Tuesday, February 28, 2012

words, poetry, literature, childhood, imagination, reality.

This morning I had my first lecture for my English unit Making Form/Breaking Form: Literature Production & Genre. The lecturer first spoke about how books are like windows, and how words are the media for looking through them. Which is true to an extent, because sometimes words can get in the way - like when it comes to poetry. In the case of poetry we don't see through the words to get to the picture, but we look to the words to guide us to it. It can be tough, but there's beauty in compressed profundity. The sound and rhythm of words can enact much greater meaning at times.

He also talked about dreams, reality, imagination, art, literature and childhood. How art/literature mirrors reality: it seems hyper-realist but completely reversed and different. Apparently (I didn't know this before) human beings have the longest childhoods of all animals. We develop independently and our imaginations a large factor in that. Children love to pretend, imagine, play make believe - all for the practice and anticipation of human experiences. Humans like to imagine things that don't exist. 

Literature is a way of organising reality, it creates an opportunity for many interpretations of it. 
Realism is just another genre.

I'm not entirely sure if any of wrote I just wrote makes much sense, I just sorta went off from the notes I wrote in class. Did any of it make sense to you? 
I'm kinda doubting my note-taking abilities here. :P

Monday, February 27, 2012

my day at Perth Writers Festival (2012)

This was the first time I attended the Perth Writers Festival. 
It went from Thursday to Sunday (23rd-26th Feb, 2012). 
Because this was the first time I went to the writers festival, I didn't have very high expectations (nor very low ones!). 
So I was pretty blown away by how much FUN I HAD! 
I was supposed to go with my friend Jess, but she bailed which was a bummer... 
But then I bumped in to a different Jess, fellow book-blogger Jess from The Tales Compendium! Which was lovely. :) 
Anyway, here's what happened from beginning to end (btw, the first half of the recount below was written on Saturday, the day I went, whereas at the end of the post I say today as in Monday):

1. I got to uni (the festival was held at UWA campus, aka my uni) at 9.15am and went to the Dolphin Theatre for "What's the problem with poetry?", a panel discussion with poets Dennis O'Driscoll, David Brooks and Cate Kennedy with William Yeoman as chairperson. 

It was one of the first sessions of the day and I was already having a lot of fun. There were a lot of older folks in the audience which I did not mind at all, in fact I even favour that aspect. William read an article talking about how poetry has become unpopular over the years; how people in society these days are looking to other media of arts/culture that are maybe more accessible, trendier or easier to consume (like technology, tv and the internet); and just generally how meagre the reception of poetry has become in today's society.
I wish I had a better memory (but I am really tired right now, it's 10.25pm and I was there from 9.15 to 6.15 today) but I can't recall everyone's response to that article. I think Dennis talked a lot about the importance of poetry in his own country (Ireland) and Irish history. How politics and politicians often sought the advice of poets. Or something like that. :P On the other hand David kinda agreed with the article, saying how Aussie culture is more like how the article described 'us'. I can't remember what Cate said. 
It was just a really interesting discussion and I found myself really glad that I came to this 'early' session. I mean, it was a free event and I got to hear some really interesting stuff, and gain a bit of knowledge about poetry. (I don't write it, but I used to). All in all, it made me really think about how significant poetry can be, and that I should definitely read more of it. 

2. I really needed to pee so I did that and then hopped into a long queue to get my ticket for "Tapping into the Zeitgeist" with YA authors James Roy, David Levithan and Chetan Bhagat. The line for the tickets was so long I was almost late for the 11am start. This panel discussion was televised I think (not sure where it was broadcasted, but they had cameras all around and spiffy lighting!), and it was one of the highlights of my day! It'll probably be one of the highlights of my month. Maybe even year. 
James Roy went on a little rant about the significance of YA today - in particular the big three - Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. He mentioned that David Levithan actually edited The Hunger Games, which was a really awesome fact for me to learn! James was really funny - all three of them were, actually. David talked about how as a YA writer the aim isn't really to tap into the zeitgeist, but rather create it. Chetan joked a lot, it was just a really amazing/hilarious/interesting panel to be able to watch and I was pretty surprised that there weren't more people in the audience!

3. Straight after the Zeitgeist panel I went to the Dymocks tent and picked up Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan, and also The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan. I got both of them signed by him straight after, as well as my copies of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (which I brought along). 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

new on my bookshelf

New things on my shelf this week! 

1. The Short Novels of John Steinbeck
(Tortilla Flat, The Moon is Down, The Red Pony, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row, The Pearl)
I got this from the book depository and it's probably one of my new favourite books! I've only read The Pearl so far (as per recommended by Marcus Mumford of the band Mumford & Sons).

Check out the awesome page edges! 

2. The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
borrowed from a friend

3. The Human Stain by Philip Roth
bought from fishpond. 
I need this one for one of my english units this semester. 

4. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn
bought from fishpond
I was surprised at how thin this book is - less than 200 pages! 

I don't really like how fishpond ships out their products - unlike the book depo's cardboard box packages, fishpond uses thinly protected envelopes, and I was really bummed to open my parcel this morning and find this book creased/folded/bent. It's a little annoying.

5. Beloved by Toni Morrison
bought from fishpond
I also need this one for an english unit this semester. By the way, uni re-starts next Monday! I'm excited. I get my timetable this arvo.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 27: The most surprising plot twist or ending

Most surprising plot twist or ending

I'm sorry to say I haven't read enough books in my lifetime to have come across a story that produced a surprising enough plot twist or ending to be mentioned in this post. I'm wracking my brain for something worthy of awarding this to, and all the ones I come up with seem to be only moderately surprising.
When I meet with a book that will make me scream and wail (if only in my head) in response to a shocking aspect of the story, I will definitely let you know.
But for now, I really should finish this challenge already and get on with my life. Hehehe.
I'm sorry for this underwhelming blog post. Maybe I shouldn't have posted at all. 

Day 11 – A book you hated

Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favourite title(s)
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favourite book of all time

Sunday, February 19, 2012

REVIEW: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares // David Levithan & Rachel Cohn 
YA Contemporary // Allen & Unwin // 2010 // 260 pages

This book was just, so, CUTE!
Dash & Lily is the first book I've read by either David Levithan or Rachel Cohn, so I didn't really know what to expect. But now, I'm excited to get my hands on more of David's books because I absolutely love his writing. Dash was pretty much the main reason why I enjoyed this book so much. 
I really didn't click with Lily in the beginning, at all - which is strange because this rarely happens with me, especially with female protagonists. But she really grew on me toward the end - now I wanna be besties with her and get her to bake me a batch of lebkuchen spice cookies!!

I can't tell you enough how much I love New York as the setting of this book. I totally would not have given it another thought or care if I hadn't actually physically been to NYC before. I have first-hand experienced the magic of Manhattan, the beauty of that amazing city. I haven't read Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist yet but I can tell I'll really like that one too.

Now on to the actual book of dares. That blessed red Moleskine notebook. This was the key element to the unfolding of Dasy & Lily's friendship/relationship. And it was kinda beautiful. It makes you long for something like that to happen in your life. An epistolary connection to a perfect stranger. The mystery and the comfort their collection of words can bring. A dance of words, as Dash would say.

My favourite part was definitely Dash's first encounter with Lily's Great Aunt Ida. She was my favourite character other than Dash, so reading their first meeting was pure gold. The dialogue was perfect. And hilarious. Thank you, David Levithan.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

a bookish tag!

Anna from The Perfect Herald tagged me to do this!
Thanks Anna, I love doing these little challenges. :)

The rules:
-You must post the rules.
-Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you've tagged.
-Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.
-Let them know you've tagged them!

1.) Favorite author, why?
It's impossible for me to choose just one author to be my favourite. My top three would have to be something like: C.S. Lewis, Jaclyn Moriarty and JK Rowling. There are so many others though. I mention most of them in that topic in the '30 day book meme'. 

2.) Favorite childhood book, or fairytale?
Pepper Dreams by Colin Thompson is my favourite childhood book. It's pretty much a fairytale as well. 

3.) Favorite Poet? Why?
I don't have a favourite poet, I don't read enough poetry to have an informed opinion about the stuff. I mean, the only one that comes to mind really is Shakespeare. He was an okay poet, wasn't he?

4.) What book would you want to jump into and become the main character of?
Any book from the Ashbury High series by Jaclyn Moriarty (but preferrably Finding Cassie Crazy)

5.) Favorite childhood memory?
Probably school achievements, like being champion girl for my school's athletic carnival in year 6, or my musical achievements in choir or playing cello. 

6.) Why did you start blogging, what do you want to accomplish?
I just seized the opportunity to use this forum to express myself, and share some of my passions. 

7.) Favorite place to be? (i.e.- the beach, circus, bedroom, family gathering, park, woods, etc.)
New York City. But if I had to choose something local, probably... home. Just home. 

8.) Favorite movie? Why did you like it?
Zoolander. Also, Howl's Moving Castle. Also, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. 
They make me laugh, and more importantly, they make me feel good. Vague, huh?

9.) Favorite Season? Why?
Winter. This is because winter in Perth, Australia is rather tame. I just like the cold. I hate heat. 

10.) Favorite book?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I have other favourites too. 

I'm not going to tag eleven individual people, I'm tagging ALL OF YOU! to do this quiz. 
Link me to yours in a comment down below so I can see your answers. 
There are supposed to be 11 questions, so add one of your own questions to the end! 
(I can't be bothered thinking up a whole new lot of 11 questions for you, lol)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

new on my bookshelf

Guess where I ended up on Thursday evening? 
Again. lol. My sister needed to get some makeup so we decided to go to big dub. Obviously I had to check out the book section again and managed to pick up the brand spanking new Sophie Kinsella stand alone, and yet another popular penguin. 

Then on friday, I came back from work and as I went to check the letterbox I found two brown boxes at the front door! One of them held... T H E  F A U L T  I N  O U R  S T A R S by John Green! I literally gasped and squealed. Multiple times.
The other huge box was from urban outfitters but that's not bookish news so I might blog about it on pen & pepper dreams.

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
I'm incredibly glad I found this, because I actually forgot that SK had just released her new stand alone novel. I recently read an awesome review of it written by Molli at once upon a prologue which got me really excited about it. Sophie Kinsella protagonists are literally the best kind. 

The Fault in our Stars by John Green
I ordered this in October last year, I think. So... that was like almost HALF a year ago. Amazon just took hella long to deliver it to me. But they did estimate that I'd get it on the 16th, and I got it on the 10th, so that's something I guess. 
I actually don't know what the book's about, but I think I like it that way. I just know that it will be amazing, because John Green is amazing, and he signed 100 000 copies (or was it 150 000?) of the first printing, and my copy is signed in a blue sharpie. (but it's not hanklerfished like I hoped and dreamed it would be)

when i look at this i slightly feel like i'm walking on air. :)

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
This is an Aussie mystery about some girls from a private school who go on an excursion to Hanging Rock, deep in the bush. Three girls and a teacher vanish mysteriously after climbing the rock, but one girl returns. However, she has no memory of what became of the others. The blurb alone sends shivers down my back! I only bought this because I wanted another popular penguin book, and Big W didn't have a very diverse range in stock. I heard this one is good though. :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

day 26: a book that changed my opinion about something

today's theme says 'changed my opinion' but for these books i don't really mean it that way. kinda more like it grew or altered my opinion of something.

the book thief by markus zusak- war, love, death, but mostly: books.
entangled by cat clarke- cutting & self-inflicted physical pain

gosh i really can't think of any more off the top of my head - i need to read more controversial books, obviously. actually no, I just need to read more books in general. 


click on the '30 day book meme' label underneath this post, or check out my post history for more info on the 30 day book meme.
only four days left! it has only taken me about a year to get this meme done and dusted. ha. ha.

Monday, February 6, 2012

extra, extra, read all about it


no january follower of the month
i didn't feel like I got enough feedback via comments, etc last month in order to award someone follower of the month. (despite january having by far Chimneys and Magic's highest number of page views)

the front of the queue
(books i'm about to read/finish reading)
-pan's whisper
-a game of thrones (to finish)
-fragile eternity
-dash & lily's book of dares
-lola and the boy next door
-grapes of wrath
-in the skin of a lion (to finish)
-jane eyre (to finish)
-in cold blood
-moll flanders

remember to add me as a friend on goodreads, follow me on twitter and like the C&M page on facebook! 
much love,

arielle x

Saturday, February 4, 2012

day 25: a character i can relate to the most

it's kinda difficult to answer this one, because firstly, my favourite characters pass through my mind and then i realise that pretty much all of my favourite characters are very different to myself. So in that sense it might be wrong to say i can relate to them the most. but then again, isn't relatability a quality that makes them my favourite characters? actually no, it isn't. my favourite characters are fictional people that i would want to be more like in real life. they have better humour, better relationships, better personalities and are much braver than i. anyway, i'm getting so off topic. 

a character who i can relate well to is not often a character i read about. either that, or they are too forgettable to stick to my memory. relatability, as i have come to realise in my first paragraph, is not a memorable trait in the books i read. or something like that. my opinion sways easily, and is certain to change over time, especially after i read a lot more. 

all in all, i don't really have an answer for this one. 

but i have a question for you: 
"What do you think about relatability in characters?"

btw, blogger is telling me that relatability is not a proper word. but blogger tends to deceive me quite often. we don't have a very sound relationship, it and I. 


Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favourite title(s)
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favourite book of all time

Friday, February 3, 2012

new on my bookshelf

Big W is my hero. 
Currently they've got 35% OFF adult fiction in store, so these penguin books were less than $6.50 each! I thought that was a pretty darn good deal. Mini Shopaholic was about 13 bucks, which is still really good imo. Anyway, now that I think about it, I feel like I should have gotten way more books than just these three. Big Dub is AWESOME. I walked outta there feeling really great, headache gone, and a smile on my face. But I'm so glad I didn't get more, because I am kinda broke. (eeep :/)

 The popular penguin book covers have really started to grow on me!! 
I didn't care for them at the beginning, but now that it's more of a brand of its own (and with all the different merchandise), those orange-coloured books seem a lot more easy on the eyes. :)

So here are the 3 I bought, face-on, in all their glory: 

 Mini Shopaholic 
The most recent instalment of Sophie Kinsella's shopaholic series, which is one of my favourite book series' in the whole wide world. So funny, so British, and a guaranteed great read. 

In Cold Blood
I need this for my uni-work, and I didn't realise until I was inspecting the book before bedtime that this is non-fiction! Truman Capote was a journalist for the New Yorker, and after reading a 300-word article, he went on a full-blown investigation about the murder of this family. Which is this book. 

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
I recall one of my favourite childhood memories was reading this book about this really smart kid who solved mysteries. He was like a super clever boy-detective, and the stories about his life and detective work were so enthralling, I'm pretty sure I read the book a zillion times. I'm expecting this to be a bit like that... fingers crossed it is!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

review: delirium by lauren oliver

title: "Delirium"
author: Lauren Oliver
genre: YA dystopian/romance
release date: February 1, 2011
format: paperback, 441 pages
publisher: Harperteen
source: bought from Dymocks
other details: on my Aussie Swap list
my rating: 3.5 stars

goodreads synopsisBefore scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. 

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

my thoughts

It took me a while to get into the swing of things with Delirium. I felt really uneasy about this dystopian world where love is really a disease. The second half of the book is where things really started to happen. I don't think it was that I was starting to understand their society better, I just think the second half of the novel was better because more exciting things were happening. The introduction of Alex and Lena's relationship was just the beginning. 

Now here is something you should know about me, if you don't know already: I am a christian. So everything that I've been taught throughout my whole life, all the values that have been raised on - all of that is the complete opposite of Lena's situation. I was raised on love. Lena was raised on stability. I believe with my whole heart that love is the foundation of life itself. That God is love. That love is the root of all joy and peace, and trust, and every other thing that is good in the world. So you might be able to imagine how difficult it was for me to appreciate the premise of  the novel. (I know it's fiction, so it didn't offend me or anything, it was just hard to wrap my head around to begin with). Even hugging your family is taboo, I mean, COME ON. And of course those corrupted bible scriptures before some of the chapters didn't help.

While I was reading the first half of the book, I was thinking "I highly doubt I will pick up the sequel to this", but now that I've read what happens towards the end I reckon I might actually read Pandemonium because all I'm thinking is "I wanna know what happens next! I want to be there if/when Lena and her mum find each other, I want to know what happens to Hana, and most importantly... I need to know that Alex is okay!!!!"
Yes, Lena caught the lovebug bad, and she did go a little crazy in that department (it wasn't the most believable relationship), but the government is even crazier! Ward 6 in the crypts? *shudder* So awful. But it's pretty amazing that the word 'LOVE' became Lena's mother's ultimate escape route out of that horrible place. 

I think I had slightly higher expectations for this book. Probably vicarious expectations, though, based off of all the hype that the blogosphere was buzzing about last year. But Delirium wasn't a total let down. I still really like Lauren Oliver's writing style. 

chosen quotes

love as a disease:
"... we will never be totally protected. It still moves around us with invisible, sweeping tentacles, choking us."

symptoms of the procedure/the cure:
"..cases of full-blown detachment - where a mother or father is unable to bond normally, dutifully, and responsibly, with his or her children, winds up drowning them or sitting on their windpipes or beating them to death when they cry.."

Lena in love:
"He is my world and my world is him and without him there is no world." 

Lena's revelation:
"They say the cure is about happiness, but I understand now that it isn't, and it never was. It's about fear: fear of pain, fear of hurt, fear, fear, fear - a blind animal existence, bumping between walls, shuffling between ever-narrowing hallways, terrified and dull and stupid."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

*Mini reviews* {classics} a streetcar named desire + the picture of dorian gray

I got sucked in by Blogger's trusting veneer. 
You would think that Blogger's auto-save function is amazing and trustworthy, but no. 
Loopholes exist. Life is unfair. The sky is blue. 
This is the second time writing up this post, which is a bit of a pain, because I know that this one won't be as good as the first. 

Mini reviews are these things I do every now and again as a way of showing you which books I have read with brief commentaries on what I thought of them. I pick two or more for each lot, staying in the same category (young adult or middle grade or classics or chick lit, etc.)
Check out the first batch of mini reviews I did on YA books by clicking here.
If you like this idea, let me know in the comments, I think they're really fun to do. :)

a streetcar named desire // tennessee williams
original release year: 1947 --- my copy: 2004 new directions publishing

A Streetcar Named Desire is Tennessee Williams' 1947 play set in New Orleans, Louisiana. It's about this crazy woman, Blanche Dubois. She's kinda like an extreme escapist. She tells big, fat lies. She takes hot baths to calm her nerves. She flirts with her sister's husband. She seduces children. Eventually, she ends up in a mental institution. It's not surprising, really. I loved the drama, the funny dialogue, the intriguing characters and the history within it. I saw the 1951 film version before reading the play, which portrayed it so, so well. Now I understand those Modern Family references, lol! ("STELLAAAA!!!!!")

the picture of dorian gray // oscar wilde
original release year: 1890 --- my copy: 2005 oxford world's classics

I really liked this book. The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wilde's only novel. The writing is so beautiful it's obvious the author is a poet. The story is like a cautionary tale - with characters like Lord Henry and the circumstances that corrupt Dorian Gray, it's definitely a tragedy to behold. I watched the film adaptation that stars Ben Barnes, Colin Firth and Rachel Hurd-Wood after I began reading the book, and I was baffled at how terribly the movie portrayed the novel. The acting was fine, but the whole direction seemed off to me. The entire film was dark and sinister, whilst a great portion of the book was not. Anyway, if you have seen that movie and haven't read the book, just know that the book is a million percent better. :)