Archive for November 2010
This is disclosure time. I’ve been friends with Amanda Cox for a couple of years. I couldn’t get to her book launch so a mutual friend got a copy for me and she very kindly made certain to pass on my request to have it signed upside down, so my copy is signed by the author, but signed my way. I don’t normally worry about author signatures so I figured it had to be different, the thing is, you can’t actually tell as it’s on a blank page!
Anyway, enough rubbish. This book is a diary, it’s the diary of a young mother with boys who don’t do what they’re told and have to get to kinder or school. It’s the diary of a young mother who also runs a business from home and is frantically trying to fit in enough time for the business, the shopping, the housework, the kids and hopefully find there is enough time at the end for her husband and herself, some time out away from the kids and also some sleep. Sleep? I hear her asking, what on earth is sleep? Actually, she’d be rather more colourful with her words, but I don’t use those words.
Anyway, Cox details the highs and lows of having and parenting three boys. She starts at the beginning when the eldest is born and ends eight years later some months after the youngest is born. They are unexpurgated and include her swearing as she can’t find her keys, swearing as she is told off yet again as she appears to be doing the wrong thing with her baby, swearing as she…sorry, she doesn’t swear all the time. Cox tells us to trust ourselves and our instincts as there will always be someone telling parents they’ve done the wrong thing. She includes so many doubts she has about doing the wrong thing and wondering how it will affect her children and will they be totally screwed up by her lack of parenting.
Cox basically tells us what we’re thinking about our own parenting. She is not afraid to let fly with sarcasm and wit to tell people how she feels about being a parent and in the process tells us how we’re thinking. I had my kids 10 years before her and I have girls rather than boys but she seems to have a knack for telling me what I was thinking and feeling when they were the same age.
She also details the darker side of parenting, the side that nobody wants to know about. Cox tells us what really happens when she’s got PND (Post Natal Depression), how she can’t make coffee as she can’t remember if she put the coffee in or the sugar in, how she sometimes can’t work the coffee machine and ends up with coffee everywhere, or maybe just hot water when she’s completely forgotten the coffee. She talks candidly about being pregnant with her second and third children and how the morning sickness can totally take over your life.
I have so much admiration for Cox, she has managed to bring up three boys, study, run a business and deal with the vissisitudes of life with style, wisdom, sarcasm and humour. Her business supports mums and gives them a haven where they can be themselves. She runs a website with a forum, she creates and sells goods, writes blogs, she speaks on TV and radio as well as organising awesome nights out. You may be able to get a copy of the book here if you’re lucky, last time I heard there were very few copies left.
Laughter may happen at any time
Tears will spill over
There are many ‘rude’ words which sometimes add to the laughter
If you’re old, like me, you’ll definitely need good light and reading glasses as the print is very small
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is one of those iconic books, everyone seems to have heard of it and knows the story. I’ve known of it since I was very young and I’ve also known some vague details of the story such as how the picture ages but the person never does, the funny thing is I’ve never actually read it. It’s one of those stories that has to be on my To Be Read Pile…eventually.
There have been a number of movie adaptations stretching back to 1915 made in various countries. Some of them use the word Portrait instead of Picture. In doing some research I came across a picture of Oscar Wilde and noted he looks very much like Stephen Fry who just happened to play Wilde on TV a few years ago.
How to miscategorise a book in one easy lesson, have all the categories listed on pieces of paper on the floor, throw up the book and use whatever it lands on. Flippant, I know, but sometimes I’m very tempted.
Every Thursday from 8pm (currently daylight savings time) there’s a fabulous little chat on Twitter for the South Pacific Region. You can participate wherever you are in the world using the hash tag #spbkchat. Last Thursday the discussion centred on Young Adult literature. Until then I thought Young Adult and Teen were the same category and I’ve broken down the categories my website under Children, Teen and Adult. How wrong can you be!
It’s much more complicated than that and I’m writing this to try and get some sort of clarity in my own mind. Garth Nix talks about it in his comment on this blog and he suggests Young Adult books have an entry age rather than an age range and that many adults happily read Young Adult books. From what I know about children and how they mature into adulthood it seems to make some kind of sense. He suggests the entry age is 13-14 which is generally about the time puberty starts and when they start getting bored with Children’s books. I do have to say this is just a guide as the onset of puberty varies as does the reading age of children/teens/young adults. One of the things you can use as a guide is the themes of the books or the types of issues it covers. Parents of gifted children have a problem in that they’re children may be several years younger than their reading age and the books they’re capable of reading may have themes they consider in appropriate. Consider a child of eight who has a reading age of 13 but the maturity of an eight-year-old. A 13-year-old would be up to reading books that might refer to sex but the eight-year-old would not be.
It’s an interesting dilemma and one that has been debated many, many times. I’m not going to change the categories on my website but I will give you the guidelines I use to help you and your teen/young adult choose books there. Children is very easy, it’s for any person under about the age of 10-13. Teens is for anything between there and adult. If I’m not sure I’ll put it in adult, if it’s Young Adult it could be in either Teens or Adult. Many of the science fiction books in Adult are actually suitable for Teens and Young Adult as well. If you have any doubt or questions please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll do my best for you.
This was another of the books I won on Twitter from Penguin Books. I was very excited to receive it as I haven’t read much in the way of this kind of literature for a very long time. Here’s the description from the back of the book:
Alienated from society and paralysed by a sense of his own insignificance, the anonymous narrator of Dostoyevsky’s groundbreaking Notes from Underground tells the story of his tortured life. With bitter irony, he describes his refusal to become a worker in the ‘anthill’ of society and his gradual withdrawal to an existence ‘underground’.
It’s an interesting book as it was written in Russia in 1864 so it gives some idea of life in this area at that time. When I first started it I found myself very bored and wondered if I’d actually manage to finish the book, but I flipped to the front and read the notes on the author and discovered one of the reasons I was having so much trouble. It was written in a totally different time and place to the books I normally read which meant I had to change my mindset and when I did that I found it much easier. I have no idea why that makes such a difference as I can read science fiction or fantasy stories about different worlds and have no trouble.
Anyway. Our protagonist is a very lonely person and seems to try and do everything to make himself even more isolated. On occasion he does try and talk with people but that never seems to last for long. He appears to misinterpret so many things people have said and just can’t understand the situations. Maybe I’m reading more into it than should be there but I can’t help wondering if Mr Anonymous is autistic.
I love reading about different cultures and the culture in this one is fascinating. There’s talk of duels and honour, things which have changed drastically since the 1800s and since it’s Russia they pay in Roubles. There’s a reason I mentioned Roubles, I just love them as they seem so exotic and offworld, I don’t get that with any other currency.
If you have a penchant for Russian literature you’ll love this book. If you’ve never read Russian literature then it’s a good place to start.
This is a lovely collection of fiction, the beauty of this is that each story is under 750 words so if you’re short of time and still want to read you can just take it one story at a time. I didn’t but maybe I should have as each story is very complete and generally needs a bit of time to digest. I found myself rereading many of the stories in order to get more of the nuances or to just enjoy the story or the writing a bit more. I do have to say I am not excited as I don’t have Volume One, this volume was published by Equilibrium Books in 2007 and I’m hoping there have been more published since then and if so I don’t have them either. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more as soon as my to be read pile is reduced by a few books.
This collection of short stories was written by an international family of authors and some of them are listed below:
K. A. Paterson
Julia Felicity Ker
Brett A. Hall
This is just a few of the authors in this book.
The full title is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and it was written by Lewis Carroll in 1865. It is one of those iconic books that if you haven’t read then you should have. When my kids were in primary school I used to try and get them to walk faster by walking behind them quoting these words from the The Lobster Quadrille:
“Will you walk a little faster?”
Said a whiting to a snail,
“There’s a porpoise close behind us,
And he’s treading on my tail.
Needless to say it never worked, but it was fun. I also have a book of themes for parties and it has a chapter detailing how you could create a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, complete with costumes for the Cards and how to play croquet. I’d love to be able to tell you how I hosted the party and if it worked, but I only ever read the book I never put any of in practice.
Last week was officially a crap week. I really don’t like complaining about my private life here but I feel I owe people some sort of explanation for not blogging and for virtually dropping off Twitter and Facebook.
I saw my physio on Monday and he fixed my neck, I walked out with a totally comfortable neck for the first time in forever and was planning on a really productive week until I woke up with a really bad migraine on Tuesday morning. I retired to bed early on Wednesday evening with another migraine, woke up to the news of the death of my great-aunt on Thursday morning (she was only 99, not a bad innings) and then later on heard about the death of a cousin (89, we’re long lived). As it turns out the funerals were only an hour apart and too far apart physically to get to both of them so we divided forces and only attended one. Mum had already planned a family lunch on Saturday to celebrate all the November birthdays, so I helped her cook etc and shortly after I got home the OH needed a visit to the hospital, finally got him home shortly before midnight feeling a little more comfortable. I spent yesterday feeling a little shattered and have woken up this morning feeling little better.
I love the scheduling feature on WordPress. When we got back from our weekend away I’d written a number of posts and scheduled them so that all I’d have to do until Wednesday night was to write a little Teaser Tuesday. Not hard, but it was a bad migraine and I was just trying to get through the day, I was hoping to start up Squid Ink again last Thursday since the exams were over for the artist but I was feeling shattered after having had two days with migraines so it was another day of just trying to get through the day.
So many things were left undone but on the other hand I did manage to send out all orders in good time as well as taking some photos so I’m now ready to start listing more books and I also got lots of ironing done. I’ve scheduled this post to publish itself so by the time you read this I’ll be at the gym trying to get myself back to some sort of routine and hopefully find a better normality.