Saturday, November 24, 2012

My American holiday reading pile!

I have finally decided on what books to take with me on my travels to North America!
I had chosen well over a dozen to begin with but then I did the math, and I doubted I would be able to finish that many in 2 months, even if I wasn't doing exciting things in amazing places. 
But then again, with travel comes a lot of waiting and sitting in airports. So maybe I would do more reading then if I'm at home? 

Anyway here's a little video showing you what I chose.

1. Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
2. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
3. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
4. Trying War by S.D. Gentill
5. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
6. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
7. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
8. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
9. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
10. Lonesome Traveller by Jack Kerouac
11. In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje

In the mix I chose titles from a whole range of genres I love reading - chick lit, YA, Greek mythology, dystopian, classics - and even some travel themed books too! 

By the way, I can afford to bring this many books because I'll leave them with my parents (who live in Houston) when I come home (so I have room in my luggage for all my shopping!) and they'll bring them back for me when they come home at the end of 2013. :) 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

story time: Biscuit Man

You've heard me rattle on and on about how this semester I took an English unit on creative writing. 
So I'm going to share with you the story I wrote for my end of semester folio which was worth 40% of my final grade. We had our final exam a few days ago and it was a lot of fun (I talked about one of my favourite novels Never Let Me Go and then wrote a poem about music).

Bear in mind, I spent a maximum of three days on this story and it technically failed the required word count (it was 1100 words when the allowed range for a short story was 1200-1800). 
I was given well over 10 weeks to write my story.
It came in a spur of the moment type of situation. (Well, to be honest it came from me sitting at the Reid café a day before I had to submit it to my class, writing down whatever words came into my head).
I'm not going to post the score I received for my story but if you ask me personally I'll tell you. As in via twitter, fb, email, or in person. 


It's called:

Biscuit Man

A man sat down on a bench at an empty park. He carried with him a large metal lunchbox which he perched on the seat beside him. The man looked up ahead of him at nothing in particular. Without glancing down or making a sound, he opened the lunchbox and began his routine.
Perhaps this is the day. He nibbled on a biscuit that he held in his left hand. No crumbs fell to the ground.
It was peculiar how the man breathed without making the slightest noise, yet he noticed every now and then the tiny clinking of his eyelashes blinking. That is, when they did happen to blink.
The man had neither a name nor memory of his life or identity. He arrived every morning at the very same park bench. His routine was all he knew. Nobody ever talked to him, approached him, or even noticed him.


Emeline was sitting at a table outside the café across from the park. She hadn’t been to The Sleepless Café in a while and was there to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi to finish her assignment.
Looking up from her laptop, Emeline spotted a mysterious man sitting on the park bench, eating biscuits. Peculiar, she thought. The man continued on slowly, unaware of his onlooker, and never ceasing his biscuit nibbling except when reaching for another.
He wore a grey hat – one of those fedoras men in the film noirs of the fifties always wore. The man sat stationary on the park bench with his arms positioned oddly on his lap – his left arm transported the biscuits to his mouth and his right hand lay palm-up on his knee.
As she sat, sipping her coffee on the terrace of The Sleepless Café, Emeline’s eyes were fixed on the biscuit man. She looked right past the woman in the navy velour tracksuit walking her dog. Emeline barely even registered the elderly couple strolling by hand in hand, or any of the other pedestrians passing her by on the street path alongside the park. None of whom ever lifted their eyes or acknowledged the man on the bench several feet away.
Emeline ordinarily would never have taken much notice of him sitting there alone, but even from the distance across the street she could see the strange, dazed look he wore on his face. She was intrigued.


The man in the park donned a mustard yellow scarf that swished to and fro with the slight breeze. The biscuit crumbs fell onto his scarf, and like a child on a playground slide, slid down and onto his lap.
“Hello?” he offered to the air in front of him. The man’s voice seemed timid but he spoke articulately.
“Who are you?” he asked, more hesitantly this time.
His only reply manifested from a strange and preternatural mixture of an exhale of breath and a sigh that seemed to sing.
 “That is the wrong question.” The answer blew gently onto his face. It came from before him, like a shifting of breeze or a whisper of wind.
This was what he was waiting for. He had a feeling today might have been the day. The day he would be heard and answered, the day he might understand for the first time.
The whisper was his only companion, but today was the first day it gave him words audible enough to comprehend. Before, he had only ever received incomplete blurs of sounds – the breaths and breezes of the whisper. At other times he could sense some incomprehensible sentiment attached to them.
The whisper, or ghost of a whisper, held his gaze somehow, and the man continued nibbling on his biscuit. His eyes never wavered, and his heart beat steadily as he reached into the lunchbox beside him to pull out another one.
“Who am I?” tried the man.
He sat even stiller on his perch, stopped nibbling and waited for a response.
No answer came.
He decided to try something different. “What am I doing? Why am I here?”
Still nothing.
“Where am I going?”
The whisper breathed again, this time from directly behind him.
The focus of the man’s gaze did not falter, but his face transformed to a look of vague confusion. Dissatisfied and too listless to implore for more information, he reached for another biscuit.


Emeline watched as the man on the bench paused snacking for a moment and say something aloud. Was he talking to himself? He looks so odd! How many biscuits has he eaten now? He must be crazy, she thought.
Then suddenly the man’s facial expression changed. She noticed his eyes open wider. But the change was fleeting and the man promptly resumed eating his biscuits, as if nothing at all had occurred.
Bored of observing the stranger in the empty park, Emeline gulped down the last dregs of her coffee which she’d long let grow cold, and turned her attention back to her laptop. She had only a few hours left before her assignment was due for submission.


As the man picked up his eleventh biscuit, he felt a sudden tingling sensation slowly crescendo within his ankles. He dropped the biscuit and wondered if the whisper would restart their conversation. The half-eaten biscuit landed on the ground beneath the bench.
He felt the tingling more intensely as it travelled along his calves and up to his knees before returning down to his feet and toes. From there it exited his body.
The man wiggled his toes in response and then sneezed.


The noise startled Emeline into looking up just in time to see the biscuit man’s body convulse from a sneeze. It was so loud and extreme he almost toppled off the bench.
This was the most exciting thing that he had done today, and yet it was the first normal thing he had done.
But not before long it became the second most exciting thing he did. As soon as the man recovered from his sneeze, he resumed his natural composure once again and promptly vanished.
Emeline stared.
The man had disappeared like a grubby mark on a window being wiped away in one swift motion.
Still gaping at the now empty park bench before her eyes, Emeline failed to notice the silent appearance of a biscuit inside her empty coffee mug.

Monday, November 19, 2012

film chat : the perks of being a wallflower

Finally this long awaited movie has arrived in Australian cinemas! 
If you follow this blog you might know that I read Perks not too long ago and posted some thoughts about the novel here. I was astounded by Stephen Chbosky's amazing writing talent and how invested I became in the characters of this YA coming of age story. 

I'm not going to do an in depth review on the movie or anything, there won't be any spoilers I don't think, just general things I observed. 
This adaptation was flawless! It was so well done; as a fan of the book I thought it was perfect and stunning and so beautifully and tastefully brought to cinema. If you didn't know, Stephen Chbosky himself directed and produced the film. 
Little secret: I was welling up during the opening credits! (and I cried, oh I cried - way more than I thought I would or should)

The casting was excellent, like seriously one of the best casts in my eyes. Paul Rudd as the English teacher was wonderful, Ezra Miller as Patrick was just 110% perfect, Emma Watson was a brilliant Sam (she exceeded my expectations - and I loved her a lot to begin with, so go figure), Charlie's parents were just right, and last but not in the slightest bit least, Logan Lerman. Oh, Logan. After the Three Musketeers, I was doubting him as an actor but OH MY GOD OH MY GOD he is the PERFECT Charlie. He is just so right for Charlie. And he did some darn good acting in this movie, let me tell you. I was stunned at how perfect for Charlie he is. 

I can't wait to get my hands on the DVD so I can see the deleted scene with Candace at the clinic. 
Oh, one scene I was looking forward to seeing was with the English teacher (Bill) when he invites Charlie to his house and Charlie meets his wife and Bill tells Charlie he's one of the most gifted people he had ever met. But that didn't happen in the movie. 

Perks was so brilliant.
It made me feel all the things I felt when reading the book. I really think that's the sign of a good film adaptation.
It also makes me want mixed tapes to be a thing again. 
Which reminds me, I need to buy the soundtrack stat!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

the fault in our stars by john green!


by John Green
published in 2012 by Dutton Books

I have to firstly start off this post by saying that I almost decided not to write my thoughts on The Fault in Our Stars. The book is just so affecting, and one of the most not only intense - but important - books I have read in a long, long time. I almost chose not to write about it because there are a million things I could say and they still would not cover an inch of its worth. 
So just be wary, whilst reading this post, of my lack of eloquence in describing the vastness of this book's true quality, importance and worth.

All any appreciator of The Fault In Our Stars can do is simply thank John Green for creating it, and thank God for creating John Green.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

new on my bookshelf

For this post I was simply too lazy to take photos and do the whole shebang with the writing up and everything, and I thought a video would let you see the books better than in pictures so here we go! 

Sorry for my talking and just terrible explaining skills, I think I might have made it seem like I don't know how to count. 
I suppose some writing will be necessary in this post anyway, so you don't get confused. 
The first three I showed you were given to me by the amazing Jess from The Tales Compendium.

And the last one I bought online. I failed to tell you that.

I'm most excited about Uglies! I've heard countless people rave on and on about it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

the invention of hugo cabret by brian selznick!

The Invention of Hugo Cabret 
by Brian Selznick
published by Scholastic Press, 2007

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a touching story filled to the brim with history, passion, magic, and most importantly - dreams.
There's also a lot of clockwork and thievery too. The story comes to life through the words and pictures, but let me tell you - there is so much more to it than that.
Nowadays, everywhere we look we see books turning into movies, but The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a film in the form of a book. You get the whole experience. Kind of.
I don't mean this in the sense that it was a film to begin with then someone turned it into a book (because that isn't the case), I'm saying that the story is sort of presented as a film but in the format of a book. It's really hard to explain but if you've read this book you probably know what I'm talking about.
e.g. the curtain opens and closes, and in between part 1 and part 2 it feels like an intermission.

Here's a video of me briefly flicking through the pages of Hugo

Normally I think of film as the ultimate medium of storytelling and communication, but after reading this book, it is obvious that words are just as powerful and capable - or even more so - than film.

I loved this book a lot - Selznick's simplistic writing style, the goregous, stunning images - I will never sell or give this book away because I'll be wanting to read this to my future children at bedtime one day.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

a midsummer tights dream by louise rennison!

by louise rennison
published 2012 by HarperCollins
(sequel to withering tights)

wowzies this was such a fun read! i think a midsummer tights dream was even better than withering tights
llulah is back at dother hall with her knobbly knees, her crazy tree sisters and her spectacular spontaneous irish dancing. much larks for tallulah casey in this hilariously written sequel of her misadventures.
in this book llulah's having a bit of trouble in the love department of life - she's been snogged and rejected by a really good-looking, good-snogging guy; her dream boy Alex the Good is away at theatre college or something; and a dark brooding crow named Cain Hinchcliff has just beaten her in a staring competition by licking a hailstone off her face. 

anyway, i loved this book, i love Louise Rennison, i love tallulah and her pals, the woolfe boys and especially cain. Cain is the modern-day Byronic hero of a midsummer tights dream. he seems to always lurk in the shadows and pops out whenever llulah thinks she's alone and acts silly, e.g. happy irish dancing alone in a barn or hanging upside down on a tree branch.

if you fancy a light read that will make you laugh out loud, look no further.
it really left me nothing to be desired especially with the glorious references to the bronte sisters, jane eyre and wuthering heights. i am certainly looking forward to february next year when the third book comes out!
cain is dreamyyyyyyyyyyyy.