Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Zombie vs Vampire stories - undead by another name or fundamentally different?

Do you think there are story elements that tend to be particular to zombie or vampire stories?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What's so cool about being dead?

Why do you think that undead creatures have had such a long and illustrious career in cultural history, literature, fashion and our psyche?


Hi All!

Well, first a big thanks to Nicole for the Myths and Fairytales month.

Heather and I will be hosting this months theme (which is almost an extension of last months) where we'll be looking at the undead - in particular Vampires and Zombies!

Before we begin its very important everyone declares their allegiance...

Are you going to be eating brains with Team Zombie or sucking blood with Vampires R Us?

Also, just wondering if anyone has any idea of what they might be doing? There's tonnes of stuff out there for people to do - books, movies, games etc. Feel free to do whatever type of medium you like (and maybe even more than one if you like!).


Thursday, November 12, 2009

What's your favourite myth?

I think mine might be the King Arthur myths - I love nearly all of them.  Myths seem to be inherently sad stories, I'm struggling to think of one that has a happy ending.  There was an interesting book by Tanith Lee called "White As Snow" which mixed the Persephone myth with the Snow White fairytale - deeply skin-crawly in parts, but good.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Are there only a small number of plots in the world?

Right, lets start with fairytales.  I think it is fascinating that nearly every culture has a "Cinderella" story, the article I read said one of the earliest is from China, I think circa 800 AD (featuring a talking, prophetic fish - but lets not get into that...)  Does this tie into the idea that there are a limited number of plots in the world and no new material, merely interpretations?

Micah sent me a very funny email on the subliminal messages of the Disney princesses, all along the lines that beauty is their only skill, which is interesting as I don't remember it as being such a focal point of true fairytales, aside from Snow White's "skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood".  Also, very few Disney-fied happy endings, fairytales were originally intended for an adult audience and very dark, often without happy endings.  So what would our view of fairytales be like, had we not had a Disney-fish-eye on them?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Myths and Fairytales

This picture (left) is why I bought a particular, unknown book from a bargain bin years ago.   And because of it I discovered urban fantasy which has become my favourite type of book to read.  Maybe it's because I want to believe there is a little bit of mystery in our world.  The best of the genre is beautiful and strange and I hope you enjoy whatever you choose to read in November, so lets start with who's reading what...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wow, October already. Thanks Nic for such attractive looking backgrounds. I have been leaving it open for you to chose your own Tim Winton title to read. A lot of them have been reserved for Kincumber's Book Club but there is a box of Breath (so to speak) which I could order if people would like. Breath comes very highly recommended. So I guess my first question would be - what are you reading and why?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Suggested reading for next month

I’m just going to briefly cut in on Rebecca’s month to give you a suggested reading list for next month.  Some of the books below are not held by Gosford Library, but are held by me and I would be delighted to share them, let me know if you want to borrow any.

The Wood Wife, by Terri Windling – Native American

Almost anything by Charles De Lint, my favourites are Forests of the Heart and Someplace to be Flying – Native American & Celtic

War for the Oaks – Emma Bull – Celtic

Almost anything by Neil Gaiman, my favourite is American Gods – Eastern European, Norse

Beauty, Rose Daughter, Spindles End, Deerskin by Robin McKinley – retold fairytales

Almost anything by Patricia McKillip, my favourites Ombria in Shadow and Winter Rose – loosely retold fairytales, mostly just have the same flavour

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier – retold fairytale

Valiant, Tithe or Ironside by Holly Black – Elves, fairies, goblins etc in the modern world

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett – Green Man myths

Almost anything by Mary Renault – retold Greek and Roman myths

Almost anything by Rosemary Sutcliff – retold Greek, Roman and Celtic myths

Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor – fairies

Yes, vampire books count too J


Further excellent recommendations can be found on the Endicott Studio site.



Monday, September 7, 2009

"I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft-spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat"

Howdy all,

Well this month is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, one of the first & in my opinion one of the best true crime novels.

The book investigates the 1959 murders of four members of the Clutter family in rural Kansas. I found it particularly interesting the way it covers all aspects of the crime - looks at the family, the members of the community & the affects it had on them, the law officals trying to solve the case & of course the 2 men convicted of the crime.

I love Capote's writing style - even though you know the outcome from the beginning he still manages to create a sense of tension, you find yourself wishing that this family will somehow survive the terrible event that is about to happen.

I have a copy of the book if anyone would like to borrow it. Also the library has a copy of DVD Capote - which looks at the research he and Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird)did into the crime & the relationship he built up with the killers.

I also found this fantastic website that looks at the crime & has some great images. I found that the 2 killers were exactly as I imagined them!!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Perfect Hero?

Here's my question - is Westley the perfect hero?  Did you find Buttercup even a little bit annoying?  Is this the most perfect love story ever written? (Okay, so it was several questions, but they are all related!)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Just for fun...

A Lord of the Rings/Princess Bride script mashup :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die."

Welcome to August, the month of the Princess Bride!

I haven't finished reading the book yet but I have seen the movie a zillion times. Played and replayed on the good old VHS (CDs were non existent) my Dad "copied" for us. He even photocopied the cover and we had a proper case for it, that's how much we loved this movie at my house!

SO, what I was wondering to start with, have you seen the movie? Have you read the book? What do you think is the best line/monologue in the book or movie?

And did you know that S. Morgenstern is also a "fictional character" in Goldman's novel??

Feel free to make any suggestions/comments as I have no idea what I'm doing :D

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Princess and the Bookclub Meeting

Hi Folks!

I am scheduling a bookclub meeting at my home for next Tuesday (August 4th) from say around 6.30pm. If you would like to come, please email me (Larissa) and I will forward out my address if you don't already have it.
- Lock

The Princess and the Bookclub Meeting - Locked

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I want to know!

What did you read?

What did think of it?

Did anyone try SciFi for the first time and did you like it, loathe it or couldn't get into it?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The challenge...

Heather set it up - find a sci fi in which AI, or the like, ended well and humanity suffered naught...

I can't recall one, so I'm doing some research.  Here's my tribute to the weird things you find on any search, I'm not too sure what to make of this article, or the website itself, but if you follow the "singularity" wiki link from the "About" section you find one of the greatest fears of the God Sci Fi realm.

And this quote "The WWW trilogy is my attempt to revisit that question, and see whether there is a plausible way for us to survive the advent of nonhuman superintelligent while still retaining our essential humanity and individuality." Leads me to think that this book may do it, though I haven't read it myself, happy to see we have a copy in Admin!

I think AI would mostly be given a bad rap because of our inherent control-freak natures.  We don't understand how most things work in our world, but we trust that someone, somewhere, some-what like us does understand how it works and can control it or fix it.  What happens if someone non-human has a say in how our world works? How would human interests be of most imortance  to a non-human mind?  Is it residual guilt - look how badly we have treated the world, would someone else assess the needs of the planet ahead of our need?

Ok, i'm going to go read a kids book - this is hurting my brain.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Next Month - Sci-Fi!!

I have picked a book for us to read for next months Sci-Fi theme: Edenborn by Nick Sagan.

Since I officially know NOTHING about science fiction, I decided to select a title from the recommended reads listing on Novelist. If you can't get a copy of Edenborn, I suggest you find your way onto Novelist and pick another title from the same science fiction genre (there are a heap to choose from). Just look for the heading of 'Playing God'.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Writing for writing's sake

I find it really interesting the response to the importance of narrative structure in the books we are reading.
I've also recently read The razor's edge, by Somerset Maugham and Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut, who, in telling other people's stories, have written themselves into that story as well, making the books a 'semi autobiographical fiction.'
There is evident structure in these books, even if time is played with in Slaughterhouse 5, but they are easy to follow and the purpose of the books is easily identified.
So, what I am getting at I suppose, is:
Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac- writing for writing's sake?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

how bout an easy question....

What are you reading and do you like it?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Character identification

Henry Miller's works often delve into a stream of consciousness type detour from the story. I find this is the place you find the real gems in fabulous quotes on how he sees the world.
How do you relate to the characters in your book? Do you feel like you know them better in that they are real experiences being described rather than ficticious events (whether you are reading it as a work of fiction or not)?

The journey

Kerouac himself described 'On the road' as (and I paraphrase) a book about two guys searching for something that they never actually find.

How does your autobiographical fiction selection differ to the normal narrative that you are used to? Is there a clear beginning, middle and end? How do you feel about the shift in literary conventions and bounds?

Memoir vs fiction

In the book 'Why Kerouac matters' the author writes about the themes of 'On the road.' He suggests "'Kerouac didn't mature, he sunk deeper into drink, insecurity and his mothers toxic bosom' But that's reading On the road as a memoir, not a work of fiction."
How are you reading your book of choice, as a fiction or non fiction work?
Does any prior knowledge you have of the author impact your relationship with the text?

Monday, June 1, 2009

The autobiography as fiction

Hi all and welcome to June.
Here we will discuss the autobiography as fiction and I posted some suggested reading a little while ago.
I recommend reading these, but if you have trouble getting a hold of anything or can't dig them, then I direct you to wikipedia lists where you will find helpful guide to this genre. You could even cheat for Kathryn's month and read 'In cold blood.' But that wouldn't be nearly as fun as reading two books! I'd also add to the list the book 'Henry and June' by Anais Nin, which is a fictionalisation of her diary of the year she had an affair with Henry Miller and his wife. The lib has a copy and I do too if anyone is interested. I picked up a copy of the Rum diary by Hunter S. on the weekend too, which I will pass around to all interested.
I will warn that I am trying to come up with some questions based around the form and style of the books recommended, but may very well move into discussions of the particular books I have suggested and some background knowledge as we compare the fiction to the real life.

Since it's only the first of June, I will give you some time to get settled in to your books before posting some questions, but keep an eye out because there may very well be something by the end of the week.

Happy reading!

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I've been thinking about Kristen's question from last night of whether we would be revolutionaries or suffer in silence and Heather's example of the French resistance in WWII. I think the difference might be that as a revolutionary in 1984 you were totally alone and that takes more bravery, it would be easier to be brave as part of an organisation where you could actually meet your counterparts.

Also, I was wondering, do you think Emmanuel Goldstein was real or a creation of the Party? I thought if they always ensure there is no real revolution by creating their own fake revolution, possibly Goldstein was a construct.

Thanks to Kristen for a lovely night!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Movies you may enjoy if you liked 1984

If you enjoyed the story of 1984, 2 movies you may enjoy are V for Vendetta (based on Alan Moore's graphic novel) and Equilibrium (starring Christian Bale and Sean Bean).

Both have very similar plot lines and reinforce many of the themes that Orwell has written about.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The end...


I finished it!

I am proud!

I actually enjoyed it and I am very glad I have read it. It now goes onto my 'real books' bookshelf, which is somewhat removed from my 'book-candy' bookshelf (...strange I am, I know)

I won't put anything more here as it will have spoilers but read my comment to see just what I learnt from reading 1984

Is TXT our Newspeak?

Of everything that Orwell described Newspeak resonated with me the most. I watch the disintigration of our language skills with frustration even as I do it myself

Gonna is a frequently used word, as is ta and a few more. I don't like that I use them, but I do it anyway

My real hate is 'anythingK', 'nothingK' etc - these ones drive me nuts but I see them being part of accepted language sooner rather than later

Any way...off my soapbox and onto my point

I use small bits of text when I am typing or texting but I have friends whose messages I cannot decipher as they use nothing but TXT and this is where I think TXT = Newspeak

TXT has no emotion (unless you add the smilie to show your meaning), it does away with verbs, descriptors and nouns and expects you to fill in the gaps. It destroys correct spelling and composition. In short it reduceds the language to the bare basics and isn't this the heart of Newspeak?

To my mind - control writing and expression and you control the public... Eradicate creativity and you can rule them all

What piece of Orwell's world do you think has come to pass?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Did you know...

that the term/title/phrase/concept of "Big Brother" was coined in the year 1949 by Orwell when the novel '1984' was published?

I wonder where we would we be had he not? Would there even be such a thing as 'reality' tv if he hadn't put the idea of somone watching your every move out there?

Did Orwell actually create the modern practice of putting the intimacies and minutae of life in the media for all to see? And isn't this itself a case of "doublethinking"

Friday, May 8, 2009

Coke and peanuts....final "Bees" discussion

Thank you to all who attended the thai food/chocolate/peanut bonanza last night! We spent approx. 10% of the time talking about the book and the rest on random (but very enjoyable) discussion.

For those who couldn't make it but are still interested in what we talked about, here is a brief run-down. (no, I didn't take minutes!!)

  • A couple of people had read the book for the first time for book club and really enjoyed it. Some of us had read it before and re-read it for book club, and we all said we enjoyed it less the second time around. Perhaps it loses its freshness when you know what is going to happen.
  • We talked a little bit about the "romance" between Lily and Zach. Some of us felt this would've been more powerful as a friendship; others felt that as it was a coming-of-age story, it would be logical that it be a romance. We could all see what Lily saw in Zach, but found it more diffucult to understand why he would be attracted to a much younger girl.
  • We discussed the significance of bees but I don't know that we solved this one.
  • Kathryn showed us a portrait of a Black Madonna that she bought in Vilnius in Lithuania - this seems to be a wide-spread image in Europe that I was unaware of before the book.

If anyone else who was there can remember more can you add as a comment. And now back to our regularly scheduled programme - 1984!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Be a spin doctor


Why is war peace?

How is freedom slavery?

What makes ignorance strength?

Convince the population that these statements are true and worth living by...

Be honest

If you lived in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four would you:

Be a revolutionary, fighting the fight against the manipulation and control of Big Brother?

Passively go with the flow, the world is what it is, you just get to live in it?

Be an aggressive enforcer of the rules, seeking out and reporting any infraction you spot (sometimes even before you spot it)?


What was your reaction to the boat people being massacred at the beginning of the book?

I look at the passive agressive, fear mongering way that refugees are shown in the media today (and the somewhat hysterical way people talk about them 'que jumping', 'taking our jobs', 'taking our land/water', 'bringing their wars to us' etc) and I see us potentially being hyped up to a point where events like this will happen and that they will be accepted as the way to safeguard our country.

What do you think?

It's a question of...


The first question (and most obvious one to my mind) is just how far or how close do you think we are to the world that's described in the novel?

Are we on the brink of Big Brother controlling us all with fear and hatred, are we in the middle of it or are we on a different path as a society?

Monday, May 4, 2009

June reading list

Hi all,
Sorry to butt in in the May topic, but in case you have already read 1984 and are wondering what to read next, I thought I'd put a few suggestions up.
My topic of autobiographical fiction grew out of my love of the work of Henry Miller and On the road by Kerouac. I thought we might do autobiographical fiction as a topic to discuss the form rather than all reading one book.
I had three authors in mind to talk about and compare, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson, who are often linked together because of their style although all from different eras.
Some titles by these authors include:
Tropic of Cancer and/or
Tropic of Capricorn by Miller
On the road by Kerouac
and the Rum Diary by Thompson.
I guess you could read anything you can get your hands on by these authors, but these I would recommend as a start and I think it would be interesting to focus on because they were all written before the authors became famous and established as writers.
I have a copy of the Rum Diary somewhere that I can lend you too.
Happy reading folks!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sorry folks

Small problem with Pyzam templates, have adjusted comments options so they now appear in a pop-up window, which seems to work.  Let me know if you have any problems and I'll ditch the template.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

And so it begins

Hi all

Well my month has rolled around quite quickly and it's time to chat about Nineteen Eighty-Four...suppose I had better read it then

The book may be in my 'to read pile' but I have already planed the end event so at least I have my priorities right

Keep watching for some leading questions (once I make them up or steal them from Novelist) and happy reading


(PS - Thanks to Nicole for the fabulous page)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The "Romance"

How did you feel about Lily's relationship with Zach? Personally I found it unnecessary to the plot.... I wondered what the appeal for Zach was in the relationship, especially as it would be dangerous for him. Lily would not be the easiest person to get on with, I would imagine!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The ending

So as not to spoil the ending for those who are still going, I will post the question in the comments page....

Bees as a motif

What do you think is the significance of bees in the story? How do you think the secret life of bees relates to Lily's own life?

Civil Rights

How did you feel about the handling of race issues and the civil rights movement in the book? How did you find the portrayal of Rosaleen? (Personally I found it a bit cliched). Why would she spit on the white men's shoes when she was fully aware of what the consequences could be?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Test for Philippa!

Did it work?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The wall

I really liked the use of May's wall, especially the ending where Lily reinvents the purpose of the wall.  I thought it was interesting to see the progression through Lily to a meaning other than alleviating grief and sorrow.

Monday, April 6, 2009

So who's read the book?

Has anyone read the book and seen the film?  I haven't seen it yet, did it measure up?  I like the look of the cast.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Black Madonna

I've been reading some of Sue Monk Kidd's interviews about the Secret Life of Bees online and they were mostly along the same lines, but this one struck me as particularly interesting.  The interviewer is from a religious publication or website (not sure which) and the focal point of the interview was the black madonna.  I read the Secret Life of Bees years ago and am halfway through rereading it and, despite the importance of the black madonna, it never struck me as a particularly religious book, so this article put an entirely new slant on the book for me.  I'll be interested to see what I pick up this time around.  

Monday, March 30, 2009

Watchmen lives on...

For anyone wishing to continuing posting any thoughts and discussion about Watchmen (or even if you've just finished/finishing it and want to have your say) you can do so here.

Anything and everything Watchmen in this space!

The End Is Nigh

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for all the input, discussion and dessert over this past months for Watchmen month.

I have really enjoyed getting other peoples thoughts and feedback on Watchmen and comics in general as a medium. I hope you all have to.

A big thanks for trying something thats a little bit different and I hope all enjoyed it!

I'll leave a general Watchmen discussion Q up so that if anyone wants to add any thoughts about Watchmen as the year progesses you can.

Thanks again and looking forward to starting again next month with the Secret Life of Bee's and keep on reading those graphic novels!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Watchmen wrap up meeting

Just one last reminder that if you're keen the Watchmen wrap up meeting will be at my place this Friday @ 7 Carrol Avenue East Gosford starting 7.30pm.

If you can please bring a plate of your favourite dessert...but if you can't don't let that stop you...just come along and enjoy the fun!

Watchmen discussion podcast

For anyone interested, the web site Batman-on-film has a roundtable discussion on the Watchmen film.


BOF is a website dedicated to advocating quality in the Batman franchise (and has been operating for 10 years since the 'Batman and Robin' debacle) and also acts as a fan forum.

They also review DC related things in general inlucding movies, DVDs and comics. The panel doing the discussion includes the websites founder, Bill Ramey and a number of other people associated with literature and the comic book industry.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Watchmen Supporting Cast

While the Crimebusters (or Watchmen in the movie) are the focus of Watchmen, there is a very strong supporting cast of characters that help to drive the narrative; the Minutemen, the psychologist and his wife, the newstand vendor, the kid reading Tales of the Black Freighter, the police detectives and the lesbian couple just to name a few.

How did you feel these characters added to the story? Were they vital or superfluous? How does their portrayal compare between the GN and the movie?

Monday, March 23, 2009


I really would like to know...when you either first read the GN or saw the movie (without having read the GN) did you pick Ozymandias to be the mastermind behind it all?

Character back story

What did everyone think of the importance of the characters back story in the GN or movie? Obviously they both developed the back stories in their own way, and just wondering how important you think the back stories are to understanding the characters?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

End of the World?

I'm interested to know what everyone thinks was meant by Rorschach, unmasked, carrying signs predicting the end the world, but still requesting his daily paper be available the next day?

The illustrator

Can anyone tell me: does the author instruct the illustrator how he wants each panel to appear in a graphic novel? It seems to me alot of the story is told through the pictures and all the credit is given to the author, not the illustrator.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Q5 Comedian: Friend or Foe

This is a character that is truly dastardly and yet he gains some sympathy from the other characters in both the GN and the movie. What were peoples thoughts about him and his work?

Q4 Characterisations

Kristen asked:

Were the movie characters more likable than the GN characters?

I 'liked' and felt more sympathy for the characters in the movie, which leads me to ask - was it just that I identify better with people on the big screen, that they seem more real? Or did the screen play, for all it's adherance to the GN, soften the characters somehow to make them less loathsome or pathetic?

Q3 Superheroes v Masked heroes

Kristen asked:

Where does the line between a superhero and a masked hero lie?

We've all watched action flicks where the good guys run, jump, pummel and slaughter their way through untold enemies and scoffed at the unbelievability of it all but in the GN and the movie we saw it all again - yet, and especially in the GN, they always tried to draw a line between being masked and superIs it that they have superior training (did they have any training other than Laurie?), is it that the suit and mask created a sense of confidence, ability and strength that allowed them inhuman power? Is it that I am reading too much into something again and I should go with the flow?

Q2 Endings

Kristen asked:

The ending:Would the original GN ending have worked? I really felt the lack of that fantastical ending. It was almost a cop out that left the ending sequence a bit empty for me, a bit 'meh'. There was no WTF moment in the movie, no OMG THAT'S what all that meant. The ball of energy was a bit 'blah' and too easy, too mainstream, too 'quick think up an ending they'll swallow'.So saying, when I described the GN ending to G he thought that that would have ruined the movie, so maybe it's just me. Also, I realise that they would have had to add an hour of film to set up the GN ending for the audience. What do you think?

Q1 Watchmen (movie) visual style

Kristen asked: Was it lazy or genius to recreate the shots from the GN onto the screen so perfectly?


I was thinking about the relevance of the poem Ozymandius. Part of the poem appears on a massive sculpture in the film. The poem is all about how time will obliterate the works of even the most powerful and ambitious of men. Or the pointlessness of everything in the face of time and decay. (how uplifting).

I haven't decided what the significance is in the story, can anyone else shed light on this? Maybe it will become clearer as I read the rest of the book.

For those who have not seen it, here is the poem:

by: Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert...
Near them, on the sand, Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings,
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains.
Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Who's watched the Watchmen?

Well all, really enjoyed the movie. Thought it was fantastic (as did G). Would love to do the ultimate nerd thing (in the privacy of my own home ) and have the GN open to follow along with the film - of course if you repeat this I will deny it.

The way they perfectly recreated the scenes from the GN onto the screen was poetry (G thinks it was lazy)

The big question(s) for me after reading/viewing are:

1. Was it lazy or genius to recreate the shots from the GN onto the screen so perfectly?

2. The ending:

Would the original GN ending have worked? I really felt the lack of that fantastical ending. It was almost a cop out that left the ending sequence a bit empty for me, a bit 'meh'. There was no WTF moment in the movie, no OMG THAT'S what all that meant. The ball of energy was a bit 'blah' and too easy, too mainstream, too 'quick think up an ending they'll swallow'.

So saying, when I described the GN ending to G he thought that that would have ruined the movie, so maybe it's just me. Also, I realise that they would have had to add an hour of film to set up the GN ending for the audience

What do you think?

3. Where does the line between a superhero and a masked hero lie?

We've all watched action flicks where the good guys run, jump, pummel and slaughter their way through untold enemies and scoffed at the unbelievability of it all but in the GN and the movie we saw it all again - yet, and especially in the GN, they always tried to draw a line between being masked and super

Is it that they have superior training (did they have any training other than Laurie?), is it that the suit and mask created a sense of confidence, ability and strength that allowed them inhuman power? Is it that I am reading too much into something again and I should go with the flow?

4. Were the movie characters more likable than the GN characters?

I 'liked' and felt more sympathy for the characters in the movie, which leads me to ask - was it just that I identify better with people on the big screen, that they seem more real? Or did the screen play, for all it's adherance to the GN, soften the characters somehow to make them less loathsome or pathetic?

Discuss (my inner uni professor coming out lol)

5. Have I usurped your questions Ben? Sorry!!!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Notes from the drinks...I mean meeting

Some things we talked about tonight:
  • If it's your month, you call the shots on how you run it; topic/book/film, questions, directing conversation etc
  • Catch-ups are at the discretion of the person who's month it is, they choose if they want one at all, the date, location etc  Understanding that some people will be unable to make it.
  • After you've run your month it would be interesting to see a wrap-up reviewing the topic/book/film and whether your ideas have changed.  This could be the basis for an Off The Shelf review, as well, if you would like to do so. 
For everyone who went tonight and asked about the article I read where Alan Moore condemned the movie, it was in a copy of FilmInk, but I found this one online, and it quotes similar sentiments.  The writer's response to it is very interesting, what does everyone think?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Aaarrgghhh [like a pirate]: There be spoilers here!

It was inevitable, but the issue of the ending of Watchmen has come up...

If you have read the graphic novel and want to make a comment on the ending, here's your chance.

If you haven't read it yet...AVOID THIS LIKE THE PLAGUE!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I enjoyed reading info on 'The Watchmen', one of the reasons I like graphic novels, and the off-shoot movies, like 'Sin City', is the style of the imagery and film noir use of light and shade, which create great atmosphere, reminescent of the B&W Hitchcock movies.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Watchmen Viewing

Hi All,

For those interested, it looks as though we will be going to the 8.00pm session of Watchmen at Hoyts on Wed 11th March.

Please come and join the fun!



If you want more

If you're loving reading Watchmen, have a look at NoveList, there are a heap of recommended Graphic Novels to try. Click on this link

Philippa (shamelessly promoting our databases)

End of month Dessert/Coffee Night

Hi All,

Just thought I'd put it out there - I'm hosting a dessert/coffee Watchmen wrap up night at my place at 7 Carrol Ave East Gosford on the Friday 27th March at 7.30pm.

If you're ineterested, all you need to do is to bring a plate of your favourite sweet!

Sweets, legally addictive stimulants, books - whats not to love?

Drop me a line if you're interested.



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Who wrote the Watchmen?

Hi All,
Please find below some biographical info on the writer and artist of Watchmen.
Alan Moore (The writer)

Alan Moore was born in Northampton England November 18th 1953. Oldest son of a brewery worker and a printer, Moore's childhood and youth were influenced by poverty. Expelled from a conservative secondary school (and not accepted into any other school) Moore and so remained unemployed with no job qualifications. During this time he worked on a magazine he was publishing with his friends called Embryo and was married in 1974, having two daughters shortly after.

Over his writing career, Moore has contributed to many iconic science fiction titles including the Doctor Who Weekly and 2000AD as well as many other smaller publications before going on to create his own pieces of literary history.

The Miraclemen and V for Vendetta were two of his first ground breaking works which would earn him recognition - a British Eagle Award (1982) and Best Comic Writer (1983).

With his own reputation developing, Moore was offered his own title in the US called Saga of the Swamp Thing. This enabled Moore to address topical issues facing the world (gun control, racism and nuclear waste) and show the depth of his work.

Moore also during this time penned works for DC and Marvel Comics and wrote for some of their major characters including Batman, Superman, X-Men, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Spawn. For a full biographical list click here http://www.alanmoorefansite.com/bibliography.html.

In 1986, Moore released one the most influential comic stories of the modern era - Watchmen, originally published as a 12 issue run for DC in 1986-87

It was hailed as altering the tone of the comic book genre and changed how it was viewed as a literary medium. It won a comic award at the time (the 1987 Jack Kirby Comics Industry Awards for Best Writer/Artist combination) and has continued to gather praise since.

Since completing these iconic works, Moore has worked for several comic companies including Image Comics, and his own publishing house, America's Best Comics (ABC).

Information from http://www.alanmoorefansite.com/ & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Moore

Dave Gibbons (the artist)

Dave Gibbons has been a major force in comics for more than 30 years. As an artist his credits include Batman, Superman, Dr Who, Green Lantern, Rogue Trooper and of course, his best known work Watchmen.

He has won many awards for his work over the years including 4 Jack Kirby Awards and 2 further nominations.

A full list of his works can be found on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Gibbons.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Testing the waters

Hi folks,

Since Ben has posted his cracking introduction to the Watchmen, we are officially underway!  After a couple of conversations with fellow bookclubbers I am using this post as a test to see who is reading the blog.  How would you all feel about a quick catchup next Tuesday evening, maybe drinks at Iguana Joes, to have a general chat about our bookclub and how we want to proceed regarding catchups etc? Email me a yay, nay or comment, don't bother posting to the blog.

Looking forward to hopefully seeing you all Tuesday and especially looking forward to talking about Watchmen!

PS. An update to the reading list - July - Exploring Science Fiction with Larissa.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Brodies Notes to Watchmen...

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Who watches the watchmen?

This enigmatic graffiti tag line that appears scrawled on brick walls throughout the story sums up Watchmen.

One of the most iconic comic runs (then collected into a graphic novel) of our time, Watchmen is set in a 1980's dystopian USA during a period of heightened cold war tension. The US and Russia stand on the brink of nuclear war. Nixon is still president after the US constitution was amended to allow him to remain in power (currently into his 4th term). The US won the Vietnam War.

A mixture of fear and fatalism engulfs society as the world steadily marches towards Armageddon.

While the backdrop to the story is epic, the focus is a group of costumed (not super) heroes known as the Crimebusters - ordinary men and women who took it upon themselves to fight crime and bring hope to society. Now outlawed by the government, these heroes have gone into retirement to live out their days as ordinary citizens.

But history it seems, isn't done with them.

One of the Crimebusters is brutally murdered.

Investigation reveals other retired heroes have died in mysterious circumstances. The question becomes: is there a conspiracy to kill costumed heroes or are their past actions catching up with them?

A wonderfully deep story, Watchmen blends an intriguing detective story with social commentary. Several literary forms interweave to bring this amazing work to life - art, character narrative, newspaper articles, book excerpts, interviews and yes, even a comic within a comic.

And the ending…

Note to the uninitiated:

Comics are not every ones cup of tea, which is certainly fair enough. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the classics…that Mr Darcy thinks he's so good [shaking fist]…

Comics though, unlike classics, are a medium that polarise the literary world. Most often viewed as "low brow" pleasures with little depth (which, to be fair, does describe some) they are a form of literature that still struggles to be accepted in the mainstream literary world as a way to tell substantive stories.

Watchmen is one of the comics that proves that's not the case.

A source of discussion during this month inevitably will be the comic book (graphic novel) genre itself...how do you view it? Why do you see it that way? Would you consider a comic literature? Has Watchmen changed your view about comics or reinforced it?

I look forward to sharing your thoughts this month!

More Watchmen info to come…

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Benefits to working on the weekend

You get to see the weekend papers and this weekend the Watchmen are on the front of Spectrum! So if anyone's looking for an incentive to read the graphic novel, it is called a graphic novel with "gravitas bursting onto the big screen".

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Watch(men) this space!

Hi all fellow book lovers!

Watch this space shortly for a bit of background info on Watchmen for your reading pleasure to help kick things off.

Looking forward to sharing everyone's thoughts on this piece of work!

For anyone that would like to see the movie, some of us are going on Wed 11th March. Session time TBA.



Monday, February 23, 2009

The Story So Far...

In a galaxy far, far away...

Ben wants you to Watch the Watchmen in March - graphic novel and/or film.  Group viewing hopefully to be organised.

Philippa wants to learn about the Secret Life of Bees in April, novel and/or film.  Group viewing, possibly early to catch the cinema release, stay tuned for updates...

Kristen is going back to 1984 in May, join her in reading this classic.

Heather wants you to go roadtripping in June with Autobiographical Fiction, featured authors Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller and Hunter S. Thompson.

Bookworms get researching.  Everyone else, want something different - start emailing!  

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Maybe this will be easier

Everyone is being too polite and hesitant - how about you just email me your chosen title and whether you need a particular month to be the Bookworm, and I'll post a list and we can get this party started!

PS.  Just a warning, you know I'm going to make you read a kid's book...

so people - what's the March read??? When's the first meeting?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What I'd like to put on the reading list

Hi all

1984 - George Orwell.

Don't know if anyone else got to do it at school but I didn't and I've always been jealous

Monday, February 16, 2009

We're making a list...

Right, so what does everyone want to read or view?  As usual, I have no idea, someone else start - maybe Heather who provided the segue...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Become a contributor

Hi guys,

If you want to add yourself as a contributor, so you can post as yourself rather than as "bookworm", log in with the blog's email and password, go to settings, then permissions, then add and enter your email address to invite yourself to be a contributor or author.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Welcome - please start arguing now...

Hi everyone,

Here are my thoughts to start the ball rolling:

Our bookclub runs almost completely online. Everyone picks a book/film/topic - whatever they want, within reason - for each month (we compile a list) and that person is responsible for managing the blog that month and by that I mean, leading the discussion, posting questions etc.

If everyone is happy with that I'll put a second post up for suggestions of books/films/topics.

The catchup would be an added bonus and that way people who find it difficult to get to after work things can still participate. It also means people who are having a busy month can opt out by simply not participating. Maybe it could be a set night eg. first Tuesday of the month or something similar.

I also think it's important to stress, that if you don't like something, don't finish it, but post your reasons. Sometimes it's just as interesting to hear why someone didn't like something or couldn't get into it.

Comments please!