Gail Gazelle Got A Guitar (A First Phonics Book Book 9)

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I liked it especially as Lake has managed to give a little story to the pirate side of things. Added to category 6: The young ones - YA and children's fiction.

The language is evocative but too vague for me at this time. I enjoyed the brief glimpse of Fabio Montale, hero of his Marseilles trilogy, that he gives in the last pages. The book is divided into three parts 1 the Mediterranean 2 Marseilles 3 Fabio Montale Another Europa Edition read Added to category 8: Fact - nonfiction general, hopefully some travel literature. The house of strife by Maurice Shadbolt fiction This is the third book in the New Zealand Wars trilogy, though in the omnibus edition I'm reading from the book is considered 1 as the action predates the other two books.

Anyway they are all considered to be standalone reads. I wanted to read it first as we had a week in the Bay of Islands last year where the book is set and had visited some of the sites mentioned in the text. Successful writer Ferdinand Wildblood is forced to flee the UK when his plagiarising is about to be uncovered. He's taken a badly written memoir from New Zealand and turned it into a series of adventurous South Seas yarns under the name of Henry Youngman for his publishers over the past few years.

He flees on the first ship to New Zealand and arrives just as the adventures of John Heke, Maori rebel, Christian and fan of aforesaid swashbuckling books are about to unleash mayhem on the northern tip of the country the Flagstaff Wars. I thoroughly enjoyed this, a sort of irreverent look at the ineptitude of the British army commanders and their complete misreading of Maori military tactics, the local geography and weather.


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While not a fan of Mr Wildblood, I appreciated that he enabled us to see the strife from both sides of the conflict and I loved the framing of the whole adventure in the publishing world of the times. Now I need to check out and refresh my memory of the actual history around these times. I'm intending to read the next 2 books later this year. Sam Zabel And The Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks graphic novel, new zealand Horrock's first graphic novel since his outstanding Hicksville , not that he hasn't been busy doing other stuff such as Batgirl for DC comics.

Last year I tried his Incomplete Works GN which had come out earlier in the year, a collection of his short works, but at the time it just didn't appeal. This one is great, sort of autobiographical but then veering into fantasy. A cartoonist is fighting depression, causing writer's block or vice versa and when he buys a vintage comic ends up inside the world of the comic where he meets a cute Japanese girl who seems to have mastered the travel between the worlds of the comics drawn by a magic pen.


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  • Throughout the GN our hero explores the morality of fantasy and comics and whether artists have a responsibility to their readers. I saw this expressed best in a review by a GR friend: 'It's a strange and often lurid story- seeing a space-alien orgy drawn in the style of Herge really quite something- but there's a moral heart to the story, one put forward in such a heavy handed manner that it's impossible to miss.

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    It's a story about the responsibilities of art, about asking whether fantasy should be held accountable for its influence on culture, and especially whether certain sexual fantasies influence violence in real life. Fantasy is what I live for. But most of the imaginary worlds I spend my time in were made up by men- often with some pretty icky ideas about women I've learned to take those imaginary worlds and make them my own- subverting them to serve my fantasies- not theirs.

    NB: some erotic content. I'm slowly getting through all of Eisner's work, did a big chunk a few years back and this one called to me after reading his Protocols book a week or so ago. The introduction gives you the reasons for Eisner deciding to 'challenge' the antisemitic treatment of Fagin by Dickens in Oliver Twist's story. He had a character called Ebony in his early Spirit comics and he felt bad about the stereotyping of the character later on. The appendix gives you some of Eisner's thoughts on Fagin and the Jewish community in London around these times, as well as examples of illustrations of Jews from this period.

    I found this interesting but even more interesting was the afterword by Jeet Heer - a short quote - ' what makes Fagin the Jew such a rich work, one that rewards many readings, is that Eisner manages the complex task of arguing with Dickens while also paying homage to the great novelist.

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    In humanising Fagin, Eisner strikes a blow against anti-Semitism, but he also does it in a way that the creator of Fagin would surely have understood and admired. Wake by Elizabeth Knox fiction, new zealand I've been wanting to read this since it came out and kept putting it to one side so the March ANZAC challenge was timely. Don't want to say too much about the plot as it's best going into this one not knowing too much. I'd describe it as light horror. Great read, Knox is a great storyteller. Through the woods by Emily Carroll graphic novel Loved this set of gothic-style horror tales, not totally scary more entertaining scary.

    The stand out is the illustrations, really impressive use of the colour red and white on black as well the gorgeous glossy paper. I love how the last story, The Nesting place, wraps up. I got it from the library and my daughter grabbed it and read it straight through and bugged me till I read it as well. We're getting our own copy. The Chimes by Anna Smaill fiction, new zealand I found this debut novel a rewarding though complex read, one with echoes of other dystopian novels but maintaining its own unique edge. Smaill is a poet and an accomplished musician and both these qualities have been put to use in this novel.

    The language is eloquent, though I found I had to always read slowly and my pace remained ploddingly slow right through to the last pages. She laces the prose with musical terms, people move lento , or jump presto , quite fun if you know the musical terms. Her dystopian story is also based on music, the people have come under the control of the Order who rule through The Chimes, a daily musical ritual that cause amnesia. Writing is banned and music is now the main form of communication, directions given in song, market traders sing their wares etc etc. Most of the book is set in an alternate London.

    There are hand movements for harmony, accord, consonance. Could it be told in music by the longing in a scale? The urge of the seventh to rise to its octave, the fourth to its dominant? Those things are in it, but it is more complicated, less ordered, harder to understand. Added to category 7: Challenging - shared reads, theme reads, group reads, CATs etc, shortlists, long lists etc etc Henni by Miss Lasko-Gross graphic novel Quite an impressive little number.

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    Henni questions the rigid rules of her community and when she leaves, finds the next community to have rules that are even more rigid. After a few pages you get used to Henni as a cat-human creature. Added to category Images - photography, graphic novels, illustrated and picturebooks 43 Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann graphic novel This is one that lives up to its title, luscious beautiful illustrations hiding a dark dark tale.

    The graphic novel was based on the animated film and while I began reading the GN first, I switched to watching the movie as I could see that music plays a big role in the story. After I went back and skimmed through the rest of the book. This evokes the s s era of Havana just before the revolution, my recommendation is to go with the movie.

    From wikipedia: Director Fernando Trueba met designer and artist Javier Mariscal ten years ago when he asked him to create a poster for his Latin jazz documentary Calle So began a collaboration that saw Mariscal design all the artwork for Trueba's Calle 54 Records, make animated pop promos for the label, and together create a jazz-music restaurant in Madrid. The idea to make an animated feature film emerged from one of those pop promos, La Negra Tomasa by Cuban musician Compay Segundo. Mariscal's younger brother Tono Errando, with a background in music, film and animation, leads the audio-visual side of the multi-disciplinary creative company, and was chosen to collaborate with Trueba and Mariscal.

    From the beginning, all three men were excited by the idea of making a film set against the Havana music scene in the lates and 50s.


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    This fusion changed the music at that time. Pretty Monsters: stories by Kelly Link fantasy Finally read this long term resident of my tbr pile and delighted in every story.

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    I had come across one story before in an anthology. If you haven't already read one of her collections and you like urban fantasy then I recommend you give her a try. There once lived a mother who loved her children until they moved back in: three novellas about family by Lyudmila Petrushevskaya short stories I really love reading Petrushevskaya's work and this is another little dark gem. She gives us a glimpse into life in the Soviet capital during the years of brutal repression.

    The first story, 'The Time is Night', is the longest and fairly unrelentingly grim read about a mother, an unemployed poet, dealing with her adult children, their partners and offspring, stealing her food, taking over the rooms in her apartment, looting her money, her possessions. The second story is 'Chocolates with Liqueur' is black humour at its darkest, a mother tries to survive marriage to a brutal unstable man. The last very short story, 'Among Friends' has a decidedly bright ending, a dying mother ensures the future of her young son by a simple trick.

    Added to category 4: Favourite Writers - continuing to read them and hopefully completing the ouevre. I read a review after I finished over on the ANZLitLovers blog, where the consensus seems to be that Winton just writes the same novel over and over and you either love it or get tired of it. But for me as a first time reader I found quite a bit to like with its endless descriptions of surfing adventures that reminded me of the film Big Wednesday.

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    The book is basically a coming of age novel where two young teen boys are 'mentored' in surfing by an older ex-pro surfer who takes them on extreme surfing adventures that they should not at all be doing. I didn't like the sex in the book, I'm not a prude just don't want to read about erotic asphyxiation.

    Yentl the Yeshiva Boy by Isaac Bashevis SInger novella My ex-library edition has this beautiful cover showing the crown of a 17th century Torah Scroll and woodcut prints by Antonio Frasconi throughout the short story. I saw the Barbara Streisand film years ago and keep meaning to watch it again did he sing in it?

    Well known plot about a young woman who poses as a man and goes to study in a yeshiva in the Polish countryside. Well worth reading. Looking at the cover one imagines a teen angst type story, but one gets an imaginative little folktale. Two children born on the same day are destined to come together in order to save a young princess from herself.

    One child has taught herself to love life and be happy no matter what, the other uses sadness in song to bring out the beauty of a lost life. I enjoyed this. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander YA fiction This verse novel won the Newbery Award earlier this year among other awards and was a deserving winner. A great story about twins who play basketball. Their father was a star player who retired just as he hit the big time. The book is narrated by the quieter twin, Josh 'Filthy McNasty' Bell and the story covers the period leading up to a championship playoff.

    There's a girl, the game, their father's reluctance to own up to health problems and a mother who's also the assistant principal at their school. At times I felt the twins were much older than they actually are, I think they are meant to be about 12 years old. I didn't realise that he was the author of this classic children's book, it was my husband who mentioned the book when we were watching the Dutch film Koning van Katoren based on How to become king by Jan Terlouw.

    Korczak's other book Kaytek the wizard is another precursor to Harry Potter and I was lucky that my library acquired a few copies on my recent request to purchase so I will be reading that in a couple of days. Doctor" or Stary Doktor "Old Doctor". After spending many years working as director of an orphanage in Warsaw, he refused freedom and stayed with his orphans when the institution was sent from the Ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp, during the Grossaktion Warsaw of Matt becomes king when he is only 12 years old and left an orphan on the death of his father.

    He starts out by making mistakes such as agreeing with his ministers about going to war, but then decides to take control of his kingdom and institute reforms such as introducing a more democratic type of rule. He also wants to be known as the King of Children and creates a parliament for the children as well as one for grown-ups, a massive zoo and holiday camps. However it all descends into chaos that neighbouring kings take advantage of.