Tag Archives: Books

When is a job not a job?

I found this note in my pigeonhole at work yesterday.

I found this note in my pigeonhole at work yesterday.

I mentioned in my last post that I enjoy talking to library patrons about the choices they have made in reading material or movies. A few weeks ago, a lady was borrowing a documentary I had seen a trailer for : Tim’s Vermeer.

There were a number of reasons I was interested in this documentary. Firstly, the very first screenplay I wrote was about a Vermeer painting – “The Lacemaker“. It was a complex plot involving Salvador Dali, the Louvre, art fraud and a rhinoceros. The script is still available for development.

Secondly, the documentary is made by Penn and Teller, whom I admire for their magical skills and their zeal in uncovering fraudsters of the allegedly psychic variety.

Finally, it’s just an interesting concept. The subject – Tim Jenison – decided that Vermeer couldn’t possibly have managed to paint the variations of colour and texture the picture (he uses “The Music Lesson“) shows. There must, says Tim, have been some kind of device to allow Vermeer to see those variations as a camera sees them, not as an eye.

While keen to see the documentary, I hadn’t been able to get hold of a copy, and mentioned this to the lady, asking if she would let me know what she thought of it. She said she would, and took my name, remarking that it’s rare to be served by the same person twice at the library, since shifts change so often.

I was incredibly touched to return from my short break to find the handwritten review of the documentary shown above. That’s a great example of the OTHER kind of “Customer Service”.

The review reads:

Hi,

Verdict of Tim’s Vermeer:

The direction was clunky, more narration would have been good, and it would have been nice to hear more from the art world and less from Penn Jillette.

However, the subject matter was fascinating. The theory posited was intriguing, as was the way he proved it. I would have loved to hear more about the art world’s reaction to his experiment.

I wouldn’t suggest this as a good example of a documentary, but I do suggest it on the basis of the subject matter.”

Advertisements

A week in reading

Sometimes reading feels like famine or feast. I go through periods of brilliant books, then can’t find a damn thing to read anywhere (and when you consider that I work in a library…)

This last week has been a feast period. I started with two fun Star Wars books, downloaded a gripping audio book and found a bargain e-book written by a friend. So let’s start with that one.

Jane Turley is an English writer who I have come to know through G+. She’s cheerful and friendly and encouraging, and has often mentioned that she’s been working on her novel. That novel is “The Changing Room“, and she posted it online this last week. I downloaded a copy, keen to see what she’d produced, expecting – hoping – to enjoy it.

What I didn’t expect was to be totally swept away by it. The book is written from the point of view of Sandy, a wife and mum who is a great salesperson. She doesn’t love her job at the furniture store, but she likes people, and her work helps support her husband’s building company in the tough times of recession. During the course of the novel, Sandy moves from her sales job at the store to a more flexible one working from home, then finds a surprising extra source of income when a friend reveals she runs a sex chat phone service.

Throughout all this Sandy is caring for her mother, who is sliding deeper and deeper into Alzheimer’s. Sandy wants to put off taking her mother into care, but it has to happen eventually, for her own safety as much as for Sandy’s sanity.

I won’t detail everything that happens in the book, but suffice to say, I read it in two sittings. Sandy’s life is busy, it’s funny, it’s sad, it’s unexpected and familiar at the same time. More than anything, this book feels REAL. I have no hesitation in recommending this book.

The two Star Wars books I read this week were “Allegiance” and “Choices of One” by Timothy Zahn. Both these books are now available under the “Star Wars – Legends” banner, since Disney decided all books produced after “Return of the Jedi” were non-canon. HERESY! Ahem.

I thought I had read both these books before, but I was delighted to discover that I had made a silly mistake. “Allegiance” is the first of the two, and I had only read the second book. When I picked up “Allegiance” last time, I read the blurb and thought it sounded familiar, so I assumed I’d read it. Here’s why:

The first book deals with Mara Jade, the Emperor’s Hand. She’s got a mission to fulfill. A group of stormtroopers, disgusted with some Xeno-cleansing they have been ordered to take part in, accidentally kill a political officer and go on the run, fortuitously stealing a fully-equipped and disguised ship. They elect to continue as rogue stormtroopers, serving their image of the Empire, as a just bastion of stability and order. Meanwhile, three very familiar rebels are also on a mission – Han, Luke and Leia (and Chewie!) – that takes them into the same area of space.

What follows is a clever dance. Zahn introduced the character of Mara Jade in the first post ROTJ book “Heir to the Empire” and showed us then that she had not met Luke Skywalker previously, though she knew of him and hated him for killing the Emperor. By writing these prequels, Zahn risked contradicting his own work, so he has managed to manipulate the characters and events so that the stormtroopers work with both rebels and Jade, but those two groups never communicate directly with one another.

It’s not world-changing stuff, and it’s really most fun if you’re a fan of Zahn’s previous work and want to see Mara in her prime and Luke as a know-nothing proto-jedi. Read them in order, and be surprised at how you can come to admire a group of stormtroopers.

The audio book I’ve been enjoying this week is “The Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith (Or JK Rowling, as he’s also known….). Mrs Dim and I both enjoyed “The Cuckoo’s Calling”, finding it mildly less grim than “The Casual Vacancy”, and “The Silkworm” is in much the same vein. Of course, since solving the high-profile Lula Landry murder, Cormoran Strike and Robin are on a much better financial footing, and Cormoran himself has finally found a new place to live, so he’s not sleeping in the office any more.

The book is slower to start, lingering more on the details of Robin and Strike’s lives, but I was perfectly happy with that. Rowling didn’t go into a great deal of detail on her principal characters in the first book, and I was interested in how things had gone for them in the intervening time. There’s still plenty to be told – mention is made several times during the book of the traumatic events that made Robin drop out of her course at university, but unless I missed something, we never found out exactly what it was. Her fiance does express surprise that she wants to become an investigator herself “after what happened”, so there’s a clue there, maybe…

I found myself making excuses to plug my headphones in so I could listen to the story, and inevitably got cross with myself after finishing it. What am I going to listen to now? I enjoyed it so much, i found it hard to understand the negative reviews it garnered on Amazon. Not many, certainly, but I think most were still looking for another Harry Potter book.

There IS such a thing as a bad book.

If you’re a real fan of reading, you probably get really into your book. It’s not just a way to pass the time, you open the cover and dive in. If someone talks to you while you’re reading, there may be a moment or two of confusion as you emerge from the story-world and try to re-engage with reality.

r is for reading, Petra Hollander photography

r is for reading, Petra Hollander photography

Well, that’s the way it is with GOOD books. With a bad book it’s like trying to dive with a balloon tied to each wrist. Stupid phrasing, bad word choices or just irritating characters pitch you back out of the story again and again.

The last two books I’ve listened to (and I’m not going to name names) have been bad. The first had a protagonist who was weak and ineffective – this was a deliberate choice by the author, certainly – and time and again he was put into a position where he needed to show some backbone to gain ground. Each time he fails, wimping out, missing his chance, getting beaten. He mans up for the very final confrontation, of course, but by then it was way, way too late for me.

The second book read like a pale imitation of a series that’s become a guilty pleasure – the Stephanie Plum books of Janet Evanovich. This book had the same first-person style, the same age range, the hunky cop/almost boyfriend, the accidental involvement in a crime and then the luck to keep finding the clues. Oh, and the fact that the killer then targets our heroine, of course.

One for the Money – the first Stephanie Plum adventure. Emphatically NOT a bad book.

Where the series differs (aside from the one mighty Maguffin which I won’t mention because it’ll give the identity away) is that the book is dreadful. The main character tells us at length about a sad crime she sees on the news. We get the name of the victim, mentioned half a dozen times. Then she relates the same story to the almost boyfriend over dinner. Then, a little while later, he references the victim in a conversation. She can’t remember who it is. Not only that, but she monologues, internally for a couple of pages about how she can’t remember who it is. People passing me on the road must’ve wondered why I was pounding on the steering wheel and screaming “What ARE you? Some kind of stunned duckling? You were just talking about this person two minutes ago, you brainless sockpuppet!”

The character conveniently fogets a number of important facts from time to time, then other characters explain them at length. Since I’m not either a stunned duckling or a brainless sockpuppet (despite what Mrs Dim might say on the subject) I did not appreciate these reminders. There was a also a truckload of bad writing. If a character mentions that they are “weary with exhaustion”, I would suggest it is time to gently lay down the book, soak it in petrol and burn it for the good of humanity. If your central character is the target of a crazed killer, known to be in the area, someone who has taken pictures of them as they go about their daily business, it seems a bizarre choice for them to go into their office just deal with one more client, someone they don’t know, that they’ve never met before. Oh, and if that central character is (secrecy be damned, this was just too annoying) SUPPOSED TO BE PSYCHIC then having them INVITE A PERSON WHO WANTS TO KILL THEM INTO THEIR OFFICE seems really, really unlikely.

I’m sure people could go through my e-books and find errors. In fact, I guarantee it. But you know who’s standing behind those books? Just me. I wrote ’em, I edited ’em, I proofread ’em and I published them. These other two books were from publishing houses and can be bought in regular bookstores. Just….don’t.

Two book recommendations

Since I stopped keeping count of my monthly book reading, I’ve occasionally found myself composing short reviews of books I’m reading, only to remember that I’m not doing that anymore. Then I realised I COULD still do that if I wanted to.

The world is my oyster. The internet is my hamster ball. The Pompidou Centre was a ghastly mistake that had nothing to do with me.

So, in that spirit, here are two books I have read recently that are worth a look:

Moonwalking with Einstein

Journalism is often writing about something that other people are doing. Josh Foer went a step further when he covered the National Memory Championships in America – he accepted the challenge to train for the following year and compete. Along the way he investigates what memory is, how it works, whether it really can be improved, how it intersects with education, the historical memory versus the modern view, savantism… There’s really so much to this book it’s hard to nail it down.

I got my copy through Audible, which is great because it prevents me skipping paragraphs (something I’m prone to with non-fiction), but it makes it harder to bookmark great passages for later investigation. There are some hints and tips in the book for improving your own memory, but mostly it is a fascinating ride through the history of memory and Josh’s personal journey from reporting on the National Memory Championships to competing in them.

Whispers Under Ground

Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant)

I picked the first of this series (Midnight Riot) from the paperback stand at my local library. It was great to find an Urban Fantasy book that wasn’t set in America and wasn’t fascinated by vampires or werewolves. Instead, these books follow Peter Grant, a young Detective Constable in the Metropolitan Police, as he stumbles across the arcane branch of the Met that deals with the Supernatural. Well, I say “branch”, but really it’s just Detective Inspector Nightingale. Nightingale takes Grant under his wing (ha! See what I did there?) and introduces him to the other side of London, while slowly coaching him in the art of magic. What’s refreshing about Grant is that he’s a modern guy who feels that doing magic is cool and fun, and he’s also a little bit scientific about the whole thing. When he discovers magic has a devastating effect on microchips, for example, he sets up a simple experiment to establish the range of the effect. He learns from mistakes, and he pushes at the boundaries placed on him by Nightingale. In short, he feels like a real person.

“Whispers” is the third in the series, and again I got it through Audible. The performance is excellent and the story manages to stay logical while still scampering through magic and legend. I just picked up the fourth one this week.

On behalf of a friend : Buy a book and make a difference.

I spend a lot of time on Google +, the social network. Through it I have met many other writers, artists, performers, parents, students, poets… Many have become genuine friends, and from time to time I see appeals for help. Someone has unexpected medical bills, or a family member in need of help. But Brad Poynter’s story was a little different, because he wasn’t asking people to send money. He wanted to give something in exchange, so he’s cut the price on his e-book and asked people just to buy that.
Please, read his story below. I know there will be some people out there who say “I had some hard times, where were all the people to help me?” Well, right here and now, those people are YOU. You have the choice to buy a book, or not. I’ll be reviewing Brad’s book on this site shortly, and I’m sure he won’t mind if you want to wait and hear what it’s all about before you click the button on Amazon.
Here’s what Brad posted:
“Brad Poynter originally shared:

My family needs your help.

One of my daughters is struggling with life and was planning to kill herself. Thankfully she talked to her mentor at school first and now that we are aware of her hidden struggles, we are doing everything we can to help her through this.

She is in the best facility in Arkansas for troubled teens and they are getting her on some meds along with the counseling of their great therapists. We will do whatever it takes to get her the help she needs.

First, I would ask that you send prayers, good vibrations, mojo, or whatever other positive energy you prefer her way. Science be damned today; she needs whatever advantage she can get to get through this. It would be greatly appreciated.

Secondly, this is going to be expensive even if we get approved for the state assistance for children. We are at that income level on the borderline and I’ve been told not to get my hopes up. A 20% copay is still going to be a lot in relation to our incomes even if we do get their help.

That being said, I’m not asking for donations. I would prefer to give you something in return for your help and not be one of the freeloading poor people that politicians get so worked up about. Our family has worked hard and gotten off of all government assistance two years ago, but like I said I’ll do whatever it takes to get her help. That includes selling my dream car or taking advantage of the programs my taxes help pay for.

If you would like to help, I ask that you buy my book so you get something in return for your generosity. You can see what it’s about at the links below and if it sounds good, purchase it there as well. So far, the people that have read it seem to really enjoy the story.

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ANORCHW
Print: https://www.createspace.com/4030391

If you don’t read or want to buy it as a gift for someone who does, tag me in a private message and I can give you my paypal details. I would really prefer to earn it, but once again; I will do whatever it takes to get her the help she needs.

If you’re not in a position to help financially, you can share this plea with your internet friends or if you’ve already read the book and haven’t reviewed it you could do so to let these other kind folks know what they’re getting into.

As you can imagine, this is all very hard for me to come to terms with but it’s not about me. It’s about a tender soul who is struggling to come to terms with the sometimes harsh and ugly world around her. I would do anything to make it better. Even standing on the virtual street corners of the internet busking my book like it’s snake oil is fair game.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for any support you can offer.”

The August Sale!

 

sale picture

It’s August. The month that includes my birthday. If things were otherwise, this might be a significant year, like turning 40 or 42. Sadly, it’s just boring old 41 so I’ve decided to spice things up by reducing prices on my most popular e-books for THE WHOLE MONTH OF AUGUST! I was going to reduce them by 41% which would have been both clever and significant, but it was too much math. Instead I took the short story collections down to 99 Cents and the non-fiction smash success “The Great Canadian Adventure” from $6.99 down to $2.99. (All other prices are calculated from those base prices.)

But don’t just take my word for it – check out the links below to go straight to your nearest Amazon Website and see for yourself!

The Great Canadian Adventure: Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk  Amazon.ca

The true-life story of how my family and I emigrated to Canada, and how we got on in the first year of our new life. With Pictures!

Troubled Souls:                                  Amazon.com  Amazon.co.uk  Amazon.ca

Three stories from the male perspective, with three men in different, but desperate circumstances. Also the opening of my upcoming Zombie novel.

Science Fiction Shorts:                  Amazon.com  Amazon.co.uk  Amazon.ca

Four stories of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Coffee Time Tales:                            Amazon.com  Amazon.co.uk  Amazon.ca

Five short stories, originally written for women’s coffee-break fiction magazines. These are not grim and gritty stories of the real world, nor are they faerie, werewolf or sparkly vampire-filled stories of a underworld, netherworld, netherparts or underwear. They are gentle, uplifting and feature female protagonists and romantic storylines.

Like all writers, a sale of a book is the best birthday present I could get. And if you’ve already bought one of my books, why not consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads? Honesty is encouraged, because when you review it’s YOUR reputation on the line as much as mine – you want your friends to trust your judgement, don’t you?

To all other August birthday folks (like fellow author but sadly dead person Mary Shelley) have a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

 

May Reading

May’s been a crazy month, with Mrs Dim’s birthday celebrations, unexpected illness, even more unexpected job interviews and a sudden rush of paid work for me at home.

None of that, of course, has put a dent in my reading. In case people think I laze around reading when I should be doing productive things, let me reassure you: I read at night, I read over breakfast, and I will take the latest book with me anywhere I think I might be sitting around for more than five minutes…And two of my weasels are being treated at the Orthodontist right now, so I have lots of those five minutes.

Sacre Bleu – Christopher Moore

I’m a fan of Christopher Moore’s work in general, but this book feels a little like a departure for him. While no less imaginative or anarchic, it’s shot through with some interesting observances and philosophy, as well as beautiful illustrations of (mainly Impressionist) artwork. I studied History of Art for a while in college, and this book was like a walk through the happier parts of that course.

The Dragon with the girl tattoo – Adam Roberts

There are some parodies that can’t sustain the joke beyond the title. This isn’t one of those, aping the storyline of the original book to a certain degree, but wandering away when it’s clear the author found the ending of that novel to be a let-down. I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would, and I’m glad I stuck with it.

Star Wars Omnibus – emissaries and assassins

Having read the other volume of these collected comics from the library last month, I wanted to complete the set. Looking back, now three weeks on, I don’t remember much of this one at all. That can’t be much of a recommendation.

Practical Demonkeeping – Christopher Moore

Reading “Sacre Bleu” reminded me how much I liked Christopher Moore’s work, so I went back to this book, the first in his “Pine Cove” series. It’s a wild ride, featuring Catch the demon (who also appears in his religious work “The gospel according to Biff”). Nothing in the book happens quite as you expect it to, which I think is as it should be.

Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe – Stuart Maclean

I’ve probably said before how much I enjoy Stuart Maclean’s stories about Dave and Morley and their family. He’s like Garrison Keillor without the savage undertone. We were lucky enough to get tickets for a live show at Christmas and saw Stuart performing two stories onstage – he’s so enthusiastic that he bops up and down with the words, his hands always moving, his face as expressive as his voice (which always reminds me of James Stewart somehow.) This collection is the regular kind of wonderful, though the last story was almost too sad to bear – it’s called Morte D’Arthur, and anyone familiar with the members of Dave’s family will know enough to stay away from that one. Especially if they’ve ever had pets.

Partials – Dan Wells

I haven’t covered any YA or dystopian futures yet, so here’s one that’s both. Years after a disastrous war against their own race of super-soldiers (The Partials), mankind is reduced to a tiny enclave on Long Island. But no children have been born in the last fourteen years that survive more than a few days. The virus released by the Partials kills them all. Despairing of the lack of research done, one brave girl decides to capture a Partial and see if their immunity can be passed on to the babies, before revolution or the latest draconian laws destroy her tiny community altogether.

I enjoyed this story more than I thought I would. Well written and even more well thought out, the twists and turns of the plot are surprising but believable and the world itself feels possible.

You are not so smart – David McRaney

This book is the collected posts of a blog (a bit like mine! Yay!) but this blog deals with psychological issues, mainly of perception – all those things that we think we know, all the “man in a pub told me” kind of facts. For example, there’s a telling piece on the experiment to have students act as jail guard or prisoners for two weeks. Guards and students were chosen at random, but within days the guards were going beyond their remit to ‘punish’ the prisoners, and the prisoners themselves were suffering from depression and lack of self-esteem. This tells us a lot about how we might act in similar situations, and is typical of the genuine science the book pulls out to show the reader how we might be fooling ourselves about the things we know.

Zombie Spaceship wasteland – Patton Oswalt

Thinking at first that this was going to be the weirdest novel ever, I was a little disappointed to find it was a collection of thoughts and opinion pieces by the comedian Patton Oswalt. He had a resurgence of internet fame after his comments following the Boston Marathon bombing became the most-shared internet wisdom on the subject. I struggled with some of the pieces in the book, and found others to be too painfully honest, but the title actually refers to a vague system Oswalt has devised to divide up the human race. I’m not going to summarize it here, because it may be the one thing worth picking up the book for.

A Blink of the Screen – Terry Pratchett

Many years ago a friend lent me a copy of “Pyramids” and I was instantly hooked on the Discworld. Since then (which is a scary number of years…let’s see, 1990…Wow, 23 years!) I’ve collected all the Discworld books, and read every other book he has written. This collection of short fiction pieces showcases work from throughout his career, including a story he wrote when he was thirteen, which he credits with giving him the confidence to believe he could write stories other people would enjoy. There are two halves to this book, being regular stories and Discworld stories. There weren’t any that particularly stuck out, but I enjoyed the read, and the hardback version I read had some beautiful illustrations included.

Amrita – Nan Allen

I don’t have an illustration for this book, nor do I have a link (yet). Nan is one of my good friends on G+, and she has provided good advice and excellent editing services in the year or so since I’ve known her. She asked me to Beta-read her new YA novel and I accepted without hesitation.

Like Nan’s previous work “A Mystic Romance”

“Amrita” isn’t the kind of book I’d usually pick up for myself. It’s a YA novel about a young Indian bride, brought across to America when her husband’s father finds him a job with a technology company. Amrita has to struggle to find her place as a new wife, living in the home of her in-laws, but also having to attend High School and keep the fact of her marriage secret from the other students.

The book is not a condemnation of other cultures or individuals, but it’s using Amrita’s situation to talk about young women finding out that they are more than the labels and expected duties of their society. It doesn’t matter if you’re raised in a strongly traditional part of India, or the deep South of America, or Upstate New York, you have the right to be yourself, to find out what your own limits are, not have them placed on you by other people.

It was a hard read at times, with my blood boiling with indignation on Amrita’s behalf, but I think that’s a good sign – when a situation in a book causes an emotional reaction, it means you’re in that world, you’re believing it.

Dodger – Terry Pratchett

Despite my previously stated love of Terry’s work, I had been avoiding reading Dodger. Some of the reviews I had read had told me it wasn’t a Discworld novel, and the last non-discworld book of his I had read (“The Long Earth”) was intriguing but ultimately unsatisfying.

Dodger is set in Dickensian London, and Dickens is only one of the famous characters of that time to wander through the story. Dodger is a street urchin, a Tosher, who makes his living from the detritus washed into the city’s drains and sewers. He saves a girl from a savage beating and becomes a target for the same men when he hides the girl from them.

I enjoyed the story, but after it was done, it occurred to me that Dodger was never actually in any trouble. He plans ahead, uses his many street contacts and his new friends in high places and is always one step ahead of the bad guys. One of the things I loved about the Modesty Blaise series by Peter O’Donnell was that Modesty and Willie would meticulously plan their operation, and within minutes of it beginning, something unexpected would disrupt everything and they would have to start anew from a very perilous position.

Someone mentioned recently that, reading the “Watch” series of Pratchett books, it’s like Terry likes his characters too much to put them in any real peril any more. I think there’s some truth in that.

Han Solo’s Revenge – Brian Daley

A little while ago I reviewed my rediscovered copy of “Han Solo and the Lost Legacy”. Well, this week a parcel arrived from the UK with a stack of “Doctor Who” books for Eldest Weasel, and tucked in amongst them was this gem, the first in the trilogy of Han Solo adventures by Brian Daley.

The book finds Han and Chewie very nearly down and out, struggling to make ends meet and get the Falcon repaired. This state encourages them to take a dodgy job they would otherwise have avoided, which gets them involved in a Slaver’s ring and a big investigation by the Corporate Sector Authority.

It’s fun, and well-written by someone who clearly loves the characters. And since this was a UK version, the droid on the ship is back to being called “Zollux” which sounds soooo much better to me.

Wayne of Gotham – Tracy Hickman

This is the second time I’ve tried to read this book. I always think I’m more of a Batfan than I really am, and this is old Bruce Wayne, feeling the strain of the years and relying on the exoskeleton in the Batsuit to help him get through the night. A convoluted story that will probably delight the true fans out there, this draws a tight web around Alfred and Bruce’s parents and the genesis of the many wild villains that populate Gotham city.

I found it hard going, and at one point, utterly perplexing. Hearing a recording of his father’s voice, Bruce learns some troubling things about a crucial stage of his father’s medical research. But his father says “I’m leaving this record for my boys… Both of them…”. At the time I filed the detail away, waiting for Bruce’s younger, or older, or twin brother to suddenly step out of the shadows. Or for Bruce to be killed and his brother emerge to don the batmantle. Except that didn’t happen. Blah, blah, blah, fight, struggle, succeed. No mention of a brother. But this wasn’t a typo. A single error, yes, that I could accept, but the other sentence began with “Both of them” and it’s really hard to make a mistake like that when you’re talking about an individual.

So, although I read to the end, I found it, ultimately, a depressing book. Maybe I should stay away from the Dark Knight altogether….

All the illustrations and all the links regarding the books have been taken from Amazon.com. Apologies if you’d like to track these books down in some other land (like Canada, for instance!) but most should be available in your own native Amazon stores. Also, remember to check your local library for these books too.

Today being the final day of May, it also sees the end of the promotional price for “The Great Canadian Adventure”, reverting to the regular price of $6.99 from tomorrow. You still have time to pick it up at the bargain price of $2.99, but only if you hurry!

Amazon US     Amazon UK    Amazon CA