Book Fairy for a Day

 

18 September was International Hide a Book Day, giving book lovers around the world the opportunity to unselfishly spread the joy of reading by hiding a book in a public spot. Naturally, I didn’t miss the opportunity to don my fairy wings for 24 hours.

I do believe in book fairies. I DO believe in book fairies, I DO!

Having trouble believing Book Fairies exist? Consider this:

  • A logo is sure proof of existence, right?
  • These Book Fairies are tech-savvy: they have a website. If you don’t believe me, click this link> I Believe in Book Fairies. Think about it: How could something unreal have a website with an About page, FAQs, and merch, for goodness sake?
  • And they have regional Facebook pages, like this one in Australia.
  • And if nothing else convinces you that Book Fairies are real, consider this indisputable fact: The Chief Fairy is a lady named Cordelia, which is the most fairy-like name imaginable. Cordelia.

Book Fairies are real—real people who share their love of reading by hiding books in public places for people to find, enjoy, and re-hide. No wings are necessary—just a willingness to part with a favourite book.

Spreading Reading Rainbows Everywhere

The Book Fairies helped Goodreads celebrate their tenth birthday this year. All around the world, bewinged book worms carefully selected and prepared a book to launch into the wilderness on Hide a Book Day. The Book Fairies HQ provided stickers so that when the unsuspecting citizen finds the book, they understand that they are meant to take it home, read it, and then pass it on.

My First Book Fairy Release

After scouring my shelves, I selected  The Ratcatcher’s Daughter  by Pamela Rushby. I thought it would be fitting to pick an Aussie author and a book with local interest. The Ratcatcher’s Daughter is middle-grade historical fiction set in 1900 when the Black Death first came to Queensland. There were subsequent outbreaks of the bubonic plague for the next nine years and then again in 1921 and 1922.

Rushby relates the history through the story of fictional 13-year-old Issie McKelvie, whose dad is the local ratcatcher. She loathes rats and her dad’s pack of yappy dogs. But when dad gets sick, Issie has to step in and do the dirty work to save Brisbane from the vermin that are spreading disease and death.

The Ratcatcher’s Daughter received several awards, including the CBCA Notable Book 2015,  Highly Commended in the Davitt Awards 2015, and being shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards 2014. Pam has published a slew of educational books and commercial fiction. She lives in Queensland and says she gets her best story ideas while swimming laps.

Although it was hard to part with my copy of the book, I was keen for others to read this fascinating slice of Queensland history. I penned a personal note to the finder, tucked it inside, and left the book among the magazines and lifestyle books in a beautiful tea house on the Sunshine Coast. Giving away my book made me happy!

Fairying All Year Long

You don’t have to wait until the next Hide a Book Day to join the book sharing revolution. Join the ranks of fairies, which includes Emma Watson. Visit The Book Fairies’ website, buy some stickers, and start sharing!

Would you consider being a Book Fairy for a day? I’d love to know which book you think is worth sharing, so leave a comment!

#HideABookDay #GoodreadsTurns10 #ibelieveinbookfairies #AustralianBookFairies

My Favourite Reads of 2014

What a reading year I’ve had, beating my goal in the Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge. I read 54 out of 50, and today I want to share seven stand-out books of Twenty-Fourteen.

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2 Favourite Books for Big People

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I’ve given A Prayer for Owen Meany the full, gushing treatment already. Suffice it to say here, John Irving is now on my list of most admired authors. I have a second-hand copy of The World According to Garp lined up for 2015.

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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr has it all: lyrical writing, a compelling WWII story and an intriguing blind protagonist. Two disparate storylines collide for a particularly satisfying denouement. It’s a book with a lovely, lingering aftertaste to savour.

UPDATE! Click Me! Click Me!

Favourite Book for Little (ish) People

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This is the graphic novel version with illustrations by P Craig Russell.

The Graveyard Book is a unique spin on Kipling’s classic, The Jungle Book, done in Neil Gaiman’s inimitable style. Witty, original, fabulously spooky and dark. When Nobody Owens ‘s family is murdered, the little fellow toddles off to the graveyard at the top of the hill, where the residents, a community of tender-hearted ghosts and such, raise the boy and keep him safe.

 

Favourite Covers & Artwork

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The full, glorious cover (back & front) of Prisoners in the Palace

Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela McColl. I would have liked to name the artist, but apparently such information is Googleproof. Whoever you are–nice work! Based on all the palace intrigue in the lead up to Queen Victoria’s coronation, this YA historical romance is so much fun! The story is crackerjack and the audio truly enjoyable, but it is the fabulous cover that stole my heart. I love the Victoria-meets-Andy-Warhol-in-a-candyshop design. The back, cleverly done in the style of a 1830’s newspaper, features headlines and snippets about events in the book.

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The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, artwork by Chris Riddell. Just holding this book in your hands is a sensory experience. The silky, translucent cover provides a peek through to the artwork beneath. Done in monochrome with gold highlights throughout, it’s a twisty and dark mash-up of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.

 

Favourite Book by an Australian Author

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The Rat Catcher’s Daughter by Pamela Rushby. A gripping historical novel set in Brisbane. Who knew that the plague had ever come to Queensland, Australia?

 

Favourite Audio Book

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The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, narrated by Stephen Briggs. [N.B.: This could also be headed Favourite Series, Favourite Fantasy, Favourite Funnies or Favourite Protagonist…]

Anything by Pratchett is already brimming with wit and hilarity; add in Stephen Brigg’s narration talent and verve, and you’ve got yourself one luscious treat. Worth the price of admission just to hear Briggs’s characterisation of the motley crew of Nac Mac Feegles with their weird and wonderful, sort-of Scottish dialect. I wish I knew how many individual voices Briggs created for this one book–it’s quite a feat! There were a half-dozen individual Nac Mac Feegles alone! Apparently, he’s done quite a number of the Discworld books.

Protagonist Tiffany Aching, a young witch-in-training, is as kick-ass as they come. One Goodreads reviewer (Nataliya. Click to read the full, funny review) warns, The Wee Free Men is “…a gateway drug to fuel addiction to Sir Terry’s writing.” Too true. I for one will be going back for another hit.

 

2015’s Reading Adventures

My nightstand is locked and loaded, ready for a new year full of reading. I’ll be doing the Goodreads Challenge again, but in 2015, I’m shooting for 75 titles.

How about you? Do you have a favourite I should read? Please leave your recommendations in the comments!