several people and I would highly recommend it as a starting point to Craig Silvey’s unique storytelling.

10. The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufmanthe-tiny-wife

I read this around the same time as The Amber Amulet (in fact since they’re so short I think I read them both one lazy afternoon) and it made as much of an impact on me, if not more. A fascinating modern fable, The Tiny Wife starts with a bank robbery in which the thief takes one item of sentimental value from each person present rather than a bundle of cash. Following the event all the people he stole from start to experience highly unusual changes to their lives, some positive, some negative and some in a weird place in-between, including a woman who slowly shrinks each day, hence the title. This book left me with an odd mix of emotions as it was partly uplifting, quite horrifying in parts and overall pretty ridiculous but in a surprisingly believable way. I would recommend this to people who loved fairy tales as a kid, but are looking for something a bit more gritty, plus lovers of short but memorable reads.

Well there you have it – the Top 10 Books I Read in 2013 (finally!). The comics/graphic novels list will be up as soon as possible followed by The 2013 Book Polygamist Awards! :D

I’d love to know the best books you guys read last year too, so share away in the comments, especially if you’ve got a link to your own post, and until next time:

Happy Reading!

Challenge Update # 18 – Week 7 of War & Pages + A Wrap-Up of Old Books October and More

Hello again my magical, mysterious Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the belated 7th update of  War & Pages + a little wrap-up of Old Books October since New Books November has officially begun, and news about a couple of new books I got that won’t be part of New Books November, but are still exciting :)

war &  pages challenge badge

Last week (or the week before last now!) was a good week for this challenge! I read Catch 22 a few times over the week and surpassed my quota:

Catch 22:

catch22

70 pages (4 chapters)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

70 pages

I’m pleased I read 20 pages over my target since I didn’t quite make it last week and it’s getting really interesting (in a surreal and funny way) as I near the end :) 

Old Books October challenge badge

There’s not much to say about Old Books October at its close but I thought it deserved a proper send-off, so here’s the highlights:

  1. I finished the Soulless manga by Gail Carriger (writer) and REM (artist) the other day and I have to say I enjoyed it immensely! I was impressed with how much they could get in and with the amount of lines that were straight from the book, and I thought the Manga style of illustration fitted really well for the world and characters of this series. I will definitely we getting my hands on the next installments (each based on a book from the series) and it has also given me a hankering for the last book – Timeless - I’ll have to borrow it from Sarah and add it to the pile :Psoulless manga
  2. I finally started Brisingr by Christopher Paolini! Or at least I read the synopsis at the start of it which covers main events of the last two books (very handy since I finished Eldest way back in September 2010!). I got the guilts because my brother (who I borrowed it off) was visiting early this week and he saw the unopened book sitting on the arm of the couch (I thought if it was sitting there when I got home it would encourage me to start :P) and then proceeded to tell me how this is the best one of the series and I just had to read it! Now I’m at least caught up on what’s happened I just need to dive in and then I’m sure I’ll get into it :)Brisingr
  3. Overall I was pleased with my old book choices – Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett is very funny so far and the perfect book to tuck into my bag for commuter reading;  The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists was the best volume of The Sandman I’ve read so far; Brisingr, while daunting had probably been on the pile longer than any other (except maybe Everville by Clive Barker which neither I nor Sarah cavn remember how long ago she lent it to me) so it was a very fitting choice; the Free Comic Book Day comics were a fun bonus; and Soulless as I said above was excellent! So, all-in-all it was a fun challenge which allowed me to start some books which have been gathering dust for far too long :)

In other book-news last weekend I did a bit of a shop as a birthday present to myself (mainly because I had 50 from my nana to buy my own gift and partly because I had a money spare and was still in a birthday mood :P)

Firstly I went to JB Hi-Fi with my workmate, Scott, specifically to buy American Horror Story: Asylum but then since they were doing a 2 stickered TV series’ for 30 dollars promotion I also go Twin Peaks Season 1 and Six Feet Under Season 1 – a right creep-fest all round :D

Then I was meeting Sarah at Kaleido where she said I could pick out a book as an extra bday present :D Not knowing where to start I suggested maybe a China Miéville book since I loved Kraken which she lent to me. She initially wanted to get me The City and the City since that is another Miéville she has read, but alas it was out of stock so instead she picked Un Lun Dun which another friend of mine had recommended.

ChinaMieville-UnLunDunThen just as we were chatting with one of the Kaleido guys and looking at books near the Miéville’s I spotted something very exciting:

the rookThe Rook by Daniel O’Malley

I first saw The Rook months ago in a bookstore when I was too strapped for cash to buy it, but I did remember the intriguing blurb and that the title had the word “rook” in it. Then recently it popped up on Tammy’s Top Ten Unusual Character Names list on Books, Bones & Buffy, one of my favourite book blogs, and I told myself “I have to find this book!”. Since Sarah knew I had been looking for it she made it my present instead of Un Lun Dun which I then bought for myself :) They both went straight on my TBR pile but will have to wait until after New Books November :P

Well, that’s it for now, but expect an update next week as usual plus some other bits and pieces :)
Until then:

Books. People never really stop loving books. Fifty-first century. By now you’ve got holovids, direct-to-brain downloads, fiction mist. But you need the smell. The smell of books, Donna. Deep breath! – See more at: www.planetclaire.org/quotes/doctorwho/series-four/silence-in-the-library/#sthash.AfRu9AbB.dpuf

Since the last sign-off was Giles from Buffy showing his love for books and their smelly-ness I thought it only fitting to make this one The Doctor voicing his opinion on the subject :) The quote is from possibly my favourite episode of Doctor Who – Silence in the Library. As always if you have other bookish quotes or ones which can be transformed into bookish quotes, share them in the comments, drop me a line at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or pop on over to the Facebook page :) 

Quote

Notable Quotable # 82

The truth is that even big collections of ordinary books distort space, as can readily be proved by anyone who has been around a really old-fashioned second-hand bookshop, one of those that look as though they were designed by M. Escher on a bad day and has more staircases than storeys and those rows of shelves which end in little doors that are surely too small for a full-sized human to enter. The relevant equation is: Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.

Challenges Update # 1 + Tiny Tidbits from Leederville

Hello Bookbaggers one and all! this is just a quickie post to update you on my current challenges and tell you about another small book purchase I made (ooo naughty naughty!)

poe.my.god challenge badge

  This weekend I only read one story from Tales of Mystery and Imagination because it was a lengthy and pretty distressing one - Murders in the Rue Morgue. If you haven’t read it I won’t be a rotten spoiler, but lets just say it’s about a horrific murder with an unusual instigator, and it’s quite gory – especially for the time period. Anyway, the story directly after, The Mystery of Marie Rogetis a sequel to Murders in the Rue Morgue and is also fairly lengthy, so I didn’t quite have the energy to read it and a couple more to reach my goal. Luckily next week I am on term break (yay!) so I will have plenty of free time to catch up :) comiccompanions-badge   Tuesday arvo I finished Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane  and so chose the Diviner’s Son by Gary Crew off my library pile:gary-crew-diviners-son-1and as the Comic Companion, the first Volume of The SandmanPreludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman: preludes and nocturnes   As for the little purchase, I was in Leederville because I had a Professional Development session (Dealing with Challenging Students as a Frontline Officer) at the Leederville campus of my work, so once it was finished I had a little peruse in one of my favourite bookstores, Oxford Street Books to see if they had a book I’d been looking for for a while - Craig Silvey‘s The Amber Amulet. To my delight they did have The Amber Amulet, and I was so elated I made a couple of impulse purchases with books displayed at the checkout - The Tiny Wife, an adorable wee novella by Andrew Kaufman and The Little Book of Books by Jennifer Worick :)

Here they be:

oxford street books buys

 

And I just realised that they all have a similar colour scheme  which also happened last time I bought from Oxford Street Books…. hmmmm

Anyway, they are currently sitting on my bedside table where I normally place my phone and glasses before snooze time, so I will probably just read them on a whim, maybe whilst I’m on holidays :)

Ta, ta for now and:

Happy Reading!

New books up the wazoo!

I week or so I realised that recently I have acquired quite a few new books that I haven’t shared with you, my beloved Bookbaggers!

You may not be particularly interested in my new purchases/library borrowings, but if you are read on and gaze in wonder at the bargains and tantalizing tomes I have acquired! :D

Firstly I took a trip to my local library when I had to take Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane and Mammels by Pierre Mérot and got a new haul:

library books

In case you can’t quite read the titles: Peaches for Father Francis by Joanne Harris (AKA Peaches for Monsieur le Cure, the second sequel to Chocolat); The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman (the first Sandman graphic novel); Shades of Grey by Jasper FfordeSkinlane by Neil Bartlett (which I have borrowed and re-borrowed a few times without actually getting to it); Carnevale by M.R. Lovric;  and The Diviner’s Son by Gary Crew.)

Then while visiting one of my best friends, who has been working at the Maylands Salvo’s store I bought myself a bunch of books:

op-shop buys

Again the titles are: Zoology by Ben Dolnick (a debut novel from 2007 with a very pretty cover :) ); Ravelling by Peter Moore Smith (another debut novel, from 2000, which sounds wonderfully spooky!); The Third Brother by Nick McDonell (who also wrote Twelve, a book I read a few years ago and was one of my Top 10 Reads of 2010 – pre-Book Polygamist); The Cure for Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz (which is another debut novel, from 1996 with a very pretty cover); Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (which I read a few years ago but still wanted to own); and Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge (which I chose because of the blurb: “In a cut-throat world of highwaymen, spies and smugglers, and insane rulers in silly wigs, runaway Mosca Mye and her goose companion have uncovered a dark plot winging its way toward the city”. It had me at “goose companion” :P).

Then on the 3rd of March I went to the Hyde Park Fair and HAD to get this bunch of books (they were for orphans! What was i meant to do? :P):

hyde park fair books

Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris (as I’ve already established Joanne Harris is one of my favourite authors so I had to add this one to the collection :) ); Pilgrim by Sara Douglass (Book 2 of the Wayfarer Redemption Trilogy, which is a follow-up to one of my Top 10 Fantasy Series’); The Good Major by Andrew Nicoll (which was one of my Top 10 Reads of 2011); Curious and Curiouser by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (a non-fiction buy which I’m certain will be very amusing and informative); and last but certainly not least, The Lot: In Words by Michael Leunig (a collection of essays by one of my favourite writers/cartoonists :) )

AND THEN on the 10th of March I went to Oz Comic Con and besides getting lots of awesome bit and bobs (mostly jewelry :D) I got Soulless, the manga based on Gail Carriger‘s Parasol Protectorate series, which I have really taken a shine to:

soulless from oz comic con

and these cute bookmarks:

bookmarks from oz comic con

(that’s actually just two bookmarks – the single bird one has the black and silver on one side and the silver and blue/purple on the other, and the owl one is the same on both sides. I also go two badges which match the owls on the bookmark ^-^)

I’m absolutely chuffed with my new books and bookmarks, and I can’t wait to read some of them soon :)

I’m going to end with a short reminder. My blogiversary competition ends on the 31st, less than a week from now, so if you want to enter you need to get in quick smart!

Currently there are only 4 entrants, which means if no one else enters all but person will get a prize (nice odds for the current entrants, but not so lucky for the single person that misses out!) so if you haven’t entered please do so and make the giveaway a little more interesting ;)

That’s it for now, so as always:

Happy Reading (and acquiring)!

Happy 2nd Blogiversary to me and all my Bookbaggers! :D

Salutations one and all! Welcome to  a very special event: Book Polygamist’s 2nd Blogiversary!!

To celebrate I will be doing my first giveaway competition where one of you will get the book of their choice off my Top 10 Reads of 2012 list plus a bookmark, and two runner-ups will also get a bookmark!! YAY! Bookmarks are fun!!

According to The Wedding Anniversary site the traditional gift for a 2nd anniversary is cotton/straw and the modern one is china O.O hmmm seems like this competition would’ve been more suited to the 1st anniversary (since the traditional gift is paper) but oh well.

In case you haven’t read my Top 10 Reads of 2012 the choices are:

1. The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

2. American Gods by Neil GaimanAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman

3. The Raven’s Heart by Jesse Blackadderravens heart

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Leeto-kill-a-mockingbird-by-harper-lee

5. Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbinsstill life with woodpecker

6. Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjaliansecrets-of-eden

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collinshungergames

8. Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsCover - Catching Fire

9. Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsMOCKINGJAY-jacket

10. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groffmonstersoftempleton

How to enter/how this will go down:

1. First off if you don’t already follow Book Polygamist please do so :) If you’re a WordPresser then just click the “Follow” button at the top of the page. If not you can follow me on Networked Blogs (via Facebook) by clicking on the widget at the side of the page, or by email subscription (also at the side of the page). You’re also welcome (AKA encouraged; pressured; sad-pleading-puppy-dog-eyed) to Like me on my brand spanking new Facebook page, or subscribe to my RSS feed

2.  Like this post so I know exactly who has entered at a glance

3.  In the comments (or if you’d prefer email me at bookpolygamist(AT)gmail(DOT)com) tell me how you follow me (so you’re easy to find :) ); the book off my Top 10 that you want; the reason you want to read/own that book; and a vague subject matter for the bookmark (i.e. I like fairies; something a bit badass; I hate those zodiac ones/I love those zodiac ones [I'm a Leo] etc. etc.). Please include your prefered email address with your comment as once I have announced the winners I will contact them via email to acquire delivery info

4.  Inspired by Natalie Dee of STUFF I PUT ON MYSELF: a make-up blog I will be assigning every entrant a number starting at 01, in the order of receiving/reading your comment or email. I’ll then put the numbers through a random number generator with the first generated number being the grand prize winner and the next two being the runner-ups. I thought this was a nice and fair system rather than just picking the ones I liked the most (pretty darn biased) or putting your names in a hat (pretty out-dated and easy to cheat). If the first winner is chosen again for one of the runner-ups I will generate a new number. Even if its random it’s not fair if one Bookbagger gets all the goods

5.  You have from the moment this post goes up until the end of the month to enter. On the 1st of April (according to the Perth, Western Australia timezone) I will not accept anymore entries. The numbers will then be crunched and I will announce the winners in a follow-up post as soon as possible

6.  The books will come from bookdepository.co.uk for a few reasons:
A. I love Book Depository
B. They’re cheap but of good quality
C. They deliver really quickly so I can receive your book and send it out to you nice and swift

7.  All books will be paperback and will have the cover shown above, except for Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian because I couldn’t find that cover on book depository. The cover I chose for Secrets of Eden is this. As you all know I am finickity when it comes to covers, and I totally understand if you are too, so If you desire a different cover from the one shown let me know in the comment/email (along with a picture of your desired cover) and I will endeavour to get that one instead

8.  Once I have announced the winners I will contact them via email and ask for their best delivery address to send the prize(s) to and they will be sent out ASAP. Estimated delivery times will be discussed, but keep in mind I’ve never done a competition before so I’m just kind of flailing around during this process

So there you go!

I hope that all of that made sense and I look forward to reading your entries :D

If you have any questions/queries/concerns/grumbles/funny animal pictures feel free to send me an email at bookpolygamist(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Happy Competition Entering!!!