Sunday, 26 February 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Sara-Jayne Townsend

1. Your childhood favourite
I’ve been doing a series of books from childhood on my blog, and there are many.  Though one of my favourite authors as a child was Enid Blyton.  I loved her Famous Five books.

2. Your current favourite
I have read so many fantastic books, I really can’t pick an all-time favourite book.  Everything by all the authors listed below is in my list of ‘best books ever’.

3. Your top five authors
Stephen King, Sara Paretsky, Jim Butcher, Kathy Reichs, Mike Carey.

4. Book(s) you're reading now
THE ASSASSIN’S PRAYER by Ariana Franklin.  I’ve really been enjoying this series about a female Sicilian doctor who finds herself in unenlightened England during Henry II’s reign, where women doctors are unheard of and women with any kind of healing skill are considered to be witches.  I love books about strong women, and this series is about a strong woman in a time when women really had no rights at all.

Sadly, Ariana Franklin died last year, so there will be no more books in this series, which is a tragic loss to the literary world.

5. Book(s) you've pretended to read
I haven’t.  My reading tastes are very straightforward, and I’ve never pretended otherwise.  There are a lot of classics I haven’t read, nor never will.

6. Book(s) you've bought for the cover
I don’t buy books solely for the cover.  I’ll read the blurb, and maybe the first couple of paragraphs first, before I make a decision.

7. Book you're a champion for
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, by Agatha Christie.  Still the most perfect whodunit ever written.

8. Book that changed your life
BURN MARKS by Sara Paretsky.  The first book of hers that I read, it introduced me to V.I. Warshawski, who remains a shining example of a tough, intelligent, strong-minded woman, and she inspired me to want to write about a similar strong-minded woman, which is the moment my actress amateur sleuth was conceived.

9. Book you most want to read again for the first time
DISSOLUTION by CJ Sansom.  This is the first book in an amazing series featuring the hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake, against the backdrop of Henry VIII’s ever-changing wives.  Shardlake is an intelligent and sensitive protagonist, with the education to make a comfortable life for himself, whilst reconciling himself to the fact that his deformity means he will always be ridiculed and shunned, and that he will likely never find someone to share his life with.  The politics of the era are blended cleverly with some murder mystery Matthew is trying to get to the bottom of.  I will read these books again, because the wonderful writing makes them a joy to read, but it would be fabulous to do so again with the foreknowledge of ‘whodunnit’.

10. Book you turn to for comfort
Douglas Adams’s HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY.  It always makes me laugh out loud.

11. Favourite line from a book
No one line springs to mind, but I love Jim Butcher’s books about his Chicago wizard Harry Dresden, because they are full of snappy one-liners.  Harry is forever getting into trouble for them, but they are wonderful to read.


Monday, 13 February 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Karin Eider

1.     Your childhood favorite
My first love was a book of fairy tales in y grandmother's house. It was written in old German font and beautifully illustrated. Unfortunately it got lost or somebody else grabbed it when my grandmother died. I should remember to keep an eye open at flea markets and antique book shops!
As young girl then I was obsessed by the Hanni & Nanni series written by Enid Blyton.
2.      Your current favorite
It's rather difficult to chose one under your children, isn't it? *sigh* But if I really have to it would be The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. I've recently read the whole series again, just because of the German release of the latest book. Of course, I've already read the English version, I can't wait such long!
3.      Your top five authors
In no particular order: J.R. Ward, Alexandre Dumas, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King ... can I really just name five?!?
4.      Book(s) you’re reading now
I've just opened the door to Cornelia Funke's Inkheart series ... where I always ask myself to which book I literally want to find a door to get in there in person.
5.      Book(s) you’ve pretended to read
My first impulse was to say 'None!', but then just the other day I saw an announcement for an upcoming movie ... to my shame and as passionate lover of Lord Of The Rings (both, book and movie), I have to admit, that I've never read The Hobbit - I only know the audio book. That doesn't count as read, right?
6.      Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover
Again I'd love to say 'None!' ... but that's only half of the truth. I fancy books that look good in my book shelves. That for I've bought many of my favorites a second time, when a beautiful box set or special edition was released, e.g. Dan Brown's special illustrated edition of Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code or the box set of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
7.      Book you’re a champion for
There are so many books I love for different reasons and for exactly those reasons I would recommend or defeat them:
·         The Stand by Stephen King: Published in 1978, the possibility, that fiction becomes reality has never been more current and frightening.
·         The Count Of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas: No other book has ever portrait revenge in such a complex manner.
·         The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer: A series, that satisfies the desire of my teenage-girl-heart.
·         The Perfume by Patrick Sueskind: The world of smells preserved between pages. Wonderful.
·         The Silent Miaow by Paul Gallico, Felidae by Akif Pirincci, Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter: Must-reads for every cat owner.
·         Anne Franks Diary: A simple must read.
·         Die Goldhaendlerin (The Gold Merchant) & Die Wanderhure (The Wandering Whore) by Iny Lorentz: Strong heroines conquer their way in the Middle Ages.
·         Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen: In that particular case, I'm not sure, if I like the book or the movie (the version with Keira Kneightley) more?
·         I'm Off Then: My Journey Along the Camino de Santiago by Hape Kerkeling: Funny, entertaining and 'a cognition of the day' at the end of every chapter.
·         The Physician by Noah Gordon & The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: The Middle Ages have never been described more colorful and alive and thrilling.
·         The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: What else should I say than 'One book to rule them all'!
·         Ramses series by Christian Jacq: Satisfies my desire for ancient Egypt.
·         Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: With every new release I admired her immense imagination and her ability to lay out secret hints more and more.
·         The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward: Vampire warrior have never been sexier.
·         And many others named in this questionnaire or waiting in my book shelves...
8.      Book that changed your life
I wouldn't say changed ... I mean, it's quite a big impact for such a small word. But there's a book that made me think a lot, about life, fate and coincidence, possibilities and lost chances, me and my personality: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
9.      Book you most want to read again for the first time
Unbelievable, but true, there are a few books in my shelves, I have read only once and they just wait for another turn: Ulldart series by Markus Heitz, The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson and The Swarm by Frank Schaetzing.
10.  Book you turn to for comfort
Actually, there's no particular book. When I feel for a special book, I read it!
11.  Favorite line from a book
"All that we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."
I'm not sure, if it's from the book or the movie, anyway it's from Lord Of The Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Find more about my thoughts on reading, writing and Art Journaling over at my blog Nofretiris Dream Of Writing.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Wayne Kernochan

1. Your childhood favourite
The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton

2. Your current favourite

Wally Lamb and Aldous Huxley were tied until Wally friended me on Face Book 

3. Your top five authors

Aldous Huxey, Wally Lamb, C.S. Lewis, Sylvia Plath and Maya Angelou

4. Book(s) you’re reading now


5. Book(s) you’ve pretended to read
Once, I said I read the Quran cover to cover, but I skimmed it 

6. Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover

7. Book you’re a champion for

I don't understand the question 
8. Book that changed your life

The Outsiders started me writing. I'll go with that one

9. Book you most want to read again for the first time

I know this much is True

10. Book you turn to for comfort

Elements of Style

11. Favourite line from a book

"Dear Jesse, as the moon lingers a moment over the bitterroots, before its descent into the invisible, my mind is filled with song. I find I am humming softly; not to the music, but something else; some place else; a place remembered; a field of grass where no one seemed to have been; except a deer; and the memory is strengthened by the feeling of you, dancing in my awkward arms."

Norman Maclean. I forget the book's name. It was a series of short stories that inspired the movie A River Runs Through it

Monday, 6 February 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Heidi Sutherlin

1. Your Childhood Favourite 
Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain series. 

2. Your Current Favourite

Nora Roberts' Sign of Seven trilogy.

3. Your Top Five Authors

Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick (her pen names), Marion Zimmer Bradley, Christine Feehan, Linda Lael Miller

4. Book(s) you are reading now

Lisa Jackson SHIVER

5. Book(s) you've pretended to read

I've never pretended to read one. Was tempted in college a time or two.  

6. Book(s) you've bought for the cover

Oddly, I've never bought a book for the cover. Hmm. Weird. 

7. Book(s) you're a champion for

SISTER CARRIE by Theodore Dreiser. It's not a happy or easy read, but it's an important piece of early American fiction. It was written during a time of self discovery in literature and was one of the precursors to contemporary fiction as we know it today. There are other more interesting novels from that period, but SISTER CARRIE is a powerful example of the impact of portraying life as it is, even when it's painful to watch. No happy endings there. A close second to this would be WHAT MAISEY KNEW by Henry James. He wrote this before Dreiser wrote SISTER CARRIE, but it is another Early American novel in the literary realism genre that was instrumental in grounding literature and paving the way for contemporary fiction. Okay...stepping away from the soap box slowly. 

8. Book that changed your life
A THOUSAND WORDS FOR STRANGER by Julie E. Czerneda. In short the main character has part of her memory blocked. While she learns who she is all over again, she realizes in the end when her memory is restored that she's had the opportunity to grow as a person in ways she would not have without her memory loss. The lesson? That nobody is cemented into the path that they are on, that you can truly be whatever you set your mind to and that relying on "your nature" as an excuse is not necessary. There's a lot of hope in that. 
9. Book you most want to read again for the first time
The entire Darkover Series by Marion Zimmer Bradley (can you sense a pattern here...?)

10. Book you turn to for comfort
Nora Roberts' Three Sisters Island trilogy.

11. Favourite line from a book
"Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too
Went for a ride in a flying shoe." - Shel Silverstein, WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS

Thanks! This has been interesting. I've learned a bit about myself doing this. What a lovely exercise.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Joanne Hall

1. Your childhood favourite
It’s not very fashionable to admit now, but I was really into Enid Blyton.  All her adventure series (though not the Secret Seven, they annoyed me), but the Famous Five, the Five Find Outers, the “Castle of Adventure” series.  Ok, I realise now they were essentially all the same plot and she was churning them out like MacDonalds make hamburgers, but I was about seven and I liked the idea of kids going off and doing Stuff without the intervention of parents.  Also, I lived in the country, so it was easy to take a packet of sandwiches and disappear for the day and have adventures of my own without my parents worrying too much.  This was the early eighties, I guess it was a different world then...

2. Your current favourite
I’m going through an heroic fantasy phase – I say going through, but really I’ve always liked heroic fantasy, and the books that are coming out now seem more gritty and real.  It’s also nice to see female characters playing a bigger role in modern heroic fantasy, I went back over a few David Gemmell books recently and it was alarming to me that I’d never noticed how the women were generally relegated to a washing / cooking/ healing role.   I’m loving “Song of Ice and Fire” (who isn’t!), and Joe Abercrombie, and I recently bought “Wolfsangel” by M D Lachlan which looks great, so I’m looking forward to that.  And for light relief between all the slaughter I’m re-reading Lloyd Anthony’s “Chronicles of Prydain”, which I haven’t read since I was about ten.  They’re remarkably grown-up in their tone, and they’re making me want to go back to that classic British fantasy that came out in the 60’s, Susan Cooper, Alan Garner.  So I might read some more of that next!

3. Your top five authors
My top five of anything is subject to change without notice.  My top five authors this week are Isaac Asimov, David Gemmell, Joseph Conrad, Neil Gaiman and Diana Wynne Jones.  Ask me next week and it’ll be someone different.

4. Book(s) you’re reading now
I’m currently reading “P J Harvey – Siren Rising” by James Blandford.  It didn’t start off too promisingly; it falls into the trap of a lot of unauthorised music biographies of speculation laced with “facts” grabbed off Wikipedia and old quotes from the music press.  It got more interesting when he started talking about the late 80’s Bristol music scene and began to sound like he had done some proper research.  It’s one of those books that could go either way.

5. Book(s) you’ve pretended to read
I have pretended to read books, to sound clever *hangs head and mumbles*  That was when I was in college and I had no confidence.  I’m happy to say that I’ve now read most of the books I’ve pretended to read in the past, and most of them were books I wanted to get around to reading!  Can’t think of many titles, but “Lipstick Traces” by Greil Marcus was one of them, and I still haven’t read that.  It is on my wish list though!

6. Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover
I’ve never bought a book just for the cover.  If the cover’s good I’ll look at the blurb.  It’s a combination of good blurb and good cover, a decent blurb can make up for a bad cover, but it doesn’t work the other way round!  I remember picking up my first Terry Pratchett (“Wyrd Sisters”) because I’d never seen a cover like that – this was when Josh Kirby was still doing them, I think I was about fourteen – but I bought it because the blurb made me laugh.  Then my mum borrowed it because the blurb made her  laugh...

7. Book you’re a champion for
At the moment, I’m championing Stephanie Burgis’s wonderful Kat Stephenson Regency fantasies.  They’re like Jane Austen meets Dianna Wynne Jones, and I can’t wait to see how the series pans out.  I’m buying them for my goddaughter in the hope that she too will grow up and want to cut off all her hair and run away to be a highwayman.  If she does, I’ll know I’ve done something right!

8. Book that changed your life
“Dragonflight” by Anne McCaffrey.  A friend lent it to me when I was twelve (I say lent, I never gave it back).  It made me want to ride dragons, and, more importantly, it made me want to write about dragons, and it opened up a whole previously unexplored genre to me.  I blame “Dragonflight” for, yeah, pretty much everything...

9. Book you most want to read again for the first time
“The Robots of Dawn” by Isacc Asimov.  I think it might be the only book that I finished and felt so sad that it was over that I went straight back to the beginning and read it through again.  That’s a rare feeling, and it’s impossible to recapture on a second / third / fifteenth reading.

10. Book you turn to for comfort
“Winne the Pooh” and “The House at Pooh Corner”.  I still have the same copies I had when I was four, which are hardbacks, though they lost their covers years ago.  It’s like reading a hug.

11. Favourite line from a book
When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere” – Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham.  Such a succinct, smart way of saying “Oh dear, the end of the world just happened, and you missed it.”  Even now, when I’m wandering down the street and it’s a Wednesday that looks a lot like an early Sunday morning, I get a little unnerved...