Novels in a time of change
Recently I listened to a discussion session on ABC radio entitled "Novels in a Time of Change". The discussion took place between some quality authors, and the gist of it was - what role do/can novels play in days like the ones we live in? There are many political, social and environmental issues that are currently at the forefront of many people's minds, climate change comes to mind as a perfect example.
I think that the general concensus seemed to be that authors must essentially write for themselves, although each author had a slightly different view. One author worried about writing about political issues and what effect this had on her writing, and then said she worried about worrying about it. Another author said that they just write what they want tow write and don't really feel that the novel really can have a significant impact in a time of change. So it seems that to writers this issue can be quite varied in how thye view it.
The entire discussion goes for about an hour or so, but it is really fascinating. There is a link to it in the lower section of my side bar if anyone has time to listen to it. If you do, I would love to know what you think.
So, over to you, what role, if any, can novels play in bringing social issues to people's consciousness and/or creating change? A large role? None at all?
I thought that I might just do a quick summary of what happened at Page Turners in January.
It has been a big month for me. I decided that this year I would do up my blog, participate in more challenges and have some special features of my own, and I feel very pleased at how productive I have been. One little thing I have done is add some really lovely and meaningful quotes about books to various pages. You can check out the quotes by clicking on the various options in the navigation bar.
So here is what else I have achieved.
Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling
The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit
The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide
I started 5 special features this month, all of which I hope to carry on with throughout the rest of 2010.
Every second Tuesday I run "Great Authors", where I recommend authors that I really love. I have already featured
- Isabel Allende
- Richard Flanagan.
- The Haunted House by Charles Dickens
- Rumpelstiltskin by the Grimm Brothers.
- Ebooks - friends or foes?
- Finding time
- Do good books ever really end?
Every Friday I run "Lights Camera Blog Action!", where I feature a blog that I enjoy reading. If anyone else is interested in participating, please send me an email.
Every Sunday I run "A Blast from the Past", where I do a review of a book that I read in the past that has has some impact upon me, whether it be good or bad. So far I have only reviewed books that I would recommend to others, but I do have some reviews of other books coming up that I wouldn't necessarily recommend but I would love to chat about nonetheless. The books I have reviewed so far are
- Father Frank by Paul Burke
- The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
- The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I have also started regularly participating in 3 weekly memes. Click here to see my posts.
- It's Monday! What are you reading?
- Teaser Tuesdays
- Booking Through Thursdays
Firstly, and the most exciting news (for me anyway) is that I started my very challenge - THE AUSSIE AUTHOR CHALLENGE! It is essentially a fun way of ensuring that I continue to strive to meet my 2010 goal, which is to read more Australian authors. If you would like to join the challenge, that would be great, just leave a comment and start reading!
I also signed up to the following challenges this year:
- Ebook Reading Challenge
- Flashback Challenge
- Bibliophilic Challenge
- New Authors Challenge
If you click here you will be able to read all about the challenges and see where they are being hosted.
Following the success of that competition, I am now running the 40+ Followers Competition, just click on the link to read about how you can be eligible.
Page Turners was featured on My Overstuffed Bookshelf, on Amy J's "Spread the Love" Sunday feature. Check it out here.
I received the Blogger Buddie Award from J Kaye, and passed it in to these people.
So, it was a massive month for me at Page Turners, and I am really happy about it. I love blogging, it is becoming one of my favourite past times along with reading (other than spending time with family and friends obviously!).
This has really been my first really involved month and I just want to say thank you to everyone who has become a follower and left a comment. I am really enjoying getting to know you and reading your blogs!
The purpose of Wonderfully Short Wednesdays is to review short stories, it is as simple as that. Short stories are a very special medium of story telling that I feel I don't read enough of and I hope that this encourages me and others to read more of them.
Rumpelstiltskin by The Grimm Brothers
Rumpelstiltskin (I'm already tired of typing that, LOL) is one of the short stories, or fairy tales perhaps more appropriately, by the Grimm Brothers. There are different versions of the stories, however I believe that the version that I read was from 1857.
It is the story of young woman who falls victim to her fathers bragging - the king of the land believes that she can spin straw into gold as a result of her fathers tales. He agrees to marry her if she can spin rooms full of straw into gold in 3 days, but if she does not then she will suffer death at this hands. The young maiden cannot possibly complete this task, and so she accepts the help of a strange dwarf, who completes the work for her in in return for items of value, including her first born child. She agrees, and marries the king. When her first born is bought into the world, the strange dwarf comes to collect what he believes is his due, but this ultimately ends in his downfall.
This fairytale left me thinking what is the moral of this story?
Never promise to give what you are unwilling to give?What is great about this fairytale is that there are many different morals, and each person who reads it can find the moral they find most relevant to their life and situation.
Bragging will only bring bad luck?
It is imperative to treat the responsibilities of parenthood with respect (something that the young maiden's father, and the young maiden herself initially, do)?
Identifying and dealing with your problems is the only way to move forwards in life?
Does anyone else remember being read this as a child?
Tuesday Teaser is great meme hosted by Should Be Reading and is a great way to find out about new books.
Here are the guidelines:
- 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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I know that I already did a teaser from this book, but I am coming to the end and other day I read some quotes that really got me thinking, so I thought that I would include them in this weeks Teaser Tuesday.
This quote is from one of the characters who is discussing the police's tendency to shoot Aboriginal people when the opportunity arises:
"Course you can't class a policeman as a normal citizen. It takes abnormal men to catch abnormal men, you know".I appreciate this quote I think because I work as a criminal solicitor. I don't mean to suggest that all police to bad things all the time, but having the opportunity to see what they do do, even now, I can guarantee that a lot of the time it is nothing good and amounts to nothing more than racism and harassment. So I found that quote kind of funny.
I actually saw this on someones blog (sorry, can't remember which one!) and thought that it was a really interesting question and I would love to hear how other people named their blog.
How did you decide what name to give your blog? Did you give it a lot of thought or did it just come to you?
Did you want it to say something particular about you or books, or did you just think that it sounded nice? Are you still satisfied or do you sometimes think of changing it?
I actually went through 2 other names before I came up with Page Turners. Initially I just called it Becky's Book Reviews, and that was my url as well. But I became dissatisfied with it, thinking that it was a bit to plain. I wanted something more creative in a bookish way. Then I renamed it The Book Nook, but still had the old url. The Book Nook was a lovely name, but it didn't really do it for me. I wanted something that displayed my personal reaction to books, that is, my personal inability to stop myself from reading once I start. That's when I hit upon Page Turners, it expressed exactly what I was thinking of, so I change the name of my blog and my url and that's how Page Turners in its current form came to be.
What about you?
Capricornia by Xavier Herbert
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
In my defence, I am between two jobs in a way at the moment, and my reading is coming off second best. How do you guys keep up with it all? Am I the only book blogger who works full time? I leave home between 6.30am and 7.00am and get home at various times. Today I got home at 7.00pm. I am finding it really hard to find reading time at the moment. Anyone else having similar issues?
I have seen a few people doing this lately, and I felt like I wanted to give it a go. It was started by Simon at Stuck in a Book, and the aim is to list 10 books and say how each book says something about you.
So here are my 10 books:
1. Freddie and The Enormouse by Hugh Scott
This book is a children's book about a young boy, recently orphaned, who moves to live with his cousin in a big castle in the country. Underneath the castle live giant mice, and Freddie and his cousin go on an adventure to prove the existence of the enormouse. I loved this book as a child and read it again and again and again. I think it reflects how active an imagination I had as a child, I could imagine the events unfolding as if they were happening to me, and I wanted to have an adventure like these children.
2. The Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean M Auel
This is the first time I ever remembering reading a series of books that I just had to read on. For whatever reason something about Ayla and Jondalar really got me. Although I think the series gets worse as it progresses, it is still the series that started my love of reading series.
3. Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkein
I think that I originally read and fell in love with the series because my father read it every year, and it was his favourite book. Now what I think it says about me is that I enjoy science fiction when it is written in such a way that it feels like a true history of events rather than as a very science fictiony type of book.
4. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
I read this book as a school novel and fell in love, especially with the opening line. What this says about me is that I love a book with lots of description, and one that goes deep into a character until you know them.
5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I absolutely love this book, its a classic. This is a good example of my love of classics and my love of romance.
6. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
I chose this book because my love of Margaret Atwood began with The Blind Assassin. This was the first ever book I read of Atwood's and I remember feeling really frustrated as I read it because I had a lot of trouble figuring out what was happening, but on the other hand I remember loving it and not being able to put it down. This book for me epitomises what I love about Atwood.
7. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
I love this series, just like most other people on earth. What I think this shows about me is my love of reading children's fiction - still! More than this though, I love a book that lets my imagination run rampant, and these books allowed me to do that!
8. A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
This book is absolutely amazing and I hope to review it soon on Page Turners. This is a debut novel by an Australian author that was on the Man Booker Prize Short List in 2008. I love Australian fiction and I love to see an Australian authors, debut novel on the short list for such a prestigious award. This book is an absolute must read.
9. The Power of One by Bryce Courtney
This book says something about me because it is the first book I ever read of Bryce Courtney, and when I first realised how important it is to ensure that you read literature from your country of origin. I read it in high school, and at the time it was a massive achievement because of how long to book is, and how confronting the content is. It is also (as far as I can remember) the first book I ever cried in.
10. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
I am not sure that this necessarily says anything about me, but I want to include it because of the significant reaction I had to it. There are not many books that I have read that have effected my mood as much as this book did. I was in a very dark mood when I read this book, and that confused me. I am not sure why. But I did have to say that I can't think of another book that played with my emotions as well as this one did.
Please join in and post what 10 books define you - leave a link to your post in the comments section.
Thanks to the winner for participating in Page Turners! From now on, I will hand out this award on a weekly basis.
After the success of the 26+ Followers Competition, I have decided to run the competition on an ongoing basis!
This means that when my followers base reaches the number pictured above, I will use random.org to select 2 of my followers as winners. The lucky winners will have their own Winners Page on Page Turners, where they have the chance to talk about their love of books and book blogging, and I will talk about why I love their blog.
So, right now, we have having the 40+ Followers Competition - when my following reaches 40 people 2 of you will be the lucky winners. Good luck!
Join in by leaving a comment or leaving a link to a post at your blog about your own Blast From the Past.
The Time Traveller's Wife
This book is one of my absolute all time favourites. I do try not to play favourites if I can help it, but something about this book really clicked with me. It is the story of Claire and Henry, soul mates from the very beginning. They do have problem though, and that is that Henry has a neurological condition that means that he can time travel at completely random points in tome, turning up in other years completely naked, having to find clothes and shelter and essentially wait until he travels back to the time that he comes from.
This makes it a really interesting story. The story is written chronologically from Claire's point of view, as Henry does not really live a chronological life in that the way that you and I do. Claire is visited by an older Henry all throughout her childhood until one day she meets him for the first time as a young man. He falls in love with her, she is already in love with him having grown up with the Henry from Henry's future. Then they attempt to commence a life together like any other couple, with the additional challenge created by Henry's condition.
I love this book because of the love story. You can really sense how much they love each other. Their life is so challenging compared to other people's, getting married and having children create very big barriers for them to overcome, but despite this they cling to each other through thick and thin.
I think there is a metaphor in this book - sometimes when you are in a couple you can still find yourself in a different place (metaphorically) to your loved one and with different priorities sometimes, but it is important to live in the moment and appreciate the time that you have with each other.
The story is compelling, the love story is heartfelt and then end leaves nothing to be desired. I have read this book so many times, and I never fail to cry each time.
I know that the movie has come out and a lot of people may have already seen it, but I very much recommend the The Time Traveller's Wife to everyone.
Have you read this?
What is your Blast from the Past that you would recommend to people?