Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Future of Books

My sister sent me this, it is super interesting. What do you think?

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Immune Boosters

I am sick. I dislike being sick. Who doesn't? At work on Sunday evening I was looking after a particularly snotty baby and I thought to myself "I'm going to get this aren't I?". Yep. Occupational hazzard!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quote of the Week

"If you know you are going to fail, then fail gloriously."

Cate Blanchett

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I saw this in the supermarket the other day. It made me giggle.

Entertaining fish hey? Who knew fish (particularly frozen) could be so entertaining?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Seussical The Musical

Earlier this week I fulfilled a dream of playing violin in a musical. A theatre company in Brisbane put on a one day performance of Seussical The Musical. I really just like saying it!! It was super fun!! But I will just say, how the hell do professional musicians do this? I have massive knots in my shoulders, neck pain, have discovered muscles I didn't know I had, and a sore back!! From approximately 6 hours of violin playing spread over about 13 hours. Madness!! I will never think as music as a 'lazy' activity ever ever again!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 TRAILER

Be still my beating heart... I can't believe it is nearly here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quote of the Week

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient of living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of the telescope, which is what I do. And that enables you to laugh at life's realities."

Dr Seuss

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pretty Things

Shaun Tan (who I LOVE) has brought out some new exciting things. Firstly a book titled The Bird King and Other Sketches which is a collection of his quirky and beautiful artwork and has studies inside for The Red Tree which made me squeal with excitement!!

And also (and possibly even better) some blank journals with his illustrations on the front!! They are amazingly beautiful and I want them all. Every last one. I can't help wondering if I would draw more if I had something so pretty to draw in. I would like to think I would.

Some other beautiful things I have found recently are these divine pieces of jewellery by Amanda Whitelaw who is a Brisbane designer who hand makes all these super cute accessories. Some of them are a bit more macabre than I would normally choose but they are sensational nonetheless!!

Zombie Clown Brooch

My Favourite Day Brooch

Toadstool Earrings

And my two favourites: A Little Rain Brooch

and Red Balloon Brooch

All of these delightful things are available at Hungry Designs and there is heaps more stuff there. It is fabulous!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tomorrow, When The John Marsden Obsession Began

On Monday I went to a screening of Tomorrow, When The War Began followed by a question and answer session and a book signing with THE John Marsden. I am entirely unaware of how big a deal this is to anyone outside of Australia, but if you were growing up in Australia in the 90s it is a REALLY BIG DEAL! For those who aren't aware Tomorrow When The War Began (first published in 1993) is about a group of teenagers in Wirrawee, a fictional rural town, who decide to go on a camping trip prior to going back to school. They venture further than they ever have before, into Hell, a wild valley surrounded by mountains, virtually inaccessible. While they are away Australia is invaded by an unidentified enemy and a war begins.

Just even writing that little synopsis gives me goosebumps!! This book turned into an epic series of 7 which was unrelentingly exciting and devastating. So just over a year ago they announced that they were making a movie that would star Caitlin Stasey (from Neighbours) and Lincoln Lewis (from Home and Away). You could hear all John Marsden fans collectively groan, sigh and bitch about what a disaster this movie would be. Of course we would all go though, just to be sure they royally stuffed it up!!

Well how wrong we were. I will admit that one friend of mine called it "Neighbours with explosives", but I LOVED IT. Every feeling I felt when reading this book 13 years ago came screaming back to me, every tingle, every jump, every tear, my heart beat faster, I was shallow breathing, I completely LIVED this movie. Everything looked as it did in my imagination and I didn't feel let down at all. Yay.

But then John Marsden came out. He was divine!! He was so down to earth, chatty, hilariously funny, smart, just wonderful wonderful wonderful. I met him, he signed all of my books (bless his cotton socks) and had a lovely chat with me and my friends. It was so wonderful for us to have the opportunity to tell him how much his books meant to us. He was so humble and generous and I just loved the whole day.

John Marsden, you are amazing!! You're books made me laugh, cry, scream and run faster during high school cross country pretending I was Ellie and her friends. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet you, and relive my childhood for a little while.

Here is the preview for the film, which if you have the opportunity, please go and see. Hopefully you'll find it as satisfying and wonderful as I did.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Astronomy Photographer of the Year

I have all of a sudden become interested in astronomy. As of yesterday when I saw these pictures. Most likely another fleeting obsession... but WOW. Imagine spending your nights chasing galaxies, nebulas, comets, moons and stars! It just seems so marvellously magical!

And the winner...
Images from here

Monday, September 13, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century."

Dame Edna

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Wowzers. This is an amazing book. My first read of this year's Booker Shortlist. I don't know how the others will compare but at the moment I really hope this wins. It is such a bold and brave book to write, such a difficult subject matter and a child narrator can be very difficult to pull off.

Room is told by Jack, a five-year-old boy who has lived in Room his entire life. Room is an eleven by eleven foot room with minimal furniture, a skylight, and a electrically locked door. He lives with his mother and is often visited at night by a man he knows as Old Nick. When he turns five his Ma reveals to him that there is a whole world outside of Room and she asks him to help them both escape.

I really don't know where to begin with the wonderfulness that was this book. And by wonderful I mean absolutely horrible, nausea-inducing, moving, moving, moving. I read this book in three days, and the only reason it took me that long was because I had to work all three of them, and on the second day I was going to a party and decided to drive and thus not drink because I was too scared to go in a taxi lest I get raped and abducted and kept in a room for years and years and years. Yes, I have a tendency to overreact, but still, bloody well done Emma!!

Perhaps the most moving aspect of this book is that is told by a five-year-old. The language and his observations are entirely innocent and I felt that this made the book so much more tragic and affecting than if it were told from Ma's perspective. In this way, we are exposed to the rape, violence and manipulation that Ma experiences but never explicitly and never with detail. It is ever so chilling. The plot is fast paced and compelling and frankly, I can't fault this book!!

Good luck for the Booker Ms Donoghue!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Every now and then I read a YA book and whenever I do I think back to my teenage self saying to my Dad "I'll always want to read YA books. I'll never grow out of them." and he, wisely as ever saying "Maybe one day you will." And then the strange discovery one day that all I read was adult fiction and had truly left the YA genre behind. But every now and again I feel compelled to revisit it, just in case there is some magic there that I am not acquainted with.

I read If I Stay by Gayle Forman in one sitting (a huge positive about the YA genre) and enjoyed it for the most part. It reminded me in a way of The House of Secrets series by Joyce Stranger that I relished as a pre-teen, Georgie's Secret (has anyone read that?) in that the central character is unconscious. Nice. If I Stay is narrated by by Mia, a classical music loving 17 year old cello player, who is involved in a horrific car accident and is stuck somewhere between life and death watching the aftermath. She soon comes to realise that she has to make a decision, to stay and live with the love of her life, or to die and be at peace.

I loved the premise for this book, I can never go past a tragedy, but there were a couple of frustrations for me. And to be fair, I'm being super picky here. No, really there was just one main issue. She misspelled Haydn. A classical composer. And Mia, who loves classical music and her cello more than anything talks about about 'Hayden'. There is no 'e' in Haydn. Now I don't know if Ms Forman was trying to make this book more accessible to the teen audience, or she genuinely didn't know the correct spelling, or if in fact they refer to Haydn as Hayden in America, but whatever, it annoyed me. I don't think it ruined the book for me and I definitely know that I'm overreacting so I will now shut up on that point. I also feel that the injuries Mia sustained (particularly to her brain) will actually require a miracle for her to recover from, but perhaps I'm a bit jaded by brain injuries in my workplace. And this is a work of fiction and miracles certainly do happen!

Overall I think that this is a great book for teens. I found it a bit too sentimental at times, but what teenage girl doesn't love a bit of drama? There is a sequel to this due out next year called Where She Went, which in itself may give away the ending of this book, but my lips are sealed. Who else has read this? What were your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Booker Shortlist is OUT

What do we think? I haven't read any of them. I felt it was too unrealistic for me to tackle the longlist. But I'm going to have a fair crack at the shortlist!! Beginning with Room. Who do you think will win this year?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Villainy wears many masks, none of which are more dangerous than virtue."

Ichabod Crane

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Today is the first day of Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week here in Aus. This is something that I feel very strongly about as I have watched friends go through eating disorders and look after young girls with eating disorders at work constantly. Eating Disorders are so complex and horribly tragic and an area in healthcare that is seriously misunderstood by the public.

Currently as a teenager, you have more chance of fully recovering from Acute Leukaemia than you do from Anorexia Nervosa and the prevalence is on the rise. This illness can cause chronic problems such as infertility, osteoporosis, hormone and heart problems, not to mention the incredible mental implications such as anxiety and depression.

Eating disorders are also notoriously difficult to treat and early intervention and lots of education provides the best outcomes.

To support people suffering from eating disorders in Australia you can donate through The Butterfly Foundation or buy any butterfly merchandise from Sportsgirl stores.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Morris Gleitzman

Yesterday, a glorious spring day here in Brissie, I went to the Brisbane Writer's Festival to listen to Morris Gleitzman talk about his holocaust trilogy, Once, Then and Now. Technically it was aimed at early teenagers but my sister and I went along anyway because we love him. What is any Aussie childhood without a Morris Gleitzman book? My personal favourite was Two Weeks With The Queen. He has that rare talent of being hilariously witty and utterly heartbreaking at the same time.

Of the Once, Then, Now trilogy I have only read Once. I will read the others, I just feel I have to mentally prepare myself, because in typical Elise style, I cry like a trooper. So Once tells the story of Felix, a 10 year old Polish Jew living in an orphanage during WWII. It is written from his perspective and is subsequently a very innocent and often optimistic view of the world at that time. During his talk Morris Gleitzman discussed his inspiration for the novels, his thought processes, some background about Polish Jews during WWII and why he chose to tackle such a dark and depressing subject matter in a novel for children.

Here is what he says on his website (very similar to his talk):

The story of Once came from my imagination.
From 1939 until 1945 the world was at war, and the leader of Germany, Adolf Hitler, tried to destroy the Jewish people in Europe. His followers, the Nazis, and those who supported them, murdered six million Jews including one and a half million children. They also killed a lot of other people, many of whom offered shelter to the Jews. We call this time of killing the Holocaust.
My grandfather was a Jew from Krakow in Poland. He left there long before that time, but his extended family didn’t and most of them perished.
Ten years ago I read a book about Janusz Korczak, a Polish Jewish doctor and children’s author who devoted his life to caring for young people. Over many years he helped run an orphanage for two hundred Jewish children. In 1942, when the Nazis murdered these orphans, Janusz Korczak was offered his freedom but chose to die with the children rather than abandon them.
Janusz Korczak became my hero. His story sowed a seed in my imagination.
I think that through these books Morris Gleitzman is allowing the younger generation to learn of the horrors of their recent history, but at the same time makes it readily accessible and enjoyable which is vital for a young audience.

It was a joy to listen to him!! Was Morris Gleitzman a part of you childhood? Did you have a particular favourite?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Salt Reduced

So yesterday evening I went to see Salt with the [insert adjective of your choice] Angelina Jolie. I was really excited to see it until my housemate came home and said that she didn't love it and felt a bit cheated at the ending. Nevertheless we decided to go ahead (the possibility of seeing a Harry Potter preview always in our minds).

Salt is an action movie in the likeness of The Bourne trilogy (so I'm told, I haven't seen any of them). I have never been one to leap at action, but as previews are becoming increasingly enticing I couldn't resist. So Salt is about a woman named Evelyn Salt who works for the CIA and may or may not be a Russian spy. Then a lot of action and guns and explosions occur, intermingled with a generous helping of confusion and plot twists and finished off with a dollop of unsatisfying ending.

I just can't help feeling that the whole point of this movie was for Angelina to change hair colour half way through and to leave it open for a sequel. Not the best movie ever (which by the way is The Sound of Music) but still enjoyable.