Underwhelmed…

Two books, high expectations for both – unfortunately I was underwhelmed… Continue reading

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Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner

There are two ways to approach Matthew Weiner’s novella, Heather, the Totality – take it at face value or ponder Weiner’s broader commentary.

Should you take it at face value, you’re in for a ripping afternoon’s read. It’s the fast-paced story of Karen and Mark Breakstone, whose only child, Heather, is the centre of their world. But someone enters Heather’s life who threatens the family’s perfect Manhattan existence.

If you want more to think about, Heather, the Totality offers opportunity to consider the influence of one’s upbringing (particularly poverty versus wealth); the impact of social inequity; and what justifies particular actions. Continue reading

The Ice Storm by Rick Moody – a literary mixtape

I loved The Ice Storm by Rick Moody. It’s a brutal, sad story.

There’s not much to like about the characters but there’s lots to like in Moody’s words. This book was extremely visual for me – perhaps because I saw And Lee’s insanely good movie version of the story years ago, or perhaps it’s because Moody has created a distinct sense of place and time. Either way, writing a review wasn’t working so I’ve gone with an audio approach.

I Write the Songs / Barry Manilow

Once his dreams had been songs. He’d been a balladeer of promise and opportunity. Continue reading

The Near Miss by Fran Cusworth

Fran Cusworth’s domestic-drama, The Near Miss, tells the story of three strangers, brought together by an ‘almost’ accident (hence the title).

Grace is an exhausted mother, who is plagued by a ‘…smorgasbord of worries’, from money, work, and her temperamental daughter to her husband who spends more time inventing things than focused on his job.

Continue reading

Making Laws for Clouds by Nick Earls

Nick Earls (who I think of as Australia’s Nick Hornby) branches into YA fiction with Making Laws for Clouds.

It’s a simple story set over one hot summer. Eighteen-year-old Kane meets new-girl-in-town, Tanika Bell.

She looks like Kylie Minogue to me, or as good as you get round here. Kylie Minogue from around the time of ‘Locomotion’, but with much more original teeth.

Although he has Tanika on his mind, Kane is also managing his job (he’s in charge of road verges in the local council maintenance crew) and his family. Kane’s father left years ago and his mother has ‘bad days’ (not helped by large quantities of rum). Continue reading

Non-fiction November – Book Pairings

I’m not a huge reader of non-fiction but my book shelves reveal my weaknesses – books about genetics, pop-science, the Art Deco era, and memoirs (am I allowed to count them as non-fiction?) make up the bulk of my non-fiction reading.

On the strength of that (and a little belatedly), I have decided to take part in Nonfiction November (spotted at JulzReads and Sarah’s Book Shelves).

This week’s non-fiction topic is ‘book pairings’ – pair a non-fiction title with a fiction title. Continue reading