Beautiful? Moi? Why, you cad!

The other day I received a lovely surprise upon checking my notifications –  Angelique from Why I Can’t Stop Reading had nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award! beautiful_blogger_award That means I now have three blog awards under my belt – the Versatile Blogger; the Very Inspiring blogger; and now the Beautiful blogger, and the fact that three of my book blogger peers (who I admire and respect) think Book Polygamist is versatile, inspiring AND beautiful is just a huge honor and gives me the drive to continue during times when I’ve thought about quitting. Thanks Angelique! 😀 😀 😀 The rules to receiving the Beautiful Blogger Award are quite similar to the others:

  1. Copy the award logo onto your blog – tick!
  2. Thank the person who nominated you – tick!
  3. Post 7 facts about yourself – see below ↓
  4. Nominate 7 bloggers/blogs for the award – see even further below ↓

I’m running out of facts about myself that immediately come to mind, but here goes:

  1. I don’t know how to ride a bike….or drive a car O.O
    Like any normal child (ha! normal!) I did learn to ride a bike…well I almost did anyway. As a pretty nervous kid the thought of trusting my life (and knees) to a metal frame with wheels was already a little terrifying, but for the sake of appearing a bit normal I gave it a go. I was pretty fine up to the mighty milestone that was removing the training wheels. Then I quickly remembered that I had the balance of a drunken sloth with an inner ear infection (are sloths known for being unbalanced? That may not have been the best example but it makes a good image) and the training wheels had been the only thing keeping me from toppling over. I tried for a while to just walk my bike along by sitting on the seat with my feet tip-toeing either side, but this was actually slower than walking. Eventually I gave up and decided I’d rather read or play with my imaginary zoo anyway (more on that later). I never really mastered any other wheeled contraption throughout my youth, so by the time I was old enough to begin driving lessons I didn’t trust myself behind the wheel of a very large, and flammable-liquid propelled metal frame with wheels. I do plan to learn how to drive at some point (it’s actually a tentative goal of mine for this year) and maybe I’ll even tackle a bike again, but at the moment I feel safer with my life in the hand of bus and train drivers….hmmmm that may not be exactly logical.

    girl-falls-off-bike

    This is pretty much how it went down, except my outfit was in the more tragic late ’80s – early ’90s style

  2. I have a “saying the wrong word” problem which I have dubbed my Rollerdex
    I don’t know if any of you have this problem, but it seems to have plagued me for as long as I can remember. You go to say something wonderfully eloquent that you have rehearsed in you head over and over, and then your brain and mouth conspire to say something completely unrelated and make you look like a tool. I can’t remember If I dubbed this disorder of mine “Rollerdex” or if one of my friends did, but it’s perfectly fitting for what happens. If you’re any younger than me you may not know what a Rollerdex is because they’re virtually extinct now, but basically they were a little wheel that business types kept on their desk that held all their contacts details in alphabetical order. If they wanted to contact Mr Thomson they would simply turn the wheel until the cards for T were front and centre and there was Mr Thomson’s address, telephone and fax numbers ready for your correspondence. The way my Rollerdex works is more stealthy and much less useful. As my brain is constructing a sentence is remains perfectly still and well-behaved, but the moment I speak it spins out-of-control, and totally unwarranted, eager to give me a word which is miles away from what I meant. It has resulted in some great laughs though, so I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on it.

    Ticka-ticka-ticka-tick...tick......tick..... did you mean pigeon?

    Ticka-ticka-ticka-tick…tick……tick….. did you mean pigeon?

  3. I study best with sitcoms playing in the background
    When I was studying for my Diploma in Library and Information Services, the worst thing for my concentration, ironically enough was a silent study room or library. The thing I found really kept me going was having one of my favourite sitcoms (preferably one where I’d seen every episode of multiple times and didn’t normally require much attention anyway) playing at a low volume in the background. I found this also worked really well when I was doing bouts of creative writing too and I use to confuse the guy at Civic Video by borrowing a whole bunch of Charmed, Gilmore Girls or Friends DVDs and then trying to explain that they helped me write. During my studies my fall-back series was Scrubs, mainly because in my last semester I had just bought most of the DVDs from an op-shop for 1 dollar a piece (!!!!!!!) so I finally had all 9 seasons, but earlier on I also used Gilmore Girls, Friends, Charmed, the IT Crowd, and How I Met Your Mother.

    scrubs

    These guys got me through a lot of hours writing long and boring reports!

  4. I can’t sleep in total silence
    This one is similar to the above one – I just can’t relax and get the job done if it’s eerily silent! My main problem with total silence is it’s never totally silent. When there isn’t that lovely white noise I can clearly hear every little tick of the clock, or whistle of the wind outside, or snuffle that my blissfully sleeping dogs make, or that one insane bird that decides to sing at 2 in the morning. While sitcoms work for study, the way I get to sleep is with music, podcasts or audio books at a low-level. For sleeping the level has to be just right – too loud and I’ll just be struck listening to it and won’t sleep, and too quiet and I’ll be straining to hear what was just said and so won’t sleep. In fact I’ve found that over the years listening to audio books or podcasts that I actually want to hear and remember doesn’t work because I’ll either be enthralled and stay awake, or it will lull me to sleep and I won’t remember a damn thing. I’ve found the best sound is chilled out blues, jazz or roots music, or in summer whatever is on the radio (always tuned to Triple j) with the fan on, muffling it slightly 🙂

    AHH! Why won't you stop your incessant ticking! Are you some kind of sadist?!

    AHH! Why won’t you stop your incessant ticking! Are you some kind of sadist?!

  5. Despite being 26 and born/raised in Australia, I often speak like a British Grandmother
    Regular readings may have already noticed that I often use old-fashioned phrasing (I.e. cad) instead of the hip young-person lingo that I should be spouting (saying “hip young-person lingo” doesn’t help matters). When I like something I may say it’s “cool” or “awesome” but more often than not I’ll say it’s “ace”, “neat” or “nifty”. On more than one occasion my friends have teased me for calling soft drinks “pop” (this may not be odd to my American Bookbaggers, but in Australia we don’t say “soda”, “pop” or “soda pop”, it’s always “soft drink” or sometimes “fizzy drink” or just the brand itself). I often catch myself saying someone is “a lovely young man”, or that someone’s “a smart dresser”. So far none of this is particularly British – that part comes from my nana, who is a bona fide British Grandmother (even after 40 odd years living in Australia) and can be pinpointed to two words: Oh dear. I’m pretty sure I’ve been saying “oh dear” in a very composed, British way ever since I was little and heard my nana (one of my favourite people in the universe) say it, and I will be a proud “oh dear” utterer until the day I die!

    I want one!....even though I don't qualify for either of those categories...

    I want one!….even though I don’t qualify for either of those categories…

  6. When I was a child I had an imaginary zoo
    As I said above (and can be easily gleaned if you know me or follow my odd ramblings) i wasn’t a particularly normal child.
    While many normal children had 1 imaginary friend, or even a couple that took shifts I was determined to have and be so much more, so invented a complete menagerie which I would talk to, and pretend to feed and care for, often when I was in public. When I was at school the zoo resided in a little area of grass with a huge peppermint tree next to the toilet block, which no one seemed to utilize for some reason. I would visit during recess and lunch and “feed” all the animals with fallen leaves and the blossoms off the peppermint tree, pretend to water down the elephant and other large animals, and have meetings with the zoo keepers (which were two man-shaped cats – one black and white and one ginger – who despite also being animals, could talk and wore clothing). I also use to speak with the cat zoo keepers (the black and white one was called Mr Mistoffelees  – after the cat from T. S. Elliot‘s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and the musical Cats – or Mister for short, and I’m pretty sure the ginger one was called Archimedes – after the owl in The Sword in the Stone – or Archie for short) when I was on the toilet because they were right there and in my head it was perfectly normal to have a staff meeting in which the boss is doing entirely different business.

    zoo tycoon

    I was way ahead of my time when it came to imaginary zoos!

  7. I constantly have 2 or 3 little stories that I make up and work through in my head
    This probably is an offshoot of my imaginary zoo making. Ever since I was little I’ve always made up little stories in my head – kind of like continuing daydreams I guess – which I play through when I’m in a quiet boring situation (again, when I’m on the toilet or sometimes before I fall asleep). The stories are usually along the same themes – there’s the one where I’m a princess with a secret garden that I get to through a series of hidden doorways and tunnels, and I have lots of unique pets; and the variations of fantasy based one such as a magic school; a magical chosen one or ones etc. Why do I do this? Well it may just be because my brain has been wired that way so it always has to be occupied with something, and I’d rather tell myself stories than go over and over my to-do list (which I do still do a fair bit), or maybe it’s my inner novelist getting a workout, since I’ve lost the time and drive to actually write down my stories; or perhaps I’m a tad cuckoo…or all three! 😀

    daydreaming

    “But who are you? And how did you get into my secret garden?” The mysterious stranger said nothing, and with an elegant swish of their cloak they were gone, leaving behind a single red rose…”

And now for my nominees:

  1. Angelique (AKA angelicreader) from Why I Can’t Stop Reading
    Because just like my previous award posts, I believe a nomination deserves one back 🙂 plus I have only recently discovered  Why I Can’t Stop Reading  and have found it to be a lovely little book blog with nice, clear reviews and a bright future 🙂 
  2. Billie (AKA Vasiliki) from Books, Owls & Tea
    Because I have also just discovered her lovely blog (through Why I Can’t Stop Reading in fact) and have found many beautiful delights in the form of three of my favourite things: books, owls and tea 😀 her review style is also very clear and readable and I love the idea of Tea on Tuesday
  3. Neely from NEELYWANG Photography + Design
    Because the most beautiful posts in my Reader are usually from this gorgeous photography blog. I know I already nominated NEELYWANG Photography + Design for an award in the past (as I have with some of the others on this list) but it is well deserved 🙂
  4. Crafting With Words
    Another former award recipient, but when I think about beautiful blogs, this one with its lovely, inspiring concept came to mind 🙂
  5. Aleksandra from Aleksandra’s Corner
    A book blog I found really recently while looking for pics of The Night Circus‘ cover art, and I have been very impressed with her clear reviews (and the sheer number of reviews she does on a regular basis!) as well as the challenges she participates in and posts she does on upcoming books
  6. Christie from bibliophiliacs
    Because my previous nomination of bibliophiliacs was as a thank you for her nomination of Book Polygamist and I thought she deserved another on its own 🙂 Now your blog/you have been dubbed versatile and beautiful Christie
  7. Shivani from My Owl Barn
    I’ve shown my love of this treasure trove of owl stuff before, but some (ok, most if not all) the artwork she posts about is so stunning, she definitely deserves this award!

I’ll end with a short plug 😀 there’s been a flurry of activity on here lately such as two new features – Adventures in Etymology and Collective Nounitude – as well as a new page to quickly get to any of my regular (or not so regular) features; I’ll also be putting up another new page after this post which lists my awards (*blush*) as well as the awards I’ve given (the Top 10 Reads of this year and last year, as well as the Annual Book Polygamist Awards); and the other big news is Book Polygamist finally has a Facebook page and an email address! So if you’re a face on the Book of Faces you can like Book Polygamist by going to its page, or simply us the like widget, and if you want to email me the address is now on my About page 🙂

For now, and always I wish all my Bookbaggers and future Bookbaggers:

Happy Reading! And I hope you all have a look-see at the excellent blogs I’ve nominated 😀

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Quote

Notable Quotable #23

My hands go to my head and then drop to my lap, slick with blood. The last thing I remember is an exquisitely beautiful green-and-silver moth landing on the curve of my wrist.

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

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

 
 

A Hedgehog, a little girl and God

I broke a bit of a rule this week when I chose new books. I still did my little eeny meeny miney moe ritual but I had too many books, so by the time I had done the final moe I still had two left, and two that I really wanted to read: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, which I have been wanting to read for a while, and Mister God, this is Anna by Fynn, a book that I borrowed off a friend of the family years ago and made a big impact on me…. so I started them both 🙂

I’m really looking forward to reviewing Mister God, this is Anna because it’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, and I had a hard time finding it a) because I couldn’t remember the exact title and b) it isn’t a very well-known book, and from what I’ve read of The Elegance of the Hedgehog (the first few chapters) it is a beautiful book also.

Stay tuned 🙂