Sunday, December 26, 2010

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo 
by Stieg Larsson

Published: 2008
Synopsis (GoodReads): Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch--and there's always a catch--is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues.

--May contain spoilers--

I was swayed in two directions before I started reading this book. On the one hand I had my mum and sister telling me how poorly they thought of it, an opinion I respect because of the 1000s of crime novels my mum has read, and on the other hand there were the shining recommendations by authors I respect and other people (i.e. bloggers) that I've come to respect. I tried to keep this out of mind but when I started I couldn't help thinking that I should really enjoy this book because of the positive reviews it had received, and I felt like maybe I was missing something because I did not like it. Well not until 300+ pages in.

I found those first 300 pages hard to wade through. The writing was clunky, although that may a problem with the translation, there was tonnes that should have been cut out or edited down and I really had no emotional connection to any of the characters until Salander and Blomkvist started working together. Before that there were moments that caught my interest but overall it was a lot of work to force myself to keep going and finish the novel.

I like the premise of the disgraced journalist hired to do an internal family investigation and I like Salander's character as an eccentric and deeply disturbed PI (I refuse to associate her as Autistic, I think that was an error on Blomkvist's part) and as the story continued I grew to really respect and invest in their characters but it took far too long, especially in the first book of a trilogy spouted as being 'The best crime novels of all time'.

In other reviews I've read on GoodReads people have made excuses for the clunky writing saying because this is in the crime genre it doesn't need to be perfect. I'm sorry but I'm going to call bullshit!! That just goes back to the post I wrote the other day, it isn't allowed to be crappy just because it's genre fiction. There are some fantastic crime writers who do not make the same errors that Larsson does in his novel, which ultimately I'd conclude as being a rather amateur mistake of ignoring the golden literary rule Show don't tell. Larsson tells everything, he didn't let me gather anything about Slander's character by myself, instead I had it pushed down my throat exactly what she looked like half a dozen times and her inability to trust and her dislike of this and blah blah blah, her internal narration was not interesting enough to sustain that kind of flow of reveals. It was much better when you simply looked at her actions or through Blomkvist's eyes.

Finally I think the end of the novel petered on to long, after the resolution of the mystery and the action against Wennerstrom it should have finished quicker, instead we had to wander around with Salander again while she thought over her relationship with Blomkvist. I could have been quite happy if I'd stopped reading at page 520 or so. It was too much of a wrap up, 'oh we haven't heard from the original informant in awhile, let's have him send a christmas message', and 'let's have one final meeting with Vander where we'll discuss every percentage owned by the family and what outcome that'll achieve'.

Overall the mystery wasn't bad, in fact I quite enjoyed sifting through the red herrings which is one of the best parts of reading crime fiction, but a terrific middle doesn't excuse a terrible beginning and end. I think this book had the potential to be much better but ultimately I feel the same way I do about Twilight, that someone should have taken Meyer and Larsson's hands and taught them how to show, not tell and how to be a little ruthless and just chop away the unnecessary chunks of text. In both cases I think a much better book is hidden in the rubbish that has been left. I don't know if I'll read the rest in the series, I hate to start a series and not finish it, but I really don't think I can manage to get through another two of these books. Maybe I'll just watch the movies instead.

Rating: 2.5/5

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wishing you an early....

Merry Christmas!!!

 Eat, drink and be merry, sing some carols, open some presents and spend some time with the ones you love. I hope all of you having white christmas's have a magical day and to help ring the day in in style I give you a terrific carol sung by the current Doctor Who team. Enjoy!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Holiday reading list

I'm usually really terrible when it comes to taking books on holiday with me and end up with far too many taking up much needed space in my suitcase. This time I only brought two books up to Cairns with me and have been given a third by my mum to read as well. I think they're pretty varied so hopefully that means I won't be stuck with three books I'm not interested in all at the one time!

 No Hope For Gomez by Graham Parke

This is my light, comedic novel. I think it'll be ideal for the later part of the flights, train rides and downtime in the hostels, simple enough that I don't have to put to much brain power into deciphering meaning yet humorous and interesting enough that it takes my mind off the doldrums of travel and makes the time pass enjoyably.

The Plague by Albert Camus

This will likely require a little more attention to be spent on the reading, but I find Camus an author I can sink into fairly easily. Camus will probably be reserved for reading by the fire at the ski lodge or perhaps somewhere equally comforting like a coffee shop where I can let his words and the accompanied warmth from the fire and the drinks wash over me.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

This is the novel my mum passed on to me when I arrived in Cairns as she and my sister both read it on their recent trip to Adelaide. Neither of them enjoyed it but not wanting to waste a perfectly good book she suggested I give it a go, and if I don't like it at least take it with me so I can swap it at one of our hostel's book swaps! This is the book I'm reading in Cairns so I may have finished it before I head to Japan (especially since I'm avoiding leaving the house because the outside world = money spent) but if I have any of it left I'll be trying to read it on the plane. As an action thriller it has the perfect mixture of a fast paced plot combined with a relative easy plot structure so it should help the long plane flight drag a little less.

And if all else fails I have just started Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on my Ipod and I have the rest of the series sitting there waiting for me. Good old HP, he never lets you down!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A blog from the airport

Hello friends! I've made it home to sunny Cairns and I've already got sunburn!! I was not made for living in the tropics, no wonder I'm heading to wintery Japan for the summer!! Here is an entry I wrote last night as I waited and waited at the airport for my late flight to Cairns, it is a little all over the place but that tends to be the way my mind works!!

As I write this I sit in the Brisbane Airport waiting for my flight to Cairns, and a long wait it'll be since my flight doesn't board for another hour. To kill time I headed into the airport bookstore, a favourite airport past-time of mine.

At uni I encountered students and teachers alike who poo-poo'd what they call 'airport fiction,' and while I agree to an extent, the terrible works of one Matthew Reilley which line airport bookstore shelves comes to mind, I tend to take offence to that label. I have bought several great books from the airport and while they may be over-priced (oh god are they over-priced!) they certainly aren't trash.

Perhaps once upon a time it was all romance and action  sold in these bookstores but that certainly isn't the case anymore- at least not in Australian airports. During my trip into this bookstore I came across the works of Franzen, Bronte, Courteney and Palahniuk. Maybe some of these authors are easier to read that others but all are well respected and attributed with being top level word-smiths. 

This is just another case of the snobbery I've come across in the literary world. Just because a book can be read in one sitting or is sold in an airport bookstore doesn't mean it is of a lesser quality than those sold at independent bookstores. I mean, yes of course these airport bookstores are out to make a profit and for the most part Dostoyevsky isn't top of the list on everyone's reading while flying list, but just because genre fiction is what fills the majority of the shelves doesn't make it of a lesser quality.

As was repeated to me over and over in my classes at uni Literary fiction appeals to perhaps 6% (rough estimate) of book sales- while my classmates took that to mean that they were smarter that 94% of book buyers I took it for what it truly meant, that the literary aspirations of Literary authors is not appealing to a great number of people (regardless of what their IQ is). Generally books that fall into the Literary category make great use of form and technique over plot and even character, they are about manipulating and shaping words to create meaning. One teacher explained it best as genre fiction is designed to drag you into the story and take you deep into it, while literary fiction is about displaying the beauty of words and writing techniques, the former is about emotion and the latter about provoking thought.

Because Literary stories are so aware of their creation they can be hard to read fluidly, regardless of how beautifully stitched together the prose is. This isn't to have a go at Literary fiction, I adore many Literary works and I will also admit to feeling a little smug when I finish a Russian novel and understand it, I am simply sick of people having a go at anything that doesn't fall into this category, of relegating it to a lower caste simply because it doesn't make excessive use of experimental narrative structure or writing techniques.

Of course what I've written has been a bit of a generalisation, there are many Literary novels which dwell on character and plot and several genre works which are highly experimental in their writing methods. It doesn't really matter though, writing is supposed to incite thought and emotion, to drag you into other worlds and teach you meaningful lessons. Books are not here to make you feel superior or to wear as a badge of success as you read on public transport. It doesn't matter if you're reading Austen, Dickens or Homer it does not make you better than the people who choose to read science fiction or romance (well....JK). By all means bond with someone on public transport because of what they are reading but don't use it as a measure of a person's character.

This is one of my biggest literary pet peeves so I'm glad I had some time at the airport to vent out my frustrations to you all!! Bottom line I guess is don't judge a book by it's genre!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday... Santa please bring me...

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Bloodclot that is Andrew Bolt

In regards to the rant post I wrote earlier today I urge you to read this artice by acclaimed author John Birmingham. It addresses some of the issues I raised earlier and condemns the 'journalist' Andrew Bolt who spreads his venomous hate across the country weekly in his pathetic excuse for a column.JB's article is far more articulate than what I could ever hope to write on here and a damn good example of the pen being mightier than the sword.

Character vs Plot

Book Blogger Hop

"What do you consider the most important in a story: the plot or the characters?"

This is a bit of a toughie because I am neither for or against either option. Really I think there needs to be a balance of the two. Without an interesting cast of characters a sublime plot can fall short, but at the same time I rarely enjoy a book that is devoid of plot yet filled with prose devoted to the characters. As Jennifer from Crazy-for-Books says in her own answer it is usually the plot synopsis on the back of a book that encourages you to buy/hire that book,  but I think it is the characters which make the novel linger in your head. With some of the books that have had the greatest impact on me I can barely remember more than the basic plot but I remember the character(s) who truly made an impression on me crystal clear. Yet with others the characters are necessary and important yet it is the plot or the themes of the novel that make the greatest impression on me, like Harry Potter for instance. I love the characters in that series, but it is the progression of the plot through the seven books that are the most important factor of that series, at least in my eyes.

So basically I'm going to sit on the fence with this one, what do you think?


I'd been feeling rather morose after the tragedy that took place off Christmas Island two days ago, but after reading the comments on some columns  that quickly changed to anger. I love being Australian and living in this beautiful country but more and more I am growing frustrated at the backwards thinking of so many people here. I'm aware that the most hate-filled and ignorant people tend to be the most vocal, but thanks to the internet their vile vitriol is appearing to be indicative of the nation at large. The fact that so many people have no moral concern over bitching about the asylum seeker 'issue' when dozens of people lost their lives and many more had to watch their loved onces succumb to the violent seas so recently makes me want to catch the first plane overseas and fake an accent so no-one knows that I have any connection to my 'countrymen'. If you choose to concentrate on the unbelievable sadness of this event over the political implications you are declared a 'lefty' who is trying to cover for the Government they voted in. The ignorance and hate is SUFFOCATING ME.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review: Lunar Park


Lunar Park has somehow dodged the notoriety and controversy that follows Bret Easton Ellis, so unlike American Psycho and Glamarama I knew very little about this book other than what the  book cover blurb told me. The blurb describes the novel as an autobiographical work, taking place after the rise of Ellis's literary career where he has moved to the "suburban hinterlands" with his new family.

The first chapter (the beginnings) recaps his rise from university student to literary star, and while it is littered with actual details (a cameo by friend and fellow author Jay McInerney) of Ellis's life, the obvious jump from biography to fiction after that chapter causes a sense of doubt over every word read previously. Is anything you read true, or is everything (bar his name and previous novel details) invented purely for this novel? Perhaps he is simply creating this confusion so as to finally tell the truth about his notorious and highly publicised past. 

Lunar Park is Ellis's homage to Stephen King, an author he read and loved as a child, and while this form of horror is new to Ellis (and it shows) I really have to commend his effort here. Horror, like many other genres, is often passed off as being 'easy' to write but you only have to read the hundreds of bad horror novels out there to know that succeeding in this genre is harder than it looks. Ellis isn't completely successful but I will admit that I was on the edge of my seat for much of the novel. Because of the ambiguity of the novel's content the direction was always unclear and left me unable to predict what would happen next. My inability to grasp hold of this left me wide open for the horror twists and turns in the story which otherwise may have fallen short.

But his real success, at least in my opinion, is his way of blending the horror component of the story with his unique writing style. I don't like to search out subtext and metaphor (unless the book is for an assignment) but you don't have to in this book. The story raises all sorts of questions about family obligation and relationships, but more interestingly it questions the responsibility of the author and the delicate line the teeters between fact and fiction. So I suppose you could say it is horror for the literary types, the 'monster' certainly isn't the zombie, vampire or possessed industrial machine that surface so often between the pages of a horror novel.

I'm sorry if this has appeared vague but I truly don't want to spoil the story by giving anything away because I seriously think I enjoyed this book so much more because I had absolutely no idea what the story was about! As it is I've probably given it away by telling you it isn't an autobiography, hopefully you can still enjoy it though.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Tonight I graduate!! To commemorate this event my sister baked me these sweet little cupcakes, they have little graduation caps made out of lindt chocolate squares!! Isn't she the best!?!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Christmas to me

What a lovely package to receive in the mail so close to christmas, if only I hadn't paid for it myself!!

The Word Made Flesh; Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide (see the blog here)
30 Days of Night, collector's edition book 1-3
The Walking Dead, book 1
The Stand, book 1

So much graphic novel goodness!! I'm especially excited about The Stand, I'm a big fan of the Stephen King novel and always thought it'd transfer over to visual exceptionally well, and my first few glances seem to prove me right!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Hell is empty and all the devils are here
-William Shakespeare The Tempest


2011 Book Challenge - I'm on Fire!

Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Apart from the books set for university I really didn't get much reading done this year. So next year I'm going to push myself to read, read, read by joining the reading challenge set out by the Book Vixen. Because I'm going to be engaging in honours and part-time work next year I'm not going to kid myself by setting 100 books to read, I'll just feel pathetic when I don't reach it. Instead I'm going to aim for 50, if I read more then excellent, if I only make it to 50, well 50 ain't so bad is it? Well that puts me on the I'm On Fire level, so I feel pretty good about it!!

I'm not going to list every book I intend to read next year but here are a few on my TBR pile that I simply must dive into.

Thomas De Quincey - Confessions of an English Opium Eater
Aldous Huxley - Brave New World
F.Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald- Bits of Paradise
Christopher Isherwood - Lions and Shadows
Philip K. Dick - The Man in the High Castle
Hans Falada - Alone in Berlin
Roald Dahl - Skin
Raymond Chandler- The Lady in the Lake
Alan More- From Hell 
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games Trilogy (I've heard it is a must read series- any thoughts before I buy it?)

Plus there are a few re-reads that I'll definitely be spending time on, namely the LOTR trilogy and perhaps Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, as it has been awhile since I've read through those.

I'll be updating my progress on here as I go (labelling it Book Challenge for easier blog update searching) and I'll be adding the books as I go to my GoodReads account. Some books will get reviews, some probably won't but I'll let you know every teeny detail of my 2011 book journey.

If you want to take part head over to The Book Vixen's blog for the complete list of rules and how to enter.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

3 Weeks!

Three weeks until I'm in Japan!! As excited as I am I'm beginning to realise how much I still need to get done before we go, insurance, rail passes, work out what trains we're meant to be catching (My biggest fear is getting lost on a Japanese train and ending up in the middle of nowhere), book accomodation for Osaka and Kyoto and organise what I'm bringing clothes-wise. I know once I get there I'll be fine and I'll enjoy myself and everything will fall into place, but until I've officially been let into the country (and probably when I put my bag down in the hostel) these worries will not be going anywhere! If anyone has been to Japan and wants to offer some tips I'm all ears! Seriously guys, I'm freaking out over here!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sign me up!

The 'old' Main Library in Cincinnati.  Unfortunately I can't actually sign up to this library because it was demolished back in 1955, much to my dismay. How amazing is it! All those shelves, all those books! I'm almost dizzy looking at the pictures, I'd be terrified trying to reach a book up on one of those top shelves!

10 Places I love to read

Top 10 Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.


Monday, December 6, 2010

What are you reading?

 It's Monday! What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by One Person's Journey Through A World of Books. 

 What am I reading? Not much! In between last minute plans for my trip to Japan, work, applying for honours next year and now searching for a new house as my landlord is selling I haven't really had a chance to sit down and enjoy the pile of books sitting beside my bed.

At least every summer holiday (if not 2 or 3 or 9 times a year) I succumb to the desire to read through the Harry Potter series once more, and while I love this series more than anything else I've ever had the pleasure of reading I always feel kind of guilty spending time re-reading it when I have a bucket load of books in my shelf just waiting to be read. Thanks to a friend I added Harry Potter (audio style) to my Ipod a few months ago but until a week ago I had completely forgotten about its existence on my Ipod. Because of the latest HP movie at the cinema that I'd been plagued by that itching desire to once again read my way through Harry, Ron and Hermione's adventures, but as mentioned above I haven't really got a lot of excessive time.

Enter audio books. Read by the marvelous Stephen Fry I've had this playing in my car on the way to work, on the way home from work, on my lunch break, as I use the inter-webs and before I fall asleep. In other words every-freaking-where. I've never really been one for audio books, mainly because they take so much longer than I would if I was actually reading it and I tend to find the reader's voices either monotonous or a little too over the top when it comes to the voices of the characters. Stephen Fry however is fantastic. Apart from being my favourite Brit, his speech is so controlled and well paced and free from distracting accentuation and he makes a real effort to differentiate each character's voice without going over the top and taking away from the text. It's quite a joy to listen to actually.

There isn't much point in me discussing Harry Potter, it has been analysed from every possible angle so instead I'll waffle on about the wonderfulness of Stephen Fry for a little longer! He may not have made it into the films but as well as the narrator for all seven books on audiotape Fry has voiced the narrator in at least three of the Harry Potter video-games, so one way or another he is well and truly a part of the Harry Potter saga!  Personally it was always a disappointment that Fry was never added to the cast of British actors who make up the wonderful film world of Harry Potter. I always thought he'd be a wonderful addition to the cast. I can't really align him to any of the main character roles but perhaps a ghost (Hufflepuff's Friar maybe) or an eccentric professor or salesman in Diagon Alley, either way it is only too easy to imagine Fry in velvet or brocade wizard's robes, with a strange little wizarding hat jauntily plopped on his head.

Hopefully once my honours application is in and all the Japan details are organised I'll be able to get reading for real, but until then I'm going to keep my headphones in and get through as much HP as I can. So now you know what I'm reading this Monday, what have you been reading or are planning to get stuck into?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What have you read? A compilation of 100 titles

 I came across this post on As The Crowe Flies (And Reads!) and thought it was too interesting to not pass along!!

Apparently the BBC posted a list of 100 books (compiled by viewers and listeners) and believe that most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

So in accordance with the rules set out by Ms Crowe I shall share the books that i've read. Because of the length of this post I've added a break so as not to overwhelm visitors!! So if it interests you to see what I've read (and perhaps how many you have yourself) read on past the break!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


'The Price' made their target and it shall be made!! Here is what Christopher said when the target was met...

"My head is still reeling ... like many of you, I watched the numbers late into the night, as they kept going up and up and up ... so when we crossed the $150,000 mark (just after 7:00 MST), it was really hard for me not to get emotional, vacillating between feeling a little weepy, to laughing hysterically, to just wanting to throw-up! :)"

Christopher the moment the target was met!
Congratulations Christopher and team, I'm looking forward to seeing the finished film, I just know it'll be wonderful!

10 Characters you'd want to be BFF with!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Signal by Paul Duffield

When I went to collect the post this afternoon there was a little something waiting for me in my letterbox. It was Paul Duffield's beautiful self-published graphic novel (or novella I suppose because it is quite short - and wordless) Signal. Paul Duffield came to my attention as the illustrator of the Freakangels webcomic written by Warren Ellis and I happened upon a post on the Whitechapel discussion board which had a few images from Signal. Long story short they blew me away and I had to have it, luckily the price was right (although I'd kill the the limited edition hand bound hard cover but €400 is a little out of my reach!) and with a few clicks it was ordered and I added a note expressing my desire to have Paul sign it for me if possible. The best thing about self-published small projects like this is that you can get them signed at no additional charge, it just makes it so much more special, at least to a book and graphic novel lover like me. I've only had a quick flick through but it is incredible, the illustrations are stunning and the detailing is phenomenal. I can't wait to "read" it properly and assess the complete story Paul has created. Here are a few photos for you to have a look, if you like what you see I advise that you find out a little more about it here at Paul's website.

I apologise for the stupid glare in the pictures, it's a new camera and I haven't quite worked out all the little details!

Front cover of Signal

Signed in silver ink!
So much going on in the first two pages!
The wallpaper is phenomenal in this picture.
A close-up of the broken tiles, I love the detail here!
Back cover

Help get The Price made - 23 hours to go!

I mentioned a week or so ago a kickstarter project that I have been keeping an eye on. Well it has 23 hours to go and is only $6549 off the $150 000 goal!!! Christopher Salmon is so close to being able to actualise his goal and so impressed by the support of his pledgers that he is offering a one of a kind "1 sheet" movie poster for anyone who increases their pledge! So if you've already donated some money towards this wonderful project then dig around the back of the couch for some spare change and do yourself and Christopher a favour! And if you haven't pledged yet (and have a spare $10 or more) then head over here and help make this film happen!

I have my fingers and all of my toes crossed for Christopher, I can hardly imagine how nervous and excited he must be right now, I bet this'll be one night that he won't get a wink of sleep!

The 1 sheet poster C.Salmon is offering!

Summer Loving

I'm officially on holiday and am certainly trying to make the most of the lack of uni pressures and engagements. Apart from the obvious sleep-ins and catching up on books, movies and TV shows I've been hoarding all semester, I've spent a lot of time browsing the internet, searching for new blogs and websites to fill in these lazy summer days. Here are three of the literary related finds I've made so far.

1. Letters of Note - I came across this website on my weekly visit to passive aggressive notes in one of their sidebars. Basically it is a collection of letters by noteworthy people (who'd have thunk it?!), a copy of the original letter and then a transcript of the letter, which is especially handy when the note is handwritten in a crazy script with the ink half missing due to age. From Earnest Hemingway's opinion on Ezra Pound's racist (and crazy) broadcasts to Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi's advice to an aspiring 14 year old comic artist it makes fascinating reading. It's a look inside some of the world's most popular and impressive characters.When you read some of these letters and recognise the jealousy or anger or passion hidden within their words aspects of their persona click into place and you gain such a wonderfully new understanding of the person, It's really quite fantastic. I think my favourite (although perhaps that isn't the right word to use) is the letter asking about the value of a signed John Lennon album, I don't want to say any more because I don't want to take anything away from the letter, but it gave me chills.

2. Out of Print blog - For anyone who hasn't visited this site it is the home to some very wonderful t-shirts that are perfect for anyone hooked on phonics. I've long been a fan of the out of print clothing company and eagerly awaited their move into female sizes and styles.Although I haven't yet bought myself a shirt (how do I choose just one!) I return to the site regularly to gaze adoringly at the merchandise (my oh my that beautiful jumper for Pride and Prejudice - I can put aside my hatred for that author and novel for something so lovely!). While I've known of the site for awhile I only recently discovered their blog, and what a blog it is! Aside from updates regarding the store it is packed with literary related treasures, from music related literary news (an interview with The Books is the latest entry) to advising readers how to 'adopt a word,' to informing readers on the myriad of craft projects making the rounds on the interwebs that revolve around books. Not only it is centred on what I love (books, books and more books!) but it is giving me some excellent ideas for what to do with my busy hands this holiday period!

3. What Claudia Wore - A blog dedicated to Claudia Kishi from Baby Sitter's Club!! That book series pretty much sums up my childhood, I devoured those books and adored the characters, so this blog is a welcomed blast from the past! One part style blog - highlighting the fashionista subplots through the series or matching our favourite babysitter's (usually Claudia's) fashion with current trends, and one part gentle mockery - so many posts pointing out the sillyness of the covers or story lines, and a whole lot of happy reminiscing by blogger Kim and her many readers. Most importantly Kim made a connection I don't think I ever would have (considering how long it has been since I've read a BSC book), she attributes her overuse of parenthesis to the series, as they too seemed to love chucking bits of text between the brackets, as do I. Finally it makes sense!! Perhaps it is a generation thing and there are dozens more of us parenthesis-a-holics out there, all of whom were created by this delighted book series! I couldn't mention What Claudia Wore without mentioning Entropificus and her What Is You Childhood Trauma series of illustrations. The talented Phi has taken it upon herself to recreate outfits worn by Claudia on her blog. I implore you to take a look and see her wonderful recreations of the outfits we spent our childhood's imagining!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?


This set of photographs bring a slight tear to my eye and a massive smile to my face. After seeing his grandmother seemed a little down in the dumps photographer Sacha Goldberger hatched a plan to brighten his grandmother's day.

The result was a series of photographs with Frederika posed in outrageous costumes in a variety of locations posing in a series of comical and outrageous poses. Not only did the project bring a smile to Frederika's face but the photographs are simply phenomenal. The muted colouring is reminiscent of vintage comics as are the sets, and the lingering smoke in several photos is incredibly evocative.

I absolutely love this project on both an artistic level and a personal level. I'm sure any clouds of loneliness or depression that Frederika suffered through before have now disappeared at these clear signs of a grandson's love and devotion and the world wide support she has received from new fans.  For the full set of photographs and the complete story of why Sacha decided to begin this project and Frederika's phenomenal  WW2 story (I won't do it an injustice by trying to summarise it here- I implore you to give it a look over though, very inspiring) click here and here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Let's get 'The Price' made!

Just a quick blog entry to show my support for Christopher Salmon's Kickstarter project and to inform as many people as I can about it in the hope that it succeeds in its goal.

Mr Salmon's project is a wonderful animated film rendition of Neil Gaimain's short story 'The Price'. Because of Gaiman's renown in the comic world the film is to be animated in the appearance of a graphic novel come to life, and from what has been completed so far I think it looks absolutely phenomenal. Neil Gaiman has already signed up to narrate the project and has shown his support for the endeavour as have several other key artists and musicians.

With only 12 days to go and not quite at the half way mark Mr Salmon needs everyone to get behind him and show their support. As with most Kickstarter projects there are a series of gifts available with your donation, so even if you don't care about supporting an outstanding project put in some cash to get yourself a signed copy of the DVD or even a place at the premiere alongside Mr Salmon and Gaiman!

But enough from me. Watch the video below to get an idea of the project from the artist himself and if you think this is something you'd like to get behind go here to make your donation. Or if you haven't any money to spare re-blog, facebook or tweet this to all your friends and get them involved!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


"  I haven't any right to criticize books, and I don't do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read 'Pride and Prejudice,' I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone."

Mark Twain on Jane Austen. I couldn't agree more. Read more author on author putdowns here

Top 10 Villains

Now that uni has finished for the year I have time to do all the things I've been meaning to do all semester, and near the top of that list is take part in a few of the literary memes floating around the interwebs. So for my first ever meme attempt I'm going to list my top 10 villains for The Broke and the Bookish's Top 10 Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

 I love villains. They're the best part of the book or film, they're so deliciously evil and their deeds are so dastardly and they stimulate your imagination so much more than the protagonists usually do.
I tried really hard not to just list Roald Dahl's villains because they are simply wonderful and some of the best characters to grace the page, and thank god this didn't include film or I'd have simply listed Disney's fantastic villains!

So my list, picked as wildly as I possibly could from my favourite books, are as follows, in no particular order...

10. Voldemort 
Harry Potter by JK Rowling
9. Shere Khan 
The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
8. The Man Jack  
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  7. Alec D'Urberville 
Tess of the Durbervilles by Thomas Hardy
 6. Robert Neville
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

5. Alex 
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
4. Eli 
Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
3. The Smiler 
Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis
2. Aunts Spiker and Sponge 
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
1. The Queen of Heart 
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

God I love villains!! All of these wonderful characters made my list either because they are simply the most rotten, terrible, despicable yet fantastic characters (i.e. Alex, Eli or Shere Khan) or because of the impact they have within a favourite series or book (i.e. Voldemort, The Smiler).

NOTE: After reading everyone else's lists I can't believe some of the people I forgot to add!!
Delores Umbridge from HP, God I hated her, every other character I thought had some redeemable quality, even Voldemort (I felt so sad for him as a child) but she was the embodiment of every disgusting trait evident in society.
Randall Flagg aka The Dark Man from Stephen King's The Stand. If I'm on the subject of King I have to add Pennywise the clown (IT) and Annie Wilkes (misery). I couldn't even finish IT, I think it is the only time I've literally thrown a book across the room because I was too afraid to even have it near me!
Plus so many more I know and hate (or love to hate) and a few that I'm looking forward to familiarising myself with in the near future.
On another note Carol from Carol's Notes is having a fantastic giveaway that I'd give my right arm or first born for!! Enter here to win not one, not two, but EIGHT (gah!!!) signed books.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

2, 4, 6, 8

I hate odd numbers, I'm one of those people that will adjust the volume of the tv to be on an even number, even out the shortcuts on my desktop into even rows and so forth. One of my special little quirks I guess you could say!

I was sitting on 89 posts when I opened Blogger and I couldn't leave it like that so here is a rather useless post with two new clips from the upcoming Harry Potter movie. Only one more week until the magic hits the screen, I simply cannot wait! Enjoy these sneak peaks guys, I think it looks like it'll be a ripper of a film, what a way to end the series!

This week's reading list

I've achieved freedom!!

University is over for another year, perhaps forever if I don't go for honours and I no longer have a set reading list to get through. This means that I can finally start reading for pleasure again, not that I didn't love my uni texts but I have about 30 books in my bookcase that I haven't been able to crack open yet!

So I'm planning to stick my nose in my books and comics for the next 6 weeks until I head to Japan and catch up on all the fantastic books I have lying around. This is partly because I've been itching to read them and partly because immersing myself in them will be a good way to distract myself from spending any money before my holiday!

So this week I am going to be reading the following...

~The Five fists of Science, a graphic novel by Matt Fraction
I love myself a good graphic novel and when I heard about The Five Fists of Science through the grapevine I knew I had to find it and read it. Put simply, in this novel Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla attempt to end war forever. I love seeing history rewritten and the portrayal of alterative personifications of histrorical figures so this story should be alot of fun. From my quick flick through the artwork looks fantastic, very rich in colour and very much how I want my graphic novel to appear visually, so I'm sure to get a few ideas reading this one!

~Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I'd been holding off reading this until I found a beautiful old edition to add to my collection but it appears than A.K is one of those books people don't like to part with so I've given up and am going to read it now and keep one eye open for that perfect copy. I love Russian literature, I find it very rich and dramatic and am always glued to the pages- although I may falter over the identical surnames on occasion!

~Porno by Irvine Welsh
I am a huge, huge, HUGE fan of Welsh's work. I've read it all, just about, and when I found a copy of Porno signed by the legend himself during my trip down to Sydney I squealed with excitement and dashed off to the cash register immediately! Unfortunately that was three months ago and I'm only now getting the chance to crack the cover of the sequel to Trainspotting. Better late than never right? 

I'll probably not get through all three this week but I'll be taking a fair whack at accomplishing it so you never know. I'll post reviews as soon as I'm done. God it feels good to read and write about a book without the threat of failing!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


So much for finishing the semester with a bang. This final exam is proving to be a headache and a half and I am not counting on adding a HD to my marks for my efforts tomorrow. Ah well, we can't have it all right?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Procrastination, Amazon style

Instead of studying for my exam I've been updating my Amazon wishlist and I thought I'd share the gems i'm desperate to get my hands on. I'm going through a graphic novel kick at the moment and as far as I can tell there is no end in sight. These are just a few of the ones I really, really want (christmas hint-nudge nudge) especially Ah Pook is Here by William S Burroughs. I'm contemplating taking the plunge and preordering it, even though it is months until it'll be released, i'm just so excited!!!

As a Hunter S Thompson fan I'm a huge Ralph Steadman fan by association, his art is incredible- mind-blowing, and his writing is something I enjoy greatly also. I've been eyeing off the Gonzo art book for about a year now but I've been waiting for it to appear courtesy of family/friends via my birthday or christmas but no luck yet. As for his other books, they're almost impossible to find in Brisbane so I'm gagging to hit the 'add to bag' button, especially the first edition Sigmund Freud hardcovers available.

**I'd also like to point out my killer tardis browser art- probably the best thing about going online is getting to see that everyday, i'm not going to lie.


I've never hid the fact that I am 100% a Harry Potter supporter, especially in the HP vs Twilight debate (why there even is a debate I don't know, HP shits all over the poorly written, glittery Twilight) so it makes me very happy to see other, more prolific people taking the piss. In this instance it is Daniel Radcliffe's cameo in The Simpsons as  teen vampire Edmond in Tweenlight. Not only is it hilarious, but it manages to tell the painful Twilight tale in a little over 6 minutes rather than the 10 hours the real movie took (what? It was only 90 minutes? Surely you jest).  Also an extra 100 points for The Room reference, "You're tearing me a-part!" there is a reason The Simpsons have always been my favourite cartoon.

As great as this cameo is I don't think anything could ever top Daniel's cameo in The Extras. Watch the clip for a sure-fire giggle fest!

The Social Network

I'm going to see the Social Network with a friend next Tuesday, a night out to celebrate the end of uni (the weekend will be spent with my mum and cleaning the house) and I'm looking forward to it since I've heard pretty good reviews about the film. More than that though I'm interested in the debate that is sparked regarding the whole social media identity since this movie has been released. Below are two links to two very interesting essays, the first by author Zadie Smith and the second is a reaction piece to Smith's by Alexis Madrigal. I personally find Smith's prose a little flowery and the content overly cynical but it is interesting none the less, Madrigal is much more up my alley, stylisitcally and through content, but decide for yourselves!

Zadie Smith - Generation Why? 

Alexis Madrigal - Literary Writers and Social Media: A Response to Zadie Smith

I probably don't need to mention it but read Smith's essay first!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fifi the Fabulous

Something wonderful landed in my letterbox the other day. 
I recently ordered a pin from Fifi Lapin and it arrived, all wonderful and boxed and tied with a bow.

For anyone unlucky enough to not be familiar with Fifi Lapin she is only the most fabulous and fashionable bunny in the world (declared by Vogue no less). Whether in a stylish adaptation of a drummer boy's uniform or a pastel dress with multicoloured crown Fifi the "haress" rocks every outfit she wears.

As well as being able to appropriate Fifi's image on pins and prints she updates her blog regularly with images of her wearing the latest trends sweeping the fashion world.

Get your hands on one of the limited edition pins or prints here and keep up to date with her fashion forward blog here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Science is golden!

 As a kid I loved Dr Karl's science books, debunking common myths and misconceptions and doing it in language children can understand. Here is the book trailer for his new book Curious and Curiouser, I'm looking forward to giving it a look!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Charlie Magazine

Issue two of Charlie Magazine came out one month ago and I'm delighted to say that I'm actually one of their writers! Charlie was created by some recent graduates struggling to find work in journalism without much experience, and what is the best way to get experience? Create your own magazine apparently!! It's a fashion magazine first and foremost but it is also a magazine about creativity, about life and all the things that happen along the way. I'm so happy to have been a part of the creation of their second issue, which is, in my opinion fabulous  and extraordinary for a new magazine created by such young people. It's all web based (and free!), you can either flip through the flip magazine or check it out via PDF- either way check it out, it's fantastic reading (I promise I'm not biased) and gorgeously illustrated . So help a fledgling magazine and its fledgling writers get a little notoriety, read it then blog/tweet/facebook/tumblr it for all your friends to find out about!!

Check out the magazine HERE!

Picture via Lauren Carney blog from Charlie Magazine issue 2

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Going a little crazy...

OK so maybe my desk doesn't look this bad but I am currently surrounded by about 1000 pieces of loose paper, the paperbacks I've been studying, pens, pencils, cups, tissues, chocolate wrappers. Not to mention all of the bits and pieces of my sister's architecture paraphernalia which has spread much further across the house than my stuff (anything to make me feel better!!) and is going to require a dozen garbage bags and 4 vacuum attempts.

I'm getting close though!! Twelve days and two exams to go!! One on Tuesday which I'm battling right now. I know the subject (popular fiction) but I'm terrified I won't be able to write all three essays within the allotted time. Another couple of hours will be spent on it tonight, then I have to work tomorrow, then I'll come how and get another 4 hours done on it and have an early one so I can wake up beautiful and fresh and intelligent on Tuesday the 2nd and blitz this exam!!

I think I can I think I can I think I can... I mean... I know I can I know I can I know I can!

Also, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! Here are some fabulous children in gorgeous lil costumes (squueee!!) and one of the most fabulous and handsome zombie that ever existed (my dearest boyfriend Tom).

Colonel Sanders
Alex from A Clockwork Orange
Zombie Tom

Friday, October 29, 2010

An open letter to cyclists

Dear mister and misses cyclist,

 Bikes terrify me, I think it is the combination of being completely exposed without any real protection and traffic, hills and those horrible breaks. It's sad though because the idea of riding down a country road in search of the perfect picnic spot seems quite idyllic to me. You guys don't have that problem obviously, because I see you everywhere! All over town at all hours of the day in all kinds of weather. You're so wonderful and colourful in those form fitting leotard things, very festive and easy on the eye. You're saving the environment, paving the way for a healthy future and seem to give cafes a lot of business on Sunday mornings. For all this commend you.


You are not a car, you cannot ride at 100km/h, you can't even match the 50km speed limits so why do you continue to ride in the centre of the lane? Why is it so hard for you to stay to the left of the lane when riding along a narrow road along the river, even when there is a line of 15 cars trailing behind you? Are your lycra bike shorts so tight they restrict your ability to sense the world around you? And why is it that you continue to ride on the road even when there is a nice and wide bike path specifically designed for you two metres to the left? I think I get it, you feel left out, all of us with engines are roaring around the place and you're stuck with those measly pedestrians who only use their legs to get around, obviously you should be with us, the people with wheels and speed and stuff. But if that is what you want how come you refuse to conform to our rules? Why will you only follow road rules when they suit you. If I can't weave out of traffic onto the bike path how come you can? If I can't turn on a red arrow how come you can?

As great as you folks are I think it is time for you to make a decision, either you stick to the road rules (ALL of them), register your bike and join us heavy, unenvironmentally friendly fellows or you restrain yourselves and keep your multicoloured butts in your designated zone. No one can have it all, and even with all of your environmental and health benefits you are not an exception to this. So make a decision. Now. Please.

Yours truly,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Weight Debate and Marie Claire

Just a quick post to weigh in on the current Marie Claire scandal (if you haven't read the article go here) that is raging across the Internet.

I am all for free speech, for Christ sake I am one of the most opinionated people on the planet, but there is such a thing as tact and Maura Kelly does not have it. By all means write an article about the prevalence of obesity in western society and definitely tie it into the new show about overweight people that is currently the number 1 new comedy in America, because that makes it topical and relevant to right now. And by all means try and write it in a light-hearted, frothy way if that is the only writing you can manage, heck aim for a little comedy, anything to connect with your readers.

But do not title your blog "should fatties get a room?" and don't connect it to a TV show you've never actually watched and do not fill it with pretentious and demeaning statements like "now, don't go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called plump. I'm not some size-ist jerk" or "But ... I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It's something they can change, if only they put their minds to it" or "I admit that there's plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT!"

No one can deny that obesity is a problem and that it is connected to a variety of diseases and what not but a list of 'helpful tips' about eating healthy and walking more does not help. Better diet and exercise is common knowledge, everyone knows that is key to a healthier life and yes, for some being overweight is probably 100% a response to laziness. But just like anorexics can't simply start eating again, there are psychological implications to obesity. I think this is one of the worst aspects of the article, not just because Maura is so insensitive regarding the topic, but that she reduces it to sheer laziness, she removes any psychological implications and does an entire group of people an injustice by suggesting that unlike anorexic people who truly suffer, they are wasting taxpayers money because of their selfish desire to eat.

This incident has made me sad, that Maura was able to publish this not on a personal blog but on a (previously) reputable magazine's website leaves me questioning fashion journalism, an industry I've always been interested in. I know that there are dippy, frothy people out there and they always seem to be the ones who speak the loudest, but the fact that this was allowed to be published after a fellow editor read it just goes to show that there indeed is a sickness in the fashion industry and the members of that community don't seem too interested in curing.

Finally I want to mention the responders to Maura Kelly's article. 1578 comments have been left and apparently around 28000 emails have been sent to Marie Claire and while many are eloquent and appropriate there are a large sum which are horrible. Yes I'm upset over this article, and if I was overweight I'm sure there'd be a whole new level of hurt, but it doesn't help to leave comments saying that Maura is a "C@nt" and that you "wish she'd died from her anorexia." Ultimately this article stripped a group of people of their dignity and comments of that nature are equally horrendous, taking her condition and using it as an insult is just as bad as her criticising people without intending to. By all means speak your piece, but do so in a calm and respectable manner, they are the comments that will impact the most, over-emotional, hate filled comments will be skipped over quickly.

If you want to express your thoughts...
Twitter: Speak your mind in 140 characters or less using the hashtag #unfollowmarieclaire
Facebook: Join the group Boycott Marie Claire magazine - say NO to fat phobia and discrimination!

Keep an eye out for Marie Claire's counterpoint articles on the topic--
Question...Is creating a discussion good enough or should they be removing Maura's blog and firing her? *note* People have been fired for less but personally I don't think that is the right way to go.

... . -.-. .-. . - ... .-. --- -.-. -.- ..--.

As a kid I always thought the very essence of a friendship was the secrets you shared, about who you had crushes on, the lipstick you stole from your mum's makeup bag or the prank you played on your sister. More than these shared secrets were the secret handshakes and secret languages. To put in the time and effort to create a long-winded, detailed and difficult handshake complete with slaps, hip bumps, dance moves and twirls or to create a completely new alphabet or code, well, to me that exemplifies a true friendship. You aren't going to go through the silly, semi-embarrassing creation process if you know that person is anyone but your best friend.

I made my fair share of handshakes when I was younger (*cough* earlier this year with my sister *cough*) but the secret language/code never really caught on. I learnt pig Latin and attempted Gobble-de-gook (but I could never get my head around it) but that wasn't secret enough, everyone knew them, even our parents. My sister and I attempted a couple of personal languages, I think we must have wanted to spice up our doll/teddy fantasy worlds, but the only one that every stuck was one where we began each word with an N. So, Hi my name is Kayleigh became Ni, nmy name nis Nayleigh. It was terrible and it didn't take long for us to recognise that, but every now and then I'll walk up to my sister and poke her in the side and say "Narn!! Now Nar Nu Nuing? Nisters!" and we'll shoot shifty looks around us, and seeing that the coast is clear we'll do our energetic and complex handshake and fall over laughing.

 I've had a renewed interest in secret languages lately, whether it is simply using morse code to tap out messages to one another like Oskar and Eli in Let the Right One In or flashlights like Kristy and Maryanne in The Babysitters Club or a full blown new creation like Tolkien's Elvish language, they fascinate me, perhaps because of the significance to my childhood. I think that at 23 I'm past the age of creating a language with a good friend, but I'd love to create something for my children, some little inside joke for us to all share, a tradition to pass on. As much as I love my family we never seemed to have any special activities or secrets that were just ours, and I regretted that. It's something that I've always known I wanted to do with my family, nothing intense or over the top, even a personalised greeting that was just ours would be enough.

I've got a few years to go before I really have to start thinking of that though, but until then I love thinking of these things and banking them away for those special future years I have ahead of me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stressed like a pair of 80s jeans

Last assignment due tomorrow, then two exams and I'm finished!! Until then (the 12th of November- which in the future will be fondly referred to as the day the madness ended)  I'll probably be contemplating suicide several times a day, so anyone reading this please send out some happy thoughts for me in this time of academic stress.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I heart Harry Potter

When I was 11 I fell madly in love with the Harry Potter series, and soon after Harry Potter fever began to descend on the world. Young and naive as I was I truly believed I had discovered this fantastic series with a couple of my friends and the popularity was due to the three of us telling everyone that They Had To Read This Series RIGHT NOW! Just before the new book came out I'd re-read the books already released and would hyperventilate while I waited in line at the bookstore to claim my copy. My family would buy one copy that would have to be passed between myself and my two sisters and my mum, as the first and most obsessed I would always claim dibs, but for several months after its release that copy would grow older and more tattered as we each read and re-read it.
When I finished the seventh book I was so depressed and not just because of that horrible 21 years later final chapter. I had grown up with that series, just as I had grown more complex and angsty so had my beloved magical world and all its inhabitants. I had cried over their losses, laughed and cried out when they were victorious, obsessively flipped over the pages at 4am because I Just Could Not Put It Down. There was a void in my life after the series concluded and I'm still as yet to find something to fill it.
I've never been the film series number one supporter, I they've done more wrong than they've done right, but my adoration for the novels has meant that regardless of that I rush to the cinema as soon as the movie comes out and sit there gazing up at the screen, falling back into the magical world I love so much.
After watching the trailers that have been released for part one of HP and the Deathly Hollows I think that this may be the one to succeed where the others have failed me. I was on the edge of my seat, or I would of if I wasn't sitting on my bed, hands to face the whole 2 minutes and 27 seconds. It is dark and moody, action packed and it doesn't seem like there are any major additions to the plot (like the burning down of the Weasley home in the last film- what the heck was with that?), so my fingers and toes are crossed extra tightly, hoping against hope!
I wasn't sure I wanted this book to be split into two films but now that it looks like they've done it right I'm glad they did. It extends the series just the little bit longer for me, it keeps that love that was ignited with the book burning just a tad longer. And who knows, perhaps they'll make a graphic novel edition next, or maybe a TV show, extend the series out for me just a little longer--either way I'll be happy because I love nothing more than Harry Potter, and never will.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


It is my birthday in three days and I have no idea what I'm getting from my family and friends, although I think I can say with complete confidence that I will not receive any books. For some reason I very rarely unwrap a gift and find a book within the wrappings, even though this is the obvious choice for anyone shopping for me, and I think i've narrowed it down to three reasons.

1. I am a book slut, i'm not ashamed to admit it. I will read absolutely anything set down in front of me. Well, I will start any book set down in front of me, but I can't guarantee i'll finish it (for the record the only books i've ever started and not finished are Atonement- Ian McEwan, The Eastern Slope Chronicle-Ouyang Yu and Crime and Punishment-Fyodor Dostoyevsky-although that was because I picked it up in a library while I was passing time...I will read it in full one day). So my bookcase is filled with  the most random collection of texts around, from classic to beat to jazz era to sci-fi to graphic novel to crime to  biography to Harry Potter (yes it deserves its own genre) to gothic horror to slasher horror to romance (but not the mills and boons type) to Australian history to recollections told through a drug haze. Anyone who comes to my house can find a book they'd be interested in, at least everyone has so far and i'd be suprised if that changes in the near future, but I digress. Reason number one is because of my varied taste and my continual purchasing of books and the fact that my room is one large bookcase no one is quite sure what I actually have, and so they don't buy anything for fear that it is already sitting on my bookshelf.

2. Linked to number one, the second reason no one buys me books is because I make it hard for them. I like so many genres and styles and eras of writing that when someone asks me 'What do you like to read' or 'what book would you like for a present' I stare at them blankly ummming and ahhhing, shifting from one foot to another before finally brushing off the question with a shrug and a mumbled 'I dunno'. I don't make it easy for them and no one likes to give a gift voucher (although I am a huge fan of receiving them) because it seems too easy and no one wants to openly admit how much they spend on someone else's present (does anyone else always put more on a voucher than they would spend if they were actually buying something- or is that just me?) or that they don't know the person well enough to know exactly what book (or cd or dvd or hat or shoes) the birthday girl/boy is dying to own. Or perhaps they think that I'm making the whole thing up and really I hate reading and that is why I can't name what kind of books I like... 

3. I don't get presents from a lot of people nor do I give presents to a lot of people, but when I do they're pretty special. I put alot of thought into picking out the perfect gift for someone, and then I go to a great deal of effort to wrap it in a way that proves I care for that person as well as know the colour combinations that best exemplify their personality. My friends and families think the same, they aren't going to run into Angus and Robertsons and buy something from the best sellers list just because my birthday is around the corner, they're going to hunt down a beautiful leather bound copy of Dickens, or find some underground graphic novel that fits my personality to a tee. Books are an extension of my self, and luckily my family and good friends know that. I think i'd actually be pretty devestated if I unwrapped a present and found a Matthew Reilley novel on my lap and a card attached saying Love Mum. So if they can't find that unique purchase they'll hold out and buy something else instead, rather than disappoint me with something standard.

Whatever the reason I don't really care, I love buying myself books, whether it is online or hunting through dusty secondhand stores so perhaps that is another reason I so rarely receive them, who knows.

I'm not sure how this long blog entry came about, I'd intended to simply attach this youtube clip of Kerouac reading from On The Road and mention how much I love the Beat writers and how I detest that this novel is being turned into a film (and a film with Kristen Stewart no less!! Is there no sense of decency left in the world?)  but I guess I'll save that discussion for another day and another blog. But i'll leave the clip here because it is wonderful to listen to Kerouac read, and maybe it'll inspire any friends and families who visit my blog in finding a last minute present!


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