Challenges Update # 17 – Week 6 of War & Pages + Birthday Happenings & a Glut of Book Journals!

Ahoy there my rollicking, rambunctious Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 6th update of  War & Pages + a little news regarding Old Books October and the fast approaching New Books November, a little share of what I did/got for my birthday this week, and some book nerd stuff about book journals/reading diaries/reading logs/whatever you wanna call em 😛

war &  pages challenge badge

This week has only been somewhat successful in the War & Pages department, mainly because I’m down to just Catch 22 now and last weekend was filled with celebrations for my 27th birthday (as the calendar has conspired against me and put the actual date on a unfavourable-for-celebrations Tuesday). Despite this I still came pretty close to my quota:

Catch 22:

catch22

43 pages (3 chapters)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

43 pages

…I’m not sure whether to be pleased that I almost reached my goal, or frustrated because I came so close! I did mean to read one more chapter on the weekend to get over 50, but I was too busy getting spoilt by my wonderful close friends, Sarah, Luke & Ron. I wasn’t gifted any book-related prezzies (while books are obviously one of my main loves, I rarely get gifted them as its hard for loved ones to know what I already have) but they did cover some of my other most favoured things: jewelry, foxes, owls, crystals and teapots, so I was mighty chuffed 😀 We also went to my favourite local restaurant Picco’s Kitchen which none of my friends had been to before (or at least not since it was under former ownership as a gourmet pizza place) and  I had an awesome steak with potato gratin, grilled asparagus and this zesty avocado and tomato salsa 😀 YUM!

On my actual birthday I was feeling a bit under par, with an annoying tickle in the back of my throat and a persistent cough, but when I got into work I was greeted by a lovely surprise – my boss, Yve, had decorated my desk with a couple of birthday banners, balloons, a poster wishing me a happy birthday from the whole team, and this hilarious poster stuck to my computer monitor:

Star Trek birthday posterXD Love it! The birthday spoilage continued with a lovely card (which had Nerdy spelled out with elements – N = Nitrogen; Er = erbium; Dy = dysprosium) and a morning tea of mini sausage rolls and red velvet cupcakes 🙂 That night I went out to another local – Rifo’s Cafe – with my mum and had a huge bowl of chilli mussels with garlic bread, so all-in-all, despite my annoying throat it was a great day 🙂

Then yesterday when I saw my workmate, Scott, at East Perth (I work at the Mt Lawley campus of my college Monday-Wednesday and then at the East Perth campus Thursday-Friday) I got probably the best present of the whole birthday week:

Buffy the vampire slayer TalesBuffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales by Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson,  Becky Cloonan (writers)
Tim Sale,Doug Petrie, Leinil Francis Yu, Gene Colan and others (artists)

The book is a beautiful hardcover with place-keeping ribbon, and is filled with stories from different generations of slayers and vampires all illustrated by different artist’s with unique styles. With every random turn of a page I found a new style of art and from what I saw all the work is stunning! I can’t wait to get into this one and may even let it bypass all my usual processes and challenges 😀 As if this wasn’t enough of an awesome present, Scott also brought in donuts and cronuts for us to have for morning/afternoon tea (the sheer amount and yumminess of the treats allowed for two separate teas) which in my opinion was way better than cake!

Ok, now onto the actual challenge stuff :P:

Old Books October challenge badgeNot much Old Book October activity this week. On my birthday I finished  The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman et al

sandman4

Which was my favourite volume so far! It started with a meeting of all but one of the Endless (Destiny, Delirium, Desire, Despair, Dream and Death) which included a beautiful spread of individual portraits with wonderful descriptions of each character. The rest of the story was also excellent with Dream/Morpheus/The Sandman travelling to Hell to right a wrong only to find it empty and that Lucifer has quit and released all the damned and demons. Lucifer also leaves the key to Hell, and the kingdom it unlocks to The Sandman to do with as he pleases. As Morpheus has no interest in running Hell, he soon finds his Dream realm filled with all manner of Gods, demons, angels and other being vying for the rights to the abandoned kingdom. As always the writing and art were top-notch and I loved how the Sandman team had envisioned some famous beings from Mythology like the Norse Gods Odin, Thor and Loki.

I have also been loving Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (which isn’t technically involved in Old Books October but deserves a mention anyway as its awesome) and the Soulless manga by Gail Carriger (writer) and REM (artist). On the downside, I haven’t read much more of Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, I still haven’t even started Brisingr by Christopher Paolini yet :S but I hope to read them more next week. With less than a week left the likelihood of another Old Books October choice is slim, but I’m happy with what was already chosen 🙂

New Books November challenge badge

New Books November is very close now and in light of all the exciting new comics/graphic novels I have I have decided to tweak the rules a little 😛 Instead of putting new purchases aside until after November I’m going to include all my to-be-read comics/graphic novels, so the two most recent and any published this year will be contenders. This will only be a rules change for the Comic Companions pile and any books I said would have to wait will do so. Also I may make my new Buffy book the official mascot of the challenge or something so I can start reading it straight away 😛

The full rules and list of contenders will be posted on the 1st of November 🙂

In other news, the other day I got a very exciting package – 3 book journals I bought from Abe books recently for about 3-4 dollars each!

Book journals

Now, I can almost hear what you’re thinking even through the noise and chaos of cyber space (OoooEeeeOoooo!) – I know you read a lot Book Polygamist, but why on earth would you need 3 book journals all at once? Well the truth is that I had a bunch of trouble finding a new book journal – all the ones I found on Bookdepository or Amazon were either ones I’ve already tried (and I like to mix it up each time rather than having the same journal over and over), didn’t have features I wanted, or when I found a great new one they didn’t ship to my country! I was getting so frustrated that by the time I tried Abe books and found three suitable ones at a cheap price I just got all of them so I wouldn’t have the same issue next time I ran out of space.

I was ecstatic to have my hand on not 1, but 3 new (well used but in near new condition) journals, but then I was faced with a dilemma – which one should I use first? After weighing up the amount of entries for each book, the fields to fill in for each entry, and other features of the 3, as well as their relative condition (the Reader’s Journal on the left has a name in the front and the one on the right has a few parts filled in which I have to decide whether to white out or keep as a look into the previous owners reading habits – perhaps I’ll get some recommendations :)) I decided I would go with Smart Women Read Between the Lines: A Reader’s Journal

Smart Women Read Between the Lines A Reader's Journal

Besides its lovely retro cover art it is filled with neat features such as tabs along the side for easy access to the different sections, a pocket at the back for storing review clippings and the like, ownership stickers to put in the front of your books, and little tear out bookmarks with art from the different sections on them (only one of which was missing from my used copy!). The journal is broken up into 4 sections: Book Read & Reviewed or Smart Women Never Judge a Book by its Cover, which is where you chronicle the books you’ve read; Novel Ideas or Smart Women Read Between the Lines, where you can jot down quotes and the like; Books to Read or Smart Women Thirst for Knowledge, which is where you put books you want to read; and Lists or Smart Women Make a List and Check it Twice, which has all kinds of lists to fill out such as books lent and borrowed, books to give as gifts, bookclub and supplier info, and favourite books as well as a list of Smart Women A-Z.

It also has 32 pages for noting books you’ve read so that should keep me going for the rest of this year and some of next year, at which point I will have two others waiting for me 🙂

That’s it for now. Keep a lookout for upcoming regular features and the official opening of New Books November next week but until then:

Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a-a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and-and-and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a – it, uh, it has no-no texture, no-no context. It’s-it’s there and then it’s gone. If it’s to last, then-then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should be, um, smelly.

So that one is just a straight up quote by Giles in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode – I, Robot… You, Jane (Season 1, Episode 8) but I thought it was fitting what with my awesome Buffy-themed present plus its one of my favourite Giles moments 🙂 As always, if you think of any pop culture quotes I could adapt into a sign-off, or if you just have some nice bookish quotes for me hit me up in the comments,  at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or over at the Facebook page 🙂

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Video

Happy Birthday Maurice Sendak :)

This morning when I first googled something at work I noticed that there was a new Google Doodle. The doodles seem to get better and better each time (the one honoring Douglas Adams was amazing!) so I clicked onto it to have a play and saw that it was celebrating the 85th birthday of Maurice Sendak. Sendak, as most of you would know was the author and illustrator of the popular children’s book Where the Wild Things Are and another of my favourites as a child, In The Night Kitchen, as well as many others which he created from 1956 until his death in May of last year.

Maurice Sendak was an imaginative author that created unique, playful, and slightly creepy characters which have delighted generations of children, and hopefully will continue to delight generations to come. Good on Google for honoring him with this lovely doodle 🙂

If you’re seeing this after the fact here’s a video made of the Doodle in action:

I don’t remember the name of the book….but it had a blue cover?

As a former Library Studies student and now a Library Assistant I have often heard stories which have become akin to urban legends in the library world. The biggest of these is the patron (or client, customer, member, insert synonym-which-is-acceptable-to-use-when-describing-the-users-of-the-library here) who approaches the desk and enquires about a book they may have borrowed or browsed in the past and when prompted for further details on said book says something like “Well i don’t remember what it was called or who wrote it, but I think it was blue?”.

This is baffling to library staff (probably book store staff also) because A. depending on the size of the library we could have anywhere from dozens to hundreds or even thousands of books with a blue cover and B. unlike titles, authors, publication information or even vague keywords, the colour of the cover is not something we can generally search for and unless the library is very tiny its hard to remember all books of a particular colour we have seen come in.

This is going to take a while…

I have personally never encountered the fabled Blue Book Enquirer, but I have helped many patrons who could remember very little about a book they need or want and I have noticed that cover colour and decoration are often what sticks. Because of this and my already established love of cover art, I usually am keen to notice what incoming books, or popular books look like, just in case. Who knows, perhaps one day a patron will come in with a life or death situation which requires a very rare book which they have only ever seen in this library and they have recently suffered a strangely specific form of amnesia where they cannot remember any details about things in their life pre-amnesia except colours, and my recollection of the textbook with a chartreuse cover and teal stripes could be the very moment that saves their life! Ok, perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch but better safe than sorry right?

Anyway, because of this I generally pay attention to book covers in my day to day life, and especially the ones I’m reading (so much so that I try and pick the bookmark out of my bookmark collection that best matches the book I’m using it in…..shut up) and when all or some of the books are the same colour…I get a tad excited. This happened to me recently when I was after a few quick reads around my birthday and coincidentally the four books I chose had predominantly blue covers.

It all started funnily enough with a graphic novel called Blue by Pat Grant.  I was feeling a little bored with my current reads and just wanted something I could read in one sitting so i visited my local library and picked up a few novels (to get to later) and a few graphic novels. I chose to read Blue because the cover and inside art attracted me, I had never heard of it before and the other two graphic novels were volumes 2 and 7 of The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and since I have never read the series in its entirety i wanted to go in order. Blue was an interesting and quirky little graphic novel that I read from cover to cover that afternoon, and it broke me out of my reading rut. The story explored racism and localism in a small coastal Australian town told through a trio of surfer teens, but the really interesting thing about it was how the race or races which were discriminated against were instead strange tentacled creatures with blue skin who doodled childlike yet intricate graffiti all over the town. The artwork was also really beautiful with hand lettering and ink-work completely in gray-scale with touches of blue. If you want to know more simply go to Pat Grants website, but I will also do a quick review at some point.

Definitely worth a look.

After finishing Blue I was still in the mood for another short read, and then I remembered that I still had The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss sitting on my desk since I received around my last birthday! Since my birthday was only a few days away I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that I had gone almost a year without reading a picture book which even 6-year-old me would’ve devoured immediately, so I quickly rectified this. As is to be expected from Dr Seuss the stories were a delight and even though I only dipped in in between doing other tasks around the house I had read them all within an hour or so (and I will also post a small review of them eventually). It was at this point that I noticed that both books were quite blue (as you can see) but as there was only two of them it was quite a small coincidence.

A few days later, on my birthday I stopped off at a few shops in Leederville (a hip suburb in Perth where I’m currently working) to buy myself some birthday presents. One of these shops was Oxford St Books one of my favourite book stores. After a very thorough browsing I left with City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (which is the forth Mortal Instruments book and the one I’m up to); Curses and Blessings For All Occasions by Bradley Trevor Greive (author of another blue number – The Blue Day Book and other funny little gift books featuring captioned animals)

How could you resist that happy looking whale?

and The Templeton Twins: Have An Idea by Ellis Weiner.

At this point my brain may have subconsciously been craving blue things :-\


I enjoyed Curses and Blessings For All Occasions that afternoon and evening and had a good giggle (again I’ll post a brief review soon) and then read The Templeton Twins (which was a hilarious children’s adventure in the vein of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, filled with lovely black, white and blue illustrations – review to follow) on the bus to and from work over the next two days. By then I was so chuffed by my collection of short, blue reads that I just had to share it with you, my beloved Bookbaggers 🙂

I hope you enjoyed my rambling and, as always:

Happy Reading!