Challenge Update: Week 6 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy

Hola my quaint and quirky Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the exciting 6th update of Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy where I don’t actually have anything non-challenge related to share with you O.o

Luckily, I have made a lot of headway in both challenges since my last update, so there’s still heaps to tell you! In fact, some of this update will be a mixture of stuff that happened last week and this week, since I usually post the updates on a Friday and it seems silly to save stuff for the next one when it happened just the other day. From now on I think I will consider the “week” from one update to the next as that makes more sense and makes the whole thing less confusing 🙂

Lets get this ball rolling, shall we?:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeThis week deserves the Mighty Numbered List (now with extra mightyness!) more than ever since a whole lot happened:

  1. As I said in my last update, I finished Above/Below by Stephanie Campisi and Ben Peek last Wednesday and it was excellent! Both authors are skilled at short fiction, and I felt connected to the characters and fascinated by the world almost right away. Having never read a book in that format, I found it to be a strange, but interesting experience. When I finished Above it was odd because physically I was in the middle of a book, but I had the feeling I get when finishing a book (sad that I wouldn’t be visiting the world or characters anymore, but satisfied by a well-ended story) and the one when starting a new book (excited to start something new but slightly hesitant to leave the old one behind) simultaneously, but it felt different again because I was still sort of reading the same book! I also loved reading it in the opposite order to Sarah and comparing, and it was such a great story (or stories) that I’d love to pick it up again some day and read in the opposite order.AboveBelow-cover1-300x246
  2. Since I finished Above/Below I asked my mum to choose me a new one out of the bag, and she chose A Clockwork Orange by Anthony BurgessA Clockwork Orange is probably the contender for this challenge that has been on my TBR pile the longest, and I’ve been wanting to read it for even longer, so I was definitely happy with her choice, and as she had read it in her youth she was also excited to have chosen it. I haven’t started it yet as I thought it would be a bit full-on for my lunch break (I have seen the movie so I’ve come prepared!) but I hope to soon.a clockwork orange
  3. As I also said in my last update, I read another story from Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan last week, “The Isles of the Sun” – a haunting tale of a young boy being visited by unearthly, glowing people who communicate with him telepathically the necessary steps he and other children must take to gain the power of flight. Then over the WA Day long weekend I read heaps (it was like two lazy Sundays for the price of one!), including the last two stories from the collection, “Bejazzle” – a weird story which involved a middle-aged man who’s sick of his wife, and his encounter with a gang of strange girls on the train, then a buxom woman who turns out to be much stranger than a careless tryst; and “Significant Dust” – which was partly about a young woman running away from her past after a freak accident, but I think was also about aliens….at least I think it was aliens….it ended and I still wasn’t 100% sure but it was really mysterious and atmospheric and since the other stories also didn’t spell out what the fuck happened by the end, I didn’t mind. Overall I really enjoyed the collection! Margo Lanagan is a freak – which I of course mean as a compliment! – and I now want to read more stories out of her freaky brain 🙂Cracklescape_lg_large
  4. I then asked Sarah if she could pick a new one when she came over for dinner on Monday (I actually asked her to pick preemptively as I was almost finished with the last story of Cracklescape which I finished the next day) and she chose Bleed by Peter M Ball! Since it was the only contender she had read (as she also bought it at Swancon) and she had told me a few times that it was good, we we’re both pleased as punch by the choice 😀 I started it yesterday during my lunch break, and then read a few more chapters that afternoon, and I can tell I’m gonna love it just from the sheer amount of swears and drinking so far 😛 Plus it reminds me of the Downside Ghosts series, which Sarah and I were both obsessed with last year, except the main character in that is a ghost-hunting witch who takes a bunch of drugs and has sexy time with dangerous men, and the main character in Bleed is an ex-cop mixed up in messy Faerie business who drinks heavily and fancies the ladies…but also ones which get her into trouble.Bleed
  5. Lastly, I also read another 2 stories from The Living Dead zombie anthology on Sunday, which starred more non-threatening undead. First “Malthusian’s Zombie” by Jeffrey Ford, where the “zombie” was actually a living person who due to a government experiment was virtually brainless and obeyed every command from the person or persons it had been programmed to listen to, right up to crazy things like “stop aging”. It was one of those stories where at the end I was like “what the hell just happened!?” but I also found it quite touching and a unique take on what a zombie is. The second story I read – “Beautiful Stuff” by Susan Palwick – did have zombies which were risen from the dead, however they were purposefully brought back for just a day at a time to visit loved ones or the like (in the case of this story they were victims of a terrorist attack brought back as a political platform) and the dead were very simple, childlike and attracted to animals, plants and shiny things. It also had it’s touching moments, but also a nice dollop of humor. A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

So, the new, shorter list of contenders is:

i am legendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

hornHorn by Peter M Ball

deadly belovedDeadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins

ericThe Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby

Now onto the world of fantasy:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeOnce again I was way over my quota and shit is getting intense all over the place in these two behemoths!:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending75 pages (3 chapters)

Pages remaining: 197

Brisingr:

Brisingr52 Pages (3 chapters)

Pages remaining: 393

Total:

127 Pages

Pages remaining: 590

Since I’m consistently reading over 100 pages each week, and both books are getting to the pointy-er end, I may as well make my quota at least 100 pages collectively and strive to read at least 50 pages from each per week. I have added this update to the original challenge post 🙂 If I keep to this new quota I will have finished both books in around 6 more weeks 😀

Besides challenge books I also read my last comic/graphic novel pick – Hinterkind: The Waking World Volume 1 by Ian Edginton (writer), Francesco Trifogli (artist), and Greg Tocchini (cover artist)

hinterkind

Which was an excellent post-apocalyptic story where in the aftermath a few human settlements have been established, including one in an overgrown Central Park, while other beings which hid their existence previously have come out of the shadows to reclaim earth. I will definitely be finding the next volume as there was many an “Oooo! Ahhhh! What now??” moment, especially near the end. I also read the second randomly picked comic from my Free Comic Book Day haul – KaBOOM! Summer Blast – which had a bunch of delightful, self-contained stories from popular children’s comics.

KaBoom Summer Blast

I then picked a new comic out of the Jar-O-Choosing which was The Sandman: Overture #2 – Chapter Two by Neil Gaiman (writer), J.H. Williams III (artist), Dave Stewart (colourist), and Todd Klein (letterer)sandmanoverture2

And since I knew I’d read that super fast, I pre-emptively picked another one – The Unwritten: Leviathan (The Unwritten, Volume # 4) by Mike Carey (writer), Peter Gross (artist, colourist), Vince LockeAl Davison (colourists) and Yuko Shimizu (cover artist)

unwritten 4

And since I picked two, I randomly chose 4 comics from the Free Comic Books – SCAM Crosswords; Grimm Fairy Tales; Spongebob Freestyle Funnies; and Courtney Crumrin

During the week I did indeed read The Sandman: Overture #2 – Chapter Two (which was amazing of course) plus SCAM Crosswords (which was violent fun and even included a crossword on the back with clues related to the comic, but isn’t a series I’m particularly eager to follow-up) and Grimm Fairy Tales (which gave a few teasers of the long-running series, and was much more my style so I reckon I’ll at least find the first volume or something to get a real taste of it 🙂 ).

 I think that’ll do for now, since my week was much less exciting than the last few! Tune in next week (probably Friday) for the next update, and also I’ve started working on a new Collective Nounitude and a new Adventures in Etymology, so expect them soon also 🙂

Until then I’ll leave you with a few fun things:

I came across this video of Neil Patrick Harris and Kelly Ripa inhaling sulfur hexafluoride while browsing YouTube, and even though I’ve seen it before it always makes me giggle (as does pretty much any video where people inhale sulfur hexafluoride or helium, to be honest) so I thought I’d share it with y’all

Then there’s this video from Mental Floss which is actually book-related and very interesting:

And since it’s the 30th Anniversary of one of my fave movies – Freakin’ Ghostbusters you guys! – I thought I’d celebrate with some classic Ghostbusters GIFs:

ghostbusters1

That’s one mad librarian!

Maybe I don't have time for a quick smoke break...

Maybe I don’t have time for a quick smoke break…

Yes you did sirs!

Yes you did sirs!

This Mr. Stay Puft's okay! He's a sailor, he's in New York; we get this guy laid, we won't have any trouble!

This Mr. Stay Puft’s okay! He’s a sailor, he’s in New York; we get this guy laid, we won’t have any trouble!

Don't cross the streams!

Don’t cross the streams!

On that note I’ll say goodbye for now. Hope you all have a great weekend (or whatever part of the week it is where you are) especially if you’re watching Ghostbusters 😛

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Notable Quotable # 97

Rather than burying his face in her moonlit, fire-lit, spandex-wrapped bosom, he obligingly takes in the sea view. It sits in rows like a theatre audience, its jewellery and spectacles winking under the moon, the stars crowding in the balcony overhead.

Challenge Update: Week 5 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy + My Dog Gave Me A Heart Attack

Howdy my captivating, convivial Bookbaggers!

Welcome to another highly successful update of Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy, peppered with the tale of one of my dogs (I have 3 fur kids in various stages of decrepitude and idiocy) disappearing over a stormy night and generally scaring the bejesus out of me!

On that note, lets begin with:

Short and Sweet challenge badge

There wasn’t a huge amount of activity in this challenge last week, but still worthy of the mighty numbered list:

  1. I have still been reading a lot of Above/Below by Stephanie Campisi and Ben Peek to, from and during work (on my break of course!) and although I didn’t finish Above and flip to Below before the end of the week, I did at the start of this week and (spoiler alert) finished the whole kit and caboodle Wednesday, so in my next update I’ll share my new pick and tell you my general thoughts on the book (spoiler alert again – it was pretty great)AboveBelow-cover1-300x246
  2. I didn’t read any more of Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan last week either, but I did read another story yesterday so I’ll tell you about that in the next update, and since there is now only two stories left, I may even finish it over the weekend and will have another new book 😀Cracklescape_lg_large
  3. Lastly, on Sunday I read 2 stories from The Living Dead zombie anthology, coz I was having an out-of-the-rain-reading-binge again. “The Dead” by Michael Swanwick, was another one which dropped the mindless-dead-eating-everyone’s-face thing and instead had a world of the undead as commodities, bought and sold for cheap labour, the sex industry and as curiosities. Then because I was still in a zombie mood I read “The Dead Kid”  by Darrell Schweitzer, which is about a boy who wants to be in the local tough-kid gang headed by the school’s resident thug until he discovers that they have a dead, reanimated boy in their hideout to use as a plaything and test for potential new members. Both stories had a running theme of humanity being uglier and more deadly than the undead, and the zombies themselves were pretty placid and played the part of the victim more.A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

Until next week the contenders remain unchanged:

a clockwork orangeClockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

i am legendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

hornHorn by Peter M Ball

BleedBleed by Peter M Ball

deadly belovedDeadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins

ericThe Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby

Once again it was the next challenge that I really went crazy with this Sunday:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeAs I said, Sunday was a stay-inside-reading sort of day, especially with the stress of the rest of the weekend (which I’ll get into after official challenge business :P) so I got carried away in my two fantasy worlds again:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending72 pages (3 chapters)

Pages remaining: 272

Brisingr:

Brisingr31 Pages (2 chapters)

Pages remaining: 445

Total:

103 Pages

Pages remaining: 717

At this point because the plot is rushing forward with both books and I don’t feel like I’m in a reading rut anymore, I could possibly amp up my goal to 100 pages a week, but as I don’t know if every week will be so fruitful, I’m not gonna jinx it and instead if I got over 50 pages that’s just a bonus 🙂

Besides the above reading fun I also got stuck into one of my  Free Comic Book Day comics – Worlds of Aspen 2014 – which I quite enjoyed! The zero issue of The ZooHunters had a lovely art style and some interesting elements for a science fiction series, and Damsels in Excess was a solid zero issue introducing the 5 princesses of a realm where all men have been eliminated in some way by an unnamed sorceress. Both caught my interest so I’ll have to look out for their official first issues.

 

Now onto the story of my dog nearly giving me a heart attack/making me keel over with worry.

This is the face of a naughty dog who had me freaking out for a night and most of the next day. Damn cute little bitch (technically not offensive as it's completely accurate!) doesn't look fazed by the whole thing does she?

This is the face of a naughty dog who had me freaking out for a night and most of the next day. Damn cute little bitch (technically not offensive as it’s completely accurate!) doesn’t look fazed by the whole thing does she?

On Friday afternoon I had a dentist appointment, so my lovely mum agreed to pick me up early and drive me there. On the way out to meet her I checked my phone and I had a few missed calls from an unknown number. Thinking it was either someone I hadn’t updated in my contacts or a company trying to sell me something I txted them asking who they were and while we were driving to the dentist I got a txt back saying they had found my dog in some wetlands near my house but she had slipped her collar and escaped their yard!

Right away I rang and rescheduled the dentist appointment and we rushed home, hoping that she had made her way back there, and when there was no sign, we went down to the wetlands to search. After walking a few kilometres calling out to her and asking every dog-walker we saw if they had spotted a salt-and-pepper miniature schnauzer (nope), I rang the ranger to see if she was at the pound (nope) left a description and my details and we collected the collar off the woman who found her before returning home, defeated.

As I said at the start, I have three dogs of various ages and levels of stupidity, two of which I talked about in this post, and a third – Rocky, an excitable and quite thick Maltese/Shih Tzu/something else, possibly a poodle or terrier of some kind – we adopted last year when his owner, a former tenant of my mum’s, passed away. Tia, the only female of the bunch and the escapee falls on the older side of the group being around 10 this year (only a vet’s estimate as she’s a rescue dog) but is definitely the smartest and most sensible of the bunch (most of the time). Despite being generally more well-behaved and sleeping the majority of the day, this is the third time she has snuck past our gate and went walkabout, however the last two times we were contacted by the ranger or fellow dog-owner before we even knew she was gone. This time she was out god-knows-where with no identification, qualities which aren’t conducive to long periods in the wild (she is quite timid due to her background, has the physique of a pampered house-dog, and no teeth) and to top it off, storms were forecasted for the night.

Suffice to say, mum and I were racked with worry, and even though I tried to enjoy my pre-planned night of frivolity with friends, family and plentiful beverages, I think my mournful looks out the window every time a new burst of rain started may have dampened the night. Thanks to the support of said friends, family and beverages I was actually able to sleep that night, and then the next morning went to the library to make a missing flyer with the above photo (as it was the cutest one and has her with a similar haircut to the current one) before mum and I put them up around the wetlands and surrounds. Afterwards I called another pound, with no luck, who suggested I try local vets (my next plan anyway) and a Facebook page called Pets of Perth – Lost & Found.

I was going onto the book of faces anyway to post a status for people to share around, so I went to duplicate the status on the page and check the current posts to see if there was any leads. Almost right away I found a post about a dog which was found that morning in the carpark of the local shopping centre, which didn’t have a picture and described the dog as a terrier, but as I read on sounded more and more like Tia. With my heart in my throat I rang the woman and with only a minute or so of conversation she was also convinced that she had my dog and gave me her address which was only round the corner!

Right away Mum, Sarah (who had stayed over) and I jumped in the car and raced around to her house. As soon as I saw the woman emerging through the front door with Tia in her arms I burst into tears and rushed over. As she passed her over I saw the woman was also getting teary, and when I tried to offer her $50 as a thank you, she refused and insisted that returning her was its own reward.

The rest of the weekend felt so bizarre as the adrenaline wore off into stunned relief and I mainly spent it making Tia comfortable at home and generally trying to get myself back to feeling normal! Tia seemed in an amazing state considering she had spent a night out in the elements and must’ve traveled several kilometres going down to the wetlands, then making her way to the shops in the opposite direction by morning, and mostly she just wanted to rest and be near us and her doggy bros 🙂

Tia and the boys

Tia looking a bit stunned and bedraggled with the boys virtually sitting on her in welcome

My gratitude towards the woman who found her is almost inexpressible. Because of how Tia is with most strangers we knew she wouldn’t allow herself to be nabbed by just anyone, but I’m so glad she found a real animal-lover with a sweet dog of her own, who didn’t take her to the pound or report her to the rangers because she knew, being the weekend, that her owner wouldn’t be able to collect her till Monday. I’m also very grateful to the pound and local vet which told her about Pets of Perth – Lost & Found (and the woman at the pound who put me onto it!), and the Facebook page in general for existing and helping me find my silly old-lady pooch.

Sorry for rambling on about a completely non-book related subject, but since it was pretty major I thought I should share the saga with you, my beloved Bookbaggers 🙂

I promise the next update will be much more on-topic and to make up for it here’s some frivolous fun again!

Firstly this frickin’ hilarious Doctor Who parody video I watched today on A Wordless Blogger:

Next this scene from the last episode of Orphan Black because I think it is the most Sarah and I have ever laughed during this show (it’s usually more of an “AHHH what the hell just happened!? Who the hell is this guy?! Is he dodgy? Ah he’s totally dodgy! What is he…? Oh crap!” sort of show than a bundle of laughs):

And lastly this adorable GIF of a red panda which was featured in the Buzzfeed post The 27 Best Red Panda GIFs Of All Time:

red panda stretching

On that note I’m off as this post has become crazy long! Stay tuned for next week’s update but until then goodbye from your kooky Book Polygamist and my old mate Totoro:

goodbye totoro

Challenge Update: Week 4 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy + Some More Comedy (and not just from yours truly!)

Why hello there my stochastic, sagacious Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 4th update of my personal reading challenges, Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy, and a darn good update it is, if I do say so myself!

Lets start off as usual with:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeNot much happened in this challenge (it’s the other one which warranted the darn good statement) but I’ll do a mini mighty numbered list anyway:

  1. I’ve been reading Above/Below by Stephanie Campisi and Ben Peek quite a bit on my lunch break and commute, and I am a couple of chapters away from finishing Above and flipping the book upside down to start Below. I’m really enjoying it so far and Sarah and I have had a couple of convos comparing the difference between starting on one side or the other – for example with her starting with Below she was introduced to that story’s main character right away and so got used to his appearance (especially his…lets just say “enhancements” to keep it vague and spoiler free, shall we?), but I just reached the part where the main character from Above meets the one from Below, so I found his appearance quite shocking. AboveBelow-cover1-300x246
  2. I still haven’t read any more of Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan as I don’t want to get stuck into a really good short story on the bus or during lunch, and then have to leave it part-way through, but I hope to read one or two this weekendCracklescape_lg_large
  3. Lastly, on Sunday I read another story from The Living Dead zombie anthology – “The Third Dead Body” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, which was even creepier than the last one I read (which I didn’t think was possible). It followed a young prostitute who was murdered by a trick (do people still say “trick” when referring to the customer of a prostitute, or am I behind the times?) and then rises from the dead, inexplicably in love with her murderer and determined to find him due to a Voodoo curse placed on her as a child. Besides being very skin-crawly it was an interesting one because unlike most zombie stories, it was from the point of view of the living dead, and besides having no earthly urges (besides the ones created by her curse which compelled her to find the murderer) and limited senses, she was conscious of her surroundings and had memories of her life.A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

As I haven’t found any new books under 200 pages, the contenders remain the same:

a clockwork orangeClockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

i am legendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

hornHorn by Peter M Ball

BleedBleed by Peter M Ball

deadly belovedDeadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins

ericThe Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby

Now onto the other challenge which was really successful last week:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeOn Sunday I had my usual schedule of reading interspersed with “important” stuff like laundry and dishes, but instead of just reading a little of my two gigantic fantasy tomes, I got caught up and a tad carried away:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending70 pages (3 chapters)

Pages remaining: 344

Brisingr:

Brisingr52 Pages (5 chapters)

Pages remaining: 476

Total:

122 Pages (squee!)

Pages remaining: 820

Soooo… I definitely reached my quota…and made up for the week of nothing….and then some O.O I honestly didn’t mean to read as much as I did of either of these books, but they’re both getting so exciting that when I reached the end of the chapter I thought “oh I’ll just do one more and then wash the dishes”… and then I came back to it after the dishes anyway 😛

Besides being engrossed in huge fantasy books and a zombie prostitute story, I also read FreakAngels #2 by Warren Ellis (writer) and Paul Duffield (artist), which has been sitting on my pile looking sad since the end of my breakFreakAngels Warren Ellis Glénat 04 (5)It was as awesome as I expected from the first volume, and even more so because a previously unnamed member of the group was introduced, and she is a hilarious ball-busting no-nonsense sort of chick, which I love, and another character revealed a new ability she had been practicing, which was very cool. I’ll have to track down the other volumes of this series, or maybe just succumb to temptation and start reading the free online version, even though I will likely also buy the hard copies for my burgeoning comic collection 🙂

I then asked my mum to pick me a new comic from the Jar-Of-Choosing (she’s starting to become a more official unofficial Jar Chooser then unofficial Jar Chooser Sarah!) which was one of my new exciting ones:

hinterkindHinterkind: The Waking World Volume 1 by Ian Edginton (writer), Francesco Trifogli (artist), and Greg Tocchini (cover artist). I also randomly picked two comics out of my 20-odd wodge of Free Comic Book Day comics – Worlds of Aspen 2014, which has two previews of upcoming stories in it – a fairy-tale adventure series called Damsels in Excess on one side and an action-adventure called The ZooHunters on the flip side; and KaBOOM! Summer Blast which has stories from Peanuts, Garfield, Adventure Time, and  Regular Show among others.

I haven’t started any of them yet,but since this weekend is meant to be a rainy one, I will probably find myself holed up inside with a blanket and all my delicious reads….mmmmm 🙂

Besides challenge stuff I also went to another comedy gig on Friday night – Michael Workman‘s show “War”, again part of the Perth International Comedy Festival

Michal Workman's tour poster for "War" from wendylikesstories.com click on the image to read her excellent review of the show, as well as one of David O'Doherty's

Michal Workman’s tour poster for “War” from wendylikesstories.com click on the image to read her excellent review of the show, as well as one of David O’Doherty’s

I had previously only seen one show of his – “Mercy” – on Warehouse Comedy, a show that has featured many Australian and international comedians performing in a converted warehouse, but it was so interesting, unique and affecting that I’ve watched it three times – and every time I saw it was to be repeated I was excited to revisit Michael Workman’s amazing story-telling and quirky style. Sarah had never heard of Michael Workman nor seen any of his comedy, but after watching a video teaser of “Mercy” she agreed to go with me, and we had a wonderful time 🙂

On that note I’m off for now Bookbaggers, but I may as well leave you with that same teaser Sarah watched:

Tune in next week for another, hopefully just as successful update, and until then:

so long and thanks for all the fish

 

And since it’s World Turtle Day here’s this little guy as a bonus:

baby turtle gif

Challenge Update: Week 1 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy + Fangirling at Swancon

Good day my legendary, literary Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the first update of my newest challenges, Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy, sprinkled with some boasting from my wonderful Easter break!

I had quite a lot packed in to my week-and-a-day holiday – appointments at the how-many-gadgets-can-I-fit-in-your-mouth-at-once clinic (AKA dentist); the sorry-your-love-affair-with-bread-is-on-hold-for-a-couple-of-weeks office (nutritionist) and the lets-get-you-to-work-out-in-a-room-full-of-old-people-while-we-supervise-so-you-don’t-injure-yourself-again-you-klutz centre (exercise physiologist); plus catch-ups with friends from Sydney and closer to home, and a very fun Sunday at Swancon where I met Isobelle Carmody!!!!

Besides all this activity, I did have some time to myself to read and thus have a healthy first update on my challenges:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeSince I love a good list and this post could become obscenely long without it I’ll summarise my progress over the week with the power of numbers!

  1. I discovered two books on my shelf with less than 200 pages – Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell, which I bought from Kaleido Books last yearweird things customers say in bookshopsand No Nice Girl by Perry Lindsay, which is part of the Harlequin Vintage Collection I bought yonks ago and is one of 2 that I hadn’t read yet – both of which have been added to the pool of Short and Sweet contenders
    no nice girl
  2. I finished High-rise by J G Ballard on the 21st and holy moley it was one heck of a book! For such a thin tome (198 pages) Ballard certainly fits in a lot of creepy stuff and somehow it never feels rushed or lacking details but more like a concentrated story of complete societal breakdown set within a 40 story apartment building. Not for everyone, but this weirdo Book Polygamist loved it and it is the first on my list of top books for 2014 for sure!high-rise
  3. After Finishing High-rise I randomly picked a name from the gift-bag currently holding the bits of paper with Short and Sweet contenders written on and funnily enough I picked No Nice Girl. I’ve read a few chapters so far and it is wickedly funny, so I’m pleased with the choice no nice girl
  4. I also decided to forgo choosing and simply read Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops one afternoon as I had already started reading bits and pieces out to Sarah, my bro and my mum on Good Friday. As can be expected it was a mix of hilarious, baffling, infuriating, stupid and sometimes downright scary quotes that customers have actually said to booksellers and there was many a giggle, shake of the head in disbelief, exclamation of outrage and furrowed brow from this book-lover and my book-loving kin. Worth a look for any bibliophile if only to better understand what our beloved booksellers are faced with day-to-day!weird things customers say in bookshops
  5. I bought (among others) 4 books under 200 pages at Swancon – Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan; Horn by Peter M Ball; Bleed also by Peter M Ball; and Above/Below by Stephanie Campisi and Ben Peek (it’s actually two short stories published in one novella with the authors telling two sides of the one story – very cool) – which have also been added to the pool
  6. On the 22nd my rut-breaking challenge seemed to work its magic because I finished the last quarter of Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett while busing too and from appointments, which I have been reading since October last year!guards guards
  7. Once I returned from my journey I chose a book to replace Guards! Guards! from the Short and Sweet bag and in another funny turn of events I picked Cracklescape which had just been added. Cracklescape is not only under 200 pages, but is actually a collection of 4 short stories so it’s doubly good for the challenge. I’ve only read the first story ‘The Duchess Dresser‘ so far but I really enjoyed it – a ghost story that felt very authentic and had a more stifling and claustrophobic feel than straight up thrills and chills.Cracklescape_lg_large
  8. And lastly I read the short story ‘Ghost Dance’ by Sherman Alexie (the author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) from The Living Dead zombie anthology on my final day of holidays. It was a wonderfully gruesome tale where the blood of two Native American men thoughtlessly murdered by a racist cop at the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn (commonly referred to as Custer’s Last Stand) awaken the dead soldiers there, who promptly rip the cop and his frightened rookie partner to pieces and then move on killing anyone in their path. the_living_deadSo yeah, lots of activity for the first week of the challenge!

The updated list of Short and Sweet contenders is as follows:

a clockwork orangeA Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

i am legendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

horn Horn by Peter M Ball

BleedBleed by Peter M Ball

AboveBelow-cover1-300x246Above/Below by Stephanie Campisi and Ben Peek

Now onto the second challenge I started, which didn’t have an opening week as spectacular, but was still successful:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeAs I had some time to read I also was able to get back into both The Sending by Isobelle Carmody and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini and after the initial “what? who are you again? what’s happening?!” phase I was good and easily achieved my goal:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending29 pages (2 chapters)

Pages remaining: 441

Brisingr:

Brisingr25 Pages (2 chapters)

Pages remaining: 570

Total:

54 Pages

Pages remaining: 1011

Even with all this crazy challenge hullabaloo I also read a fair few comics/graphic novels over my break which I will present to you again in a nifty slide-a-ma-show:

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And since I then had only two comics left on the shelf (!!!!!!) I bought a whole new bunch at Comiczone while catching up with my friend and fellow comic-lover (my recent interest pales in comparison to his life-long love of the form), Scott:

Ooooo so shiny and new! *drool*

Ooooo so shiny and new! *drool*

From the top left they are:The Sandman: Overture #2 – Chapter Two by Neil Gaiman (writer), J.H. Williams III (artist), Dave Stewart (colourist), and Todd Klein (letterer);  Hinterkind: The Waking World Volume 1 byIan Edginton (writer), Francesco Trifogli (artist), and Greg Tocchini (cover artist); Rocket Girl #1 – Times Squared by Brandon Montclare (writer) and Amy Reeder (artist); The Unwritten: Leviathan (The Unwritten, Volume # 4) by Mike Carey (writer), Peter Gross (artist, colourist), Vince Locke, Al Davison (colourists) and Yuko Shimizu (cover artist); Saga Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan (writer) and Fiona Staples (artist);

I wanted to finish the comics I’ve had for a while before I got onto the shiny new ones so after finishing The Dark-Hunters 2 I picked out of the jar and got:

Sandman-Overture-CV1_SOLICIT_sxvqsdoynu_The Sandman: Overture #1 – Chapter One by Neil Gaiman (writer), J.H. Williams III (artist), Dave Stewart (colourist), and Todd Klein (letterer)

Which I have been wanting to read since before it was even published! Since I knew I would zip through it in no time (I was right – I read it in a few minutes the other night and was blown away) I pre-emptively also picked the other one:

FreakAngels Warren Ellis Glénat 04 (5) FreakAngels #2 by Warren Ellis (writer) and Paul Duffield (artist)

Which I haven’t gotten to as yet, but hope to ASAP as the last volume was excellent!

I’m going to round off with a very brief summary of my time at Swancon as this post is growing to gargantuan proportions!

As I said above I bought books of course, mainly from the Twelve Planets Press stall (that’s where all my Short and Sweet ones came from), plus a few pairs of quilled paper earrings 🙂 Here are the books in all their glory:

Swancon books 2014

I left Cracklescape out because It’s in my bag and I forgot to include it….I mean I totally did it on purpose because…reasons

The ones not already mentioned are Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher, who was a guest but not on the Sunday when I went; and Living With The Dead a short story collection by Martin Livings published by Dark Prints Press, which I also got signed 🙂

Besides buying way too many books I also went to some fun and interesting panels (“The History of WA Fandom” which went over the early years of the con and featured a friend of Sarah and her family who was the official Perth Fan Guest; and “It Followed Me Home, Mum, Can I Keep It?: Fantastical Pets” which was great fun and very interacative) but the main reason I chose Sunday out of the whole Easter long weekend that the con was on, is because Isobelle Carmody was there on the Sunday doing her guest of honour speech followed by a signing!

After deliberating for a good while I took along my old battered copy of Scatterlings,which was the first book by Carmody I ever read, gifted to me by family friends for Christmas 1999 (when I was 12, for the record). I listened intently as Isobelle spoke, artfully telling hilarious stories from her childhood, her early experiences of writing and being published and her love of books and libraries, and hoped that she wouldn’t be shocked and appalled by the state of my book (I had discovered the night before when retrieving it from the depths of my bookshelf that it had several pages falling out and I didn’t have the right repair tools at home to fix it O.O).

When she had finished speaking I waited in line with the other die-hard fans and con-goers who had just discovered her books at the stall, clutching my book encased in a plastic bag to prevent lost pages, butterflies growing exponentially in my stomach. Of course when I did get to the front and apologised about the dishevelled book she didn’t mind a jot and happily signed it with a quote and all. She even thanked me (me!) for working in the library industry when Sarah mentioned it!

Scatterlings collageIt was an amazing experience, especially considering my current challenge and I have to say a big thank you to Sarah for agreeing to go on Sunday for me, and her and her mum in general for a fabulous day 🙂

On that note I’ll leave you, beloved Bookbaggers, for now. Stay tuned for an update next week and perhaps other tidbits in the world of the Book Polygamist, but until then here’s another funny/cute gif which is a pretty accurate representation of my face upon meeting Isobelle Carmody:

owl gif