Top Movie Soundtracks

I read an article last week about movie soundtracks that hit number one on the Billboard chart during the last thirty years (there are 38 of them). Must admit, I’m a sucker for a movie soundtrack and on reading the article I got a bit shitty that so many great soundtracks had been left out. So I wrote my own list. And then this was published. Glad the author and I see eye-to-eye.

Here are my favourites (in no particular order), as well as my favourite track:

Grease (There Are Worse Things I Could Do)

The Great Gatsby (A Little Party Never Killed Nobody) Continue reading

When the Night Comes by Favel Parrett

It isn’t one but Favel Parrett’s second novel, When the Night Comes, is like a poem. Vignettes – of walnuts, ice, red-hulled ships, freshly-cut grass and cold classrooms – are stitched together with Parrett’s tremendously lovely words.

“Icebergs lined up for all of time, blue and brilliant white taking up the whole scene. Every blue that there is – that exists. One million shades of blue – and white. The scale of it all measured against me, one man standing here. Just one man, small and breathless.”

Parrett understands lots of things very deeply – water, the difference a teacher makes, the effect of a well-timed bag of mixed lollies, silence – and talks of these things in words that are deceptively simple. The story is compact. A chapter about a wooden spoon and rainy days brought tears to my eyes. Continue reading

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna

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Sometimes a new book keeps popping up on your radar and, after enough trusted reading buddies have given it the thumbs up, you get yourself a copy. Then there are the times when you read just a single review, and that review has a  subliminal message that’s written just for you. It whispers “Read this now Kate”. And then I have to hurry to the bookshop. Which is what I did when I read Anna’s review of Sofie Laguna’s latest, The Eye of the Sheep.

The Eye of the Sheep begins – Continue reading

Game Day by Miriam Sved

I remember a photo in the newspaper of Carlton’s Chris Judd being carried off the ground on the shoulders of his teammates after a milestone game (his 200th??). One of the guys carrying him was a nuggety little forward and as a result, there wasn’t an even weight distribution and Juddy sat awkwardly, legs splayed. I looked at the photo and immediately thought “Careful of Juddy’s groins!” Because Judd’s groin is a genuine concern for most Carlton fans. Isn’t that slightly ridiculous? Which is why this line from Miriam Sved’s Game Day resonated:

“Some minutes into the first quarter the team’s ruckman, Kevin Walker, comes off after a particularly violent collision of knees. Kevin’s knees are closely watched objects of anxiety around the club…” Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from Gone Girl to A Room With a View

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It’s time again for my favourite meme. Based on the concept of six degrees of separation, Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith have created #6DEGREES, where bloggers share links between books in six moves. Check out the rules if you want to play along.

This month’s starting point is Gillian Flynn’s bestselling psychological thriller, Gone Girl. I only read this book a few months ago, long after hearing all the hype and having friends recommend it. Unfortunately it didn’t meet my expectations (but I didn’t hate it, either). Continue reading

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I made a spectacle of myself when I finished A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I was on the bus and read the final page a minute before my stop. I was crying. There was snot involved. As I got up to get off the bus, I called out my usual “Thank you!” to the bus driver and it came out as a strangled, choked cry. Because of the tears. And snot. And I couldn’t see properly through all those tears and I stumbled down the bus steps like an absolute lunatic. So yes, A Man Called Ove is really, really good.

It’s a simple story, centered around cranky old Ove. He’s described as a man who “…checks the status of all things by giving them a good kick” and carries himself  “…in that particular way of a middle-aged man who expects the worthless world outside to disappoint him.” Not surprisingly, Ove is very set in his ways -

“It was thirteen years since Ove bought his blue Saab 9-5 Estate. Not long after, the Yanks at General Motors bought up the last Swedish-held shares in the company. Ove closed the newspaper that morning with a long string of swear words that continued into a good part of the afternoon. He never bought a car again.” Continue reading

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