Challenges Update #3 + a kaleidoscope of new comics (and books)!

Soooooooooooo….. its been a while since my last challenge update…because I haven’t really been actively challenging :/

I didn’t bother posting an update last week because I had nothing to report – I haven’t finished any books, so I haven’t started any new ones, complete with Comic Companion, and I have been really slack with the Poe challenge…

poe.my.god challenge badge

As I suspected the weekend of comedy shows was not conducive to some casual reading – my entire weekend was made up of social happenings before and after the shows and the seeing of the shows themselves, which if you’re interested were Justin Hamilton’s Perth International Comedy Festival (PICF) show on Friday the 3rd, and then on Saturday the 4th Adam Hill’s show, Happyism which were both absolutely hilarious, if very, very different (Justin Hamilton was in a small room, very intimate and casual, and Adam Hills was in a theatre of 2000 people with a sigh language interpreter and choir!).

During the week I did intend to read some stories to catch up, but I’m usually too tired after work and I just want to veg out in front of the TV, eat dinner and go to bed, so my good intentions fell by the wayside 😦 These wasted good intentions  carried on into the weekend as my best friend, Sarah, moved around the corner from me (:D!!!) so I was distracted by the exciting tour of the new house, conveniently located catch-ups, and helping her build a snazzy new bed. Up until yesterday I was convinced I would somehow still complete the challenge before the horrifying One-Year-Since-I-Started-This-Book date, but guess what today is? That’s right, the 14th of May….. Happy Anniversary Tales of Mystery and Imagination -.- 

Anyway, since I still want to challenge myself, and as I’ve established before I enjoy repeated numbers, why not extend the challenge until it hits the 1 year, 1 month and 1 day mark? This would mean that the challenge would go until the 15th of June, or 5 more weeks which works perfectly with the amount of stories I have left too because I have 15 to go so I only need to read 3 a week and I’m done!

comiccompanions-badge

On the Comic Companions front I haven’t fared much better, because as I said I haven’t finished or started anything.

But!

I have acquired quite a few new graphic novels that can be read as part of the challenge.

Firstly I have borrowed a few from the East Perth campus of my college, where I work on Thursdays and Fridays:

graphic novels from work

Lots of great Graphic Novels have been donated by my workmate, Scott, so I may borrow some more in the near future 😀

They are: The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (The Unwritten, Volume # 1) by Mike Carey (writer), Peter Gross (artist), Chris Chuckry and Jeanne McGee (colourists) and Todd Klein (letterer); White Tiger: A Hero’s Compulsion (White Tiger, Issue # 1) by Tamora Pierce  and Timothy Liebe (writers) and Philippe Briones (penciler); House of Mystery: Room and Boredom (House of Mystery, Volume # 1) by Matthew Sturges and Bill Wilingham (writers), Jill Thompson (penciler), Luca Rossi (inker) and Todd Klein (letterer); and Nevermore by Edgar Allan Poe (because its an adaptation of some of his short stories), Ian EdgintonJamie DelanoJohn Reppion, and Leah Moore (writers) and D’IsraeliJames (Jim) FletcherJohn McCreaShane Oakley and Steve Pugh (artists)

I also borrowed two graphic novels off my workmate at East Perth, Scott:

Batman + Buffy = :D

Batman + Buffy = 😀

Batman: The Killing Joke: The Deluxe Edition by Alan Moore (writer), Brian Bolland (artist, colorist, writer), Ellie De Ville and Richard Starkings (letterers); and Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Origin by Dan Brereton and Christopher Golden (writers), Joe Bennett (penciler) , Rick Ketcham (inker), Guy MajorJeromy Cox (colourists), and Ken Bruzenak (letterer).

And Scott kindly picked me up a few comics from Free Comic Book Day which was on the weekend of all the comedy:

Two of them have a different comic on each side, so I've placed the two pics side by side to show all the covers

Two of them have a different comic on each side, so I’ve placed the two pics side by side to show all the covers – sorry for the weird glare and change in light :/

Star Wars: Captain Midnight/Avatar: The Last Airbender ; Mouse Guard /Rust flip book ; and Molly Danger/Princeless

Then on Friday night while looking for a Mother’s Day present for my mum I had a mini shopping spree at one of my new favourite bookstores, Kaleido Books 

Kaleido buys

 

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollLewis Helfand (writer/adapter) and Rajesh Nagulakonda (artist); The Book of Human Insects by Osamu Tezuka (writer, artist and cover designer – go Mr Tezuka!); The Beatles Graphic by Hervé Bourhis (writer, artist and cover designer – again, go Mr Bourhis!); and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (another classic I’ve never read)

And lastly, I bought a quartet of books at the end of my holidays when me and mum went op-shop trawling that I forgot to share with you:

Op-shop buys

 

Past The Shallows by Favel ParrettThe Winter Queen by Boris AkuninThe Highest Tide by Jim Lynch; and the Calvin and Hobbes book, Scientific Progress Goes “Boink” by Bill Watterson 😀 

So, I have PLENTY of comics to read for my challenge, as well as more books that I don’t have room for…..and like any true book addict instead of culling my collection, or heaven’s forbid, stopping my endless purchasing of new and used books (*GASP* *dramatic Victorian lady swoon*) I will eventually buy a new bookshelf that I can fill with even more! (*cue maniacal laughter and crazed grin*)

That’s it for now my booktastic Bookbaggers! Stay tuned for updates as they occur + the usual junk and I bid you all:

Happy Reading!

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New books up the wazoo!

I week or so I realised that recently I have acquired quite a few new books that I haven’t shared with you, my beloved Bookbaggers!

You may not be particularly interested in my new purchases/library borrowings, but if you are read on and gaze in wonder at the bargains and tantalizing tomes I have acquired! 😀

Firstly I took a trip to my local library when I had to take Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane and Mammels by Pierre Mérot and got a new haul:

library books

In case you can’t quite read the titles: Peaches for Father Francis by Joanne Harris (AKA Peaches for Monsieur le Cure, the second sequel to Chocolat); The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman (the first Sandman graphic novel); Shades of Grey by Jasper FfordeSkinlane by Neil Bartlett (which I have borrowed and re-borrowed a few times without actually getting to it); Carnevale by M.R. Lovric;  and The Diviner’s Son by Gary Crew.)

Then while visiting one of my best friends, who has been working at the Maylands Salvo’s store I bought myself a bunch of books:

op-shop buys

Again the titles are: Zoology by Ben Dolnick (a debut novel from 2007 with a very pretty cover 🙂 ); Ravelling by Peter Moore Smith (another debut novel, from 2000, which sounds wonderfully spooky!); The Third Brother by Nick McDonell (who also wrote Twelve, a book I read a few years ago and was one of my Top 10 Reads of 2010 – pre-Book Polygamist); The Cure for Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz (which is another debut novel, from 1996 with a very pretty cover); Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (which I read a few years ago but still wanted to own); and Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge (which I chose because of the blurb: “In a cut-throat world of highwaymen, spies and smugglers, and insane rulers in silly wigs, runaway Mosca Mye and her goose companion have uncovered a dark plot winging its way toward the city”. It had me at “goose companion” :P).

Then on the 3rd of March I went to the Hyde Park Fair and HAD to get this bunch of books (they were for orphans! What was i meant to do? :P):

hyde park fair books

Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris (as I’ve already established Joanne Harris is one of my favourite authors so I had to add this one to the collection 🙂 ); Pilgrim by Sara Douglass (Book 2 of the Wayfarer Redemption Trilogy, which is a follow-up to one of my Top 10 Fantasy Series’); The Good Major by Andrew Nicoll (which was one of my Top 10 Reads of 2011); Curious and Curiouser by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (a non-fiction buy which I’m certain will be very amusing and informative); and last but certainly not least, The Lot: In Words by Michael Leunig (a collection of essays by one of my favourite writers/cartoonists 🙂 )

AND THEN on the 10th of March I went to Oz Comic Con and besides getting lots of awesome bit and bobs (mostly jewelry :D) I got Soulless, the manga based on Gail Carriger‘s Parasol Protectorate series, which I have really taken a shine to:

soulless from oz comic con

and these cute bookmarks:

bookmarks from oz comic con

(that’s actually just two bookmarks – the single bird one has the black and silver on one side and the silver and blue/purple on the other, and the owl one is the same on both sides. I also go two badges which match the owls on the bookmark ^-^)

I’m absolutely chuffed with my new books and bookmarks, and I can’t wait to read some of them soon 🙂

I’m going to end with a short reminder. My blogiversary competition ends on the 31st, less than a week from now, so if you want to enter you need to get in quick smart!

Currently there are only 4 entrants, which means if no one else enters all but person will get a prize (nice odds for the current entrants, but not so lucky for the single person that misses out!) so if you haven’t entered please do so and make the giveaway a little more interesting 😉

That’s it for now, so as always:

Happy Reading (and acquiring)!

Top 10 Books I’ve Read That No One Seems to Have Heard of

Hiya Bookbaggers and welcome to the second Top 10 theme voted by you!
I agonised over this list because I have read some strange titles in my time, but I wanted to include the ones that people are least likely to have heard of and/or read so that I can offer something new and unusual to my readers out there 🙂

You get a point for each book you’ve heard of (outside of this blog of course!) and two points for every book you’ve read so feel free to share your score in the comments or tell me bout your own bizarre reads that none of your friends have heard of!

1. Dim by Carolin Window

This book was a random find, most likely from an op-shop, book sale or a hand-me-down from my mum who often is involved with clothes swap parties and the like. I received it and read it when I was about 11 or 12 (which in hindsight was way too young an age to read a book that contains very adult themes such as sexual and physical abuse) and since then I have not found a single person who has heard of the book or the author. About 10 years ago Dim disappeared from my possession, possibly when a friend of the family borrowed it for holiday-in-Italy-reading (‘tho she claims she never borrowed it) and so for a while I wondered whether I had just dreamt the whole thing up, especially because It was such a bizarre book. So, understandably this was the first book that sprung to mind when I first thought of this theme. While researching for this post I did find a vague Dim fingerprint on the ‘net, so I knew I had not been a crazy tween (especially because that buzz word did not exist when a was a pre-teen in the late 90’s) who imagined a disturbing book out of thin air, ‘tho it was hard to research when I couldn’t remember the author’s name and I no longer have a copy to consult. Dim‘s entries in GoodReads, LibraryThing and Shelfari are sparse at best, with a maximum of 4 people vouching for its existence BUT! It does exist on Amazon.com and other online bookshops so perhaps I will replace my lost copy, read the craziness again and share with you all 🙂

Fabulous but also possibly the strangest book I've ever read....and I have read some strange ones!

2. April Witch by  Majgull Axelsson

This book certainly isn’t as unknown as Dim (125 members have in on their Shelfari shelves) and I’m sure it is somewhat known in Sweden where the author is from, but it gets a mention in this list because I had never heard or it and when I was reading it and mentioned it to friends or family I received a clear “huh?” expression. I found the book at my local library when I decided to try a new tack of choosing new books – working my way from A to Z picking books that interested me. At AXE this strange little tale of a girl who is imprisoned in her own body but has an amazing intellectual mind and clairvoyant/omniscient abilities, really stood out to me and it was certainly an interesting and unique read.

An interesting blend of psychological thriller, supernatural fiction and family epic

3 The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor

This book was one of my reading highlights of last year and also one of the most distressing and earth-shattering reads of the last few. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale that may or may not actually occur after an apocalypse but certainly highlights some destructive human traits – religious extremism, rebellion against consumerism (as well as the consumerism itself) and an obsession with control – which could theoretically lead to apocalypse. As it was published in 2009 I wasn’t expecting many people to have read it but I was surprised by only 40 Shelfari members having it, and I certainly received some odd and curious looks from fellow students or commuters while I was reading it.

Very creepy but absolutly riviting

4. The Secrets of the Chess Machine by Robert Löhr

Regular readers of the blog will know that this is a quite recent read (in fact it was the last review I did as I have been super slack with my reviewing duties) but it was an unusual and fabulous read with a title and subject matter that confused and intrigued many a person. A mere 20 individuals on Shelfari have The Secrets of the Chess Machine which is a shame as it was a riot! I am sometimes blessed to have a judge-a-book-by-its-cover attitude because it was the cover of this little gem that drew me to it in the first place out of the sea of book spines at the library. If you enjoy clockwork machinery, the seedy underbelly of aristocrats and some tasty murder mystery-ness thrown in for spice then track this one down 🙂

Chess and Dandys and Automaton oh my! 🙂

5. The Travelling Death and Resurrection Show by Ariel Gore

This was another fairly recent unique read, but it just missed out on being immortalised on these hallowed (ha!) pages as I finished it just before it was founded. I was drawn to the strangeness of the title (I love long and confusing titles :)) and the book certainly delivered as it was about a travelling Catholic-themed circus whose headliner can do the Stigmata on command. Only 64 members on Shelfari have it, and the author is not on Fantastic Fiction, my usual fountain of book-based knowledge so it certainly qualifies for this list, as just like several of the others it has received its fair share of confuzzled looks.

I'm a sucker for bizarro Catholic hijinks 🙂

6. The Sensualist by Barbara Hodgson

My mum brought this book home from a school fête at my little bro’s primary school that she was volunteering at, but I promptly pilfered it when I flicked through and saw that it was a multi sensory novel filled with old-fashioned anatomy diagrams, some multi-layered and one which included braille. I can barely remember the plot besides that it was a sort of mystery that spanned a couple of european countries, but I do remember that it was a great read and the accompanying elements elevated the story to a new level. Only 73 Shelfari have this book and I am proud to be one of them 🙂

I love a book with hidden surprises in the form of eyeball diagrams 🙂

7. Shadowsbite by Stephen Dedman

I wasn’t completely surprised that when I first went to add this book to my shelf on Shelfari it was absent and since I added it only one person (besides myself) has contributed to its record, as the author is a relatively unknown sci-fi/horror writer from Perth (my hometown and the most isolated capital city in Australia). I was however kind of disappointed as it’s a great Vampire novel that explores the mythology behind vamps better than any I’ve read. I got the book at Swancon, an annual Science Fiction and writers convention held in Perth, and I was lucky enough to hear Stephen Dedman read an excerpt and meet him. The friend that I went with also loved the book as did our other close friend (the third musketeer :D) so they at least have heard of it, as have the other people who attended his reading but in the grand scheme of things it is pretty unknown and hopefully I’ve done my part to rectify that 🙂

In this current time of Twihards an honest, gory, mythologically accurate vamp tale like this is a wonderful antidote!

8.  The Cats by Joan Phipson

To readers that grew up in the 60s or 70s this book or this author may not be that unknown as Joan Phipson wrote a string of novels for kids from 1953-1988 with The Cats being published in 76. However, as a proud 90’s kid I had never heard of it when I picked it up at another school fête and bought it purely because I wanted to know why a book about cats had such a sinister cover! It turns out lovable fluffy kitty cats can be terrifying, especially with the right setting and some suspense, and that if there are Baby Boomers out there who loved this odd thriller in their youth, they certainly aren’t on Shelfari where my shelf is the only one it rests on.

Here sinister kitty!

9.  The Floating Island by Anna Ralph

This novel came into my hand when a family friend (ironically the same one who may or may not have lost Dim) dropped off a stack of proof copy paperbacks to me, her friends book-crazed daughter, that came from a friend of hers in publishing (somewhat naughty I know but I did nothing to encourage her I promise!). The book was a touching tale of a teenage boy’s psychological and physical recovery from a tragic accident that left him seemingly paralysed and killed his younger brother, as well as an interweaving of character relationships. A grand total of 3 people including myself have The Floating Island on their Shelfari shelf – not exactly overwhelming but better than zero 🙂

I love getting free books 🙂

10. Harlequin Vintage Collection

(Kiss Your Elbow by Alan Handley; Virgin with Butterflies by Tom Powers; Pardon My Body by Dale Bogard; You Never Know with Women by James Hadley Chase)

This is cheating a bit, but I couldn’t decide which of these obscure retro paperbacks to choose as collectively not many Shelfari members have them (the most is 26 for You Never Know with Women which I’m guessing is highest because James Hadley Chase is the most well-known author of the four) and they were all wonderfully pulpy and odd. The set also includes No Nice Girl by Perry Lindsay and I’ll Bury my Dead also by James Hadley Chase, but I am yet to read those two.

Gotta love some genuine vintage pulp fiction filled to the brim with dames and guns 🙂

Stay tuned in the near future (hopefully) for the other half of this Top 10 – Top 10 Books I Think Everyone Should Read – and then I will not be posting the new poll as the Top 10s for December will be on my best 2011 reads 🙂 I also hope to get all the lost reviews done before the year’s end – cross your collective fingers for me?

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Plentiful Finds and What a Coincidence!

Hello all!

I’ve had a couple of crazy weeks lately, leading up to the end of the semester and working as well, but on the upside my recent work at Central library and starting casual work at Joondalup has resulted in some extra money which is always nice 🙂

This extra cash burning a hole in my pocket has allowed me to start my Xmas shopping and, as is to be expected, I have bought myself quite a few books – and pretty exciting and cheap ones at that!

The books I have found are (yes, alphabetical order and all!):

Title: Ares Express
Author: Ian McDonald
Country of Origin: UK
Genre: Science Fiction

 

 

 

Title: Boneshaker
Author: Cherie Priest
Country of Origin: USA
Genre: Science Fiction/Steampunk-zombie-airship Adventure ;P

 

 

 

Title: Bye, Beautiful
Author: Julia Lawrinson
Country of Origin: Australia
Genre: Australiana/Literary/Young Adult

 

 

 

Title: The Crimson Petal and the White
Author: Michel Faber
Country of Origin: Netherlands
Genre: Historical/Literary

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of these were op-shop finds and so cost under 10 bucks each, and I’m quite pleased with the variety of genres I have found 🙂

On top of the op-shop finds I also purchased a book that I have been waiting for since the beginning of time (or at least it feels like that) – the newest book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody, The Sending!

I am outrageously ecstatic about finally getting my hands on this book, because as I have said before I have been hanging out for it since I finished the last one (Feb 2009!) and the release date has changed so many times since then.

In other reading news, I finished Trick or Treat by Kerry Greenwood last night and straight away chose another book off my Library book to-read pile using my usual process and out of the 9 books on the pile I happened to end up on this book:

The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle by Catherine Webb

I’ve wanted to read this for a while, and I did borrow it from Joondalup after a uni friend and Bookbagger recommended it, but recently it had to go back because someone else had requested it and I re-borrowed it from Maylands.

The reason choosing this book was a bit of a funny coincidence is that last week I saw that the friend/Bookbagger who recommended it in the first place (you know who you are ;P)  is currently reading it as well! Maybe we can share little Horatio Lyle tidbits with each other 🙂

Well, that’s all for now. I am closing my recent poll tomorrow so if you want to have your say get in fast! At the ‘mo the theme in the lead is Obscure books/recommended books which will consist of the following two Top 10 posts: Top 10 books I’ve read that no one seems to have heard of and Top 10 books I think everyone should read. It’s a pretty fun one so I’m happy it’s winning, but there’s some other great ones in the poll too so I wouldn’t mind a sudden landslide ;P