Short Stories and Secret Shame September

Fáilte my fabulous, fascinating Bookbaggers!

Oh my gosh hello! It must seem that I have been away more than not this year and that I am a terribly neglectful blogger since I last posted near the end of August! I hate making stupid excuses like work and sickness and a social life because really I know that life gets in the way for all bloggers at some point, and I never judge the bloggers I follow for being absent, but this time I actually have a pretty interesting excuse. My absence over September was a self-imposed necessity to keep my lip zipped because on the 1st I had jury duty and was picked for a three-week-long case.

I did think about posting a quick note to let you know that I would be on a hiatus, but as we were instructed not to post on social media what we were doing, I thought blogging would also be a big no-no. When the case finally finished on the 22nd I thought “Huzzah! I can finally blog!” but I did not factor in that I would be going from listening to people talk while sitting on my butt, back to my regular job where I would likely have a pile of work to catch up on and would be exhausted once I got home.

Then I had the very strange experience of doing just four days of work before we were on term break and I had a week off! Logically this would be a perfect time to catch up on the blog, but I found that once I was able to relax I just wanted to unwind after the bizarre month I had and try to do things I hadn’t had time for like doing my tax return, catching up with the grandparentals after their trip to Bali and shopping for summer pajamas before our Australian weather devolved into the 7th circle of hell (my hometown of Perth especially doesn’t seem to understand what Spring is if the mix of hot days and freak thunderstorms are anything to go by).

I returned to work Monday and since we’re now in the final term of the year it has calmed down enough that I have the time, energy and motivation to finally tell you about my September 🙂

Firstly, I never got around to introducing my new pile which gives a second life to the Short and Sweet challenge, so that’s a good start.

As I said in my last Challenge Update I no longer had any books under 200 pages to continue Short and Sweet, but I did have a large number of short story collections which I have made its own pile. I think that means that Short and Sweet will at least go until the end of the year, but if I enjoy having an anthology of short fiction on the go all the time then I’ll make it a regular thing like I did with comics 🙂

At the moment I have 13 books of short stories that I have put together in the pile (mostly my own, but two borrowed from my mate Scott – the Richard Matheson’s since I loved I Am Legend):

The book of the dead
edited by jared shurin
The Book of the DeadGrimm Tales: For young and old
by Philip Pullman
Grimm Tales Philip PullmanThe Complete Illustrated Lewis Carroll
by Lewis Carroll
The Complete Illustrated Lewis CarrollLiving With The Dead
by Martin Livings 
Living With The Dead by Martin LivingsUnder My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron
edited by Jonathan Strahan
Under-My-Hat Fantastic Wonder Stories
edited by Russell B. Farr
fantastic-wonder-storeis The Girl With No Hands
by Angela Slatter
The Girl With No Hands by Angela SlatterThe Lady of Situations
by Stephen Dedman
The Lady of SituationsMatilda told such dreadful lies
by Lucy Sussex
matilda-told-such-dreadful-lies-webFearie Tales: Stories of the Grimm and Gruesome
edited by Stephen Jones
illustrated by Alan Lee
Fearie-Tales-Stories-of-the-Grimm-and-GruesomeThe Powerful Owl by Candida Baker
powerful owlButton, Button by Richard Matheson
button.tifDuel by Richard Matheson
duelLooking for jake and other stories by China Miéville

looking for jake

I’ve been really slack with reading any stories from The Living Dead zombie anthology lately because I have been reading some cracking books (more on that later) and in fact I haven’t read any since the last update, so I have re-set myself the challenge to read at least one story a week and then maybe I might actually get to pick a new one before the end of the year!

In addition to the revamped Short and Sweet Challenge I also set myself a special challenge for September which I meant to announce at the end of August and then when I didn’t finish in time I though “Well I probably will only have jury duty for a week tops so early September should be fine”….yup, that worked out well past me :/

The challenge involves reading a single book that I call my Secret Shame to friends and family that I have admitted my secret too. I think if you look deep enough every avid reader has one Secret Shame – maybe it’s a genre of books that they don’t want to be associated with, or a bad habit such as dog-earring pages that they don’t want to admit to, and I think for many it would be that sad book at the bottom of their TBR pile or pushed to the back of their groaning shelves.

Mine would be in the latter category:

Secret shame september

Back in 1997 when I was a shy, odd and exceptionally nerdy 11-year-old in Year 6, I had a brilliant teacher called Mr Stein – a sort of aging hippy who was passionate about books, music and the environment and was by far my favourite teacher throughout school. However, at the start of the year I did not have this opinion. All of us new Year 6s had been told by the older kids that Mr Stein was the worst – really strict, grumpy and a man who would not put up with mucking about – and being the nervous little mite I was, I was terrified that I would be in the class with this monster instead of with the second Year 6/7 class. When I saw my name on his door my heart sank, but it took maybe a day to realise that the older kids had greatly exaggerated and while Mr Stein was strict and certainly wouldn’t suffer fools, he was a fair and engaging teacher and only made trouble for kids who attracted trouble in the first place.

Because I was such a shy and nervy kid I often did badly at the start of the year before I got my confidence up and even if my work was top-notch I was always behind in social interaction and class participation, but Mr Stein – unlike some teachers before him – endeavoured to break me out of my shell by encouraging me to get involved in areas that interested me, like creative writing and environmental issues. By the end of the year I had improved noticeably, so much so that I won the “Most Improved” award for my class. Mr Stein chose the books for my prize – a dictionary of nature, and Watership Down by Richard Adams which if you are a Bookbagger from way back you will know is still one of my favourite books. Since, as he predicted I adored the book and it hadn’t been too much of a struggle despite being a little above my age level, he loaned me his own copy of another Richard Adams novel called Shardik.

Shardik was a different kettle of fish than Watership Down as it was an adult fantasy, but I gave it a go anyway. I never really got past the first few chapters as the language was more advanced and I hadn’t quite gotten into Fantasy at that point (at least beyond children’s fantasy/adventure), but every time I asked Mr Stein if he wanted it back, he told me to keep trying. Somehow in the midst of Year 7 I not only gave up trying to read it, but I forgot to give it back and Mr Stein never reminded me. For years after I kept meaning to read it and then return to my old primary school to give it back, but it never happened and eventually in resided at the very back of my bookshelf, behind another layer of books – out of sight, but not forgotten. If I was close enough to someone and the subject of old books on TBR piles came up, I would spill my Secret Shame and swear once again that I would read it, but again it never happened.

Then a few months ago I acquired a small additional bookshelf from what my mum calls Le Verge (that often magical collection of odds and sods people put by the road in front of their house for pickup by the council or perusal by treasure-hunting locals) to help tame the overflow from my other shelves, and during a cull I found Shardik again, tattered, musty and forlorn amongst dozen of past op-shop and library discard purchases, many of which went in the donation box.

ShardikAt that point I decided that I would finally read the poor thing (even though I may not be able to find Mr Stein and return it to him after) and since September was approaching I thought Secret Shame September had a great ring to it – my love of alliteration at play once more 😛

Since the book has a little under 60 chapters I set myself the very ambitious goal of reading two chapters a day, but since it is so fragile it is a purely read-at-home-while-cradling-gently-so-it-doesn’t-disintegrate sort of book and thus I’m still making my way through. I’m about half-way now (chapter 32) so not doing too badly. Like I said above I have been distracted by some pretty awesome books recently (which I may even share with you in a separate update-ish post since I don’t want my returning one to be too giant) so I haven’t read any for a little less than a week, but I’ll try to read a bit more sometime this week.

I think that’s sufficient for now Bookbaggers, but I’ll leave you with a few fun things to make up for my disappearance 🙂

Firstly I took this quiz during Banned Book Week and posted it to the Book Polygamist Facebook page:Which banned book are youI got Slaughterhouse-5 by Kurt Vonnegut which I had never read, so I thought why not buy it and read it for Banned Book Week? I didn’t end up getting it until the last day of Banned Book Week and I didn’t start it until the 1st of October, but it was so good and such a short read (177 pages) I polished it off over one weekend.

This leads onto my next bit of fun which is another Thug Notes video:

Lastly, it’s Mental Health Week here in Oz and our public broadcast station the ABC is doing an initiate called Mental As…, showing a series of programs related to mental health in an effort to promote awareness, stop the stigma of mental illness and raise money for mental health research. As I have an anxiety disorder and most of the people in my life have struggled with mental illness at some point in their lives or have loved ones that have (and don’t we all really?) this event is important to me and I was keen to watch the programs, particularly Felicity’s Mental Mission, a doco by Felicity Ward which aired Monday. There are a few short clips on YouTube from the show, but I thought I’d share with you the hilarious, but poignant song by comedic musical duo Sammy J and Randy:

If you are in Australia (or elsewhere but you know how to get around all the technical stuff which stops you from watching geographic-specific videos) you can watch the full show on iView until the 5th of November.

I think that’ll do for now, O wonderous Bookbaggers 🙂

Stay tuned for a run-down of all the books I’ve read since I last posted (at some point soon) and some Notable Quotables which I’ve been collecting, but until then:

Don’t be afraid to ask somebody R U OK? even if you think they’ll give a stupid answer…

don't be lasagna

or have a extreme reaction…

post-51047-Doctor-Who-shut-up-gif-Imgur-s-Puqd

and a hug is always nice, even if it may be one-sided at first…

doctor-who-deep-breath-peter-capaldi-clara-hug

And if you or someone you know are struggling with mental health issues there are tonnes of organisations and associations out there that can help such as Lifeline and Beyond Blue (Australia), Mental Health America or NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness (USA) Mind or Rethink (UK). These are only a couple of examples of organisations in the countries that most view this blog, but other international organisations can be found on The Centre for Global Mental Health website or by Googling something like “mental health help *insert country/city/town/desert island/etc.*”.

Cya next time Bookbaggers!

tumblr_inline_mnbnqwxr2A1qz4rgp

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Challenges Update: The Final Weeks of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy

Yellow my youthful, yarely Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the really belated 11th (and probably final) update of Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy, in which I tell you the outrageous amount of stuff that has happened since my last update just before semester break that I have been itching to tell you!

I am determined to finally fill you in on the challenges, since in essence I have now polished them both off, however, I don’t want to bore my beloved Bookbaggers, old and new (I was flabbergasted that I gained a few new followers while I have been virtually silent, so thanks and welcome to the Bookbagger newbies 🙂 ) so I will keep it as short as my rambling mind and wandering fingers can manage, utilising the Mighty Numbered List and keeping to challenge-based stuff…mostly 😛

Ok, lets kick off the epic, shall we?

Short and Sweet challenge badgeThe MNL (Mighty Numbered List) will be getting a workout with this update, as in the four six weeks since my last update (jeez I had to check to confirm it had been that long!) I have finished all the remaining books in the challenge, a few of the short stories from my zombie anthology, and have tweaked something related to the challenge:

  1. I started Horn by Peter M Ball the weekend after my last update (along with Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins and The Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman) and by the time I fell sick on Wednesday I had read the majority of it. Then from Thursday to Sunday I was at home with nothing to do but drink lots of fluids and feel sorry for myself, so I of course read the shit out of everything and by Friday I had already polished off Horn and Deadly Beloved. Horn was another novella centered around cop-turned-murderer-turned-private-dick Miriam Aster, who I was introduced to in Bleed, and while I didn’t enjoy it as much (perhaps because I read Bleed first or perhaps because I had the order backwards, as while they’re not technically a series Horn was published a year or two before) but it was still a fun, exciting read that gave me some more insight into the character and Ball’s version of the Fey. If he writes more in this world following Aster, I will be a happy chicken 🙂 horn
  2. I had also been reading a lot of Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins before catching the bug, as It was a surprisingly witty and interesting pulpy-noir-style mystery with some funny, smart characterisation (especially the star of the show Ms Tree who takes shit from no one, has a fire-arm ready at all times, is unashamed of her sexuality and won’t shy away from confronting colleagues, lovers and crooks alike) and a solid story that kept me guessing. I actually enjoyed it more than many of the crime books I have read previously, including some which were “proper” crime noir published in the 1940’s, so not bad for a book I picked up at Coles for five bucks! I have since passed it on to my friend Scott, who has read the comic book series it’s based on, so I hope he enjoys it as much as I did 🙂 deadly beloved
  3. Since there was only one book left in the challenge – The Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby (artist) – I got stuck into that pretty much right away, and I finished it the next weekend. Being a Discworld novel it was of course hilarious, bursting with strange magics and altered laws of nature, but as this was a special illustrated novella it was also quite fast-paced and Josh Kirby’s colourful, mad-cap illustrations spilled from their usual place on the outside covers and popped up throughout the text or in stunning two-page spreads. After the last two Discworld novels (Pyramids and Guards! Guards!) it was nice to catch-up with the bumbling wizard Rincewind and his menacing walking Luggage, which were the stars of several of the earlier books. I also liked that the usual sinister bureaucracy of the wizards was mostly absent in this instalment, replaced by a sinister bureaucratic King of Hell who has forced his underlings to move away from the fire-and-brimstone style of damnation and onto the method of torture by mind-numbing boredom. eric
  4. Since Eric was the only under-200 pages contender left, when I finished Deadly Beloved I was back to picking from one of my original piles (one of two Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read piles as I already had a couple of Borrowed-From-Others and a library book on the go) so I asked my mum to do the honours and she chose Un Lun Dun by China Miéville 😀 I started it early the following week and have been loving it ever since! Unlike Kraken – which is the only Miéville novel I’ve read previously – Un Lun Dun is YA, so not quite as mind-bending, yet it is full to bursting with Miéville’s highly imaginative creations, enhanced by his quirky, detailed illustrations which are scattered through the text. Before I even reached the half-way point I had already pre-emptively put it on my list of Top 10 Books of 2014, so expect more blabbing on about it in the near future!ChinaMieville-UnLunDun
  5. Then when I finished Eric I picked another book from one of the Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read pile – one with books I’ve been meaning to read for ages, since Un Lun Dun came from the newer acquisitions pile – which was Dead in the Family (Book 10 of the Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood/Southern Vampire Mysteries series) by Charlaine Harris! I was pleased about the choice because I read the last book way back in 2012 and even though I have heard from fans that the latter books have lost their glow a little, I enjoyed Book 9 and either way I am determined to finish the series now I’m so close! So far I am about half-way through and I am enjoying it still – they aren’t the highest form of literature, but Charlaine Harris can weave an interesting supernatural tale with plenty of funny bits as well as some mystery, which occasionally is all I want (especially after reading A Clockwork Orange and I Am Legend recently)$2 plus $6.95 p&h!!! Gotta love eBay :)
  6. Finally, since the last update I have read 3 more stories out of the The Living Dead zombie anthology: “In Beauty, Like the Night” by Norman Partridge, which was about a media mogul similar to Hugh Hefner who hides away on his private island when the zombie plague hits, obsessively watching the zombified girls from his calendar shoot which became stranded/infected on the island; “Prairie” by Brian Evenson, which was only 4 pages long but was a really disturbing and unsettling tale of an expedition across the prairie during a zombie infection; and “Everything is Better With Zombies” by Hannah Wolf Bowen, which didn’t feature actual zombies, but was a touching story of friendship between a girl and a boy approaching adolescence and their game of chasing imagined zombies through the local cemetery. I read the last one the weekend before last and then I haven’t dived back into zombies since because I’ve been so caught up with my other reads, but I may read a story or two this weekendA bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?
  7. Lastly, I realised when approaching the end of the challenge that I didn’t have any more books under 200 pages to contribute, but I did have a fair amount of short story collections in various piles, so I’ve decided to make a completely new pile and when I finish The Living Dead I’ll pick a new collection 🙂 This means the Short and Sweet challenge still has some life in it, but it will be more like my Comic Companions challenge of last year, so won’t be updated once a week. Since I don’t want this post to be too epically long and boring I won’t list all the collections in the pile, but will save that for its own post sometime before I finish The Living Dead

Now onto the other challenge which also had major action:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeWhile I was sick and during my holidays I got fully sucked into the end of Brisingr leading to this happy result:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending0 Pages – Finished 😀

Pages remaining: 0

Brisingr:

Brisingr197 Pages
(67 pages one week; the remaining 128 the next)

Pages remaining: 0! 😀

Total:

197 Pages

Pages remaining: 0

I now know why my bro was so insistent I read this book as Paolini’s skill as a writer has improved immensely from the first book – and even from the second – and I found myself hunched in my seat gripping the book, eyes wide, while gasps and yes, even tears burst forth from me inexplicably at various points. I know that if I hadn’t done this challenge I likely would’ve been even slower with this huge fantasy epic (as it was I still had it on the go for over 8 months!) so I am very happy I challenged myself.

I was then finally able to pick a new book from the Borrowed-From-Others pile and I picked one that I borrowed from Sarah a while back and have been wanting to read ever since she told me about it – Black Feathers by Joseph D’Lacey. I started it around the same time as Un Lun Dun and I have been loving it just as much. In fact it also got pre-emptively added to the Top 10 Books of 2014 list before I was even half-way, so I really have some great books on the go at the moment 😀

BlackFeathers

I think I’ll leave it there Bookbaggers so I can finally post this really belated update! I also read a few comics, but I’ll save that for another post and leave you with a few words.

Like many of you, this week I have been trying to come to terms with the shocking death of Robin Williams. As I’m 27, Robin was a pivotal figure in memorable films from my childhood, such as Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji, Hook, Patch Adams, and Aladdin and it has been hard even fathoming that he is no longer in this world. I have tried to stay positive (as I usually try to do in most situations anyway) and think that at least where ever he may be he is no longer suffering and perhaps his death helped others contemplating suicide or suffering silently from depression.

This is not a cheery way to end the long-awaited update, but I couldn’t put something up this week without saying something and sharing with you a video which not only shows Robin’s talent, but pays tribute to him in a positive way:

Robin – we never have had a friend like you before and probably never will again. You will be truly missed by a big percentage of the world, and I hope that you are at peace.

On that note its goodbye for now Bookbaggers – until next time:

genie and carpet

Challenge Update: A Highly Successful Week 10 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy!

Welcome my wacky, whimsical Bookbaggers!

Your eyes do gaze upon the 10th update of Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy which may be the most successful week yet for both challenges, which is good since unlike the last update, I have nothing else of interest to share with you!

As always let’s get started with the first challenge:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeSince I finished both Short & Sweet books I was reading and picked two new ones, this update definitely deserves a MNL (Mighty Numbered List):

  1. I have been reading A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (as well as I Am Legend by Richard Matheson) pretty much every chance I get this week, as both books were reaching their climax, so I finished A Clockwork Orange on Tuesday afternoon. I have already given my thoughts on the book a little as I went, so I’ll keep my final comments brief: it was absolutely brilliant. The use of the Nadsat slang was so immersive that after a few chapters I didn’t feel like I was lost without a glossary and I think if I had one in my edition (like the edition my mum read in her youth) it would’ve torn me out of the story too much constantly looking up words. In fact, not having a glossary actually worked in my favour because when I asked Stefan of Stefan’s Books (who on a previous visit had shown he was an avid fan by quoting the first line verbatim when I mentioned I was reading it) why my copy wouldn’t have one he said that originally two different versions were published – one with a glossary, and one with no glossary but an extra chapter at the end – and as it turns out that added chapter completed changed the overall ending, so I’m glad I got the version I did! A Clockwork Orange is absolutely going to be on my Top 10 Books of 2014 list, and I am also glad I bought rather than borrowed a copy because I think it will become a favourite to re-read over my lifetimea clockwork orange
  2. I also have been reading I Am Legend by Richard Matheson a lot this week, especially after finishing A Clockwork Orange, so I reached the end yesterday afternoon. Again, I’ll try to be brief as I’ve talked it up already: it was also absolutely brilliant. Never have I read a book which marries the horror and science fiction genres so well, with some solid scientific explanations for vampirism that were fascinating, and a form of the popular horror monster which was unique and terrifying, but in a subtle way. But, it was the parts which didn’t necessarily fit with either genre which really made this book memorable – the human element, the various stages one man goes through when facing such complete loneliness and day-to-day survival. Robert Neville was wonderfully developed and along the way I felt his frustration, desperation, and sorrow which transitioned into fierce determination and a necessary detachment from emotion. This is definitely the best “vampire” novel I have read, another no-brainer for the Top 10 Books of 2014 and a book I am glad I own so I can share it with others and re-read.i am legend
  3. On Tuesday when I finished A Clockwork Orange I asked Sarah to pick me a new book from the tiny pool of remaining contenders, and she picked Horn by Peter M Ball, which is pretty fitting as she had read it pretty recently (just like when she picked the other Peter M Ball novella for me, funnily enough). I haven’t started it yet, but I am eager to do so ASAP 😀horn
  4. Then because I was only a few chapters away from finishing I Am Legend I asked my mum to pick another from the two remaining contenders, and she picked Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins. I haven’t started it either, but I think it’s going to be great fun, and afterwards my friend Scott has asked to borrow it so i’ll have someone to talk about it with 🙂deadly beloved
  5. Lastly, last night I read another story from The Living Dead zombie anthology, by another author I have read – “Those Who Seek Forgiveness” by Laurell K. Hamilton, which is the first story she wrote about her long-running character, Anita Blake. I have only read the first in the Anita Blake series so far, despite Sarah and our other friend Luke being big fans in high-school, but I have heard from many fans that at a point the series drifted away from the supernatural crime into melodramatic soft-core porn (a bit of a pattern for Hamilton as her other series, Merry Gentry, often turned into sex scenes connected by fragments of plot). Apparently the series has gone back to its roots now, but I have still been hesitant to go much further as once I’m into a series I like to see it through to the end, however it was good to see where Anita started and it was a really great short story actually. Perhaps I need to jump back on the Anita Blake bandwagon and see how far I can get before I’m thrown off 😛A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

I am really getting to the pointy end of this challenge now because there is a lone contender left:

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

So when I finish one of my new picks I’ll simply go onto The Illustrated Eric and then the challenge will be finito!

Now onto the other challenge which had a very exciting development this week:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeSince I read none of The Sending last week and I had a normal, lazy Sunday, I got stuck right in, and also made a substantial dent in Brisingr:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending64 pages (2 chapters + epilogue)

Pages remaining: 0! 😀

Brisingr:

Brisingr79 Pages (6 chapters)

Pages remaining: 197

Total:

143 Pages

Pages remaining: 197

That’s right – I finally finished The Sending you guys!! Once I started there was no way I was stopping until the end because it was pretty intense and surprise, surprise there was quite a big cliff-hanger and now I need to wait until the next book comes out, which is apparently this year, but I don’t know when 😦 Anyway, it took me a couple of years to even get to The Sending after it was published, and then when I finished and checked my book journal (or really not the last one I filled, but the one before that, which should be telling) I realised it’s taken me over a year and a month to read it! At least this challenge has helped immensely or otherwise I may never have reached the exciting end!

Because I finished something I chose a new book of course, and since I hadn’t chosen a library book for a while I thought it only fair that they get included and randomly picked The Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman which I have borrowed, returned and re-borrowed multiple times since finishing the previous book in the series 3 years ago! I also haven’t started it yet, but as I have a week of holidays coming up, I will have plenty of quality reading time 🙂

cover_tiger_in_the_well

Since the last update I also read  The Walking Dead Volume #1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman (creator, writer), Tony Moore(creator, artist) and Cliff Rathburn (colourist…or additional gray-scale-ist) which was excellent and much move fast-paced then I was expecting after watching a bit of the TV series! It was a first volume which definitely impressed me so I promptly returned it to the library and requested volume 2 😛walking dead vol 1

I also read one of my Free Comic Book Day comics that I picked last week –  Defend Comics – which was a series of short stories about censorship in comics and banned books (with a random snippet of story chucked it for good measure). I found it really interesting and a great way to get comic readers to think about these issues and possibly support causes (such as the CBLDF – Comic Book Legal Defense Fund which produced the comic) which fight censorship and protect the rights of comic creators.defend comics

That’s all for now I think my beloved Bookbaggers 🙂

I would say stay tuned for the next update, but I’m not sure I’ll be about the next two weeks as it is semester break, next week I’ll be working in a different location as my campus is shut, and the week after I have off. This may mean I pop in to update you on things, but more likely I will be too busy enjoying myself and reading up a storm 😛

At the very least I’ll try to post a Notable Quotable or two since I have a few I’ve been stock-piling, but if I don’t get around to it I humbly apologise in advance and I will see you in a couple of weeks with a bumper update 🙂

Until then goodbye from your loyal Book Polygamist and some of my favourite lads:

capn jack sparrow farewell

cheshire-goodbye

beatles waving

Challenge Update: Week 9 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy + a Supanova Saturday

Aloha my adroit, articulate Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 9th update of Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy where unlike the last couple of updates, the non-challenge related stuff is more plentiful and exciting than the actual update since I went to Supanova on Saturday!

But first I’ll get the official business out-of-the-way:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeSince my last update I have mainly been reading my challenge books here and there and haven’t finished or started anything, but even if it’s a fairly standard update, I’ll still utilise the MNL (Mighty Numbered List):

  1. I have been reading  I Am Legend by Richard Matheson quite a bit this week as it is a good lunch break/commute book and a very interesting story besides. While in essence it is a vampire novel (or more broadly a blend of horror and sci-fi) it is unlike any vampire novel I’ve encountered, and with the post-apocalyptic setting and the large hordes of unrelenting vamps, it feels much more like a zombie book. This paired with the introspective narration, which feels intimate despite being third person, the development of the main character (or sole character really besides ones in flashbacks and the dead) and Matheson’s engaging writing, makes this a book I am really loving. I’m about halfway through at the moment, but have been savouring it a little so I may or may not finish by the next update.i am legend
  2. I have also been reading A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess a lot this week, and I am loving it just as much, even though it is pretty darn twisted and the invented language means each bit needs more concentration than the average read. I’m also about half-way through but as it’s a much smaller book the odds of me finishing it by the next update are a little better.a clockwork orange
  3. Lastly, despite my fun-filled weekend and hectic work week I did manage to read a story from The Living Dead zombie anthology last night, and it was a really good one! The story I read was “Bobby Conroy comes back from the dead” by popular author Joe Hill (whose full-length novels I have yet to read, but I loved the beginning of his comic series, Locke & Key) and was not so much about real zombies, but movie zombies, and one movie of the genre in particular – George A. Romero‘s Dawn of the Dead. It follows a down-on-his-luck actor/comedian who has moved back to his hometown and is surprised to see an old high-school flame on the set of the film where they are both zombie extras. It’s partly a “what-if” breed of love story, but mainly, and at Joe Hill’s own admission in the description preceding the tale, it is a love letter to the iconic film. This is clear from the wonderful descriptions of Romero and special effect make-up artist Tom Savini and the general passion in Hill’s words as he writes about what is obviously a pivotal film from his youth and a great inspiration. more than anything this story made me further lament that I have never seen Dawn of the Dead (Romero fans please don’t lynch me!) and I must rectify this in the near future!A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

The list of contenders remains the same with just three to go:

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 other challenge which was pretty poor unfortunately:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeSince on the weekend I had Supanova followed by birthday celebrations for another close friend and then work and TV distracting me for the rest of the week, I did not come even close to my quota:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending0 pages (0 chapters)

Pages remaining: 64

Brisingr:

Brisingr13 Pages (2 chapters)

Pages remaining: 276

Total:

13 Pages

Pages remaining: 341

This is a pretty ironic effort considering my prediction for The Sending last update, but even though I didn’t suffer temporary blindness, dyslexia or spontaneously combusting books (still hurts even to imagine that..) I had plenty of other distractions besides.

I did intend to read much more over the week but as Saturday’s celebrations went into the wee hours, Sunday was a R & R day and then Sunday-Wednesday nights were dedicated to VIT (Very Important Television, which in this case was the finale of Orphan Black on Tuesday, and a terrible reality show called House Rules which Sarah and I have inexplicably become obsessed with despite our usual disdain for reality TV. I blame my mother 😛 ) I only managed to read yesterday afternoon/evening. Since I had started The Unwritten vol # 4: Leviathan earlier in the week I wanted to finish that first, so 13 pages of Brisingr was all I could manage before snooze time. I was going to read a tiny bit of The Sending also before I went to the land of nod but since I’m so near the end I knew it would be hard to stop once I got going, so best to leave it until another day.

Since this weekend I just have standing Friday night plans and nothing else scheduled I should be able to get some solid reading time in, but I’m not making predictions this time 😛

As I said above I also read The Unwritten: Leviathan (The Unwritten, Volume # 4) by Mike Carey (writer), Peter Gross (artist, colourist), Vince LockeAl Davison (colourists) and Yuko Shimizu (cover artist), which had been sitting on my pile for a few weeks unread, and like the volumes before I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to the next volume.

unwritten 4

I also realised early in the week that a comic I borrowed from the library – The Walking Dead Volume #1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman (creator, writer), Tony Moore (creator, artist) and Cliff Rathburn (colourist) – was overdue and I couldn’t renew it because it was on hold for someone else, so I bypassed the usual random choosing and put it aside as my next read. I haven’t gotten to it yet but as I received a txt from the library today reminding me (oooo technological!) I will get to it ASAP!

walking dead vol 1Since I didn’t pick randomly I thought it only fair to pick another one to replace The Unwritten, which turned out to be a trade paperback I bought pretty recently –  Fables Volume 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham (penciller), Steve Leialoha (inker), Daniel Vozzo (colourist) and James Jean (cover artist) – and a funny coincidence since Fables was advertised at the back of The Unwritten!

fables 2

I also picked four more comics from my Free Comic Book Day haul – Defend Comics; Zombie Tramp; Finding Gossamyr/The Last Mountain; and Magika/The First Daughter (which for some reason isn’t listed under the comics on the Free Comic Book Day site).

 

Now that the update business is done and dusted I can tell you a little about Supanova! 😀

Sarah and I had already planned to go one day over the weekend, and to meet our friend Scott – who is an avid con-goer – to have lunch, but then our friends Nay and Amber expressed interest because they are fans of Jon Heder who was a guest. Since it was Amber’s birthday on the Saturday and Jon Heder also had signings that day, it seemed a no-brainer to go to the con and then re-convene at my house for celebrations after.

As this year Supanova moved venues from Claremont Showgrounds to the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre (where other cons like Oz Comic-con and Wai-Con are held) and Nay and Amber had never been to a con before, we weren’t sure what to expect, but besides being pretty darn packed I think it was well organised and mostly we all had a ball!

We started by sitting in on a bit of the cosplay competition, which was suitably awe-inspiring and a great introduction to the con universe for the girls, before wandering through to the exhibitor area to look at, and possibly buy, pretty things. This area was particularly crowded so we just did a little circuit before heading out for lunch, where we met Scott and ogled all the exciting things he had gotten signed. Amber was nervous to meet Jon Heder but after some encouragement from the rest of us she joined the line with her print from the Napoleon Dynamite animated series, while we watched proudly from the sidelines. She emerged a few minutes later, grinning from ear to ear and later proclaimed it was the best birthday yet, which is awesome 🙂

We finished with a more studied perusal of goods, and each of us bought a couple of treasures. I managed to find a beautiful fox ring to replace one I use to wear every day until its poor tail snapped off, and a couple of comics which I have heard great things about – Sex Criminals Volume # 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction (creator, writer),  Chip Zdarsky (creator, writer), Becka Kinzie and Christopher Sebela (colourists); and Revival Volume # 1: You’re Among Friends by Tim Seeley (creator, writer) and Mike Norton (creator, artist):

supanova comics

I also bagged an awesome Cheshire Cat necklace when Sarah picked it out of a lucky dip, realised it was Alice related and so really should be for yours truly, then I did a lucky dip which she liked more so we swapped 😛 For some stupid reason I didn’t take a pic of my jewellery so if I remember I’ll share that next week.

The cosplayers were in fine form with some of the best I’ve seen, and I managed to get pics of some of my favourites, including a fabulous Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games, Death and Dream/Morpheus/The Sandman from The Sandman series, and Tank Girl!

Supanova collage

This was only a taste of some of the cosplay – I got a few more pics and there were plenty more I never got close enough too, and plenty more again which I didn’t see in person, however Funk’s House of Geekery did two great cosplay round-ups from the event which are definitely worth a look – Supanova Perth 2014: cosplay roundup day 1 and Supanova Perth 2014: cosplay roundup day 2.

I think that’s a good place to round-up my beloved Bookbaggers 🙂

Since I had Supanova and other excitement to talk about this time I won’t do a whole bunch of videos and GIFs, but I can’t resist sharing this scene from the Orphan Black finale:

Tune in for the next update and in the meantime possibly some Notable Quotables or other such fun, but until then:

dinah waving

 

Challenge Update: Week 7 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy

Bonjour my beauteous, benevolent Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 7th update of my Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy challenges, where once again I have nothing exciting besides to tell you about, so I’ll probably end this post with some frivolous videos and GIFs ^_^

But firstly:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeSince the last update I have started two new books in this challenge, so a Mighty Numbered List is fitting more than ever:

  1. I have been reading Bleed by Peter M Ball heaps this week because I’m really enjoying it and it makes a great commute and lunch break book (although I think I’ve gotten a few odd looks from my co-workers over the cover art 😛 ). I almost got carried away and finished it last night, but it was already my bedtime and I knew if I kept going I would be too tired this morning, plus I probably wouldn’t have slept well as finishing a book perks me up too much. So, to save myself from a zombie-like Friday, and also to savour the end a bit, I’ve left the last couple of chapters which I will probably read sometime this weekend and pick a new one to share in the next update 🙂Bleed
  2. This morning instead of plunging into Bleed (again with the savouring) I started A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, which I have been avoiding on public transport and at work because I wasn’t sure if it would be too intense. Prepared with a Britpop channel on Pandora, turned down to a dull roar I started it on my bus and right away I was sucked in. I was right about it being intense (definitely not a lunch-time read!) but it was fine for the trip to work (after all, I read most of High-rise by J G Ballard to and from work, and that certainly wasn’t tame) and the most bizarre and interesting thing about it is the language. Burgess has created a unique form of urban slang – akin to cockney rhyming slang but with some Russian and other influences chucked in – which is used liberally by the main character, Alex, to replace many common words. I found today that there are a dictionaries online, such as this one which give the English translation of the slang, however much of it can be discerned from context, or on a second or third encounter of the word, so generally I knew what was going on. Plus the bizarre words, paired with strange fashions and other clues, makes it more clear that you are in a futuristic world where society has changed. So far I am loving it, so hopefully I will get some time to read more over the weekend.a clockwork orange
  3. Lastly I read 2 more stories out of The Living Dead zombie anthology on Sunday. The first I had been looking forward to from the start since it’s by one of my favourite authors – “Sex, Death and Starshine” by Clive Barker  but pretty early on I realised why the title and story were so familiar – I had already read it in Books of Blood vol. 1-3! I still enjoyed the story, which followed the preparations for a final performance of Twelfth Night by a lacklustre collection of thespians before the old theatre is demolished, which is changed for the better (mostly) when the director is visited by a man from the theatre’s past. This story sort of went back to the more sinister zombies, albeit ones that still had their wits about them, and being Clive Barker had this creepy undercurrent all the way through. Afterwards I read the next tale – “Stockholm Syndrome” by David Tallerman – because it was quite short, and here we really got back to traditional zombies, with the narrator barricaded in his home and talking about a particular zombie he could see outside. Even though it was short, it was quite chilling, maybe because of the narrator’s voice, which held a sort of admiration and respect for the zombie he was watching, or maybe because I had much more controlled or humanised zombies leading up to it. Either way, it was a creepy one…in a good way 🙂

     A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

The contenders list remains the same as last week (for now!):

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 my other exciting challenge:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeI read heaps of these again on Sunday, easily making my new quota of 50 pages from each, and getting excitingly close to the end of one 😀 :

The Sending:

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

Pages remaining: 125

Brisingr:

Brisingr55 Pages (5 chapters)

Pages remaining: 338

Total:

127 Pages

Pages remaining: 463

The Sending is getting so exciting that if I manage to get enough time on Sunday (I am throwing a birthday party for one of my close friends, Nay, on Saturday so may be recuperating Sunday) I could just read to the end, but if not this challenge will be down one book in a couple of weeks, and considering what’s happening in Brisingr I doubt it’ll be far behind!

Since last time I also read my two other randomly picked Free Comic Book Day comics – Courtney Crumrin was a rare first issue where most of the free comics are zero issues/teasers and introduced me to an interesting YA supernatural story which I want to continue with more than any of the others I’ve read so far. At the back was a promotion of the half-dozen hard cover volumes which already exist, so I’ll have to see if the first one is in one of my friendly neighborhood comic stores 🙂

Courtney Crumrin

The other one – Spongebob Freestyle Funnies – was pretty much what the name suggests, a collection of short comics starring the lovable underwater-pineapple-dwelling sponge and his friends, drawn by different artists and it was a nice way to spend a few minutes one afternoon before Sarah came to visit.

Spongebob Freestyle Funnies

Well, that’s it for now Bookbaggers 🙂 If you haven’t already check out my newest regular feature posts Collective Nounitude: Zombies and Adventures in Etymology: Syncopation, and I’ll be back next week with a new update.

Until then here’s the random frivolity I promised 😀

Firstly a bunny who looks inadvertently sinister munching on some raspberries:

bunny eating raspberries

Yet still adorable despite its raspberry blood lust 😛

Then this adorable Bull Terrier trying to figure out what this crab is about:

I had a Bully cross growing up who was dumb as a post, but a very sweet dog, so despite their occationally bad rap I love their adorable boofy faces ^-^

I had a Bully cross growing up who was dumb as a post, but a very sweet dog, so despite their bad rap I love their adorable boofy faces ^-^

And lastly this video, which actually isn’t frivolous but a genius idea which addresses multiple problems we’re now facing as a society:

I’m planning on supporting the project next pay-day, and if any of my lovely Bookbaggers want to do the same they can here.

Ok see ya!

waving doctor

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 😛

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