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in the light of the sun

moments of me and my life by the sea

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judging books by their covers

The other day in St Vinnies I picked up a delightfully illustrated paperback. I must admit, I was judging the book by its cover, and the score was high.

It was this book here:

It was only $7 and I was about to purchase it when my brother informed me that he’d actually bought that book for Dad, for Christmas, with a similar cover, although not as nice, but I could just save my money and read that copy instead. And that the book wasn’t that amazing after all. So I placed it back on the shelf.

But now that I’ve seen this delicious image on Design is Mine

and followed the link to the artist’s website – Chris Silas Neal – and found out that he is the artist behind the illustrations I held in my hand, plus many, many more lovely others such as these….

…I wish I hadn’t listened to my brother after all. What do you think? Should I have purchased the book?!

Do you like to judge a book by its cover too? What are you reading right now?

P.S For your Information: Wildbirds & Peacedrums is a Swedish band, and I think I like ’em! Well, from the 30 seconds of preview itunes gives you…purchasing now!

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Ruminating about reading…

Have you read The Reader by Bernhard Schlink? I saw a copy in Gertrude and Alice’s the other day and bought it on a whim. I haven’t seen the film adaptation, but I do remember hearing how controversial it was, that it humanised the perpertrators of the Holocaust and that Kate Winslet had won an Oscar for her role as Hanna, former SS guard at Auschwitz and the main antagonist of the book. I thought I’d give it a go.

I finished reading it last night just after I hopped off the train. Even though I only ever read it in blocks of 10 or 20 minutes whilst on the bus, train, or walking home, it easily captured my attention and despite the lack of thrilling plotline, (It’s no Millenium Trilogy) the emotional ‘thrill’ (for want of a better word) had me turning the pages at great speed. Then, unexpectedly, tears were pouring down my face, mixing with the snot dribbling from my nose (I have a cold!) and I had to turn on my windscreen wipers (also known as hands and sleeves) super fast in order to finish the last few pages. I must have looked pretty strange.
“A flash flood of emotion was reported to have hit Oxford Street mall in Bondi Junction yesterday evening at approximately 5.47pm. Witnesses claim to have seen a small, pre-loved copy of Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader floating at the top of the foam and flotsam. The Weather Bureau states it had no way of predicting this downpour of salty discharge but warn that the phenomenon is not uncommon and many sightings have been reported in the Eastern Suburbs area.”
Schlink describes feelings of shame, confusion and unrequited love in a way that reached deep into my subconscious and wrenched out buried memories from my teenage years. Sure, I have nothing in common with Michael Berg, the story’s protagonist who at 15 begins a love affair with 36 year old Hanna Schmidt, the tram operator with a secret past. Sure, I haven’t experienced the Holocaust and it’s devastating consequences in the way that entire countries and races and subsequent generations have. In fact, that whole part of the story remained strangely detached in my mind. Too lazy to enter the moral discussion? Perhaps I am. But whatever your moral veiwpoint, there’s no denying that the way Schlink writes about shame, guilt, confusion and love is powerful and impressive.  
Click here to read a review of The Reader published by The New York Times. I don’t exactly agree with everything written, but it’s an interesting review.
Click here to read an interesting article about the author Bernhard Schlink on The Guardian.
What gripped me as a reader, or ‘the reader’ even, was Hanna’s illiteracy and it’s devastating impact. Now, that’s not giving anything away, I haven’t spoilt the ending for you and perhaps you’ve seen the film anyway or read about the book anyway. If not, go ahead and give it a go. I’d love to know what you think.
Can you imagine not being able to read? I don’t think I can. I don’t think I want to. I can’t imagine what life would be like without books. Hanna’s life, and therefore everyone she comes in contact with during the course of her life, are deeply affected by her illiteracy and her consequent shame. What would her life have been like had she learnt to read as a child? I can’t imagine who I would be without the books I have read. I know I had an imagination before I could read, and was curious about the world, but being able to travel all around the universe in the safety and privacy of your own bedroom is something every child should experience.
Would I have a love of adventure, a never ending urge to travel, be as curious and inquisitive had I never read these books as a child?
The Growing Summer by Noel Streatfield
The Adventure Series by Enid Blyton
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis
Would I be as mischievous, bossy, confident, impetuous, bold and opinionated had I never read these books as a child? (Some might argue these traits are not complimentary to a lady, I argue otherwise!)
The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary.
The Eloise Books by Kay Thompson
The Naughtiest Girl in School series by Enid Blyton
The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Would I strive to be as brave and compassionate if I’d never read these books?
The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Would I have survived puberty without every book written by Judy Bloom?!
And that’s just a handful of books I read as a child. I think I’d need a whole new post for books that influenced me as a teenager and as an adult!
I’m not saying that just because Hanna is illiterate that she’s somehow not responsible for her actions in The Reader, not at all. Just that it’s awfully sad.

What books changed you as a child? Tell me about them and I’ll try to read them. I’ve still got loads of growing up to do!

can’t stop reading

My aim for the weekend was to get some serious reading done. Serious, in that I wanted to spend lots of time reading, not the subject matter per se.

I do love the feeling of being emersed in a book. I love watching the hours tick past on the clock as I turn page after page. I love it when it turns from day into night into day again and I’m still lying there reading. Like I could have been filmed in a time-lapse and if you played it back fast, nothing would change except the lighting in the room.

I just hate when you get down to the last part of the book, and the race for the finish line, because I’m so desperate to finish it I can barely take it in. I can never slow down for that part, it’s like a mad dash to the finish line, which I inevitably have to reread to soak in all the details. Especially if it’s taken me well into the night, and at say 1am I think, sure, I’ll be finished in a bit, then the time between 1 and 2 and 3 feels like 10 minutes has flown by.

Then there’s that weird post-book feeling, when you are released from the stranglehold and are obliged to go about your daily life as normal, but all the characters and events and feelings are still ambling (or racing, depending on the book) around in your mind, bumbing in to other thoughts and getting confused with reality.

I had four books set aside for this weekend. 1 down, 3 to go.

That’s the second in the Millenium trilogy by Swedish author Steig Larsson, the amazing Mr Kurt Vonnegut (how could you resist a book titled ‘God Bless You, Mr Rosewater’? It’s like a Salinger title. brilliant.) and the sharp witted Mr Evelyn Waugh. Where to start?! Lucky I have approx 8 hours sitting on a bus to look forward to this weekend!

The sky was amazing this morning. Tom and I got up pretty early for work and the view down to Bondi was so clear and crisp it made me wish I was just going straight to the beach for a relaxing day of reading and one of those divine felafal rolls and delightful rose lemonades from Sabbaba. Now I’m hungry too…

My camera doesn’t do the sky justice, but you get the idea.


I hope whereever you are the sun is shining and you have a good book to read.

Twilight

I just finished devouring the Twilight Saga. Can’t say it was the best written stuff I’ve ever read but boy did i fall hook line and sinker for that love story. Well, for Edward Cullen, vampire extraordinaire, in particular.

swooooooon.

Sure, I declare myself as an independant feminist but I can’t deny that a character such as Edward, with devastatingly handsome looks, intelligence, manners, stacks of cash and most importantly his overwhelming devotion to his love and family and morals didn’t have me all starry eyed. dammit. I must be a hopeless romantic at heart… or hopeless dreamer in any case. I don’t think his type really exist. (well I’m not certain about the vampire part, I could believe that part, but the rest is just all too good to be true.)

The writing was a cliche and repetitive and predicatable, but hey, it’s blockbuster young adult fiction not a booker prize nomination. I was disappointed with how the ending played out. I felt a little flat after I had finished the final book. But what comes up must come down and I was HIGH AS A KITE whilst reading those books. Weeping. Frequently. Laughing like a school girl. Jumping with glee. Embarrassingly so. I haven’t been that obsessed over something for a long time. Regardless of it’s faults, the series certainly managed to light a fire within me that I hadn;t felt in a long time.

I didn’t sleep for 4 days in order to finish them off as soon as possible. (Vampires never sleep though so I can hardly complain.)

Not sure how I feel about the movie. Not sure about whether it will live up to my imagination. But I’m seeing it this Saturday anyway. I’ll let you know!

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