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An Emotionally Draining Book

The Katalina 30 Day Blog Challenge

I don’t think I set books aside when they are emotionally draining. I only stop reading books when they are boring or because I don’t feel like reading. Or because I don’t have time to read…

I do, however, find Virginia Andrews’s books to be incredible draining. Ruby  was the first VA book that I ever read and the entire series was just completely devastating. Her books are filled with scene upon scene of absolute tragedy! They’re horrible! Most are filled with accidental incest and parental abuse, which I do find rather worrying. I often wonder while reading her books if she suffered unspeakable childhood traumas because the patterns in her books start becoming obvious after a while.



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The book that made me fall in love with reading

The Katalina 30 Day Book Challenge

When I was a kid I fell in love with the Mollie Fox series by Peter Nelson. I’m pretty sure it’s just a random series and I doubt anyone knows or remembers them, but Mollie was just so much cooler than Nancy Drew! And it was all so real and dangerous and completely dramatic. I loved them! The first book of the series, First to Die was one of the first books that absolutely got me excited. I just could not understand why my mother didn’t think it was the best book ever written. I should really get my hands on that series again…

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The first novel I remember reading

The Katalina 30 Day Book Challenge day #10

I’m pretty sure the first “real” novel I ever read was The Thorn Birds by Colleen Mcullough. Of course by “real” I mean “grown up”. I read lots of Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew etc etc but this was the first adult novel I read. I think I was about 12 or 13 at the time. I remember being fascinated by the description of how the beads from her doll’s necklace had disappeared between the blades of grass. The books I read never went into that kind of detail!

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A book I have read more than once

The Katalina 30 Day Book Challenge

I have read all the Nick Hornby books I own more than once. Actually I have probably read them more than twice…

And now I kind of feel like picking up High Fidelity or About a Boy again…

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An unpopular book that should have been a bestseller

The Katalina 30 Day Book Challenge

Well you see now this kind of thing is a little silly. Because how should I know if a book was a bestseller or not? I have no idea! I suppose I could Google it…but I don’t want to.

So… I am going to go with “none of my friends know who William Kowalski is but I think he is really cool” and just leave it at that. I’ve chose South of Somewhere specifically because it has circus scenes in it. And I just happen to really like circus scenes…


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A book that’s hard to read

The Katalina 30 Day Book Challenge

I am going to have to go with Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness. I did this for one of my English Lit courses when I was studying. I think I might have gotten as far as page two. I then moved on to Spark Notes. Thank you God for people who like to put cheat things on the internet.

That said – have you ever tried to read The Illiad? It’s possibly a toss up. But at least The Illiad is a little more fun to read…


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A book that makes me cry

So I suppose I should be embarrassed to admit that I cried through the entire last book of the Harry Potter series. Actually – I cried when Syrius died. And Cedric. And when Dumbledore died. But mostly I cried when Fred died. Throughout the entire Harry series I loved those two. they were my favourites. My favourite of the series is book five. I laughed until the tears were falling down my face when those two turned the school into a swamp. So much of the gloriousness that is those two characters is lost in the movies. I am planning to re-read the entire series again over the December holidays. I’m really looking forward to it. Now if I can just find somewhere cheap and remote to hide away while I do so….

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A non-fiction book I enjoyed

The Katalina 30 Day Book Challenge Day #5

I absolutely loved The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I am also pretty sure that it is possibly the only non-fiction book I have ever finished reading…



Can’t think of a single other non-fiction book that I have ever finished reading…


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A book that reminds me of home

The Katalina 30 Day Book Challenge Day #4

What a weird idea. A book that reminds me of home? Well… I had a book about a sheepdog when I was little. I guess that kind of reminds me of home. I can’t remember what it was called though. But there were dogs and sheep in it. Unfortunately because I can’t remember the book title that means that I won’t be able to put a picture of it in here. And that will just bug my OCD…

Okay… Home… Home…

Am I allowed to choose my own book here? I suppose that would be tacky…

I think maybe most Enid Blyton books remind me of home. It might be because I read The Secret Seven so much as a kid. I guess I felt at the time that the stories were happening around me. Which meant they were happening in my streets. But that might be a stretch…

I do find myself wondering now why exactly I jumped to my childhood home while trying to do this post instead of my current one… Weird…

Actually I’m talking absolute crap. Enid Blyton books don’t really remind me of home. If I think of Enid  Blyton I think of reading her books in the sunroom of our old farm house. That’s about it.

No books remind me of home. I come from Molteno for Pete’s sake!

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A book that surprised me in a bad way

The 30 Day Katalina Book Challenge Day #3

Oh look now I can say Twilight! I went through about a year and a half around my pregnancy where I barely read an email never mind a book. And when I returned from the land of no books I found that there was this Twilight thing going around that everyone was raving about. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them! They were supposed to be awesome. Like Harry Potter. But with vampires.

Well…there were vampires…

The biggest disappointment was that I was expecting something a little more sophisticated. I’m not sure exactly why I expected John Irving meets JK Rowling meets Interview with a Vampire.

I’ve started to adopt a different attitude though.  I have adopted the don’t-judge-a-fish-by-it’s-ability-to-climb-a-tree attitude. Perhaps that is daft but I have come to the conclusion that it is ok for things to be simply what they are. Sometimes they don’t live up to our expectations, or fit into the box that we pre-designed for them. But that is ok. It really is ok for something to just be what it is.

I do kind of wish I could have read these books with no pre-conceived ideas. It is hard even now to know exactly how I feel about them because the notions of others do tend to cloud our thoughts even when we think they don’t.

I have actually decided to read them all properly. If only to make sure that they will be suitable for my daughter to pick up in the next couple of years.

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My least favourite book

The Katalina 30 Day Book Challenge Day #2

So I might be running behind on my own book challenge. Luckily WordPress has this handy little function where you can choose your own date and totally cheat your way out of these sorts of problems. Yes – this post says it was written on the 2nd of September. But you know what? Today is really the 6th!

I’m not sure how you are supposed to choose a least favourite book. I am not one who is in the habit of finishing books if I don’t want to read them. Of course in school we had to do this. But let’s be honest – how many of those school books did we actually read properly? We all had friends who were around to tell us what happens!

I know just how easy it would be to choose something like Twilight here. I did read one and a half of the books from the series and didn’t really love them. But they have their place. Bitch and moan about the sparkly vampires if you must (I have done so myself) but you have to understand why they appeal to some.

For this exercise I am going to have to choose Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body. This is one of those books that is supposed to be profound and original. I shall give it originality perhaps. But it ends there for me. I found this supposedly ground-breaking piece of literature to read like a long whining diary excerpt. Original to give the narrator no gender, but male or female, I personally would hate to have such a wimpy being pine over me. Every sentence irritated me! It wasn’t the writing – clearly the woman can write! – but the character who I wanted to throttle.

Simply put, it’s not a badly written book. It’s just so damn unpleasant to get through. You want to scream “Grow a spine, you insignificant whinging little snotface! You suck!”

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My Favourite Book

The Katalina 30 Day Book Challenge Day #1

My absolute favourite book is one of Nick Hornby’s lesser known works and it’s a little novel called How to be Good. It seems today like an especially relevant book to talk about considering my earlier post about rhino poaching and doing nothing. While How to be Good is really a story about the frustrations of married and domestic life, there is a part of it that I found so irreproachably beautiful. Two crazy men went along and asked a bunch of people to do some crazy things. And some of them went along with it. For some it was a bad idea and it didn’t work out too well. But for a few it was a life changing event that meant the world. As one single human being the idea of changing the world is possibly far too much to comprehend. But changing one person’s world is certainly not an impossibility. One day when my son comes to me and tells me he wants to make the world a better place, I will tell him that I believe with all my heart that it is  possible. Even if it is only done one person at a time. Read this book. It truly is wonderful.

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The Katalina Blog Challenge #9: A Little Bit of Random

I decided to set a slightly odd challenge today after setting a similar thing for my writers club last week. My sentence is taken from Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin which was lying in front of me on the coffee table in my lounge. I have been reading for quite some time now. It’s a brilliant book and i really should finish it!

Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge. I have to wonder if she ever thought of how we would answer the questions that only she had the answers to. Did she believe that she would fool us into thinking it was an accident? Dad seemed to believe it, but I think it was more an act of devotion to his youngest child, as well as an act of self preservation more than the result of real unwavering belief. It was like he had to pretend on the outside in order to ignore what was on the inside.

Laura was selfish like that though. She was the child that always caused problems and spoiled things for everyone else. Always inconsiderate. Never sparing a moment for the hearts of others. And such a superb liar! So I doubt she wondered how it would leave us feeling. I doubt she thought further than this will show them. Her final act of rebellion.

They’ll be sorry when I’m gone…

And we were.

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The Katalina Blog Challenge #8: Screw Yous and Other Taboos

So this week Katalina wants to know about swearing.

Do I swear? Yeah. WAY too much. I shouldn’t, I know this. The whole being a mom thing for one. And apparently I’m supposed to be a lady. Although I don’t regularly pluck my eyebrows though, so the lady ship sailed a long time ago…

Swearing doesn’t bother me as much as it should. Yes, I do cringe at an overly expletive sailors mouth, but that usually has to do with the company involved. You know, like if your boyfriend starts talking about his fucking boss during a nice dinner with grandma…well…that would suck.

I do swear in my writing, though a lot less than in my real life. It doesn’t enhance the work at all. It just is what it is. Sometimes an expletive is needed – both in life and in writing. Perhaps I’m a little weird about it though. I find calling someone a bitch more offensive than saying “the eff word”. Perhaps it’s about being derogatory. I cringe at myself if I say the word bitch – not that I don’t use it from time to time. I really hate it. Weird… Especially considering I use way worse language without batting an eyelid.

I’m okay with swearing in books, just like I’m okay with swearing people. But that said, I’m probably not going to read a book that has more swearing than substance, just like I couldn’t be bothered with a book that has more sex than storyline.

End of two cents.

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The Katalina Blog Challenge #7: Let’s Talk About Sex

So this challenge is pretty simple right? Of course… Except… Well… I’m not quite sure how to answer it.

I have said before that I devour crime novels in the same way your average desperate housewife devours Mills &  Boon novels  - *but* – can I tell you a little secret? Tami Hoag is my favourite crime fiction author. Why? Because MY GAWD that woman can write a sex scene! And not just  slinky let’s leave it to your imagination sex scenes – toe curling my-god-excuse-me-while-i-find-something-to-shag sex scenes. I LOVE her sex scenes. They are perfect. They are no so obscene as to be “porn for girls” but they are detailed enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Say it with me: YUM! (more…)