Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: May 2013

Friday, 17 May 2013

Tour Stop: The Plateau: Voices of the Earth by Maureen Dudley

Available April 22!
What if you have a half a second to stop the extinction of the human race? What if that pivotal day to save humanity depends on you saving your own life? Catherine’s life and humanity’s continued existence depend on her ability and willingness to believe in an altered, future timeline with a cololny of Earth inhabitants. It couldn’t come at a worse time. Catherine’s father dies unexpectedly. The pressure of her research and advocacy work adds dead weight to her life’s precarious tipping points. Catherine’s losing battles includes sleep deprivation. Sleep eludes her, because when it does come, she finds herself repeatedly dreaming about standing on the same high plateau with her greyhound dog, Addy, surrounded by plants and animals and insects, and then poof! The living landscape transforms into ash.
For More Information, Please Visit MaureenDudleyBooks.com!

Review coming soon!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Fractured by Sarah Dalton (A Review)


In a fractured Britain, the Genetic Enhancement Ministry have taken control. Parents buy designer babies and those with genetic faults are labelled Blemished and shunned from society. 

Elena Darcey is just as perfect as the other clones, but there is something different about Elena, because she’s in trouble. After helping Area 14’s most famous criminals escape, Elena has to get out before her teacher-- the formidable Margaret Murgatroyd --finds out that she is a sympathiser for the Blemished. The perfect opportunity arises as a beauty pageant promises the winner a trip to London. Will Elena cope with the cut-throat world of a beauty pageant filled with sabotage, violence and betrayal? If she makes it to London, will she find the safe haven she craves? Does she discover more than she'd expected after meeting the mysterious Jake Bloom?

The Fractured is the first part of a spin off series based on The Blemished, which will focus on some of the secondary characters and their stories. Part one follows the life of Elena as she experiences a life changing event.

An interesting premise, decently written.
I enjoyed the character of Elena Darcy. She was relatively complex, trying to present herself in one way when she was really someone completely different. To some extent this complexity was also carried over to the other characters, although I think it might have been told more convincingly in first person.  
The Fractured world is one which many of us may recognise and dread that could come to  pass. As such the story was quite realistic. However, I felt as if the plot was missing something, as if I'd like to have got into the story earlier on. This may have been because its a spin-off story.
It was really interesting to see how London was different in this imagined world. I think this was my favourite part of the story, seeing how life worked out and experiencing someone else viewing it for the first time.
A good quick light-read, which would probably be even better if you've read The Blemished series already. 

If genetic enhancements were more widely available would you choose to have them?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Books Within Books: Children's Books

Room by Emma Donoghue
"After, we use a little bit of tape to make the Hangar page stand up better in Pop Up Airport, but the baggage claim is too torn to fix.
We sit curled up in Rocker and Ma reads me Dylan the Digger three times, that means she's sorry. 

What was your favourite childhood book?

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Books Within Books: Getting away from it all

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
She'd generally take a book into the classroom and read it peacefully, while around her The Principal Exports of Klatch heepened to other people. 

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
The skeletal rat stepped through the wall.
Susan turned back to her book and ferociously read Noxeuse's Divisibility Paradox, which demonstrated the impossibility of falling off a log. 

Friday, 3 May 2013

Guest Post: Finding A First Edition

Today I'm handing over to Lynda aka Mozette of My Reading List who is going to tell us all about 
'Finding a First Edition'.

Welcome Lynda

Finding & Caring For A First Edition
Books are something that are beautiful and age well if cared for well.  I have been collecting books for my whole life – well, for as long as I can remember anyway.

And if you’d like to find that particular book that is feeling elusive in your life right now, I may be able to help you.  By following your own gut feelings and being very observant when you’re out at markets and book sales, you can find yourself not only a bargain, but also a book that may be out of print – or even a first edition – and you won’t know it until you look it up on the internet or take it in to get it valued.

I remember when I found my first out of print book.  I was on holidays in the UK and doing a huge Trafalgar Tour of the whole country for around three weeks when the bus stopped in a little Welsh town for a toilet rest.  Seeing we had a bus full of elderly people – and only a few young people like myself – it was the young people who used the facilities first.  However, we then had around forty-five minutes to wait for them to go through the rest of the bus load of people.  So, I asked if there was a bookstore nearby and the tour co-ordinator pointed me in the direction of an old theatre across the square.  I told them I’d be back within the forty-five minutes and took off across the relatively quiet square.  Once inside the place, I found I had found I was in a renovated picture theatre from the early 1920’s.  I climbed the stairs to the box office and asked the lady there where I could find biographies and autobiographies and I was directed to an old film room.  It was cramped, had a slanted roof and I couldn’t use the light switch and had to use a torch but the place was filled with as many books as they could cram into it.  And as I scanned the room, I had two thoughts going through my mind:  I wonder what I can find in here in ten minutes and if anything runs over my foot, I’m outa here!  Well, the light of my torch scanned across the light yellow spine of a book, crammed into a bookcase full of dark brown ones and I was pulled towards it; forgetting my fear of anything running over my foot or me standing on anything that might be living in here.  What I found was ‘The Letters of JRR Tolkien’ edited by Humphrey Carpenter in hard cover format.  This book was published in 1981 originally and I was about to sit down and look through it when the bookcase it came out of creaked!  Dropping it, I pushed it up against the wall and wondered if anyone was around and called out for help… fortunately, another woman was there and she thought I looked funny until I told her what happened and she went to pick up my book off the floor to push into the space left in the bookcase!  I protested and asked if she could choose another one…of course she obliged.

As I walked up the stairs, though, I realised I had never seen a hardcover of this book around anywhere, only paperback, so I offered them an extra fifty pounds on the twelve pounds and fifty pence they had on the inside cover.  The woman there said, ‘It’s just a book!’ I offered more – one hundred pounds! – but she still refused.  So, I paid the amount on the inside cover and walked out of this wonderful store thinking I had ripped them off.  

And you know, I had.  When I returned to Australia, I went into the city and got the book valued in the city and found it was so rare that Australia gained a copy and the UK lost a copy of this book and it was worth around $1200 at the time I showed it to the evaluator.  Now, all these years, later, its price can’t be put into a price tag… let’s just say that there’s not that many around anymore.  Now, I rarely let anyone look at it, I have never read it, and when I do handle it, I use gloves; and it never sees sunlight or hardly any light at all.

However, after finding that one book, I didn’t think I’d ever find another quite so easily.  So what I did was not look for them; and they seemed to show up where I was.

Now that sounds really corny and stupid beyond belief, but after about a year or so, I found that if you looked hard for a particular book you never found it.  But if you acted like it doesn’t matter – but it does – it will find you, or show up when you least expect it to.  And the feeling you get when you finally do lay your eyes and hands on that books that you’ve been looking for all this time is like falling in love at first sight!  This is a great feeling to have and the funny thing is you get the feeling every time you look at your rare or out of print book… there’s nothing like it!

After finding your book you must be willing to care for it.  There’s no middle of the road when you own a one-of-a-kind book.  You must care for it or it will vanish from the world of literature as we know it… I know that sounds really over the top and dramatic, but in today’s world of the internet, e-readers and computers, it’s people like me who collect these kinds of things that keep them not only in our world physically but also in our memories for future generations to appreciate.

Caring for these types of books takes only a little patience and the right environment in your house.  It also takes the same amount of environmental changes to make your first edition books go from being worth something to being worth nothing.

All it would take is an infestation of silverfish, cockroaches or mice and you have to flush a worthy collection of books down the proverbial drain; or even worse: mould!  The last thing you’d need is rising damp and your books aren’t worth a single thing as they’ll smell and look terrible as books – like us – are porous.  So, looking after your books is something you must promise to do, not because you want to but because if you end up selling them to somebody, you want to get the best price possible for them; you want them increase in value not decrease.

But if your book already smells, there are ways to get rid of that wet smell.  I have found that locking the book in a zip-lock bag with apple peelings and coffee grounds works.  You have to change it over every few days as this stuff will absorb the smells pretty quickly.  I have been recommended this treatment for a book when it came through the mail and it stunk of cigarette smoke when my parcel went through a customs search in America and the customs officer was a smoker.  They must have breathed into the envelope just before they re-sealed it and the smell of cigarettes was trapped inside all the way here; and when I opened it here in Australia, the whole book was permeated with that disgusting smell.  So, I used the coffee and apple peelings treatment for about a week and the smell weakened a little over that time.  However it didn’t go away completely until around 6 months after I’d had the book and I had to keep it separate from my main collection.

It’s been some time since my first book landed in my lap by pure chance on a holiday in the UK.  And now, when I’m out and about at second-hand bookstores, I’m always excited about which books I pick up; just in case they are first editions, special editions or rare books or – better still – signed copies.  There’s just something about these particular types of books that I love.  They keep me going in search of another book and yet another to keep this world of the written word alive and kicking in some way; even long after it’s gone, I will still have a library of books to care for and enjoy.  And when I’m gone?  I have plans to give my first editions to the State Library of Queensland if nobody else wants them so they are kept in their archives.

Please do check out Lynda's blog: 'My Reading List' and let her know what you thought of her post. 

Thanks Lynda for popping by.

I wonder, have you ever found a rare book?
If so, tell us its story.

If not, what book would you love to find?

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Books Within Books: Literature- Love or Loathe It?

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
In theory it was, around now, Literature. Susan hated Literature. She'd much prefer to read a good book. Currently she had Wold's Logic and Paradox open on her desk and was reading it with her chin on her hands.
She listened with half an ear to what the rest of the class was doing.
It was a poem about daffodils.
Apparently the poet had liked them very much.
Susan was quite stoical about this. It was a free country. People could like daffodils if they wanted to. They just should not, in Susan's very definate and precise opinion, be allowed to take up more than a page to say so.
She got on with her education. In her opinion, school kept on trying to interfere with it.
Around her, the poet's vision was taken apart with inexpert tools. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Books within Books:Joss Kazden's bookshelf

Crashing Eden by Michael Sussman
Not that I was some sort of bonehead. I loved to read, and my bookshelf was packed with my favvourite novels: classics such as Huckleberry Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird, and On The Road; science fiction greats like Dune, Martian Chronicles, and Feed; and dark comedies like Catch 22, Portnoy's Complaint, and Slaughterhouse-Five. 
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