Showing posts from October, 2012

Awesome Film Adaptions of Classic Novels

Sigh. Just checked IMDB and it appears that the new film adaption of Great Expectations won't be released in Australia until early March. (What, you mean I have to wait how long ...) I have no idea yet how faithful it will be to the book, but the short previews I've seen so far look promising. And all that made me stop and think about some of the greatest film adaptions of my favourite books. So here they are: Rebecca (1940) Alfred Hitchcock's first Hollywood film retains all of the suspense and mystery of Daphne Du Maurier's novel. (But can we expect anything less of a Hitchcock film?) There is also a fantastic little twist at the very end, that I'm sure Ms Du Maurier would have approved of. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) Peter Weir's film perfectly captures the mystery and eeriness of the book. Beautifully shot in Victoria and South Australia. A Room With a View (1985) Beautifully shot, visually pleasing and faithful to the book.

Review: BSC Graphix #3 Mary Anne Saves the Day

Okay, I have a confession to make. I have a bit of a soft spot for Mary Anne Spier. Sure, she was a bit sappy, and poorly drawn in places (what was it with her taking a basket to school instead of a backpack,) but of all the characters in the series, she was probably the loneliest. Shy, quiet Mary Anne lived alone with her father, a lawyer who seemed to have little understanding about raising girls and does not communicate much with his daughter, though she is expected to cook dinner every night. (On a sidenote, what is it about male lawyers and their limited ability to be able to communicate with females? Okay, maybe I'm stereotyping here, but from what I've witnessed in real life ...) Anyway, Mary Anne is subject to a whole lot of ridiculous rules, which, oddly, seem to include her being forced to wear her hair in two long braids. I guess Richard Spier is concerned about the sexualization of children and you know, doesn't want his daughter wandering around in a boob t

On Writing: Creating Introverted Characters

Since I released my novella, Best Forgotten , back in June I have received small, but very positive feedback regarding my portrayal of the lead character, Kellie-Sue Smith. To recap, Best Forgotten tells the story of a highly introverted young woman who wakes in hospital with partial amnesia. Basically, she cannot recall the events of the last eighteen months. To add to the trauma, one of the last things she can recall is seeing the bloodied body of her hated ex-boyfriend on the kitchen floor. Was she, or was she not, responsible for beating him? Is he, or isn't he dead? As the story progresses through the events that occurred over the past eighteen months up until the present day, the reader is taken on a journey through Kellie-Sue's internal hopes, fears and childhood memories, until the whole thing finally starts to make sense.  Writing about introverted characters is something that I quite enjoy. I like the idea of being able to present the character as something qui

BSC Graphix #2 The Truth About Stacey

In 1986 when Ann M. Martin and Scholastic released the third novel of their new Babysitters Club series, they set the benchmark for what the series would become--this was bigger than a series about a group of girls having wacky or unpredictable adventures. Kristy's Great Idea introduced the characters, while the now horribly-dated (to the point where it was never re-released as a graphic novel,) second volume Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls helped to build on those themes. The Truth About Stacey , however, proved that there was a lot more depth to this series, through both its main plot (about a young woman living with a serious illness that separated her from her peers,) and the two subplots--one where Stacey's sitting charge is bullied by her peers for being different, and where a group of girls set up a rival babysitting club and neglect their sitting charges. And consider the fact that this was all written in such a way that nine year olds could understand it. Qui

Review: Destined to Feel by Indigo Bloome

Sexy, suspenseful and, in places, completely ludicrous, the second novel in Indigo Bloome's Avalon trilogy makes interesting bedtime reading. Picking up from the cliffhanger ending of Destined to Play, Destined to Feel opens with Dr Alexandra Blake being abducted in London. Her captors? The owner of a pharmaceutical company who want to develop a drug that they believe will be the female equivalent to Viagra. Alex is the perfect woman to test their new drug, due to the comprehensive and well documented experiments that her lover, Dr Jeremy Quinn conducted during their weekend together, and the fact that she has a rare blood type. Taken to an underground testing facility, Alex is asked to take part in a series of increasingly odd sexual experiments. But the big question is, does Alex really want to escape? (You know, I'm really starting to wonder why Indigo Bloome is planning for the third book in the series. So far every area of this woman's fucked up sexuality seems to

Review: BSC Graphix #1 Kristy's Great Idea

Twenty years after the first BSC book, Kristy's Great Idea was released, Scholastic decided to go back and do it all again, this time in graphic novel format. And you know what? I love it. It's basically the same story of how the Babysitters Club formed. The backstory for each character is the same (Kristy is struggling to accept her mother's new boyfriend, Claudia is jealous of her smart older sister, Mary-Anne's father is overprotective and Stacey wants to keep her illness a secret.) And, of course, Stoneybrook still has that wholesome 1950s sensibility. As for the graphic format, it's interesting to see how artist Raina Telgemeier depicted each of the characters. Kristy and Stacey each look roughly how I imagined them, Mary-Anne comes across a little dorkier and, sorry, but Claudia looks like a forty-year-old hooker in places. In parts, the novel reminded me a little of Lynne Johnson's brilliant  For Better or For Worse comic strip. Over all, a fun nosta

Video - Daniel Powter Bad Day

Today I thought I would do something a little different with the blog and share one of my favourite video clips. Released in 2005 Bad Day is Canadian singer/songwriter Daniel Powter's only hit to date, and is based around the simple notion that every one has bad days from time to time and singing about them can make a bad day just that little bit better. The clip itself is very clever, playing out over three days in the lives of a guy and a girl who are both unhappy. The pair bond over a picture in a city railway station--basically the girl scribbles on top of the advertisement expressing her unhappiness, while the guy sees the picture and starts adding to it in an effort to cheer her up. And then, of course, at the end, the inevitable happens ... Anyway, it's a cute clip and a decent reminder that we all have bad days, that we can all feel alone and sometimes little things can help us feel better.

2000s Nostalgia, Babysitters Club Graphix

The four BSC Graphix novels, released 2006 Background: Awesome rug Grandma Watson made me. Awesome surprise waiting in my mailbox today - I managed to source the four Babysitters Club graphic novels that were released back in 2006. Being a big fan of comics, and more than a tiny bit interested in BSC nostalgia, I'm looking forward to reading these. If they're any good, expect reviews to follow.

Women's Stuff by Kaz Cooke

I would like to start this book review by expressing my gratitude for two things. The first is that the advice in this book is based on one, research and two, common bloody sense, the two things that are so often lacking in books such as this. The second thing I am grateful for is that the book is written by Kaz Cooke, who I have been a massive fan of since I was about sixteen and someone came to my high school and gave a talk on body image and recommended her book Real Gorgeous, which I subsequently read from cover to cover.  The real value of Women's Stuff , a 700+ page encyclopedia, is the honesty and lack of preaching as the author talks about every aspect of womanhood. Within the pages you'll find advice on body image and confidence, personal grooming, periods, pregnancy, dating and a host of other things that most females will encounter at one time or another. I love the common sense and the humourous advice on how to keep things in perspective, for example in the

Vale Max Fatchen

A truly wonderful Adelaide writer, Max Fatchen passed away early this morning aged 92 at his home in Gawler. Mr Fatchen was not someone who I knew personally, but someone who I felt that I knew through reading his column in The Advertiser  every Saturday for many years. Through his weekly column, we knew that he drove an old Holden Torana that he had owned since new (sadly, the Torana was stolen, torched and stripped a few years ago,) enjoyed his weekly trips to the supermarket (back when I worked for Coles I always used to secretly wish that he would visit my supermarket,) and his obsession with foods that he was no longer allowed to eat.  Throughout his long career, Max Fatchen gathered many enviable achievements as a writer. He worked  as a journalist for The News from 1948 to 1955 and then for The Advertiser until he retired in 1984. He began writing children's books in the 1960s, one of which was The River Kings. And my own favourite Max Fatchen moment? It was the colum

1990s Nostalgia: Snoopy Stars As ...

Another awesome find down at my local vintage store was a set of four digest-sized Peanuts comics. Released in the late 1980s/early 1990s, these awesome comic books formed part of the Snoopy Stars As series. Each book was basically the same, featuring those comics where Snoopy imagined himself to be the Flying Ace, Joe Cool, etc. More interesting were some of the other guises this lovable beagle has pulled over the years, including the Tree Vulture, the World Famous Surgeon and where he takes on the role of guard dog at Peppermint Patty's house. (Later incorporated into an episode of the Charlie Brown and Snoopy show.) Lots of fun for a boring Sunday afternoon.

Kaz Cooke's Review of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

Was flicking through Kaz Cooke's awesome book, Women's Stuff  (one of the most practical and dare I say, liberating books for women,) when I came across this short but totally awesome review she has written on Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray, which, owing to its brilliance, I must share: Mr Gray says: Men and women are different. Bonus fact: Mr Gray's PhD is from an early 1980s correspondence course from a disreputable 'university' now closed by court order. Now that is a short but wonderfully informative book review.  

Feature and Follow Friday

I am participating in Feature and Follow Friday once again, a weekly meme designed to help like-minded bloggers connect. Hosted by  Parajunkee's View  and  Alison Can Read , this meme always has an interesting question or two that needs to be answered. This week's all-important question is: Q: What book do you think would make a great Halloween movie? Please explain in graphic detail of goriness... Ooh, Halloween is coming already. Okay, I have a little difficulty trying to think which great horror novels haven't been made into films at one point or another, so maybe I should start thinking about trashy ones with a whole lot of gore ... Damn, I was going to nominate PIN by Andrew Neiderman for the scene where the hero hacks his sister's lover to death, but it turns out that has already been made into a (long forgotten) scary movie. Hmm, so what else can I nominate? Okay ... I know its really a kids book and there isn't much gore, (the fear bein

Review: The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

You know your weekends are a little, umm, different to everyone else's when a friend asks what your plans are for the rest of the weekend and you reply excitedly, "I'm going to buy the new J.K. Rowling book and read it." Which is precisely what happened to me a week ago. I am a nerd and I know it.  Anyway, seeing as I have already weighed in on the whole, The Casual Vacancy is not Harry Potter debate ( read more here ,) I'll cut straight to reviewing the book. The Casual Vacancy  is the story of a small English town and the eccentrics and hypocrites that live within its boundaries. It opens with the premature death of Barry Fairbrother, a well respected or much hated member of the local council, depending on which townsperson that you talk to. Barry was basically a good man, who believed in helping those who he considered less fortunate than himself. Not everyone agrees with Barry's vision of helping others. Now the council has a casual vacancy waitin

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Everyone seems to be talking about this book and not for the right reasons. Normally, I would wait until I had finished a book (I'm about halfway through at the moment,) until I weighed in on the debate, but there is one thing that right now, absolutely needs to be said. The Casual Vacancy is not Harry Potter. I repeat. The Casual Vacancy is not Harry Potter. Stop expecting it to be. And nor should anyone expect any author to stick to the same style or themes with every novel. Yes, many, many readers from around the globe loved the Harry Potter series and I can easily understand why. The Casual Vacancy is a very different book and not one that is going to inspire the same feelings of hope, fantasy or delight. This is not a children's tale of good versus evil. This is a book about a group self-centered eccentrics who live in the same small English town. Is it depressing? Absolutely. Is it boring. Yeah, okay, a little. Is it poorly written? No. It seems perfect

Literary Quotes

No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot. ~ Charles Dickens, 'Our Mutual Friend'.

Review: Special Christmas, Sweet Valley High Super Edition 2

It was a beautiful day in Sweet Valley. You know, because every Sweet Valley High novel opens with it being a beautiful day. Or something. Anyway, I found this little gem, a slightly battered old Sweet Valley High super edition on sale for ninety-nine cents and decided to read it for nostalgic purposes. Special Christmas was one of the earlier books in the series and was the first Christmas that Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield spent as juniors at Sweet Valley High (several more were to follow.) At this point in the series both twins are single, Todd having moved away to Vermont and Jessica is busy crushing on Hans, a foreign exchange student whose stay in Sweet Valley is so brief it is unlikely he is ever mentioned in any other book in the series. You know, unless one or both of the twins happened to holiday in Germany later on in the series. Things are going well for the twins. Todd is planning to visit Sweet Valley over Christmas and Jessica is excited about some kind of wei