Wednesday, 12 August 2015

COMIC CONS



This year, I'm going to treat myself to a day at London Comic Con. Why the hell not?!? The event was suggested to me due to my love of all things geek! I checked out the website today and decided I was definitely interested as it seems a larger version of a similar con I'd attended in Brisbane called Supanova.



My first Supanova attendance was decided upon purely because Felicia Day was on the guest list. I couldn't resist the chance to meet her as I had been watching her youtube series 'The Guild'. I had developed a bit of a girl crush on her that still exists today! I expected there to be other Felicia Day fans but I honestly had no idea how huge her following was in Australia. Her queue was a long as the queue for the actor who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies! That impressed upon me just how well known she really was. I joined the massive queue and started to chatting to people near me. So many fellow geeks in one place, that was a new experience for me! I met one lovely lady in the queue, who kept me company for the two hour wait. She's an artist and I bought these three pictures from her that day.



Jemina Venter sells her art through Redbubble and if you love YA novels and geek tv, you are going to love her work.

Then it was my turn to meet Felicia and ask her to sign a copy of The Guild graphic novel. She was so lovely and even noticed and commented on my arm sleeve (she stroked it! Swoon!). I also paid to have my picture taken with her, which I would show you but all it does is show up how awful I look and how stunning she is! I am shallow enough to not do that on my own blog!
I met one other guest that day for an autograph and she was not friendly at all! And considering I was the only one at the time, you'd think she would have at least smiled!

I restricted myself at each Supanova I attended to only pay for one or two autographs and I've only paid for that one picture so far. I think you can get carried away and end up hundreds of dollars down pretty quickly for the sake of a few signatures.

The main guests I am willing to pay for autographs from are the Firefly cast as I am slowly getting my Firefly dvd signed. My hope is to one day complete the collection. So far I have 3 cast members (Morena, Adam and Sean) and am impatiently waiting for the day I can meet Nathan and Joss!


I am always surprised by how high the calibre of guests are at these events. The fact that they travel around the world to meet their fans enduring jet lag, sitting for hours signing and making inane chit chat with a bunch of strangers some of whom think they are either funnier or wittier than they really are! I'm so pleased they do it! Which actually, come to think of it, might explain why the lady I met after Felicia was so miserable!

I consider myself lucky enough to have met George R R Martin who signed my copy of Games of Thrones and he didn't charge, which I felt was lovely and I thanked him for that! Considering he wrote all the books and the G o T actors upstairs only played out some of those words, you'd think if anyone had the right to charge for his time, it would be him!
Unlike Peter Dinklage, who was going to charge twice the price of everyone else for an autograph and a picture and there were stars there that I considered more well known than him. He did cancel last minute, which makes you wonder if he even wanted to go in the first place!

I saw The Hoff which I was ridiculously excited about, purely because it's The Hoff! But I was disappointed to miss out on meeting William Shatner when he was in Australia.

Other than queuing to meet famouses, I explored the venue, met unknown authors and was always fascinated by how much effort everyone puts into their cosplay outfits. My favourite was a couple dressed as Ghostbuster characters who had adapted their pushchair into a mini Ghostbuster car with sound effects and lights. The baby was dressed in a mini Ghostbuster outfit sitting inside the little car! 
I just don't have the imagination, talent or commitment that cosplay guys have. My husband had a workmate who spent hundreds of dollars on each outfit. He had a storm-trooper outfit, a Ghostbusters one and a Captain America outfit. I would rather spend it on books and meeting Firefly cast members. 

I'm looking forward to seeing the guest list for this years London Comic Con and really, really hope there is a Firefly cast member who's autograph I don't have yet! (Please Nathan Fillion-make my year!!)

I am starting to read more comics lately so I want to check out the Comic Village. I am going to, for the first time, try and attend some of the talks and I also love the idea of the VidfestUK events and getting the chance to meet the people behind online videos and various web series.

Really, I just want to walk around, meet some authors, check out the cosplay and enjoy spending time with fellow geeks!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Paperback summer reading challenge - June-July


Since starting the paperback summer challenge in June, I have deviated somewhat from my original list, as I suspected I would! I have added 6 to that original list of 21 books! It's no wonder I'm going to struggle with completing the list by the end of August! As well as the above, I have also read the 3 e-books below -






My absolute favourite book that I have read so far this summer is To Kill a Mockingbird (my review of which is here) but I also really enjoyed the following. Randomly all of which are science fiction/fantasy!:-

Deviants by Maureen McGgowan - the writing was only ok but the plot and characters were very strong and I was thoroughly involved in the story. I can't wait to start the next book in the series.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - I was asked to read this for my friend's bookclub and I was excited as it has been on my to-read list for years! It is a large book (661 pages) so I was a bit intimidated but couldn't put it down until I had finished. Now I need to find the time to read the rest in the series!

Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel - you can find my review of this lovely book here


My to-read shelf now looks like this -

I have a feeling that this shelf will take me onto the end of September. I'll be lucky if I finish 3 or 4 of them by the end of August but at least I have made a good effort to reduce my to-read shelf! It's just a shame that I keep adding to it by buying more!

I am most looking forward to reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and The Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro, mainly to see if they live up to the hype. 

I always love reading Dorothy Koomson, she is one of my favourites, and an author whose books I never miss. I have been wanting to read Joanne Trollope’s version of Sense and Sensibility ever since it as first published and I’m currently hunting for Val McDermid’s version of Northanger Abbey.

How are you all getting on with your paperback summer reading challenges?  

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To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set A Watchman reviews



Can you believe I made it to the ripe old age of thirty-something without ever reading this book? All that time wasted reading crap books when I could have been re-reading this wonderful book time and time again.

If you have never read this book, or even heard of it, well then where have you been hiding? The story is about a young girl, a tomboy, called Scout. She lives in Maycomb County, Alabama with her father, Atticus, who is the town lawyer. She has a brother, Jem and they have a cook/housekeeper/surrogate mother figure called Calpurnia. The story starts off with Scout telling us how her brother broke his elbow, or at least that is what she tells us the story is going to be. The events leading up to that end up following several years in Scout's childhood. During those years, the most significant event is the trial of Tom Robinson. I won't go into the story any more than that as I read it with no prior knowledge and I think I enjoyed the book all the more for that.

Why do I like it so much? Because the main character, Scout, has so much innocence, good old-fashioned gumption, a wonderful imagination and that innocent love that children have for their family and friends. I loved the stories of her and Jem's antics as well as her view on all the wonderful characters living in Maycomb. I thought that Harper Lee did a fantastic job of writing about the trial and the politics surrounding the case from the observation of a child. I particularly loved the character of Dill, I felt so sorry for him but at the same time found his individuality and strength heart-warming.

I then, of course, like millions of others picked up my pre-ordered copy of Go Set a Watchman. 

In case you have missed it, this was Harper Lee's first manuscript, which she set to one side before going on to write To Kill a Mockingbird. Go Set a Watchman is told from the viewpoint of a grown up Scout, who returns to Maycomb for a visit from her new hometown of New York. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Harper Lee and her lawyer, and whether or not this book should have been published. I'm not going to speculate on that here as, quite frankly, I don't really care! I took great delight in opening this book up and seeing 'other books by Harper Lee'! 
    
I dove straight in and at first, I was not overly enamoured by it but as I moved through the book, I found myself really enjoying it. I do have to say that I think she made the right choice in writing the novel again, in the form of To Kill a Mockingbird, from Scout's childhood. The flashback scenes in this book were, by far, my favourite scenes. The politics in this book went way over my head as politics usually does! Especially as it was told from the view of an adult Scout, whereas in To Kill a Mockingbird, it is written from young Scout's view and therefore I were not bogged down by it all. I did not see the point in the character Henry. I failed to see why he was there at all. I do understand he might have been a tool in which Scout could be seen as throwing off the expectations of her Aunt and Maycomb society, to become the doting housewife and compliant lady. This did not really convince me though. I felt Harper Lee would have been better to have kept Scout’s brother in it and used him as the young male character for Scout to bounce off instead. However, it is all a moot point as Harper Lee re-wrote this manuscript into To Kill a Mockingbird precisely because this story did not work. As to other critics calling Atticus a racist in this story, I think they have failed to see the point of the story at all! I can only say to them, please re-read this book as you were obviously reading a different book to me. I am not saying he wasn’t, I’m just saying you obviously did not understand the last few chapters. One highlight for me, apart from the flashbacks, was the character of Uncle Jack, who I loved purely because he was so sweet and funny.

I probably will re-read this again one day but not for a long time. I am really glad I have read it though. If you love To Kill a Mockingbird, I wouldn't say you have to read this. I would say, have a go if you are intrigued, just for the hell of it.

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