Booking Through Thursdays: Illustrations

How do you feel about illustrations in your books? Graphs? Photos? Sketches?

Yes, I know this is not Thursday, but it's better late then never right?!

I have to admit that I don't really have a problem with images in my books. They don't bother me at all. I don't know about graphs, that strikes me as something that is more likely to be in a non-fiction book and I don't really read non-fiction. I would say that it is actually nice to read books with illustrations. One of my favourite books that I won is an illustrated copy of The Hobbit. It has full page illustrations, in bright colours. I remember reading it in primary school and falling in love with the illustrations. Sometimes it can make the story that little bit more special.

I suppose that there is some scope for illustrations to be misused, but I have never seen that so I am sticking with I like illustrations in books.

Teaser Tuesday: The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios by Yann Martel

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 haven't actually read this book, but it is sitting in my draw at work waiting to be read so I thought I would post a teaser to remind myself that I have it waiting to be read. I also know this is not Tuesday - but what can you do?!

The Facts behind the Helsinki Roccamatios by Yann Martel

"It was the sheer volume that dumbfounded me. One second the Merridew was collapsed in silence; the next, great billows of music were blowing through it. It was as if the house was an empty lung that was suddenly filling with fresh air".
I think that's quite emotive.

Sorry for the shameless advertising, but I also wanted to let people know about a new meme I am hosting called Book Beginnings on Friday, the aim of which is to share the first sentence of your current read with everyone. You can see Week 1's post here and Week 2's post here. Check it out this Friday.

Book Beginnings on Friday

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Meme - Book Beginnings on Friday. This is a new meme that I have decided to start entitled Book Beginnings on Friday. I hope that you all join in.

At this stage I do not have a button for this meme, being someone that is very technologically challenged. If there is anyone out there that wants to participate in this meme and has the skills to make a button, I would really appreciate it :-)

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Becky at Page Turners. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

"At the first gesture of morning, flies began stirring".
I like this sentence because the sentence itself is stirring. You can sense in it that things are just starting to begin and big things are coming, or at least, that's how I respond to it.

Thank you to Rose City Reader for giving me the idea for this meme. On Rose City Reader you will find 'Opening Sentences of the Day' so please have a look at this wonderful blog for further opportunities to share opening sentences.

Place a link to your Book Beginnings on Friday post in the Mr Linky below or alternatively leave a comment.

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!

Today I am featuring Carin from Caroline Bookbinder.

1. Tell us something about yourself

I started working in my college library on the first day of school. I worked as the assistant to the business manager which meant not much interaction with books but it was very informative. My summer job was in the bookstore of a college in my hometown. Post-college I was a tad bit confused and did a stint bartending as well as for TicketMaster before ending up back at a B&N. Worked there for 2 years, ending as shipping & receiving supervisor. That was cool because I got to see every single book that came through the store. But I was going broke fast. Luckily my mother was a member of JASNA. At a meeting she met a new member who was the head of purchasing for the largest book wholesaler. She was looking for a junior buyer, someone with both a degree (mine's in English) and experience (see above). My entire interview consisted of which JA movie adaptations we liked the best. I bought all backlist for the 8th largest US publisher. I did returns, and did the prep work for the new title buys. I liked it but soon I decided it was time to follow my childhood dream and move to New York to be an editor. My boss was terrific. I told her my plans and she had all the senior buyers contact their publishers and set up informational interviews for me. I went up for a week, had 15 interviews. Came home to 3 job offers. So I moved to New York and became an editorial assistant at the 6th largest publishing house. I bought over 20 books in only 4 1/2 years, including a New York Times bestseller. I was doing well but neither the job nor the city was 100% agreeing with me. I eventually came to the conclusion that I wanted to move back South. I had been happy at my old wholesaler but they had been going through many layoffs since I left. So I thought I'd try the other big wholesaler. The jobs were all in sales which I'd never done before (unless you count retail), so it took me a couple of months to convince them I could do it. I've been here just over 5 years now. Because I am in the industry I am a little vague about details so I can be honest on my blog.

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

Does it have to be either or? As a child my favorite was Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. I can recite the first half of it. I heard a cute story once that in a line at NEBA (New England Booksellers Association) two strangers started talking about childhood favorites, one started reciting Madeline, and other finished. They eventually got married. I have been known to be compared to Madeline (and yes, Eloise too) which I take as a compliment regardless of how it was intended.

As a young adult, I love love loved Norma Klein. She really spoke to me. Her teenagers were real individuals with problems I could relate to. I hated the "afternoon special" types of books that were often foisted upon us at that age - kid has sex once, gets pregnant, is kicked out of their house, becomes homeless, etc. That wasn't helpful. The teenagers in her books were smart, going to ivy league or equivalent colleges, and they had sex, occasionally drank, had divorced parents but weren't dysfunctional. I really identified with them. And I appreciated Ms. Klein's honesty about how life could be.

3. Why do you love to read?

What a funny question. Someone else said it was like being asked why they like to breathe, and I agree. I taught myself to read at 3 and have been going so always ever since. Reading became vitally important to me when I was in elementary school. It was a dreadful several years of nonstop teasing, taunting, scapegoating, etc. The only things that saved me were my friend Kim, summer camp (where I had good friends and wasn't a social pariah), and books. In books I met other girls like me who were normal, accepted, and well-liked. Books showed me that while being bright was the kiss at death at my school, that wasn't true everywhere. They distracted me, occasionally taught me coping methods, and were my friend for many years.

4. How do you choose your books?

While this year I am trying to be more methodical, what with my challenges and all, it's really just what strikes my fancy at the moment. I've been trying for the last couple of years to increase my fiction to nonfiction ratio to be closer to 50/50 but in the end it's usually just a matter of me taking a series of books off my shelves, reading the backs of them, and picking one just as I would pick a book in a bookstore.

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

Wow, this is an impossible question as I think you know. Jane Austen, Anne Tyler, and Norma Klein. The Cheer Leader by Jill McCorkle, Poachers by Tom Franklin, Naked by David Sedaris. I know it's weird my favorite books aren't by my favorite authors, But I think these authors are stronger over the bodies of their works, whereas these books are masterpieces as individuals.

6. When and why did you start your blog?

December 2009. A young woman I was assisting in her publishing job search had created a blog as a part of her search. I'd never known anyone with a blog before. In fact, I'd kind of avoided blogs up to that point. I'd started to feel a little bit like an old fart in that I wasn't sure I wanted to try all these new things when I didn't know yet what would stick and what wouldn't. I'm not an early adopter. I'm often glad I've not jumped on bandwagons (MySpace, HD DVDs) so I reserve the right to wait until a tipping point has been reached. Anyway, she made me curious and I started surfing around. Then I found out another friend of mine had a book blog (BookNAround) which was even cooler. Most of my friends aren't in the industry, so I don't have a lot of people to bounce ideas off of. Even not all of my colleagues are bookish and the ones that are don't all read the same kinds of books that I do. My boss and I had liked a lot of the same books and he was always fun to talk to, until he got laid off in the summer. So I thought it would be good to have a community of book people who understood me. So I got started.

7. What do you love about book blogging?

I love the back and forth. After all, my original love of books was related to books understanding me, so when other people have similar thoughts, similar reactions, when people understand my reading thoughts, it's really fulfilling. But I also love to share my love of books with others. Retail was never ever my strong suit, but I LOVED when I was able to successful recommend a book to a customer. Sometimes they would come back in later, and ask for me because they'd enjoyed my suggestions so much. That made all the horrible parts of retail worthwhile. And it's the one part that I miss. I still love recommending books to family and friends. And now, also to you all!

8. What tips do you have to offer to other book bloggers?

Hm, not sure I've been doing this long enough to offer tips. I'm still looking for tips myself! The best tip I got was that you need to post pretty much every day. I made sure I had a long list of potential ideas before I got started. I also got hooked up to some memes thanks to BookNaround which have really helped me get out into the book blogosphere and get connected to fellow fanatic readers. Don't try adding a third column unless you have a friend with some HTML skills. It's not for the English majors.

It was really interesting to read about how your career developed, I am quite envious. It must be nice to be doing something that you are really passionate about, or perhaps its better put by saying that it must be nice to be have turned your personal interest into a career as well :-)

Thanks Carin, I hope everyone has a look at her wonderful blog.

If anyone else is interested in being featured on Lights Camera Blog Action! please send me an email at and I will email you the questions.

Thoughtful Thursday: How do you broaden your reading?

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.

How do you broaden your reading?

Recently I have been thinking that I would like to broaden my reading. I tend to read contemporary/general fiction (whatever you want to call it) or classics. I choose books that are award winners and books from popular lists.

I have noticed that on different blogs lately, broadening their reading seems to be something that a lot of people are giving thought to at the moment.

But how to go about it? Do you just read new authors? Do you try new genres? Do you try books translated from other languages? I know the answer is all of the above, but it does seem like a daunting task.

What do you think? Are you trying to broaden your reading and how are you trying to do so? Do you have any advice for those of us out there that would like to broaden their reading?

The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards

Book Details

Pages: 401
Publisher: Penguin Books
Published: 2006
Language: English
ISBN: 01430.37145

Book Review

I know this review has been coming for ages, and I apologise for being slack, but lately it's been all I can do to keep up with my features and the memes I enjoy, without having to think about reviewing books. I promise that I will make a bigger effort to get my reviews coming out sooner after I finish the book :-) OK, enough about that.

I started reading this book whilst I was on holidays in Queensland earlier this year. I had already finished both books that I took with me, so my mother lent me this one (thanks Mum!). Both my mother and my sister have read it and enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to reading it.

I am sure that most people know the storyline of this one by now, but for those that don't, it is important I think to know what it is. I was going to explain it in my own words, but I actually think that the back of this book explains it better than I can.
"The stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognises that his daughter has Downs syndrome. For motives he tells himself are good, he makes a split-second decision that will haunt all their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own."
Edwards explores the consequences of this momentous decision and what it cost each of the people it effected. David decided to give his child away for his own reasons, but regardless of his motivation at the time, I think that had he any idea the long lasting consequences his decision would have, he would have made a different decision.

I will try not to give anything away, so bear with me. For David, this secret became a barrier between him and his wife (Norah). He was not entirely honest with her, and as a result they could not be close in the way that a married couple should be. The barrier this secret creates is something that neither can work there way around to get to each other. Norah does not know what it is that keeps them apart, and avid is afraid to really deal with what he has done.

Although David continues in his career and his family life, he is unable to lead a meaningful life. Everything for him seems to be about the 'surface', as if he is too scared of what he might find if he tries to live a different kind of life.

What I found interesting was the way in which all the female characters seem to go on their own journey's of self discovery. Perhaps it is the changing decades over which the story spans but both Norah and Caroline start in places where they are confined totally by social expectations and in their own way they break free of those expectations to really become the women they are. Even Bree (Norah's sister) goes on her own journey, albeit in a different way. I know Bree begins the story as a young girl rebelling against social convention, rather than embracing it, but as time goes by she seems to realise that this is in and of itself is conforming to a stereotype and she slowly settles down to live her own life. I found that Norah and Bree particularly (but also Caroline) were very different characters at the end of the book to who they were at the beginning.

You may notice that I am not really talking about the big issue - the daughter with Down Syndrome and what happened to her? Did she find out about her origins? Is the secret revealed? I am not going to discuss this, I think it's important that you learn it all yourself when you read the book.

Speaking of which, all this is wonderful but what did I think of the book?

I feel a bit so-so about the book to be honest. I was really looking forward to reading it, but in the end, I just though... eh. The writing was very good, but sometimes it was very cliche. Examples that come to mind include the description of Norah breastfeeding and most particularly the image of Norah crying in the church with the birds fluttering the rafters. Come on. Cliche. It was the way in which certain things were described that made the book seem more cliched than I think it needed to be, and it was a bit distracting.

Having said that, I can say that I enjoyed it, and it kept my attention to the very end.


What kind of read is it?

It's a very popular book so when you are reading it you have the sense that you are reading where millions of others have read before. But it is easy, if denser than you might think, and it keeps your attention to the end.

Do I recommend the book?
Yes. It is enjoyable and worth reading, but don't go into it with massive expectations.

Do I recommend that you buy it?
No. Borrow it from the library or a friend.

Star Rating

Good and worth reading if you have the opportunity, but there is no need to prioritise it.


Hello, I just wanted to send a quick apology out into the blogosphere. I feel like I have been a little bit slack lately, most particularly with book reviews and with my competition winners. I don't have much of an excuse, except that I have been trying to spend more quality time at home in the evenings with my family (which means not using the computer).

I can now say that I have draft reviews written for almost all my outstanding books (2 more to go) which I will endeavour to type and post within the next week.

I have yet to announce the winners of my 80+ Followers Competition and the beginning of the 90+ Followers competition, and yet my followers are already at nearly 90. Again, I promise to endeavour to do this as soon as possible. If all goes to plan, I will fix this competition problem tomorrow.

Thanks to all my new followers for deciding to follow Page Turners. I hope that you enjoy my reviews and features and I am really pleased that you are enjoying my blog.

Thanks to all my older followers too - I will get those reviews up soon :-)

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday, what are you reading? is now hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. It is a chance for us to share with other book bloggers what we have just finished reading, what we are currently reading and what we are reading next.

Just finished

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
My review of this book has already been posted, so if you haven't read it yet, make sure you have a look. It really made me think and I actually signed up to a course in meditation after reading it.

The Legacy by Kirsten Tranter
This is a debut novel from an Australian author. I was very excited about reading it, but a little disappointed truth be told. Keep your eye out for the review.

Up Next

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier is up next. I purchased it at the Sydney Book Fair last year and am finally getting around to reading it. I also want to read Portrait of a Lady, has anyone read it?

Book Oscars Winners Announced!

Drum roll please..........

The winners of the Bok Oscars have been announced, with Wolf Hall taking out 2 different categories.

Everyone check it out The Book Self Project!

I have to admit that I was hoping on A Fraction of Whole winning the Best Cover Design, but congratulations to The Children's Book.

Roll out the red carpet...

The Book Oscars are on today, hosted by The Bookshelf Project.

I cannot wait to see who the winners of the categories are; best female character, best male character, best fiction, best film adaptation and best cover design.

To prepare for the evening we have been asked to share what we will be wearing on the virtual red carpet at the awards ceremony.

Although I did want to have a book inspired outfit, I couldn't get past this dress warn by Cate Blanchett to the Cannes Film Festival. I don't think that I could pull it off, but I love it. Its is beautiful and feminine and floaty and elegant. The shoulder strap is beautiful.

See you at the awards, I know we will all look wonderful!

A Blast from the Past: Freddie and the Enormouse by Hugh Scott

A Blast From the Past is a meme for people to review a book that they read before they started blogging. It doesn't have to be a favourite, it might be that you didn't enjoy it. It is about sharing a book from your past with others.

Freddie and the Enormouse by Hugh Scott

In line with reviewing a book from childhood last week, I thought that I would review a childhood book this week as well.

I think that I can say that Freddie and the Enormouse is one of my all time favourite (children's) books. The story is about Freddie, who finds himself newly orphaned and going to live with his uncle/aunt and cousin in the country. They are rich; very rich. They live in a castle, complete with indoor pools, suits of amour, dining rooms, roof top terraces, extensive grounds and a lake with a castle. He finds that he gets on well with his cousin Lindsay, but not so well with her cousin Anaglypta who comes to stay with them as well.

Its an adventure book - the children soon discover that there are giant mice living under the house and under the lake. They decide that telling their parents would only take all the fun out of it, so the three of them adventure down the mouse's hole and go on a mission to find proof that these monsters exist.

It is a very exciting book, and even comes with a warning half way through from the author. He warns that the book is far too scary for adults and that only children should proceed to read the second half of the story. I loved reading that warning as a child; it made me feel special, like I was on an adventure myself.

To be honest, I probably don't recommend reading this as an adult, I don't think that it would have the impact that it does on a child. I can re-read it now and enjoy it, but mainly because it brings back childhood memories. If anyone has children, I would recommend buying this one as a present for them!

Please join in by leaving a comment or leaving a link to your own Blast from the Past in the Mr Linky below.