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avatiakh tackles Mt tbr in 2012 #2

This is a continuation of the topic avatiakh tackles Mt tbr in 2012.

This topic was continued by avatiakh tackles Mt tbr in 2012 #3.

75 Books Challenge for 2012

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Edited: Jun 9, 2012, 8:41pm Top

Dali Atomicus by Philippe Halsman

I've had a brief immersion into the photographic work of Philippe Halsman these past couple of weeks due to following up on an award winning book that I added to my to-read pile. The Jump Artist by Austin Ratner is a fictional take on Halsman's early life. The above photo took 28 takes to get right.

Currently Reading:
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle - iPod audio
The Scent of Apples by Jacquie Mcrae
God is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World By John Micklethwait
Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan

The FitzOsbornes at war by Michelle Cooper - stalled
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris - stalled

Group Reads:
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes - (12in12 year long GR) - June tbr

Edited: Jun 12, 2012, 3:36pm Top

My other LT threads & challenge family

(images from Phillippe Halsman's Jump Book)

My 12in12 category challenge thread:

1) Favourite Writers & Rereads 9/12
2) Israel & the Diaspora 6/12
3) Australia 7/12
4) New Zealand 16/12
5) Fact not Fiction 6/12
6) Short n' Sweet 4/12
7) Neverending Stories - series 5/12
8) God is Back - religious themes/retellings in fiction
9) Big Boys - chunksters / omnibus editions
10) The Crowded Nest - Mt tbr 8/12
11) The Lists - booklists, longlists, shortlists, award winners etc 3/12
12) Dropbox - anything goes 18/12
Baker's Dozen bonus Category - graphic novels & picturebooks 14/12

The 12in12 Starts with Food challenge thread

My 2012 Orange thread

Themed reads:
Reading Globally 1st Quarter:Turkey + the Balkans:
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis (Greece)
How the soldier repairs the gramophone by Saša Stanišic (Bosnia/Germany) - READING
The bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andrić (Bosnia)

Links back to 2011:
My last 75 books in 2011 thread
My 11in11 challenge thread

Mar 2, 2012, 5:49am Top

Kerry does this mean I'm first up. Congrats on the new thread and thanks for the sexy jumping lady.

Edited: Mar 2, 2012, 6:19am Top

Yes, you're first up. Fairly sure that's Gina Lollobrigida Brigitte Bardot in the swimsuit.

Edited: Mar 31, 2012, 2:30am Top

A new thread for a new month and hopefully I can get back on track with my reading. I have a few books to comment on and will get to them but it's late and I need my sleep so will have to come back tomorrow to update. I've stalled on all my current planned reading and now have a commitment to read New Zealand children's books.

March is New Zealand Book Month so I'll be trying to complete at least one New Zealand adult novel.

I've planned a few books for March TIOLI:
Challenge #1: birthplace/March
Life: an exploded diagram by Mal Peet (Norfolk/R)
Twelve minutes of love: a tango story by Kapka Kassabova (Sofia/A)

Challenge #4: JanetinLondon's library
to be decided

Challenge #6: heterograph/homonym
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (son/sun) - J.K. Rowling

Challenge #14: Mercator Challenge: Read a book with a map
Between shades of grey (Russia/Siberia & Lithuania - Ruta Sepetys

Keen to add a book to Morphidae's Challenge #11: Just for You, but it will have to wait till I start actually reading books again.
I'm also meant to be picking up The Wind-up girl for the 12in12 group read which fits challenge #22 but will wait and see. I chose this month's GR Endicott Mythic Fiction group's book so am obliged to pick up St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves which should also fit challenge #22.

Mar 2, 2012, 8:22am Top

Hi Kerry. Love the jump pictures. Good luck with your reading plans. . . Quite a diverse and interesting group of books.

Mar 3, 2012, 1:26pm Top

Hi Kerry
Love the first picture, how cool!

Mar 3, 2012, 1:54pm Top

Hi Kerry. I love the Phillipe Halsman photos. Hope you feel more like reading soon - I hate book funks.

Mar 4, 2012, 3:22pm Top

Your reading ambitions are incredible. I wish I were that inspired. Currently I'm reading but writing nada.

Mar 4, 2012, 7:14pm Top

Between Shades of Grey sounds very interesting. One for me to consider. Books can change lives? I could not agree more!

Mar 4, 2012, 8:16pm Top

Those jump pictures are great!

Mar 4, 2012, 8:27pm Top

>5 avatiakh: hi Kerry, I got my $5 off voucher today at the bookshop (Paper Plus), spend at least $10 on a book and get $5 off. The books I bought didnt qualify but Ive got til March 31st to spend. Love NZ Book Month!

Brigitte Bardot is very beautiful. And she has fun big knickers on, ok, bikini pants. :)

Mar 4, 2012, 8:33pm Top

#26 Path of the Orange Peels: adventures in the early days of Tel Aviv by Nahum Gutman (1958)
Israel, YA fiction

Read for my Israel Diaspora 12in12 challenge. Path of the Orange Peels was an IBBY Honour Book in 1962
Tel Aviv was founded by the Jewish community in 1909, close to the port of Yaffo which was one of the entry points for Jewish immigration to Palestine. In 1917 the ruling Ottomans expelled all Jews from Tel Aviv and Yaffo, around 10,000 Jews were forced to leave their homes and were only able to return once the British forces had ousted the Turks from Palestine. During this time the small settlement of Tel Aviv was totally empty apart from a token few members of a guard force left to protect the property.
15 year old Nahum is with his grandmother in Petah-Tikva but the conditions are tough and the deportees have no food or money left. So when the local marketplace comes under fire and there is also a risk from the Turks who are looking for young men to serve in their army, his grandmother insists that the time is right for him to make a dash across the battlefield back to Tel Aviv which is now in British control. Along the way Nahum joins up with a brave young man on a secret mission and following the orange peel markers through the fighting zone.
This was a captivating story and Gutman, a major Israeli artist, has filled it with humorous illustrations and side notes. I knew little about the expulsion of Jews at this time in the city's history and found this story most interesting from the historical perspective.

an example of Gutman's work as an artist, Resting at Noon, 1926

From wikipedia: In late 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered WWI and aligned themselves with the Central Powers. Turkish officials in Palestine considered the recent Jewish arrivals from Russia, as well as citizens from other Allied nations, as a threat to military security. In December 1914, an expulsion order was given to the 6,000 Russian Jews who resided in Jaffa. They were resettled in Alexandria, Egypt.
The Tel Aviv and Jaffa deportation refers to the forcible deportation of the entire civilian population of Jaffa and Tel Aviv on April 6, 1917 by the Ottoman authorities in Palestine. While the Muslim evacuees were allowed to return before long, the Jewish evacuees were not allowed to return until after the British conquest of Palestine. The Jewish civilian population of Jaffa and Tel Aviv organized a migration committee which arranged the transportation of the Jewish deportees to safety with the assistance of Jews from the Galilee, who arrived in Tel Aviv with carts to help transport the deportees. The exiles were driven to Jerusalem, to cities in central Palestine (such as Petah Tikva and Kfar Saba) and to the north of Palestine, where they were scattered among the different Jewish settlements in the Lower Galilee, in Zichron Yaacov, Tiberias and Safed. Around 10,000 deportees were evacuated from Tel Aviv which as a result remained with almost no residents.
The homes and property of the Jewish civilian population of Jaffa and Tel Aviv were kept in the possession of the Ottoman authorities and they were guarded by a handful of Jewish guards. Jamal Pasha also released two Jewish doctors to join the deportees. Nonetheless, many deportees perished during the harsh winter of 1917-1918 from hunger and contagious diseases. In total some 1,500 are believed to have died, many victims buried without a name. Only after the conquest of the northern part of Palestine by the British forces at the end of 1918 were the deportees allowed to return to their homes.

Mar 4, 2012, 10:38pm Top

#27a) Jump Book by Philippe Halsman (1959)

#27b) Dali's Mustache by Salvador Dali & Philippe Halsman (1954)

#27c) Halsman at Work by Philippe and Yvonne Halsman (1989)

I came across Halsman's photography when reading about the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. The 2011 winner was Austin Ratner's The Jump Artist, a fictional look at Halsman's early life, I've added this to my tbr list. Looking at Halsman's work online, I found many images that were quite familiar and decided to track down some more of his work.
Halsman was a famous portrait photographer and did many covers for Life magazine. He liked photographing his clients while they jumped as he felt this in some way captured a glimpse into the real person behind all the celebrity. A collection of these was published in his Jump Book alongside his thoughts about what the different jump poses meant - his jumpology theories! I enjoyed the text as much if not more than the photos themselves.

Duke & Duchess of Windsor
more jump photos online here.

Dali's Mustache is a collaboration with Dali. These two loved working together and Dali was always willing to go along with Halsman's more edgy ideas. This one was dealing with celebrity and the idea of making a part of Dali famous rather than promoting Dali himself. The idea appealed to Dali as a surreal proposition and together they worked on the project with great enthusiasm.

Dali underwater blowing out milk
more mustache photos here
Halsman at Work is a selection of photographs by Halsman & his wife, Yvonne, showing the great man in action taking photographs and work on the sets/location to get these amazing shots. A great tribute book.
I'm still waiting on one more book - Unknown Halsman

#27d) Classic Cats by great photographers concept, text, compilation by Jules Farber (2005)
This book has introduced me to a wonderful selection of great photographers. Many professional photographers loved taking shots of their felines and several used them in their studio to bring out a fresh side in celebrity portraits.

photo by Ylla (Camilla Koffler), an animal photographer

Me and my cat by Wanda Wulz, 1932

Mar 4, 2012, 10:58pm Top

I love the images!!!!

Back up to post #5 and the statement that Books Change Lives, tonight I watched a documentary regarding To Kill a Mockingbird. This is the #1 book that has had an incredible impact on me.


Mar 5, 2012, 12:20am Top

Kerry, Loooove the jump photos. I am definitely looking for a Halsman book next time I'm at the library. The pictures really make me smile . . . So fun

Mar 5, 2012, 1:06am Top

Yes, I'm fairly smitten by his work.

Linda - I've read before of your great love of To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm trying to think of a book that had a big impact on me when I was young and am struggling to think of a standout.

Edited: Mar 5, 2012, 3:10am Top

28) Part of the Furniture by Mary Wesley (1997)
fiction, audiobook

I enjoyed listening to this story set in WW2 England. I added it to the February TIOLI set on an island challenge.
Juno is 17 and has decided against joining her mother who has just emigrated to Canada. I don't want to say much more as it's the sort of story you want to unfold without knowing much of the plot. There were a few bits that left me wondering about the author but overall a quaint wartime story with a romantic twist.
I followed this up by reading Wesley's wikipedia entry which made for interesting reading too. She wrote her first novel at the age of 71.

29) Hole in my Life by Jack Gantos (2002)
YA memoir

Gantos won this year's Newbery Prize with Dead End in Norvelt and when I noticed Hole in my Life on my library's digital audio list I thought I'd have a listen. HimL was a Michael Printz Award Honour Book and is a great autobiographical read about his mispent youth and time in prison. This was a great audiobook, and Gantos references so many books and great writers as his own life spirals downwards into a 1970s drug haze which ends with him agreeing to sail a yacht loaded with hash from St Croix to New York, where he's eventually arrested in a high profile drug bust. All through the narrative he writes of his desire to be a writer and the payoff for his part in the smuggling was going to finance him into a creative writing programme but ends with him serving time.
Can't wait to read more by this writer.

Edited: Mar 5, 2012, 3:34am Top

30) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J K Rowling (1998)
children's fiction

This was a reread and one that I took too long over. I tried to read at least a chapter each night but ended up spinning it out over too many weeks and the story ended up losing it's attraction. I'm hoping to focus more on the next one as I consider it to be one of my favourites in the series.

31) Yes by Deborah Burnside (2011)
YA fiction, New Zealand

YES stands for Youth Enterprise Scheme and Marty's friend Luke sees it as an opportunity to work with the girl he wants to go out with. Marty has Aspergers Syndrome and is dealing with other issues such as his mother's yearning for independence, grieving for his recently departed Granddad and his father's lack of accepting him as he is. Just coping with all the school work is enough especially with the new laptop that is meant to make it easier for him to take notes on, but ends up being more of a hassle. Luke ropes in Marty, their business mentor is an unwelcome surprise and the group struggles to come up with a plan, it is all almost more than Marty can deal with.
This was a great read, the plot was a little different and it was fun to watch the dynamics unfold between all the characters .

Edited: Mar 5, 2012, 4:41am Top

32) Nelson edited by Rob Davis (2011)
graphic novel

Loved this. A collaboration between 54 different artists and comic creators.A different artist tells the story of one day, each year, in the life of Nel, born 1968 up to 2011. Wow, I love this type of story where we don't quite know whats going on but find out enough to have to read more. Some years have a stronger storyline than others and some of the art isn't my thing but overall very very worthwhile. I love the cover and the title has more meaning once you are a few pages in.

33) Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim (2011)
graphic novel

I picked this up at the library as I found the cover appealing though my cover doesn't have all the fish. It's about two US Korean friends who hang out together. The opening scene at a restaurant is quite fun, the story is engaging if not riveting. I enjoyed it. Kim based the artwork on real locations.

34) Aya by Marguerite Abouet & Clement Oubrerie (2007)
graphic novel

This was a great graphic novel story set in 1970s Ivory Coast with wonderful artwork. I just loved the characters in this - sensible Aya who wants to be a doctor, her two girl friends who just want to have fun and all the assorted family, boyfriends and neighbourhood folk. Probably best to describe it as a black comedy with lots of laughs. There are a couple more in the series and I'll definitely be taking a look.
Library Journal: "Based on Abouet's remembrance of her childhood in Abidjan ... the story, along with French illustrator Oubrerie's artwork, brings to life an Ivory Coast not seen before--a place overflowing with vibrant, rich textiles, new words, music, food, and lively characters filled with humor, love, and the hope for a better life."

Edited: Mar 5, 2012, 5:02am Top

35) The Half Life of Ryan Davis by Melinda Szymanik (2011)
YA fiction, new zealand

This is one of the first books from Pear Jam Books and Szymanik's first YA novel. She's well known here for her great picturebook, The were-nana : (not a bedtime story).
This is a younger YA thriller type read that has numerous twists and quite a chilling ending. Ryan is 15 and along with his younger sister Gemma, coming up against their mother's restrictive and confining rules. They are all still dealing with the sudden disappearance of older sister Mallory 3 years earlier - her body has never been found but police suspect a kidnap/murder scenario. I enjoyed this but did guess most of the twists.
Talking to Blue by Ken Catran is still my favourite NZ YA novel for sending chills up my spine.

Mar 5, 2012, 10:16am Top

Lurking on your thread I know I'll always be able to read about some great books and today is no exception. Aya particularly calls to me and I've just requested it from my library. Thanks for the reviews!

Mar 5, 2012, 4:34pm Top

My goodness, Kerry, I am in AWE!

Mar 5, 2012, 6:18pm Top

Scroll, scroll, more books, scroll, scroll repeat.
Wow you have been reading!

Love the pics, and the link to more, people look cute when they jump, particularly the ones who are supposed to be composed at all times.

The Dali pic with the milk is quite amazing! It looks like his mustache is smouldering.

Find myself drawn to Hole in My Life the most. Will check library.....

Mar 5, 2012, 6:30pm Top


If you haven't read the following, I highly recommended them:

Joey Pigza Loses Control
Joey Pigza Swallows the Key
and my favorite
What Would Joey Do

I think you like Hole In My Life more than I did. I finished it last week. I guess I was comparing it to teh Joey Pigza books which I love.

It is so wonderful to share a love of YA with you.

Mar 5, 2012, 8:46pm Top

Megan - Hole in my life is like a junior version of Junky.

Linda - I think a lot of the appeal for me with Hole in my Life was the audio narration, I believe it is Gantos himself and that he was obviously an intelligent kid who wasn't engaging his brain most of the time. There's an audio sampler of the first couple of chapters here.
I've requested the first Joey Pigza book from the library and will also try to read his Dead End in Norvelt as soon as.

Roni - this is a summary of a few weeks of reading, so not many novels completed. I'm pushing through the graphic novels as so many look so good. Currently reading the autobiographical A drifting life. I need to read several New Zealand YA novels as I've been neglecting recently published ones and now need to play catch up.

Dejah - I read on wikipedia that Marguerite Abouet & Clement Oubrerie are husband and wife, and that Aya was the first graphic novel for both of them.

Mar 5, 2012, 8:50pm Top

I love the photos, Faith. I'll have to keep an eye on the books you read this month. I am unfamiliar with New Zealand authors and would certainly like to read some works by them.

Mar 5, 2012, 10:31pm Top

Caro - you've got me mixed up with Faith - dk_phoenix. This is Kerry here!
I've got three NZ adult reads lined up for the near future:
Quinine by Kelly Ana Morey which is set in Papua New Guinea
Gifted by Patrick Evans about the transforming year when Janet Frame came into her own as a writer through her friendship with writer and mentor Frank Sargeson
From under the overcoat by Sue Orr - short story collection inspired by some of the world's best short stories

and lots of YA and children's books I need to clear off my tbr pile.

Running with the Horses by Alison Lester (2009)
australia, picture book

Nina's father is stable master at the Royal Academy of Dancing Horses, part of the palace and when war arrives too quickly to their city there is no time to move the last four horses by truck across the border. Nina befriends an abandoned cab horse, Zelda, that she rides on this perilous journey with her father and their guide, a young groom. It's Zelda who knows the safe route out of the city and saves their lives once again on route. This is a lovely story, the text pitches at the younger readers perfectly and the art work is fairly awesome. Black and white inked drawings for the horses and humans set on full colour backgrounds. This really puts the focus on the Nina, her father and the horses quite spectacularly. Lester has written and illustrated several picturebooks and has also written a few horse themed novels for older readers.

“Perhaps Zelda was too old for such a hard journey, thought Nina. She bit her lip and led Zelda to the stream, where the horse drank deeply and picked at the water grass. ‘Come on, girl,’ Nina whispered. ‘Please be strong.’”
More info on Lester and images from the book here

Mar 6, 2012, 5:11am Top

36) Between shades of grey by Ruta Sepetys (2011)
YA fiction

Added to the TIOLI challenge #14: Read a book with a map. Historical fiction dealing with the forced deportation of Lithuianian 'dissidents' and their families to labour camps in Siberia during World War II. 15 yr old Lina, her younger brother Jonas and mother are taken and twelve years pass before anyone can return.
Impressive telling of a difficult story, Sepetys makes Lina a talented artist which adds an extra dimension to the narrative.

Mar 6, 2012, 8:15am Top

Between Shades of Grey sounds good... but sad. I realize it's historical fiction, but is it based on a true story at all (I mean, beyond the obvious historical aspect... heh)?

Mar 6, 2012, 1:31pm Top

It's based on true events but all the characters are fictional. She did a lot of research and interviewed survivors in Lithuania once she found that it was part of her own family history.

Mar 6, 2012, 2:52pm Top

>29 avatiakh: have added this to my library list and may buy it for my dad if I like it too :)

Mar 6, 2012, 10:11pm Top

Kerry, Thanks for all the great recommendations. I brought home A Ball for Daisy and Aya today (from the library), finished them both very quickly and am eager to return for more. : )

Edited: Mar 9, 2012, 3:53am Top

37) The Flytrap Snaps by Johanna Knox (2011)
children's fiction, new zealand

A fun read with carnivorous plants taking centre stage. Spencer gets more than he bargains for when he bids on an auction for a Venus Fly Trap that has come from a genetic engineering lab. A mystery thriller for younger readers. The book itself is beautifully designed with an embossed cover.

38) Nest of lies by Heather McQuillan (2011)
children's fiction, new zealand

Another dystopian story with a strong ecological theme. The setting is the deep south of New Zealand's South Island. The world has been devastated by a plague which has been blamed on birds. Ashlee has never seen a bird as they are considered plague carriers, stray birds are hunted and killed in the area of The Citadel where her community has settled. She lives in a restrictive environment with her father and step mother and step sisters, but is treated like a servant now that her father is away on Council business (there's a little referencing of a few fairy tales in the story). I rather enjoyed this especially once Ashlee ran away from the community to search for her long lost brother among the Outsiders and the Egghead scientists.
McQuillan's first novel Mind over Matter was a great children's scifi story and I've had to wait a few years for this, her second book.

Abandoned because there are too many books and not enough time: St Lucy's Home for girls raised by wolves. After a couple of stories I found myself thinking that I'd rather read something I liked instead of a book that had stories that were too strange and too quirky. I will read the title story over the weekend and then take it back to the library.

I'm about to start reading Calling the Gods by Jack Lasenby which has had interesting but mixed reviews.

Mar 11, 2012, 9:55am Top

As always Kerry some gloriously mixed reading here - fascinating that some of the YA stuff coming out seems more serious and grown up than the other stuff. I have noticed that, in large part thanks to you, I have spent time looking through the YA shelves in the bookstore usually holding Belle's hand as cover for my nefarious activities. Seen a few likely candidates for nearby purchases.

Mar 11, 2012, 5:19pm Top

Kerry, Have you read Jacqueline Woodson's last book? Beneath a Meth Moon? If not, I highly recommend it.

Mar 11, 2012, 6:41pm Top

Those are two good looking covers!

Edited: Mar 11, 2012, 8:47pm Top

Paul - I'm doing a little binge on YA at present, several of the books I'm reading have just been shortlisted for the NZ Post Children's & Young People's Book Awards so I'm enjoying some quality reads even if I'm not the target audience. I find YA highly enjoyable as the pace is much faster than more adult fare.

Linda - I haven't read anything by Jacqueline Woodson yet but have added several of hers to my tbr list since you reviewed her these past few months. I picked up my first Joey Pigza book from the library this morning.

Chelle - Yes, I love the covers too. Knox's partner and co-publisher is an exhibition designer and graphic artist so together with illustrator Sabrina Malcolm bought a lot of expertise to the overall look of The Flytrap Snaps.
Scholastic NZ produced a compelling image for Nest of Lies and birds do feature a lot in the story. I'm not so fond of the font they used on the cover and I noticed in one of their picturebooks recently a similar font that was a little hard to read as some of the letters were more like the touchstone brackets than part of the text. Must be someone new and less restrained on the editorial staff.

39) Twelve Minutes of Love: a tango story by Kapka Kassbova (2011)

Here's a book trailer worth watching, a short animation to promote the book and tango. Added to TIOLI challenge #1: Kassabova was born in Sofia, Bulgaria.
I really enjoyed this memoir about Kassabova's ten year addiction to tango. She manages to write about the dance, it's social history, the dancers, the international tango scene and her ten year odyssey for the perfect partner into a riveting story that by the midway point I just could not put the book down and had to finish in one sitting.
All I could say by the end is that wow, while I love tango music I'm so glad I never caught the dance bug. I enjoyed her depiction of Buenos Aires, I've been there several times and felt that she captured the essence of the city really well, and the old Indian guy selling souvenirs in Plaza Dorrigo in San Telmo, well, I've seen him a few times myself.
Loved this book and definitely going to read her Street Without a Name: Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria and look out for her novels.

This was the first book by Kassabova that I've read though I've always been interested to read her work as she caused a mini-sensation here in New Zealand when her first novel was published. Reconnaissance (1999) was short-listed for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, and won the Best First Book award in the South East Asia and South Pacific section of the 2000 Commonwealth Writers Prize, quite an achievement for a young woman whose family left Bulgaria when she was just a teenager. English is her fourth language.
There's an interview with Kapka here.

Mar 11, 2012, 9:14pm Top

I'll anxiously await your impressions on the Joey Pigza book. I was hooked on this series.

Edited: Mar 12, 2012, 7:16pm Top

40) Divergent by Veronika Roth (2011)
YA dystopian

Wow, this starts off with a roar and like The Hunger Games never lets up. Set in a gritty urban dystopian future where the city's inhabitants are divided between separate factions that together form a whole. 16 year old Beatrice or 'Tris' is about to undergo her aptitude test before choosing the faction she wants to join. The decision is important as if rejected in the initiation period the initiate becomes factionless and that is the worse kind of fate.
I raced through this and will be reading the sequel. Good fun.

41) Calling the Gods by Jack Lasenby (2011)
YA dystopian, new zealand

Jack Lasenby is one of my favourite New Zealand writers for children and young adults. He alternates between 1930s nostalgic fare (similar to Richard Peck) for children and great dystopian fantasy YAs.
This is set a few hundred years into a future New Zealand, one that has returned to basic Stone Age communities where survival and basic skills are valued. Selene and a few children, the survivors of a massacre, must sail north to a new beginning in the land that their ancestors came from. Their story of survival is remarkable as they make do with few tools, managing to build the start of a new life...but there is always one to stir trouble and dissent.

I'm up to date with the March portion of my year long Don Quixote group read. I'm actually listening to the audiobook narration by Robert Whitfield of Edith Grossman's translation. 8 hours down, 28hours left though I'm hoping to switch a few times to the hard copy and read rather than listen. Whitfield also known as Simon Vance makes it easy listening, I'm quite charmed.

Now listening to Tim Piggot-Smith reading Graham Greene's The Confidential Agent.

Edited: Mar 12, 2012, 11:33pm Top

Food challenge update:
I am determined to continue to try recipes from my cookbooks, but find that while some books inspire me, others have me looking online for similar, less complicated recipes. I have a few to update but want to mention that last week I went to a booksigning with Gordon Ramsay event at Cook the Books, a specialist cookbook/cooking class venue. I purchased a copy of Gordon Ramsay makes it easy which even comes with a dvd and got a few brief moments with the 'great man' himself. I have to say he was very charming. He came to New Zealand to settle a dispute for a charity event that he pulled out of twice (not really his choice either time, just bad timing). He was here to sway public opinion his way and I'd say he succeeded judging by the write-ups in various media.
I haven't cooked from his book yet but will look through for something to try.

Lately I've made dulce de leche cheesecake using an online recipe from Israeli food blogger, Cafe Liz (Kosher vegetarian recipes from my kitchen in Tel Aviv). The highly recommended recipe is here. I re-read David Lebovitz's blog entry on making dulce de leche and the comments section, before boiling a couple of cans of sweetened condensed milk for two hours. Lots of interesting info on his site.

My effort looked similar to Liz's image above, I also made several small cheesecakes rather than one big one. Very yum.

Last night I tried the brownie recipe in Baked: new frontiers in baking which I've had out from the library before, but found the recipe online at the Browneyed Baker blog. Really successful chocolate heaven.

I'm finidng Pinterest a good site to collect my online recipes and other stuff. Spent an initial few days totally absorbed with the site but less so now, I'm usually just going there to look up recipes or other bookmarks.

From my own books, I made a couple of recipes from Ripe recipes - Ripe is a popular deli here in Auckland and they've published a rather great cookbook. I made the Pumpkin Sage Risotto with crispy panchetta, though I didn't add the panchetta. The recipe is here, just scroll down a little. I also made their Pumpkin, Spinach & Olive couscous salad. Both were very well received.

I won't be making anything especially sweet for a long while as we are trying for a more sugar-free lifestyle. My 20 yr old son is still on his paleo-caveman kick and the wheat/grain-free habit has kicked on to other family members so pasta/bread/pizza/cake is not on anyone's list for dinner anymore. Sigh... They still eat rice. Now I'm off to find an interesting recipe for eggplants.

Mar 13, 2012, 5:01pm Top

I've added Kapka Kassabova to my wishlist. Do you think Calling the Gods would be appropriate for my daughter? She's eight and loves survival stories featuring a strong girl character (i.e. Julie of the Wolves, Island of the Blue Dolphins).

Mar 13, 2012, 5:12pm Top

Loving the photographs at the top, especially the jumping kittens (with the splayed paws, how characteristic!! and the jumping Windsors (I wonder how he got 'em to do it??)

Mar 13, 2012, 5:57pm Top

#20 Great selection of graphic novels Kerry.

#29 Between Shades of Grey is one that I keep seeing crop up in various places so I've added it to the list.

#40 The picture of the baked brownie on the website looks so good. 5 eggs though?! I think I need to get myself some ingredients to try this out this weekend (and google the English equivalents for some of the terminology).

Edited: Mar 13, 2012, 10:29pm Top

#42: Lisa, it is a great survival story with lots of detail on foraging, building shelters, making tools etc etc, but it is a for an older age group. There's also quite a lot of violence. Have you tried Hunter by Joy Cowley? I'll try to think of some more. Lasenby's children's novels are really good, but more nostalgic for the 1930s & 1940s. He also writes great tall stories and I'm about to embark on his Harry Wakatipu. If you want any I'm happy to send you a few used copies.

#43: Suzanne - there were lots of great shots in the 'cats in motion' section. Worth getting from the library to bring a little joy to your day.
Halsman said that almost everyone wanted to have a 'jump' photo, he only had 2 or 3 refusals, one being the Archbishop of Canterbury who only refused due to the gravity of his office!

#44: Heather - Shades if Grey is very good, I was keen to read it after seeing so many good reviews.
I know what you mean about the cooking measurements, I have to have a conversion site open when I make anything.
Brownies usually use a large number of eggs because they don't use BP or baking soda. This is a very decadent recipe, we are all chocolated out for a few weeks now. Baked is a well known New York bakery in Brooklyn, they've have published two cookbooks. I remember having the cookbook at home and wanting to try making almost everything in it.

Edited: Mar 13, 2012, 10:42pm Top

42) A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (2009)
graphic novel, autobiography

Fairly mammoth read at 834pgs but the pages flew by every time I picked it up. I've read his short story collections over the past few months and this stylised memoir gives a wonderful overview of Japanese manga history - the artists, their fans and their influences. Recommended and there is a documentary based on this too.
Now looking out for his Fallen Words collection based on rakugo due out in April.

Publisher's summary: Acclaimed for his visionary short-story collections The Push Man and Other Stories, Abandon the Old in Tokyo, and Good-Bye—originally created nearly forty years ago, but just as resonant now as ever—the legendary Japanese cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi has come to be recognized in North America as a precursor of today’s graphic novel movement. A Drifting Life is his monumental memoir eleven years in the making, beginning with his experiences as a child in Osaka, growing up as part of a country burdened by the shadows of World War II.

Mar 14, 2012, 5:18am Top

I've added A Drifting Life to my wishlist. Looks really interesting.

Mar 14, 2012, 2:25pm Top

43a) Super Finn by Leonie Agnew (2011)
children's fiction, new zealand

Agnew's manuscript won the Tom Fitzgibbon Award in 2010. Writing competitions like these are good entry points to getting published, your work is guaranteed to be read by the judging panel rather than sitting in a slush pile. If it is any good it will make the short list or even win and be awarded a publishing contract. I know that from time to time Scholastic have offered contracts for other manuscripts.
Super Finn is a cracking read that boys will lap up. Finn is not the brightest spark in the class and always seems to end up in one sort of trouble or another. The story revolves round a school project, 'What I want to be when I grow up', Finn is allowed to keep his chosen profession, a super-hero, as he successfully argues the point with his teacher. Now he just needs to develop a super power or save a life. What happens gets him in trouble over and over...yet each time it's more of a misunderstanding and adults rarely listen to children long enough to hear their explanations. Very funny and he does end up saving a life, the super power will have to wait. Quite the impressive debut, it's made the shortlist for this year's New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards in the Junior Fiction section.

Last year's winner has just been published, Iris's Ukelele, and I'll be attending the book launch in a couple of weeks....A story about a vampire rap musical and a strong friendship … and dreams of a shiny new purple ukulele.

43b) Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet (2008)
graphic novel

This continues the story of Aya and her family and friends in 1970s Ivory Coast. Highly enjoyable and I'm keen to get onto book 3, Aya the secrets come out, just wish I'd requested it at the same time as this one.
Abouet's husband, Clément Oubrerie, is the illustrator and this is one fabulantastic partnership. Really hard to believe that the Aya series is their first graphic novel venture.

Mar 17, 2012, 9:59pm Top

44) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (1999)
children's fiction /reread

Another instalment in my rereading of the Harry Potter series. I really enjoyed this one all over again, and now I've reached the point in the series that I'm more looking forward to, as I read the later books on the day they were published and never picked them up again. I'm hoping to come across lots of little details and minor characters that I'd forgotten all about.
Read for my 12in12 Rereads and favourite writers category.

I'm finishing up The Confidential Agent by Graham Greene for this category as well, I'm listening to the audio read by Tim Piggot-Smith. I'm also almost done with an Irish novella, Proxopera by Benedict Kiely.

Mar 18, 2012, 8:55pm Top

45) Proxopera: a tale of modern Ireland by Benedict Kiely (1980)

After listening to Colum McCann read and discuss Benedict Kiely’s “Bluebell Meadow" in the New Yorker fiction podcast series, I was keen to read Proxopera which he mentioned as a forgotten gem of Irish fiction. This is a story set during The Troubles and involves a grandfather whose family is taken hostage at his farmhouse by three Provisional IRA gunmen. He is forced to drive to the home of a judge in the nearby town with a cream can loaded with explosives.
The story was followed by an interesting afterword, 'A River at my garden's end', where Kiely tells of the numerous sources and references he used in the story. Read for my 12in12 short n' sweet category and my St Patricks Day read.

46) The Confidential Agent by Graham Greene (1939)
I listened to the audio version of the book narrated by Tim Piggot-Smith. A government agent from an unknown country, probably Spain, in the throes of civil war arrives in England to do a secret deal for coal with a group of industrialists. He manages to hit every snag possible along the way and comes up against the opposing agent who is on a similar mission. I really enjoyed this little taste of intrigue and desperation from start to finish. Piggot-Smith's accent for the agent grew on me, it was a little strange to begin with. Added to TIOLI Challenge #15: author's name divisible by 3 and my 12in12 Favourite Writers category.

47) Life: an exploded diagram by Mal Peet (2011)
YA fiction

Added to TIOLI Challenge #14: Read a book with a map and my 12in12 Favourite Writers category. A coming of age set in 1960s rural Norfolk. Peet weaves a rich girl/poor boy romance into a tense 'the world is going to end because of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962' storyline with stunning effect. By starting with the grandmother's story and taking it through to the year 2001, he is able to ring in all the changes to the county, both social and topographical through the 20th century. At the heart is Clem, a teenager with a burning love for Frankie, daughter of the local landowner. Really good but not great. He manages to give us what I presume is a realistic portrait of JFK, with all the glamour and myth wiped away. Makes me want to read a recent biography of Kennedy, but make it a short one as I'm not sure I'll like what I read.

Mar 19, 2012, 7:39am Top

Just stopping by to say hello. *waves*

I think it's still too early for me to re-read the Potter books. Maybe next year!

Mar 19, 2012, 11:10pm Top

So when did you last read or re-read them?

Mar 19, 2012, 11:23pm Top

48) A confusion of princes by Garth Nix (2012)
YA scifi

Added to TIOLI Challenge #15: author's name divisible by 3 and my 12in12 Australia category. While my library has catalogued this as an adult scifi, I felt it was more of the YA crossover type of read. I found it a great adventure romp though not as interesting as the worlds that Alastair Reynolds or Iain Banks have created. This had more of a 'game' feel to it, I felt that it would appeal to teens who play RPGs as the world was full of interesting tech for fighting. So after finishing and visiting Nix's website I wasn't that surprised to see that a social networking game is in beta development for the 'Imperial Galaxy'.
Born or 'created' a prince and now freshly graduated, Khemri finds that he is just one of ten million princes needed to administer the Empire and all of them want each other dead.
While there is room for other books set in this world, the book is a standalone read.

Mar 19, 2012, 11:39pm Top

Impatiently waiting for this one to come out on this side of the world!

Mar 20, 2012, 12:00am Top

Not sure how the library got it so early, it's not due out here till mid April. I simply flew through it and now must start on a few books that I actually bought and own instead of giving priority to a library book. I have The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan and The Sending by Isobelle Carmody awaiting my attention.

Edited: Mar 20, 2012, 1:46am Top

Aya: the secrets come out by Marguerite Abouet (2009)
graphic novel

Added to TIOLI challenge #15: author's name divisible by 3 and a shared read with brenpike.
This is the third in the Aya series of graphic novels, there are another three yet to be translated and I'm looking forward to reading them all. It seems like everyone in Aya's circle of family and friends has a secret, they all come out in the open here, and the local beauty contest finally happens but seems to have been rigged. Great fun in 1970s Ivory Coast.

Mar 20, 2012, 7:12am Top

>52 avatiakh: Hmm, longer ago than I thought, November 2008. But it still "feels" too soon yet. I've read through them all twice now. First time in 2006/7.

Edited: Mar 20, 2012, 11:05pm Top

I'm not one for re-reading but did feel that I should with these. Generally I reread a few Jane Austens from time to time and some scifi or classic that I first read in my teens.

49) Children of the Red King by Madeleine Polland (1959) (2011 Hillside Education ed)
children's historical fiction

Added to TIOLI Challenge #6: Read a book with a title word that is a heterograph/homonym - (red/read)
I can't remember how I came across mention of Madeleine Polland's historical fiction for children, it might have been on goodreads which suggests books similar to ones you are reading. Anyway I'm glad I did, this is the only one that has been recently republished and my library took up my suggestion to purchase. They didn't have any of her work in their stacks so I also picked up a few of her older paperbacks from betterworld books.
I've never heard of Hillside Education, but if they are happy to bring back new editions of older well written children's fiction then I'm all for them.
Well a visit to their website brings this mission statement:
"Our mission is to publish quality literature study guides, historical novels, and language art resources with a distinctly Catholic perspective."

The two young children of the Red King of Connacht, Grania and Fergus, are taken into the guardianship of the local Norman enemy, a chivalrous knight and his lady. The Irish clan's greatest treasure is a holy book, Colomba's illuminated Holy Gospels which Grania has rescued from destruction when their fort is attacked. There is a little treachery and bravery along with vivid descriptions of life in an Irish clan and then in a Norman castle, even a visit by King John. The children are very brave and honorable, impressing all around them with their loyalty and respect. They must wait for their father, the Red King, to come forward and make peace or worse.

50) The Captain and the Enemy by Graham Greene (1988)

Added to TIOLI Challenge #15: author's name divisible by 3 and my 12in12 Favourite Writers category. Quite a weird premise to this story. The Captain arrives at 12 yr old Victor's boarding school with a note from his father that gives him permission to take Victor out. The headmaster thinking it is for the half-day lets him go, but Victor, after being treated to a slapup lunch, is informed that he was won by the Captain in a game of backgammon and they are off to London to a new life. Unhappy at school, Victor agrees to accompany him, and so begins his new life with Eliza, the friend of the Captain. The mysterious Captain is always disappearing for weeks or months at a time and Victor, now renamed Jim, has obviously been sought as a companion for Eliza. The story ends up in Panama where the Captain has been holed up for many months and the now adult Jim has arrived to confront him.
Kenneth Branagh narrated the audiobook and did an excellent job.

Mar 21, 2012, 2:52pm Top

I only found and starred your thread today - how could I have missed it so far? I'll try and catch up on reviews and pictures over the next couple of days. Love the jump pics! I also had a quick look at thread #1 and saw we share our birthday!

The Graham Greene book sounds different from his other works (at least from those I know). I feel quite tempted to get the audio book. No need to hurry though, it'll still be there tomorrow.

Edited: Mar 21, 2012, 3:05pm Top

Thanks for the msg that Guus Kuijer won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, I really need to read some more of his books, they are waiting on my shelves ;-)

Mar 21, 2012, 3:53pm Top

Kerry - well done on making 50 books already. Children of the Red King looks like something I should find to share with Yasmyne my eldest. Love historical fiction especially of that period and place.
The Captain and the Enemy is one of the stranger Greenes. Not among his best work for sure but I would imagine narrated by Branagh it would be engaging enough.

Mar 21, 2012, 4:18pm Top

Aya looks like she has vamped up from one book to the next :)
You have done so much reading lately. And such a mixed bag too, very interesting to catch up on your thread. I'm reading a Greene at the moment too....The Quiet American.

Mar 21, 2012, 4:20pm Top

Ahhhh now Megan that one is my favourite GG.

Edited: Mar 21, 2012, 8:20pm Top

#59: Deern: I've been lurking on your thread for ages but hardly ever post. I love that we share a birthday though with time differences we might be a day apart, mine is 4 Jan.
The GG was quite interesting but I expected a little more oomph at the end that never came.

#60: Anita - from what I can see The Book of Everything is the only Kuijer translated to English. Hopefully this prize will see more of his work getting translated.

#61: Paul - Children of the Red King might be a bit young for Yasmyn. I can't think immediately of any other YA historical fiction set in Ireland but would suggest Mary Hooper for good historical YA fiction set in London. Also Katherine Sturtevant's A True and Faithful Narrative which is set in a bookshop in Restoration London. I've found this Historical Novels website quite good for finding interesting reads on particular periods of history.
Yes, I'm flying through a lot of children's fiction at present as I need to catch up on local new releases. I have a few adult books on the go also though taking my time with most of them.

#62/63: I planned to read GG's Ministry of Fear this year but saw these audiobooks on the library's website so had to download them. Can't remember if I've read The Quiet American or not, so long since I first binged on his books, I know that I gave up on the dvd film starring Brendan Fraser. Anyway I'll look out for your review.
I also downloaded The Third Man so will listen to that when I finish Lady Audley's Secret.

Currently reading:
Lady Audley's Secret on audio - loving the storyline so far
Oscar and Lucinda - just starting out and taking it slowly, but another that I'm finding really good
The Dovekeepers - one I want to love due to the setting but still a little ambivalent on
Don Quixote - enjoying the audiobook so much that I can't see myself switching to the hard copy any time soon. Reading a set amount each month as part of the year long group read.
Instruments of Darkness - Bruce Medway thriller set in West Africa - enjoying this so far
The Boy in a Suitcase - started last night and will try to hold back on it till i finish the Medway.

Stalled and hanging head in shame:
My reading globally reads - how the soldier repairs the gramophone - a Serbian setting that isn't too bad but I've stopped reading due to all the other good books i've picked up
Shades of Grey - I started this for Fforde February and really was finding it ok but stalled anyway.

The Wind-up Girl - I said I'd do the March group read but still haven't located my copy of the book - where did i put it?

Mar 21, 2012, 10:10pm Top

Given your GG reading, I'd really urge you to seek out a copy of The Man Within My Head by Pico Iyer, which gently rambles around GG and other influences on Iyer and his friends. Def. a highlight of my reading this year.

Mar 22, 2012, 12:21am Top

Suzanne, I've added it to my reading list.

Picked up Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey from the library today. Interesting to look at the thoughtful concept art. Amazing variety of designs for all the various wands. Will be browsing through it, a really huge book.

Edited: Mar 22, 2012, 4:09am Top

Marti Friedlander by Leonard Bell

I got this from the library mainly to read the forward which is by Kapka Kassabova and to enjoy the photographs. The text by Bell, an art historian, is interesting but goes into too much detail for me. Still this is a fascinating overview of Friedlander's life and work. She is one of New Zealand's revered photographers. Her portrait photography in the 60s and 70s includes wonderful images of local artists and older Maori women (kuia) with kauae moko (chin tattoo).
She grew up in a Jewish orphanage in London and emigrated to New Zealand via Israel in the early 1950s.

‘The qualities of wonder, innocence and exuberance permeate all Friedlander’s images – whether they register the grand sweep of key events in New Zealand’s post-war history or her intimate portraits.’ – Art News

Kirikino Kohitu, Waikato - 1970

Ruapekapeka - 1978

Negev - 1963
More images on her website: http://martifriedlander.com/

Mar 22, 2012, 6:41pm Top

I just wanted to say thanks for pointing me toward Aya and Aya of Yop City - they were both great. I think I'll have to break down and purchase and donate the third book to my library if I want to read it - and I do!

BTW, the Friedlander photographs are gorgeous.

Mar 22, 2012, 10:11pm Top

Weren't the Aya books fun?! Just like reading comic books from when I was a kid, but with topics interesting enough for the adult in me! Thanks from me too, Kerry . . .

Mar 22, 2012, 10:44pm Top

Great to see all the Aya love, not sure where I found out about them myself. I do read quite a few children's literature blogs and a few graphic novel blogs so maybe there or most probably somewhere here in the 75 group. I love the restrained humour in them.

Mar 23, 2012, 6:47am Top

#64: yes, January 4 it is! And I am in central Europe, so the time difference is only half a day.

I am considering spending an audible credit on the Don Quixote, because I fear that's the only way I might ever get through this book. The paper copy has been on my shelf for ages and doesn't look at all inviting. I read a comment however that the narrator uses different English dialects for many of the characters. Would you say they are easy to understand? My paper copy is a German translation, so reading while listening is not a good option.

Beautiful pictures!

Mar 23, 2012, 8:07am Top

Hi Kerry- I love your wide-range of book choices. Always something interesting. Aya sounds good. I need a few GN suggestions.
And I love the Marti Friedlander photos! Gorgeous!

Mar 23, 2012, 10:39am Top

> 41

I'm finidng Pinterest a good site to collect my online recipes and other stuff. Spent an initial few days totally absorbed with the site but less so now

Yeah. Pinterest lost my interest rather quickly as well. They do have some good recipe ideas, however. That might be their strong point.

Mar 23, 2012, 3:01pm Top

#71: Nathalie - I always find the English accent easier to listen to and must admit that I haven't noticed any difficulty with dialects. Roger Whitfield (aka Simon Vance) just makes this a pleasure to listen to and the story is so funny at times.
I've also had the book (several copies) sitting on my shelves for many years and was finally spurred to consider it this year when the 12in12 group decided to make it a year long group read.

#72: Hi Mark: Everyone is enjoying Aya, I'm getting positive feedback on my 12in12 thread as well. Just can't remember where I came across the recommendation myself. If you haven't read it yet, I'll recommend Daytripper by Gabriel Ba.

#73: Madeline - I'm down to pinning once or twice a week now, still finding it a useful resource. My daughter who lives in London often repins the ethnic recipes that I pin so it's fun to think we might be planning to cook the same food even though we're a world away from each other. I think it's a great site for anyone who is wanting to redecorate or plan a wedding or something similar.
I have a friend who uses it for teaching resources for her classroom and her boards are really interesting to look through.

Edited: Mar 23, 2012, 3:14pm Top


I can see how Pinterest is good for specialities or hobbies. I might try to make more use of it once the CSA and gardening seasons begin.

Even as I said the above, I found a recipe for chicken wings* on Pinterest today. They are in the oven and should be ready to come out in about ten minutes! :)

*I repinned them! :)

Mar 24, 2012, 7:31pm Top

#45 Hi Kerri-Thanks for the recommendations of kids survivor lit. Hunter looks good, and of the Jack Lasenby books, I thought she might like Mangrove Summer or were you thinking of the Traveller's series? The library doesn't have any titles by either author, but Amazon does.

Edited: Mar 24, 2012, 8:53pm Top

Hi Lisa, Yes, Mangrove Summer would be good, as well as surviving in the rough, it also deals with WW2 conscientous objectors and how the local community felt about them. So long since I read the Traveller series, but the first couple are quite good, the later ones get a bit weird but are good reads too.
She might also like Vince Ford's Chronicles of Stone trilogy about survival in stone age America. I thought these were excellent and it has come out in a 3in1 combo volume. The first book is Scorched Bone. It starts off with a brother/sister combo but the final volume focuses more on the brother. I'm happy to source any of these books for you if amazon proves too expensive.
Also Peter Dickinson's The Kin is good.

51) Instruments of Darkness by Robert Wilson (1995)
crime fiction

Added to the TIOLI Mercator challenge. This is the first book in the Bruce Medway quartet which is set in West Africa. I've read all of Wilson's other books but not his Bruce Medway ones and seeing i'm up to date with Camilleri's Montalbano series I thought I'd dip my toes into some West African crime. This is Wilson's first book and quite the gory debut, Medway gets on the wrong side of quite a few brutish thugs but overall it was a great little piece of escapist reading in a fairly unusual locale. Medway is based in Benin, but his 'work' sees him driving along the coast to points in Togo, Ghana and Nigeria too. He's a fixer, negotiator, debt collector, but this time he's asked to find a missing Englishman.
It's well worth reading about how Wilson started writing his noirish crime fiction set in Africa. Basically he was advised by a friend that his travel stories would never get published but maybe if he changed them to crime fiction...
from his website:
"The idea of the books was not just to tell exciting crime stories but also to give people an insight into what has happened in Africa since independence. For those who knew Africa they would set off that tingling in the blood that never leaves you once it’s got into your system. For those who didn’t know Africa they would be like survival manuals. The greatest compliment ever paid to these books came from a guy who approached me at a book launch for A Small Death in Lisbon. He was a travelling salesman who worked with a team of people in West Africa. He said: 'Whenever we were gathered together and had a particularly intractable problem we’d all look at each other and say: 'What would Bruce Medway do now?’"

Mar 24, 2012, 9:56pm Top

Kerry - happy weekend and happy reading; should be with you this time next week.

Mar 26, 2012, 8:56pm Top

Paul, I'm hoping the weather here continues to be fine like today.

52) Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1862)
fiction, audio

Not sure yet if this fits any TIOLI challenges, but if it does it will be a shared 'read' with Ilana. I was completely drawn in at the start and loved the melodrama and the slow passage to resolution. I listened to it all last night and my kitchen ended up gleaming as I kept waiting for the book to end and the plot just seemed to keep on going and going with more and more twists. I ended up falling asleep and missing most of the last two chapters, so had to backtrack and finally got to bed after midnight. There are some moralistic passages in the book where the narrator ruminates on the place of a women in society and other matters but overall I really enjoyed this gothic mystery/thriller.
The story floats around a bit at the start and then settles with Robert Audley. He's the nephew of Lord Audley who has just married a young and beautiful governess. In London, Robert bumps into an old school friend, George Talboys who has just stepped off the boat, a rich man after struggling in the goldfields of Australia. Due to reduced circumstances George had abandoned his wife and baby son three years earlier in order to make his fortune. Robert although fairly lazy by nature becomes motivated to help heartbroken George recover his spirits when he discovers his wife has died just a few days earlier.
We know that Lady Audley has a secret, but what the secret is and how Robert Audley finally uncovers the truth kept me riveted to the end.

Mar 27, 2012, 4:14am Top

53) The boy in the suitcase by Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnette Friis (2011)

Added to TIOLI challenge #19: Read a mystery of more than 300 pages. This was a compelling read, the pages just flew by. The story is told through multiple narrators, so I presume Kaaberbøl & Friis worked on separate POVs. The action starts when Nina goes to a railway station locker for her friend to collect whatever is there. Inside a suitcase she finds a young boy, naked, drugged but still alive. Now her friend is dead and Nina finds herself on the run with the boy.

Mar 27, 2012, 4:31am Top

Harry Potter Page to Screen – The Complete Filmmaking Journey by Bob McCabe (2011)

I haven't read this, just browsed through it enjoying the photographs and illustrations, reading the occasional captions. This includes a massive amount of conceptual art, costume and set design for all 8 of the Harry Potter movies. Lots to admire in the 500 plus pages and rather a heavy tome weighing in at 3.3kg (7.2lbs). Now I must lug this beast back to the library.

Mar 27, 2012, 5:05am Top

Hi Kerry, thanks for stopping by! It's not easy to keep up with LT, sometimes, is it! I think you would very much enjoy Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg if you get a chance. I enjoyed Boy in the Suitcase too. Let me know what you think about The DoveKeepers - I've been curious about that book!

Mar 27, 2012, 5:11am Top

I'm fairly lukewarm on The Dovekeepers so far, I'm 100 pages in and will keep going. I haven't read Hoffman before and don't think I will again.

Mar 27, 2012, 5:24am Top

#82: I posted before I answered the rest of your post! Yes, I'm also finding it hard to keep up on LT, I lurk mostly, finding it hard to come up with witty things to say on other threads so just visit mostly.
I thought it might be you who had read The boy in the suitcase but since they closed down the conversation feature it's hard to go back and check. I'm determined to read from my tbr piles of books which means I need to hide from all the great books everyone else is reading and raving about, though Island of Wings does sound like a good read so maybe a contender for Orange July.

Just started listening to Kafka on the Shore and really enjoying it so far. Just met the cat and the old man so will need to concentrate. Currently downloading the audio of T S Eliot's The Wasteland from my library, read by Paul Scofield, the sample sounded great.

Mar 27, 2012, 7:26am Top

#79 I've been meaning to read Lady Audley's Secret for ages. Glad you enjoyed it.

#80 & 84 The Boy in the Suitcase is already wishlisted and now I'm struggling to remember who recommended it. Was it Luci (elkiedee)?

#83 I've got The Dovekeepers out from the library but might make it a lower priority read if you're a bit lukewarm about it.

I'm also struggling to keep up with everyone here...

Mar 27, 2012, 2:36pm Top

I finding keeping up a real struggle as well, therefore I've been doing a fair amound of lurking. I, too, am interested in your opinion of The Dovekeepers, but it sounds as if perhaps it will remain on my wishlist a little longer.

Boy in a Suitcase however, sounds right up my alley!

Mar 27, 2012, 2:38pm Top

Heather: I added Lady Audley to my GR list back in 2010 so must have read quite a few good reviews for it back then. I did the audio from Librovox but had the impression it was a fairly compact novel so was surprised at how long it took to unravel the secret. Btw she took some alarming steps to cover her tracks.
As I have already read a couple of Lene Kaaberbøl's YA books I was keen to get to this one, but yes, Lucy did read this quite early on.
The Dovekeepers is a strange one and I feel that I'm a little prejudiced by some of the lukewarm reviews I've seen so far. I've read a few of Marek Halter's books about the women of the bible and I've read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and enjoyed them all so do like these biblical retellings. This one which has such an interesting setting has been marred by the introduction of wican elements that just don't 'blend' well with the historical facts of Masada IMHO. I still have 400 pages to get won over though.

I really enjoyed Laini Taylor's latest blog post about writing, I just love the advice given her by Patrick Rothfus about taking your time to get your book just right even if it means breaking deadlines :

I also want to give a shout-out to a writing idol of mine who gave me advice at a critical time last year. It was Patrick Rothfuss, and the advice was, paraphrasing: take the time you need to make the book as good as it can be. It seems like a no-brainer, no? But there's a lot of pressure to get books out in a timely manner, especially in a trilogy, especially if you have, ahem, left the reader in a place of agony (sorry!). But the other words of advice that Pat passed along were:

It will be late once, but it'll suck forever.

Mar 27, 2012, 4:45pm Top

"It will be late once, but it'll suck forever." So true. There seems to be a lot of pressure on writers (perhaps more on genre writers?) to produce a book a year (at least). I know it must make things easier from a marketing point of view but as a reader, I would rather have better books, less often if that was what writers felt worked better for them.

Mar 31, 2012, 2:12am Top

From the first thread, I loved the brownie story!!
Wordless books? why not. I'm trying to scrap one at the moment, but keep getting waylaid by other pressing things...

gee, there was something else, but I can't remember now :)

Edited: Apr 2, 2012, 10:26am Top

> 84

since they closed down the conversation feature it's hard to go back and check

Yeah. What's with that? I was looking for a conversation this week and couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting them.

I guess I'll just use the search feature now (Fill in search dialogue box - Click "Talk" - Click "Messages"). It does the same thing as "conversations" used to do.

Apr 2, 2012, 3:27pm Top

Madeline, there is a thread in bug collectors about it. Tim has said it will come back eventually! But that was a few weeks ago.

I'm having problems with my laptop these past few days but hope to be back later this week once it has been sorted.

Edited: Apr 2, 2012, 3:40pm Top

Kerry, wanted to let you know it is a joy to visit this thread, as I love the picture at the top more and more with each visit.
Hope your laptop trouble will be over soon!

Apr 4, 2012, 10:30pm Top

Will be back later to update my reading but just want to list some picturebooks I've had out of the library to look over

Waiting for Later by Tina Matthews (2011)
shortlisted for the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards but doesn't really break any new ground. I loved her first book Out of the Egg.

Demolition by Sally Sutton (2012)
A wonderful follow on from her first book, Roadworks. This book would suit any preschool machine enthusiast, a great readaloud and as she's from Christchurch I'd guess this book has been much inspired by the demolition and rebuilding that has been going on in that city over the past months. I even learnt a little more about the demolition process while reading this picturebook!

Lightning Jack by Glenda Millard, illustrated by Patricia Mullins (2012)
I'm a huge fan of Glenda Millard's junior fiction series about the Silk family and I adore Patricia Mullins' illustrative style. She also specialises in restoration of wooden carnival horses. This is a lovely picturebook featuring a striking black stallion.
There are some web photos of Mullins' restoration work on her website

A bear and a tree by Stephen Michael King (2012)
I love Stephen Michael King's work. This isn't his best work but still very much above average. A quiet sort of read. His The man who loved boxes is a classic for me.

Footwork: the story of Fred and Adele Astaire by Roxane Orgill and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch (2007)
Ilana mentioned the illustrator, Stephane Jorisch on her thread and this was the only book my library had showcasing his work.
I learnt quite a lot about Fred Astaire reading this, my mother loved his movies and it's always great to read how these stars did put in the work and deserved the acclaim.

Oh no, George by Chris Haughton (2012)
Loved this about a dog needing to learn some self-control.
George wants to be good.
But George has seen a cake.
What will George do?
Very cute book trailer on youtube, do stick around till the end though.

Edited: Apr 4, 2012, 10:46pm Top

Sketch Monsters: Escape of the Scribbles by Joshua Williamson (2011)
Bk 1
This is a graphic novel for junior readers. It's basically about expressing emotions, they're in the form of runaway monsters. It's quite cute but with monsters. I saw it recommended on Laini Taylor's blog, it's one of her little girl's current favourite books.
Preview here

Apr 5, 2012, 1:19am Top

54) The Bridge by Jane Higgins (2011)
YA dystopian

This won the Text Publishing Prize in 2010 for a YA manuscript by an unpublished New Zealand or Australian writer. It came out late last year and got some great reviews and I've finally got round to reading it as it's made the NZ Post Children's Book Awards shortlist for Senior Fiction. I read this in March but couldn't find a TIOLI challenge to fit it to.
I thought it was great, a real pageturner, that sat well with my recent reading of Veronica Roth's Divergent. Both books are gritty, urban and feature multiple groups working for and against each other in a dystopian future world. I think Higgin's vision might edge ahead for me as being more thoughtful or thought out. She's got quite an impressive bio and I think she's brought a lot of her own experiences into this book making it a really believable world.
Nik is one of the smartest students at his academy, so why hasn't he been recruited by ISIS, the organisation that keeps the Hostiles at bay. He lives in Cityside, across the river is Southside where the Hostiles live. When his school is the target of a bombing and his friend, Fyffe's younger brother is kidnapped they decide to cross over the bridge and find him.

Higgins, who lives in Christchurch, is currently writing a sequel.

Apr 5, 2012, 1:39am Top

55) Iris's Ukelele by Kathy Taylor (2012)
children's fiction

This won the Tom Fitzgibbon Award in 2011 for a children's fiction text by a previously unpublished NZ writer so I was able to add it to April's TIOLI challenge #19. Read a book that has won a literary prize not previously featured on TIOLI.
This was a fun quick read about friends, with quirky characters and set around a talent quest.
I attended the book launch last week and Kathy Taylor talked about how she dedicated her book to her daughter, Rongomai, who was at first horrified at seeing her name in print and imagining all the teasing she was going to get at school. This was because the main character, Iris, fancies a boy called Elijah and there happens to be an Elijah at Taylor's daughter's school.

The other book launch that day was for Hugh Brown's Reach which won the inaugural Tessa Duder Award in 2011 for a YA manuscript by a previously unpublished writer. He spoke of how he couldn't get an agent or a publisher to even look at his work and was about to discard his manuscript when he found out about the award and entered. With publishers less willing nowadays to take on new writers these awards become even more important for new writers. That said they did not award a winner for the 2012 Tom Fitzgibbon Award, stating that the texts just didn't reach a high enough standard.
I'll be reading Reach in the next few days, along with Uncle Trev which won the Gaelyn Gordon Award for a much loved book, just catching my breath.

Apr 5, 2012, 2:49am Top

Brian Brake lens on the world edited by Athol McCredie (2010)

This was published in conjunction with a Brian Brake photography exhibition back in 2010. I went on the opening day as I was visiting Wellington with my mother at the time. She offered to get me this book afterwards but I declined as I thought it would be an expensive impulse buy.
I got it out of the library a couple of weeks ago and was once again blown away by the beauty of his photography. It includes page spreads from Brake’s photo essays in magazines such as Life and Paris Match. Brake's international career took off in 1955 when he snapped candid images of Picasso and his family at a bullfight. I haven't read much of the text, but there are some incredibly good photographs in this book.

Monsoon Girl, 1960

Edited: Apr 5, 2012, 3:38am Top

56) Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (2010)

A fairly deceptive cover on this as it looks like a romantic historical fiction, but in reality it is magical romantic historical fiction. Jane is the 'almost' old maid plain sister who is about to be left on the shelf as her impulsive, but beautiful younger sister rakes in all the attention. But Jane excels at glamour where her sister has only the clumsiest of ability. Glamour creates the most beautiful of illusions to enhance the decor of the home so is a much looked for trait in young ladies of marriageable age.
Ok, for me the story had flaws but overall I relished reading this. Kowal admits a debt to Jane Austen in her acknowledgments, but for me this was more reminiscent of Heyer's Regency romances, anyway worth reading between other more serious works.

I possibly added this to my tbr pile due to a recommendation from Roni (?), not sure how I came across it otherwise.

Apr 5, 2012, 3:43am Top

I loved this Dalek relaxation tape a friend posted on her FB page today.

Edited: Apr 5, 2012, 7:47pm Top

57) Me and You by Niccolo Ammaniti (2010)
fiction, italy

Added to April's TIOLI Italian Spring challenge. Short but very good novel about a friendless teen boy who hides in the cellar of his apartment building in Rome. His parents think he is on a ski trip with school friends. His estranged adult half-sister turns up, she's a drug addict looking to go straight.

Apr 5, 2012, 1:11pm Top

Some great YA reads, Kerry--I'm jealous.

I agree that the Kowal book had flaws, but especially at the first, I thought she did a good job of capturing the essence of the period. At the end, it definitely devolved into farce, a la Heyer. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Apr 5, 2012, 6:14pm Top

58) The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (2011)

I was looking forward to reading this as the story of Masada has always appealed and I've never read a fictional take on it. I've visited Masada a few times and wandered through the ruins, seen the remains of the Roman camps down below and marveled at the story of the siege. So this book with such a beautiful cover photograph was giving me thrills of anticipation.

But.....after just a few pages I could sense that I wasn't the target reader. Where I wanted a fairly straightforward fiction based on history type telling, Ms Hoffman was giving me a 'woman scorned' type of story, not once but four times over with the four woman narrators, I had to read through their back stories, how they persevered in their different ways against superstition, with superstition, triumphing against other women, girl poses as boy, witches, witchery, love him but now I love him not, love for all time, girl who 'dances' with lions. Couldn't wait to get to the end....can it happen now please.
Four of the women dovekeepers at Masada narrate their tragic histories and as their current lives entwine closer and closer towards the ending of the Masada seige they begin to embrace their destinies. Motherless Yael, Shirar the witch and her daughter Aziza the warrior, and Revka the widow with her mute grandsons. I think I ended up liking Shirar most but that could be because her story coincided with the quickening pace of the story at the end.

Overall I'd say that readers will either embrace this style of yarn or not. I'm in the 'not' camp and will be looking for my Masada 'fix' elsewhere. I have requested a children's book, The rider and his horse by Erik Haugaard, at my library so will be reading that this month especially as I see it won the 1988 Phoenix Award.

Apr 5, 2012, 6:39pm Top

As I was just pondering about what books of my shelves I will read this month and seeing Erik Haugaard, I will read his The untold tale, that was awarded with a Ziveren Griffel in 1974.

Apr 5, 2012, 6:59pm Top

Anita, my library has several of his books but not The untold tale. I haven't read anything by him yet and I realised after seeing the book cover that I bought an old copy of the rider and his horse last year. Will have to go rummage in my piles of unread books, unfortunately I don't have everything in bookcases. The Phoenix Award is great as it's presented 20 years after publication to a book that has proved it's worth over time.

Apr 5, 2012, 7:40pm Top

Very late in saying, my wiwfe read and quite enjoyed, Divergent but I havent gotten to it yet. Might do it now that you've also recommended it so highly.

And Greene is someone who has grown on me to th epoint that I am starting to collect them up.

Apr 5, 2012, 11:29pm Top

> 91

Er, that will be fixed by "Tim time"? I'm hardly counting on anything happening anytime soon.

Apr 5, 2012, 11:33pm Top

> 102

Now I'm totally convinced I don't want to read The Dovekeepers. The only thing that I like about what you mentioned in your review was the setting. Glad my own book was due back back in the library, and I don't have it to worry about whether or not to read it.

Apr 6, 2012, 12:03am Top

"It will be late once but it will suck forever"

I am mentally stashing that comment away to use on editors who are impatiently demanding that I render up to them now-overdue magazine articles. Will keep you posted on whether it works!!

I loved the Marti Friedlander photos!! That is exactly the kind I adore -- the overlap between art and photojournalism. *doing small happy dance*

Apr 6, 2012, 7:01am Top

Stopping by to say hi! I'm glad you enjoyed The Boy in the Suitcase . I did too! Glad to hear that you also enjoyed Equal Stillness by Francesca Kay. Now that I've read and finally reviewed The Translation of the Bones , I'll be on the look out for An Equal Stillness.

I'll skip The Dovekeepers . Great review! I don't think I'm the target audience either! :)

Apr 6, 2012, 4:29pm Top

bummed you didn't enjoy The Dovekeepers I guess I was the targeted audience. LOL! I enjoyed it very much. But, it wasn't a page turner. I took my time with it...chapter here, chapter there...and I was quite taken with the descriptions of the time period and the peril that was endured. I found it very sad and moving. Hoffman could have skipped some of the magical references I suppose...but, I think that was a part of the culture back then....the healers, the "witches"

Apr 6, 2012, 4:54pm Top

Kerry, as you may know, I fell terribly behind on most people's threads this last month, so have been taking in your thread little by little over the past couple of days. I still have a few more reviews to pore over, but of course I knew I'd received multiple bullet hits when I came here. So much interestingness over here, it's always a bit overwhelming, in the best way possible. I had a look at some of Friendlander (new to me) on her site, and must say I loved her photos taken in Israel between the 50s-70s. I only wish they were larger so there's be more to take in! Must look up Brian Brake too.

I'll be back to catch up on the other goodies. Sorry you didn't like the Dovekeepers. I'm almost afraid to read your review because I'd wish listed it as thought it would be really interesting. But something tells me I won't be so keen after reading your views.

I skipped ahead to at least say hello and let you know that I've been traipsing around here. Thanks for your visits and comments over at my place. Always appreciated. :-)

Apr 6, 2012, 7:33pm Top

Wow, you've hit me with a couple of blue bullets here, Kerry. Shades of Milk and Honey and Me and You are definitely on my obese wish list. And I'm glad I dodged a bullet with Dovekeepers .. thanks for the heads up. There are so many books out there and so little time, I'm always happy to keep out as many bad ones from my TBR Tower as I can, to make room for the many more good ones.

Hope you have a good Easter weekend.

Apr 7, 2012, 12:23am Top

Skimming through here, but here goes...

Glad to hear the conversation function will return, I thought I must have had a brain block as I couldnt figure out how to get it going properly.

The Brian Brake photo book is pretty amazing, but I cant look at the rain on the face girl with out thinking about how it was actually a garden hose used to get that shot, and feel a bit cheated.

Agree with you there Caro on avoiding tomes to topple the TBR tower!

Apr 7, 2012, 7:48am Top

The Dovekeepers doesn't seem like my type of book either. I struggle to enjoy books where I don't like any of the characters and it seems the women are TSTL (Too Stupid To Live.)

Apr 9, 2012, 3:25am Top

#105> blackdog - I started my Graham Greenes with a reread of Brighton Rock last year. Loved it. I'd say Divergent is a greatly entertaining YA read as are two books I'm about to write up - Blood Red Road and Cinder.

#106/7> Madeline - can't see anyone with a strong Israeli/Jewish background enjoying how she plays with religious beliefs in the Dovekeepers.

#108> I also loved that quote as soon as I saw it!
#109> Hi Deb - I'm putting Translation of the bones onto my must-read list.
#110> kittenfish - yeah, it just wasn't a book for me. I did manage to finish it though.

#111> Ilana - I know the feeling of keeping up on threads, almost impossible. Marti Friedlander was commissioned by the Tel Aviv City Council back in the 1950s or 1960s to take photographs for a book about Tel Aviv. It was never published as the council rejected her photographs, her's were too honest, showing the real city with all it's faults, not the tourist picture-perfect shots that they were expecting.
#112> Caroline - hope you enjoy those book bullets when you get to them
#113> Megan - watering can not a hose, but yes, not monsoon rain at all! Can't wait for the conversation feature to come back!
#114> Morphidae - Yes, I think I'd enjoyed it better with another set of characters. The first one wanders in the desert for so long you start to hope that she'll get lost for good.

I've spent the past couple of days relaxing with some books over the Easter Weekend and updating on the readathon thread. I've managed to finish 4 books and watched some tv shows I've been meaning to catch up on since recording them last year including the Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock which my daughter and I really enjoyed.

Edited: Apr 9, 2012, 4:11am Top

59) Blood Red Road by Moira Young (2011)
YA dystopian

TIOLI challenge #3: Read a young Adult book first published since 2007. This was a lot of fun once I got to grips with the dialogue. Another pageturner that I couldn't put down. The relentless pace due to the short sentences and action-packed plot added to the fun.
Saba's twin brother, Lugh, is kidnapped just before their 18th birthday by 4 black-cloaked strangers who kill her pa. When Saba goes after them, her 9 yr old sister decides to tag along much to her chagrin. Deserts, ruins, wrecker tech, horses and cage fighting and lots of strong female characters. I particularly enjoyed the banter between Saba and Jack, and hope they get to meet up again in book #2.

60) Cinder by Marissa Meyer (2012)
YA fantasy

TIOLI challenge #3: Read a young Adult book first published since 2007. Another that I just couldn't put down. A great story based loosely around the Cinderella tale, Cinder is a cyborg and a mechanic. She longs to escape the tyranny of her guardian, then one day Prince Kai visits her market booth to get his android repaired. Comes with a plague and a Lunar race.

61) Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (2002)
fiction / audiobook

TIOLI challenge #7: Finish a book that you started between January 1, 2012 and March 28, 2012. I really enjoyed listening to this. Wow, I just have to keep reading more of his work. This is my second Murakami and I'm thinking of trying his IQ84 later in the year. Complex, surreal, great characters full of interest and a story that weaves it's way to a satisfying ending. There were moments when I was reminded a bit of American Gods and there's an awful scene involving cats but the rest is pure reading magic.

62) Finder's Shore by Anna MacKenzie (2011)
YA dystopian, New Zealand

TIOLI challenge #3: Read a young Adult book first published since 2007. This is the concluding book in The Sea-Wreck Stranger trilogy and I found it as remarkable as book #1. I especially enjoyed the final third of the book. This is a far more realistic dystopian story than Blood Red Road or Divergent. Ness joins an expedition to go back to her island home to see if there would be any possibility of trade.

Our neighbours have procured a donkey for some reason and we now have to put up with a donkey braying intermittently through the day and night. A bit surreal as we theoretically live in the city, but right on the city limits beside a couple of 4 acre properties. We haven't seen it yet, just hear it.

Apr 9, 2012, 5:13am Top

Nice to see another Murakami convert ..........

Edited: Apr 9, 2012, 5:22am Top

Thanks Alex - I'd read another of his books tomorrow except my Mt tbr has to be tackled.

Apr 9, 2012, 5:55am Top

I have to move Kafka on the Shore to a higher position on my TBR list. Nice review, Kerry.

Apr 9, 2012, 6:32am Top

Kerry trying to catch up. Some great reading here. Kafka on the Shore has been on my TBR for the last six months and I must make time for it soon. As usual am fascinated by some of the YA stuff you unearth. Glad to see you had a restful Easter.

Apr 9, 2012, 6:51am Top

I've seen Cinder recommended by several people on LT. Added to Mount TBR.

Apr 9, 2012, 8:09am Top

I've just finished Kafka on the Shore as well and enjoyed it but like you could have done without THAT cat scene. Interesting that you thought it reminded you of American Gods - I've had that on the TBR list for ever - must get round to it soon.

Edited: Apr 9, 2012, 9:51am Top

> 115

can't see anyone with a strong Israeli/Jewish background enjoying how she plays with religious beliefs in the Dovekeepers.

Thanks for the heads up, Kerri. I've decided to skip The Dovekeepers, at least for the time being. I'm now enjoying a book about Passover (Preparing Your Heart for Passover) that my soon-to-retire rabbi gave me last year. (He knows I'm as much of a bibliophile as he is.) Oddly, I find that reading this book just after seder, rather than before (and in "preparation" for Passover) is a much more fulfilling experience. The book is actually helping me dwell on why I love the holiday of Passover so much.

This year was kind of bittersweet. My husband and I no longer hosted our family seder (the second night of Passover). This year my younger son and his bride-to-be (newly converted to Judaism) hosted the seder. I don't miss the work, but I do miss the elation of hosting it. However, this is m'dor l'dor (from generation to generation) and how it should be. Thankfully, my husband and I are alive and healthy and able to enjoy this "passing over" of the seder from one generation to the next.

Apr 9, 2012, 9:58am Top

Glad to see you thought Kafka on the Shore* is a fun read. Have you ever read his book of short stories called The Elephant Vanishes? I like that the best of all his books.

*That Murakami book for some reason brings to mind the book by Israeli author David Grossman and his book The Zig Zag Kid. Did you ever read that? It's also about a strange adult character and a teenage boy. It's also a fun read. If you haven't read it yet, I guarantee you'll love it. It's not a "heavy" read as some other Grossman books are...so go for it!

Apr 10, 2012, 1:25am Top

Madeline - I have read The Zig Zag Kid and yes, it does sort of reflect parts of Kafka on the Shore. I found the parts with Nakata, the old man reminded me of American Gods. All three are memorable reads. I must read more by Grossman too.
Sounds like you had a lovely Seder night. We don't usually do a Seder as we aren't religious, my husband wouldn't support me doing the conversion to Judaism and I didn't have in-laws to encourage us.

Rhian - the part with Nakata and Hoshino put me in mind of American Gods from time to time. Quite a different read, though I think if you liked one you'd go for the other.

Morphy - Cinder is a great read and a promising start to the series.

Darryl & Paul: you'll both enjoy Kafka on the Shore I'm sure. It seems to make most people's favourite list.

Edited: Apr 10, 2012, 2:21am Top

63) The other side of the island by Allegra Goodman (2008)
YA dystopian

Added to TIOLI challenge: read a YA book published after 2007. I'm reading a few YA and children's books set on islands for a themed booklist. This one I feel is more a middle grade read though it comes from the YA section of my library.
Honour comes with her parents to Island 365 in the tropical Tranquil Sea. Everything is controlled and manipulated by the Corporation and ruled over by the Earth Mother. Weather is manipulated to be always calm and the children are raised to accept and obey the rules. To Honour's chagrin her parents are different, not always abiding by the rules, they even have the audacity to keep their second child instead of passing him over to a childless couple. They might even be, she can barely consider the thought.....objectors. Fairly thought provoking story but the plot could have been a little tighter.
I'm interested to try her adult fiction.

64) Eye of the wolf by Daniel Pennac (1984)
children's fiction

Added to TIOLI Other Awards challenge. Sarah Adams won the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation in 2005 for her translation of this children's fable. A wolf eyes a boy....a boy eyes a wolf. After days of staring...one eye into the other, they share their stories. The wolf tells of his Alaskan childhood and capture, then the young African boy tells of his journey through Africa to the Other World. Mesmerizing. I've enjoyed reading Pennac's The Rights of a Reader and his School Blues memoir, now I need to tackle his crime fiction.

Apr 10, 2012, 4:45am Top

#125 The sections in Kafka in the Shore which dealt with Nakata and Hoshino were my favourite parts - I really liked the relationship between them. I need to move American Gods up the TBR list then - I liked Neverwhere and The Graveyard Book.

Apr 10, 2012, 6:36am Top

Joey Pigza swallowed the key by Jack Gantos (1998)
children's fiction

Jack Gantos won this year's Newbery Medal for Dead End in Norvelt. I read his Hole in my Life a few weeks ago and thought I should read one of his earlier fictions. This is the first of four Joey Pigza books. Joey is a boy who is struggling to overcome a tough start in life, extreme ADD or ADHD and adjusting to the return of his mother. We follow Joey through his ups and downs at school until intervention and a six week session at a special education centre sees Joey finally given the right type of medication. Gantos injects the story with humour and soul. Joey is an appealing character.

Apr 10, 2012, 8:13am Top

> 125

Wish you were closer, Kerri. It would be really fun to have you here for seder! I would say our seders are more enjoyable than they are religious "affliction" and often (as this year) have non-Jewish guests.

Apr 10, 2012, 10:56am Top

Your description of Eye of the wolf got me, so I've put in a request at the library.

Chag Sameach.

Edited: Apr 16, 2012, 2:19am Top

#129: That looks like a great seder Madeline.
#130: Ardene - I hope you enjoy it.

I'm up to date with the Don Quixote group read, having finished Book 1 and at the halfway point. As it's a year long read I don't need to pick it up again now till June.

Apr 16, 2012, 1:46am Top

65a) Dark Warning by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (2012)
children's fiction, ireland

I really liked Fitzpatrick's first children's novel Timecatcher so picked this one up fresh off the press. It's an historical novel set in 18C Dublin. The main character is a young girl, Taney, who has inherited her late mother's talent for second sight. She is befriended by Billy, a crippled orphan, who uses her talent to win at betting. As she begins work with her stepmother at a grand Dublin home, her ability for premonition is darkened by violent attacks on young female servants. This was a rather creepy but predictable story and I loved the descriptions of life in Dublin, especially the Samhain night celebrations, also the interesting cast of characters.
Added to the TIOLI Apriil vowels challenge.
Fitzpatrick is also an illustrator of children's books and I always anticipate reading the works by these talented illustrator turned writer individuals. Others to move from illustrating to writing include Ian Beck and Mal Peet.

65b) The Island Horse by Susan Hughes (2012)
children's fiction, canada

This is a delightful children's story set on Canada's remote Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia in the early 1800s. 9 year old Ellie and her father move to the island when he gets work as a shore rescuer. The landscape is bleak, the wind unrelenting, but there is a beauty of sorts in this harsh place. As Ellie starts to make friends with a wild island horse she learns that soon there will be the annual round-up where horses will be taken to the mainland to be sold.
Not only does Hughes in her author's notes make one aware of the history of ship wrecks around the island, she also highlights the recent plight of the wild horses .
Lovely pencil illustrations by Alicia Quist.

Edited: Apr 18, 2012, 1:36am Top

66) Death of a superhero by Anthony McCarten (2005)
fiction, new zealand

This is a great novel for adults that has possible crossover appeal to teens. The story follows both Donald Delpe, a teen boy with terminal cancer and his psychologist - one with no life left to live and the other not living his life.
The book was first published in New Zealand and was set in Wellington, the following year it was published in the UK and edited to set the book in Watford, North London. With it's film script like narrative and Donald's comic book escapism I couldn't resist picking it up. So glad I did, it's quite different but good different.
I picked this book up mainly because McCarten has just written a sequel, In the Absence of Heroes, that has a very appealing plot. Also McCarten will be at next month's Auckland Writer's Festival so I'm hoping to finish the sequel before then.
Added to TIOLI #19: Read a book that has won a literary prize not previously featured on TIOLI. It was published in Germany and Austria as a YA novel and shortlisted for a German literature prize and won Austria's Youth Literature Prize and has recently been made into a movie starring Andy Serkis.

McCarten is also a playwright and filmaker and is now based in London. Along with Stephen Sinclair, he sued and lost for copyright infringement back in 1998 against the makers of the film The Full Monty which appeared to be a remake of their popular play, Ladies Night. I saw Ladies Night back in the late 1980s and had always assumed The Full Monty was some sort of film version of the play.

67a) Dirt Bomb by Fleur Beale (2011)
YA fiction, new zealand

Added to Madeline's TIOLI challenge #1. Once again Fleur Beale writes a great novel for teenage boys set around cars. I thought her Slide the Corner was fantastic, and learnt a lot about rally driving from reading it. This one is not just about getting an abandoned wreck of a Holden Commodore up and running as a 'paddock basher' but also about Jake's change of outlook through the school holidays. This has been shortlisted for the 2012 NZ Post Awards Young Adult fiction and Fleur Beale was awarded the Margaret Mahy Medal for contribution to New Zealand children's literature last month.

Apr 16, 2012, 4:15pm Top

Kerry, I got such a thrill to see Anthony McCarten mentioned! When I finished my undergraduate degree my favourite lecturer (who taught my New Zealand literature and culture module) gave me a copy of Spinners as a gift. He, and the gift, were real paradigm shifts in my life and it's just been so lovely to revisit all those warm feelings as a result of your post!

Apr 16, 2012, 6:41pm Top

Kerry, I finally received, and read Halsman at Work and Dali's Mustache today. I really enjoyed both of them. Dali's Mustache, especially, made me laugh. Thanks for mentioning them. . .

Apr 17, 2012, 4:23pm Top

Eimear - thanks for posting that, I have to say I'm very much excited by his writing style and can't wait to read more of his work. I have a copy of Spinners so will bump it up my mountain of books. His new book got quite a bit of media attention here as he's an upcoming guest at our writers festival and I'm hoping that I get a chance to attend his talk. I volunteer at the festival so don't always get to the talks that I want to. McCarten appears to be a real creative talent judging by his accomplishments so far, can't wait to read this latest book by him.

I've just started reading yet another YA novel, this one won the 2011 inaugural Tessa Duder Award for a previously unpublished writer, Hugh Brown's Reach and it also has a comic book alter ego thing going on. A little different but now I wonder if there was any influence from the McCarten novel. I met Hugh at the launch of his book at our annual Margaret Mahy Day so am looking forward to enjoying this.

You might be interested in a new publication from here, A made-up place: New Zealand in Young Adult Fiction by various lecturers at Victoria University.

Brenda - wasn't Dali's Moustache a great collaboration between the two artists.

I've finally read a YA book that's sat on my TBR pile for the past 7 years and so am feeling very pleased with myself for getting it off the shelf. Penelope Todd's Box is quite political and would make for great classroom discussion. I'm finding it hard to settle to my next audio book, so am listening to Kafka's The Metamorphosis before jumping into a bigger listen, probably have to be something narrated by John Lee which means another Alastair Reynold's scifi adventure.

Apr 17, 2012, 4:25pm Top

*waving* at Kerry

Apr 18, 2012, 3:03am Top

Hi Stasia - great to see you posting around the group

67b) Box by Penelope Todd (2005)
YA fiction, new zealand

Added to TIOLI challenge #11: Read a first person narrative in which the narrator is the opposite sex from the author.
I've been meaning to read this since it came out 7 years ago, just one of those books I kept putting to one side. Quite a thought-provoking novel that should lead to useful classroom discussions about government and personal freedoms.
It's set in a present day New Zealand but one that has a government cuddling up to a multinational pharmaceutical company that makes vaccines against the pandemics that keep flaring up around the world. The government offers up New Zealand for the company to trial Endorsement - a multi vaccine system through the implantation of a small device in the wrist that will also regulate body chemistry and control emotions. It's a massive social experiment and one the teenagers are going to rebel against. The story follows Derik, a 15 yr old abstainer who is on the run.
I liked it quite a lot though I couldn't accept the sweeping acceptance by the majority of adults and tertiary students that the story seemed to take as given. But a good read for this age group.

I followed up on my recent viewing of the film The Hunger Games with a couple of older films that also effect a kind of game/broadcast format. Death Race 2000 is a cult action movie very much a product of the 1970s but I found parts of it rather fun. Today I watched the much more serious Punishment Park (1971) which is a Peter Watkins "pseudo documentary of a British and West German film crew following National Guard soldiers and police as they pursue members of a counterculture group across a Californian desert." I hadn't come across Watkins name before, though unknowingly I had attempted to watch his Norwegian movie, Edward Munch last year but the subtitles did me in. He's British but done most of his work internationally.

67c) The Metamorphosis by Frank Kafka (1915)

I listened to this short story after finishing Don Quixote and while I was searching through and sampling some other audiobooks that didn't appeal. I'm now happily ensconced on the island of Corfu with Gerald Durrell and My family and other animals.
This was my first venture into Kafka, a writer that I've long wanted to read but just haven't managed to prioritise. I want to read Ripellino's Magic Prague but need to read more Czech literature before I do. Anyway it was a great diversion, the rest of the audiobook was short stories by Guy de Maupassant but I didn't like the narrator enough to continue.

Just have to mention before I forget, the packing for the Durrell family's trip to Corfu - his oldest brother, writer Lawrence (Larry) Durrell, packs two steamer trunks full of books and carries his clothes in a briefcase.

Apr 18, 2012, 3:50am Top

Kerry, I read My family and other animals recently and found it very amusing. . . Enjoy!

Apr 18, 2012, 7:14pm Top

#138: Adding Box to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Kerry.

Edited: Apr 22, 2012, 2:10pm Top

I added Death of a Superhero to the WL and lucky for me, they have it at the library too. It's also the only book they have by McCarten though. He lost big time on The Full Monty if it was indeed plagiarized since I remember that being a very popular movie wasn't it?

Box definitely sounds intriguing, but probably hard to find.

On the other hand My family and other animals is more readily available and sounds like something I'd really enjoy. Have yet to read works by both Durrell brothers and have the full Alexandria Quartet sitting on my shelves; I bought these beautiful vintage hardbacks from a used book shop and I hope to get to them some time, but probably not this year.


Just went looking for My Family and Other Animals and found this beautiful edition by Penguin Essentials:

found here http://www.briancairns.com/folio11.html I just now discovered Brian Cairns and am loving his work!

There's a very nice 50th anniversary Puffin edition as well, but decided to order the above right away. I just know I will love it. Love the Greek islands, love animals, love kooky stories... what's not to like?

Don Quixote: haven't jumped in yet. Don't know if I ever will really. The book is staring at me now, just inches away. And while I'm sure the Simon Vance audio is great, I've got my sights set on the Roy McMillan version... will I or will I not spend the credit on Audible is the question...

eta: reduced book cover size. I was quite keen and had posted it HUGE!

Apr 23, 2012, 2:39am Top

#139: It's fun isn't it. Have you seen the 2005 movie, that's great too.

#140: Hi Stasia, I doubt whether this is available outside NZ and Australia. If I can think of a US title with a similar plotline I'll let you know.

#141: Hi Ilana - I love that cover of My family, I know my actual paperback copy is fairly ordinary and probably quite old. I'm also up for some more of the Greek Islands, though I need to read Zorba before I tackle anything else.

DQ - you have to be ready for it. I'm still on the audio version when I said that I'd switch to the paper one asap. I downloaded the audio over a year ago so have been procrastinating on the book. It feels good to be finally making my way through it and the slow pace has been just right for me - I haven't felt overwhelmed by the size.

Apr 24, 2012, 12:15am Top

>136 avatiakh: re: Tessa Duder award...have you read any of the book she wrote? none ever grabbed me....there were a lot of them at the Rotary book sale the other week and I wondered if the proliferation was evidence of a good or a bad writer!

Apr 24, 2012, 2:54am Top

I think you have to careful which ones you try, I haven't read any of her adult nonfiction apart from the Mahy book. Her first children's book, Night Race to Kawau is really good, all about yachting. And I also liked Alex and Jellybean, the Tiggie Thompson series not so much. Her literary biography Margaret Mahy: A Writer's Life is a good read too.

Apr 25, 2012, 8:36am Top

#102 I've got The Dovekeepers out of the library but I can't decide if I really want to read it at the moment or not.

#116 Blood Red Road and Cinder are both books I would like to read but I'll probably wait until the sequel(s) are out before starting Blood Red Road. And I'm another person who has had Kafka on the Shore lingering in my TBR pile for far too long!

#126 Eye of the Wolf has gone on the wishlist.

Apr 30, 2012, 5:30am Top

68) Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (1988)
fiction, australia

TIOLI challenge #7: Finish a book that you started between January 1, 2012 and March 28, 2012. This has been a long term resident on my Mt tbr and I was determined to tackle it this year as it is also a shared book with JanetinLondon

I read this slowly to savour the writing which is dense and full of wonderful descriptions of place and character. The story is set in the mid 19C and split at first between Oscar's weird religious upbringing in England and Lucinda's unconventional childhood on an Australia farm. Wow, two odder characters you just could not imagine and one waits and waits for them to meet. The first third of the book was interesting, the middle made me squirm, the last third was painful and the ending truly made me appreciate Mr Carey's skill as a writer.
I've now read two books by Peter Carey and will try to make time for his Jack Maggs and True History of the Kelly Gang later this year. I followed up my read with the 1992 movie which stars Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes and while I enjoyed certain scenes, the movie just couldn't do justice to such a complex story and, blasphemy, the ending was changed.

Apr 30, 2012, 5:44am Top

69) Reach by Hugh Brown (2012)
YA fiction, new zealand

TIOLI challenge #3. Read a young Adult book first published since 2007. I mentioned earlier that this won the inaugural Tessa Duder YA manuscript Award last year and the book launch was held last month, where I got to meet the author.
This is a realistic novel of a sensitive teenage boy who lives with his grandparents after his parents' marriage breakup. Mostly it's about Will finally making friendships and sorting out his feelings about his mother who walked out five years earlier. What I really enjoyed with this book was the relationship Will had with his grandparents. A satisfying read with memorable characters.

Apr 30, 2012, 5:52am Top

70) My family and other animals by Gerald Durrell (1956)

I listened an audio version of the book and loved it all from start to finish. I watched the wonderful 2005 film a couple of years ago and have been meaning to read the book ever since. Durrell observes his family and their Greek friends just as thoroughly as he observes the fauna of Corfu in this (slightly fictionalised) memoir. The Durrells leave the rainy dreary London weather behind and embark on an extended stay on the island of Corfu, only leaving when WW2 is about to start. There are two more books in the Corfu trilogy.

Apr 30, 2012, 5:59am Top

71a) Island of thieves by Josh Lacey (2012)
children's fiction

A fast paced adventure story set in Peru. Tom is meant to be staying with his Uncle Harvey in London while his parents take off on a childfree holiday, but Uncle Harvey ends up taking him to Peru in pursuit of a treasure from the16C. Unfortunately they have Peru's most notorius gangster on their trail. Quite fun.

71b) Rat Island by Stu Duvall (2011)
children's fiction

A quick piratey read with a little horror mixed in. Not recommended for sensitive children - those rats.....

71c) Monster Island by Justin Richards (2012)
children's fiction

A scifi adventure in the style of Jurassic Park with vicious henchmen and a genetic experiment gone haywire.

Edited: Apr 30, 2012, 6:12am Top

72) Dirty little secrets by C.J. Omololu (2010)
YA fiction

I saw Luxx 's review and couldn't not read this one. Lucy has managed to hide the truth about her mother and how they live from everyone. She's got 2 years left before graduation and moving out like her older brother and sister have already done, then she'll be able to live a normal life. The cute boy has just asked her on a date, but Lucy has to face the longest night of her life....her mother is a compulsive hoarder, their house is a rubbish tip and the worse thing in the world has just happened.

Really interesting read as the action takes place over one night but as Lucy also delves into the past we see the clues to her mother's deterioration.

TIOLI challenge #3. Read a young Adult book first published since 2007.

Apr 30, 2012, 6:19am Top

73) The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly (1928)
children's fiction

TIOLI challenge #1. Read a book with a title in which the last letter is in rolling alphabetical order. This won the 1929 Newbery Medal. This historical novel is set in 15C Krakow and is rich in detail of the life and politics of the time as well as telling an exciting tale. The writing is a bit archaic to start with, especially as first, the original legend of the 13C trumpeter must be told in order for the main story to hold. I really enjoyed this and have been meaning to read it since my own visit to Krakow a few years ago.
Thanks to Linda for mentioning the book on her thread which finally nudged me to put in a library request.

Apr 30, 2012, 6:22am Top

74) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (1911)

This was a quick audiobook listen as I'm finding it hard to settle to a longer 'listen'. Quite hard to say how I felt about this one, so bleak and sad, yet probably true to how life was in those times.

Apr 30, 2012, 4:22pm Top

Fearless by Colin Thompson (2009)
picturebook, australia

Fearless in love by Colin Thompson (2012)
picturebook, Australia

Both illustrated by Sarah Davis, a NZer living in Australia.
These are both utterly delightful, though I think Fearless in Love edges out the original book for me. The first book is about the unfortunate names we can give our pets (and people) and how they might not live up to them. The second book is about little Fearless following his mother's advice to love all and watch the love flow back...but he 'loves' widely and with too much enthusiasm and earns black marks from the family as he 'loves' their shoes, books, bags, mail etc. Finally he meets Primrose, and begins to understand what love really means.
Colin Thompson writes really well for this age group, I think the fact that he started out as an illustrator gives him the understanding of not overstating the text. He does humour very well too.

Apr 30, 2012, 4:40pm Top

75) A brief history of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper (2008)
YA fiction, australia

Added to TIOLI #19: Read a book that has won a literary prize not previously featured on TIOLI. This won the Ethel Turner Literature Prize in 2009 and is the first in the Montmaray Journals trilogy. I've already dived into book #2 The FitzOsbornes in exile. This first part of the trilogy is set on the fictional island kingdom of Montmaray in the Bay of Biscay just off the coast of Spain. A tiny barren rock with a castle and a village, the FitzOsbornes have ruled here for over 400 years but the male population was wiped out on the Western Front during WW1 and most of the remaining villagers fled to Cornwall for a better life, leaving the young royals with a couple of servants and a 'mad' king who has been bedridden for years. Sophie FitzOsborne keeps a journal of their last months on the island, the dwindling fortune, and the political intrigue of the tiny kingdom beside a country plunging into civil war.
Highly enjoyable and very likeable cast of characters.

Apr 30, 2012, 4:49pm Top

76) Survival: Alpha Force by Chris Ryan (2002)
YA fiction

This is the first of 10 books in the Alpha Force series by ex-SAS hero Chris Ryan. A bunch of mismatched teenagers end up fighting for survival on a remote tropical island in the Indonesian Sea. When they are finally able to put egos aside and work as a team they find themselves able to cope with the dangers they face....white shark attack, komodo dragons, deadly pirates etc etc. I love these type of adventure stories and found this a lively relief to the opening chapter of Beauty Queens which is another survival in the wild story. Recommended to young teens who savour thrilling adventure.

Edited: Apr 30, 2012, 5:04pm Top

The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman (2010)
fiction, novella

This was first published by Madras Press who 'publish individually bound short stories and novella-length booklets and distributes the proceeds to a growing list of charitable organizations chosen by our authors.'
The appealing hardcovered edition I read was published by The Friday Project (a HarperCollins imprint) and the look of the book was one of the main reasons I picked it up. This is a fable-like story, fairly absurd but I like that. A gun-wielding robber holds up a bank and demands from the customers and staff - not their valuables or money but an item of the most sentimental value to them.
20. Read a book that has been published in an edition with a flower on the cover.

Edited: Apr 30, 2012, 5:20pm Top

77) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (2012)
YA fiction

TIOLI challenge #3. Read a young Adult book first published since 2007. I just could not put this book down, I had to know how it ended. The plot takes some unravelling at the start as it's one of those backwards and forwards reads where the narrator is in the story but telling it from the POV of another character. Queenie is being interrogated by the Gestapo, she's been arrested in France as an enemy agent and is writing a confession for the supervising officer in between torture sessions.

Wein is a pilot and wanted to bring to life one of the more forgotten areas of World War Two - the women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). But how she does it is fairly remarkable and in her author notes she says that she worked very hard to make sure each major plot point was plausible. I got so wrapped up in the story that I was happy to lay aside a few quibbles.

Edited: Apr 30, 2012, 5:27pm Top

You have been busy Kerry, and not only reading them; nice reviews too ;-)
Sadly I haven't found any of them translated :-(

Edited: Apr 30, 2012, 8:00pm Top

78) The Third Man by Graham Greene

Another audiobook listen as I just haven't felt like listening to a longer book as yet. I found this mystery thriller quite hard to follow as the narration switches between two characters and I didn't always notice. It's set in postwar Vienna, the city is divided into sectors each one controlled by a different Allied Power. There is a blackmarket and a large number of displaced persons still arriving from Eastern Europe and Russian control. A down at heels writer arrives from England to find that his old school friend has just died after being knocked down by a car, but as he asks questions the witnesses' testimonies don't add up. Fairly thrilling ending set underground that I'd love to see on film.
I see on wikipedia that this novella was written as prep for the screenplay of the movie.

Apr 30, 2012, 5:40pm Top

#158: A shame that some of these like the Krakow book haven't been translated. I've had to read on the theme of islands to explain some of the current selection of books. I don't think I can handle another one for a while. Are Philip Reeve's books available in Dutch? I have his latest, Goblins out from the library at the moment.

Apr 30, 2012, 5:53pm Top

> 160: Yes it is... Philip Reeve... yes, some of his books are translated, but his latest not yet.
My library has Here lies Arthur, Mortal engines, Predator's gold and Infernal devices in translation, all recommended?

Apr 30, 2012, 6:25pm Top

Yes, I love the Hungry Cities series, start with Mortal Engines. I have a signed print of the cover art for book 4 A Darkling Plain, got it in a charity auction. Here lies Arthur is a great retelling of the Arthur myth and won the Carnegie Medal.

Edited: Apr 30, 2012, 7:18pm Top

Auckland Writers and Readers Festival 9-13 May

May Reading:
As the annual festival is this month and i'm a volunteer I have lots to look forward to. This year I'm busy for the schools programme and a business breakfast and so am free to attend all the adult programme (with free entry to all events).
Noted international writers attending include Sebastian Barry (Ireland), Jeffrey Eugenides (USA), Roddy Doyle (Ireland), Geoff Dyer (UK), A.D. Miller (UK), Lawrence M. Krauss (US/Canada), Chandran Nair (Hong Kong & speaker at the breakfast event), Mal Peet (UK), Stella Rimington (UK), Jesmyn Ward (US), Charlotte Wood (Australia).

My focus this month will be on the attending New Zealand writers and so I have lined up:
Anthony McCarten - I have Spinners, Brilliance and In the absence of heroes all lined up. Loved his Death of a superhero.

Emily Perkins - her latest The Forrests has already been generating buzz internationally. Sadly I haven't read her Novel about my wife or any of her other work, so intend to finally read one of these. Perkins is the front person on our local, soon to disappear, TV book show, The Good Word.

Paula Morris - I've recently read some great reviews for Rangatira so must get to it. I love attending her sessions.

Paula Green - I will be listening to a school session on poetry so have pulled her 99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry: over 85 key poems plus 25 poets talk about their work off the shelf - it is an interesting tome to dip into.

Stephanie Johnson - co-founder of the festival, her latest book, The Open World is an historical novel.

Gordon McLauchlan - he's just published a revised The Passionless People, The Passionless People revisited which I have out from the library at present.


I added a challenge to read a work of biographical fiction as I seem to have so many of these lurking near the top of my tbr pile currently. So my other focus for the month will be on some of the books I've already listed for various TIOLI challenges as well as finishing up my current leftovers from April such as Gillespie and I, Sea hearts and God is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World.

Challenge #1: Read a book originally written in a Slavic language
The Seven Churches - (Czech) - Miloš Urban
I wanted to add How the soldier repairs the gramophone by Saša Stanišic who is Bosnian but he wrote this in German.

Challenge #5: Black & White
White Cat (white) - Holly Black - need to start this series before she finishes it

Challenge #13: Read a book with a word related to gardening in the title
Under the Domim Tree (tree) - Gila Almagor

Challenge #15: Read a book of biographical fiction
Brilliance - Anthony McCarten - (Thomas Edison) - inventor
The Jump Artist - Austin Ratner - (Philippe Halsman) - photographer
Konstantin - Tom Bullough - (Konstantin Tsiolkovsky) - Russian space programme
Mansfield - C.K. Stead - (Katherine Mansfield) - writer
Rangatira - Paula Morris (Paratene Te Manu) - Maori chief
also could add
Patrick Evans Gifted (Janet Frame & Frank Sargeson) - writers
James McNeish Lovelock (Jack Lovelock) Berlin Olympics medal winner

Challenge #16: Read a book set in a vacation destination city
Perla (Buenos Aires) - Carolina De Robertis - my last 3 holidays have been in BA

Challenge #18: Read a book with a title word that forms another word when reversed
A man you can bank on (on/no) - Derek Hansen - NZer now living in Australia and I'm keen to read his work.
Tam Lin (Tam/mat) - Pamela Dean

Challenge #21: Read a book set in, about, or with an author from the Far East
Earth Dragon, Fire Hare (Malaysia) - Ken Catran - NZ YA

May's Murder and Mayhem:

A fairy gunmother by Daniel Pennac
and hopefully
Zoo Station by David Downing

This is a reading selection rather than a must read this month. I also have other enticing reads out from the library such as:

The Man within my head by Pico Iyer - about the writing of Graham Greene
The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach - German scifi
and Philip Reeve's Goblins

Apr 30, 2012, 10:03pm Top

Wow! Great books behind you, and great books ahead. I added Code Name Verity to my TBR. Plus you reminded me to go update my April TIOLI. I can't believe tomorrow is May 1!

Apr 30, 2012, 10:08pm Top

I loved My Family and Other Animals when I read it. I am going to have to track down a copy of the edition you showed. It is pretty!

Apr 30, 2012, 11:07pm Top

For anyone having trouble locating classic Australian & New Zealand novels, Text Publishing have announced their new series.

'The Text Classics series is designed to unearth some of the lost marvels of our literature, and to allow readers to rediscover wonderful books they have never forgotten. These books are milestones in the Australian experience. We have chosen them in the conviction that they still have much to say to us, undiminished in their power to delight, challenge and surprise us.'

So far 35 books available

Apr 30, 2012, 11:20pm Top

#164: Lisa, it's already Tuesday pm here! I haven't read more than a couple of pages today and have a volunteers meeting in the city tonight for the festival.

#165: Stasia - Yes, I think you mean the edition that Ilana posted, that is a lovely cover. I loved that book and must get on to some more of his work.

Apr 30, 2012, 11:55pm Top

Hooray- 75 books reached! Well done, what an amazingly prolific reader you are.

Love the NZ/Aus collection you have pictured. I dont see many NZ authors I recognise....and how about Coetzee...isn't he South African? Or am I mistaken?

May 1, 2012, 12:03am Top

Yes, primarily an Australian collection. I think Coetzee lives in Australia now. Morrieson & Ballentyne were published in Australia not NZ so that's probably why they've been included here. Books are $12.95 AUD so cheap like the Penguin classic series but nicer covers than the orange/white bands and they all come with an introductory essay.

May 1, 2012, 12:44am Top

Ha, ha. I got an extra day of reading in before the end of the month totals. Of course, you'll get a head start on next month. ;-)

I would love to own a nice, illustrated copy of My Family and Other Animals. My daughter and I have looked up on the Internet photos of some of the insects and animals he mentions. For instance, how lacewing fly eggs look (just as he describes, actually, but it's fun to see a photo none-the-less).

May 1, 2012, 8:58am Top

Wow, you've read tons lately! I really liked My Family and Other Animals but didn't realized it was fictionalized.

May 1, 2012, 3:10pm Top

Morphy - I think it was more a blurring of the truth. Lawrence Durrell was already married and living with his wife in a different part of Corfu.

May 2, 2012, 6:03pm Top


May 2, 2012, 8:35pm Top

Congratulations on reaching the 75 challenge goal so early in the year. I note that you read Ethan Fromme. I read the book and then followed it by watching the movie. I admit, I was tremendously upset with Ethan Fromme's weakness and lack of a backbone. It was annoying to me.

His wife -- what a crazy manipulator!

I love visiting your thread to find all these YA gems!

Edited: May 4, 2012, 3:00am Top

Thanks, I'm sure to slow down as I'm meant to be picking up chunkier books this year. And saying that , here's another quick but worthy read -

79) Mister Blue by Jaques Poulin (1989) (2011 Eng)

A introverted type of story that I cherished and read slowly over a few days. A lonely writer struggles to write a love story while seeking an elusive woman that he can never quite seem to meet. I loved the characters in the book and how they evolved.

May 2, 2012, 8:53pm Top

May 2, 2012, 8:54pm Top

79 books thus far! What a tremendous accomplishment. My reading pace is much slower this year than last, but I hope to get back on track soon.

Edited: May 15, 2012, 8:47pm Top

Hi Lynda: Yes, I got annoyed with Ethan Fromme too, though he didn't have any money so couldn't act on his impulses.

Hi Lisa, thanks for posting the lacewing pic, I should have been doing the same. I loved the owlet story (I liked all the stories!). You must look out for the movie, I'm sure you'd love it. Here's the first 10 mins

May 2, 2012, 9:04pm Top

*wave to Stasia*

May 2, 2012, 9:06pm Top

*waving* back

Sorry the bouncy guy was late :)

Edited: May 3, 2012, 1:30am Top

#175. Isn't Poulin wonderful? I'm glad you enjoyed Mister Blue or Old Grief as the original was titled. I so liked the description of the little reading nook.

I didn't realize there was a movie of My family and other animals. We'll have to check it out when we finish the book. I just learned about the Invention of Hugo Cabret yesterday. Have you seen it?

ETA movie version of Hugo I mean

May 3, 2012, 7:24am Top

I'm glad that you also enjoyed Mister Blue, Kerry. I've also read his novel Translation Is a Love Affair, which is nearly as good.

May 3, 2012, 6:24pm Top

>169 avatiakh: I saw all these books at Scorpio this morning, they do look great, and along side them were a newly pblished Picador lot, all black and white covers, including All the Pretty Horses, Room, White Noise, Last Orders.....*drool drool*...some only $20, but most $29.

May 3, 2012, 8:45pm Top

Darryl - I read Translation is a Love Affair earlier this year, both were great and I love the Archipegalo editions.

Megan - Unity Books had only a few of the Text Publishing books but priced at $16.95. Haven't seen the Picadors, though I'm trying to avoid bookshops at present. I'll be buying at the Writers Festival next week, I have my volunteer tshirt and am all set.

May 3, 2012, 10:50pm Top

Kerry, I've finally caught up with you, so many great reviews! And congrats on reaching 75 already!

I seem to be the only one here on LT who didn't like Mister Blue, and I'm also the only one who is from Quebec, though I'm sure the two aren't related in the least, since Jacques Poulin is a popular author here. Also probably the first québécois author I've ever read, if you can believe it... doesn't make me want to pick up others, but that's hardly fair I know. I was going to read Translation is a Love Affair, but returned it to the library unread last week since I really wasn't up to it. Maybe some other time.

May 4, 2012, 4:08am Top

Ilana - I liked these two books of his but I probably wouldn't want to read any more as they were quite similar in style.

80) Atherton #1 House of Power by Patrick Carman (2007)
childrens scifi

Really loved this and will be reading the rest of the trilogy. Tad recommended this series a couple of years ago when I posted about Carman's Skeleton Creek. Best not to say too much about the plot as the first book is a slow reveal of the environment of Atherton.

81) The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper (2010)
Montmaray Journals Bk2
YA fiction, australia

Carrying straight on from the first book, the FitzOsbornes are now in exile in England, living with their aunt and being presented to society. But all they want is to bring the invasion of their island kingdom to the attention of the British government. The focus of this book is the politics of the time and Cooper manages to squeeze so much into the pages and yet still keep the story ticking over and compelling while leading up to the outbreak of WW2. This series would be a great read for teen girls interested in modern history. While Montmaray is a fictional kingdom, Cooper writes about other historical events and people as accurately as possible.
I've dived straight into book 3 of the trilogy The FitzOsbornes at War, mainly because it is a library book that will soon be due back but also because I'm enjoying the FitzOsbornes so much.

May 7, 2012, 1:29pm Top

So many books, reviews and interesting facts to catch up with! Congrats for reaching the 75 already!

This Text Classics series looks dangerously tempting. Are the books only available in Australia/NZ?

I wish I could get my hands on the "Fearless" books, they look cute. For now I'll put Oscar and Lucinda on my WL, I'm sure I should get that one around here.

Enjoy the festival!

May 12, 2012, 7:31am Top

Nathalie - I've only seen a couple of these Text Classics on sale here in NZ, so maybe they'll be an Australia only phenomenon. The "Fearless" books are pretty cute, but there are many other cute picturebooks. I thought they might be availabe in the UK as Colin Thompson is originally from there (he went on an author tour to Australia and ended up marrying the librarian who organised his visit).

I've got one day of the festival left to enjoy... have really had a great time once again.

May 12, 2012, 8:10am Top

#146 Kerry, I've had Oscar and Lucinda lingering on my wishlist for a while now but you have made it sound very appealing.

#151 Added The Trumpeter of Krakow to the wishlist, thanks.

And congratulations on reading 75 books so far! Only just noticed your numbers.

#186 Also wishlisted The House of Power.

Glad to hear you're enjoying the festival.

May 13, 2012, 3:27am Top

Hi Heather - the festival is over now, I got home a couple of hours ago. Over the 5 days I went to 22 events, including 9 as a volunteer helper, and only paid to enter one which was about to sell out so no free entry!
From the first school event with Eoin Colfer through to the last session on The Politics of Prizes which included Stella Rimington it has been a fab five days. Will write up some of the highlights when I catch my breath.

May 15, 2012, 4:23pm Top

I'll have some free time later today to put up a few posts on my reading, my thoughts on the festival etc etc. I've hardly read this past week and every time I pick up a book it tends to be a different one. I've read the first 20 pages of so many good books lately. Probably feeling the strain of putting too many books up on the TIOLI wiki!

Decided to listen to Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace as my next audiobook.

May 15, 2012, 6:05pm Top

Morning Kerry, Oscar and Lucinda is also on my longlist of must reads. You have reminded me!

Edited: May 16, 2012, 5:16am Top

Megan, overall I loved the writing and structure of the novel just not the emphasis on gambling.

Ok, two books read for May Mayhem and Murder:

82) A man you can bank on by Derek Hansen (2011)

Read for TIOLI word reversal challenge as well as May Mayhem and Murder. This is a crime caper with killings, robbery, thuggery and a few Jack Russell terriers. Most of the action takes place in a rural New South Wales community where the proceeds from a robbery were hidden ten years earlier. This was a highly enjoyable read with an interesting cast of characters and a plot that takes one on a great, at times hilarious, romp.

Derek Hansen grew up in New Zealand but has lived in Australia for the past many years. http://www.derekhansen.com.au/
I've had several of his books on my tbr pile for a long while and two keep reaching out to me, Lunch with the Generals and his childhood memoir, Remember Me.

83) The fairy gunmother by Daniel Pennac (1987 French) (1997 English trans)

Read for TIOLI Vacation City challenge as well as May Mayhem and Murder. This is the second book in the Benjamin Malaussène series, about 4 of them have been translated to English. I've had trouble tracking down the first book, The Scapegoat, but on the strength of reading this I've ordered one from amazon.uk marketplace which has to come to me via my London-based daughter.
Pennac sets his story in the Bellevue quarter of Paris alongside the Pere Lachoise cemetery. The various crimes happening in the neighbourhood all seemingly centre around the innocent Benjamin Malaussène - drug running, fraud, abduction, murder etc etc. Another tale that's packed with a wonderful array of characters with moments of hilarity, chaos and poignance.

"Belleville – home to one of Paris’s lively Chinatowns, a burgeoning artist quarter and a dizzying array of cultures. Belleville has always been a working class neighborhood, with immigration generating much of the area's zest. What started in the 1920's with Greeks, Jews and Armenians led to waves of North Africans, Sub-Saharan Africans and Chinese immigrants settling here. Cheap rents have also led artists to flow into the area, making it an ideal spot for their ateliers. Belleville may not provide a typical experience of Paris, but its energy and diversity are certainly worth checking out." - about.com Paris

84) The Betrayal by Mary Hooper (2009)
YA fiction/audiobook

Read for TIOLI Read a book about the Tudors challenge. This is the third book in the At the House of the Magician trilogy and while I hadn't read the other two books it didn't really seem to matter. In this one Lucy, the nursemaid in Dr Dee's household comes to London to help prepare a house for the Dee family and she becomes involved in uncovering a plot against Queen Elizabeth I. The story is set in the weeks leading up to the execution of Queen Mary of Scots in 1587. The narration was great once again, something I've come to enjoy with Hooper's books and makes the listening experience a simple joy in one's day. Dr Dee, a real-life figure was Queen Elizabeth's scientific advisor and Court Magician. Hooper really brought the streets of Elizabethan London to life in this.

Tam Lin retold by Susan Cooper (1991)
children's folktale

A lovely retelling of Tam Lin with watercolour illustrations by Warwick Hutton.

Currently reading:

Brief interviews with hideous men by David Foster Wallace - audiobook narrated by DFW
Rangatira by Paula Morris
The absence of heroes by Anthony McCarten
Guantanamo Boy by Anna Perera
Earth Dragon Fire Hare by Ken Catran
etc etc...

May 17, 2012, 5:35am Top

I've decided that while I'm loving DFW's narration, I need a paper copy of Brief interviews with hideous men to refer to as I listen. Will switch to another audiobook until the one library copy becomes available.

Last week I was a volunteer at the school programme and a business breakfast for the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival. There is always an impressive lineup of international guests as most head on to Sydney Writers Festival which starts up a couple of days after our one finishes.
So last Wednesday I was a helper in the main hall for the 9-12 yrs sessions and so got to sit in on Eoin Colfer entertaining a few hundred school children and their teachers. Wonderfully funny, I had seen him talk before years ago when he first visited Auckland after his first Artemis Fowl book came out.
Next up was another Irishman, Oliver Jeffers. Based now in New York Jeffers did a great powerpoint presentation of his life as an artist/picturebook creator.

The afternoon sessions kicked off with a talk on the past and archaeology with David Veart, writer of Digging up the Past. Archaeology for the Young & Curious. Followed by Australian fantasy writer Emily Rodda (real name Jennifer Rowe).

I sneaked down the road before going home and managed to spend a few pennies on (surprise) some sale books:
Loser takes all by Graham Greene - continuing my GG reading
News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel García Márquez - seen good reviews here on LT
The intentions Book by Gigi Feuster - debut NZ fiction that has ha some good reviews in the media
I shall not hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish
All that I am by Anna Funder
Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody

Thursday was high school day and I spent my day as a runner which was a much more fun and interactive way to pass the day. I collected the guest speaker from their green room backstage and took them across the building to the backstage area to where they were to speak. After waiting for them to be fitted for sound then introduced, I was able to flit round to the public side and slip into the back of the audience till q&a time.
First up was graphic artist Chris Grosz who designed memorable band posters in the 1970s. He gave a great powerpoint presentation showing the diversity of work he's done over the years leading up to his recent graphic novel Kimble Bent: malcontent.

This was followed by Ian Wedde, New Zealand's Poet Laureate who talked about his love for William Carlos Williams poetry, he even named his firstborn son, Carlos.
The afternoon started with poet/songwriter Hinemoana Baker and then soap screenwriter Vincent Roger. Both brought a different dimension to the talk of writing for a living. Hinemoa's presentation was really interesting, she spent quite a bit of time on incorporating 'found words' and 'found material' into music performance. She used the example of Kate Bush's song 'Pii'.

May 17, 2012, 5:57am Top

Sounds like a really interesting line-up.

May 17, 2012, 6:16am Top

Friday started with the Business Breakfast meeting with Chandran Nair, a Malaysian Indian speaker/economist who has written Consumptionomics: Asia's Role in Reshaping Capitalism and Saving the Planet. he talked his future vision for Asia, quite different from the viewpoint held by the Western World. Basically saying that the growing populations of China and India in particular don't need technology such as mobile phones and ipads but rather infrastructure such as toilets, sanitation and hospitals. Education should be Asian based, not have the brightest taking off to Harvard and Oxford for a Western education. I'll probably take a look at his book, it's a pity that 61 of us are in the queue for one copy at the library.

That was the end of my stint of being a volunteer and now I had a free run at all festival events unless they were sold out.
First up was Caroline Moorehead talking mainly about her work with refugees and then about her latest book, A train in winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France. I ended up buying two of her books, Martha Gellhorn: a life and Dancing to the Precipice: The Life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin.

Next up was Sebastian Barry who gave a wonderful performance reading of an extract from On Canaan's Side. I'm entirely smitten by this writer and will be reading more of his work, I'm fairly sure I've only read The Secret Scripture so far. The chair was an expert in Irish literature and knew his work including all his plays well.

In the afternoon I attended Emily Perkins in conversation with Paula Morris. Paula is a great interviewer, the questions were thoughtful, both teach creative writing. Most of the talk centred on Emily's latest book The Forrests.

Next I attended a panel talk on the theme of Broken Britain. Stella Rimington, A.D. Miller and Geoff Dyer talked a little on what was currently 'wrong' with Britain and what could be done. Talk centred on opportunities for youth and minority groups.

Enough, time to head home even though it was rush hour.

May 17, 2012, 7:29am Top

I took my daughter with me on Saturday. We arrived late and left fairly early. We were lucky to get the last two tickets to 'The Future of the Novel' which turned out to be one of my favourite sessions thanks to the wonderful chair, Jolisa Gracewood. Emily Perkins and Jeffrey Eugenides talked about their novels, the literary referencing, desire, modernism, their characters, using old technology like typewriters. It was decided that the future lay with collaborative efforts, a sort of neverending zombie-wiki novel. Scary thought!
When asked which novel they would recommend readers putting on the top of their tbr piles, Emily recommended House of Mirth, Eugenides was fairly stumped, he wanted to suggest something less obvious and in the end went for one that he hasn't read but is always being suggested to him, Christina Stead's The man who loved children.
After listening to Eugenides talk, I ended up buying The Marriage Plot and Dana queued to get My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories, from Chekhov to Munro, which he edited, signed. It's a beautiful white hardback edition but she was really embarrassed when he asked her if she'd read it. Hopefully both she and I will now it's been signed and dedicated.

Next we attended a session with Anthony McCarten. We both enjoyed this talk, Anthony read a marvellous description of financier JP Morgan's nose from Brilliance, his new novel about Thomas Edison's friendship with Morgan.

Dana read Game of Thrones out in the lounge area while I went to hear A. D. Miller (Andy) talk about Russia and his book Snowdrops. He mentioned reading Josph Brodsky's essay A Guide to a Renamed City recently as well as mentioning the significance of Gogol's The Overcoat with regard to his own novel and his love for Isaac Babel's stories.

May 17, 2012, 7:30am Top

#195: Hi Rhian - thanks for visiting. It's taking me forever to write these posts and I have hardly picked up a book for days!

May 17, 2012, 7:37am Top

Time to call it a night, maybe I'll even read a couple of pages of mycurrent book.

May 17, 2012, 9:34am Top

WOW! What a great festival. I can imagine that you will be reveling in all that book/author glory for a long time. Thanks for telling us about your experience there. . .

May 17, 2012, 9:48am Top

Sounds like you had a great time and found lots of book love!

May 17, 2012, 1:09pm Top

I'm so envious! What a great festival! I, of course, added several titles to my list. Also wanted to say that I Shall Not Hate was one of my favorite books from last year(?).

May 17, 2012, 3:52pm Top

Thanks Brenda, Roni and Linda. I still have to write up Sunday which was another busy day! I had a great time, still amazed that I managed to spend 5 days immersed in a world of literature. I took brief notes during the sessions and will be back in a few hours to write it up, just need to get gym class and other household commitments over with.

Edited: May 17, 2012, 9:26pm Top

Ruta Sepetys, author of Between Shades of Gray on constantly having her book mixed up with the saucy S&M blockbuster, Fifty Shades of Grey'.
I loved this line about a customer coming to a bookstore reading: "He may have come for a spanking, but he left with a book about a piece of history that was hidden for more than half a century and he now knows that the Baltics are different than the Balkans. For me, the mix-up is a victory.
E.L. James has unwittingly created a bustier for geography and historical fiction, and thanks to her, Lithuania has never looked so sexy."

May 17, 2012, 9:53pm Top

Wow Kerry over a couple of days (with Sunday to come as you mention) I make it that you attended talks etc with a Baker's dozen of internationally published writers including luminaries such as Colfer, Miller, Barry, Dyer and Eugenides. What a great experience for your daughter too although she wisely avoided the less interesting talks (to her) in favour of Mr. Martin. Looking forward to seeing who you met on the Sunday.

May 17, 2012, 11:28pm Top

Ok, I have a little free time so will cover my Sunday at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival. By the way LTer HelenBaker was also there but we didn't get round to organising a meetup, in fact neither of us had time to eat lunch let alone make time to talk to another person!

I arrived in time for the morning's fist big event which was an hour with Jeffrey Eugenides. I was really looking forward to this even though I haven't read any of his books, but he was so smart and funny at the session the day before I know I'll be moving a few of his up my tbr tower. The chair was Kate De Goldi and she's been really good in other events in the past but blew it a little here. She kept trying to over analyse his work, introduce ideas of themes etc etc rather than asking open questions and letting the guy talk about himself and his writing . She also overtalked the plots and characters so my reading of The Marriage Plot will take place in the distant future when I've forgotten what was said. Still this is a book set in a rich literary setting of the academic world.
First up was attempts to draw parallels with Eugenides' favourite book, Anna Karenina and talk of a struggle of faith. She also wanted to know if he had The Twelve Dancing Princesses in mind when he started writing The Virgin Suicides, to whivh he simply answered "No". The question time was lively though not illuminating, with a writer in the audience embarassing us all with a public offering of his book on manic depression, then another 'regular' asking such a long question about NYRB reviews that most of us were bored and Eugenides answered that he thought he'd come to NZ to get away from all that.

Next up was a panel discussion on the theme of 'Men Adrift'. Roddy Doyle, A.D. Miller and Charlotte Wood with chair, Emily Perkins. This was rather lively though perhaps a little off-theme most of the time. I'll have to read some Roddy Doyle, a few of his books have been lying around my house unread for years. He talked about how he gets a kick from seeing Bram Stoker's house which is near his own home. Apparently one of the stories in his latest collection Bullfighting is more along the Stoker line than what he usually writes. He was approached by Neil Gaiman who was putting together an anthology of stories where writers wrote outside their normal 'genre' style and he enjoyed the change of scene. The story's title is Blood and I'm really keen to read it after hearing Emily Perkins give it a rave.
I hadn't considered Wood's books before but she is a more serious writer than I first thought. Her Animal People looks good.
At question time they were asked to identify 'man adrift' characters by other writers that they especially liked, Wood was the only one given time to answer and she mentioned Richard Ford's Frank Bascombe from The SportsWriter.
Andy, A.D. Miller's character, Nick, in Snowdrops probably had the most 'adrift' character.

Loved a sign I saw, wish I'd had a camera on me, directing participants to the 'Zombie Apocalypse scriptwriting all day workshop"

Dana reading at Festival

And on to Geoff Dyer talking Life and Art with Gregory O'Brien. O'Brien was great and Dyer read aloud from his latest work Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room while the film Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky played on a huge screen behind him. Dyer doesn't agree that the novel is the 'sole proving ground of imaginative writing' and from what I understand of his style of non-fiction writing he has a point. He talked of his immense respect for writer John Berger, probably would have been as happy if the audience all went and bought copies of Berger's work instead of his own. He talked of how 'Zona' came about when he was meant to be writing a book about tennis. He then read an extract from an essay on couture when he was invited by Vogue to attend fashion week in Paris.
I've been meaning to read something by Dyer since coming across a couple of reviews here on the LT threads last year. Now i'm ready and know a bit more on what to expect. I bought But Beautiful: A Book about Jazz and Out of sheer rage: Wrestling with D. H. Lawrence and had them signed. I understand his book about photography is meant to be exceptional as well, The Ongoing Moment.

May 17, 2012, 11:44pm Top

Nice photo! Those tights really pop. :-)

May 17, 2012, 11:54pm Top

I had time to munch on a muesli bar before going to my final two events which were free, nonticketed events. The festival runs 12 free events over the weekend.
First was' The Expats' with nonfiction writer Martin Edmond (Sydney), poet Anne Kennedy (Hawaii) and writer Anthony McCarten (London) along with chair Peter Wells (NZ). What all four had in common is that they are scriptwriters and have or currently work in writing for film. Kennedy teaches scriptwriting and creative writing. They made mention of Robert McKee's book Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting as a good starting point for determining the difference between writing a novel and writing a film script.
Edmond was an interesting speaker and read from his book Dark Night: Walking with McCahon which has ended up on my 'must read' list. The language was beautifully visual.
McCarten was asked about writing in the noisy environment of film and said that as he grew up surrounded by 6 siblings, it was a wonderful training ground and he can now work anywhere.
Kennedy read part of a poem from her just published collection, The Darling North.
There was some talk about how their work reflects them as NZers while they live so far away. Interesting and Peter Wells kept the talk on track really well.

The final session was much looked forward to: The Politics of Prizes with an interesting lineup and chair. 2011's Booker Prize chair Stella Rimington, popular writer but never nominated writer Jenny Pattrick, many times judge and chair of numerous NZ Awards writer and editor Stephen Stratford. The chair was Sam Elsworthy, head of Auckland University Press and chair of the NZ Book Awards.
The audience wanted the backstory on the Booker Prize judging. Rimington didn't really have much more to say than whats been already said, just that the more media 'noise' the Prize made, the happier the sponsors were. She also pointed out that they could only choose what publishers submitted, the jury agreed early on that they wanted to long/short list books that were well written and well edited, illuminated 'something', that they enjoyed reading, aiming at the accessible rather than the obscure. They weren't heavyweight readers but then they didn't choose themselves. There is no judging criteria for the Bookers, just the words 'best published'. The jury does get 'pointed' in various directions but then they plain just did not agree with the critics. She also talked about having to hide away the 138 books from visitors as only the jury is allowed to know which books they were reading.
What makes a good judge: 'the aim of the Booker is to appeal to the average intelligent reader and that's what we are'.

On to the New Zealand Awards which is more dismal fare. Now only a shortlist of 3 fiction, no longlist and as Dame Stella put it, 3 books is too narrow and almost presupposes who the winner is when the shortlist is announced. Apparently being on the shortlist, even winning the award doesn't usually boost sales. 'If they are going to read the book, they would have already by the time the awards rolls around' was the gloomy view. Only the NZ children's book awards is a big promoter of sales, as Stratford points out teachers, parents and grandparents are always looking for recommendations.
As Jenny Pattrick put it, the fun is discussing the short/long lists on the Booker and Orange Prize, reading the books and try to guess a winner. NZ public are huge readers but maybe we just don't read a lot of NZ fiction.

This was an excellent discussion and I went home very happy. Who/what did I miss due to timing? - I missed a full session with Roddy Doyle, all Mal Peet's appearances (though I'd seen him 3 times 4 years ago), Kathy Lette, Jesmyn Ward, Witi Ihimaera.
Two sessions I'd love to have gone to were the historical writing with Stephanie Johnson and Paula Morris, chaired by Rachel King, though I did make the book signing. And the final event which honoured Maurice Gee and who came out of retirement to make a public appearance. There was also a sold out session, The God Matter, with Laurence Krauss and Lloyd Geering.

May 17, 2012, 11:56pm Top

Hi Lisa - yes, she's 15 so I let her wear what she feels the need to wear, but they are bright! Couldn't resist taking the photo as I loved the angled legs.

May 18, 2012, 12:06am Top

#205: Hi Paul - and all done now. Haven't read anything for a few days though.

May 18, 2012, 4:48am Top

Passing thru - Have a great weekend..... sounds like the festival was great!!

May 19, 2012, 2:24am Top

Kerry - really enjoyed your description of the event in Auckland - it must have been fascinating listening to so many top-notch writers as that. Your daughter's tights would have course been the most spectacular sight at the whole event! Have a lovely weekend.

May 19, 2012, 3:22am Top

Hi Alex - my weekend is going well thanks.
Hi Paul - I enjoy writing up the festival events, helps me prioritise my new reading lists.
Those tights are actually over the knee socks and personally I'd rather she went for more muted colours, but as long as it's wearable I'm not one to complain... one thing I always enjoy at the festival is the large number of zany outfits as the bohemian creative types descend on the place. Oh and I got another great volunteer t-shirt to wear to the gym.

I'm determined to finish all these books I've started then I'm going to have to read some Israeli literature. My brother and his wife are currently in Israel visiting Jerusalem, Masada, the Galilee and along the coast to Haifa and Caesaria as well as getting familiar with Tel Aviv-Yafo. I'm green with envy, would love to spend a few summery days in Tel Aviv right now. We are having a pre-winter blast of cold wet weather here in Auckland.

May 19, 2012, 7:21am Top

Thanks for the write-ups about the festival Kerry. I've never read anything by Sebastian Barry although I've heard lots of good things about his books. And I have The House of Mirth in my TBR pile so I should probably put it nearer the top of the pile!

May 19, 2012, 10:53pm Top

85) Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace (1999)
stories / iPod audio

I was prompted to pick this one after following sibyx 's recent read of Infinite Jest and as this is only 3 or 4 hours of listening rather than over 1000 pgs of IJ I thought it was a easier place to start. I really don't think I would have finished this collection if I'd been reading it. One of the last stories is quite painful, most are fairly intense and it did take some sorting out with hearing the 'q' (queue?, cue?) constantly, but a quick google search sorted out what it meant. I loved having DFW himself as the narrator. Now I've got the print copy on it's way to me and I'll be keen to relook at a few of the stories in print form.
This was my first foray into DFW apart from reading the essay Consider the lobster a couple of years ago.

As I was finishing up I was reminded of a NYer fiction podcast I'd listened to a couple of months ago of John Cheever's The Swimmer.

Edited: May 21, 2012, 5:01am Top

86) In the absence of heroes by Anthony McCarten (2012)
fiction, new zealand

This is a sequel of sorts to Death of a Superhero, but could also be a standalone read. Here we find the Delpe family a year on from Donald Delpe's tragic death from cancer. The parents and remaining brother Jeff, 18, are still dealing with their grief and the family has fragmented. When Jeff runs away from home, his father, Jim goes looking for him in an online game while the mother finds solace with a religious online support group. Reality versus the virtual world and how the lines can merge. I probably didn't enjoy this one as much as the first book but that was a total blast and this is going in a different direction.
I'm impressed with McCarten's writing and will be trying his other work. Hoping to get to the new edition of Brilliance which is about Thomas Edison's friendship with J.P. Morgan, especially after listening to McCarten read from it last week.

87) Under the Domim Tree by Gila Almagor (1992)
YA, israel

TIOLI challenge #13. Read a book with a word related to gardening in the title. Gila Almagor is one of Israel's most famous actresses and she acted in one of my favourite Israeli war movies - 'Every bastard a king'. She's written two books based on her own childhood and this is the second one. Both have been made into movies.
Under the Domim Tree is set in the 1950s at an Israeli youth village where young Holocaust survivors and Israeli children from troubled homes live together. The story focuses on three of these girls and how they support each other as they deal with the tragedy in their pasts. Very moving.

May 21, 2012, 6:40am Top

Hi Kerry-Wow, your reading is awe-inspiring! You really knock 'em out. I heard about Code Name Verity on a podcast and it sounded very good. Keep in mind we are doing a G.R. of 1Q84 in October. I just received the 3-volume softcover edition. It's nice!

Edited: Nov 21, 2012, 8:24pm Top

Hi Mark - yes, have my copy of IQ84 in a safe place ready and waiting.

88) Phantoms on the bookshelves by Jaques Bonnet (2008 French) (2010 English)

An ode to book collectors and book accumulators, home libraries and those who love to read. Lots of great quotes, ideas and general biblio talk. Very French in flavour which I enjoyed, though many of the writers referenced I hadn't heard of or know very little about. Bonnet works in publishing and has built up a library of approx 40,000 books, all stashed around his Paris apartment. The first thing you learn when you accumulate a collection of this size is that you must stay put - moving house is never an option. At the start he quotes several times from Carlos María Domínguez's The House of Paper. I enjoyed this but wouldn't call it a 'must read'.

May 23, 2012, 9:31am Top

40,000 books at home - wow! I have trouble finding room for the ones I have.

May 23, 2012, 9:40am Top

It is such a joy to visit here..dangerous, but also joyous. Alas, I've added three books to my TBR pile. The Mary Hooper series sounds fascinating.

May 25, 2012, 9:08pm Top

89) Earth dragon, fire hare by Ken Catran (2012)
YA, new zealand

Catran is another of my favourite NZ writers for teens. Over the years he's written some great scifi, chilling thrillers and wonderful historical fiction. But it's his war fiction for the YA market that sees him at his very best. He did a quartet of books about each generation of the fighting Moran family covering WW1 through to the conflict in Iraq. This year he has already published two books on lesser known conflicts. The first is When Empire Calls and is about the the Boer War and the conflict's effect on those left behind in New Zealand and now with Earth dragon, fire hare he covers the Malayan Emergency conflict which was fought out between Malayan communist fighters and British Commonwealth troops in the years after WW2.

The story revolves around 2 soldiers from both sides of the conflict, we meet them as young boys and see how they are shaped into their beliefs and evolve into fighting men. They are loosely linked through a Chinese horoscope, hence the title, Ng being Earth dragon and Peter as Fire Hare, their paths fated to cross. Catran remains objective which makes this an interesting read as there is honour and tragedy on both sides of this conflict.
Read for TIOLI challenge #21: Read a book set in the Far East.

May 25, 2012, 9:13pm Top

As usual Kerry there is fascinating and, for me, unheard of, reading here. The last one of course grabbed my attention and goes on my hitlist immediately. Have a lovely weekend - are you buying Dana new tights this weekend?!

May 28, 2012, 4:41am Top

90) Rangatira by Paula Morris (2011)
fiction, new zealand

Read for TIOLI Biographical fiction challenge. While visiting Auckland to deal with Native Land Court proceedings in 1888, Ngati Wai chief Paratene Te Manu agrees to have his portrait painted by Bohemian artist, Gottfried Lindauer who is about to travel to London. During the sitting, the reserved Paratene reminisces on his own visit to England twenty years earlier.
I enjoyed reading this and liked how Morris structured the story. Paratene's voice was very clear throughout.

From an interview: 'Morris came across the picture of Paratene when she was researching her second novel, Hibiscus Coast, which includes a plot about a forger of Goldie paintings. While going through material on Goldie, she saw the painting by Lindauer, Goldie's contemporary. As she read an attached biographical note, she realised that Paratene Te Mutu was a matua, a male relative of her great-great- grandparents on Little Barrier Island, before Paratene was forcibly evicted from the island near the end of the 19th century.
"I started getting really interested in the story."
She found a short oral history, a life story dictated by Paratene in 1896, before his eviction from Little Barrier. It talked about his trip to England in 1863 with a party of northern chiefs, and earlier still, his role in the musket wars in the 1820s. Such good material, Morris thought, with Paratene then in his nineties looking back.'

The cover photo is of the actual portrait which is unfortunately not on public display.

May 28, 2012, 4:55am Top

#222: Hi Paul - Yes, I'm not that familiar with Malayan history as such, but now I know where all the British Palestinian policemen ended up after 1948.
No, Dana doesn't need any more of those bright stripey things.

I've already mentioned on the TIOLI thread that I've slowed right down this month. At present I'm really enjoying all my current reads, just that there's so many of them.

Life by Keith Richards is a brilliant audio listen - no idea how far along I am but have reached 1970.

The Jump Artist by Austin Ratner - intense story of Philippe Halsman's early life
Skios by Michael Frayn - first 50pgs flew by, not sure if it will live up to the promise
The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz - amusing in small doses
Suddenly, a Knock on the door by Etgar Keret - always brilliant

I have a few that I stalled on for the month and will have to get back to them. Bailing out of my other TIOLI May reads.

Edited: May 28, 2012, 6:51pm Top

>194 avatiakh: love the undergroud house picture!

>223 avatiakh: looks like a goodie, I bet the library will have a copy, Ill put it on my longlist
eta: there are 13 copies! Hooray :)

May 28, 2012, 7:35pm Top

Megan, you and the boys will love Oliver Jeffers, do look out for his work at the library.
I've enjoyed both the Morris books I've read so far and will be reading Hibiscus Coast and Forbidden Cities when I can squeeze some extra time into my day. Rangatira is mainly focused on the trip to England, though what took my interest was the dispute over land he was having with the compulsory acquisition by government. It's made me keen to research the ownership background to the farm I grew up on in the Waikato, there was a mission school established in 1843 nearby.

May 29, 2012, 2:58am Top

91) The Jump Artist by Austin Ratner (2009)

Read for TIOLI Biographical fiction challenge. A really interesting read, this first novel by Ratner won the 2011 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. I came across the novel when investigating the Sami Rohr Prize a few months ago. I'd never heard of Philippe Halsman before, but when I googled his work as a photographer found that I was familiar with many of his famous images. This book captures more than just the tragic details of Halsman's early life, it looks right into the soul of a vulnerable young man. Halsman was the young man at the centre of the 1928/29 “Austrian Dreyfus Affair,” and this is his story.

There is an excellent interview with Ratner about his book here at Harper's Quarterly

May 29, 2012, 10:05am Top

Thanks for sharing the link to the Harper's article. Interesting. Was the book well written?

May 29, 2012, 3:14pm Top

Yes, loved how it was written, the writer really connected with his material and it shows on every page. I thought the biography as fiction approach really worked here.

May 31, 2012, 12:53am Top

Dotter of her father's eyes by Mary M. Talbot & Bryan Talbot (2012)
graphic novel

Quite an interesting concept, Mary Talbot ties her own upbringing with that of James Joyce's daughter Lucia. The binding tie is that Mary's father was a respected Joycean scholar and both daughters came up against parental objections when coming of age. I found myself interested in both stories. And husband, Bryan Talbot's artwork is a delight.

From her website: Mary Talbot is an internationally acclaimed scholar who has published widely on language, gender and power, particularly in relation to media and consumer culture. Dotter is the first work she has undertaken in the graphic novel format.

Jun 1, 2012, 5:32am Top

92) Skios by Michael Frayn (2012)

Couldn't resist picking this one up after reading a blurb about it somewhere. It's a farce of sorts about mistaken identity which basically turns into a comedy of errors. It's a bit too silly for it's own good in the end but an entertaining enough light read.
The Toppler Foundation on the Greek island of Skios is about to hold their most important event of the year, the annual lecture, but when Nikki goes to the airport to pick up the guest speaker, she manages to collect the wrong man.

Edited: Jun 8, 2012, 4:04am Top

Proposed June reading:
Finish all books I'm currently reading and/or stalled on and then try to read my TIOLI listings
Don Quixote - my June portion
Konstantin by Tom Bullogh
The Scent of Apples by Jacquie Mcrae
The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
God is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World By John Micklethwait - stalled
The FitzOsbornes at war by Michelle Cooper - stalled
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris - stalled
Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan - stalled


Challenge #1:
The Loblolly boy and the sorcerer by James Norcliffe
Challenge# 2:
How the soldier repairs the gramophone by Saša Stanišic - started this back in January & shared read
Challenge #3:
The Whispering Land by Gerald Durrell - I want to read Lawrence Durrell, but Darryl's challenge is for the 'younger' relative
Challenge #7:
The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea (Ireland)
Icefall by Matthew Kirby
Insurgent by Veronica Roth - shared read
Only Yesterday by S.G. Agnon - (Israel)
Suddenly a knock on the door by Etgar Keret (Israel) - already reading this
Challenge #8:
The Fault in our stars by John Green - just noticed this shared read
The French Tutor by Judith Armstrong
Challenge #13:
Life by Keith Richards - already listening to this & shared read
Challenge #14:
Reconnaisance by Kapka Kassabova
Reflections by Diana Wynne Jones

Jun 1, 2012, 10:37pm Top

Hi Kerry, I'm looking forward to listening to Life this month as well. Should be great in the audio format. So many good challenges this month, I know I have overbooked myself, but Life is one that will definitely be gotten to!

Jun 3, 2012, 4:30pm Top

Judy, I'm enjoying 'Life' a lot, am about at the half way point. I listen to it when I'm at the gym so make a little progress most days.

Edited: Jun 3, 2012, 5:11pm Top

93) The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City by David Lebovitz (2009)

I occasionally read David Lebovitz's foodie blog which he started soon after arriving in Paris about 8 years ago. His blog is sort of a food guide to Paris with recipes, he blogs where to find ingredients, where to eat, what to eat, where to avoid, useful apps for Paris, and a general guide to the cultural blunders the average US tourist tends to unwittingly make.
He's written several dessert cookbooks and worked at notable restaurants in San Francisco before arriving to a new life in Paris. Each chapter features a couple of interesting recipes including a few I'd like to try such as lemon glazed madeleines.

This was quite amusing, and felt like catching up on a whole lot of his blogs all at once. He captures some of the more frustrating aspects of living in Paris and the French way of doing things. He also provides a glimpse into the wonderful foodie heaven Paris can be, and along the way you learn of many of his own faux-pas moments.
Like I mentioned earlier, this read like his blog entries and for a book, it read a little too unedited, he's been given too much freedom and comes across as a bit of an idiot at times, which is a shame as he's a great professional cook who is living his dream - researching and writing cookbooks while living in Paris.
His Paris Pastry e-guide looks like a foodies' guide to sweet heaven.

Jun 3, 2012, 7:01pm Top

>235 avatiakh: This sounds like a must read for me, in advance of my long delayed first trip to Paris. The book goes on my wish list, and I'll start following David Liebovitz's blog. Thanks, Kerry!

Jun 3, 2012, 8:24pm Top

Lemon glazed madeleines sound wonderful.

Edited: Jun 4, 2012, 12:04am Top

Darryl, he gives you the flavour of living in Paris. I like his blog more than the book, probably because he puts in so many photos. I have another book, The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris, that looks promising, I love walking in central Paris, I have lovely memories of my first solo trip to Paris where I just walked everywhere every day.
Last time we were in Paris we stayed in a less central part, Porte de Montreuil, which is on the border of the 20th Arrondissement. There was a huge flea market right outside our hotel on a couple of the days during our stay and the area bustled with a huge number of immigrants. We bought a daily bus pass and traveled all over the city by bus,
I've just started reading Daniel Pennac's Benjamin Malaussène series which is set nearby in Belleville and features a wonderully vibrant set of characters.
As you can see I love Paris, just need to learn some French. About 10 years ago I did the first year of University French by correspondence and felt so bad speaking it that I didn't turn up for the conversation part of the final marking at the end of the year. I passed the paper with a C+ though I can barely scrape a few words together now.

Lori, there were several recipes I'm wanting to try. This is where I love pinterest, I can pin the recipes to my'food stuff' board and they're all ready to go when I need them:
chocolate yogurt snack cakes
breton buckwheat cake
plum and raspberry clafoutis

I did have a 75 recipes from my cookbooks challenge going earlier in the year, and while I am making a point of using my cookbooks, I haven't posted on the recipes here as I'm just not doing much exciting stuff. One son is following a paleo diet and questions every ingredient in what comes to the table. Another son and his partner who also lives with us this year trying to make healthy eating choices, so I'm doing rather plain fare most days. My third son doesn't eat most carbs anymore and should, but he's listened in on too many conversations about food. Today I've made borscht, yesterday Primal moussaka again and on Saturday I made Honeyseed bars.

family updates:
Daughter (15yrs) on opening instructions for her eyedrops: says here 'vicious' eyedrops
Me: 'viscous' eyedrops

Oldest daughter attended the Queens Jubilee Buckingham Palace garden party last week, she and her partner won the tickets in some lottery you enter:
"Back from Buckingham Palace. Quite an adventure tubing to Green Park, walking through to the Palace and being let in to much amazement of all the tourists milling around.

Only a short queue at the gates, and up through the Grand Entrance (red carpet quite worn, might I add!), into the Palace foyer with all the gilded architraves and decoratives and past the oil paintings of god-only-knows who, and we were out onto the lawn. We ambled around for a while, the Gardens themselves are really quite large, around 40 acres, and usually off-limits; I this this is the only way you can visit them so we felt very privileged.

There is a large pond with island, a water feature, many flowers beds and big old trees and on the Northern side a very big vase which originally belonged to Napoleon but was presented to King Edward VII following victory at Waterloo. Also a tennis court hidden all the way at the back!

After a stroll it was tea-time so we joined the short queue and helped ourselves to tea and cucumber sandwiches, ham and grainy mustard sandwiches, and a variety of cakes (fruit cakes, chocolate cakes, little fudge squares with the Queens Royal Crest on the top, and more). Apparently the tea is a special Royal Blend which is made by Twinings especially for Her Majesty and only served at these Royal Garden Parties. It just tasted like tea.

The Yeoman of the Guard came out and formed the crowd on the lawn into 3 or 4 aisles (not too sure, couldn't really tell how many), a brass brand began to play and the royals appeared on the steps, the Princess Royal (Anne), the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall (Charles and Camilla), the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton - making her first ever appearance at a Royal Garden Party), and of course The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

We stood and waited for some time, and eventually we were lucky enough to be in the aisle which Her Majesty walked down. Some gentlemen in top hats and tails walked down the aisle, selecting people to personally meet with the Queen, as I understand it they asked a few questions of the person, then relayed the information back to the Queen so she would appear to know them personally. Unfortunately we weren't selected as we were in the second row, so to speak, and they were picking the people immediately at the edges. It also looked to me as though they were picking older people, perhaps more gentrified looking, and mostly ladies too.

After she passed us, we realised that it was actually quite easy to get within a few feet of the royals, and everybody was very civil, no pushing, or jostling, so we quickly went to the other aisles and managed to catch all of them bar Princess Anne. So we were lucky enough to see Prince Phillip (sharing a joke with some Africans in native dress), Kate Middleton (lovely in pink, maybe too much makeup...), the top of Prince Charles' head and then Camilla. When we saw Camilla I said to Scott, 'She's really pretty in person' and she looked up at us and smiled."

Sshhh: sneaky pic of Yasmin at BP

And catten updates:
We realised fairly quickly two things:
Morrigan, my black beauty was actually a boy and wasn't a sibling of Freya, the tabby. He is huge and gorgeous. Freya is more timid. Morrie is a great hunter, I do not want to talk about what has arrived in the house so far, it is not fun cleaning up or getting cat plus prey out of house.
They've both been de-sexed, Freya has to go back on Wednesday to get her stitches out.
Here's a photo op from a few weeks back, we had to get them a second cat bed as they no longer fit into one.

and Morrigan with my bookmark

Jun 3, 2012, 11:55pm Top

Awwww!! Adorable!

Jun 4, 2012, 12:29am Top

What a great adventure for your daughter! She'll be telling people about that when she's an old lady. Thanks for sharing her account.

Those stiff paper magazine inserts, crumpled up, make the perfect cat toy. Maybe you can use them to distract Morry from your bookmarks?

Jun 4, 2012, 12:43am Top

Thanks kittenfish

Hi Roni - yes, quite a departure from their usual style, Yasmin and Scott are generally to be found at heavy metal rock festivals. Good to see that they both scrubbed up so well!

Morrigan will chew on almost anything, he loves cardboard and both cats have had a lot of fun climbing in and out and destroying one of their carrier boxes. He's also taken over my favourite chair.

Jun 4, 2012, 12:45am Top

Tea with the queen . . . How cool is that?!

Jun 4, 2012, 12:55am Top

Hi Brenda - pretty cool. I'm not one for royalty myself but wouldn't say no to an invite to BP either! I'm just trying to upsell Kapka Kassabova over on Darryl's thread, all that talk of dating and failed relationships put me in mind of her memoir. I've added one of her novels to the TIOLI wiki, I'm intending to read at least two of her fiction novels before the end of the year.

Jun 4, 2012, 1:21am Top

I noticed you had added Reconnaisance and am eager to read your comments when you've completed it. I am also planning to read more of her books, but will probably end up purchasing as I've been unable to borrow through my library. Your comments will help me determine which to buy/read next . . .

Jun 4, 2012, 1:25am Top

Tomorrow's a busy day for me, I'm one of the markers at the Auckland heats for the Kids Lit Quiz. It's always lots of fun and I get to spend the dinner break with fellow kid lit fanatics.

Here are some of last year's practice questions:

What is the name of Edward and Liz Pleasure’s daughter the companion/girlfriend of Alex Rider?
What comic company publishes Iron Man?
Who was the 16 year-old girl that volunteered to take her little sister, Prim’s place in the televised Hunger Games?
What was the 34-lettered, one-word, song title from Mary Poppins?
Who is the elder child - Charlie or Lola?
Who was known as the teenage girl detective?
Inside what type of building had Opal found her dog Winn Dixie?
In what series of books does the proud and cruel Prince Radadash appear?
Who had a son called Roo?

Answers and more questions here

Jun 4, 2012, 1:27am Top

#244: That's a shame, there's a healthy trade in her books here in NZ so I've managed to pick up a few preloved copies. I was also unsure where to start as her nonficiton book about Bulgaria sounds pretty good but I decided to try her fiction first.

Jun 4, 2012, 1:31am Top

Sounds fun . . . Enjoyed the quiz, btw.

Jun 4, 2012, 7:56am Top

I've pinned a few recipes on Pinterest. It's just a shame that we can't pin the image of the madeleines.

Jun 4, 2012, 3:38pm Top

#248: Oh, you're right, I hadn't tried to pin that recipe yet, seems like he's selectively protecting lots of photos on his blog from pinning. I usually google and find some foodblogger who has done the recipe I'm after but the one I found also didn't allow pinning. I eventually found their photo on foodgawker so pinned from there.


Jun 4, 2012, 5:54pm Top

wow, tea at the Queens Jubilee. That's pretty awesome!

Jun 5, 2012, 11:46am Top

What a wonderful experience for your daughter. I love the picture and her comments (I assume that's her account?)

and chuckling about vicious eyedrops--I think I've used some of those.

Jun 5, 2012, 12:33pm Top

Wow - tea with Queen! I'm glad your daughter and her partner got a smile from Camilla even though they didn't get introduced to the Queen herself.

Hope the Kids Lit Quiz was fun!

Jun 5, 2012, 3:31pm Top

Your bookmark got demo'd ;)

I dont think Id do well in the kids Lit Quiz.....I hardly know any answers

We have snow here as I type (at 730am), exciting!

Jun 5, 2012, 4:39pm Top

Wow that Tea Party description was lovely! How lucky :)

I love the pics of your cats. My one bought in the biggest mouse I have ever seen last night. Freaked me out big time.

Jun 6, 2012, 2:54am Top

Thanks for all the comments on the royal garden party, it did sound like she had an interesting afternoon, and one to strike off her bucket list I presume.

#250: Chelle, I kept thinking of you a couple of months ago when Yasmin and her partner came out to Rarotonga and then on to NZ as they had two beachside weddings to attend, Scott was bestman at both celebrations. I still haven't been to the Cook Islands, one for my bucket list.

#251: Yes, I cut & pasted her email, seemed good enough to share

#252: The Lit Quiz was really fun, this is the 3rd or 4th time I've been a marker for the heats. The World Final is in Auckland next month and I think I might have to attend though I'd love to go in 2014 when the final is in Oxford, UK again. The NZ finals are next week in the Parliament building, some of our MPs will attend, hopefully it might make them rethink some of the stupid changes they are making to our education sector when they see a gaggle of bright-faced reading obsessed children who know the answers to just about any literature question you could throw at them.

I'm not able to repeat any of the questions, but we had 57 teams of 4 in the first heat and 37 teams in the evening heat. When they arrive they get their first look at the categories and along with their coah (usually the school librarian) choose which one they'll double points on. Examples of the categories: Wings, babies, characters, aesop, mythology, body parts, who said?, fruits etc etc

#253: Just saw the South island snow on the night's news, wow.

#254: We've had a rat, a few mice and a couple of birds so far. Yuk Yuk Yuk.

I've been guilty of bringing home a few new books lately:
Today I picked up Rachael King's first children's book, a celtic selkie story rehomed to New Zealand, I've been eagerly waiting for Red Rocks to get launched so I could add to my NZ collection.
The Emperor of all maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee - seen too many good reviews of this to turn it down on the sale table
then a bunch of those orange Penguins at 30% discount
We have always lived in the castle by Shirley Jackson - I've read this but got a copy to give my daughter
Goodbye to all that by Robert Graves - my son asked about his Count Belisarius yesterday
Howl, Kaddish and other poems by Allen Ginsberg - why ever not
Sons for the return home by Albert Wendt - a cross-racial romance: samoan/palagi
online Betterworld books package also arrived:
Quest: searching for Germany's Nazi Past
The Mythmaker Paul and the invention of Christianity by Hyam Maccoby
The Messiah of Stockholm by Cynthia Ozick

From a library sale:
Kingmakers: the invention of the modern Middle East by Karl Meyer
some music reference books for my son the guitar teacher

I've also managed to sell a few paperbacks on our local trademe site.

Jun 6, 2012, 4:00am Top

The Hobbit production video #7 - just landed.
Can't wait for the movie.

Jun 6, 2012, 4:57am Top

I got a Timeout (Mt Eden) newsletter emailed to me today and they are having a sale starting Tuesday :)

Jun 6, 2012, 5:59am Top

Just as I move away ..... they have a sale !!!!!!

Edited: Jun 6, 2012, 3:50pm Top

94) The Loblolly Boy and the Sorcerer by James Norcliffe (2011)
children's fantasy, new zealand

Read for TIOLI challenge #1: 3rd word in title with 3 letters. Christchurch poet, James Norcliffe has come up with a richly imagined fantasy. I loved the first book and the sequel is just as good, the range of quirky characters increases to include a sorceror, a gadget man and 3 jugglers. All Ben, the current loblolly boy, wants is to be himself again and exchange with the boy who took his place. This proves much harder than he ever thought.
The Loblolly Boy won the Junior Fiction Award a couple of years ago and this one was on this year's shortlist. I've now got Norcliffe's latest fantasy The Enchanted Flute lined up.

Jun 6, 2012, 4:05pm Top

It just tasted like tea. LOL

Kerry - Loved your daughter's take on the Royal Garden TP... how very fortunate to have won tickets in the lottery for that event.

I've been away from your thread for a while and boy, you've made me pay the price for my absence with the review of some gorgeous books that I've had to add to my obese wish list.

Also, thanks for the link to the kid's lit quiz .. how fun. I've copied the questions and will be add them to a set of games I'm preparing for our nieces and nephews this Father's Day.

Jun 6, 2012, 11:25pm Top

The Norcliffe looks a winner Kerry. Some great photos and purchases recently. I especially enjoyed reading Robert Graves.

Jun 7, 2012, 12:53am Top

Ive heard a lot about The Emperor of all maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee here too, I would definitely pick it up if I saw it cheap!

Jun 8, 2012, 12:34am Top

95) Life by Keith Richards & James Fox (2010)

Added to TIOLI challenge #13: Read a Book with an Amusing Tag on LT: praise the lord and pass the ammunition!
I heard so much praise heaped on this audio narrative here on LT that I firstly downloaded it for my son to listen to, he's a guitar teacher. But the library's audio setup did not cross over to his iPhone so I listened to it instead. From the first opening sentences I was hooked. The book is narrated by Johnny Depp and Joe Hurley with a small contribution by Richards himself. What a great, incredible story - loved every minute. Apart from re-visiting the Stones' own music, I now have to track down other music mentioned in the book. Richards talked up so many musicians and collaborated on several projects, I need to hear it all.
One can't overstate how great the narration is :
'When Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards decided who would help him narrate the English-language audio book of his memoir "Life," he chose Johnny Depp and a relatively unknown musician named Joe Hurley, the lead singer of the New York City-based rock band Rogue's March.'

In fact, when the real Keith Richards reads the end of the book, I missed Joe's version of Keith Richards - yes, I thought Joe Hurley was better at being Keith Richards than Keith Richards was."
- JULIA SWEENEY BLUM- SNL , 'Pulp Fiction'

"Johnny Depp's interpretation was expectedly great, and I thought, how can anyone follow that? But Joe Hurley carries on superbly, in a grand gritty style that leaves no question that he is well familiar with that hard road that Keith traveled down. From Keith's acoustic songwriting to the excitement of the Stones on stage, and from the shrieking damp clubs of London to the tangles with the law, you are there with Keith because Hurley makes it so."
- R&R Hall-Of-Famer Dennis Dunaway, Alice Cooper Group.

Jun 8, 2012, 2:29am Top

added Shades of Milk and Honey to my wishlist :) ; the Fearless books are on my list for kid gifts -- too adorable. If you happen to read Dutch, my friend Berna Datema illustrates her own books. I met her through digiscrap and at a recent digiscrap get-together saw them. I loved the look online, but in person I was knocked over! Wonderful stuff :) Intrigued by Penac's The Fairy Gunmother... hmmm. Too bad I don't read French as it would be easy for me to get a copy in that language LOL

"I don't miss the work of preparing Seder, but I do miss the elation of hosting it." -- You chose the word well, "bittersweet." Life cycles. I'm glad I'm gaining the wisdom now to enjoy things I took for granted earlier... just wish I'd done it sooner :)

>93 avatiakh: re: Footwork. So glad to see a biography in your list. I've been thinking the past couple of weeks about the various biographies I read as a child. Those people became my heroes. It's better than some TV character ... These were real folks who did real things.

From George Washington Carver I learned no task is too small or "low" to be beneath us, doing a task well is it's own reward, perseverance pays. His humility was striking and still impresses me today.

Louis Braille, Nellie Bly, Helen Keller ... 40 years later I remember the lessons.

Kerry, next time you're in Paris let me know. I don't live there, but would happily drive/take the train in! Furthermore, we'd be thrilled to host you and yours in Normandy should you so desire :)

(Does your name end in "y" or "i"?)


Jun 8, 2012, 5:41pm Top

Hi Susan - great to see you visiting my thread. And wow, I'd love to do a meetup in Paris or Normandy, though when I could return to Europe is up for debate. Hopefully sometime in the next few years as I'm sure my husband will want to visit family he's discovered since doing his genealogy research after our last trip to Europe & Israel. I better start dusting off my French (and Hebrew).
I didn't realise exactly where you are in France, is it easy for you to visit England for a day trip?

Shades of Milk and honey is right up your alley I'd say and I hope you spot a English version of the Pennac somewhere.

I can remember reading bios of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan when I was young. I also read the James Herriot , life as a vet books and wanted above all else to be a vet for many years. I also read lots of wartime memoirs as my father had a whole bookshelf dedicated to these books.

Edited: Jun 8, 2012, 6:58pm Top

Yesterday we went to 'Degas to Dali' at Auckland Art Gallery, a travelling exhibition of masters from the National Galleries of Scotland which showcases the development of modern art.

Lately I've been looking at the picturebooks of Davide Cali, he's Swiss Italian, lives in Italy but publishes quite often in France. He writes and has worked with different illustrators so it's interesting to see the variety of styles. Last year I came across his work when I read The Bear with the Sword (illustrated by Gianluca Foli), it had been included in the International Youth Library's White Ravens catalogue which is always worth checking out for something different and new. He also writes graphic novels but I haven't come across any in my library. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on his latest book '10 little insects'.

What is this thing called love?by Davide Cali & illusrated by Anna Laura Cantone (2011)

When Emma asks the different family members about love she gets a different answer from each one. Her mother, a keen gardener, says it is something that blooms slowly and takes time. Her father, who loves football, says it just hits you BAM, like a goal etc etc
What I loved is the growing sense of family love as grandma, grandpa, mother, father all participate in Emma's understanding and confusion. I loved the slightly offbeat ending. The illustration style works really well here as the story could get a little saccharine with a more traditional treatment but not with these illustrations.
Take a peek at the book on youtube teamed with Ella Fitzgerald.

Piano piano by Davide Cali illustrated by Eric Heliot (2005)

Cali takes an age old dilemma and gives it fresh life, the parent wanting their child to be a musical prodigy and the child hating practising the instrument. Marcolino feels obliged to master the piano, his mother sacrificed her own musical career for him, or so he thought. When grand-dad comes to visit he finds out what really happened when his mother was his age. Simple humour, fun tied with retro illustrations.

I can't wait by Davide Cali and illustrated by Serge Bloch (2005)

Wow, take a strand of red embroidery thread and weave it in and out of the story of the thread of life. Such a simple idea that works so well with the text and the thinly inked black figures on an expanse of white background. The book is an unusual size and looks like a rectangular envelope. Every thing about this is minimalist and it really works.

Definitely seeking out Serge Bloch's work.

Jun 9, 2012, 11:04pm Top

Had to laugh at Piano piano. Everyone I knew was quitting and I wanted to quit too (I'd been taking lessons for about 4 years at that point). My mom said, "You're taking lessons til you're 18 and that's it." I thought that was just forever, and, "well if I'm going to have to take lessons, I might as well practice. 10 years later I gave my senior recital at university :)

Yes, day trips (or overnighters preferably) are easy. Either drive to Paris (1.5 hours to the station) and catch the Eurostar. Or take the ferry (more fun imo) and then the train to wherever :)

Would you brush up on my Hebrew too? LOL I got As in 9 hours of Hebrew. Worked really hard. A few short years later I was staring at a plaque of the 10 commandments. I'd translated them for an exam... I knew the vocabulary. Unfortunately the past tense was correct at that point too. Finally I remember one word: lo. It's used a few times in that passage LOL (not admirable to be sure!!)

Edited: Jun 10, 2012, 3:48am Top

96) Icefall by Matthew Kirby (2011)
children's fiction

TIOLI challenge#7: Book with one word title starting with 'I' or set in country starting with 'I'.
I got this from the library after seeing several positive reviews and wasn't at all disappointed. This is a great children's story set in Viking times and rich with Nordic myth. The heroine, Solveig, is the middle child of the local chief. Overlooked due to her older sister's beauty and her younger brother as heir, she cultivates the fortitude, leadership and bravery needed to survive treachery and the enemy when the children and protectors are sent to a hidden fjord-haven for the winter as their father goes to war. This is exciting and tense and comes with berserkers, a raven and skalds.

97) Suddenly a knock on the door by Etgar Keret (2012)
short stories/israel

TIOLI challenge#7: Book with one word title starting with 'I' or set in country starting with 'I'. This is another brilliant collection of stories by Keret. How does he do it, some of his flash fiction is just so affecting - in the two pages of 'Parallel Universes' he manages to convey the tragedy of an unwanted love. Other stories are punchbowls of humour, silliness, absurdness but all still have wonderful 'soul'. Recommended to all of you who have yet to discover this guy.

Jun 10, 2012, 4:08am Top

Hi Kerry, I went to the art gallery in the Easter holidays - it was perfect as it was almost empty. I loved the pop art at the end.

Jun 10, 2012, 4:17am Top

I almost missed the exhibition, you always think you have plenty of time and then suddenly there are only a few days left! The pop art was great, I loved seeing the Calder mobile as I've wanted to view his work ever since I read the children's book The Calder Game.

Jun 10, 2012, 6:41am Top

I've added Suddenly, A Knock on the Door to my wish list. I'll read The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God & Other Stories in the next month or two.

Jun 10, 2012, 9:38pm Top

stopping by and waving hi.

Jun 10, 2012, 10:45pm Top

Darryl - really hope you enjoy Keret when you get to him.

Hi Linda!

I like this idea for historical fiction - make a pinterest board of the real life characters that make an appearance. This links to a board of all the historical people that appear in the Lymond Chronicles. Must make a start on book 4.

and start my new thread...

This topic was continued by avatiakh tackles Mt tbr in 2012 #3.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2012

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