New Design

Please bear with me while I twig the design of Page Turners over the weekend!! Someone very lovely has made me a new header (which I hope you have noticed!), I really love it and I am now trying to change the rest of the format to match it.

Thanks and happy reading!

Lights, Camera, Blog Action!


This is a special feature dedicated to spreading the word about the other great blogs that are out there! I have found a lot of great blogs through such features and I want to be able to share some book blog joy too!

This week I am featuring Paperback Reader, a wonderful blog hosted by a bibliophile from London. The reviews are great and the blog is lots of fun.

Here are the answers to the blog questions:

Tell us something about yourself:

I'm a book blogger from the UK, who moved to the vibrant and busy capital city just over a year ago. I am still acclimatising and discovering all the hidden gems of bookshops!

I'm a Master's graduate in English Literature seeking a job in the publishing industry but my dream is to write fiction. When I am not devouring books I am watching films, drinking wines and being a cat-lover.

What was your favourite book as a child or young adult, and why?

I have a number of favourite childhood books but one beloved Classic in Charlotte's Webb by E.B. White. I loved it because of its beautiful, tender relationship between Wilbur and Charlotte; it is such a wonderfully sweet and sad book and I reread it often.

Why do you love to read?

That's like asking me why I love to breathe! It's second-nature; it's automatic; it's essential.

How do you choose books?

Randomly. My next book to read is often on a whim although since I have started to blog whimsical reading doesn't happen as much as I would like (something I am trying to change back to the way it was); sometimes it is decided by which book is due back at the library; which book is being discussed at book group; which book is a review copy. When I am guided by my own whims then it can be a tangental read from my previous one i.e. the book that I have just read has mentioned the book or has reminded me of it some way. I also choose books based on personal recommendation (including bloggers) and media influence.

If you had to narrow it down - who would be your 3 favourite authors and what would be your 3 favourite books?

Three of my favourite authors are Angela Carter, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison.

Three of my favourite books are Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier; I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith; Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter.

When and why did you start your blog?

I started my blog almost a year ago to keep me occupied; to discipline my writing; to engage with fellow bibliophiles.

What do you love about book blogging?

I love enthusing about books with people that share and understand my passion. The wonderful thing about loving books is that we don't just love to read but we love the actual physical book and how it looks; feels; where we put it; how we read it; what other people say about it. We are obsessed with new books; borrowed books; forthcoming books and love to participate in all of the bookish chat that surround our favourite possessions and focus of our favourite pastime.

What tips do you have for other book bloggers?

Enjoy your reading and blogging and don't feel pressured by either. Also review honestly and retain your integrity.

I love what you say about why you read - that is a really lovely thing to say. It reminds me of a quote by Harper Lee:

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.
Whilst I have to honestly say that nonetheless I love reading, I totally get what Harper Lee is saying and I think it's the same thing that you are.

I am also glad that someone else out there loves Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I also looove that book - definitely one of my all time favourites. We read it as a high school novel and I couldn't put it down and have probably reread at least once every year since. I wrote about it in my Defined by Books post - where you list 10 books that say something about yourself. Have a look at mine if you get a chance.

I especially love what you say when talk about what you love about blogging, what you have said it so true. It isn't just reading or the story, it is the whole experience of the book that is riveting.

Thanks for taking part.

Booking Through Thursdays: Encouragement


This weeks Booking Through Thursday asks:



How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?

In the book Gifted Hands by brilliant surgeon Ben Carson, one of the things that turned his life around was his mother’s requirement that he and his brother read books and write book reports for her. That approach worked with him, but I have been afraid to try it. My children don’t need to “turn their lives around,” but they would gain so much from reading and I think they would enjoy it so much if they would just stop telling themselves, “I just don’t like to read.”

This is something that is very close to my heart. I don't have children, so its not an issue for me yet, but I know what I hope to do with my children when they arrive.

I have very vivid memories of being read to as a child. My sister and I were read to everyone evening before bed. The memory of the books themselves are a bit fuzzy, but I remember mum sitting on the bed reading, I remember the feeling of loving it. One book I do absolutely remember being read was The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blighton. We had a large version with beautiful colourful illustration that took up literally the entire page of every page of the book, and the words were carefully placed on each page so that they didn't obscure the picture. We were read one chapter a night until the book was complete. I think we were probably read it many many times. I also think I remember The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe being read to me. I'm sure my mother would have a better memory of what books she read to us that I do.

But I do think that it was this that created my lasting love of reading. Getting me to read in primary and high school was never an issue. I also think that it has something to do with how well I went at school, but then lots of people don't read but go well. I just can't help but think that reading is a way of using your mind, being open to new ideas and stories, and that can't help but assist you to think about the world around you.

Thoughtful Thursday: Secondhand books or new books?

Thoughtful Thursday is an opportunity to discuss things book and blog related. It might be an issue that has been mentioned in the media, or something about people's reading or blogging habits.

Do you prefer secondhand books or new books?

I have to admit that the majority of my books are second hand. They are either hand me downs (the minority) or books that I have purchased on eBay or at secondhand book shops.

What I love about second hand books is the sense that they have been pre-loved by someone. I like the idea of sharing the book love around. I like to think of them having been sitting on some unknown bookshelf elsewhere. I like it when a book opens to a certain page or the pages have that well worn yellow colour to them. I also love browsing in second hand book shops, I like that the books don't all match and look ordered and that you never know what is going to be there.

I do also have to admit that new books can be quite expensive and so I like the cost efficiency of secondhand books as well; it is a lot easier to feed my book purchasing addiction when they are second hand.

None of this is to say that I don't love or buy new books, because I do. Most of my new books are presents and some I have purchased for myself. Those that I have purchased for myself are either books that I really really have been looking forward to reading (Wanting by Richard Flanagan comes to mind) or impulse purchases (The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho comes to mind).

I still love new books. I like their new book smell and the crisp way that their pages tun. I like that reading a new book feels a bit more like a fresh start than reading a secondhand book.

Both are wonderful in different ways but I am definitely more of a second hand book person than a new book person.

What about you, do you have a preference??

Leave a comment or create a Thoughtful Thursday post in your blog and share the link with everyone.

Wonderfully Short Wednesdays: The Lady or The Tiger? by Frank Stockton

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.

Join in by leaving a comment or leaving a link back to a review of a short story on your own blog if you prefer.

The Lady or the Tiger? by Frank Stockton

I really enjoyed this short story, I believe that it written to make you question concepts of justice and human nature in general and it is successful in doing so.

The story is that of a barbaric king in a far away land, who has developed a system of justice to deal with the 'criminals' in his kingdom. They are placed in a big arena on Trial Day, and often much of the kingdom turns out to watch. They are given the option of choosing two doors. Behind one door is a hungry tiger, that will eat the individual who opens the door. Once this door is opened, the accused is found guilty of the offence. In the other door is a beautiful young maiden, and if this door is opened, the accused is pronounced guilty and is promptly married to the maiden, whether they want to be or not.

The story takes an unhappy turn when the king catches his own daughter having an affair with a member of his household staff and the King gives the young man the choice - the lady or the tiger?

At the end of the story, the young princess is left with a moral dilemma, which door does she help her lover to choose?

For me there were two great things about this story. The first was the King's concept of justice - if guilty the person would be eaten. If innocent, they would be married to a beautiful young maiden. What is interesting about this as justice is that it is completely a random choice that finds the person guilty or innocent. A lot of things in life come down to chance, and it is interesting to think that justice could come down to chance as well. I am a criminal solicitor, and I see that sometimes what penalty a person gets depends upon what Magistrate is making the decision. Is this justice? Or is it chance? Its also note worthy that even if a person is found innocent the result could still be a punishment. The accused may be in love with someone else before they marry the maiden, they might even already be married and have a family. It makes me think of some of my clients who are found not guilty of offences, but they have already been punished in a way, by having to go through months of court procedures and a hearing.

The second great thing about this story is the choice the young princess has to make at the end. Does she save her lover from death and tell him which door the maiden is behind, or does she make the selfish choice and let her lover die rather than see him married to someone other than her? Obviously in this world we are not going to face quite the same quandary, but we are often faced with the problem of making selfish or selfless or choices in life and sometimes its not as easy a decision to make as it should be.

I very much recommend this story to everyone. It makes you think.

Great Authors: Margaret Atwood


Great Authors is a fortnightly feature I have started to discuss my favourite authors.

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is the third author that I am featuring on Great Authors, and one of my all time favourites. She is a Canadian author, and definitely worth looking out, particularly if you are participating in the Canadian Author Challenge hosted at Jennifer @ Mrs Q: Book Addict.

I have very rarely come across an author with such a distinctive style of writing. It is so descriptive, and I love that she tells the story by describing what is happening, rather than using a lot of conversation. She is the sort of author that delves so deeply into the characters minds that it can become hard to remember that you are a different person.

I often describe reading Margaret Atwood as like being on a roller coaster. Sometimes it can be so hard to figure out what is happening, that it is really frustrating, but when you finish reading it you have to sit back and marvel at the wonderful experience that you have just had. I don't know about you, but for me this is like a roller coaster. When I am on one, I am terrified and want to get off, but as soon as the ride is finished, the rush of adrenaline makes me want to get straight back on.

I have had many different reactions to her books.

  • I read The Handmaid's Tale in high school, and didn't really enjoy it as much as I know a lot of people did. Perhaps that might just be because I had to read it, rather than chose to.

  • The Blind Assassin feels like it was the first Atwood book I ever read, and I can definitely say that my love of her books can be traced back to this story. I just felt a part of what was happening as I read it which is very special.
She is also very varied - writing novels, short stories, poetry and non-fiction.

  • The Tent is a wonderful collection of short stories, all well written and with beautiful messages that make you think beyond what you have read.

  • The Penelopiad is also wonderful. It is a short novel, telling the story of Homer's Odyssey from Penelope's perspective, and that of her maids. It blends in prose, and gives a totally new and fascinating spin on an old story.

  • Payback is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read, without a single doubt. It is a theoretical discussion about the concept of debt, not just financial debt, but non-financial too, and Atwood explores the issue of debt through literary discussion. It is this book that read me to read The Mill on the Floss which I reviewed when I first started Page Turners. I found her discussion of the concept of debt in The Mill on the Floss so interesting that I couldn't help but read the book for myself. I genuinely hope that more people read this book because I think it is very relevant in this day and age.

I own many many of her books and recommend them all:


  • Alias Grace
  • The Tent
  • Payback
  • The Blind Assassin
  • The Robber Bride
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • Bodily Harm
  • The Penelopiad
  • Moral Disorder
  • Oryx and Crake
  • Negotiating with the Dead - A writer on writing
I haven't finished the last book mentioned, and I think that I try and read it for the Bibliophilics Book Challenge that I am participating in this year.

What keeps me going back to Margaret Atwood is her distinctive story telling style and the way that she crafts her characters. You can't help but become part of the story so deeply and in such different ways that reading her is like a never ending journey that I hope never ends.

I hope that everyone gives Margaret Atwood a try.

Teaser Tuesday: The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edward + others


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 am only supposed to do the book that I am currently reading, but I finished of two others over the weekend that I really want to share with people, and so I am going to do a some teasers from them, so bear with me.

Completed reads


Picnic at Hanging Rock
by Joan Lindsay pg. 23

"The sunny slopes and shadowed forest, to Edith so still and silent, were actually teeming with unheard rustlings and twitterings, scufflings, scratchings, the light brush of unseen wings. Leaves, flowers and grasses glowed and trembled under the canopy of light; cloud shadows have way to golden motes dancing above the pool where the water beetles skimmed and darted".
The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho pg. 149 - 150

"'What do you want here today?' the desert asked him. 'Didn't you spend enough time looking at me yesterday?' 'Somewhere you are holding the person I love,' the boy said. 'So, when I look out over your sands, I am also looking at her. I want to return to her, and I need your help so that I can turn myself into the wind.'"
Current read

The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards pg. 162

"Caroline felt a rush of despair. They'd never really see Phoebe, these men, they would never see her as more than different, slow to speak and to master new things. How could she show them her beautiful daughter: Phoebe, sitting on the rug in the living room and making a tower of blocks, her soft hair falling around her ears and an expression of absolute concentration on her face?"


40+ Winners Competition!


I am happy to announce, that with 41 followers, the 40+ Competition is over.

In the next few days I will enter the names of all my followers (except the last 2 winners, sorry guys!) into random.org and pull out 2 winners. Each winner will receive a Winners Page, which will give me a chance to tell everyone how much I like your blog, and will also give you a chance to tell everyone a bit more about yourself.

Stay tuned!

Its Monday! What are you reading?

'It's Monday! What are you reading?' is a meme started on the wonderful One Persons Journey Through the World of Books all about what books you just finished, you are currently reading and what is coming up.

Just finished

Capricornia by Xavier Herbert
Yes, I finally finished it, and it was worth the time spent reading it.

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
This is perhaps one of the all time most favourite Australian classics out there. You probably wouldn't find an Australian that hadn't heard of it (please correct me if I'm wrong). It was really good, very mysterious and highly recommended.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I hadn't read any of his books, and this was an impulse purchase whilst I was Christmas shopping, but it is one of the sweetest books I have ever read, so clever in so many ways.

I hope to have reviews of these done as soon as I can, however, this is my last week in my current job and then I am moving to a different area so I will be very busy over the next couple of weeks.

Currently Reading

The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards
I started this whilst I was on holidays and I am really enjoying it so far. These characters have such hard decisions to make and I feel for all of them, even those who I know are in the wrong. Everyone does things for different reasons.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I am still reading this selection because I am reading it on ebook, which I don't actually read as commonly as I read my books.

Up Next

Who knows - that's the joy of reading!

Awards

I am back from holidays and ready to hand out awards.

Blogger Buddy Award


I have decided to hand out this award to my top weekly commenter and this week that was Rob of Books are Like Candy Corn. This is a blog I have discovered recently and am really enjoying reading so I hope that you check it out.


One Lovely Blog Award



Caroline, from Caroline Bookbinder gave me this award recently and I am very thankful, particularly from the lovely things that she had to say about me.

There are rules for this award:
  • Accept the award, and post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link.
  • Pass the award to 5 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know that they have been chosen for this award.
I am passing the award on to these 5 blogs:

Booklover Book Reviews: I discovered this book through a comment someone left on my blog. After I started my own Aussie Author Challenge, I discovered that this one was running too. It is lovely to see other Australian bloggers and to find another blog witha goal of bringing more Australian authors to light for other readers.

Paperback Reader: I don't remember how I came across this blog, but I love it. I think that we have very similar taste in books and the reviews are written so well. I like that she has added book trivia to her Teaser Tuesday post too!

Coffee Stained Pages: This another new blog that I have discovered recently that I really enjoy, I really like the title of the blog. To me, it conjured images of well loved books - in the sense that if they are covered in coffee, someone has really been enjoying reading them. A lot of the books that she reviews are books that I haven't heard of bu that seem really good, I would definitely take a recommendation from Coffee Stained Pages.

Too Many Books, Too Little Time: The title of this book encapsulates exactly how I feel a lot of time, especially with a TBR list of over 40 books and even more on my wish list. I really receommend this blog. The reviews are so well written and there is a lot of interesting discussion topic posts to be found. I trust her opinions and I hope you check it out.

Welcome to Larissa's Life: I discovered this blog through Amy J's Overstuffed Bookshelf. I love the colours of Larissa's blog, it is so bright and colourful that you can't help but want to explore it. Larissa reviews books that I would not normally read, which is one of the reasons that I really enjoy it. It is important sometimes to be open to new books and genres and this blog helps me to do that. I also enjoyed reading all about her recent trip to Italy.

Back from holidays!

Hello!

If anyone has been wondering about my apparent absence over the last few days, that is because I have been on a 3 day holiday to Surfers Paradise in Queensland.

I had a great time. We stayed in a lovely hotel right near the beach, and spent a lot of time wandering through the shops and swimming in the pool - with cocktails of course. We also went a full day trip yesterday up to Mt Tambourine, which involved a 4WD tour, complete with walks through the rainforest, bird feeding and whip and boomerang lessons.

I did have some posts scheduled for while I was away and I hope you enjoyed them. It was funny to come back from away and look at how activity on Page Turners dwindled each day I was away. I think that's an important lesson - to make the most of blogging for yourself and for everyone else, being active on your own and on other people's blogs is very important. I definitely missed looking at what everyone was reading while I was away.

Thanks for everyone that left comments while I was away - I was also really happy to see that my followers have raised to 39! 1 more until the end of my 40+ Competition and 2 more winners will be announced! I was also pleased to see that I have won an award from another blogger - but I will have a separate post about that later.

I finished off 2 books while I was away - Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. They were both wonderful and reviews will be on their way!

I hope that everyone is well and enjoying their reading.

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted at The Story Siren. As a new book blogger, I haven't really had the opportunity of receiving any books for review from anyone yet, but I did get my first one this week:

The Little Known
by Janice Daugharty. Here is the book description:

When twelve-year-old Knot Crews, an African American boy growing up in the segregated south Georgia town of Statenville, discovers a bag of bank-robbed cash in an alley, he is nearly overcome with happiness and terror. All that money – a hundred thousand dollars – could be the ticket to everything he’s ever wanted, but he knows he can’t spend it, not only because his conscience won’t let him, but for fear of being caught.

H
e decides to do what he can for his needy neighbors, both black and white, and begins mailing them hundred-dollar bills anonymously, but it irks Knot daily to discover that most of them squander it and don’t use the money as he had intended, and that the money doesn’t change their lives for the better. It turns out that the weight of Knot’s world can’t be lifted by cold hard cash alone.

Set during the turbulent 1960’s, The Little Known is a coming-of-age story full of hope and forgiveness.




I also purchased
New Moon by Stephanie Meyer and can't wait to read the next book in the Twilight series!

A Blast from the Past: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

A Blast From the Past is a weekly meme where I intend to review book that I read in the past that has had some form of impact upon me, whether it be good or bad.

Join in by leaving a comment or leaving a link to a post at your blog about your own Blast From the Past.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

My sister bought this book for me as a Christmas present a couple of years ago, and I really enjoyed it. It is written by an Australian author, and it tells the story of a man who has escaped from an Australian gaol and has fled the country to India to hide from those that are looking for him.

It details his time in India, he meets a woman he falls in love with, moves to the slums where he provides medical attention to others, becomes involved in organised crime, relapses back to heroin abuse and becomes involved in war. The book is so long and the plot so varied that I don't think that I could do it justice.

It is a very large book and took some time to read. I remember reading it and not being able to put it down, but on the other hand there were parts of the book that I found really really slow and (I hate to admit it) skipped some parts. On the other hand, it is one of those books where you really become involved in the story and the characters. I know it sounds like a contradiction but it isn't to me.

Has anyone else read it? I would really be interested to know what others thought of it. I know that Johnny Depp is making a movie of it which I am really waiting to come out (although admittedly that might have more to do with Johnny Depp than the book!).