Bruce’s Lucky Dip: On Location at The Lifeline Bookfest…

13

image

 

Good morning all! Today’s Lucky Dip is a little bit out of the ordinary, because instead of using the Book Depository’s search engine for my lucky dipping, I decided to send Mad Martha out into the real world to do some dipping at the Lifeline Bookfest!

For those not familiar with the Lucky Dip, it usually involves delving into the BD’s search engine to find the funniest or weirdest titles on a particular search term.  For those unfamiliar with the Lifeline Bookfest, this is a semiannual second-hand book sale put on by the charity Lifeline.  It’s been running for many, many years now, and although I haven’t bothered attending for at least the last six or seven years, I was inspired by a post by Jeann from Happy Indulgence back in January to send Mad Martha out into the world to do some real-life dipping into a large, conveniently located pile of books.  Here’s a picture of her using the public transportation system to arrive safely at her goal:

image

How happy she looks to be out amongst the fleshlings! Without further ado, please enjoy the spoils of her toil in our first non-virtual Lucky Dip!

 For those who have become bored with the Where’s Wally? concept and wish to test their observational skills in a real life context:

image

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Where’s Kevin?

Although one could just as easily ask the question, where is Macauley Culkin now?

For those who wish to get their kids onto the neverending cycle of fad diets and unattainable body image early, we have The Wizard, The Ugly and the Book of Shame:

image

At least, I assume that this book is aimed at dissatisfied women in their 30s.  It certainly sounds like the sort of magazines they read.

For the youngster with a date with the juvenile justice system:

image

In case you can’t read that, it’s called Susie and the Wise Hedgehog go to Court. Yep.

If I had the choice between a trained lawyer and a cute little woodland creature I’d probably pick the hedgehog too.

Next is that book on every kid’s TBR pile:

image

It’s How Will I Behave Today and the Rest of My Life?

How indeed?! If Susie had read this book early on, maybe she wouldn’t have ended up going to court with a hedgehog, however wise said hedgehog might be.

Now for my favourite book filed in the Children’s section:

image

An Australian Murder Almanac: 130 Years of Chilling Crime

I admit, I nearly bought this one.  After all, who could go past a book that labels a collection of murders such as those committed by “The Baby Killers” as a set of “gripping yarns”?

Panic not though, for although this book was obviously placed in the wrong section, I later came across this one:

image

A Child’s Book of True Crime

I’m not sure why the cover features a nice collection of Australian wildlife (unless that’s an artist’s impression of the dingo from the Chamberlain case with a hitherto unacknowledged Kookaburra accomplice) but it’s nice to know that kids get their very own tome related to the more base aspects of human nature.

So they were the best that Mad Martha could unearth in the short time that she spent rifling through the books on offer.  She did, however, come across this serendipitous and inspired mash-up of book categories:

image

Honestly, you couldn’t script that, could you? Wonder how the New Agers felt about that pairing…

And finally, after coming across piles and piles of these:

image

We decided that Stephanie Meyers has a LOT to answer for.  And the same goes for you, Collins:

image

There was an absolute abundance of these two sets of books.  Mad Martha didn’t bother looking in the adult fiction but I’m sure there would have been more than a few stacks of Fifty Shades, unable to be sold yet unable to be burned to keep the homeless warm.  A travesty.

So really, that was about it.  Mad Martha mentioned that stepping into the children’s section in the $1 category was like taking a time-bending trip back to a primary school library of the 1980s.  Bliss! She managed to pick up a long sought-after copy of Finders Keepers by Emily Rodda (in our favourite cover too!) and a slightly dog-eared RL Stine book that we recently searched for online but were dismayed to find was now out of print – this will be the focus of an upcoming Tomes of the Olden Times feature!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this unusual Lucky Dip – we’d love to hear if any Brisbanites managed to get down to the Bookfest this time around and whether you picked up any gems.  Or indeed, if anyone has come across some untapped veins of gold in a second hand bookstore in their own wanderings!

Until next time,

Bruce (and Martha)

twitter button Follow on Bloglovin Bruce Gargoyle's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

//

Are you Prepared for the Jam-pocalypse?: What’s in a Name Reading Challenge…

2

Obstacle 2 in the What’s in a Name Reading Challenge: Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw…

This is the first title I’ve attempted from my Non-Christie-Listie, as well as the first title from Category 2 (something you might find in the kitchen) and I am happy to report that it has been successfully (and cheerfully) vanquished.

JamThis is Croshaw’s second novel, after Mogworld, and it certainly displays the same swift and silly plotting and characterisation.  Jam follows the story of Travis, a young man who wakes up one morning to discover that his city (incidentally, the one in which I also reside!) has been invaded by flesh-eating jam.  So begins a rollicking romp around Brisbane (Australia, not Texas) involving a cheeky tarantula, plenty of ironic ironicisms and plastic bag fashions a-plenty.

This Novel’s Point of Difference:

Um. I’d say it’s probably the jampocalypse aspect.

Pros:

  • One of Croshaw’s great strengths is silliness-in-appropriate-quantities and this book is jam-packed (pun-intended).with the same. There’s a lot of humour and laugh out loud lines in this book – it’s really one for when you need a bit of a chuckle or aren’t in the mood for anything too heavy in the thinking department.
  • It’s set in Bris-vegas….I quite enjoyed seeing the cityscape on the front cover and being able to recognise the Gotham City Building (I don’t know it’s actual name…since it was built everybody I know has only ever referred to it as the Gotham City Building)
  • It’s a fantastically welcome change from Zombie-related apocalypses (apocalypsi??), and scary, bring-us-all-down dystopian thrillers.

Cons:

  • It’s silly.  Now I realise I just put this in Pros, but I’ve read a lot of reviews (from people who are familiar with Croshaw’s work, weirdly) that panned this book because some of the events depicted were too silly to be credible.  I found this a bit odd, considering the whole premise is based on apocalypse by carnivorous strawberry preserve.  But I suppose, if you are after strictly believable scenarios, this is not the book you’re looking for.
  • I found it hard to recognise my own city in parts of this work….Croshaw faithfully recreates Brisbane landmarks and general layouts, except in the naming of two buildings in which most of the action takes place.  So the Myer Centre becomes the Briar Centre, and the Hitachi building becomes the Hibatsu building….but other landmarks, such as the Wintergarden and plenty of streets are given their proper names….as a local, I found this irritating as it got in the way of me picturing the action as it was occuring in places I know very well.
  • Croshaw uses plenty of American dialect words despite mostly Australian characters in an Australian setting – for example” ice pops” (we call ’em ice blocks here), “community college” (TAFE), “janitor” (cleaning staff), “middle school” (we only have primary and high), “wastepaper baskets” (bins)….I found this quite SPECTACULARLY annoying.

Teaser Text:

He sighed. “There isn’t much we can do without electricity, but my team has been researching alternatives.  One of my engineers proposed a system of fans powered by dogs in giant hamster wheels, but the major issue there is our limited dog inventory.  We’ll keep looking into it”.  p199

Although I have listed three cons, in honesty, if you are not a Brisbanite, it is unlikely you will even notice the specific local references (or lack thereof) that irritated me so.  If you’ve never tried Croshaw’s work before and you are open-minded, enjoy a bit of silly humour and particularly if you are aged 20 – 40 and interested in gaming, you should probably give it a go.

Oh, and here’s a link to some pictures of the Gotham City Building for your viewing pleasure:

http://www.flickriver.com/photos/tags/statelawbuilding/interesting/

Until next time,

Bruce