Challenges Update # 22 – A Wrap-up of New Books November + Who Day and other Exciting Acquisitions!

Season’s Greetings my jolly, yuletastic Bookbaggers!

Sorry I have been AWOL since my last update. Initially I didn’t do an update because nothing had really happened challenge-wise what with the end of War & Pages and the wrapping-up of New Books November, but I was going to still share my experiences of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary and other goodies I have acquired before and after. That was the plan last week, however at work we are winding down to the christmas break which has been a bit hectic and exciting, so blogging has sort of fallen behind the couch of things-to-do.

But! I am back and will at least do this last challenge update before my chrissy holidays begin 😀

I have lots of exciting things to share with you but firstly here’s a quick wrap-up of New Books November:

  1. New Books November challenge badgeNew Book November successfully included at least one book/graphic novel from all 4 piles (Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read; Books-Borrowed-From-Libraries; Books-Borrowed-From-Others; and Graphic Novels) and 6 books/graphic novels were chosen, which is a great result
  2. I still haven’t started The Living Dead anthology or Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde as I’ve been so distracted, however since I will have a lot of time on my hands I can enjoy them before Christmas 🙂
  3. I have only read one chapter so far of Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger but I was giggling throughout so this is another one I’ll sink my teeth into before xmasetiquette and espionage
  4. I finished Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow – Wonderland last Saturday and I absolutely loved it! The story was a really interesting sort-of stand-alone which saw Willow journeying to another dimension of sort in order to restore magic to her world. As you can imagine from the title, there were Alice in Wonderland elements to the story, such as a cryptic man-sized caterpillar, but mostly it was its own exciting and insightful story, especially for fans of Willow and her struggles with magic. The art was absolutely stunning and definitely enhanced the vivid setting. willow wonderland
  5. I also finished Death: The High Cost of Living, last weekend (on Sunday) which was another sort-of stand-alone in a world I love. It of course followed the character of Death from the Sandman comics as she spends one day as a mortal on Earth, as she must do every 100 years to understand the struggles of the people she takes everyday. death the high cost of living
  6. I also started and finished FreakAngels #1 on Sunday which was fantastic! It was set in a post-apocalyptic world and focused on a group called the Freakangels – 12 people born at the exact same moment 23 years before, who despite their parentage have the same pale skin, purple eyes and powerful psychic powers which they were forced to use to end the world and start anew. The first volume was nicely mysterious, giving away little tidbits of information but keeping major plot points for later on. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next volume!freak angels vol 1
  7. This challenge was also fun because I had my mascot – Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales which I polished off on Sunday (sunday was spent almost exclusively reading comics :D) I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has been a big highlight of this challenge, and of the year 🙂 buffy tales
  8. Overall it was a really fun challenge that allowed me to choose recently bought, borrowed or published books without cheating 😛

Now onto the excitement that was Who Day! 😀 😀

As I said in my last update, my best friends and Official Jar Chooser, Sarah, and I had been invited over to my workmate, Scott’s place to stay up until the wee hours to watch the 50th at the same time as Whovians the world over. We started our day/night of fun by meeting in the city centre where Scott presented Sarah and I with our own Who Day 2013 lanyards that he had made especially for the occasion (thus awarding him many cool points) before we headed to the ABC Shop where they were having a special 50th Anniversary event with lots of Doctor Who loot for sale, a costume competition, a quiz and other fun activities. None of us were in costume except Scott wore a shirt with the TARDIS on it and I wore my 10th of Hearts shirt from Teefury:

10th-of-Hearts-TeeFury-Shirt-of-the-Day

So we knew the costume comp wasn’t really for us, plus we wanted to get going fairly quickly to start our day of movie watching, so me and Sarah quickly filled in the quiz (we got all questions right with minimal cheating :P) and perused their wares. Scott went away with a fabulous TARDIS cushion, Sarah got a Sylvester McCoy era DVD (her first and favourite Doctor) and a cute TARDIS-shaped soap dispenser and I got a cute TARDIS book light which has a normal light and a UV light to revel hidden messages written with the included invisible ink pen; a Tom Baker era DVD, Masque Of Mandragora; and a book of course! – Who’s 50 which covers 50 episodes/story arcs that are must watches 🙂

All my Who Day goodies :D

All my Who Day goodies 😀

We then bussed to Scott’s neck of the woods, had lunch at his local shopping centre food court then headed back to his to start our exciting viewing extravaganza! Scott had plenty planned for us before the 50th anniversary episode so we got cracking with the Star Trek Next Generation Movie – First Contact, which I had never seen before and Sarah hadn’t seen since it came out when we were kids. I was amazing on Blu-ray and on Scott’s impressive TV and was an awesome way to start the festivities! Next we watched a doco that Scott had kept a secret – Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope – which followed a few very different sets of people going to San Diego Comic-con (two artists hoping to break into the industry; a comic book seller hoping for good business at the con to keep his business afloat; and a troupe of master cosplayers) and interviewed a whole bunch of con regulars and newbies, fans and professionals alike. It was also fantastic and me and Sarah were both by surprised how much we were rooting for the artists, sellers and cosplayers to succeed! After those few hours of sitting we went for a welcome walk with Scott’s adorable Corgi cross German Shepard, Fudge and had top-notch bento at a local Japanese place before settling in for the evening’s entertainment.

Our next viewing was The Cabin in the Woods, an unconventional horror flick from the genius mind of Joss Whedon along with fellow buffy/angel writer Drew Goddard. I had always meant to see Cabin in the Woods, as had Sarah and within the first few minutes I think we were both thinking the same thing: “WHY HAVE WE NEVER SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE.” It was truly epic and amazing, one of the best and most original horror films I have ever seen and definitely one I will now need to find for my collection. If you’ve never seen it and you’re a Joss Whedon fan, or a horror movie buff, or a fan of good movies in general, do yourself a favour – see this movie ASAP! With still many hours until our beloved 50th Anniversary episode we then decided to get into the Who mood a bit by watching Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide a 2 hour special which chronicled every regeneration as well as key villains, companions and gadgets from the show. After that it was getting to be pretty late and with a couple of hours still before the 50th ep we were all stating to lag. As a preventative measure we went for a film full of action and scary stuff to shock us awake if we started to nod off – World War Z. It was a pretty good disaster/horror movie which differed from the book (which Sarah and I both read recently after borrowing it from Scott) but not in a way that annoyed me – they were their own entities and as a zombie movie this was genuinely terrifying and creepy. Suffice to say it kept us awake until the main event!

I don’t think I have to say that the 50th Anniversary episode – Day of the Doctor – was AMAZING. We all had fangirl/fanboy moments throughout, laughed and gasped and cheered, and I know that I teared up on multiple occasions. I won’t give anything away in case you haven’t seen it, but as a Whovian I was definitely chuffed 🙂 And we made it all the way through to morning without falling asleep or dying so that’s an achievement!

Who day extravaganza collage

Despite being proud of our efforts and feeling not that shabby we all agreed a power nap for a few hours was in order before we ventured out for breakfast, so we kipped until 10ish, had some much-needed coffee and prepared ourselves for a final outing. But, before we headed off Scott had a lovely surprise for us – a goodie bag of presents for the two of us including a couple of DVDs, 2 audio CDs (one Doctor Who story and one Torchwood!) and a graphic novel. immediately we split the DVDs between us as one was the final season of The L Word (mine) and the other was an anime (Sarah’s) and I latched onto the graphic novel as it had been one I had eyed out whilst perusing comic stores with Scott previously:

American vampire

American Vampire #1 by Scott Snyder, Stephen King (writers), Rafael Albuquerque (artist), Dave McCaig (colourist) and Steve Wands (letterer)

However, I will loan it to Sarah once I’ve finished if she so desires 😉 The CDs have gone to Sarah as I had the lion’s share, but I’ll be borrowing them off her also. It was such an unexpected gift that me and Sarah were quite touched – the day/night itself was gift enough, presents on top were just icing on the cake 🙂 We ended our adventure by getting a big breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs, hash browns and ice coffees all around in the city centre once more, before me and Sarah headed back to mine to talk about what a fantastic time we had for the rest of the day. It really was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a really long time.

In other news I’ve made a couple more exciting purchases, as I do.

The Friday before Who Day Scott and I went to a local comic place, Comiczone where I got some very exciting things:

Comiczone purchases

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere by Mike Carey (writer), Glenn Fabry (artist), Richard Horie, Tanya Horie (colourists) and Todd Klein (letterer); The Crow: Skinning the Wolves by James O’Barr (writer/artist) and Jim Terry (writer/artist/colourist); and Telling Tales a CD of Neil Gaiman reading some of his short stories with accompanying orchestral music for ambience 🙂

Then we went to Kaleido and I bought 2 books:

Kaleido purchases

I am Legend by Richard Matheson which was proclaimed as a must-read by Scott, and Grimm Tales by Philip Pullman which just sounded neat because it’s a retelllling of Grimm’s fairy tales.

And I also got a few of their bookish badges:

Kaleido badges

Then this week I popped into Kaleido again to pick up a book I had on order:

20131205_184517

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter which I have heard great things about and, come on, Alice AND Zombies? I know I’ll love it 😛

That’s it for now my faithful Bookbaggers 🙂 I may be notably absent for the rest of the year as I enjoy my holiday and gear up for Xmas, but I promise I will drop by with little bits and bobs when I can and then I’ll be back to do my annual awards!

Until then I’ll just leave you with one of the funniest parts of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode, as a taster:

As always share away in the comments, send me an email at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or frolic on the Facebook page, and check out my mad pinning (which will likely increase with my free time) on Pinterest :)

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Challenges Update # 21 – Week 10 of War & Pages + New Books for New Books November!

Hello my gracious, gregarious Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 10th update of  War & Pages (and actually the 11th and final update too!) + an exciting update on  New Books November and other crazy dribblings from my mind parts 😀

war &  pages challenge badge

This Sunday I was feeling a little under par (probably a combination of the heat and an overindulgence of junk and underindulgence of sleep the nights before) so I stayed inside, napped, and read in between napping. As a result I read over 50 pages of Catch 22 and likely would’ve finished the whole lot if I hadn’t fallen asleep again:

Catch 22:

catch22

59 pages (4 chapters)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

59 pages

Then Tuesday afternoon and evening I plunged in again and before I knew it I had finished the last 2 chapters and the extra bits at the back! Since it seems silly to wait until next week to officially update you on this development, I may as well do this:

Catch 22:

catch22

53 pages (2 chapters + thoughts on Catch 22) – Finished! :D

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

53 pages

Overall it was a wonderfully surreal and darkly funny book, and while it took me the good part of the year to read it, this challenge certainly helped me get into the story and finally finish this excellent classic. I know a lot of people struggle with Catch 22, so to them I say: don’t worry if it takes you forever to pick it up, if you start and abandon it a dozen times, or when you finally stick with it, it takes you almost a year – or longer – to get through –  in the end its worth it 🙂

So that’s all folks for the War & Pages challenge, which started with a link between two books I was struggling with, and in the end both books were in the top 10 of books I’ve read this year! I do have another idea for a reading challenge (*cough* possibly to do with Brisingr *cough*), so perhaps when New Books November is done and dusted I will announce something new – I’m getting to love this challenge business!

In other exciting news I have chosen my first books for New Books November!

New Books November challenge badge

As predicted I didn’t finish anything before the 15th, so I planned to get Official jar Chooser Sarah to pick me a random slip and a Comic Companion to go with it on the weekend, but then I also finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman Friday afternoon (it was awesome by the by) so instead I got her to choose 1 random slip, 1 blue slip (since Neverwhere was a library book and thus had a library book successor) and 2 greens for the Comic Companions. Then yesterday she came over for a coffee and chose a purple slip (Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read) and another Comic Companion to replace Catch 22, so for New Books November I have at least one book from each pile! 😀

The random slip Sarah chose was actually a blue so I just made that the replacement for Neverwhere and got her to choose another random:

The Living  Dead - New Books November

The Living Dead by Various

I borrowed this zombie anthology from my workmate, Scott, at the same time as World War Z so I’m really excited to get into some more zombie creepyness (especially because I finally got around to watching The Walking Dead since the first episode is finally airing on free-to-air TV in Australia (yes we are way past the 8 ball on this one).

And for the Comic Companion:

Willow wonderland - New Books November

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

I’m really excited about this choice as Willow is my favourite character from Buffy, and the art for this collection is just stunning!

For the blue slip replacing Neverwhere she picked:

Shades of Grey - New Books November

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

This interesting sounding sci-fi came before the whole 50 Shades phenomena and has been raved about on many book blogs I follow so I’m eager to see what its like 🙂 Sounds to me a bit like The Giver meets The Hunger Games with its own twist, which is very promising 😀

And as the Comic Companion:

Death the high cost of living - New Books November

Death: The High Cost of Living
by Neil Gaiman (writer), Chris Bachalo (penciller) and Mark Buckingham (inker)

I was also super excited to read this stand-alone volume set in the Sandman universe, staring one of its most intriguing characters – Dream/Morpheus/The Sandman’s sister and fellow Endless, Death.

Then last night to replace Catch 22 she chose:

Etiquette and espionage - New Books November

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Darn lens flare! This is another uber exciting choice because it’s the first in Gail Carriger‘s (of Parasol Protectorate fame) new series, and if it’s good (which it definitely will be!) I can lend it to Sarah after 🙂

And as the final Comic Companion:

Freak angels - New Books November

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

Which I bought at the same time as Death: The High Cost of Living and looks excellent 🙂

While there is next to no chance that I will finish something else before December 1st, the contenders still need updating, just in case. The updated contenders are:

Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read Pile (Purple Slips)

Newest-On-The-Pile Books:

A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin

a-game-of-thrones

White Cat by Holly Black

white-cat

Books Published in 2013:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

neil-gaiman-the-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane-book-cover

Books-Borrowed-From-Libraries Pile (Blue Slips)

Newest-On-The-Pile Books:

Carnevale by M.R. Lovric

carnevale

Skinlane by Neil Bartlett

skin lane

(Yes, I know this was also on the Old Books October contender list, but I now only have three books on this pile, so they’re all included)

Books Published in 2013:

Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody

metrowinds

Books-Borrowed-From-Others Pile (Red Slips)

Newest-On-The-Pile Books:

Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen

flip this zombie

Away with the Fairies by  Kerry Greenwood

away with the fairies

Books Published in 2013:

None.

Graphic Novels (Green Slips)

Newest-On-The-Pile Books:

         Scott Pilgrim Volume 1: Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley

scott pilgrim vol 1

Batman: Nevermore Issues 1-5
by Len Wein (writer), Guy Davis (penciller and inker), and Jeromy Cox (colourist)

Batman Nevermore

Books Published in 2013:

Rat Queens #1 – Gold, Guts and Grog, Part One
by Kurtis J. Wiebe (writer) and John Upchurch (artist)

rat queens #1

In other New Books November news I didn’t end up reading any of my New Books November mascot – Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales – over the weekend, but I did read some Monday afternoon

buffy tales

I read the Melaka Fray story that I mentioned last week, but then when I was all ready to get into the Vampire half I saw that there was one last Slayer story that I missed – and a pretty darn epic one at that! The forgotten story was actually a story in two parts that circled back on each other in a way. The first half was about Buffy and the Sunnydale crew dealing with a Djinn at Sunnydale high, and it was illustrated in this glorious, psychedelic coloured, cartoonish style. The second part was set in the late 1930s (during WWII) and had the Slayer enlisted to impersonate a German spy, but ended up with her discovering the same Djinn and trapping it.

In other, other news, last Friday I received a really exciting parcel in the mail – my two pre-ordered copies (one for me and one for Sarah) of Hyperbole and a Half by the hilarious Allie Brosh 😀 😀

Hyperbole and a half

Because Allie is hilarious and the book is filled with stories/comics both from her blog and previously unpublished, I have also been dipping into this all week, so with all the books I was already reading, the New Books November picks, plus this and my New Books November mascot, my currently reading page is looking like some sort of crazed orgy of books and comics at the moment!

I haven’t started the majority of the new picks (only Etiquette and Espionage which I started during my lunch break yesterday) and I probably won’t get to them this weekend as the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode – The Day of the Doctor (linked in case you live under a rock… which still has internet access…and yet you still haven’t heard about the 50th….under a rock with internet access but you only read my blog? Little weird and stalkerish Mr Under-rock dweller, but that link’s for you :P) is airing Saturday night/obscenely early Sunday morning and my workmate Scott, Sarah and I are staying up all night to watch it 😀

That’s all for now (“All?!” I hear you say. “After that bombardment of news I need a lie down” O.O) but stay tuned for more updates, maybe a new challenge and other things that I can think of/can be bothered doing 😛

Until then:

You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have – arm yourselves!

In honor of the 50th Anniversary I thought I’d go with another book-related Doctor Who quote, this time from the Season 2 episode (of the New Who series that is) Tooth and Claw.

and this is a representation of how excited I am about the 50th, especially seeing David Tennant as the doctor again:

Doctor who David Tennant gif

Also, in case you haven’t had enough Doctor Who stuff on this post (is there such thing?) have you seen the Google Doodle for today?

If you go there today it should be there and if it ends up the the archives after I'll update the link :)

Updated to link to the doodle in Google’s doodle archive…that’s a bit of a mouthful isn’t it?

Its a super funny and frustrating game (aren’t the frustrating ones also usually the most fun?) where you play as the doctor fetching all the letters of GOOGLE in different times while dodging Daleks and the like, and ever time you die you move on to the next regeneration! Very cool 🙂

Anyway, that’s really all for now 😛 As always share you’re weird sigh-offs, quotes and now I guess funny gifs too in the comments, at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or on the Facebook page, and feel free to follow me or just my individual boards on Pinterest 🙂