Wine, dinner and listening to the lovely Hannah Kent

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On Friday afternoon, I mentioned on Twitter that while people may have top plans for their evening, they wouldn’t be as good as mine. Because I was going to hear Hannah Kent speak about Burial Rites. At Montalto Winery on the Mornington Peninsula. With a delicious dinner and a glass or two of fizz. So yeah, I won.

The evening was organised by The Wheeler Centre, as part of their Good Conversation Great Wine series. After we enjoyed a leisurely dinner, author Jo Case introduced Hannah, naturally making mention of the worldwide success of Burial Rites.

Jo began by asking Hannah about the parallels between Iceland and Australia and although they’re not immediately obvious, Hannah noted the similarities in the landscapes – “In both countries, the landscape is stunning, alien and hostile. The hostility coexists with the beauty.” Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

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It’s more on the ‘bookish’ side of things this week…

1. It’s almost time for the Melbourne Writers Festival. I’ve got tickets for Sonya Hartnett, Dave Eggers and some stuff for the kids. My wishlist is also eleventy billion miles long, so I’m just working out how I can put life on hold for two weeks while I go to #ALLTHEEVENTS.

2. The Man Booker Prize Longlist 2014 has been announced. There’s a couple on the list that I intend to read (the Hustvedt and the Nicholls) but I already know what I’m cheering for. Continue reading

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Hungry, The Stars and Everything by Emma Jane Unsworth

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Last week I reviewed Emma Jane Unsworth’s Animals. It’s been one of my favourite books this year (up there with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma and The Goldfinch). However, Unsworth’s debut novel was Hungry, The Stars and Everything and it has a food theme – I know, right? How did it escape my attention until now?!

Here’s how it begins – Continue reading

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Berlin: Imagine a City by Rory MacLean

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Earlier this year I visited Berlin. I’ve been to Germany a number of times but it was my first trip to Berlin. Within three days, it was love. In fact, Berlin has bumped New York from the number one spot on the list of my favourite cities. I’m already thinking about my next trip.

So I pounced on Rory MacLean’s Berlin: Imagine a City. The book is described as a “…biography of one of the world’s most volatile and creative cities”, charting its highs and lows through a “…dazzlingly eclectic cast of Berliners…”, from Marlene Dietrich and Goebbels to medieval balladeers and the time when David Bowie recorded ‘Heroes’. It begins – Continue reading

Lost and Found by Brooke Davis

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I’m torn by this book. Had I read it knowing nothing about the author, I probably would have thought “Odd…some bits good, some a bit ridiculous….”. But that’s not the way it worked out. A few weeks ago, I watched Australian Story. For my overseas readers, Australian Story is a weekly half-hour doco, featuring a story about an Australian – sometimes unsung heroes, sometimes ordinary people dealing with extraordinary issues. My husband loves this show. I don’t. The reason I don’t is because 95% of time it’s about people dying, usually children or parents. My husband disputes this but nonetheless, a few minutes into watching each week, I wander into the living room and ask “Who died this time?”. And he usually answers.

Then a fortnight ago my husband says “You should watch Australian Story this week, it’s about an author.” Excellent! *remembering the Australian Story episode about Hannah Kent*

So I watch.

The author’s mother was killed in a terrible, freak accident. *Australian Story theory upheld*

Lost and Found is her tribute to her mother, her way of grieving. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

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1. Christine, the lovely host of this meme, mentioned some books she was planning on buying for her baby. On that list was a book by Oliver Jeffers. Have I mentioned my thing for Oliver Jeffers before? No? Honestly, it’s got nothing to do with the devastating piercing blue eyes/dark hair combination. With an Irish accent. It’s all about the fact that he is a brilliant artist, who writes funny yet meaningful books for kids. Truly.
Continue reading