Book Blogger Hop and Weekly Wrap-Up


ABOUT PAGE TURNERS

Well, I only got 1 book review done this week, Lilian's Story by Kate Grenville. Grenville is quite a prominent Australian author, so if you are looking to read a review of something slightly different then make sure you have a read of it.

It was a big week for me though; I spent the weekend at the Sydney Writers Festival. It was a wonderful weekend (except for the weather), with friends and books and authors. I saw some really wonderful events. You can read about my experiences at the Sydney Writers Festival here.

Other than that I had my usual memes; Lights, Camera, Blog Action and Book Beginnings on Friday. I also posted about my upcoming 1 year blogoversary and 25 things about me. 

I hope to spend this weekend catching up on reviews and reading. I am going into hospital on Monday for some surgery, and will spend 3 weeks recovering. I am not sure whether or not I will get much blogging done or not. I'll see how I feel. I suspect I will either be blogging all the time or not at all. So if I am not around a lot, please don't forget about Page Turners. I love to have people come and visit me so stick around and cheer me up. I will be trying to schedule things as much as possible.

Thanks to everyone who popped by over the last week, I hope I get to meet lots more new bloggers this blogger hop.

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.

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I don't have my book with me today because I drove to work, so I am going to share the opening sentence of the ebook that I am reading at the moment.

Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott

"I call our world Flatland, not because we call it so, but to make its nature clearer to you, my happy readers, who are privileged to live in Space".
Yep. Weird. I am really loving this book, even though I only started it last night. It is a science fiction novella from 1884 and it is really strange in a very funny and clever way. Even though I haven't finished this yet, I think that most people would find this a very funny and worthwhile read.

What about you? Post a link to the your Book Beginnings on Friday post in the Mr Linky below.

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!

If anyone would like to participate email me at pageturnersbooks@gmail.com. I don't have anyone scheduled for the next few weeks so now is your chance to get involved and share your blog with other bloggers.

Today I am featuring Stacy and Shannan from Girls in the Stacks. It's nice to see a two person team doing some blogging, so make sure you stop by and see what these two are doing.
 
1. Tell us something about yourself

Stacy and Shannan, i.e. the girls, love reading and have turned their obsession for books into book reviews that are passionate, opinionated and often quite humorous. In addition to traditional book reviews of adult and YA fiction, the girls also have lively book discussions via podcasts and fun (fresh, offhand, original, novel, juicy, bracing) author interviews.

Stacy: A levelheaded and quite predictable person until the wee hours of the night when she is reading, writing and stalking other blogs. It is during the level headed hours she pines for her days as a youth librarian amidst diaper changes and carpool. When not doing all the things listed above you can find her playing soccer (yes, librarians do play) and wondering how her fish survive despite all their odds.

Shannan: Shannan is funny. I mean it. She really is. Incredibly funny. She loves to read and daydream about Eric from Sookie Stackhouse novels. She has a business degree but likes to teach 3-year olds in preschool instead. That is, when she isn’t taking care of her own two kids. She would like to list a multitude of hobbies, but most of what she does revolves around what her kids are doing.

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

Stacy: I loved (and still do) Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. There was just something about that redheaded orphan that I connected with. Could be the fact I had (still do) red hair and was teased merciless about it. I think those books ignited my zeal for reading and my secret passion for historical fiction.

Shannan: My favorite books growing up have to be The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, and R.L. Stine books. My mother was a wonderful role model for reading as she read a book a day (and that is while she was taking care of five kids!). So, I just read all the time!

3. Why do you love to read?

Stacy: For me reading is an escape. A chance for me to immerse myself in another world, in other people’s shoes, seeing things from other points of views. That, and I liked to be entertained.

Shannan: I love to pick up a book and discover what mystery will be inside. Will it be good? What will happen? Will I want to read it again, share it with my friends, or fall in love with the characters? I enjoy being drawn away from the real world and transfixed in an imaginary one. Ohh…this makes me excited to start my next book right now!

4. How do you choose your books?

Stacy: I mostly choose by reading book summaries along with reading one or two reviews, but I also, at times, admit that I still judge books based on their covers.

Shannan: I hate to admit it, but I do judge a book by its cover. I read the back and try to see if it seems like something that I may like. Here is something that many people don’t know about me. I like to pick up most books without knowing anything about them and be surprised. I just love surprises!

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

Stacy: lol! That is like asking a mother of 10 to name her favorite three children (they secretly do have favorites but obviously can never admit it out loud!)

Let’s see…three favorite authors are Charlaine Harris, Suzanne Collins and Jane Austen.

Three favorite books are Hunger Games/Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, The Strongbow Saga (Viking Warrior, Dragons at Sea & The Road to Vengeance) by Judson Roberts and Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.

Shannan: My three favorite authors are Suzanne Collins, Charlaine Harris, and I just adore Lauren Oliver (and one more, please?) Maggie Steifvater.

For girls who have such different opinions, I agree with much of what Stacy says about favorite books. I LOVE Hunger Games/Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris (think book 4) and The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. (Of course, Stacy and I love the Bible too.)

6. When and why did you start your blog?

We started our blog about six months ago to share our thoughts, opinions, frustrations, excited-ness (is that a word?), ideas and theories with others. All with the hope that maybe, just maybe we can make some stack lovers out there too. That, and we are book nerds who talk way too much about books.

7. How did you choose your blog's name?

I (think Stacy) really wanted the blog to be “Paperback Princess”, but sadly it was already taken. Then I remembered my friend use to have a job in stacks management (fancy way to say page) so I wanted to go with “Into the Stacks,” but it too was taken. Then I thought long and hard and decided to add “girls” to “stacks” and came up with “girlsinthestacks.”

**For those interested, we have gotten lots of flack for our name. Remember the TV show with Pam Anderson, “Stacked?” dirty-minded people…lol.

8. What do you love about book blogging?


Stacy: I love having a good excuse to buy and read so many books. I also enjoy “talking” with other book bloggers. So many we have met have been extremely nice and helpful. Oh, we have also had the wonderful fortune to have meet and talked with so many amazing writers. Writers are our rock stars.

Shannan: Yes, my passion is reading, so I truly enjoy talking about books! Fiction authors are brilliant and have a wonderful, adventurous imagination. I love to connect with them and find out how they have such zeal to write a novel.

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

We are still pretty new, just learning the ropes of the blogging world, and not sure how sage our advice would be, however here goes, in list format since I (think Stacy again) am a list maker:

* have fun and never take it too seriously

*try new things

*always be polite, remember the saying “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” it’s true.

*Accept help when offered

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RL Stine! I forgot all about those books, I loved them as well, along with Anne of Green Gables and the Babysitters Club. Thanks for those tips too. Politeness is important (something that was particularly reiterated to me when I watched the Survivor grand final the night before last).

Thanks for participating!

All the goss from the Sydney Writers Festival 2010

I spent this weekend at The Sydney Writers Festival.

The company

It was a wonderful weekend, full of friends, books and authors. On Saturday I had the opportunity to catch up with a very lovely person that I used to work with which was fun. On Sunday I got to share the afternoon with another good friend who had never been to the festival before. It was nice to introduce someone to the festival for the first time.

The events

I saw some wonderful events. On Saturday morning I went to My Brilliant Debut, a panel of 3 Australian authors who had recently published their first novel. I have read one of the author's book, The Legacy, written by Kirsten Tranter. I wasn't a fan of the book, and I have heard her talk again, but it was particularly interesting to hear from the other two authors, Steven Amsterdam and Patrick Allington. Later, I saw John Ralston Saul (a Canadian novelist and essayist) being interviewed by Ramona Koval which was fascinating. Apparently in his books he had predicted the Global Financial Crisis of last year. He had some really fascinating ideas about economics and globalism. Incredibly thought provoking.

In the afternoon I actually purchased tickets to see Rick Gekoski (one of the leading booksellers in the world) be interviewed by Geordie Williamson. I have to say, Rick Gekoski is absolutely hilarious. And so fascinating. It was very inspiring. I wish I was a book seller.

I finished off my Saturday by attending Tiddas Talk Writing and see 3 famous Australian Aboriginal authors discuss their books and the question: what makes contemporary Indigenous women's fiction so special? I loved listening to them discuss this issue, it became clearer to me what does make it so special. This year my aim is to read more Australian fiction. Next year, it is going to be to read more indigenous fiction. I was particularly interested by Maria Munkara, of Rembarranga descent. She had an interesting story she alluded to; being a member of the Stolen Generation.

And that was just Saturday!!

On Sunday, I started by going to a discussion between some new young Australian authors, all of whom were under 35. It was inspiring to see such successful authors my own age (or thereabouts). For a long time I have been wanting to read a book called Document Z and I was surprised to find that the author of this book was on the panel, and was only 27 years old. He won the Vogel Award with Document Z and it amazing to see the achievements of people so young.

Later in the afternoon I went to a discussion about the works of Chilean author Roberto Bolano. My family-in-law are from Chile, so I had some personal interest, however I have always wanted to read By Night in Chile, so it was also a wonderful opportunity to hear more about the author before I started the book. It only made me more determined the read the books. He is such an interesting person and his novels sound so absolutely challenging in a wonderfully new way, I can't wait to get stuck into his works.

The final event of the Festival for me, involved sitting outside a theatre venue on some big black cozy cushions listening to an event called An Australian Authors, which was essential 3 famous Australian authors (Thomas Keneally, Michael Cathcart and Jack Marx) discussing different stories of Australia. A fitting way to end the festival.


The crowd

I really enjoy just spending time in rooms full of people who love books. It's great seeing the authors wondering around the Festival, as well as other people in the literary industry (I saw Jason Steger coming out of one the shows). It was great to wander around the crowds and soak up the atmosphere. The only problem was that for a lot of the time, I was soaking. The weather really wasn't great, with lots of rain. The only thing I couldn't help but notice was the volume of white people. Almost everyone was white. And mostly middle aged. It was scary to see my future. And scary because of the lack of diversity. 

In summary

So much fun. Something I hope to do every year from now on. The Festival actually lasts for just over a week, and one year I hope to take that full week off work and go to lots of events lover Sydney, especially some of the events in the Blue Mountains. 

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Did anyone else from Sydney attend the Festival? I would love to know which events you went to and what you thought of the Festival?

Coming up to my blogoversary


My 1 year blogoversary is on 22 June 2010 - just under a month away! I have been thinking about what to do celebrate. I have never had a giveaway, mainly because the cost associated with posting books all over the place is just something that I haven't been able to warrant spending at the moment because of other significant financial priorities.

Another thing I have noticed is this - my followers are creeping up towards 200! It is so rewarding to see so many people following my blog. Although it's important to blog for our purposes and satisfaction, it just wouldn't be the same if there weren't lovely people out their like yourselves following Page Turners and leaving comments on my book reviews and posts. I know a lot of people out there have a lot more followers than 200 by the time they reach their blogoversary, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

So, here is my hope. I want to reach 200 followers by by 1 year blogoversary! If I can do that, then I will have a double celebration. There will be a giveaway to celebrate each milestone. I will provide more details for each giveaway closer to the appropriate date.

Teaser Tuesday: The Timeless Land by Eleanor Dark

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 Timeless Land by Eleanor Dark
 
Rather than two sentences this week, I am going to share two excerpts from the book simply because I love he way in the which the land now called 'Australia' is described by Dark.  
"Silence ruled this land. Out of silence mystery comes, and magic, and the delicate awareness of unreasoning things. The black men learned from it, having no other teacher, neither hunger nor danger, and what they learned was different from the learning of mankind in other lands where famine threatened, and wild animals, fierce and powerful, thrust upon it a feverish development of its only weapon - thought."
and

"Here was unfailing nourishment. The quiet land was illimitable, unknown, a mystery beyond the tribal borders. The black men's awareness of it was like the awareness of a seed for the changing season, of a cicada for the breaking heat of day, of the shellfish, sensitive to the wash of sea-water over its rock pool. Magic was all about them, entering their lives, their bodies, bringing birth or death".
Just reading those brings these stirring images to my mind. I picture the Australian bush as I know it, in places like the Blue Mountains and down the coast, and I imagine the silence that existed before we arrived to take the indigenous population's land. So far I am very much enjoying this book. The prose used by Dark evokes very clear images of the landscape and the people. It's a true Australian classic.

Lilian's Story by Kate Grenville

Lilian's Story is based a true Sydney character named Bea Miles, a homeless woman famous particularly in the 1950's and 1960's for causing havoc and giving Shakespeare recitations around Central Station in Sydney. You can read more about her at the Australian Dictionary of Biography (Online Edition).

Having read The Secret River by Kate Grenville earlier this year (read my review here) and being a little disappointed I was a little apprehensive when I commenced Lilian's Story. Fortunately, I soon discovered that Lilian's Story is very different to The Secret River, in a good way.

Like The Secret River, Lilian's Story is written as a linear passage through time, however I think the depth of character Grenville establishes in Lilian's Story is far superior.  It is written in first person narrative, which helps the reader gain an insight into Lilian's mind and thought processes.

The book has no plot per se, but rather it is an examination of Lilian's life experiences, from her birth through to her depth. Lilian was born in the year of Federation, raised by parents with traditional values and suffered from abuse perpetrated against her by her father. Her life follows no path, just as Lilian wouldn't have liked it to. Instead, she moved to the beat of her own drum, experiencing university, spending time in a mental institution and eventually living a happy and satisfying life as a homeless person in Sydney. It is really a very detailed examination of one person's daily realities, giving the reader a fascinating perspective not just on Lilian's personal history, but on Australia's post-Victorian history as well.

I have to admit to feeling somewhat uncomfortable reading about the early parts of her life, particularly her primary school years. I recognised my own awkwardness in her behaviour, and felt that I could identify with how she reacted to the bullying that she suffered from. She didn't shrink from the attention, instead she sought the other children's approval more and more desperately, by stealing things and making up stories. I really felt for Lilian reading about her formative years, I felt what she felt when she didn't receive the approval that she was so desperately seeking.

It was then interesting to see this unusual child turn into the young woman that she does. It was painful for me to see her grow into adulthood; struggling through university, negotiating male/female romantic relationships and surviving the horrific crime perpetrated against her by her own father.

Although her behaviour as a young woman is unusual to everyone for it's seeming rejection of typical norms and values, it still becomes more obvious that her unusual behaviour might be the result of an underlying problem. I know the publisher's description describes her as a "true eccentric", I suspect that more realistically she is suffering from a mental illness. Despite spending some time in a mental institution, she receives no diagnosis and no treatment, which I think is a comment on the historical attitude toward mental illness that existed at the time.

It was intriguing to see her navigate and survive her own adversity as an adult. Despite the set backs; the homelessness, the inadequacy of the legal system in dealing with a person like Lilian, she is happy with her life. She is content. She has what she believes is important. A home (albeit not one that you and I might consider a home), her one true love (although chaste) and an exciting city at her fingertips.

For me one of the most poignant moment was the moment when she celebrated her birthday on her own, wandering the streets of Sydney in the party dress that she had purchased for the occasion. It was perhaps one of the most sad moments for me. She seemed so happy, and yet there was this sense that underneath she was suffering.

Although I don't want to go into this sort of discussion to deeply, the themes of independence and sexuality were prominent in this story.

What struck me the most, however, was the idea of history in Lilian's Story. In a way, Lilian's life becomes a metaphor for the changes that Australia is experiencing. Lilian's personal history reflects Australia's history. Her rejection of social norms and customs could be thought to reflect the increasing separation Australia feels from England. Lilian's own very unique ideas of her own sexuality and her position as a woman in society could also be seen to reflect the growth of feminism in Australian society, particularly throughout the 60's. In this way I think that her year of being birth being the year of federation is integral to the story.

In the end, despite her unusual life, behaviour and idea's, Lilian is able to reflect positively on her life, and that is something that is inspiring.

Summary

What kind of read is this?
It is emotionally challenging, but ultimately rewarding. It is also very dense, and takes longer to read than you might expect.

Do I recommend this book?
Absolutely, although particularly to Australian readers.

Do I recommend that you buy this book?
I am glad that I own this book, and it is one that I will re-read one day. Having said that, unless you are a particular fan of Grenville or Australian literature, the library would probably do the trick.

Star Rating

6 / 8


Really enjoyable and well written. I would recommend it.




Book Details: Paperback, 280 pages, published by Allen and Unwin, published in 1996

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

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
I finally wrote my review.

Lilian's Story by Kate Grenville
This was a wonderful read, and it was easy to see how it has become as Australian classic. I hope that you can take the time to read my review. It is a really fascinating and personal story, worth reading about.

A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif
What can I say? Hilarious and wonderfully written. A review will be coming soon.

I also gave up on the ebook I was reading, The Prince by Machiavelli. Has anyone else read, or tried to read this? I just couldn't understand a word the man was saying. Perhaps I need to try reading an actual book rather than an ebook?

Currently Reading

The Timeless Land By Eleanor Dark
This is a famous Australian novel about the 'settlement' of Australia. It details the Aboriginal's first encounters with the whites (and vice versa) and gives more details from Bennilong's perspective. It's ok so far. It is my Grandmother's favourite book and she lent it to me. It is very thick and will take me some time to get through.

Up Next

By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolano
I have wanted to read this for a very long time, and after seeing some academics and translators talk about his works at the Sydney Writers Festival yesterday, I can't wait to read it. It is waiting at the library for me.