The 2011 Book Polygamist Awards!

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to the 1st Annual Book Polygamist Awards! (insert applause and cheering here)

Every year I look back at the books I have read and assign awards to those that have stood out in some way. Before now that acknowledgement has been for my eyes only in my treasured reading journals so I am happy to make them public for the first time!

The awards will be in two parts: the Annual Awards which are ones that I have given to books every year and will likely continue to do so; and the Special Awards which are awards that I have created especially for this years contenders.

I hope you enjoy 🙂

Annual Awards

Shortest Read:

The Bro Code by Barney Stinson with Matt Kuhn, at around an hour

Honorable Mentions:

Coraline by Neil Gaiman, at 1 day

Eddie Dickens Trilogy (Awful End; Dreadful Acts and Terrible Times) at 2 days for all three.

Longest Read:

Monster Blood Tattoo Book Two: Lamplighter by D M Cornish, at 27 weeks and 3 days! O.o

Honorable Mentions:

Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker, at 25 weeks, 3 days!

The Books of Blood: vol 1-3 by Clive Barker at 30 weeks and counting!!

Most Books Read by a Single Author:

 

4 by Kerry Greenwood (Urn Burial; Heavenly Pleasures; Devil’s Food; Trick or Treat)

Honorable Mentions:

3 by Charlaine Harris (Definitely Dead; All Together Dead; From Dead to Worse)

3 by Philip Ardagh (Awful End; Dreadful Acts;Terrible Times)

Best “New” Author Award:

Every year I make a list of authors I have discovered and who I want to read more of, so this year I thought I’d give an award to the author that I was the most impressed with and have since researched several other books of theirs that I’m interested in as well as a few other authors that get honorable mentions.

William Gay (Twilight)

Honorable Mentions:

Marianne de Pierres (Nylon Angel – Book 1 Parrish Plessis series)

Andrew Nicoll (The Good Mayor)

Kathryn Lasky (Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Capture)

Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)

Catherine Webb (The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle)

Special Awards

The Best End to a Series Award:

Destiny (Trinity trilogy) by Fiona McIntosh

Honorable Mention:

The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials) by Philip Pullman

The Best Start to a Series Award:

The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle (Horatio Lyle series) by Catherine Webb

Honorable Mention:

The Capture (Guardians of Ga’Hoole series) by Kathryn Lasky

The Longest and Strangest Title Award:

The Travelling Death and Resurrection Show by Ariel Gore

Honorable Mention:

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

The “Graphic Novels are a Legitimate Genre” Award:

This is the first year I have read Graphic Novels and actually treated them like real books (i.e. included them in my book journal; wrote reviews etc.) so I thought the two fabulous Graphic Novels deserve their very own award 🙂

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons AND V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

The Short but Sweet Award:

This year has included a few short-story anthologies, a format I don’t generally read a lot so I have chosen the best short-story collection as well as the best individual stories.

Zombie: an Anthology of the Undead by Various

Best stories: Family Business by Jonathan Maberry; The Zombie Who Fell from the Sky by M. B. Homler; The Storm Door by Tad Williams; Second Wind by Mike Carey; Weaponized by David Wellington.

The BRAAIINNS! Award:

This year stood out as the year I started to love zombie stories! It wasn’t the first time I read anything with zombies (in 2010 I read Nekropolis by Tim Waggoner which is about a zombie detective; the first Anita Blake book by Laurell K Hamilton, Guilty Pleasures, which involves zombie raising, and right before the dawn of 2011 I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan which is set in a zombie-apocalyptic world) but after Zombie: an Anthology of the Undead  I was hooked so the BRAAIINNS Award goes to:

Zombie: an Anthology of the Undead by Various

with an honorable mention to Alice in Zombieland by Lewis Carrol and Nickolas Cook 😛

The Revisited Award:

This is a new award I came up with, given to a book I re-read and still loved in 2011:

Mister God, This is Anna by Fynn

The About Time! Award:

This award goes to a book that I had been meaning to read for a long time:

Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker

Honorable Mention:

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

The Best Cover Art Award:

The Secrets of the Chess Machine by Robert Löhr

Honorable Mentions:

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

The Good Mayor by Andrew Nicoll

The Misleading Cover Award:

Yearn: Tales of Lust and Longing by Tobsha Learner

(to find out why this cover is misleading see my review)

The “They’ve Still Got It!” Award:

This is another new one that I created purely to highlight two of my favourite authors whose newest releases I read this year and loved just as much (if not more) than previous favourites:

Joanne Harris for Blueeyedboy AND Tracy Chevalier for Remarkable Creatures

2011 has been a fabulous year for me, not just for reading but in many aspects of my life, and I hope for even more great reads and wonderful events now that its 2012!

I hope you all also read some novels in 2011 that deserve awards and you have an amazing 2012 🙂

Top 10 Reads of 2011!

I have been making a list of my fave books of the year for a while now, but before now they have only been chronicled in my reading journals or on Facebook last year, so its pretty sweet to have it out in the blogosphere for the first time 🙂

1. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman 

This was the first book I started in 2011 (on the 1st of January and all!) and was also one of a few books I read around that time that were the final instalments in major trilogies I had been reading for a while (the others are Destiny by Fiona McIntosh which is also in this list, and The Reawakened by Jeri Smith-Ready that I finished on January 1st so it missed out being on this list :P). I read the first two of the His Dark Materials series, Northern Lights (or The Golden Compass) and The Subtle Knife in 2009 and late 2010 respectively and each one was more gripping and imaginative as the story went on culminating with The Amber Spyglass which was just amazing. Philip Pullman brought everything to light and wrapped up all the loose ends that had developed throughout the series and although many of these conclusions were heart-breaking, the ending felt right. I was left with a sense of awe at Pullman’s abilities and it certainly opened up my year of reading with a bang.

2. Destiny by Fiona McIntosh 

Destiny was another wonderful conclusion to a gripping series, but one that I had been invested in for much longer. As I have said before there was a big gap between starting the Trinity trilogy and finishing it as I read the first book, Betrayal way back in 2008, then the second book, Revenge a couple of months later but was unable to acquire Destiny until early 2011! It was lucky that I re-read the first two books before finding it but even still it was at least a year between the end of Revenge (which was quite a cliffhanger) and the beginning of Destiny so it took me a while to understand what was going on. However once I was caught up this final instalment certainly didn’t disappoint with more twists and turns then  the most intense rollercoaster and countless moments that made me gasp in shock or burst into tears. There were so many satisfying conclusions to conflicts that had carried through the whole trilogy and the final ending was very emotional and riveting, showing Fiona McIntosh’s ability to weave a great ending that doesn’t shy away from harsh realities and fall into the “happily ever after” trap.

3. The Good Mayor by Andrew Nicoll 

This was a beautiful, quirky, charming little novel which was a surprise highlight of my year. Andrew Nicoll described the fictional Baltic town of Dot as well as all the unique characters inhabiting it with loving detail that made me eager to read for hours on end. The story was quite simple – a forbidden love story between the Mayor of the town and his married assistant – but it was the execution of it that was so addictive to me, the dancing around the two did, never admitting their feelings for each other and by the end I was quite frustrated with them both (which made me want to read even more just to see if they’d ever get their act together!). Even ‘tho it took a really strange turn at its climax this only made me like the book more as it was so unexpected. A great read for someone who loves a good RomCom but one that’s a tad odd 🙂

4. Blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris

This one was a big surprise because as I am a huge fan of Joanne Harris and am use to her usual fare of magic, food and small town politics (or other tight-knit communities like a college or nunnery), or as in her earlier works gothic styled historical novels with a touch of mystery and Blueeyedboy certainly doesn’t fit into those categories. Well and truly in the modern age, this novel tells its story exclusively through LiveJournal posts which gave it a creepy atmosphere of confession and mind games. It was a frightening, disturbing and unsettling book where the lines between fiction and reality and between online and offline personas was very blurred and I was constantly changing my mind about who was the “monster” and who was the victim. The twists were often very unexpected and sudden, so I found myself reeling through most of it, but by the end I was left impressed by Joanne Harris’ talent (to create a fantastic psychological thriller so different from her usual style) and even that early on in the year (I read it over a week in February) I knew it would be on this list as I stayed with me long after the last word.

5. Twilight by William Gay

I almost didn’t read this fantastically atmospheric book because of its title, but I am so glad a bunch of glittery vampires didn’t put me off as it was a fantastic, if quite confusing read. This is the first of my Top Reads that I have reviewed on this blog, and that review can be found here. Since I went into why this book was so amazing in that review I won’t go into it much here, but will just say that this book showed some of the finest writing of my readings this year as well as being one of the more creepy and vividly described novels I read in 2011. Not for the faint hearted or easily confused, but for lovers of language and spooky imagery this is a real treat.

6. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

This is another book I reviewed this year so I won’t go into too much detail, but as soon as I finished it I knew it would be on this list as it certainly made an impact on me. This is one of those novels that grew on me (like my friend Sarah would say, like a fungus :)) and the second half was read in huge devouring sessions as opposed to the snail’s pace of the first half. If any of you decide to give this little french gem a shot I would highly recommend that you watch the movie adaptation afterwards as it cleverly takes the story from page to screen and was a lovely little film in its own right 🙂

7. Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker

This one is definitely not for those light of heart (or stomach!) as it is a classic Barker tale filled with gruesome creatures, violent sexuality and lots of gore. I have yet to review it, even ‘tho I reached the end on the 20th of October (naughty naughty!) as it has been hard to find the right words to explain it. It is a blend of absolute horror in the craziest supernatural form that Clive Barker excels at, and a tale of the underbelly of Hollywood from its Golden Age of ageless movie starlets in glorious black and white and blissful silence, to the modern age of plastic idols. Not one I would recommend as an introduction to Clive Barker (it would likely scare many away) but once readers are used to his work (maybe starting with lighter novels like Abarat and then moving on to his crazier stuff like Sacrament?) this is an excellent example of his expansive and very warped imagination. He’s a freak but I love ‘im 🙂

8. The Secrets of the Chess Machine by Robert Löhr

This was a more light-hearted read of 2011. Although there was some murder mystery elements and other dark parts It was always easy and fun to read as opposed to some on this list which I dipped into less often. I love a good Historical Saga, especially one that is based on real events rather than just a certain time or place in history, and this little beauty was exactly what I was looking for. More details can be found in my review but be warned, this one may be a bit difficult to find. I was lucky enough to find it at my local library, but since reading and reviewing it a friend and fellow Library student has been trying to find it in bookstores to no avail. My best bet would be an online bookstore such as Book Depository or second-hand and rare book supplier Abe Books.

9. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

This book was a fairly recent read (I finished it on the 8th of December) but I knew from a few chapters in that it would be a highlight of 2011. I first heard about it from my mum who saw it reviewed on Australian morning show The Circle and thought I would like it as before my Library studies I was a floral assistant and I have always been intrigued by the Victorian custom of courting lovers communicating through flowers. She then bought it from me as part of my amazingly generous birthday presents and I was lucky enough to choose it out of my To Read pile at the beginning of November. I have yet to review it (I’ll get there I promise!) but it was a beautifully touching story with an interesting and solid background in the meaning of flowers and the effect the foster child/adoption system has on children even into adulthood.

10. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier 

This last book almost didn’t make it on the list as when I started it on the 9th of December, even ‘tho I loved it from the first chapter I didn’t think I would finish it before the start of the new year. But thanks to some marathon reading, mostly due to the fantastic writing skills of Tracy Chevalier and my ardent wish to include it in my Top Reads I finished it the day before New Years Eve 🙂 This was a very interesting and touching novel that amerses you in a historical time and place perfectly. Tracy Chevalier is wonderful at capturing a time and place and inventing believable details surrounding a pivotal artistic (or in this case scientific) movement. I have loved every book she has ever released from the moment I read The Virgin Blue as they were all sound Historical novels with a backbone of facts and a great deal of heart. This one is based on the true story of Mary Anning, a working class girl in 19th century England who discovers the first aquatic dinosaurs and sets the scientific world alight with talk of extinction and the age of the earth, but it is also about the friendship between two women (Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot) who are from a different class and background and two decades apart in age but share a love of fossil hunting. I promise I’ll do a proper review as soon as I get through the 8 that are still backed up 😛

Stay tuned for my other highlights of the year in the form of my 2011 Book Polygamist Awards! which I will post within the next couple of days, and I hope to see all my usual Bookbaggers as well as lots of new faces throughout 2012 🙂

In case you weren’t aware 2012 is The National Year of Reading in Australia, which libraries around the country are getting involved in with special activities and programs as well as extra storytime sessions, displays and the like, so expect some extra little tidbits this year 🙂

One idea I had was to post a small quote from one of the books I’m reading every day as part of Project 365 but what with my last semester of study being this year as well as continuing casual work at libraries, and hopefully some form of social life, I don’t see myself keeping that up for longer than a few weeks, so maybe I’ll make it something more achievable like a quote once a week?

Let me know what you guys think in the comments and as always, HAPPY READING!!!! (in caps for added New Years emphasis :P)

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!

REVIEW: The Secrets of the Chess Machine by Robert Löhr

Imagine you’re a noble in 18th Century Europe, a time when concepts like computers, the Internet, and smart phones were as foreign as alien technology. A time of powdered wigs, white faces, corsets and carefully placed beauty spots (and not just for the ladies!) where the height of human invention was the automatons, clockwork machinery that performed tasks previously only achievable by people, such as writing and playing music. And imagine that in this world an automaton is revealed that can think for itself and play a game of chess against real opponents. This is the world in which The Secrets of the Chess Machine flourishes, illuminating the sordid secrets of Europe’s nobility and the depths they would stoop to, to be in the limelight.

The plot is based on the true story of an unbeatable chess-playing automaton named The Turk that toured Europe from 1770 to 1854, but was revealed to be a hoax in the late 1820s. In the book (as well as in real life) the creator of this “machine” is Wolfgang von Kempelen a civil servant of Empress Maria Theresia of Austria and Hungary. After seeing a magician perform at the palace, Kempelen boasts to the Empress that he could come up with a more impressive experiment, even without the former training, and she calls his bluff, giving him 6 months off to develop his invention. Kempelen has ambitions to build a speaking machine, but he soon realises that it is not achievable in the time and so he comes up with the fiendish idea of the chess machine – a contraption that appears to think and play chess but in fact will house a man controlling its actions from the inside.

To find the perfect “brain” for the chess machine Kempelen travels to Venice, and approaches a dwarf called Tibor Scardanelli, who is a gifted chess-player and is in prison for a bar fight. Tibor, a devout catholic, doesn’t initially want to be involved in the hoax but when his circumstances take a turn for the worse he approaches Kempelen and secretly travels with him to his home in Pressburg. So starts an intricate tale of deception and sin where Tibor must be kept secret but is constantly being coerced into breaking Kempelen’s rules by his assistant Jacob. The trio tour with The Turk, exhibiting it and playing against nobility and the common man alike, with relative ease, until the Countess Ibolya Jesenák – Kempelen’s former mistress – dies under suspicious circumstances in the company of The Turk. At this point the novel shifts genre from a strictly historical saga to a mystery/thriller as Kempelen and Tibor’s professional relationship shifts into ugly territory, rife with blackmail and accusations.

Löhr has a very interesting writing style, which I’m sure would have been even better in its native tongue, but as I can’t read German I am thankful for Anthea Bell‘s expert translation. His style mixes traditional story-telling devices such as conflict/resolution with unexpected metaphorical battles, such as a game of chess being described like an epic war, and a debate between Kempelen and a church representative (who believes the automaton is an unholy abomination) described as a retelling of Zeus’ punishment of Prometheus. The detailed descriptions of the chess games and various automatons were fascinating, and Löhr certainly painted a vivid picture of 18th Century Vienna, Hungary, Italy and France with his cast of over-fluffed ladies and powder-wigged dandies. Overall it was a really enjoyable read with a solid historical basis, with an addition of author notes at the end where Löhr explains the truth behind his fiction and makes clear the parts he made up. A recommendation for lovers of good historical fiction with a dash of murder and intrigue.

I give The Secrets of the Chess Machine by Robert Löhr:

4 / 5 Stars

Updates from your friendly Book Polygamist :)

Hey Bookbaggers! I’ve been MIA a bit lately due to the start of a new semester, my industry placement and a rather sudden snot/cough monster invading my body 😦 which is why my recent Top 10s didn’t go out at the end of the month as planned.

So, this is just a quick update to say I will be posting the two new Top 10s over the next few days and I have not disappeared 🙂

I may also post about exciting things I am doing during my industry placement at Joondalup public library so stay tuned for that 🙂

Oh! And in other news I recently started a new book called The Secrets of the Chess Machine which is written by German author Robert Löhr and translated by Anthea Bell. It’s about a civil servant called Wolfgang von Kempelen who builds an impressive chess-playing automaton in 1770 to show the Empress Maria Theresia. However, the automaton is a hoax – the machine actually contains an Italian dwarf called Tibor Scardanelli who is highly skilled at the game of chess.

So far it’s a very entertaining and unique book which is great for train reading 🙂 review to follow at some point in the future.

Happy reading Bookbaggers!