Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast by Bill Richardson

Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast
Bill Richardson
1993, Wyatt, New York

Virgil and Hector are twin brothers in their mid-50s who run a Bed & Breakfast in a small Canadian village. Their establishment is known as a place where people come to relax and read. This book is written in part by Virgil and Hector and in part by their visitors who write little stories about their lives.

I want to visit this place! It sounds like a perfect retreat - a bibliophiles B&B with laid-back proprietors. The story is humorous and clever, full of witticisms and poignancy. Loved it.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading
Sara Nelson
2003, 2004, Hodder, Sydney

Sara Nelson is a writer living in New York City who decides to read at least one book a week for a year and chronicle her reads in a journal.

I don't know why I thought I wouldn't enjoy this. It's a book about books for goodness sakes! And I loved it! I loved reading about another book obsessed person and her theories on readers. I've come to many of her conclusions myself.

Link to journal at bookcrossing

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Moonwalk by Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
1988, 1989, William Heinemann, London

This autobiography of Michael Jackson focuses on his career, from being the youngest member of Jackson 5, up until the book was released in 1988.

I enjoyed reading this, the language was simple and easy to read. But there were a few important messages in there. In light of recent events, parts of this book were poignant, particularly where Jackson talks about death. If you want an exposé and sensation, this is not the biography for you.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Doctor Who and the Image of the Fendahl by Terrance Dicks

Doctor Who and the Image of the Fendahl
Terrance Dicks
1979, Target, London

The Doctor and Leela are brought to Earth by the TARDIS when she senses a disturbance in Space/Time. There they discover the Fendahl, a creature which lives on death and threatens to devour the planet.

A great Doctor Who story with everything. The Fendahl is an interesting creature and I could just picture the worm coming to eat the characters. At the end of every chapter I got the theme song in my head. :)

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

True Lies by Dewey Gram and Duane Dell'amico

True Lies
Dewey Gram and Duane Dell'amico
1994, Signet, London

Book based on the movie in which Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a special agent who has kept his life as a spy secret from his wife for fifteen years. A terrorist organisation obtains nuclear weapons and threaten to detonate Miami.

This had a lot more detail in it than the movie did, but in fleshing out the story, the wit and dry humour that made the movie great has been lost. Also, I didn't like the characters in the book - Harry was just an ass, but I think that is a reflection on the authors more than anything. The book was teeming with prejudice, it got rather tired rather quickly ... I think this was written by sociopaths with little respect for human life. Plus they obviously hate dogs.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Star Trek: How Much for Just the Planet? by John M. Ford

Star Trek: How Much for Just the Planet?
John M. Ford
1987, Titan Books, London

A Starfleet survey vessel finds a planet with an abundance of dilithium. But the Klingons also want the dilithium and the Federation must compete with the Klingons to gain trading rights with the planet's inhabitants. The planet's rather eccentric inhabitants.

Crazy, crazy story. This was simply an insane book - brilliant but insane. I loved it.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Nugi Garimara

Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence
Nugi Garimara
1996, 2002, UQP, St Lucia

The true story of three aboriginal girls removed from their families in the 1930s and taken to a native settlement where they were to be taught the European ways. They run away from the settlement and trek 1600 kilometres home following the rabbit-proof fence which runs from south to north in Western Australia.

This is an incredible story - these girls trekked further and in harsher conditions than many of our heroic European explorers. It is beautifully told too, the author is very talented.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Dragon of Mith by Kate Walker

The Dragon of Mith
Kate Walker
1989, Allen and Unwin, Sydney

One morning the residents of the village of Mith discover a great dragon in the middle of their town! Only Krissy, an eleven year old turkey-herder, is brave enough to confront the dragon.

A funny, cute book. I liked how it had little lessons in it that weren't too obvious - like not jumping to conclusions and not letting others rule your life. This edition had quite a few spelling errors which is not too good for a children's book.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Balyet by Patricia Wrightson

Patricia Wrightson
1989, 1990, Red Fox, London

Jo is a fourteen year old girl who goes camping with her neighbour Mrs Willet - an old aboriginal woman. While in the bush, Jo is called by the spirit of a girl who has lived in the mountains for a thousand years.

What a scary story! This kept me up all night. Balyet is an interesting character, and her story really resonated with me. It reminded me of Picnic at Hanging Rock ... the same supernatural beckoning of the bush that takes people.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Ace Ventura Pet Detective by Marc Cerasini

Ace Ventura Pet Detective
Marc Cerasini
1995, Random House, New York

Book based on the movie in which Jim Carrey plays Ace Ventura a pet detective who is hired to investigate the disappearance of Miami Dolphins missing mascot Snowflake.

Very cool. Just like the movie - it's a silly story but very entertaining.

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Fifteen Plus and Sunburnt by Vince Jones

Fifteen Plus and Sunburnt
Vince Jones
1993, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne

David is fifteen when he gets the news he has melanoma, the same disease which has affected his best friend Gary. While in hospital, he finds a statue of a horse and makes a pact to get through this part of his life and to change things in the future.

This is a coming of age novel told from the perspective of a boy who has a rough time getting there. While I wasn't entirely convinced with the 'voice' of the novel, I felt that the experiences and feelings of the characters rang true.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Seth and the Strangers by Jenny Nimmo

Seth and the Strangers
Jenny Nimmo
1997, Mammoth, London

Seth and his foster sister Anne-Marie watch a swirling mass of lights come down out of a mysterious dark cloud over the moor. Seth then feels a presence in his house.

A beautiful little book - I was sad at the end. I thought the characters were very well written, and the issues dealt with in a delicate but upfront manner.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Priceless Volume 1 by Lee Young-You

Priceless: Volume 1
Lee Young-You
2002, 2006, Tokyopop, Los Angeles

Lang-bee has to work three jobs in order to pay off the debt her con-artist mother left her with. She gets her eyes on Dan-Won, the richest boy in school, with hopes that he will lift her from her poverty.

This is a cute little manga in an American style (ie - reads from front-to-back). I like the panels where everyone is a soft toy (one of Lang-Bee's jobs is making soft toys). It's very much for the teen market - it's so angsty!

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Star Trek: Dark Passions: Book Two by Susan Wright

Star Trek: Dark Passions: Book Two
Susan Wright
2001, Pocket Books, New York

Set in the mirror universe where Terrans are slaves to the Klingon-Bajoran-Cardassian alliance, this story centres around all the female characters from the modern Trek incarnations. Kira Nerys is overseer of the alliance, and Seven tries to depose her using the help of B'Elana, Janeway and Worf.

Holy mixed metaphors Batman - this book is full of them! It sure could have done with a final edit. I'm not sure if I really enjoyed this story or not - it's nice to read from the mirror universe, but the characters seemed a little underdeveloped to me. That said, Kira Nerys is fantastic in this story. And I liked the inclusion of Iconian technology.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe

The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Edgar Allan Poe
1841, 1995, Penguin, London

A woman and her daughter are found murdered in a house in Paris. The daughter throttled and jammed up a chimney, the mother's throat slashed. As Paris reels from these horrific murders, an amateur detective and his friend go through the evidence to solve the crime.

A great little murder mystery from Edgar Allan Poe. I like reading these old mysteries, they give a feel for the time in which they were written. This story is quite clever and the solution unpredictable.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Home Truths by David Lodge

Home Truths
David Lodge
1999, 2000, Penguin, London

Novella treatment of a screen-play written by David Lodge and set in 1997. Retired author Adrian Ludlow is convinced by his old friend screen-writer Sam Sharp to get back at a reporter who wrote a negative article about Sharp.

I knew the ending was coming from nearly the beginning of the story, and it made me not want to read it. I got very upset on page 5 when I saw what was coming, but I did continue on. This was very well written, I can see it as a play. It has a great depth of character, and the exploration of the themes of media and celebrity was brilliantly conceived. And knowing what was coming in the end just heightened this.

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The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

The Daughter of Time
Josephine Tey
1951, 1995, Scribner, New York

While recovering in hospital, Scotland Yard Inspector Grant begins to research the story of Richard III, popularly believed to have murdered his nephews. But upon looking deeper into the history of the time, cracks in this otherwise established fact begin to appear.

What a brilliant little book! I didn't know anything about this story, and I find British royal history confusing at the best of times, but this was written so well. And we never left that hospital room ... I thought that was a clever literary device. Purely academic detective work.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

The Tiger Rising
Kate DiCamillo
2001, Scholastic, Cambridge

Rob lives in a motel in Florida with his father after his mother died from cancer. One day he finds a tiger locked in a cage just behind the motel, and also meets a new girl on the school bus. They become friends and decide to let the tiger go free.

This is a lovely little story, if a bit sappy. I liked how the characters had to work through their problems, and that it showed that it's ok to change. The imagery of the little green bird flying free at the end was beautiful.

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City in Love: The New York Metamorphoses by Alex Shakar

City in Love: The New York Metamorphoses
Alex Shakar
1996, 2002, Perennial, New York

Book of short stories set in the city of New York. Included stories are The Sky Inside; A Million Year from Now; Waxman's Sun; Maximum Carnage; On Morpheus, Relating to Orpheus ...; A Change of Heart; City in Love.

This is a whimsical collection of stories, showcasing a vast imagination and true understanding of the human beast. The characters were very real, and I found myself not wanting to leave them. Waxman's Sun was especially poignant.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Body Double by Tess Gerritsen

Body Double
Tess Gerritsen
2004, Random House, Sydney

When Boston ME Dr. Maura Isles returns home from a holiday in France, she is faced with a murder which occurred right outside her front door. And the victim is her exact double.

Another great thriller from Gerritsen. What it lacks in believability, it makes up for in sheer pace, twists and gruesomeness.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Animals in Translation: The Woman who Thinks like a Cow by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson

Animals in Translation: The Woman who Thinks like a Cow
Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
2005, 2006, Bloomsbury, London

Temple Grandin is an autistic woman who works with the meat-packing industry to ensure animal welfare standards. This book talks about her research into animals of all kinds, and her findings and ideas on how they think, feel and act, and how that relates to humans both with and without autism.

This is a very special book. It contains oodles of information, mostly of an academic nature, about animals and their behaviours. It is written as though Grandin is standing up giving a lecture, which means it tends to be a bit repetitive. However, it is easy to understand, and the content is interesting enough to keep the reader hooked.

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