Top 10 Books I Read in 2013

1. Catch 22 by Joseph Hellercatch22

This was the first book that came to mind when compiling my top books of the year, firstly because I read it for a decent chunk of the year, from mid-January to mid-November, secondly because it was part of my War & Pages challenge, and thirdly because it really was a memorable and affecting book. If you’ve always wanted to read Catch 22, don’t let my slowpokeishness (yes that’s a word now) deter you – sometimes I just take ages reading a certain book, and it has nothing to do with the quality of writing or my enjoyment of it. I recently lent it to my 17-year-old brother whose been in a bit of a reading rut, and he’s zipped through it in a couple of weeks. Granted, he’s out of high-school now and looking for a job so he has some time on his hands, but if a teenage boy who is somewhat out of practice with regular reading can breeze through it, it is possible 🙂 Recommended to people who like war stories but think they don’t address the absurdity of war enough.

2. Kraken by China Miévillekraken-by-china-mieville-UK

This is another book that I read for ages – from  mid-January again to mid-August, because every time I read a bit it was the literary equivalent of a hallucination and I needed a moment for it to sink in. Not only was it a wonderfully bizarre premise – when a giant, preserved squid inexplicably disappears from the Museum of Natural History the young scientist who preserved it in the first place is thrust into an alternative, hidden facet of London with countless cults, magic-working cops, and terrifying baddies with unfathomable abilities – but Miéville has such a unique writing style with fantastical word combos and evocative metaphors (check out the Notable Quotables from Kraken to see what I mean). This one may not be for everyone, but if like me you enjoy books that are a little different (or a lot different!) and a good brain-twister then give Kraken a go. You cannot resist the Kraken! 😛

3. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaimananansi boys

This was the first Neil Gaiman title I read last year, in March, and as with every Gaiman book I’d read previously (Good Omens; Coraline; Stardust and American Gods) it instantly became my favourite…until the next one 😛 The thing that stood Anansi Boys apart from the others I’d read was it was so funny in a witty, quirky sort of way that I’ve now come to associate with Gaiman, along with his themes of modern mythology, Gods masquerading as everyday people and family relationships. For people who have never read Gaiman, this would be an excellent starting point.

4. World War Z by Max Brooks

world-war-z-book-coverThis was the other book in my War & Pages challenge but that was not the only reason it was a highlight this year. It was, without question the smartest, most realistic, and most chilling zombie book I have ever read, and creepily true to what would likely happen if we were to face a zombie epidemic. On top of that it was a novel that crossed genres in an unexpected way. Yes, it was a zombie book so lumped in with horror and the like, but there were so many moments where it was more like a war-time drama and the zombies just replaced the traditional foes. Also because it was a series of personal accounts that wove together to get the big picture of each stage of the war, it was quite similar to an anthology, but a clever one where all the stories are connected. I would recommend this even to people who aren’t normally fans of the zombie genre, but if the undead interest you this is a must-read!

5. Neverwhere by Neil Gaimanneverwhere

As my comment above with Anansi Boys would suggest, Neverwhere instantly rose to the top of the Neil Gaiman pyramid in my eyes once I started it, and the next one will have to be pretty fantastic to take its place. This book had so many elements that have made Neil Gaiman break into my list of favourite authors in the last few years – humor, heart, glorious descriptions, an immersive world with so many unexpected and interesting details, and a true modern fairytale sort of storyline – but it also reminded me of one of my other top reads of the year, Kraken, in that it was about a hidden London. I would recommend Neverwhere to pretty much anyone with even the slightest interest in urban fantasy, and in fact I have already put my best friend Sarah onto it (she loved it too so huzzah!) and my brother, who read the graphic novel adaptation since I don’t own the book and will likely read the original when he can.

6. House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

house of many waysI have talked before about how much I enjoyed the first two books in the Howl/Castle series, and this third and final installment was no different, in fact this would have to be my favourite, which I never expected as Howl’s Moving Castle was so wonderful and the first in the series often outshines the rest. Every moment of this book was a delight, and it quickly became like an old friend that I was happy to see every day after work. While I’m sad that there are no more books in the series I am sure I will find other Diana Wynne Jones books just as magical and I also want to add the Howl/Castle series to my collection so I can revisit them over the years 🙂 I would definitely recommend this for older children, young adults and adults who need a bit of magic and laughter in their life.

7. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

shadesofgreyThis fantastic book I read near the end of the year (over about a week in December, just after the start of my holidays) and in fact, I haven’t even talked about it on here yet, except for  a couple of Notable QuotablesShades of Grey is one of those books that has such a fascinating and odd world (one in which colours are a precious commodity and you are categorised by what area of the colour wheel you can see) that you are instantly drawn in by all the little mysteries and the sheer oddity of things which are perfectly commonplace to the characters. I became so caught up while reading it that it was pretty much all I could talk about, and when I wasn’t reading it (which wasn’t often) my mind was turning things over trying to puzzle them out. It was also one of those books that I wanted to just read, but I was enjoying it so much that I started to ration it so it wouldn’t be over so fast. Luckily, when I got to the end with a multitude of questions, old and new, still buzzing around my head, I saw that it was the first in a trilogy. Unluckily, despite it being published in 2010 the sequel isn’t expected until about 2015 as Jasper Fforde has been writing up a storm in multiple other series. So really that’s a bit of a lucky point too, because even though I have a bit of a wait, there is heaps of his work out there that I can turn to, plus he has a fabulous website with a page dedicated to Shades of Grey. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a sort-of dystopian story which is clever and has a lot of humor.

8. The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

the thief of always

Thief of Always was a bit of a backwards step for me, as I have read a fair amount of Barker before, but pretty much all of it was very adult and quite lengthy, while this is a short children’s book complete with illustrations on some pages. Sarah had recommended it to me for years as it was her first trip into the mind of Barker, so when I bought it at an op-shop I put it on my pile, and as fate would have it, it got picked in January of last year. At first it was odd to be reading a Barker book which didn’t instantly disturb me with his unique brand of creepy (mainly gore and violence mixed in with sexual depravity), but despite the PG rating I quickly discovered that this was just as creepy as his other works, just in a different way. This story got to the heart of childhood fear and once I started it was like I was transported back to that time, and imagining myself at the age of the characters if I were in their position. Plus, maybe because it’s a kids book the story was like a twisted fairy tale, which I always love and unlike many Barker novels, it got to have a happy ending. I would recommend this book to kids and young adults as a perfect entrance into the realm of Clive Barker.

9. The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey

the-amber-amulet

It’s probably no surprise that a Craig Silvey book would be on my Top 10 as his two previous novels are at the top of my Top 10 Books of All Time (which may have changed slightly since writing it, but not for the Craig Silvey books :P) but The Amber Amulet was very different. Firstly, it was originally a short story featured in 10 short stories you must read in 2010, a free anthology given out when you bought a book from Get Reading’s “50 Books You Can’t Put Down” campaign. Itthen got turned into a play toured by the Barking Gecko Theatre Company in 2012, then a short film airing at the Sydney Film Festival in 2012 where it won the Crystal Bear for Best Short. It’s 4th incarnation was this lovely little book filled with drawings, clippings and diagrams to make a beautiful hybrid of children’s literature, short adult fiction and graphic novel which pulls at the heart-strings, makes you think and also makes you giggle. I have already passed this on to several people and I would highly recommend it as a starting point to Craig Silvey’s unique storytelling.

10. The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufmanthe-tiny-wife

I read this around the same time as The Amber Amulet (in fact since they’re so short I think I read them both one lazy afternoon) and it made as much of an impact on me, if not more. A fascinating modern fable, The Tiny Wife starts with a bank robbery in which the thief takes one item of sentimental value from each person present rather than a bundle of cash. Following the event all the people he stole from start to experience highly unusual changes to their lives, some positive, some negative and some in a weird place in-between, including a woman who slowly shrinks each day, hence the title. This book left me with an odd mix of emotions as it was partly uplifting, quite horrifying in parts and overall pretty ridiculous but in a surprisingly believable way. I would recommend this to people who loved fairy tales as a kid, but are looking for something a bit more gritty, plus lovers of short but memorable reads.

Well there you have it – the Top 10 Books I Read in 2013 (finally!). The comics/graphic novels list will be up as soon as possible followed by The 2013 Book Polygamist Awards! 😀

I’d love to know the best books you guys read last year too, so share away in the comments, especially if you’ve got a link to your own post, and until next time:

Happy Reading!

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

Hello my gracious, gregarious Bookbaggers!

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

war &  pages challenge badge

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

Catch 22:

catch22

59 pages (4 chapters)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

59 pages

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

Catch 22:

catch22

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

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

53 pages

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

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

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

New Books November challenge badge

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

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

The Living  Dead - New Books November

The Living Dead by Various

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

And for the Comic Companion:

Willow wonderland - New Books November

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

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

For the blue slip replacing Neverwhere she picked:

Shades of Grey - New Books November

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

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

And as the Comic Companion:

Death the high cost of living - New Books November

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

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

Then last night to replace Catch 22 she chose:

Etiquette and espionage - New Books November

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

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

And as the final Comic Companion:

Freak angels - New Books November

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

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

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

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

Newest-On-The-Pile Books:

A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin

a-game-of-thrones

White Cat by Holly Black

white-cat

Books Published in 2013:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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

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

Newest-On-The-Pile Books:

Carnevale by M.R. Lovric

carnevale

Skinlane by Neil Bartlett

skin lane

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

Books Published in 2013:

Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody

metrowinds

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

Newest-On-The-Pile Books:

Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen

flip this zombie

Away with the Fairies by  Kerry Greenwood

away with the fairies

Books Published in 2013:

None.

Graphic Novels (Green Slips)

Newest-On-The-Pile Books:

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

scott pilgrim vol 1

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

Batman Nevermore

Books Published in 2013:

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

rat queens #1

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

buffy tales

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

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

Hyperbole and a half

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

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

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

Until then:

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

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

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

Doctor who David Tennant gif

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges Update # 20 – Week 9 of War & Pages + Other Bits and Bobs

Good morrow my nifty, nimble Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 9th update of  War & Pages + other little updates such as how New Books November is going 🙂

war &  pages challenge badge

I had another weekend of reading since it was hot and I’m a pale, ground-dwelling sort of beast which burns at the sight of a few rays making an inside relaxation the best option. I ended up reading a bit from most of my current reads (even Brisingr!) and easily made my quota with Catch 22:

Catch 22:

catch22

52 pages (6 chapters)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

52 pages

There is only a little over 100 pages left so I will be all done with this challenge either at the end of this week or the next, depending on how riveting it gets in the final chapters 🙂

New Books November challenge badge

 I still haven’t finished any current reads so the picked-for-New-Books-November tally is still at zero. While I am getting close, I don’t think I will finish either Catch 22 or Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman by the 15th, since it’s tomorrow, so it looks like I will be doing my just-in-case-random-picks as prophesied in the official challenge rules. I will be seeing my Official jar Chooser, Sarah, on Friday night so I’ll ask her to pick then or Saturday, and will probably also get her to pick ones to replace Catch 22 and Neverwhere in case I finish them right after (highly likely).

In other New Books November news, I also read three more stories from my New Books November mascot – Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales

buffy tales
The first was set in the Wild West with a Navajo Slayer on the hunt for a particular vampire and it was beautifully illustrated in muted sepia tones; the second was set in Germany during World War II with a young Slayer coming to terms with her understanding of evil and who the real monsters are, and had a uniquely unsettling, childlike art style; and the last was set in modern times (my best guess is ’60s-early ’70s judging by the visual clues and the character involved) and was about a Slayer which featured in the show – Nikki Wood, one of the two Slayers Spike killed (the one who he “inherited” his iconic leather jacket from) and the mother of Principal Robin Wood from season  7.

There is only one tale left of the Slayers half of the collection, which follows Melaka Fray, the Slayer from the far future featured in the Graphic Novel, Fray, which I read earlier this year, which I will probably read on the weekend, and then I’ll be onto the Tales of the Vampires half 🙂

Another little bit of news is that I have acquired another Graphic Novel, this time from my local library. I logged into my account on their catalogue the other day to check when my books were due and thought I’d do a quick search to see what other  Neil Gaiman books they hold (since I’m a tad obsessed now :P). What I found was mainly stuff I’ve already borrowed or bought, but I did stumble across The Books of Magic which Neil Gaiman did with artists John Bolton, Scott Hampton, Charles Vess and Paul Johnson

books of magicI vaguely remember reading one volume of The Books of Magic when I was a kid, around the same time that I read The Sandman volume 3: Dream Country and whilst I don’t remember a thing about it, I do remember that I loved it, so I’m excited to read this collection of volumes 1-4 at some point after New Books November 🙂

Also I have recently joined Pinterest!

Book Polygamist on Pinterest

Not everything is book or reading related obviously but if any of you are interested you can follow one of more of my boards by clicking on the screenshot above or here

I’ve also put a link on my About page and if you don’t have Pinterest you won’t miss out because anything related to books, reading, libraries and the like that I think is especially share-worthy will also be put on the Facebook page

Well, that’s all for now Bookbaggers. Look out for my challenge update next week where I will very probably share my picks for New Books November! But until then:

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.”
Neil Gaiman, American Gods

Quote from Goodreads

Since I obviously have Neil Gaiman on the mind I thought a quote from American Gods, one of my Top 10 Reads of 2012 was only fitting 🙂 As always if you have other lovely book quotes or pop-culture ones which I can fit books into somehow, let me know in the comments, send me an email at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or post on the Facebook page

Challenges Update # 19 – Week 8 of War & Pages + New Books Approacheth!

Greetings my scintillating, scallywag Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 8th update of  War & Pages + news on the state of New Books November one week in 🙂

war &  pages challenge badgeDespite being really lazy with reading Catch 22 during the week I managed to read some Sunday morning and coincidentally ended a chapter at the perfect place to fulfill my quota:

Catch 22:

catch22

50 pages (4 chapters)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

50 pages

How perfect is that?! I’ve also been really slack this week (mainly because Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is getting even better and has usurped all my other reads) but will likely read my 50 or so pages on Sunday again.

New Books November challenge badgeNew Books November has been up and running for almost a week now, and while I haven’t finished any books and replaced them with New Books November contenders, I am very close! As I said above I have been loving Neverwhere and am a few chapters away from finishing, and Catch 22 has 160 pages left, so if I keep on target two weeks after the end of this one I’ll be finished 🙂

I’m not sure if I’ll finish either before the 15th, but if not that just means I get to do a random pick out of all the piles and then when I do finish I can choose more 😀 Doesn’t sound too shabby to me!

This week I also started my New Books November mascot – Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales by Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson,  Becky Cloonan (writers), Tim Sale,Doug Petrie, Leinil Francis Yu, Gene Colan and others (artists)

buffy talesI read the prologue story which was about the first slayer, and then the next three slayer stories: one set in medieval times with a slayer who gets accused of witchcraft; one set during the French Revolution with a slayer who is tricked into killing a mortal man; and one set in an Austen-esque world of balls and manners in which the slayer has to masquerade as an eligible gentlemen.

All the stories were excellent, with different art and lettering fitting the setting, and I enjoyed them all very much 🙂 I will likely read a few more this weekend.

In other news I was naughty and bought more comics last Friday 😛

It started because the first issue of The Sandman: Overture, a 25th Anniversary Sandman origin story, was out which I have been excited about since I first heard word of it, and then once I’m in a comic store I’m bound to find something else I like…and we went to two…

Comic book haul - Quality and Red Griffin

The Sandman: Overture #1 – Chapter One by Neil Gaiman (writer), J.H. Williams III (artist), Dave Stewart (colourist), and Todd Klein (letterer);
Ghostbusters: The New Ghostbusters #1 – Volume 5 by Erik Burnham (writer, artist), Dan Schoening (artist, cover), Andrew Harmon (colourist), and Luis Antonio Delgado (colourist, cover);
Sky Doll: Space Ship #1 by Alessandro Barbucci, Barbara Canepa (writers), Pierre-Mony Chan, and Matteo De Longis (artists);
Zombies Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Jim McCann (writers), David Baldeon (penciller), and Jordi Tarragona (inker)

I got The Sandman: Overture and The New Ghostbusters from Quality Comics and I got Sky Doll and Zombies Christmas Carol (which were 15 and 17 bucks respectively thanks to a Halloween sale!) from Red Griffin Games

Also yesterday I went into the city after work and got a couple more from another local comic place, Comiczone:

Comics ComiczoneThe Witching Hour is by a host of artists and writers since it’s a horror anthology (follow the title link to see the whole gang :)) and Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’ Stardust is by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess surprisingly enough, and is more an illustrated novel than a traditional graphic novel.

All of these will have to wait until New Books November is finished, but I certainly won’t have a lack of graphic novels and comics!

That’s all for now Bookbaggers 🙂 Keep a look out for little bit and bobs and next week’s update, but until then:

Ray, when someone asks you if you want a book, you say “YES”!

😛 Since I bought the New Ghostbusters graphic novel I thought it fitting to adapt a quote from one of my fave movies – Ghostbusters 🙂 As always if you have other book-related quotes or pop-culture ones which I can bookify, share away in the comments, send me an email at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or post on the Facebook page 🙂

Challenge Update # 18 – Week 7 of War & Pages + A Wrap-Up of Old Books October and More

Hello again my magical, mysterious Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the belated 7th update of  War & Pages + a little wrap-up of Old Books October since New Books November has officially begun, and news about a couple of new books I got that won’t be part of New Books November, but are still exciting 🙂

war &  pages challenge badge

Last week (or the week before last now!) was a good week for this challenge! I read Catch 22 a few times over the week and surpassed my quota:

Catch 22:

catch22

70 pages (4 chapters)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

70 pages

I’m pleased I read 20 pages over my target since I didn’t quite make it last week and it’s getting really interesting (in a surreal and funny way) as I near the end 🙂 

Old Books October challenge badge

There’s not much to say about Old Books October at its close but I thought it deserved a proper send-off, so here’s the highlights:

  1. I finished the Soulless manga by Gail Carriger (writer) and REM (artist) the other day and I have to say I enjoyed it immensely! I was impressed with how much they could get in and with the amount of lines that were straight from the book, and I thought the Manga style of illustration fitted really well for the world and characters of this series. I will definitely we getting my hands on the next installments (each based on a book from the series) and it has also given me a hankering for the last book – Timeless I’ll have to borrow it from Sarah and add it to the pile 😛soulless manga
  2. I finally started Brisingr by Christopher Paolini! Or at least I read the synopsis at the start of it which covers main events of the last two books (very handy since I finished Eldest way back in September 2010!). I got the guilts because my brother (who I borrowed it off) was visiting early this week and he saw the unopened book sitting on the arm of the couch (I thought if it was sitting there when I got home it would encourage me to start :P) and then proceeded to tell me how this is the best one of the series and I just had to read it! Now I’m at least caught up on what’s happened I just need to dive in and then I’m sure I’ll get into it 🙂Brisingr
  3. Overall I was pleased with my old book choices – Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett is very funny so far and the perfect book to tuck into my bag for commuter reading;  The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists was the best volume of The Sandman I’ve read so far; Brisingr, while daunting had probably been on the pile longer than any other (except maybe Everville by Clive Barker which neither I nor Sarah cavn remember how long ago she lent it to me) so it was a very fitting choice; the Free Comic Book Day comics were a fun bonus; and Soulless as I said above was excellent! So, all-in-all it was a fun challenge which allowed me to start some books which have been gathering dust for far too long 🙂

In other book-news last weekend I did a bit of a shop as a birthday present to myself (mainly because I had 50 from my nana to buy my own gift and partly because I had a money spare and was still in a birthday mood :P)

Firstly I went to JB Hi-Fi with my workmate, Scott, specifically to buy American Horror Story: Asylum but then since they were doing a 2 stickered TV series’ for 30 dollars promotion I also go Twin Peaks Season 1 and Six Feet Under Season 1 – a right creep-fest all round 😀

Then I was meeting Sarah at Kaleido where she said I could pick out a book as an extra bday present 😀 Not knowing where to start I suggested maybe a China Miéville book since I loved Kraken which she lent to me. She initially wanted to get me The City and the City since that is another Miéville she has read, but alas it was out of stock so instead she picked Un Lun Dun which another friend of mine had recommended.

ChinaMieville-UnLunDunThen just as we were chatting with one of the Kaleido guys and looking at books near the Miéville’s I spotted something very exciting:

the rookThe Rook by Daniel O’Malley

I first saw The Rook months ago in a bookstore when I was too strapped for cash to buy it, but I did remember the intriguing blurb and that the title had the word “rook” in it. Then recently it popped up on Tammy’s Top Ten Unusual Character Names list on Books, Bones & Buffy, one of my favourite book blogs, and I told myself “I have to find this book!”. Since Sarah knew I had been looking for it she made it my present instead of Un Lun Dun which I then bought for myself 🙂 They both went straight on my TBR pile but will have to wait until after New Books November 😛

Well, that’s it for now, but expect an update next week as usual plus some other bits and pieces 🙂
Until then:

Books. People never really stop loving books. Fifty-first century. By now you’ve got holovids, direct-to-brain downloads, fiction mist. But you need the smell. The smell of books, Donna. Deep breath! – See more at: www.planetclaire.org/quotes/doctorwho/series-four/silence-in-the-library/#sthash.AfRu9AbB.dpuf

Since the last sign-off was Giles from Buffy showing his love for books and their smelly-ness I thought it only fitting to make this one The Doctor voicing his opinion on the subject 🙂 The quote is from possibly my favourite episode of Doctor Who – Silence in the Library. As always if you have other bookish quotes or ones which can be transformed into bookish quotes, share them in the comments, drop me a line at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or pop on over to the Facebook page 🙂 

Challenges Update # 17 – Week 6 of War & Pages + Birthday Happenings & a Glut of Book Journals!

Ahoy there my rollicking, rambunctious Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 6th update of  War & Pages + a little news regarding Old Books October and the fast approaching New Books November, a little share of what I did/got for my birthday this week, and some book nerd stuff about book journals/reading diaries/reading logs/whatever you wanna call em 😛

war &  pages challenge badge

This week has only been somewhat successful in the War & Pages department, mainly because I’m down to just Catch 22 now and last weekend was filled with celebrations for my 27th birthday (as the calendar has conspired against me and put the actual date on a unfavourable-for-celebrations Tuesday). Despite this I still came pretty close to my quota:

Catch 22:

catch22

43 pages (3 chapters)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

43 pages

…I’m not sure whether to be pleased that I almost reached my goal, or frustrated because I came so close! I did mean to read one more chapter on the weekend to get over 50, but I was too busy getting spoilt by my wonderful close friends, Sarah, Luke & Ron. I wasn’t gifted any book-related prezzies (while books are obviously one of my main loves, I rarely get gifted them as its hard for loved ones to know what I already have) but they did cover some of my other most favoured things: jewelry, foxes, owls, crystals and teapots, so I was mighty chuffed 😀 We also went to my favourite local restaurant Picco’s Kitchen which none of my friends had been to before (or at least not since it was under former ownership as a gourmet pizza place) and  I had an awesome steak with potato gratin, grilled asparagus and this zesty avocado and tomato salsa 😀 YUM!

On my actual birthday I was feeling a bit under par, with an annoying tickle in the back of my throat and a persistent cough, but when I got into work I was greeted by a lovely surprise – my boss, Yve, had decorated my desk with a couple of birthday banners, balloons, a poster wishing me a happy birthday from the whole team, and this hilarious poster stuck to my computer monitor:

Star Trek birthday posterXD Love it! The birthday spoilage continued with a lovely card (which had Nerdy spelled out with elements – N = Nitrogen; Er = erbium; Dy = dysprosium) and a morning tea of mini sausage rolls and red velvet cupcakes 🙂 That night I went out to another local – Rifo’s Cafe – with my mum and had a huge bowl of chilli mussels with garlic bread, so all-in-all, despite my annoying throat it was a great day 🙂

Then yesterday when I saw my workmate, Scott, at East Perth (I work at the Mt Lawley campus of my college Monday-Wednesday and then at the East Perth campus Thursday-Friday) I got probably the best present of the whole birthday week:

Buffy the vampire slayer TalesBuffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales by Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson,  Becky Cloonan (writers)
Tim Sale,Doug Petrie, Leinil Francis Yu, Gene Colan and others (artists)

The book is a beautiful hardcover with place-keeping ribbon, and is filled with stories from different generations of slayers and vampires all illustrated by different artist’s with unique styles. With every random turn of a page I found a new style of art and from what I saw all the work is stunning! I can’t wait to get into this one and may even let it bypass all my usual processes and challenges 😀 As if this wasn’t enough of an awesome present, Scott also brought in donuts and cronuts for us to have for morning/afternoon tea (the sheer amount and yumminess of the treats allowed for two separate teas) which in my opinion was way better than cake!

Ok, now onto the actual challenge stuff :P:

Old Books October challenge badgeNot much Old Book October activity this week. On my birthday I finished  The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman et al

sandman4

Which was my favourite volume so far! It started with a meeting of all but one of the Endless (Destiny, Delirium, Desire, Despair, Dream and Death) which included a beautiful spread of individual portraits with wonderful descriptions of each character. The rest of the story was also excellent with Dream/Morpheus/The Sandman travelling to Hell to right a wrong only to find it empty and that Lucifer has quit and released all the damned and demons. Lucifer also leaves the key to Hell, and the kingdom it unlocks to The Sandman to do with as he pleases. As Morpheus has no interest in running Hell, he soon finds his Dream realm filled with all manner of Gods, demons, angels and other being vying for the rights to the abandoned kingdom. As always the writing and art were top-notch and I loved how the Sandman team had envisioned some famous beings from Mythology like the Norse Gods Odin, Thor and Loki.

I have also been loving Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (which isn’t technically involved in Old Books October but deserves a mention anyway as its awesome) and the Soulless manga by Gail Carriger (writer) and REM (artist). On the downside, I haven’t read much more of Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, I still haven’t even started Brisingr by Christopher Paolini yet :S but I hope to read them more next week. With less than a week left the likelihood of another Old Books October choice is slim, but I’m happy with what was already chosen 🙂

New Books November challenge badge

New Books November is very close now and in light of all the exciting new comics/graphic novels I have I have decided to tweak the rules a little 😛 Instead of putting new purchases aside until after November I’m going to include all my to-be-read comics/graphic novels, so the two most recent and any published this year will be contenders. This will only be a rules change for the Comic Companions pile and any books I said would have to wait will do so. Also I may make my new Buffy book the official mascot of the challenge or something so I can start reading it straight away 😛

The full rules and list of contenders will be posted on the 1st of November 🙂

In other news, the other day I got a very exciting package – 3 book journals I bought from Abe books recently for about 3-4 dollars each!

Book journals

Now, I can almost hear what you’re thinking even through the noise and chaos of cyber space (OoooEeeeOoooo!) – I know you read a lot Book Polygamist, but why on earth would you need 3 book journals all at once? Well the truth is that I had a bunch of trouble finding a new book journal – all the ones I found on Bookdepository or Amazon were either ones I’ve already tried (and I like to mix it up each time rather than having the same journal over and over), didn’t have features I wanted, or when I found a great new one they didn’t ship to my country! I was getting so frustrated that by the time I tried Abe books and found three suitable ones at a cheap price I just got all of them so I wouldn’t have the same issue next time I ran out of space.

I was ecstatic to have my hand on not 1, but 3 new (well used but in near new condition) journals, but then I was faced with a dilemma – which one should I use first? After weighing up the amount of entries for each book, the fields to fill in for each entry, and other features of the 3, as well as their relative condition (the Reader’s Journal on the left has a name in the front and the one on the right has a few parts filled in which I have to decide whether to white out or keep as a look into the previous owners reading habits – perhaps I’ll get some recommendations :)) I decided I would go with Smart Women Read Between the Lines: A Reader’s Journal

Smart Women Read Between the Lines A Reader's Journal

Besides its lovely retro cover art it is filled with neat features such as tabs along the side for easy access to the different sections, a pocket at the back for storing review clippings and the like, ownership stickers to put in the front of your books, and little tear out bookmarks with art from the different sections on them (only one of which was missing from my used copy!). The journal is broken up into 4 sections: Book Read & Reviewed or Smart Women Never Judge a Book by its Cover, which is where you chronicle the books you’ve read; Novel Ideas or Smart Women Read Between the Lines, where you can jot down quotes and the like; Books to Read or Smart Women Thirst for Knowledge, which is where you put books you want to read; and Lists or Smart Women Make a List and Check it Twice, which has all kinds of lists to fill out such as books lent and borrowed, books to give as gifts, bookclub and supplier info, and favourite books as well as a list of Smart Women A-Z.

It also has 32 pages for noting books you’ve read so that should keep me going for the rest of this year and some of next year, at which point I will have two others waiting for me 🙂

That’s it for now. Keep a lookout for upcoming regular features and the official opening of New Books November next week but until then:

Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a-a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and-and-and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a – it, uh, it has no-no texture, no-no context. It’s-it’s there and then it’s gone. If it’s to last, then-then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should be, um, smelly.

So that one is just a straight up quote by Giles in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode – I, Robot… You, Jane (Season 1, Episode 8) but I thought it was fitting what with my awesome Buffy-themed present plus its one of my favourite Giles moments 🙂 As always, if you think of any pop culture quotes I could adapt into a sign-off, or if you just have some nice bookish quotes for me hit me up in the comments,  at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or over at the Facebook page 🙂

Challenge Update # 16 – Week 5 of War & Pages + Things & Stuff

Salutations my glorious, distinguished Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the fifth update of  War & Pages + a wee bit of news regarding my first Old Books October choices 🙂

war &  pages challenge badge

As I said in my last update, I finished World War Z by Max Brooks last Tuesday, so this challenge has started to get to the pointy end! Plus, since I also read some of Catch 22 on the weekend this week’s total has made up a little for last weeks poor effort:

Catch 22:

catch22

12 pages (1 chapter)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

43 pages – Finished! 😀

Total:

55 pages

As I have finished World War Z (which I absolutely loved and it definitely is one of my top 10 reads of this year) the challenge now falls solely on Catch 22. I will be keeping up the 50 pages a week quota and from a quick look at the number of pages remaining, I can tell that the challenge only has a max of 4 or so weeks to go. Perfect timing for Catch 22‘s replacement to be a contender in New Books November 😀

Now to the Things & Stuff:

comiccompanions-badge

I thought I’d do a little Comic Companions update since I’ve been reading some excellent graphic novels this week, and it hasn’t gotten its own look-in for a while what with the other challenges.

Firstly, last weekend I also read all my Free Comic Book Day comics – Star Wars: Captain Midnight/Avatar: The Last Airbender ; Mouse Guard /Rust flip book ; and Molly Danger/Princeless

free comic books day1

They were of course all very short and besides the front-runners, each one had other short previews of different comics, which was fun. I think of the three my favourite was the Mouseguard/Rust flip book because the art for both the main stories and the other snippets was lovely, and the little stories were just enough to gather interest in the series’ without making zero sense on their own. I also thought Princeless was quite cute and funny, and the Star WarsCaptain Midnight; Avatar: The Last Airbender and Molly Danger stories were all action-packed and colourful.

Then early this week I read the second half of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis #2 – The Story of a Return)

persepolis cover

While it wasn’t quite as confronting as the first half, with the author/main character studying abroad in Austria for most of her teenage years, it still didn’t shy away from tough topics, and introduced new ones that many teenagers face regardless of race and upbringing – exploring a developing identity, the balance between fitting in and being unique, experimentation with drugs and other rebelions, the expectations and confusion of hormones and sexuality etc. I was generally surprised by how much I enjoyed this graphic novel, as I don’t usually like autobiographical, or biographical stories. Yes it was hard to read in parts, but with every account of oppression, every death or every heart-breaking moment, there was an account of triumph, a hilarious story or an uplifting moment. Satrapi’s simple black ink artwork paired with the more complex written work created something which touched me without pushing me away, and in the whole I learnt a lot about Iran’s culture and politics (plus how the outside world perseived the country at that time) and ultimately about a young woman’s struggle to find herself and BE herself in a world trying to stifle her. it really made me think about our preconceived perceptions and asumptions of countries like Iran, and how as a westerner, I have been guilty of seeing a whole nation through the choices of a radical few. I hope that these realisations stay with me and make me take pause if I ever I find myself lumping people together rather than seeing an individual’s actions as their own.

I am glad I finally read Persepolis; cheers Banned Books Week :). It is definitely one of the best graphic novels I’ve read this year and will be featured in one of  my Top 10 Reads of 2013 posts (this year because I’ve read so many graphic novels I thought I’d do a Top 10 purely of graphic novels plus the usual one of books 🙂 )

Besides Persepolis I also started one of my other Comic Companions yesterday –  The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists 

sandman4

which I would’ve continued all the way through if it wasn’t one of my favorite TV nights (Wednesday night has a great line-up on Australia’s non-commercial channel ABC) and I plan to delve into the world of the Endless again tonight, and maybe also start my other Comic CompanionSoulless 

soulless manga

Old Books October challenge badge

There is only a tiny bit of news on the Old Books October front, but I’ll share it anyway 😛

This week I started one of the two books chosen: Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

guards guards

which even 15 pages in is already very funny in Terry Pratchett’s wonderfully weird and witty style (as seen in my most recent Notable Quotable). I haven’t opened Brisingr yet, but I hope to do so this weekend when I have some spare time.

Well, that’s all folks, for the moment anyway 🙂 Keep your eyes peeled for more Stuff and likely more Things as well next week, but until then:

It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, plenty of books, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.

(As The Blues Brothers is probably my favourite movie of all time, and I caught some of it last weekend I thought this tweaking of a famous line was appropriate. I even use to have a sound bite of this quote [minus the books part obviously :P] as my SMS tone for years, but I lost it when changing to my current phone 😦 If any of my clever, nerdy Bookbaggers can think of other pop culture references/quotes I can adapt to be book related, share away in the comments, drop me a line at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or saunter on over to the Facebook page 🙂 )