Just one damned thing after another by Jodi Taylor: LOL! No really. This book actually makes you Laugh Out Loud! If you love brilliant English wit and sarcasm, throw in a load of sci-fi, time travel and history, a bit of mystery and action and just a hint of romance: This is the book for you. (and the next one is even funnier..:-)
Damned : life is short, death is forever / Chuck Palahniuk: “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison.” This is not Judy Blume… typical Palahniuk twistedness (although not quite as warped as Beautiful You, another recent loan) is entertaining but not for the easily offended!
Seven Ancient Wonders by Matthew Reilly: Despite being very far-fetched, I found this book enjoyable and fast-paced… until I got to a point where the overuse of italics and dramatic pauses began to get on my nerves and it became a bit of a struggle to finish it.
Italian Joy by Carla Coulson: Not only do I love the fact that her name is Carla too and it is actually spelled with a C, I came across this book while shelving and it is an inspiring story about travel, following your heart and your dreams. It also takes you on the author’s journey from her previous lifestyle living in Sydney feeling unappreciated, alone and unsatisfied to a life full of happiness, energy, positive experiences, eating and exploring the beautiful country of Italy. My favourite place in the entire world! She has now moved to Paris where she is a photographer. Anyone wanting to travel and is looking for an adventure this is a MUST READ book!
The horror! the horror! : comic books the government didn’t want you to read! by Jim Trombetta: This is a hefty overview of the shlocky controversial pre Hayes-code comics. Everything you could want (and the Committee on the Judiciary did not) is here in full bleeding technicolour: murderous robots, vengeful skeletons, seductive werewolves, head hunters, knife fiends, and lots and lots of blood. Nasty stuff, nice book.
Write your own thrillers & Write Your Own Chillers’ by Pie Corbett: I’ve read a lot of children’s writing guides in my time, as a creative writing teacher and growing up indoorsy. Some are good for teaching grammar and sentence structure, others are more aspirational (often with doodles of a picture of a book ‘coming alive’ by flying or walking or generally behaving as a book ought not to do). These two do both and more besides and, hand on my heart, have to be some of the best I’ve read. They also, and this is rare, treat creativity as not something that is elusive and sacred and only occasionally ‘strikes’, but as a living moving spitting and hissing part of you that just needs fuel. Also points need to be given for separating the genre of ‘chiller (horror) and thrillers (suspense).
Billy Wilder: the cinema of wit 1906-2002’ by Glenn Hopp: A biography of the life and mostly works of director Billy Wilder, largely though photos. Sadly this book, unlike the Alfred Hitchcock edition in the same series counterpart, doesn’t seem to use photos as effective, acting as a slideshow of Billy Wilder’s lovely social life rather than a treatise of his vision and techniques (although there’s some). Considering he made films in such a variety of genre (noir in Double Indemnity, comedy in Some Like It Hot, POW in Stalag 17, splashy drama in Sunset Boulevard), this seems a missed opportunity. It’s nice to see everyone having fun back then though.
Tea and sugar Christmas / Jane Jolly and Robert Ingpen: Did you know that for 81 years, from 1915 to 1996, the Tea and Sugar Train travelled from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie once a week? I did not. This is a sweet book about the train’s December visitor and the excitement that the children felt waiting for Santa every year. It might not be seasonally topical but this book was shortlisted for Eve Pownall Award for Information Books in the CBC Awards this year.
I just finished Connie Willis’s To say nothing of the dog, which is a straight-up 5 star book. It’s the sequel to Doomsday book, which is also brilliant. Both are set in Oxford in 2060, in a world where time travel has been invented, and left to university historians to play with. This one sees our heroes sent back to Oxford in 1880 to make sure a seemingly inconsequential event takes place, and end up nearly ruining everything. I LOVED it, and if you like school stories, time-travel conundrums, Victorian farces or detective novels, you will too.
Girl on the train by Paula Hawkins: This book was well-written, unpredictable and addictive – I ploughed through it on a 10 hour flight and it kept me entertained the whole way! If you enjoy books like Gone Girl, this is a must read.
Dragon keeper by Robin Hobb: Amazing fantasy series – a little slow to get started but once it gets going, you can’t put it down! Robb creates an amazing, vivid world which you want to be a part of!
Tick tock by James Patterson: This book seemed like it was going to be thrilling from beginning to end, but I didn’t make it to end because it was not thrilling from the beginning… the reading is a little too easy and I couldn’t relate to the main character at all.
Dreams of gods & monsters by Laini Taylor: The final book in the Daughter of smoke and bone trilogy. If you like fantasy you will love this. Start with book one and cancel all social outings for the next week; you won’t want to put this series down.
20 feet from stardom [dvd] Excellent documentary chronicling the amazing talents of the unsung voices behind the greatest rock, R&B and pop hits of all time. Merry Clayton and Lisa Fischer in particular are simply amazing.