Weekly Geeks #15

This weeks Weekly Geeks is a bit of a 'Guess the Book' game so I thought I'd have a bit of fun with it. I've taken close-up pictures of five random books (it was fun! despite looking like a dork) and will send a prize to the first person to guess all five correctly. I'll check back next Sunday and if no one gets all ten, I'll send a prize to the person who gets the most.

Have fun!!





Edited to Add: Okay, here's the answers.

1. The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde

2. People of the Book - Geraldine Brooks

3. Prince Caspian - C.S. Lewis

4. Dinotopia - James Gurney

5. Hitler's Daughter - Jackie French

I'll be contacting the winner today!

So depressing...

There is nothing I love better than a good list*. Seriously, want me to do something that I hate, stick it on a list and your chances increase tenfold (how else do you think I get any housework done at all?). So, as you may imagine, books full of lists - and, even moreso, books of book lists are a huge winner with me.

I'm working my way slowly through the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (as well as the movie edition), BBC's The Big Read: Book of Books, and Voyages of Imagination: the Star Trek Fiction Companion ... oh, and a whole pile of the annual top-lists that I pick up from teh local bookstores. What can I say? I've come to terms with my obsession.

All this is my way of justifying the fact that I once again broke my self-imposed book buying ban (who am I kidding, really?) by buying yet another list/companion book: The Literature Lover's Companion.

Covering a huge range of authors, from Homer to Stephen King, each entry gives a brief bio of the author and a list of their major works. Douglas Adams, for example:

But of course, the fun in having a list (or book of lists) is in the crossing off. So - after a great deal of working myself up to it - I grabbed a hilighter and went at it.

Despite being a pretty speedy reader, I know that I'm the most well-read person in the world; I'm not even the most well-read person I know but even so, I had been maintaining the somewhat naive self-delusion that I had read reasonably widely ... I have since learnt that the quickest way to dispel this belief is to sit down with a book like this. There is a depressingly little amount of blue highlighting in this book.

Oh well.

*Every one of my friends just rolled their eyes and died from the complete understatement of that sentence.

BTT: Stories

Am I allowed to say yes AND no? Ideally I'd like a book to be both an interesting story and well written.
I love a good story, no matter what form it comes in. And being one who loves to hear made-up stories off the top of the head, I tend to forgive a lot in the way of technique if I'm enjoying the story. At the end of the day I read for pleasure, to be entertained and it's the story itself that provides that.
Having said that, however, the story actually needs to be readable. I prefer character based stories over ones that are action-propelled. And, being an English-major, I get a great deal of enjoyment out of the "deep literary meaning hidden beneath layers of metaphor". Despite my sister's constant annoyance, I enjoy the analysis, and think it only improves on the story.
I guess that really is just a round about way of saying that I want it all. Yes, I love a good story, but a good story with a bit of depth is even better.
How I Live Now
Meg Rosoff
186 pages, published 2004
Dad was one of those Never Mention Her Name Again type of fathers which if you ask me was extremely unpsychologially correct of him. [...]

I sometimes wished someone would just fill me in on the simple boring things like did she have big feet or wear make-up and what was her favourite song and did she like dogs or have a nice voice and what books did she read etc. I made up my mind to ask Aunt Penn some of these questions when she came back from Oslo but I guess what you really want to know are the things you can't ask like Did she have eyes like yours and When you pushed my hair back was that what it feels like to have your mother do it and Did her hands look serious and quiet like yours and Did she ever have a chance to look at me with a complicated expression like the one on your face, and by the way Was she scared to die. (p20)

How I Live Now
was certainly a unexpected novel, with a very unique voice. I didn't really know what it was about when I started reading it (assigned reading, again) and I was very suprised by what I found.
Daisy (much to "plain" to be 'Elizabeth') is fifteen and suffering from both an eating disorder (somewhat glossed over) and a new stepmother. "Shipped off" to London to live with her Aunt Penn and her four odd cousins she is actually quite pleased to be away from the noise of the city and her evil stepmother, even if it does mean giving him her cell phone reception. Daisy settles in quite easily with her cousins and, when her Aunt is called to give a peace talk, the kids take to enjoying their parent-free life.
Their fun parent-free weekend, however, turns indefinate when her Aunt is unable to return home, blockades obstructing her way home. It seems that the war (completely undefined) has finally broken out. Still, as the war has yet to truly touh their lives, the kids find enjoyment in the preparation and hustle of the town war efforts.

But when their house is taken as a base of operations and the children are separated this all changes. They are torn apart and want nothing more to be together and help protect each other, but can Daisy and her youngest cousin, Piper, make their way back to the others and survive the war at the same time?

Staying alive was what we did to pass the time. (149)

I really enjoyed How I Live Now. It was unusual to read a war-time book where the war is almost entirely skimmed over - all the side effects, but none of the causes. Rosoff's characters were fascinating, almost fantastical, and added an almost indescribable element to the book - it's definately not fantasy, but it's not a straight realist novel either. I did have some issues with the book though - namely that the romantic interest (a fully-fledged sexual affair, at that) was between Daisy and her fourteen year old cousin Edmond. Aside from a small acknowledgement that this was an odd or unusual relationship it was completely accepted - even by the others as they learn of it. 3/5

Weekly Geeks #14 Book Tour

The Weekly Geeks this week asked us to post some bookish pictures (yay!) and to take each other on a sort of bookish tour. There were several options, but I decided to go on a tour of the shelves/piles throughout my house. Please excuse the mess, I considered cleaning up, but then realised that it wouldn't be giving a realisitic representation of my book's habitat ... plus I was too lazy :)
My mother has urged me to stick to my book buying ban as she has forbidden me to buy another bookshelf until I leave home (in all fairness, we don't really have anywhere to put one) but I maintain that there's always room for some more books ... then I went through the house to find all my piles ... maybe she has a point - don't tell her that though!

This is my general book shelf - series on top, reference on bottom, alphabetical in the middle. I have a couple in there that have managed to sidestep my tbr pile so I'm very much looking forward to my holidays (which is nowhere near soon) so that I can weed through it and fix it up a bit.

And of course, I'm such a nerd that my Star Trek books have a book shelf all of their own. Because I only (okay, mostly) buy my Trek books second hand - and usually in bulk (my last batch was 80 for $20!) I always have way more than I can read. Still, it's nice comfortable reading and there's always something new and on hand whenever the mood strikes.

It's when I get to my actual 'tbr pile' that things get a little, well, difficult. My whole bedroom is my tbr pile, actually. Once books get there they get moved from one pile to the next before eventually retiring back to the shelve or being returned to the library.

I have a huge weakness for the sale spindle outside the library - who can pass up 20c books? It's impossible for me to NOT stop to look, I even save up my change in the car especially for the library ... until someone asks what on earth I need all those 20c pieces for, then it's my 'drink o the way home' money. So this is my library bargain tbr pile.

Seeing as my first choice for a reading space is on my bed, the spaces around my bed are often stacked high with books. On top of my tv is where I usually keep my library books - one pile for the public library and one pile for the uni library. Today however, I just the one, and the books for book club that I haven't gotten to yet (if you guys are reading, don't worry, I will get to them, I'm just running a little behind this week - the flu really threw me off).

This is my homework reading pile - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for my prac, Finding Cassie Crazy for my English method class, and all the rest for the essay I'm supposed to be doing right now instead of writing this... this is more fun though.

And last but not least, my book nook above/by my bed. I bought this bed because it had a shelf build in over the head and I wanted to put in tbr pile there nice and handy. Turns out I don't actually put them there - put it's nice and handy for my dictionary's and coffee and such. On top I have a nice little spot for my 'to be reviewed' books. Chosen specifically because if the pile gets too big it's blocks the tv, reminding me to do some work.

Thats about it, hope you enjoyed the tour!

Deadly, Unna?
Phillip Gwynne
273 pages, published 1998

From the Back Cover:
Dumby Red and Blacky don't have a lot in common.

Dumby's the star of the footy team. Blacky's a gutless wonder.

Dumby's got the knack with girls. Blacky never knows what to say.

Dumby's got a killer smile. Blacky needs braces.

Dumby's from the Point. Blacky's from the Port.

Dumby's a Nunga. Blacky's white.

But they're friends.

And it could be deadly, Unna?

I'm finally getting to the bottom of my class reading list and so was quite eager to move this one into the 'done' pile. I can't say that I particularly liked Deadly, Unna? however there was certainly a lot in it that could be used in a classroom and, seeing as that was the point of reading it in the first place, I suppose it was all well in the end.

Blacky's voice was quite strong as he dealt with the issues of racial difference in his town as well as the difficulties faced by his own large family. There were certainly some interesting parts - the relationship between Blacky and Clarence, the incfluence of the town's politics on something as seemingly small as a local boys football team - but on the whole it wasn't really a book that I could re-read. 3/5

BTT: Libraries

Whether you usually read off of your own book pile or from the library shelves NOW, chances are you started off with trips to the library. So …

What is your earliest memory of a library? Who took you?
Do you have you any funny/odd memories of the library?

The earliest memory I have of being in a library is actually pretty clear, though I know for sure that it wasn't the first time I was in one.
It was the school library (a double demountable building with green, industrial school carpeting) and I was in kindergarten. We were sitting on the floor off to the side of the library (the shelves were behind us) and the librarian was reading us a picture book. The book was about a young girl named Rebecca who found a dinosaur egg inside a fallen hollow tree in her yard (or maybe a farm - if anyone can remind me what book this is, by the way, I'd really love it). I remember the librarian looking up over the top of the book at me and saying that I could borrow that book this week because my name was Rebecca too. I'm not quite sure when this was - it was very eary on, but clearly long enough into the year for the librarian to know me well enough to know what a kick I would get out of that.
I didnt start going to the public library until I was older - about nine or ten - and even then we didn't go very often. Being the only reader in the house meant that it was easier to use the school library (plus friendly librarians who bought me in books from home - yes, I was very lucky in my librarians) than to arrange constant back and forths to the library. It is only in the last few years (since I left school) that I have rediscovered the public library. I do, however, remember that my mother had a small, shiny fleuro green clipboard with a list of all the Babysitter Club books and their numbers in it. I would cross them off as I borrowed them ... I try to blame my mother for my booklist/list in general obsession but she wouldn't go for it.
As for funny library stories, I can't really think of any. I'm sure there are some but nothing is coming to mind.
Finding Cassie Crazy
Jaclyn Moriarty
383 pages, published 2003

Dear Brooker Kid [...]

My name is Cassie.

[...] I'll tell you something else that I find funny and that is this: counselling. I went to see a counsellor with my mother last night. You might think that's kind of a private thing to reveal in a letter to someone like you, who I've never even met, but you must be forgetting what counselling it. It's where you TELL A STRANGER ALL ABOUT YOURSELF. So telling you that I've been to see a counsellor is nothing. You're not a stranger. You're a Brooker Kid. (p. 25-6)
Dear Cassie
Eat shit and die, private school slag.
Yours faithfully
Matthew Dunlop (p.32)

Emily, Lydia and Cassie are best friends and students at the prestigous private school, Ashbury High. When they learn that their English teacher, Mr. Botherit, is instituting a mandatory year 10 penpal program with the neighbouring school, Brookfield High (a school you "can't get in ... unless you have a criminal record", 17), they are less than pleased. They have more important things to worry about than writing to the criminal Brooker kids, things like skipping school to go to the movies, working on becoming a famous novellist and helping Cassie cope with her father's recent death.
Mandatory does, however, mean mandatory and the girls are issued their penpals: Charlie, Seb and Matthew. Despite initial first impressions (ranging from bemusement to downright loathing) the pairs manage to find something to talk about: Emily teaches Charlie how to date a girl (in order to steal away the beautiful Christina); Lydia and Seb engage in a a round of one-up-manship through their "secret assignments"; and Cassie and Matthew find someone with which to talk over their heartache.
The problem with letter writing, however, is that you can never be entirely too sure who it is you're talking to, and when the penpals decide to meet up, they are met with mixed results. The Matthew of her letters is not exactly the young man Cassie meets. In fact, there is no 'Matthew Dunlop' enrolled in Brookfield High at all. Who is he? And what does he want? Is the hatred between the two schools that hard to overcome, and will Cassie manage to hold herself together?
Told entirely through letters, emails, and announcements, Finding Cassie Crazy is a quick and engaging read. Each of the characters have a strong personality that comes through in their letters and I laughed and cried along with them. 4/5

BTT: Gold Medal Reading

You, um, may have noticed that the Olympics are going on right now, so that’s the genesis of this week’s question, in two parts:
  • Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
  • Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?
And, Second:
  • Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
    Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story.
I'm going to answer the second question first: 'Do [I] consider myself a sports fan?' ... No. Most definately not. In fact, take no, dial it back a couple hundred degrees and that would probably be getting closer to how much of a sport fan I'm not. I have no interest in playing sport, no interest in watching sport, and no interest in talking about sport. The Olympics being on doesn't bother me because a) I don't watch a lot of tv anyways; and b) because as much as I hate sport, I do believe that out there somewhere (at least so I've heard) there are people who actually enjoy it, so they've got to get there fun somewhere.
That would seem to answer whether or not I've read any fiction OR non-fiction Olympic books shouldn't it.
Strangely enough, however, I have read some sports related books - mostly YA fiction (most recent being Keeper by Mal Peet) - and I can't pass up a good baseball movie (Field of Dreams, A League of their Own, etc) ... not quite sure why that is as I have no desire whatsoever to watch *actual* baseball, but oh well, I'm just weird.

Protect the Diamonds...

The Messenger
Markus Zusak
386 pages, published 2002

Protect the diamonds, surive the diamonds, dig deep through spades, feel the hearts... (tag line)

My full name's Ed Kennedy. I'm nineteen. I'm an under-age cab driver. I'm typical of many of the young men you see in this suburban outpost of a city - not a whole lot of prospects or possibility. That aside, I read more books than I should, and I'm decidely crap at sex and doing my taxes. Nice to meet you. (p. 6)

And so you are introduced to our narrator, Ed Kennedy who, as he points out, is the 'epitome of ordinary'. He lives in a poor town, the only one of four kids not to have moved to the city. He rents a fibro shack where he lives with his indescribably stinky dog, Doorman, with whom he has an almost psychic connection. His life consists of little more than work, his weekly card games and his 'nervous' unrequited love for his best friend, Audrey. What's more, he is quite aware that his life so far has amounted to nothing.
Until the day he inadvertantly stops a bank robber. Labelled a hero, he even gets his face in the paper ... and an unusual card in the mail: a playing card.

The ace of diamonds arrives with three addresses and little else. Deciding to see what this is all about, Ed investigates the addresses and the people who live there: an old woman, lonely and senile; a young girl, running barefoot every morning; and a husband who comes home drunk every night, forcing himself on his already broken wife to the cries of their small daughter ...

What is this? Why is Ed being targeted? And what is a no-hoper like him supposed to do about it? He can't just do nothing...

I really loved The Messenger. I picked it up because I had thoroughly enjoyed The Book Theif and, though I had little idea as to what Messenger was about, I had expected more of the same; I was wrong. While it still had Zusak's rich and unusual discriptions, it was also so much more humourous than I thought it would be.

"I said shut up back there!" the gunman shouts again.
"HURRY UP THEN!" Marv roars back at him. He's in no mood now. No mood at all.
He's face dowb on the floor of the bank.
The bank's being robbed.
It's abnormally hot for spring.
The air conditioning's broken down.
His car's just been insulted.
Old Marv's at the end of his tether, or his wit's end. Whatever you want to call it - he's got the shits something terrible. (p. 4/5)

You really feel for Ed; he's exactly what he's supposed to be (painfully ordinary) but at the end of the day he really has a good heart. I'd highly recommend it, a wonderful read. 4/5

He shoots! But he will not score...

Mal Peet
231 pages, published 2003

We won the games three goals to nothing [...] I did not disgrace Estevan's shirt. My father lost ten dollars, and joined in the applause as I walked off the pitch. But my father's pride was no longer enough. I needed the respect of someone much harder to please. Someone who wanted something from me; someone who was waiting. Waiting with the kind of patience that only the dead have, because they have so much time. (p. 117-118)

The man who would grow up to be 'El Gato', the world's best goalkeeper, grew up in a small logging village in the middle of the South American jungle. Like all the boys in his village he played in the afternoon soccor games ... unlike the others however, he was no good. He was tall, and skinny, "the stork".

Expelled from the town games, Gato escaped into the wilds of the jungle, a place with even more stories than dangers. His mother fears for his safety, as does his grandmother, but it is his uncle who understands him best and tells him of the true inhabitants of the jungle: the spirits who are trapped, unable to move on until they find the one thing needed to validify their souls.

It is in the jungle, and with the help of one of these 'lost souls' that the stork become El Gato, "the cat". The Keeper teaches him, training him brutally every day to become the world's best goalkeeper ... and the one thing he and the others need to move on. 3/5
Cold Skin
Steven Herrick
264 pages, published 2007
They named me Eddie
after Mum's father
who died before I was born.
'A quiet, stubborn bastard,'
says my dad.
I'm not sure if he's talking about
Grandad or me.

Eddie, eighteen, hulking and trapped in school, lives in the backwater town of Burrugo. Nothing ever happens there, ever; the most you can hope for is a chance to get a job working in the local coal mine - and even that, his father won't allow. Life in the small town is thrown upside down, however, when Colleen, a local teen beauty, is found dead by the river. Suddenly every one - everyone - is a suspect.

Problem is, despite the size of the town, no one really seems to know their neighbours terribly well, or, in same cases, they know them a little too well. Every suspect is clouded by years of prejudice and ill-opinion. Is Mr. Butcher, the slimy high-school teacher, the perpetrator? Perhaps Les Johnston, the handsome young miner? The suck-up Mayor? Albert Holding, the local war-time 'coward'? Or maybe his son, Larry, known to have a crush on Colleen?

Told entirely in first person verse, each 'poem' continues the story and adds yet another perspective to the mix. Certainly an interesting read. 3/5

Olympic Challenge

1) You are to read as many books possible written by authors from your own country during the period the Olympics are on. The genre and length of the books will be up to you.
2) Each time you finish a book, post your name, country, blog address, book title and author as a comment on the bottom of this post. That will earn yourself and your country a silver medal. If you do all the above plus post a link to your review of the book you earn yourself and your country a gold medal.
3) A running country medal tally will be kept down the right hand side of this blog as well as the individual currently topping the leader board.
4) To win the Amazon Gift Voucher, you must be a gold medal winner (ie you must have submitted a review).
5) I don't mind if you've read the books before or were half-way through when the challenge started either.

Let's face it, this is about the extent of my Olympic supporting skills.

Go, Aussie, Go!!

Nothing more dispiriting than looking up the track

Break of Day

Tony Palmer
205 pages, published 2007

"Admire who?" I said. "Who do you have to admire?"
Sid looked down at the freshly filled grave and let his outstretched hand fall to his side.
"The Japs," he said. "They never give up." He looked up at me. "And they never run away."
I held his gaze for a moment. Did he know who I was? I knew how different I must have looked - unshaven and so much thinner than when we'd last seen each other. [...]
"You know what, mate?" he said. "You could learn a lesson from this bloke you just buried."
I hated him. I hated Sid Archer more than I ever had. Half a world away from Hammersley and here he was, still making my life a misery.
"You see," he said, "a coward's better off dead than alive."
A sudden chill descended upon me. Sid Archer knew who I was. (111-112)
The problem with assigned reading is that you're never guaranteed a book that you're going to like. When I picked this book up out of my pile and started reading I was sure I was going to hate it. The first chapter introduced me to the main character, Murray, a young man fighting on the Kokoda Trail ... and having already read several war based books over the past fortnight, this one with its soldier's language and abrupt start ("Bugger it, Murray!...") didn't exactly grab me right away. And so back into the pile it went.
That was a mistake.
Having forgotten all about it, I picked it back up the day of my class, thinking I'd give it a quick read and found myself ploughing through it, reading the whole thing in about two hours.

What appears at first as a somewhat singular war story, is much more the story of a boy's - a young man's - experiences of growing up: his dealings with the town bully, his brother's budding romance with the girl next door, and, most importantly, his ever ongoing search for the truth. All of which come to a defining culmination as all the boys involved reunite on the trail. 3/5

42 Challenge

Your mission--if you choose to accept it--is to read, watch, listen, and review 42 sci-fi related items. (Items isn't the best word, but how else would you define all that this challenge could involve). What's acceptable? Practically everything: short stories, poetry (???), novellas, novels, episodes of TV shows, episodes of radio shows, movies, comic books, graphic novels, audio books, essays or articles about science fiction or science fiction writers, biographies of science fiction authors. This isn't quite as intimidating as it sounds. This is much more than a reading challenge. It would be intimidating (in all likelihood) to try to read that many books. But when you make each short story, each TV show episode count as individual items, then it is much more manageable I hope! (This challenge could be as easy as watching Season 1 and Season 2 of Stargate SG-1, for example.)

Since this is the first year that I've been participating with online reading challenges, I was pretty happy to stick with the couple that I had selected and see how I went ... then I saw this one and there was no way I could resist.

I love science fiction, but a lot of my sci-fi obsession comes in the form of television series (Star Trek, Stargate, Babylon 5 etc) so, though I am sure their fair share will creep in onto my list, I am intending to use this challenge to:

a) read some classic sci-fi
b) watch some of those sci-fi movies people always mention that I have never actually seen
c) find myself a nice new television series to obsess over ... like I really need a new one :)
*NOTE: I am running behind in my reviews, but will link to them as I write them.
1. The X-Files. Created by Chris Carter. (1993 - 2002)
  • Season One. (1993)
  • Season Two. (1994)
  • Season Three. (1995)
  • Season Four. (1996)
  • Season Five. (1997)
  • Season Six (1998)
  • Season Seven (1999)
  • Season Eight (2000)
  • Season Nine (2001)
2. Firefly. Complete Series. (2002)
3. Serenity. Written and directed by Josh Whedon. (2005)
4. The Mist - Stephen King. (1980)
5. Titan A.E. Directed by Don Bluth. (2000)
6. Stargate: Atlantis. Created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper. (2004-2008)
  • Season One. (2004)
  • Season Two. (2005)
  • Season Three. (2006)
9. Star Trek: Generations. Directed by David Carson. (1994)
10. Star Trek: First Contact. Directed by Jonathan Frakes. (1996)
11. Star Trek: Insurrection. Directed by Jonathan Frakes. (1998)
12. Star Trek: Nemesis. Directed by Stuart Baird. (2002)
13. Stargate: the Movie. Directed by Roland Emmerich. (1994)
14. Stargate: SG:1. Created by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner. (1997-2007)
  • Season One. (1997)
  • Season Two. (1998)
  • Season Three. (1999)
  • Season Four. (2000)
  • Season Five. (2001)
  • Season Six. (2002)
  • Season Seven. (2003)
  • Season Eight. (2004)
  • Season Nine. (2005)
  • Season Ten. (2006)
15. Changing Planes - Ursula Le Guin (2004)
16. Wall-E. Directed by Andrew Stanton. (2008)
17. Stargate: The Ark of Truth. Directed by Robert C. Cooper. (2008)
18. Stargate: Continuum. Directed by Martin Wood. (2008)
19. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. (1987-1994)
  • Season One. (1987)
  • Season Two. (1988)
  • Season Three. (1989)
  • Season Four. (1990)
  • Season Five (1991)
  • Season Six (1992)
  • Season Seven (1993)
20. Star Trek in Myth and Legend - Thomas Richards (1997)
23. Cleopatra 2525. Created by R.J. Stewart (2000 - 2001)
  • Season 1 (2000)
24. Aeon Flux. Directed by Karyn Kusama. (2005)
25. Innerspace. Directed by Joe Dante. (1987)
26. Andromeda. Created by Gene Roddenberry and Robert Hewitt Wolfe. (2000 - 2005)
  • Season 1 (2000)
  • Season 2 (2001)
27. A House of Cards (Star Trek: New Frontier, Book 1) - Peter David (1997)
29. Babylon 5. Created by J. Michael Straczynski. (1993 - 1998)
  • Season 1 (1993)
  • Season 2 (1994)
  • Season 3 (1995)
  • Season 4 (1996)
  • Season 5 (1997)
30. Star Trek: Voyager. Created by Rick Berman, Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor (1995 - 2001)
  • Season 1 (1995)
  • Season 2 (1996)
  • Season 3 (1997)
  • Season 4 (1998)
  • Season 5 (1999)
  • Season 6 (2000)
  • Season 7 (2001)
31. X-Files: Fight the Future. Directed by Rob Bowman (1998)
32. Farscape. Created by Rockne S. O'Bannon. (1999 -2003)
  • Season 1 (1999)
  • Season 2 (2000)
  • Season 3 (2001)
  • Season 4 (2002)
  • The Peacekeeper Wars (2004)
34. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Created by Rick Berman and Michael Piller (1993 - 1999)
  • Season 1 (1993)
  • Season 2 (1994)
  • Season 3 (1995)
  • Season 4 (1996)
  • Season 5 (1997)
  • Season 6 (1998)
  • Season 7 (1999)
35. Investigating Firefly and Serenity: Science Fiction on the Frontier - Rhonda V. Wilcox and Tanya R. Cochran (ed.) (2008)
36. Sanctuary. Created by Damien Kindler. (2008-present)
  • Season 1 - various episodes (2008)

37. His Dark Materials, Book 1: The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman (1995)
38. Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 - Mike Resnick (ed.) (2007)
39. The X-Files Movie: I Want to Believe - Directed by Chris Carter (2008)
40. Earth Abides - George Stewart (1949)
41. Battlestar Galactica. Created by Davied Eick and Ronald D. Moore. (2003-2009)
  • Mini-series (2003)
  • Season 1 (2004)
42. Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

BTT: Other Worlds

Are there any particular worlds in books where you’d like to live?

Everytime I get a question like this it leads to about twenty minutes of me standing in front of my bookshelf trying to pick just one ... well I can never pick just the one and have come to accept that. I'm crazy and obsessive and that's exactly the type of person questions like this were made for, so I figure it's all good.
So here are the worlds I've chosen - in no particular order:

Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables [series] - L.M. Montgomery)I know that Prince Edward Island is a real place, but it is the Avonlea from the series that I wanted to live in - the town, the houses, the people. I love the Anne series, and the world of Avonlea was a big part of that. It was, to me, an almost perfect place to live: the people were lovely, the land beautiful and the community friendly. It was a place were the biggest thing you had to worry about was how to remove the freckles from your nose and even the classroom bully turns out to be your one true love. Who wouldn't want to live there?
Oz (The Wizard of Oz [series] - L. Frank Baum, et. al]I'll be honest in saying that I'm not sure if I want to live in Oz because I truly love the land itself or because I have read/watched The Wizard of Oz so many times that it would seem disloyal NOT to include it. Given the choice I'd prefer to live in Munchkin city (though I'm probably - definately - too tall) or maybe the Emerald City (from the movie, not the book).

(?) The World of Thursday Next (Jasper Fforde)A parallel reality where there is actually a need for a literary detective and you can have a cloned Dodo for a pet? Who would say no to that? I love this world because literature has such a high standing in it (people practically have whole belief systems built around who they believe the 'real' Shakespeare was) and a sense of the ridiculous is greatly expanded.

Lyra's Oxford & World
(His Dark Materials trilogy - Phillip Pullman)I'd be happy enough to live in the real Oxford (how beautiful!), but Lyra's Oxford, not to mention the rest of her world, is just amazingly rich and detailed. The presence of magic in both a highly revered form (the witches) as well as the constant and commonly integrated (the daemons) is so unique. And yes, I will admit to my just wanting a daemon.

Middle Earth (The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien)
Shire -
I think I could quite easily be a Hobbit - lazing about for your morning, do a bit of work here and there, take a break every once in a while for a meal, then sit on your porch with a cup of tea and your pipe ... okay, I don't want a pipe, but all the rest sounds pretty good. I think I'd make a good Hobbit. I'll go pick up my hairy feet tomorrow.

Rivendell - I love Rivendell, it's just so amazingly beautiful. I love the sculpted architecture (the movie captured it exactly as I imagined it) and the georgeous trees. Plus, if I lived in Rivendell then I could be an elf and have pretty elf ears and elf clothes :)

Lothlorien - I love Lothorien for all the same reasons that I love Rivendell - but moreso. The organic beauty of it is just amazing. Plus it has the added bonus of meaning that I could live in a tree ... and if you know me and we have talked about books/worlds/etc before than you probably already know about my tree/house/stranded obsession (the island from Swiss Family Robinson very almost made my list).

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Harry Potter [series] - J.K. Rowling)What person my age or younger (and some older, it certainly has the audience) DOESN'T want to attend Hogwarts? Aside from the fact that Hogwarts = castle (which, trust me, is a huge draw there), it is already a story of a relatively 'real' person (Harry) going into the 'fictional' (Hogwarts) - so the jump from me to the world of the book is already not that far ... did that even make sense?

Dinotopia (Dinotopia - James Gurney)Before we even get to Dinotopia itself, this world already has the shipwrecked/stranded aspect to it. I loved reading Dinotopia in the school library when I was little ... though I think, in this case, I was actually more interested in the pictures than the story (can you blame me? They're amazing!) I always wanted to get stranded there, I definately wanted a Saurian life partner, and I wrote more than one (yes I'm a nerd, we all know that) letter in Saurian to friends who had no idea what they were missing. I couldn't say where I'd live if I were there, because that would all depend on my placing (don't know what I'm talking about? - go read the book!) but given the choice, I think I'd proabably have to go for Waterfall City. It's the capital of Dinotopia and is the centre for everything. It has amazing libraries, hundreds of people and Saurians - and you're always guaranteed a good rainbow!

Or where you would certainly NOT want to live?
I have been trying to think of something and all that's coming to my head at the moment is the world of Louis Lowry's The Giver. I'm sure I'll think of something else/better tomorrow when I'm not half asleep so I'll come back and do that then.

Orphan, Clock Keeper and Thief

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Brian Selznick
525 pages, published 2007

When Hugo Cabret's father, a clockmaker, dies in a museum fire, the young Hugo is taken in by his Uncle Claude. Employed and boarded by the train station, the drunken Claude teaches Hugo how to run and maintain the stations various clocks ... which, as it turns out, was fortunate, for when his Uncle Claude suddenly disappears, Hugo has to maintain the clocks in order to hide the disappearace and keep what little home he has.

Unable to cash his uncle's pay checks for fear of discovery, Hugo must (grudgingly) resort to stealing - both to survive and to aid his secret and most determined project. Hiding away within the walls of the station, Hugo squirrels away small mechanical components that he uses in his attempt to fix the mechanical automaton discovered by his father.

His attempts (and dodging of the Station Master) run smoothly until the day he is caught stealing a wind-up mouse from the station toy store. The store keeper is rightly upset by the boys ongoing thievery, but when he sees Hugo's notebook, filled with his father's sketches of the automaton, he reacts severly: taking the boy's notebook and threatening to burn it.

Why is the old man so upset? What does he know about Hugo's machine? And why won't he give him back his notebook?

The Invention of Hugo Cabret was an interesting read - nice story, reasonably developed characters and just enough of a mystery to keep you interesting. But what turns this book from an 'okay' book to a 'fantastic' book is that is is 90% pictures. The written text itself is actually very limited; most of the story is told through closely sequential (and full page) illustrations. I'm not quite sure I'd call it a graphic novel, but it is certainly a unique way of story telling. Definately worth a look at. 4.5/5

What's On Your Nightstand?

The guidelines are simple:
  • Write a post on your own blog (or feel free to play along in the comments if you don't have a blog).
  • You can simply post a picture, or tell us how and when these books got into your to-be-read pile, or give a mini-review of the books in progress.
  • Read around through the links and find out "What's on Their Nightstand?"

I never catch these fun things just when they're starting out, so I'm very happy to be able to play along in the first round this time! And what a great way to see what everyone else is reading/planning to read.

To say that I took a picture of my nightstand, however, wouldn't be exactly accurate. Partly because I don't have a nightstand, but mostly because in order to take this picture I actually had to gather books from the top of my television, my desk, the top of my bookshelf and my uni bag ... it took me longer to collect up my tbr pile than it took me to actually take the picture.

So once I finally gathered them all up, this is what I have for my current tbr/nightstand pile:

Fade - Richard Cormier
This was mentioned in one of my classes (we're focusing on teaching the classroom novel) and it happened to be on the for sale spindle at the library that night. Couldn't pass it up.

Proven Ground - Jim Butcher
I really want to read Butcher's Dreden Files series, but so far have not been able to track down the first novel ... so this one will probably be on my tbr pile for a while.

Paris in the Twentieth Century - Jules Verne
Again with the library sales, I'm a sucker for the 20c books ...

The Messenger - Marcus Zusak
Haven't started this one yet. I read The Book Thief for book club last month and absolutely loved it, so I thought I'd give this one a go.

The Stopping Place - Helen Slaven
I like to pick up at least one random book on my library trips (have no idea what it's about, don't read the blurb, etc) and this was my latest. The story is a little on the slow side, but there's just enough in it to keep me interested. I'm only about halfwy through though, I'll make a final decision when I'm done.

The Once and Future King - T.H. White
I *really* want to get back to and finish this one (I'm reading it for a challenge) but my assigned reading just keeps getting in the way.

Black Swan Green - David Mitchell
I picked this one up from the library after reading a good review of it.

Dune - Frank Herbert
My friend, Wendy, has recommended this one to me a couple of times.

The Mist - Stephen King; and Black Juice - Margo Lanahan
Upcoming books for bookclub

All the rest of the pile are assigned reading for one of my classes. We got a suprise 25-book reading list on the first lesson but I've managed to make my way through nearly half of them so far - what can I say, I'm weird; I read so much faster if books are lined up all pretty in a list.

Finding Cassie Crazy - Jaclyn Moriarty
Lobster Boy - Rodman Philbrick
Deadly Unna - Phillip Gwynne
Touch Me - James Maloney
Macbeth and Son - Jackie French
Cold Skin - Steven Herrick

Weekly Geeks #13

This is the first time I've participated in Weekly Geeks, so yay!

This week’s theme is a sort of meme. (Hey, I rhymed!) Your basic challenge is to post author photos.

Using the meme-like list below, post photos of authors in response. Please feel free to skip any you don’t like. You’re also free (encouraged!) to add your own, but if you do that, please be sure to indicate which are yours, so that people can credit you if they use yours.

But don’t put words/names with your photos. Ask your readers to guess your answers!

1. Photos of your favorite author(s)

2. Photo(s) of the author(s) of the book(s) you’re currently reading

3. Photo(s) of any author(s) you’ve met in person (even very briefly)

4. A youtube of (an) author(s) you’ve heard speak

This was as close as I could get...

5. Any photo(s) you may have of yourself with an author

I don't have any :(

6. A photo of the author of the book you’ve most recently finished

Okay, guess away, if you are so inclined ... if I get guesses, I'll put the answers up

Edited to add: The authors are identified in the comments