Friday, January 14, 2011

Books ahoy!

Last Monday, Daniela and I went to Brisbane.
It was pretty spectacular. It was before the flooding hit, when I was forced to do an exam at the horrible hour of 8.30am. Daniela, Chris, Tata and I were up at the crack of dawn to drive to Brisbane; as a result, Daniela and I felt it only just if we were to gallivant around the city.
Which we did, with much glee.
Daniela last was in Brisbane about 3 years ago. Her parents took her to see Phantom of the Opera, and so her gallivanting was limited to a Southbank hotel and QPAC. I thought it'd be good to show her the city, even though as a city it's kinda limited to Queen St and a couple of straggly streets beyond.

With that, we started at the library.
The good thing about Daniela is she's pretty much as book crazy as me. The two of us happy-fizzle over books, and when there are gazillions of books on gazillions of levels all in the one building, it's an overload of awesome.
Daniela was particularly impressed with the Brisbane library. She's mainly grown up with the Northern Rivers' collection of libraries. All those not familiar with such libraries, I present the following:
The Battle of the Libraries
Northern Rivers vs. Brisbane
Duhn duhn duhn...

Firstly, Alstonville. Alstonville's library is located in the Leisure Centre:
Stolen, courteously, from the RTRL website.
 The Leisure Centre is primarily composed of sports facilities, however. I used to play futsal here (yes, I know. The concept of me playing sport is hilarious).

This, however, is one of the dance rooms. I attended a CWA
thingo here. Which was essentially old rural women
giving children awards for making nice posters about Belgium.
The library itself is tiny. You can't find a picture of it.

Next, Ballina, my preferred library.

Stolen from a tourism site.
I send my love.
 Ballina's a bit nicer. There's a far wider range and plenty of nommy DVDs (including the Office. Huzzah!). Still...

Finally, Lismore.
The outside of the Lismore library is truly creepy, so I'm sparing you that. It's like an old church. But haunted. And creepy. Pretty much, it epitomises Lismore. Also has the prerequisite black Gothic fence, untrimmed bushes and graffiti from the Lismore teens who, as I've mentioned previously, use flood waters to surf in.
(I mentioned this to my mother today, who I've been chatting about the floods with since she came home today. She laughed at the memories of those teens, and nodded wistfully.) Inside, the library is a muted yellow, but is combined with green in the horrific patriotic palette that Lismore seems to cling to like its that raft from Titanic.

Also, I've just remembered, Lismore is also known for having frothy water features, from those rascally Lismore teens who wake up early to sprinkle detergent in all of the roundabouts. Why roundabouts even need a jazzy waterfall, I don't know.

Anyway, back to books. Lismore's range is pretty good. 2 floors - one of fiction, one of non.

But it all pales in comparison to Brisbane. The outside:
Not the skyscraper, of course, though that would be truly fantastic. I wouldn't leave there at all. I'd become homeless and live in Redacliffe Place if that were the library. But the coloured blocks are the library. Already, the library seems more interesting.

 Inside, the beauty is just awesome. It's all glass and escalators and wooden floors. Can't really see it here, but each of the shelves has neon lights at the end - pink in the non-fiction, yellow in adult fiction, and so on. So you don't get lost! Huzzah! Lots of computers, and you check out your books yourself. Also, you put your books into the chute and the chute takes them on a conveyer belt. It's... just amazing.

And then if you're lucky enough, you can scab one of these comfy seats. (If you plan on doing so, make sure you're in the YA section. Far more seats, and you also can watch people lose at X-Box if you're lucky.)

Hence why Daniela and I are far more besotted with Brisbane Square Library.
After we went and hunted lunch, I stopped at the newsagency. There, my dear beloved readers whom I adore, I found this magazine.
Discerning Bride.
And upon flicking eagerly to the contributor's panel, I found my name.
Natasha Pavez.
I am in print.
Daniela and I squealed for a while, paid for it, then squealed all the way to Dymocks.

Daniela was also in love with Dymocks. Two storeys of pure awesome, tis Dymocks, and Daniela pretty much wanted to spend most of her day there. But I carefully nudged her to Borders. 
Borders is now her favourite place in Brisbane. You can tell we're related. 

But after seeing all these books, Daniela and I decided a challenge had to be made. 
We're reading the top 50 of Angus and Robertson's Top 100 Books of 2010, and seeing how we go.
Because I'm a pain in the butt, the list is as follows:
  1. The Twilight Saga, Stephenie Meyer. This shouldn't even be called a saga, let alone make this list. Daniela and I decided that we're only going to put ourselves through the horror that is Twilight. We can't force ourselves through the other three.
  2. The Harry Potter Series, JK Rowling. See?! THIS SHOULD BE NUMBER ONE. I'm not going to rant about why Harry Potter pwns Twilight (mainly because it's downright obvious) but I seethe at the Australian population. I really do. Daniela and I are going through all of these because, as Harry Potter nerds, we have to read all the books again before Deathly Hallows Part 2 comes out. And then have a movie night.
  3. The Millenium Trilogy, Stieg Larsson. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl With the Motorbike, The Girl Who Hacks Into Swedish Computers And Solves Cases About Stuff. Clearly, I've read these books. 
  4. To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee. Daniela is distressed, because she had to read this about 3 months ago at school. I last read it in year 8, so I'm a bit more okay with it. "But I hate Scout," Daniela said to me. "Can't we just get rid of Scout? Why doesn't Jem narrate?" All valid points.
  5. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold. Another book Daniela and I vehemently oppose - Daniela because it's plain boring, me because I can't stand her writing style. And yes, Daniela's right, it's boring.
  6. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen. Oh heck yes. 'Nuff said.
  7. My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult. Very happy to read this. I absolutely adore this book.
  8. The Sookie Stackhouse Collection, Charlaine Harris. Essentially its vampires swanning around being smexy and sexy and all things in between, while pwning Twilight vampires because they actually drink blood. But I'm not complimenting this series. I think it's ridiculous, so I'm reading book one. Daniela's a bit more accepting, and says she will read two. 
  9. The Time Traveller's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger. Aside from the whole BUT IF HE'S TIME TRAVELLING HOW HE IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE?! dilemma, it's a nice book. 
  10. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak. Spear me now, but I have never been a fan of this book. I know everyone adores it and calls Zusak a genius, but my personal opinion is that it seems very rushed, and Death is not as developed as he should be. Also, Nazi Germany is beginning to become that awful place that all writers must refer to at some point (or WW2 in general), much like Australia or the English countryside was during colonial writing.
  11. Lunch in Paris, Elizabeth Bard.
  12. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini. Good book. Melikes.
  13. Memoirs of A Geisha, Arthur Golden. Will be good to revisit this book, it's another I haven't read in about 5 years.
  14. 61 Hours, Lee Child. Not a huge fan of crime, but Lee Child used to sell like crazy at the bookstore. 
  15. Dragon Haven, Robin Hobb.
  16. Vampire Academy Series, Richelle Mead. Oh my gosh heck yes. I love this series. The only vampire series I really like, actually.
  17. The Silent Sea, Clive Cussler. 
  18. Mao's Last Dancer, Li Cunxin. I'm ashamed I haven't read this yet. 
  19. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien. The most I know? "You have my sword." "And my bow." "And my axe." "And my vuvuzela." And, of course, THEY'RE TAKING THE HOBBITS TO ISENGARD-GARD-GARD-GARD-GARD...
  20. Tuscan Rose, Belinda Alexandra.
  21. The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay.
  22. The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks. This is the only novel where I actually prefer the movie. Sorry, Mr Sparks Sir. 
  23. The Pacific, Hugh Ambrose.
  24. Ransom, David Malouf.
  25. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte. I love love love love this book. It is win in all ways. I shall be reading the copy that Lemmy gave me! 
  26. Dear John, Nicholas Sparks. I do love this book too. Fantastically done.
  27. Magician, Raymond E. Feist.
  28. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger. Haven't read this in quite some time either, so I'm looking forward to it.
  29. House Rules, Jodi Picoult. My favourite of her novels. Huzzah!
  30. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte. To sum up the novel using another blogger's description: Heathcliff is a douche. All I'm going to be doing while reading this is going CURSE YOU ROMANTIC THEORY.
  31. A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini. I adore this book as well, and I much prefer it to the Kite Runner. 
  32. Marley and Me, John Grogan. Really, I'm wondering if the hype was worth it. It is about a puppy though...
  33. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, Steve Hockensmith. The original P&P&Z was fantastic. Eager to see this one.
  34. Breath, Tim Winton. I cannot stand Tim Winton, cannot see how he is perceived as a glorious writer who deserves fame and wreaths laid at his door. In the two novels I have read of his, he has not used punctuation and is extremely sexist (not to mention boring as all heck). This is going to be painful.
  35. The Bronze Horseman, Paullina Simons. The only one I enjoyed of hers - well, this trilogy, anyway.
  36. Cloudstreet, Tim Winton. See #34.
  37. The People's Train, Thomas Keneally.
  38. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll. I wonder how it'll be reading it now - when I actually know it's a drug trip? I last read this as a kid - would've been 8 or so.
  39. Truth, Peter Temple.
  40. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott. Haven't read this before, either.
  41. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert. Many negative reviews about this book's message, but I don't have an opinion. Will read it and see.
  42. The Host, Stephenie Meyer. Gouge my eyes out.
  43. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown. Didn't mind this book. Pretty interesting read. Not too much substance or anything, but it's a good story nevertheless.
  44. The Book of Emmett, Deborah Forster.
  45. Ice Station, Matthew Reilly.
  46. The Road, Cormac McCarthy. Another book to see if it lives up to the hype.
  47. The Memory Keeper's Daugher, Kim Edwards.
  48. Persuasion, Jane Austen. Another one I love.
  49. Jessica, Bryce Courtenay.
  50. Atonement, Ian McEwan. Surprised this isn't higher up the list. Then again, this is a peoples' poll. Need to buy a new copy of this...
I'm looking forward to going through this list, and having a structure. Also, I'm accountable to Daniela for the books I read. I'm also going to document two more novels (I have a book I'm putting it all in) - those being Forevermore, by Cathy Marie Hake, and Serendipity, also by CMH. V. excited to actually properly read them - I've not had much of a chance to do it as of yet, what with work and trying to get this house and groceries all sorted.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, rife with many sleep ins and awesomesauce for all.


  1. BAHAHAHAHAHAHA Completely lost it when I read the Lord of the Rings comment. hmm probably should finish reading the whole post now...just wanted you to know I like that bit :D

  2. I think I like both the movie and book of the Notebook...both made me cry and made me mushy like a girl should when reading/watching such things :P