Quote

Notable Quotable # 116

The evening sun had rolled down and blown out in a bloody wad and the white, full moon had rolled up like an enormous ball of tightly wrapped twine.

  • “Deadman’s Road” by Joe R. Lansdale (opening sentence), The Living Dead by Various, pg. 299

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

Quote

Notable Quotable #105

Zombies pretend to be about how there are worse things than death. It isn’t true. Being one is an in-between state, and the way out is pretty much what you’d expect. Zombies are about how there are worse things than life.

  • “Everything is better with zombies” by Hannah Wolf Bowen, The Living Dead by Various, pg. 234-235A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

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: 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

Collective Nounitude: Zombies

collective-nounitude-banner (1)

Zombies

Zombie Apocalypse by  Joe-Roberts (DeviantART) used with artist's permission. Check out more of his work at joeroberts.co.uk

Zombie Apocalypse by Joe-Roberts (DeviantART) used with artist’s permission. Check out more of Joe’s work on his website: joeroberts.co.uk

Most Common:

A Horde of Zombies

(this wasn’t the most common in my searches, but from my experience “zombie horde” is commonly used in books/movies/TV so is the one most people would use/think of and since this isn’t a very official collective noun and a couple of people in forums also agree with horde, I’m sticking with it :P)

Alternatives:

A Stagger of Zombies

A Moan of Zombies

A Shamble of Zombies

A Thriller of Zombies

A Shuffle of Zombies

An Apocalypse of Zombies

A Plague of Zombies

A Splatter of Zombies

A Shudder of Zombies

A Hunger of Zombies

A Reek of Zombies

A Shaun of Zombies (Ha!)

A Lurch of Zombies

A Fondness of Zombies

A Zeppelin of Zombies
(well, that’s a terrifying thought!)

A Rotting of Zombies

A Copse of Zombies

A Morgue of Zombies

A Scourge of Zombies

A Death of Zombies

A Sizwe Dhlomo of Zombies
(I had to look this guy up to see why this makes sense/is funny. Apparently he’s a radio/TV presenter and businessman in Africa but I have no idea why someone thought his name would be a good collective noun for zombies O.O)

A Graveyard of Zombies

A Scathe of Zombies

A Stumble of Zombies

A Munch of Zombies

A Chuckle of Zombies

A Bloodthirst of Zombies

An Implacable of Zombies

A Scrum of Zombies

A Decomposition of Zombies

A Shawn of Zombies
(someone already beat you to it guy – and with the right spelling :P)

A Simonpegg of Zombies
(lots of Shaun of the Dead love in the world of collective nouns for zombies!)

A Romero of Zombies

A Swoon of Zombies

A Stench of Zombies

A Brains Trust of Zombies

A Fester of Zombies

A Daze of Zombies

A Shaaamo of Zombies
(I also had to look this one up and I still have no idea what it’s meant to mean…)

A Vexation of Zombies
(I love this one because it sounds like what proper Victorian ladies/gentlemen would pick for a collective noun – “Oh my, these undead are rather vexing aren’t they? Not at all seemly and they do ruin ones tea break most awfully” – plus it comes from this fantastic poster of Supernatural Collective Nouns which has so many rippers!)

My suggestions:

Man, there are so many good suggestions I don’t know if I can come up with any more!

Here goes nothing:

A Herd of Zombies

A Nom of Zombies

A Knash of Zombies

A Void of Zombies
(this may be my fave suggestion because it makes me think of creepy empty eyes, with matching empty brains, plus I know if zombies were a reality I would certainly be avoiding them :P)

Zombies RAR by seandunkley used with artist's permission. Check out more of Sean's work on his Tumblr page - http://seandunkley.tumblr.com/

Zombies RAR by seandunkley (DeviantART) used with artist’s permission. Check out more of Sean’s work on his Tumblr page – seandunkley.tumblr.com

 Reason for choice:

Mainly curiosity, but also because I’ve been reading The Living Dead zombie anthology a lot, and watching The Walking Dead on Tuesdays 🙂

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

Sources:

collectivenoun.co.uk

all-sorts.org

Wiktionary

Wondermark
(home of the Supernatural Collective Nouns poster 🙂 )

timkanebooks.com
(stumble of zombies, but also has some other great suggestions for horror creatures)

Quote

Notable Quotable # 90

Some things that you could try with zombies, but which won’t work:
Panic.
Don’t panic. Remain calm.
Call the police.
Take them out to dinner. Get them drunk.
Ask them to come back later.
Ignore them.
Take them home.
Tell them jokes. Play board games with them.
Tell them you love them.
Rescue them.

  • “Some zombie contingency plans” by Kelly Link, The Living Dead by Various, pg. 38the_living_dead

The 2011 Book Polygamist Awards!

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

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

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

I hope you enjoy 🙂

Annual Awards

Shortest Read:

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

Honorable Mentions:

Coraline by Neil Gaiman, at 1 day

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

Longest Read:

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

Honorable Mentions:

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

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

Most Books Read by a Single Author:

 

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

Honorable Mentions:

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

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

Best “New” Author Award:

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

William Gay (Twilight)

Honorable Mentions:

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

Andrew Nicoll (The Good Mayor)

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

Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)

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

Special Awards

The Best End to a Series Award:

Destiny (Trinity trilogy) by Fiona McIntosh

Honorable Mention:

The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials) by Philip Pullman

The Best Start to a Series Award:

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

Honorable Mention:

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

The Longest and Strangest Title Award:

The Travelling Death and Resurrection Show by Ariel Gore

Honorable Mention:

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

The “Graphic Novels are a Legitimate Genre” Award:

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

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

The Short but Sweet Award:

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

Zombie: an Anthology of the Undead by Various

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

The BRAAIINNS! Award:

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

Zombie: an Anthology of the Undead by Various

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

The Revisited Award:

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

Mister God, This is Anna by Fynn

The About Time! Award:

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

Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker

Honorable Mention:

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

The Best Cover Art Award:

The Secrets of the Chess Machine by Robert Löhr

Honorable Mentions:

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

The Good Mayor by Andrew Nicoll

The Misleading Cover Award:

Yearn: Tales of Lust and Longing by Tobsha Learner

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

The “They’ve Still Got It!” Award:

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

Joanne Harris for Blueeyedboy AND Tracy Chevalier for Remarkable Creatures

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

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

Just in time for Halloween and Birthday Bonanza :)

Things have been pretty exciting in my life since my last post, mainly because my birthday was on Saturday and I’ve pretty much been celebrating and getting spoilt by friends and family for the past week. Since this celebrating and spoilitude involved getting some new books (of course) I thought why not share my goodies with you, my loyal Bookbaggers, as well as update you on my recent reading exploits 🙂

Ok, so firstly, on Thursday the 20th, after going out to a lovely birthday dinner with my family (yes, I did say my birthday was Saturday, but my grandparents have a weird thing about only going out to dinner on Thursdays – don’t ask me!) I FINALLY finished Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker, which I have been reading for a really long time. It was a pretty crazy book (I’ll post a review soonish) so it was a bit strange finally getting to the end of it, especially as It was the only book I had been reading for a few days, but it also meant that I could now pick a new book from the scary towering library book pile next to my bed. Now, I was determined to use my usual process to pick a book instead of just picking one of the newer more exciting ones, but the towering pile of certain death consisted of 11 books, when my eeny meeny miny moe…ing only works for 7, so it took a bit longer and was more complicated. However, eventually I did have a winner – Trick or Treat by Kerry Greenwood (the 4th Corinna Chapman book).

Happy Halloween!

Now onto the much more exciting topic of my book haul this birthday 😛 I received a total of 6 books for or around my birthday this year, 1 with money my nana gave me (as well as too very pretty bookmarks), 1 from my friend Sarah, 2 from my mum (as well as new sheets, a pillow and some clothes – score!), and 2 which I had ordered from my bookclub but just happened to arrive near my birthday, which was pretty sweet timing.

The brand-spankin’-new books are (in order of when I got them):

  1. The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss
    An awesome collection of “lost” Dr. Seuss stories that were never published when he was alive. One of the bookclub presents to myself 🙂 Arrived Thursday before my bday.
  2. Zombie Felties by Nicola Tedman & Sarah Skeate
    An adorably gruesome craft book that details how to make 16 cute and creepy zombie pals. This was the awesome present from my friend Sarah, which would’ve been awesome on its lonesome, but my best friends also all chipped in and got me a butt load of craft supplies so I can make the little zombies! Naw, you guys 🙂
  3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
    An intriguing book about a travelling circus, that I bought at one of my fave bookstores – Planet Books – the day after my bday, with nana bday money 🙂
  4. The Secret Language of Flowers by Samantha Gray
    A beautiful little book all about the meanings of flowers from Victorian courtship, to ancient mythology. The second bookclub present-to-me. Arrived yesterday.
  5. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
    Another book about flower meanings (surprise, surprise) but fiction instead of non-fiction. My mum has wanted to buy it for me for a few weeks now, so she got it today as part of my continuing bday present 🙂 awesome.
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    I have wanted to read this classic for such a long time, and when I saw it today at Big W for just 13 bucks, my mum immediately added it to my bday basket of goodies 🙂 Yay!

So, pretty spoilt this year huh? And this is only the book-based prezzies! I also got new bedding/pillow and clothes (which I already mentioned); a gorgeous owl statuette (I collect owls :)); an owl Skelanimal; a Sanity gift-card which I used to get the third season of True Blood and the first season of How I Met Your Mother; the new Gotye album and other awesome bits and pieces.

Now that my birthday week seems to be meandering to an end, expect reviews for the Eddie Dickens Trilogy and Coldheart Canyon as well as the next Top 10 (on the theme of book to screen adaptations) at the end of the month.

Happy reading!

REVIEW: Alice in Zombieland by Lewis Carroll and Nickolas Cook

I’m gonna keep this review short and sweet, because that’s what the book was like….well maybe not sweet.

Alice in Zombieland pretty much explains itself – in essence it is the full text of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (which is why he shares authorship) but altered so that Wonderland is actually Zombieland and is infested by flesh-eating Zombies. The other changes include:

  1. Instead of Alice following a white rabbit down a rabbit hole she follows a black rat down an open grave
  2. Instead of the pool of tears that Alice creates when she is stuck in the room with the tiny door, she bleeds a pool of blood from a head wound she received falling down the grave tunnel
  3. Well known characters like the Cheshire Cat, the March Hare and the Mad Hatter are all dead and in stages of decay
  4. The Red Queen controls a Zombie army through jewelled collars and a mysterious box that she keeps on her person
  5. Alice herself is turning into the undead and has unsettling thoughts of chowing down on everyone she encounters

I was really impressed with how Cook integrated the horror element of zombies into this classic tale, and was a bit unnerved by how well it fit. Cook changes enough to make it a new story but not enough to drastically alter the feel of the original tale, which in my opinion was pretty freaky already! Another nice touch was the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter – they’re the original drawings by Sir John Tenniel artfully changed by comic artist Brent Cardillo into grotesque etchings.

One of the illustrations

This newfound genre of horror/classics mash-ups is huge at the moment what with the highly popular Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith being released in 2009, which was quickly followed by Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters by Ben H. Winters and an avalanche of others since. I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters because I’m not really a Jane Austen fan, but I am intrigued by the concept of these mash-ups and I certainly enjoyed Alice in Zombieland, so much so that I finished it within a week of borrowing it from the library. A fun, gross read but not one to give to your kid because they like the original!

I give Alice in Zombieland by Lewis Carroll and Nickolas Cook:

4 / 5 stars