Archive for December 2010
This is not the first book written by William Shatner but they are still trying to capitalise on his time as Captain James T. Kirk of Star Trek. On the back of the book is a very lovely photo of William Shatner looking very nice, a four line biography and a three line description of the book. So, if you ask me why I picked up the book for reading I’ll give the very short answer “because he was Captain Kirk”. I know, I’m gullible but my family loved Star Trek so I saw all the originals on their first screening. Most of us were science fiction fans so I’ve read a lot of classic or obscure sci fi and grew up on the movies such as Star Trek and Star Wars so it was a natural progression to read Shatner’s book.
Anyway, the description on the back of the book goes as follows:
Benton Hawkes is a career diplomat, the best in his field. But his maverick ways have angered some very powerful people, and nothing can prepare him for his next assignment: a Martian mining colony on the verge of all-out revolt.
As books go it’s fairly well written. There’s fights: on Earth; on a spaceship and; on Mars. Lots of people get killed, but the important ones survive. Our protagonist makes friends of almost everybody including some who were meant to kill him and then he saves the day. Benton Hawkes was actually trying to give up his career and look after his farm when his best friend was killed in the second assassination attempt and this was the catalyst for him to take a trip to Mars to sort out their little problem.
This is a very Hollywood-style book and I can see it translating well to the big screen. There’s enough action with just a hint of URST (unresolved sexual tension, but you probably knew that) which is finally resolved but all very gently so I didn’t take umbrage. You’ve got different scenery on Earth and it would be interesting to see how they dealt with Mars, the book was written 10+ years before the Rover landed on Mars so we hadn’t had a really good look at the planet and didn’t know quite as much as we do now.
One thing I did like was the fact that people were living on Mars. They had dug tunnels and were living in them preparatory to living on the surface in domes so it was a two-pronged colonisation technique which I felt made a great deal of sense. Shatner had predicted a very large population on Earth and again, that makes a great deal of sense, with Mars supporting Earth. Some of the things he’s written just seem to fit with what I know of the world and people while other things, such as the fight in space didn’t seem to gell completely.
Anyway, it was an interesting read and if I come across his other books I’ll certainly pick them up but I won’t go out of my way for them.
Poirot (by Agatha Christie) is probably the most loved of fictional detectives. There are two more who spring to mind as being fairly closely loved and they are Miss Marple (also written by Agatha Christie) and Sherlock Holmes. These three detectives are very different personalities and the one who stands out the most with his mannerisms and personality just happens to be Herule Poirot. Many people think he’s French but he’s actually Belgium and the accents are similar but different. I’ve met both French and Belgium people in real life and I noticed the difference in the accents the moment the Belgium lady started to talk.
There have been a number of TV series made from Agatha Christie’s books. The two best actors of Poirot are David Suchet and Peter Ustinov. I’ve always said if they could combine these two people you’d have one perfect Poirot as Peter Ustinov had the mannerisms absolutely perfect while David Suchet totally looked the part.
On Monday I mentioned a little walk I did last week down to the Den of Nargun. It was absolutely fabulous to walk down there and took me right back to my childhood.
Last year I scribbled a few words about Patricia Wrightson. She took an Aboriginal legend about the Nargun and wrote the most fabulous book. It’s called The Nargun and the Stars and if you’re quick you’ll find it for sale with some of her other books here. I don’t like listing my favourite books but if I was pressed this book would be there. Wrightson took this Aboriginal legend about the Nargun, who is half human and half rock and made it more than come alive. I read the book when I was much younger and it scared the pants right off me while also intriguing me. Part of me wanted it to be real so I’d have a chance of meeting the Nargun.
Walking down the path to the Den of Nargun was a magical experience for me. It started at the carpark with the first sign.I saw it and shivers went up my back. We headed past another sign and here’s the photo asking us to respect Aboriginal heritage. The path down was quite steep, I’m not good on slopes so I found it steep but others were walking it in thongs and after the path and the steps we came across another sign. Followed by another sign with a bit of information about the Den of Nargun, asking us not to cross the pool.
As we went passed each point my heart pumped harder each time. Finally, after all these years I was going to be in the vicinity of the Nargun! The walk down to the Den I found challenging, it’s mainly rocks and you have to step carefully. I stopped at one point and realised it must have been almost exactly the same point Patricia Wrightson had stopped all those years ago as it was so familiar to me; I’m sure she described it in her book. I neglected to take a photo at that point. The Den of Nargun was not far away though and here’s a photo of it.
I cannot tell you how good it feels to have finally been there! While I still have trepidation in my heart about the Nargun, I’m quite comfortable with that. One day I’ll reread the book and it will have the added dimension of me having actually walked down the same path as Wrightson and seen the same things. I can well imagine the Nargun dragging up the mountain and creating the path.
My walk was complete with a sit down and a picnic in the carpark up above. I was content having just been there.
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Even schoolchildren went into action in the weeks before the war began. Scout troops in Zahala had dug foxholes.
We’ve recently returned from a brief trip to Bairnsdale. It’s a lovely town about 280km east of Melbourne. We checked out some of the sights but did spend a lot of time relaxing. I managed to read three books which I’ll get to in due course. We walked down to the Den of Nargun and I’ll spend a bit more time on that later this week or early next week, it’s a topic that deserves more than just a mention. If you were following me on Twitter you would have seen the odd photo pop up as I could send photos to Twitpic without installing Twitter or Facebook on my phone.
I was going to put in a couple of photos here but they’re proving to be intractable so I’m going to postpone fixing the problem until Wednesday. Tomorrow will be Teaser Tuesday, as normal, with another Squid Ink on Thursday while the rest of the week will be filled with my musings about books and bookish topics.
I trust everyone has had a safe festive season.
Well, it’s another year and this season is often referred to as the Silly Season. It’s the time when many people go on holidays, to visit family and some people go away to avoid family. By the time you read this I’ll be on my way back from a short break in Bairnsdale, Victoria. I will have read several books and have some book reviews ready to type into the blog for the following couple of weeks and I’m sure Squid Ink will have produced some more book interactions for your delectation. I’ll be making a concerted effort to get lots of books listed on the website as well as listing some books on eBay (I’m preparing a $7 sale, with many books going for $7 whatever their worth), I’ll be endeavouring to write more, tweet more and get to the gym more.
I do hope everyone drives carefully and has a safe festive season. Don’t be like the taxi who ran straight through a red light hitting two cars just in front of us last Saturday. Everyone was okay, but that’s more good luck than good management.
This is one of those all time great books. It’s been made into a movie several times and brings with it that immortal phrase “all for one, one for all” (“tous pour un, un pour tous”). It was originally published in serial form in 1844 and by 1846 had been translated into three different English versions. Many of explicit and implicit references to sexuality had been excised. I believe the most recent translation by Richard Pevear (2006) has corrected most of those and makes it easier to understand the relationship between d’Artagnan and Milady.
The story of d’Artagnan is continued in Twenty Years After and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. Those three novels by Dumas are together known as the d’Artagnan Romances.
I’ve seen this idea on a couple of blogs recently and thought it’d be a good thing to include here. You can see it on Book Bites.
Do you ever crave reading crappy books?
I have to admit I do. There’s one series of books which is seriously crappy, but I just love them. It’s The Destroyer series written by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy. The plot, if you can call it that, is based around a policeman who is framed for murder, “killed” in a electric chair, resurrected and trained to be a lethal killer. Remo Williams is that man and he is trained by Chiun who teaches him to be a very successful assassin. At this point the Government unleashes him on unsuspecting bad people and he resolves any situation.
I read these books as a teenager and loved them then. I recently came across one of those titles and just had to pick it up. I was so excited to read it again and found it to be just the same, but totally enjoyable. Seeing as there’s only 145 titles I think I have a way to go to collect them all; the fact that I have nowhere to store that many books is totally irrelevent as any good bookaholic will tell you.
This is another Murray Whelan Thriller. This is book five out of six. In this book Murray Whelan is a Minister in the Victorian Government and his lover shows him a significant ultrasound photo, minutes later she’s dead. This is the story of Whelan and his travails a couple of years later. His son, Red, is 15 and starting to date, Whelan sees his lover’s killer and from there the journey begins.
I have a distinct liking for Maloney’s writing. He has a free and easy style, describing situations and scenes with just enough words so you understand what’s going on without being overwhelmed. He situates the action in recognisable parts of Melbourne and makes it possible for me to place the location when I’ve been there. At one stage, Whelan is sitting eating in Lorne and it is so easy to figure out where he’s eating and that he probably bought his new shoes at the same place I bought shoes about 10 years prior to the time the book is set.
Just a little digression. There’s a reason I bought shoes in Lorne. Many years ago we were in a bushwalking group and we were doing the walk down from the falls. I’d been very careful to put my walking shoes ready as I’d wanted to wear my sandals during the drive. We get up to the falls and are all ready to walk when I discover I’ve left my shoes next to the front door. It’s a long drive home so I just head out in my sandals; this is such a stupid idea. The walk is not easy and they fall apart; thank goodness for the head of our group who had duct tape in his pack. He taped my sandals to my feet and I finished the walk. When we got to Lorne I bought some shoes, cutting my sandals off my feet and threw them in the bin.
Anyway, back to the book. Actually, now I think about it I don’t have anything more to tell you. It’s a great book, in a great series, written by a great author; who I suspect also signed the Wikileaks petition.