Monday 31 May 2010

A Moorehawke giveaway and other stuff

The lovely Celine Kiernan is hosting a giveaway for her fab fantasy Moorehawke Trilogy. The third and final book, the Rebel Prince, is coming out soon but the winner of the competition will be able to hold the book in their hands five months before the publication date. They will also win a copy of the first and second volume, The Poison Throne and Crowded Shadows.
I read The Poison Throne last year and loved it, so you should probably get your hands on a copy too. I'm ashamed to say I haven't read the second yet, but its time will come! Might give it a try with the competition, but if I don't win, I'll probably wait till the third is out to read the second.
So, all you have to do to win the three books is cast the main characters. We always do that anyway, right? Or at least I do it almost all the time. So just pick the people you think are the best to play Razi, Christopher and Wynter and tell Celine. She'll pick her favourite ones and they will be announced on her blog. You have until the 22nd of June to send your suggestions.
I'd say you give it a try even if you haven't read them. At least you have a chance to win the books!

On my life front, I'm having a good time these days. One of my best friend came to visit me from Italy for the first time and it was amazing to have her here. I introduced her to the town and all the places I love, and we had a great time together.
Among the things we did, there was a Eurovision Party in Pantibar, a gay bar. So, being Italian I had a vague idea of what Eurovision really was, and this only because I live here. None of my italian friends even knew it existed. I only knew the gays were mad for it here! Anyway, we went and it was MENTAL! People screaming, cheering, singing along, with their eyes glued on the big screen for the whole bloody thing. I can't believe the scoring system took so long and that the people there followed it so closely...That aside, I LOVED it. Only saw bits of the performances, cause we got there late, but I knew the Irish song (not the best, unfortunately) and the German one, which is kinda cute, despite what everyone's saying (because I like Kate Nash and she sounds just like her). But nothing prepared me for THAT! The trashiness, the costumes, the trashiness, the global flash mobs, the trashiness, the people going crazy, the sparkles, the bad songs, and the trashiness! I'm telling you, it was like being stuck in the 70's. But in a good way.
After the competion, the drag queens completed the night with some oldie eurovision songs, and, of course, being in Ireland, with a mad rendition of Riverdance. Can't wait for next year's.

Today I got my two books for Nerds heart YA. I'd say I should get starting with those asap, as I'm so slow these days. I'm still reading the Various, and I'm loving it, because...hello? fairies, but I might have to put it aside to do my nerdy judge duty. Life is tough, sometimes.
OK, I'm off to eat me dinner, which is an improvised experiment of sautéed potatoes and onions, with mushrooms, eggs and melted cheese on top. Hope it's yummy.

I leave you with a lovely, but sad comic about the love for books, read it:)
Mister Bookseller by Darko Macan

Wednesday 26 May 2010

New Directions

Lately I've been trying to come up with a cool name for a new blog, a place where I could talk about other things beside books. About all the stuff that are going on in my life, about the music I listen to or the things I've knitted, or what my latest cooking experiment tasted like. I thought I wanted to leave this place for books only, although there hasn't been much of those here either.
But then I realised the easiest solution would be to just use this one. It's my blog after all, I can post whatever I want, right?
So yeah, from now on, officially, I will talk about anything, which will include books too (I could never give up those. Actually, I will post two reviews soon), but not exclusively.

Ever since I lost my job at the bookstore (oh yeah, another thing I never mentioned here...) I have had lots of time to dedicate to the things I love doing. Less reading and more "making". I'm editing my NaNoWriMo novel, which is due to be finished by the end of June, in order to avail of the offer for a free printed copy. I still very much doubt my ability to write anything close to good, but it's a good exercise and I'm taking it for what it is.
Also, only recently I've started to exercise again. I live just beside a wonderful park, and I've taken up jogging there in the morning. I like it so much that I have to stop myself from going every day. Apparently there needs to be a day of rest in between training. I'm increasing gradually the running time and I love to see how much I'm improving each time.
Then of course there's the knitting. I haven't made much lately, but I'm not giving it up. I can't wait to get those photos ready so I can show you the pretty stuff I have made.
More importantly, being unemployed meant that I could apply for a training course free of charge. I had been thinking of starting my own business for quite a while now, and here was my opportunity to make it come true. I won't talk about what it is until it's closer to being actually real, but I'm really excited about it. So now I'm still doing this business course, there's about a month to go and then there will be hundreds of things to do to make it happen. It will involve cooking, this I can say. I have long given up teaching. It was cool for a while, but it's not my thing. While I think this may very well be it.
So that's about it. I hope it's going to be fun:)
I leave you with some more videos of songs I've recently come to love. Hope you like them. xxx

"Old Times" by Whispertown 2000

"The ghost who walks" by Karen Elson

"Rabbit Fur Coat" by Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

and lastly, a band I'm loving lots at the moment. This song sounds so much like those cartoon songs of my childhood, and obviously I'm mad for it:)
"I'm glad I hitched my apple wagon to your star" by The Boy least likely to

Saturday 22 May 2010

Nerds Heart YA 2010: the shortlist is here

Finally the shortlist is ready! I'm in the first bracket and the books I will read are
Shine, Coconut moon by Neesha Meminger and Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim. They're both about ethnic minorities in America written by two women with similar backgrounds as their characters.
Shine, Coconut moon is about an Indian American girl.

While the second one, Skunk Girl is about a Pakistan American girl
My bracket seems to go perfectly with my resolution of reading more multicultural books. It'll be interesting to compare the two, and see how they deal with similar themes of identities and prejudices. I'm really looking forward to starting reading.

I've hardly heard of any of the books in the list, but I'm very excited to read all the reviews and decision. As usual I expect them to add buckets to my wish list!
Here are all the books in the tournament:

Donut Days - Lara Zielin

Me, Just Different – Stephanie Morrill

Pure – Terra Elan McVoy

The World is Mine – Lyah B. LeFlore

Gringolandia – Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Wanting More – Rukhsana Khan

Devil’s Kiss – Sarwat Chadda

Jumped – Rita Williams-Garcia

Guantanamo Boy – Anna Perera

Shine, Coconut Moon – Neesha Meminger

Skunk Girl – Sheba Karim

Last Night I Sang to the Monster – Ben Alire-Saenz

The Rock and the River – Kekla Magoon

Purple Heart – Patricia McCormick

Alligator Bayou – Donna Jo Napoli

A Wish After Midnight – Zetta Elliot

Medina Hill – Trilby Kent

Lost – Jacqueline Davies

In the Path of Falling Objects – Andrew Smith

Funny How Things Change - Melissa Wyatt

Blessing’s Bead – Debby Dahl-Edwardson

The Blonde of the Joke – Bennett Madison

Say the Word – Jeannine Garsee

In Mike We Trust – P E Ryan

Evil? – Timothy Carter

Beautiful – Amy Reed

Tilmon County Fire – Pamela Ehrenberg

The Vast Fields of Ordinary – Nick Burd

Once You Go Back – Douglas A. Martin

Anything but Typical – Nora Raleigh Baskin

Border Crossing – Jessica Lee-Anderson

Rowan the Strange- Julie Hearn

I recently picked up Guantanamo Boy from the library, but haven't got to it yet.I'm glad it made the list.
Do you know any of the others?


Speaking of young adult books, I've failed to mention that recently my blog as been added to a list of recommend blogs for teen readers on the Online Degrees website. Check it out (Although they seems to think I'm a teenager. Ehm. Maybe at heart, yes...)

Sunday 9 May 2010

Other stuff I've listening to (and stuff I've been doing)

Slowly I'm returning to my usual self. I'm just back from a much needed holiday in Madrid. I had never been to Spain and I loved it. I struggled at first with the language, but by the second day I was already able to have a simple conversation with the locals! When they learned I was Italian they stopped answering to me in English and let me experiment with my elementary Spanish, which was fun. I took Spanish in school but that's like more than twelve years ago (at least)...I remember liking it very much but I never used it until this week. I was surprised at how much it came back to me speaking it.
It was also my first experience at travelling alone and it was definitely a hit. There were so many other people travelling alone and always ready for a chat or to join me to explore the city. I met some very strange but joyful people, and ate lots of delicious food (mostly tapas). I will post the pictures as soon as I develop and scan them (yes, I still don't own a digital camera...)

This holiday also brought me back to books. I started reading The Dreaming Place by Charles de Lint on the plane. I chose a short book as I didn't trust myself to read something too long. But by the end of the first day in Madrid I had finished it. So I went book-hunting. I found a bookshop which had books in English and bought My family and other animals by Gerald Durrell and I am enjoying it very much. Then I also got a YA book in Spanish, cause I plan to keep re-learning it. I've already read two chapters, for which I'm really proud. The book is El coleccionista de relojes extraordinarios by Laura Gallego García, who, according to the local bookseller, is a good author. I'm really intrigued by it so I'll let you know my thoughts on it.
I decided to leave Enna Burning at home, cause I only have the last few chapters left, and didn't want to finish it too soon and then carry it around for nothing. But I will finish it today or tomorrow. I did love it, although it has taken me ages to read it.

OK, so now for the music part of this blog post:

I love love love the Slow Club. I wish they played here. I wished they did the Electric Picnic, it'd be perfect. I need to see them live! I love almost all their songs but this one, I can't get enough of. I love singing along to it, it's lovely.
ps: I was sure there was a beautiful music video for this song, but I can't find it anymore.

Another band I'm loving for their soft 60's sound is Camera Obscura. This is their best song i think:

As most of these artists, I've only started to listen to Cathy Davey very recently, but I immediately loved her style. She's playing here soon, but I'm still thinking whether I should go. 26 euro seems a lot for someone I just started to know, but I know I would enjoy it. Hmm, dilemmas...
This is her latest single:

On an extremely different note, I'm loving the latest Beth Ditto look on Gossip's new video for Pop goes the World. The song is cool, but her hair is the best part. It's purple! And Blue! And her make-up! And her whole thing! Fantastic.

GOSSIP - POP GOES THE WORLD from V Magazine on Vimeo.

I'm finishing here with a treat for myself, basically. It's Florence's new song. She debuted it in Dublin, but I couldn't get tickets. Thank the Internet Gods for Youtube. I knew she was going to play something new, and I couldn't wait to listen to it. You can barely understand any lyrics, but it doesn't matter. It's Florence's new song for Pete's sake!! What else could *you* want?!