Results tagged “Books” from Kazza the Blank One

In 2016 I borrowed the book, The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank, by Willy Lindwer, off Kit.  It's the transcripts of interviews Willy Lindwer did in the late 1980s with six women who knew Anne Frank, who all survived German concentration camps.  So it's all their stories in their own words.  I read the first three stories in 2016, but things got a little too real at the end of 2016 and it got too hard to read.  

But with Kit about to move down the coast I finished it off last week.  

A somewhat tough read because of the content, but stories that need to be told.

I'd like to see the documentary some time too.

Black Beauty

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So a couple of months ago I watched the 1994 adaptation of Black Beauty and really enjoyed it.  So I dug out my mum's copy of the book by Anna Sewell and have been reading it before bed, finishing it the other night.  Short chapters which made for easy bed time reading.  It was actually really similar to the movie.  The movie had dropped the odd chapter here and there and there were a few minor differences, but otherwise quite close.  Maybe I'll get the sweetie to watch the movie with me some time.

James and George will be in town this Christmas so thought I'd finally finish reading a book I borrowed off James.

About fifteen years ago.


The Giant Book of Science Fiction Stories was pretty cool.  Some interesting and good stories, some a little "huh?"  One had a similar premise to the movie Passengers, where a girl is woken up during an interstellar flight.  One about a population of earth so huge that not enough people could work, and people tried any way they could to get work.  Full of editing mistakes/typos though - the most I've ever seen in a book.  Enjoyable before-bed reading.


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When I travel I like to have a book that I know I'll enjoy reading.  If you have to wait around airports, or your aircraft entertainment system is being a poo, or you're in hotels waiting for the sweetie to wake up, it's good to have something easy and entertaining to read.

For this trip I chose to take Prey, by Michael Crichton.  I picked my copy up at a Bookcrossing meetup, but it hadn't been registered.  I read it in 2005 and enjoyed it so much I decided to keep it.  I didn't read it as fast as I did last time (I had to make sure I didn't read the whole thing before the trip was over!), but enjoyed it just as much (and the good thing about dementia is I'd forgotten most of it so could enjoy it all over again).

No Place to Hide

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I recently finished reading "No Place to Hide" by Glenn Greenwald.  I enjoyed the first part of it, because it was the more detailed story of the meeting in Hong Kong with Ed Snowden that we'd seen in Citizenfour and the Snowden movie.  But then it got bogged down in a lot of the technical stuff and I really struggled to get through it.  It picked up a bit at the end though.  On Friday night we watched Citizenfour again, which I got more out of this time, on account of having a lot better background about the whole thing (the first time we saw it (nearly three years ago!) I had no background at all).  And I still got distracted by the film making process. 

Last year Stu read The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape on his Kindle.  He said it was good and decided to get a paper copy.  I read most of it early this year before we went away and finished it when I got back.  It kinda reminds me of The Naked Chef for money.  Heck Scott Pape even looks a bit like Jamie Oliver :)  I quite enjoyed the book.  It's certainly an easy read, very conversational.  But the funniest part is that one of the things he said people should do is get rid of their credit cards and separate their pools of money into needs and wants.  Now I've been telling Stu that for *years* but it took him reading it in a book to finally do it hehe.

A book I finished reading more recently was ET: The Book of the Green Planet, by William Kotzwinkle, which I borrowed from the club forever ago.  I really really struggled to read this book.  It has quite an odd writing style that I struggled with.  It's a sequel to the ET movie, where ET is unsettled after his time on earth, doesn't fit in back home, and yearns to get back to earth.  But for someone so old and intelligent he's made out to be a bit of a klutz.  Finally finished it after many months, but didn't really enjoy it.

And another book I finished recently was One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nets, by Ken Kesey.  Pretty sure I borrowed this off Kit, and if I didn't I don't know who I borrowed it off - oops.  I'd seen the movie of this a long time ago so knew basically how it ended.  Again I struggled a bit with this in the beginning as it was pretty slow to get going, and really nothing much happens until the second half.  But got through it in the end.

Back in the day, when I used to read more news feeds, one of them (can't remember which) often used to print snippets taken from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader books.  So when this one came out I got it as a birthday present for someone, promptly borrowed it, and had it sitting in my room for years.  Finally got through it last night (helps going to bed a bit early so you have time to read for a bit).  Lots of interesting factoids.  I should probably have written some of them down for our next trivia night ;)  But I did take photos of a couple of the pages for use in our next trivia night :)

Bones Never Lie

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While I was on the Queen Mary 2 in March (name dropping much?) I borrowed Bones Never Lie, by Kathy Reichs, from the ship's 10000 volume library (!) and read it over the course of the trip.  I've always liked the Bones books, and it was kinda nice to pick up on the overarching personal life threads, even after not having read some of the books in between.  Silly thing is, I don't think she actually did any studying of bones at all in this story.  And I figured out whodunnit at about half way through the book.  

Tales of Two Cities

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The other week I finished reading "Tales of Two Cities", a collection of short stories about/set in Hong Kong and Singapore.  We bought it in Singapore when we were there last year and I'd been reading it off and on ever since.  It was kinda cool reading about places that I could picture in my head because I'd actually been there.  Generally I enjoyed the stories.  Some were better and more memorable than others of course.  

Penguin Bloom

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I was quite a latecomer to Penguin the Magpie's Instagram, by which time Penguin had all grown up and there weren't many photos anymore.  And I didn't know any of the back story of Sam.  But I did see the "ads" for the book and thought it might be nice to have a look at.  Then at dinner with EffanC the other week we were talking about it, and I went and bought it the next day.  Beautiful photos, and a touching story that made me cry.

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Towards the end of the first tour in Germany, I was eyeing off the tour guide's book that he was reading - Raise the Titanic!  This guy reads through books every couple of days on tour, and was happy to give me not only that book, but also the next book he finished - Gray Mountain.  So those books kept me going til the end of the Scandanvia trip (I read a lot less on those because SCENERY!).

I was actually reading Raise the Titanic! on the ferry between Stockholm and Helsinki.  Another surreal book reading experience right there. I mostly enjoyed the book, except for the several-page long tidy up of answering all the questions of everything that happened at the climax - much like in the Harry Potter books.  Quite a few "yeah right" moments along the way too - like they seriously thought they could not only seal up *all* the holes - that includes all of the top decks which were never meant to be sealed - but not have it all implode from the water pressure at that depth??  hrmmmmm.  Still, it was an enjoyable enough read.

The other was John Grisham's Gray Mountain.  Somewhat depressing knowing all that stuff is going on in real life.  And like real life, the story really doesn't end.  It would have been nice to have some sort of epilogue to find how how some of the bigger stories ended for the characters, if not for the real life situation.. but I suppose that's life ..

Another book I finished recently was "The Hindenburg Disaster" by Jeff Rovin.

I remember reading this book in high school and doing a review of it.  I'll have to dig it up if I ever scanned it before tossing it.  Edit: had a look but doesn't look like I scanned that book report.  Oh well.

This time around I was reading it around Friedrichshafen, which was completely surreal, given that the airship was built there.  Not only that, but I was reading it in Friedrichshafen over the 79th anniversary of its explosion in 1937! 

It also made mention of the Dachau concentration camp, which we went to while I was reading the book.

And the bad guy's name is Hans Gruber.  How funny is that!

Only some of it is factual.  The rest of it is all made up for the novel.  It has its own theory as to what happened to make it explode.

He didn't include the "oh the humanity" line when quoting the radio broadcast though heh.

The Tower

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The other day I finished reading The Tower, by Richard Martin Stern.  I'd read this book a long time ago so my memories of it were pretty vague.  Pretty much the only details I remembered were the cause of the original fire (which really was just an aside and didn't make much difference to the rest of the story), as well as the line "And nylon melts."  

It was strange reading it post 9/11, given that the north tower features in the book.  

Of Mice and Men

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On Friday night I went along with Kit and Ben to see Of Mice and Men.

But let me backup a minute.

A few months ago I was looking at Kit's bookshelf and happened across the book by John Steinbeck.  I'd never read it before.  Never even knew the story.  So I borrowed it and read it a little while ago.  Like I said I knew nothing about the story.  I *did* know that Warner Bros cartoons referenced it ("Of Rice and Hen" anyone?). 

So I'm a few pages into the book and it's like I'm watching a Warner Bros cartoon.  Lennie sounded *exactly* like a cartoon.  I swear, whenever Lennie said anything it was with the voice of Mel Blanc.  

Seriously.  Listen to these.


So having only just read the book, I was quite surprised to find the play was almost identical to the book.  Except the dude who played Lennie should have been bigger ;)

Also, amazingly, my legs didn't play up during the show.  But I attribute that to the glass of champagne I had just before going in, and another one at intermission.


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Two books I read together earlier this year.  Until the first one ran out because it was a lot shorter than the other.

First was Conqueror of Darkness by Phyllis Garlick - the story of Helen Keller.  This book was given to me for my birthday in 1980 by mum and dad.  I read it when I was quite young, but hadn't read it since.  It'd been at mum's and so I brought it home during the house cleanout last year.  It's told for children to read, and quite an amazing story.  The patience her tutor/friend Anne must have had was incredible.  

Second was Letters to Karen by Charlie W. Shedd.  This is another book that was given to me by mum and dad when I was in my teens.  I'd read it then, but again, not since.  Some of the ideas in this book are a little dated - I mean how many wives get to stay at home all day these days? (I wish!!!)  But a lot of the principles are still relevant.

Then there was Pollyanna by Elanor H. Porter.  I borrowed this off mum last time I was in Sydney.  This book was given to *her* mother in 1932!!  (by Manly Congregational Sunday School).  I've seen the movie a few times so thought it would be nice to read the book.  It's a bit episodic to start with.  Each chapter is a small story with not much overarching plot.  But it improves a little towards the end.  The silly thing is, the two things I remember most about the movie - the "glad" Bible passages and the accident were completely different in the book.  Weird.  I'd have to watch the movie again now to see what else was different.  I try to play the "glad game" sometimes (when I think of it), but it's fricken hard a lot of the time for me.  Too much grumpiness hardwired in my brain ...


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I've been pretty slack at updating my books read list lately.  These are the latest ones I've read..

Star Wars Episode I by Terry Brooks
It took me ages to get through this, not helped by not catching the bus as much, it being a big hard back, and the story just not that engaging.  Some insights into the plot and character development which was kinda nice.

Dewey by Vicki Myron
Mum picked up this book in Kuranda in Queensland because she'd just finished her book and needed another one to read.  She read that over the course of our tour, then I borrowed it.  I read this very quickly.  Quite a sweet story about a library cat in america.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
I heard somewhere that they were looking at making another movie of this book (I think??) so read the book again.  I'd forgotten most of it since the last time I read it probably twenty years ago.

Thunder Dog by Michael Hingson
Stu got this for Christmas a few years ago from his Dad and Ruth and laughed when he saw the title.  But it's actually quite a nice story of this blind guy and his guide dog who were in the north tower of the World Trade Centre on September 11.  So interspersed between the story of his experience of September 11, there's a whole background bio to him.  I quite liked this book.

Star Wars Episode II by R.A. Salvatore
I liked this better than the first book and read it relatively quickly.  


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So when I swapped books with mum during our trip, she had brought along Palomino by Danielle Steel.  It looking like a bit of a horse book (I was obsessed with horses as a kid and had a whole stack of horse books), I thought I'd give it a go.  I quite enjoyed it .. 

but .. (spoilers)

A couple of things annoyed me about it.  Firstly Sam going from hating Tate to sleeping with him awfully quickly.  He basically jumped her before they'd really connected.  Then there was the kid, who seemed like he was manipulating her, and there was barely any coverage of the development of their relationship.  And finally the Tate stuff was all extremelly rushed at the end.  The whole thing just felt a bit unrealistic.

Still, it was a good read.  I wonder if the movie is in mum's collection ..

When I travel I prefer to take a book that I know I will enjoy (this is probably after the time in 2000 that I was slogging my way through Starship Troopers which was not so fun to read).  So I took along "*batteries not included" by Wayland Drew.  Which was great except I finished it in a few days (at least half of it on the boat to/from Patmos).  Mum had the same problem with her book, so we swapped (I'm still reading hers).  She enjoyed it too :)


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I've finished quite a few books recently that still haven't managed to get blogged.

The Earthsea Quartet, by Ursula LaGuin
Finished this earlier in the year.  Quite an enjoyable series.

The Delinquents, by Criena Rohan
Never saw the movie of this.  Book was ok.

Fatal Voyage, by Kathy Reichs
Devoured this book, finishing it quite quickly.  Started a bit like an Air Crash Investigations :)  Great read as always.

Animal Farm, by George Orwell
Yeah I'd never read this before either.  Short book, finished in two days.

Deadly Décisions

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This week I finished reading "Deadly Décisions" by Kathy Reichs.  As usual a good read, and as usual far too many coincidences!

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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