5. Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson (100 book challenge)

I was thrilled to see Bill Bryson on the 100 book challenge list as he’s one of my favourite authors.

Notes from a small island

In saying that, I was surprised to see that they’d chosen ‘Notes from a Small Island’ as the book on the list. I started reading it a few years ago and lost interest, preferring to read his European adventures book (Neither Here Nor There) or the American counterpart (Notes from a Big Country).

I mean, really, what does the UK itself have to offer?

Sure, London’s pretty neat and Stonehenge can be impressive (for the first three minutes at least) but I always saw England as a travel destination from which to take other trips to more exotic places like Prague or Barcelona or Amsterdam.

Could someone really write a whole 265 pages on the England, Scotland and Wales alone?

Because it was on the list, I had to give it ago.

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Extinction (Friday Fictioneers)

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Image by The Reclining Gentleman at http://thereclininggentleman.wordpress.com

‘2040,’ he reads aloud, ‘last living bird, the common sparrow, dies from avian influenza.’

He moves along to the next panel and taps the touchscreen.

‘2078: the last female crocodile in captivity, and last reptile known, dies of old age.’

He shakes his head in disbelief.

‘2123: rising water temperatures lead to the death of all oceanic fish and mammals.’

He takes a deep breath before moving to the next screen.

‘2236: last mammal on earth, male human living in southern China, dies age 98.’

He taps his antennae together thoughtfully.

And with a flutter of wings he is gone.

************

I felt a little sci-fi this week since my short story ‘Meet the Martians’ was recently published in the StringyBark Future Times Short Story anthology (hard copy and ebook). It’s an exciting moment to see my name in print, especially in a genre I’ve never attempted before. But bring it on! There’s something rather exhilarating about predicting the future, especially a future that’s been taken over by insects…

Friday Fictioneers is a challenge set by Rochelle Fields where writers around the world create 100 word stories inspired by the one image. For more information see: http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/24-october-2014/

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100 books

Jessie Ansons:

Some good suggestions here, but I’d feel like I’d be cheating if I strayed from the list now!

Originally posted on Once uPUN a time...:

Blogger and author Jessie Ansons has set a challenge to read (and, I presume, review) 100 must read books.  The list can be found here.  Skimming the selection got me thinking about the books that I think are missing from that list.

For example, I would love to see Toni Morrison’s Beloved on that list.  Morrison’s text showcases the complex interplay of past, present and future, and the difficult decisions which reverberate across time and space.

I would also like to see the much beloved John Green represented in the list.  My vote would be for Paper Towns or The Fault in our Stars, however I would be happy to see any of his works make the list.  Green has this uncanny ability to consistently craft engaging adolescent voices and it is for this, as much his story telling ability, that should earn him a place on the list.

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Proud parents (Friday Fictioneers)

His parents knew the importance of providing their only child with a creative outlet. They filled his playroom with a drum kit, a guitar, an oboe and a double bass.

The first time he picked up the drumsticks his parents watched with keen interest.

A ray of sunshine hit the brass cymbals and reflected a distorted image of the room around him: the guitar, the oboe, the double bass and his parents’ beaming faces.

He lowered his drumsticks and turned to his parents.

He knew he needed to capture that moment.

‘Mum, Dad, I want to be a painter.’

************

Read my reviews of books as I make my way through the 100 book challenge here.

Friday Fictioneers is a challenge set by Rochelle Fields where writers around the world create 100 word stories inspired by the one image. For more information see: http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/10-october-2014/  

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The Monet (ABC Open 500 words)

The ABC Open 500 words theme for September 2014 is ‘I broke it’. There are surprisingly very few things I’ve broken in my lifetime (bones included… running tally ZERO touch wood) so I had to think back to when my husband and I first went away together on a trip up the coast.

Here’s the link:

https://open.abc.net.au/explore/80220

bed jump

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4. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks (100 book challenge)

I’d never heard of this book before I saw it on the 100 must-read book list. It sounded intriguing so I decided to make it the fourth read in my 100 book challenge.

It’s received extreme mixed reviews, and now I’ve read it I can understand why.

It’s a story about a teenager, living with his dad on an island in Scotland. From page one, I was thrown in a bizarre world of murder, cruelty and revenge. Banks’ point of view is set deeply into the mind of the sixteen year old character, which gave the book a layer of innocence and helped me connect with the main character – despite his actions.

The title was intriguing enough to make this my next read

The title was intriguing enough to make this my next read

I always like the idea of telling a story from a different point of view, and this book allowed me to get into the head of someone who, because of his upbringing, interacts with the world in ways that make you sick to the stomach. But it is all hidden beneath the surface – the people who meet the main character and his father probably wouldn’t suspect anything untoward happening on the island.

Which got me thinking. In any given day we pass hundreds of people, all with their own lives and upbringings. I guess we like to assume that most people are not secret cruel murderers, but this book made me question that. At one stage of reading, I was so drawn into this crazy world that I started to wonder whether it was safe to leave the house! I was having dreams of deformed bodies and secluded islands and burning fur…

This book really affected me!

Which, in a way, is every reader’s goal: to cause that emotional response. Continue reading

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The reminder (Friday Fictioneers)

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Image by Marie Gail Stratford at http://mariegailstratford.wordpress.com/

‘It’s stunning.’

‘Gorgeous!’

‘How did you collect all those bottles?’

Visitors to the house always comment on my bottle wall. After my father died I couldn’t bring myself to throw his bottles out, so I made them into an art piece. A reminder.

‘I wish my parents left me something worthwhile,’ they say.

Visitors don’t know the story behind the bottles. Every bottle has a meaning. Every bottle ended in an argument. A broken promise. A broken glass.

Or worse.

‘You’re lucky your father left you this wonderful legacy!’

Yes, in a way. I’m lucky my father left.

******

I’m feeling a bit dark after just finishing Iain Banks’ The Wasp Factory as part of my 100 book challenge (read my review here). I’ll try for a more cheery piece next week, I promise!

Read my reviews of books as I make my way through the 100 book challenge here.

Friday Fictioneers is a challenge set by Rochelle Fields where writers around the world create 100 word stories inspired by the one image. For more information see: http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/26-september-2014/

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