Sidebar widgets poll

Well, I am getting into a "poll-ish" kind of mood and I can't help myself but post a new one.

Thanks to everyone who voted in my last poll: Where would you prefer to get your second hand books from? Of the 30 votes:
  • 22 were for local markets, 
  • 5 were for independent online bookstores and 
  • 3 were for ebay. 

I have to say I am very surprised that ebay came in so low.

And now.... drum roll please.... my new poll!!! (Just by way of explanation, I am very sick at the moment and have been lying in bed all day long, so small things are exciting me right now)

I want to know what everyone thinks of the sidebars in blogs? Does anyone pay much attention to their content? I know for me, I do have a look in the sidebar of different blog sites, but I probably don't look at everything. Those widgets down the bottom definitely suffer for me.

What about you? Do you pay much attention to their content? Feel free to vote in the new poll and air your opinions!

Silk by Alessandro Baricco

This book is a beautiful piece of writing, reading almost as if it is poetry. It is an enchanting love story involving Herve Joncour and the two women in his life; his loving wife and the woman with whom he falls in love with.

This will be an unusul book review for me, but it is an unusual book.

Herve Joncour buys and sells silk worm eggs for his living, as do many of the men from his home town. He enjoys his chosen career, spending many months of the years travelling to foreign parts to collect his eggs, returning this home where he sells his eggs to make a hansom living. In 1861, a dreadful plague hits Europe, destroying most of the viable silk worm eggs available. Herve Joncour travels to Japan to trade with locals for silk worm eggs, despite the Japanese's ban on such trading.

He is smuggled into the country and makes a dangerous journey to a village somewhere in Japan, where he trades for eggs. He meets his host, and more significantly, he meets his hosts mistress. At their first meeting it is clear that she becomes enthralled with him, and Herve increasingly becomes obsessed with her. Despite the danger, he continues to return to Japan, not just for his silk worm eggs, but to see this young girl. They never speak to each other, never even touch each other, but Herve finds that he has fallen in love.

Despite his increasing obsession with the young girl, he puts his efforts at home into building a large park around his home, and taking his wife on wonderful and exotic holidays. Despite his preoccupation, he essentially has a very happy home life and he recognises that he is lucky in his choice of wife.

One day a letter arrives for him, written in Japanese. He believes that it written from the young girl he has fallen for and has it interpreted to him by a prostitute from the city. He discovers that it is an erotic letter, detailing a sexual intimacy that the writer imagines between them but states can never be.

I won't spoil the end for you, but I will say that there is a twist at the end of the book in relation to that erotic letter.

I absolutely loved this book and am so glad that I purchased it. It is extremely short, taking less than an hour to read, but it was one of the most beautiful reads that I have had for a very long time. The prose was amazing, and the narrative flowed so smoothly with the use of repetition that it felt almost as if the story was a ripple in a lake moving slowly towards the shore.

Summary

What kind of read was it?
Short, but compelling and moving. 

Do I recommend it?
Absolutely, I think that this book will amaze most readers, especially those that appreciate literary fiction

Do I recommend that you buy it?
Absolutely. This is one book that I am glad is one my bookshelf.

Star Rating

7.5 / 8

Brilliant, couldn't put it down. Everyone should read it, it is totally amazing. Recommend that you buy it.


Book Blogger Hop


ABOUT PAGE TURNERS Another good week here at Page Turners, except that I have come down with something today and am feeling pretty dreadful. I am drugged up to eyeballs with neurofen - definitely wouldn't want to be doing a drug test right now :-)

For those of you who haven't been here before, have a read of the "About Page Turners" page and check out my two features; Lights Camera Blog Action and Book Beginnings on Friday. I also posted my first ever poll yesterday which I was pretty excited about, and it is really exciting to see people voting. I love a good poll.

I only managed one review this week; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire but I also did my monthly wrap up - That's a Wrap April 2010. There was also some interesting discussion about different genre's and how to identify them which you can see here.

I still have 3 outstanding reviews to write: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson and Silk by Alessandro Barrica. I know the Book Thief particularly is very over due, but I loved it so much and it was so amazing, that I am finding it very difficult to review.

Thanks for hopping by!

ABOUT THE HOP The Book Blogger Hop is hosted at Crazy for Books. In the spirit of the Friday Follow, I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blogger Hop to give us all book bloggers and readers a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on!

So, I created this weekly BOOK PARTY where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start PARTYING!!

If you start following someone through the Hop, leave a comment on their blog to let them know! Stop back during the week to see other blogs that are added! And, most importantly, the idea is to HAVE FUN!!

Book Beginnings on Friday


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.

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.
 
The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
 
          "By nightfall the headlines would be reporting devastation."
 
That strikes me as a really good opening line. It is strong and evocative. It is also indicative of the style of Hazzard's writing.
 
I know this isn't normally the place to give an update on the book that we are reading, but I feel like I want to and so I'm going to. This book is so wonderfully written, that is almost too challenging for me. I find myself reading a paragraph twice just to make sure that I have understood it. Sometimes I feel like I am not really understanding what it happening because the prose is so dense that I am not quite skilled enough of a reader to get behind the language to the meaning. Other than that I am enjoying the book, but I am starting to wonder.... what is the point of this story?
 
Anyway, over to you. Post a link to your Book Beginnings on Friday post in the Mr Linky below.

New book poll!!!!


I have just posted my first ever book poll! It is in the top right hand corner of Page Turners and is all about buying second hand books.

I would love it if you could leave a vote, I am very interested to see what people have to say.

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 Whitney from She is Too Fond of Books. It is a really interesting blog with lot of great reviews. I think Whitney and I have very similar taste in books. I also enjoyed learning about her profession - I think she may have my dream job :-)

Tell us something about yourself

I am a 25 year old, who if found in a Jane Austen novel would be considered an old maid. Not only am I an old maid but could also be a cat lady in the making starting with my two adorable cats Winkie and Zorro. I am self-employed selling used books, I have yet to discover a first edition of Catcher in the Rye, but it pays the bills. I also volunteer at my local hospital in the extended care department which I find very rewarding. I love, "I Love Lucy" and have seen every episode at least once and can also recite the Vitameatavegamin commercial by heart. (Hello Friends, I'm your Vitameatavegamin girl...) So there you have it, that's me in a nutshell.

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

I loved the "Little House" series and at one point had to throw away my copy as it was falling apart beyond repair. I think I enjoyed them so much because I was learning something but at the same time it didn't feel like it. Another favorite of mine was anything by Roald Dahl. His stories are so quirky, obscure and original with a very unique vocabulary; although I doubt I used these big descriptive words at the time.

Why do you love to read?

My parents have to take some credit since they began reading to me at the age of one and have never looked back. I think the real reason is the Once Upon A Time factor, meaning that you can travel to different lands and time periods all without leaving the comfort of your home, or even your pajamas.

How do you choose your books?

I hate to say it, but I do judge a book by its cover. How attractive a novel's dustjacket is can determine whether I pick it up. For instance, I refuse to read anything that has a cartoonish drawing on it, for some reason, I associate them with trashy chick lit. On the other hand, I'll be more willing to give a book a second glance if it has a more antique or vintage flare to it, I find it more appealing to the eye. Yes, I'll admit it, I am a book snob! Besides how the book looks I depend upon recommendations from friends and family and also book reviews from Bookmarks Magazine and bloggers.

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

Only three? Well if I must, my three favorite authors are Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters (does that count as one?) and David Sedaris.

My three favorite books are Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë . Although, David Sedaris's Me Talk Pretty One Day is very close in the running.

When and why did you start your blog?

I started my blog at the beginning of January this year. While I can and do discuss what I'm reading with friends and family I think they get a little tedious of hearing me ramble on about Gone with the Wind and Pride and Prejudice. Therefore, I decided that I needed to dedicate a place to containing what I have read and my thoughts on the subject. So, I decided to give this blogging thing a try.

How did you name your blog?

I really just love the Louisa May Alcott quote and thought it was very fitting as I am much too fond of books. Pretty self explanatory really.

What do you love about book blogging?

I love the community, and having the ability to discuss books with like minded people. And of course discovering new authors and books I may never have heard about otherwise.

What tips do you have to offer to other book bloggers?
 
Write about content you care about and share your honest opinion. Also try mingling, visit other blogs and comment on their posts or join a few memes, there's some great ones out there. But most importantly, have fun! 

                                ---------------------------------------------------
 
I know what you mean about your friends finding your discussion a little tedious. I have that same problem at the moment, except that now they hear me talking about my blog as well as my books :-) And how good is Gone with the Wind! I loved it.
 
Thanks so much for participating. I don't have anyone else lined up to be featured next week so if anyone is interested send me an email to pageturnersbooks@gmail.com and I will send you the questions.

Confused by different genres

I have been thinking a lot lately about the different genres of books out there. Young adult, children's, crime, thriller, classics etc. There are many of them.

What I have been wondering is whether I really understand what genre a book actually is? I am not literary trained. The last study I did in relation to books was in High School. I am a reader and nothing more (not that that is a bad thing at all).

I often struggle, though, to categorise books into their genre's. What confuses me most is what genre just a 'normal' every day book is. What I mean is, a book that is written relevantly recently (ie. late 20th and 21st century), that is not a thriller or crime or paranormal or romance or historical. I have just been calling these books that don't seem to fall into any other genre either "general fiction" or "contemporary fiction" or "modern fiction". But what genre's are they really? I often worry that I am not doing the authors justice by essentially making it up when I give these books a label. If you click on the "general fiction" label in my side bar, you will see the book I mean.

So what do you think? Do these books have a particular genre that I don't know the name of? What kind of genre do you think they are?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

Book Review

Most people out there have read the Harry Potter series by now. Those that are going to anyway. So I won't bother recapping the story for everyone.

I have to admit that I am a big big big massive fan of these books. I am in love. I am constantly in the process of re-reading these books. I have one next to bed and I read it for about 10mins each night before I go to sleep. When I finish a book I move onto the next.

This one used to be my favourite of the series because so much happens. It is the first book where the publishers have really given JK Rowling full rain and the result if a chunkster. The book is all the better for it. Instead of only get a small glimpse into Harry's world, we get a big long journey with him.

Goblet of Fire also has one of the most tense moments in the whole series if you ask me - the moment that Voldemort rises again. There is nothing like it. I hope that I haven't spoiled it for anyway, and I apologise if I have, but if you have seen the adds for movies you have probably figured this much out anyway.

I also love that in this book Harry, Ron and Hermione are finally growing up. They don't feel quite as childlike in this book as they have in the previous 3. It is nice to see them growing up.

It is hard to put my finger on what I like about this series so much. I think that it is the true escapism it provides. JK Rowling has done such a wonderful job of creating this whole new world, you can't help but think that you are there with the characters, seeing what they are seeing and feeling what they are feeling. There are few books that have pulled me into their world so literally.

I have also written a spotlight in JK Rowling which you can read here.

Summary

What kind of read is this?
It is a children's book so it isn't very challenging, even considering it's length, but it is a magical read.

Do I recommend it?
There are not many books that I would recommend more

Do I recommend that you buy it?
Unequivocally. Re-reading these books is almost as magical as the first time. 

Star Rating

8 / 8

One of the best books I have ever read. Everyone should read it - it is totally amazing. I am in love.


(This is the first time I have awarded a book 8 /8 )

Teaser Tuesday: The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard

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!

The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard

I am going to cheat this week and share a little more than two lines, only because I think that the prose is so magnificent I want to share it with everyone.

"It was simply that the sky, on a shadeless day, suddenly lowered itself like an awning. Purple silence petrified the limbs of trees and stood crops upright in the fields like hair on end. Whatever there was of fresh white pain sprang out from downs or dunes, or lacerated a roadside with a streak of fencing."

I love this because it is so beautifully written. The whole book is written with this wonderful language.

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday, what are you reading? is now hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. 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

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
I am usually re-reading the Harry Potter series constantly just before I go to bed, and this is not an exception. Now I am moving into The Order of the Phoenix.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
This one took me awhile to get into, and I can't honestly say I think the writing was exceptional, but I really got into this book and can't wait to read the next one.

Silk by Alessandro Baricco
This is one of the smallest novels (novellas?) I have ever read. It is more a short story really. It took me less than an hour to read, but it was a wonderful hour. This book was so detailed that it felt like a real world had been created in its pages.

Currently Reading

The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
This is an Australian book I am reading for a book club at the end of May. I am finding it a little hard to get into, but I think that once I do I will enjoy it.

Up Next

Probably the next book in the Stieg Larsson series or else By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolano which I have reserved at my local library.

That's a Wrap - April 2010


That's a Wrap - April 2010

This month was a good month. In last month's That's a Wrap post, I said that I would have to start using the computer a little less because it was beginning to interfere a little with my family time.Well, I did do a lot less having given up some of the features that I was posting and I am still pleased that I am able to have fun, write my reviews and people are still coming to Page Turners and leaving comments, so thanks everyone. 
I am pleased that I got a lot of reviews done this month:
That's just the books that I reviewed. I still have more reviews outstanding. 
For the first time ever I participated in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, although I didn't read for the full 24 hours. I still had fun though. I would do it again, but I don't think that I could ever do the full 24 hours to be honest. I appreciate my sleep a little too much. If you are interested, you can see my readathon posts here.

I also started a new system this month for labelling any posts in which I talk about books, writing and other literary issues. These posts are now labelled 'Literary Discussion'. This month I posted:
  • Light bulb moment...
  • Really interesting articles about books, authors and writing
  • How do you feel about memes?
  • Dymocks 101 List
  • Basement books selling online
  • UNSW Book Fair
  • Miles Franklin vs Prime Ministers Literary Awards
I also received the One Lovely Blog Award from Loving Books. Make sure you have a look at this wonderful blog.

Other than that I hosted by usual memes; Lights Camera Blog Action and Book Beginnings on Friday. From May onwards, Lights Camera Log Action will be hosted on a Thursday rather than a Friday.  If anyone is interested in seeing the contributions for this month, you can click on the relevant label in my sidebar.

I also participated in my usual memes hosted by others; It's Monday, What are you reading? and Teaser Tuesday. If anyone is interested in seeing my posts for this month, you can click on the relevant label in my sidebar.

And that has been my month. Thanks to everyone who popped by and had a read and/or left a comment. It was nice to have old followers back, see new followers appear and talk to everyone else in between :-)