August 2021

Blog Archive - September 2021

1 September 2021

Our website overhaul

I’ve done very little reading over the past week. I’m a little over halfway through George A. Romero & Daniel Kraus’s The Living Dead, but I’ve been putting it aside, not because I don’t like it, but because I’ve been trying to revamp aspects of this site.

It started with adding things like progress bars for the books we’re currently reading to the front page. I then had the thought that I might try to learn to make print-friendly versions of review pages. I worked that out, but I then thought it would be better to use the same idea to make mobile phone-friendly versions of website pages. I managed to do that, too, with the two Dickens reviews I’ve written so far, but then discovered that modifying or removing the menu system on regular review pages is tricky for some reason.

I then had the idea of overhauling the review pages themselves. I started with Toriaz’s new review for The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. I liked the result. Then I realised it would be good to use this as an opportunity to adapt all the reviews on the site to the new format. The advantage, I hope, will be a standardised way they’re written in HTML and CSS (which, frankly, has become an evolving mess over four years of innovation). I started that last night and this morning, but with 425 reviews currently on the site, it’s going to take months to slowly change everything over. *sigh*

- bikerbuddy

2 September 2021

Memory Lane

Apart from trying to give this site a bit of an overhaul, I’ve taken a look at some other sites on Neocities lately that have lists of books their creators have read, some extending years into the past. It made me wonder what a list of all the books I’ve ever read would look like, and to what extend that would even be possible to achieve. An obvious starting place would be to list books from my bookshelves that I’ve read. But after that, there are a few problems. I can remember some books I’ve given away, books that I leant to others but were never returned, books that I’ve lost or were stolen (true!), books that I read at university from the university library, and books I read when I was at school, but there would still be others I would no longer even remember having read.

While I was musing on this I recalled a book I read in primary school from the school library: Margaret Potter’s The Blow-and-Grow Year. I never owned a copy, myself, but I remember the book had a big impact on me. I vaguely remember that it was about the year in the life of children in a family who grow a vegetable garden. I decided to look the book up, thinking I may not even have the title right in my mind, and I found it! So I ordered it from last night (only to discover this morning that there was an eBay seller in Australia! Oh well). I’m looking forward to reading the book again, and seeing what about it affected me so long ago.

As for the list … if it ever happens it would have to wait. I’m plenty busy right now.

- bikerbuddy

4 September 2021

Ear Rat Magazine Out Now!

Last year Mike V. of Strange Crust published the inaugural edition of Ear Rat Magazine, and a publishing legend was born! This year, One Man! (and his minions) bring you the next chapter in this recurring debacle. You’ll shiver at graverobbers, you’ll cry with existential horror, you’ll wonder at the really big issues of life, and you’ll question the inevitability of progress. Yes, this issue has it all, and some more besides! Click on the cover to download your own personally prepared edition of Ear Rat Magazine, September 2021, for FREE!

Download Ear Rat Magazine, September 2021, for FREE!

Download Ear Rat Magazine, September 2021, for FREE!

Download Ear Rat Magazine, September 2021, for FREE!

Download Ear Rat Magazine, September 2021, for FREE!

- bikerbuddy

6 September 2021

My Street Library Turns One Year Old!

It was a year ago, today, that my street library was finally finished and opened for business. Since then, it has seen a moderate stream of traffic. I’ve tried to keep a range of books, both for children and adults. It almost didn’t make it, though. Just over a week ago a large branch blew down during a windstorm and landed right next to my little library. Apart from that, everything has been fine, except my continued failure to grow thyme in the little garden bed at the library’s base. So, I placed birthday balloons at the bottom of the library’s pole for this birthday photo. Hopefully I’ll have a little garden there, instead, a year from now.

- Toriaz

7 September 2021

Moomin Read Hour

Since March last year I have periodically returned to a book series from my childhood, the Moomins, by Tove Jansson. It’s been great reading them again and to discover that the books are just as wonderful as I remembered them to be. You can look at my review for the first bookin the series, The Moomins and the Great Flood, by clicking here. There are links to the other Moomin reviews I have completed on that page.

Now, Moomins Characters Ltd is promoting its ‘Read Hour’, an initiative which encourages people to sit and read for an hour tomorrow, Australia time, 8 September (or if that is too hard, the Moomin Website has a converter for you to determine Moomin hour for you).

The Moomin Hour is celebrated on UN International Literacy Day, and this is the first year the Finnish initiative is being promoted internationally. For anyone with access to Moomin books, it might be an incentive to take a look at them, but the initiative really encourages any kind of reading. Naturally, that’s something I support.

To take a look at the Moomin page that promotes Read Hour, click here or on the image.

- bikerbuddy

9 September 2021

Women’s Prize for Fiction

The winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced, and I’m ashamed to say that it’s a book I’ve had sitting on my shelf for almost a year without me cracking the cover: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. I have so many books that I intend to read, that this was bound to happen. In fact, the book wasn’t even sitting on Karl (Karl is my book cart full of books I might read next). But I moved Piranesi off my shelf and onto Karl this morning. I’m currently reading some classic detective fiction I don’t intend to review, but with the win, I might read Piranesi next. It sounds interesting, and I have a beautiful hardcover edition.

- Toriaz

15 September 2021

Booker Prize Shortlist Announced

I woke up this morning to news of the Booker Shortlist announcement, and to discover that my hoped-for winner, Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, had not been included. Mostly by good luck, I managed to review the eventual winner of the International Prize this year, At Night All Blood is Back by David Diop, before it won. I was hoping I could make it two for two this year, since I reviewed Klara and the Sun back in April.

Now, that the shortlist is out, I might choose to read two books from it before the winner is announced on 3 November, since I won’t have time to read the full shortlist, and see if I get lucky with either of those. The shortlist is:

  • Bewilderment - Richard Powers
  • The Fortune Men - Nadifa Mohamed
  • Great Circle - Maggie Shipstead
  • No One is Talking About This - Patricia Lockwood
  • A Passage North - Anuk Arudpragasam
  • The Promise - Damon Galgut

- bikerbuddy

18 September 2021

My New Coffee Mug

I guess it was love at first sight!

I had decided to take it easy on myself last night and get some takeaway in Springwood. But on my way to the takeaway I had to pass our local bookstore, Turning Page, and noticed a nice coffee mug with a book theme displayed in the window. I decided I had to have it, despite the cost. I tapped on the front door (they’re only doing door service at the moment due to Covid restrictions) and was assured by the new owner that I had wonderful taste! (What else was she going to say?) Anyway, I thought I’d put a picture of it up in our blog. The books appearing on the mug are as follows:

  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
  • The Cather in the Rye – J.D.Salinger
  • Moby Dick – Herman Melville
  • The Three Musketeers – Alexander Dumas
  • The Complete Works of Franz Kafka – Franz Kafka
  • Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  • The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
  • The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  • The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnet
  • Hamlet – William Shakespeare
  • On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  • Ulysses – James Joyce
  • Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
  • Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  • The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  • War and Peace – Leo Tolstory
  • Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Haper Lee
  • Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Lord of the Flies – William Golding

- Toriaz

October 2021