Top 10 Books of All Time

Yes, I left the best for last 🙂 For those of you who haven’t been reading over the last few days, I’ve been writing a series of “Top 10” lists. First my “Top 10 authors” , then my “Top 10 Books from Childhood” and now my last “Top 10” (perhaps :P) – my “Top 10 Books of All Time”! This was surprisingly the easiest to come up with, because the really good ones stick in your head. It would take a lot for a new novel to knock any of these off their pedestal!

1. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

If you read  my previous post about Craig Silveythis won’t be a big surprise as I waxed lyrical about both his books – and for good reason! I can’t recommend this book enough, and If you don’t like it…well frankly, we can’t be friends anymore 😛

The sweetest peach

2. Rhubarb by Craig Silvey

Like Jasper Jones this is a book I wax lyrical about, but unlike Jasper Jones I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. Rhubarb is a very unusual and poetic book, so If you’re willing to read something a bit different then it’s perfect, but If you like traditional writing styles then It’s probably not your cup of tea.
*If you want to read more about Rhubarb or Jasper Jones then check out my post on Craig Silvey and his work: Craig Silvey: Jewel of the West*

Winner of the most non-sensical title award

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A beautiful book set in Nazi Germany with a unique narrator – Death (or the Grim Reaper). I love an anthropomorphised Death (like the one in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series) so that point initially drew me in, but it’s when you get into the meat of the story that it really shines. It’s hard to explain how much I loved this book when I read it – I laughed, I cried – read it! Also this interview with Markus Zusak about writing the book is really enlightening.

Ironically I had to re-purchase this book because my first copy went missing...stolen perhaps?

 4. The Messenger by Markus Zusak

Hmmm I seem to be going in twos don’t I? The Messenger is a very different book to The Book Thief (a bit like Jasper Jones is a very different book to Rhubarb…is anyone else seeing a pattern here?) but made as much of an impact on me, if not more because its more relatable. The book is set in Australia (where Markus Zusak is from) and is broken up into four parts named after the four suits in a deck of cards (Clubs, Diamonds, Spades, Hearts). I won’t give away why the parts revolve around the suits, but Its a really interesting and unique story idea. Like any good book (in my opinion) this made me feel sick to my stomach in parts, but also unwilling to stop reading, and then pages later I would find myself bursting into fits of laughter.

Protect the Diamonds, Survive the Clubs, Dig deep through Spades, Feel the Hearts

5. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

I borrowed this book off a friend of the family and read it while I was studying Art and Written/Oral Communication at TAFE. For one of my Written/Oral Communication assessments I had to write a review and I wrote a glowing review of The Red Tent which the lecturer commented on, saying It was obvious I greatly enjoyed the book. That is an understatement. I LOVED The Red Tent. That love was even more pronounced because before I started it, I didn’t think I’d like it at all! The book is set in biblical times and tells the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob, and deals with many traditions of women in that time. The “Red Tent” refers to a tent where all the woman of the household would retire to during menstruation. At that time in my life I had very little interest in books based on Bible stories (being a newly devout Pagan) and anything that I perceived as feminism was a pet hate. But I was forced to re-evaluate a few beliefs with this book, because it was such an engaging story. I now am drawn to “religious” fiction and am slower to judge something as a feminist work.

Proved me wrong

6. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson

If you read my first Top 10 post you would know about my mixed feeling for Jeanette Winterson’s books, but there is no mixed feelings about The Passion, just passionate ones. The Passion is set in France and revolves around two young people – a young man who is sent to fight in the Napoleonic wars and a young woman in Venice who dresses as a man. It’s an amazing little book – strange and evocative like a fairy tale, but unlike any fairy tale ever written. If you are going to read just one book by Jeanette Winterson, read The Passionbecause it’s truly a brilliant story.

Everyone wears a mask

7. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafĂłn

Carlos Ruiz ZafĂłn is truly a master to have created a world as rich as the Barcelona in The Shadow of the Wind. This is a novel that is fully immersive – when you love the characters you truly love them, when you hate them you truly hate them, and most of all you want to know what happens to them. I cried and gasped far too much while reading this book – If it was all documented I’m sure I would’ve looked like a nutcase – and that’s what really makes a book great. I have heard that the sort-of sequel The Angel’s Game is not as good, and I can see why it wouldn’t be – it would be very hard to recreate the magic of The Shadow of the Wind. Hopefully one day Carlos Ruiz ZafĂłn will recreate that magic and then he too will get a double spot on my Top 10 🙂

A world all its own

8. Mister God this is Anna by Fynn

I could go on and on about this book, but since I happened to write a review about it this month, I would just be repeating myself 😛 So go read the post to see why I love this book so much 🙂

A lot of food for thought

 9. Watership Down by Richard Adams

This is the only book that is on the Top 10 Books from Childhoodas well as the Top 10 Books of All Time, because, well it’s wonderful 🙂 Check out the Top 10 Books from Childhood to read why it has remained a fave of mine, or go read it – and remember, bunnies can be exciting!

Bright eyes, burning like fire...Oh stop it you'll make me cry!

 10. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

Cloudstreet is one of those intricate family sagas that appears once in a blue moon, written by an equally rare and precious author. It revolves around two working class families (the Pickles and the Lambs) who move from rural Western Australia into “the city” (Perth) and live in two halves of a giant old house – No.1 Cloud Street. It spans the 1940’s and 50’s as it traces the many ups and downs of the two families and how they are both affected by an old run-down home. The book has recently been turned into a mini-seriesthat played on Showcase, and was also adapted for the stage and toured in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, London, Dublin, New York and Washington DC.

I can't wait til the miniseries is released on DVD 🙂

So there you have it, my last “Top 10”, I’ve written exactly 10 posts a month again and all is right in the world 🙂
So far I haven’t had any comments saying I should make this a regular feature but I’ll give you all a bit more time, just in case 😉 if there is still no feedback proclaiming yay by the end of June, I’ll take it as a collective nay and it will only be reviews, new books and other random crazy from now on 😛

Top 10 Books from Childhood

This was the hardest “Top 10” to create (even harder than the Top 10 books of all time, that I’ll be doing tomorrow) because I have so many book-related memories from childhood (I could’ve done a Top 20!) so I’ve cheated a little 😛 which you’ll see as the list goes on.

There is a mix of books from different stages of my childhood – the first is my absolute fave from that time (and was my fave for a long time into teenage-hood and a bit of adulthood as well) the next three are books that were read to me at school and made a big impact and there’s the cheating ones of course 🙂

1. Watership Down by Richard Adams

Bunnies can be exciting!

I was given Watership Down as part of the “Most Improved” award in year 6 (as well as The Dictionary of Nature). My year 6 teacher, Mr Stein, was the best teacher I had in primary school (or ever really) and he told me that as soon as he knew I was getting the award, he wanted the prize to be Watership Down because he knew I’d love it, despite it being beyond my recommended reading level (I never let that stop me!). It took me a while to read it the first time, but I was enthralled for every moment. I have since read it 4 or 5 times at different points in my life, and it’s still one of my favourites.

2. The Giver by Lois Lowry

The gift of a story

The Giver was one of the novels that my year 7 teacher read to us in the morning before maths. She had a wonderful story-teller voice and always held our attention, and because of this the three books she read that year have remained with me as major literary memories. The Giver was the first novel to really affect me and make me think about life. Watership Down was very touching and made me cry in moments, but moments from The Giver stuck with me for hours, days or even weeks and made me really ponder humanity. I read it again a couple of years ago, and while it didn’t have as much impact as that initial reading, it was still one of those books that stops you in your tracks and you can’t put down.

3. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

All you need is a hatchet 🙂

In hindsight I know why our teacher chose to read us Hatchet – to teach us about survival and make us imagine what we would do in an extreme situation,  and make us thankful for what we have – but at the time we kids didn’t think too deeply into it, we just thought it was wicked! As soon as we finished it in class I went to the library to find the follow-up books: Hatchet : Winter, The Return, and Hatchet : the Call. I loved them all, but the original is still the best. I have read it a couple more times since and it’s always an exciting and riveting read, even though I know the end :P.

4. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

I want a Shiloh!

Awwww Shiloh! This book started my love for beagles – I wanted a cute little beagle so much after our teacher read this, and I still love the breed (I often get told off at airports coz I want to pat the sniffer dogs :P). Another really touching and tear-jerking book – even worse if you see the movie! – and about a classic theme – the love between a boy and his dog.

5. Sly Old Lockjaw Croc by Marcia Vaughan

Wham bam. Pass the jam. Oh, what a hungry croc I am!

This is the first book I remember making any and every adult who happened to be in the area read over and over. It’s a Cocky’s Circle Little Book, which for anyone not in Australia is a series of books for young children that could often be found near the checkout in supermarkets (perfect for impulse buys fueled by whining and big wide eyes – after all what parent can say no to a book?). The story is very fairy-tale-big-bad-wolf-esque except from an Australia point of view. Basically Sly Old Lockjaw Croc is a crocodile with an insatiable hunger which he tells all his friends about…before he eats them. It’s ok though, like all good Big Bad Wolf stories in the end he’s forced to open up and all his mates come out unscathed :). Awesome.
Sorry bout the dodgy pic – it was the best one I could find O.o

6. Anything by Morris Gleitzman

King of hilarious titles

Ok, so this is where the cheating begins. Australian children’s novelist, Morris Gleitzman hasn’t written a book called ‘anything’, so really this is a fave author rather than book, but I couldn’t choose!!! I devoured Gleitzman’s books from about year 4 to year 7 and he was my undisputed favourite author for those years. If you’ve never heard of Morris Gleitzman (which is highly likely if you’re not from Australia, and quite probable even if you are) he wrote classic children’s humor novels like: The Other Facts of Life; Two Weeks with the Queen; Second Childhood; Misery Guts; Worry Warts; Blabber Mouth; Sticky Beak; Puppy Fat; Belly Flop; Water Wings and Gift of the Gab.

7. The Penny Pollard Series by Robin Klein

HANDS OFF!

Another cheat :P. I was introduced to the Penny Pollard books (which are: Penny Pollard’s Diary; Penny Pollard’s Letters; Penny Pollard in Print; Penny Pollard’s Passport; Penny Pollard’s Guide to Modern Manners and Penny Pollard’s Scrapbook) when I had read everything I was interested in from the school library and I asked the librarian what I should read. I was about 9 and the librarian knew me well so she gave me a Penny Pollard, but I’m not sure which one. I loved the diary style of the books and all the little sketches, photos and other bits and pieces that were “pasted” in making it look like the real diary of a little girl. They’re buckets of fun – I still own a couple :).

8. Piggy in the Middle by Catherine Jinks

This little piggy...

I think I read this in my first year of highschool, and It was the first book that could come close to bumping Watership Down from the top spot. It’s about animal cloning (of a pig to be exact) and was published not long after the cloning of Dolly the sheep, so it was a very topical and unsettling subject. I would like to read Piggy in the Middle again some time to see if it’s still good now I’m all grown up :).

9. The Babysitters Club series by Ann M. Martin

It's like a cult - once you're sucked in they have you...

Ok, so I’m not so proud of this one, but it had to be mentioned because like so many girls my age in the 90’s I was obsessed with the Babysitter’s Club. I was even a member of the Babysitter’s Club book-club so I got a new book every month (plus added books like the Babysitter’s Club Mysteries or a Super Special). Anne M. Martin wrote 131 books in the Babysitter’s Club series, plus 122 Babysitter’s Little Sister books, 15 Super Specials, 36 Mysteries, 4 Super Mysteries, 6 Portrait Collections, 3 Reader’s Requests and lots of companion books. Of course I didn’t read them all (because I grew out of them when I reached Highschool) but I did read a lot and I owned a whole bookshelf of them….everyone has a dark past :P.

10. The Wait-for-me Kitten by Patricia M. Scarry AND
The Curious Little Kitten Around the House by Linda Hayward

Wait for me!

Two kittens is better than one 🙂

I justify this cheat by the fact that they’re both Little Golden Books and are both about Kittens? Well it was worth a shot :P. My mum reminded me about these two, because I made her read them a gazillion times and once I could read by myself I probably read them a gazillion more.

So there you go – the second “Top 10”. Tomorrow I’ll conclude with *drumroll please!* my Top 10 books of all time!! Should be fun 🙂
Once again, If you think the “Top 10” list should be a regular thing let me know in the comments, because I definitely have more in me 🙂

Top 10 Authors

Last month I noticed that I had written exactly 10 posts in April and 10 posts in March. which I thought was pretty neat 🙂 and then the other day I noticed that it’s coming up to the end of May and I have only written 7! This can not do! Anyone who knows me knows that I’m just a tad obsessed with order (cue for all my friends to say “just a tad?”) so, to rectify this situation I will be writing a special “Top 10” post each day on the three last days of May. The first post will be my Top 10 Authors.

In no particular order (besides the order in which they came to me :P) here are my Top 10:

1. Craig Silvey

If you read my post from a few days ago you’ll know that Craig Silvey is my favourite author, mainly because his two novels – Rhubarb and Jasper Jones – are two of my fave books. He’s a wonderful local author and I can’t wait til he writes another book :).

Remember this guy? 🙂

2. Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak is the author of another couple of my fave books – The Book Thief and The Messenger – as well as a bunch of YA books (The Underdog; Fighting Ruben Wolfe; Getting the Girl) and an upcoming novel The Bridge of Clay, which I’m really looking forward to :). He’s another wonderful Australian author and I would recommend The Book Thief and The Messenger to anyone who wants to read a very inspirational and insightful book with a clear, simple premise.

Another handsome devil 🙂

3. Joanne Harris

I have read all of Joanne Harris’ books, from the famous Chocolat; it’s sequel, The Lollipop Shoes; and others in the same vein of food and magic (Blackberry Wine; Five Quarters of the Orange) ; to her darker early work (The Evil Seed; Sleep, Pale Sister) ; to her YA fantasy (and first in a series) Runemarks. Her other works are: The Coastliners; Holy Fools; Gentlemen and Players; a collection of short stories called Jigs and Reels; and her newest triumph blueeyedboy. She also has released two cooking books (which I haven’t read) with Fran Warde called The French Kitchen : a Cook Book and The French Market.

A delicious author

4. Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier is another author whose work I devour. There is only one novel I have yet to read, Remarkable Creatures, and that is on my “to read” pile, so hopefully I’ll get to it soon :). Her work is mostly historical fiction and based around a famous artist or art in general. Her most famous work, The Girl with the Pearl Earring is about the Dutch painter Vermeer and his painting of the same name; her first book The Virgin Blue references many paintings of the Virgin Mary; The Lady and the Unicorn is about the creation of medieval tapestries with the same name; and Burning Bright is about a couple of children that befriend their neighbour, writer and poet, William Blake. Tracy Chevalier has also written Falling Angels, a beautiful little book set right afer the death of Queen Victoria. She has also written several non-fiction books: Twentieth-Century Children’s Writers; Contemporary Poets; Contemporary World Writers; Encyclopedia of the Essay and Concise Encyclopedia of the Essay.

Lady Historical of Fiction

5. Terry Pratchett

Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett is a fairly recent favourite author of mine. I loved the Discworld cartoons, Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music when I was a kid, and later on the movie Hogfather, but it was only a couple of years ago that I got around to reading the books, and I have since read the first 6 Discworld novels. He has written far too much to list here, but if you want to know all the titles follow the link (click on Terry Pratchett) and see them all on his Fantasticfiction page. The books are fab – very good for random bouts of giggling on the bus – and If you’re a fan of fantasy, but think sometimes it’s a genre that takes it’s self too seriously, then the Discworld books are for you.

A wizard of humourous fantasy

6. Jeanette Winterson

I’ve had an interesting reader/author relationship with Jeanette Winterson. When I was younger I loved her early works: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit; Sexing the Cherry; and most of all The Passion. I also enjoyed some of her later books, like Lighthousekeeping and her sort-of YA fantasy novel, Tanglewreck. However, I had mixed emotions about her sci-fi love story The Stone Gods , which had great elements but was confusing and not as….engaging as the other books I had read. And Gut Symmetries really wasn’t my cup of tea. Because of this somewhat mixed experience I am nervous about reading the remaining novels: Written on the Body; Art and Lies; The Powerbook; and The Battle of the Sun, but I will carry on because when she writes a good one, it’s amazing.

No ordinary fruit

7. Isobelle Carmody

I have loved Isobelle Carmody’s fantasy books since a friend of the family gave me Scatterlings. I am a fan of the Obernewtyn Cronicles ( Obernewtyn; The Farseekers; Ashling; The Keeping Place; The Stone Key) and have been hanging out for the next book, The Sending to come out. Besides the Obernewtyn series she has written the Ledgendsong Saga, the Gateway Trilogy and The Legend of Little Fur series. She has also written 7 stand-alone novels, a collection of short stories called Green Monkey Dreams, and a few picture books: Wildheart; The Wrong Thing ( or Magic Night), Night School and Journey From the Centre of the Earth. I still have to read the Ledgendsong series, and 3 of her stand-alones: The Landlord, Dreamwalker, and  Firecat’s Dream.

Queen of trilogies (and beyond)

8. Charlaine Harris

My love for Charlaine Harris is a new one, and thanks mainly to a Southern belle with an unique ability: Sookie Stackhouse. Since I saw True Blood early last year I have been reading the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries series and now I’m 8 books in and completly addicted :). Besides the Sookie series, Charlaine Harris has written the Aurora Teagarden mystery series (which has 8 books), the Lily Bard mystery series (which has 5) and the Harper Connelly series (which has 4), as well as two stand-alones, Sweet and Deadly, and A Secret Rage, so she’s quite an ambitious lady. I own the first Harper Connelly: Grave Sight, and a Lily Bard omnibus and they’re on my “to read” pile, so hopefully they’re just as fun as the Sookie books :).

An author with bite

9. Kerry Greenwood

Ahhhh Kerry Greenwood, the author behind two of my favourite female characters from the last two years – the hon. Phryne Fisher, and baker turned detective, Corinna Chapman. Thanks go to my friend Sarah for lending me the first Phryne book (or the first 3) in the form of an omnibus containing: Cocaine Blues (aka Death by Misadventure), Flying Too High, and Murder on a Ballarat Train. Since then I’ve read 5 more Phryne books and the first two Corinna Chapman books: Earthly Delights and Heavenly Pleasures. And, lucky me, I still have 10 Phryne books; 3 Corinna books, plus two other series’: the Delphic Women series and the Stormbringer series to read (plus if I’m really keen she’s written 13 stand-alones!).

A book writing machine

10. Clive Barker

If you’re keeping up-to-date with what I’m currently reading you wouldn’t be surprised that Clive Barker is one of my fave authors – since I’m reading two of his books at the mo’. I’ve loved his work since my friend (Sarah again) lent me a great fantasy epic of his, Abarat which is filled with Clive Barker’s colourful and twisted paintings. She then gave me Sacrament for a christmas present, and I’ve been into his bizarre, often fucked-up style of writing ever since :P. Beside Abarat (and the second Abarat book, Days of Magic, Nights of War) and Sacrament I have read (and own) The Great and Secret Show and Imajica.

Master of Mindfuck

So there you have it, my first top 10 :). We have a good mix of male and female authors, and authors from Australia (Craig Silvey, Markus Zusak, Isobelle Carmody, Kerry Greenwood) the UK (Joanne Harris, Terry Pratchett, Jeanette Winterson, Clive Barker) and the US of A (Tracy Chevalier, Charlaine Harris), plus a mix of genres (Literary, Historical, Fantasy, YA, Mystery, Horror) which gives you all an insight into my reading patterns :).

Stay tuned tomorrow for the next “Top 10” – the Top 10 books from my childhood, and let me know in the comments if you think the “Top 10” should be a regular feature 🙂

Hi ho, hi ho, a cataloguing i go!

Welcome to part two of posts about presentations I’ve done recently! If you didn’t read the first post, It was about my favourite author, Craig Silvey. This one will be about a presentation I did for my Information Literacy class, on a Web 2.0 (or Library 2.0) technology.

The technology I chose was Social Cataloguing. If you have never heard of this term before then follow the hyperlink to a Wikipedia article about it, or go to this wiki but I’ll give you a quick definition in my own words anyway.

Social Cataloguing refers to sites or apps where you can add items (like books/DVDs/games/food)  you own or have read/seen/played/eaten etc. and then rate them, write reviews, share them with friends, add tags and do a whole lot of other nifty things.

As this is a book blog I’m just going to give you links to ones where you catalogue books, but with a quick google search you could probably find the other categories of sites.

During the research for this class (we had to use the same technology for three assessments) I have completely fallen in love with Social Cataloguing. Before my research, I did in fact use a Social Cataloguing app – Visual Bookshelf on Facebook–  I just didn’t know that it was a “thing”. I have since joined 6 other Social Cataloguing sites to try them out. These sites are:

 

 

There are ones I loved …and ones….well, not so much, but I can tell how any of them could appeal to the right person.

My personal favourite was Shelfari, because of some neat features it has:

  1. You can choose the exact cover of the book you own/have read from a drop down row of covers, and if yours isn’t there then you can upload the right pic.
  2. You can easily edit your books using a drop down box, where you can tick boxes to say you’ve read a book, are currently reading it or plan to read it, as well as highlight a heart is it’s one of your faves, a gift box if it’s on your wish list, or a cute little safe if you own it.
  3. Your books are displayed on a lovely wood-look shelf 🙂

My lovely shelf 🙂

You can also put a widget of your shelf on your blog, which is a feature of many of the sites.

I would encourage any of you to take a look at one of these sites, especially if you love sharing what you read as much as me 🙂 a lot of them alow you to login via Facebook or Twitter, so you don’t have to create an account and some allow you to take a “tour” before you join so you can see all the features.

Once again if you want to know more, check out my Powerpoint slides: Social Cataloguing

Or check out the bookmarks I gathered on del.icio.us for the assessments: Social Cataloguing Bookmarks.

Happy Cataloguing!

Craig Silvey : Jewel of the West

May has been quite light on posts, mainly because I have been bombarded with assessments. But since a couple of these assessments were presentations that fit in quite nicely with the theme of this blog, why not mix business with pleasure? 🙂

The first presentation I did was for a training unit – we had to choose a book, book series, or author and “train” a small group on the topic. I chose my favourite author, and one who is not very well-known – Craig Silvey.

He's a handsome devil isn't he?

I discovered Craig Silvey a few years ago when his first novel, Rhubarb, was chosen as the “One Book” for the Perth Writer’s Festival and there was promotional material in my local library. I couldn’t get my hands on it for a while as all the copies were out on loan, but when I did it was well worth the wait. Rhubarb was one of the most unusual and beautiful books I had ever read, and became my new no. 1 book of all time (a position held by Watership Down by Richard Adams since I was 11).

Rhubarb

The plot was simple while also, somehow being complex – It is very character and setting focused and so the plot seems like a natural progression of little interwoven stories, taking a simple thread of plot and weaving it into an intricate tapestry. The main character is Eleanor Rigby (yes, like the Beatles song) who is young, delicate and blind. She goes through her (newly) sightless world with her faithful if somewhat incompetent guide dog Warren, as she wanders the vibrant streets and beaches of Fremantle, Western Australia. She lives with her mother who has become almost comatose on the couch, immersed in her own television world, and has only vague, lonely acquaintances. The other main character is Ewan Dempsey, a young man who is agoraphobic and spends his days smoking weed, making cellos to sell and playing his own collection of cellos. The two meet when Eleanor passes by his house and is drawn by the sound of his music, and an awkward, confused, but touching romance begins. The book is written almost like poetry – Silvey uses a lot of alliteration, repetition and strung together words, which create a wonderful sense of pace and panic, especially in parts where Eleanor is trying to negotiate the Fremantle streets. Even after all these years Rhubarb is still on my list of top 10 books I’ve read.

Jasper Jones

When the second novel of Silvey’s, Jasper Jones, came out in 2009 I was so excited because I hadn’t even heard he was writing another. I was surprised by how different Jasper Jones was to Rhubarb, but I was even more surprised when I grew to love it more than Rhubarb. The book revolves around a 13-year-old boy called Charlie Bucktin (I bet you were expecting me to say Jasper jones :P) who is a quiet, bookish boy who aspires to be a writer. it is set in rural Western Australia in the 1960’s. The book begins with Charlie reading in his sleep-out bedroom when he gets a surprise visit by Jasper Jones, a half caucasian, half aboriginal boy a few years his senior who is the troublemaker and scapegoat of the town. Charlie has never had prejudice towards Jasper, maybe because his best friend, Jeffrey Lu, is Vietnamese also is victim to the towns racism and small-mindedness, or maybe because he sees that the town is not in the right and Jasper may be a good person. So, when Jasper asks for Charlie’s help, and to follow him into the bush at night, Charlie goes with him. What Charlie discovers is a secret too big and heavy for any teenager to have to keep, but he does, for the sake of Jasper Jones. Jasper Jones has been compared to Harper Lee’s To kill a mockingbird because it has the same Southern Gothic feel to it, but in an Australian setting, as well as themes of racism, small-town-small-mindedness, and growing up. It is an amazing book, touching and disturbing then just a hop-skip-and-jump away to complete, youthful hilarity and triumph. It gets added points for making me cheer out loud at a cricket game, when I have never had the slightest interest in cricket.

I would recommend both Rhubarb and Jasper Jones to anyone, because they are amazingly written, especially for such a new, young writer.
If you would like any more info check out the slide show that I used for my presentation: Craig Silvey
and the group of bookmarks I’ve collected on del.icio.us that relate to Craig Silvey: Craig Silvey del.icio.us bundle

A book about a book and a book x 3

The Book of Tomorrow

I am starting two very different books, but ones that have a common theme: the word “book” (or books) in the title. Firstly is The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern which I borrowed from the library; it’s about a young woman who has a good life and has always lived in the here and now…until she finds a mysterious book….I’ve only read one chapter and I’m not sure if I like it yet.

Books of Blood Vol. 1-3

The other one I borrowed from my friend Sarah ages ago: Clive Barker’s Books of Blood volume 1-3 which is a collection (or 3 collections really) of horror stories including The Midnight Meat Train. So, yeah, pretty opposite books really but coincidentally both with book in the title 🙂

I initially wanted to do some clever book-based math problem for this post title (something along the lines of Book² + (Book x 3) ) but since maths is not my forte I thought better stick to what I know and not risk the wrath of book-blog-reading mathematicians 😛

 

REVIEW: Mister God This Is Anna By Fynn

Mister God This Is Anna By Fynn

I’ve been putting off posting this review, not because It was a dud but because there is so much I want to say about this jewel of a book. But on Friday I went to Joondalup Library for a school excursion, and the last time I went to Joondalup, I was reading Mister God this is Anna for the first time, so I thought that was push enough to spread the word.

It is hard to describe this book. It would be like trying to describe a religious revelation – it is an individual experience. All I can say is that it is one of the most beautiful, philosophical little books I’ve ever read. It revolves around a little girl called Anna, who at the tender age of five is found by a young man called Fynn, alone in the middle of the night on the streets of East-end, London. Fynn sees that Anna needs a home and has been abused so he takes her back to his humble abode to live with him, his mother and the other waifs and runaways they have taken in. Fynn soon discovers that Anna is no ordinary little girl; she is a firecracker of curiosity and wonder, always asking questions and creating theories about how the world works, especially when It comes to Mister God (as she calls him). The author is stated as Fynn, and the story is told through his eyes, but when I did a little digging I found that the man behind this book is actually Sydney Hopkins and to my amaze/excitement I found that he wrote two sequels: Anna’s Book and Anna and the Black Knight.

There is so many amazing ideas in this book that It could easily be the basis of its own religion. It is, at its heart a religious novel, but you don’t have to be religious for it to move you. I’m Pagan, so I don’t really believe in “Mister God” but while the themes of the book are religious, I didn’t feel that they were necessarily Christian or promoting organised religion, but were more spiritual and thoughtful. There would be food for thought for anyone here, even atheists, because beneath the subject matter is simply a little girl overcome with wonder at the world around her, and weren’t we all like that once?

The other amazing thing about this book is the accompanying pictures by William Papas.

One of Papas' drawings

His free-form sketchy style fits the youthful exuberance of the book so well, and even though there is so many pictures of little Anna, you never see her face because it’s always obscured by a mane of wild hair, adding a lovely mysteriousness to the character.

 
I’m not afraid to say, this book greatly affected me the first time I read It. A friend of the family lent it to me because she thought I would like it, and I mostly read it on the train ride to and from Joondalup, where I was getting counseling for anxiety once a week. I was only about 18 and at a hard time in my life, and Mister God this is Anna was a little ray of sunshine. When I read the final chapters, I cried on the train, and didn’t even care who saw. When I returned it to my family friend I tentatively asked if I could keep it (in fact I was so nervous about doing so, I think I asked my mum to be the middle man) but alas, she treasured it too much to let it go.
 
I was so excited to read it again and re-discover all its beautiful moments, and while I did enjoy the reunion, it was overshadowed by the fact that I knew how it ended, and even though the first page warned of the tragic ending, It’s different when you have the image of it. I didn’t cry this time, but that is probably due to the fact that it wasn’t a shock.
 
Despite this shadow hanging over my second reading, I plan to read Mister God this is Anna again and again, and I implore anyone – if you can find this book, do so because I just may change you life.
 
I give Mister God this is Anna By Fynn:

5 / 5 Stars