Six Degrees of Separation – from The Beauty Myth to The Accidental Billionaires

It’s time for #6degrees. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up!

This month we begin with a book that generated a lot of debate when it was published in 1990 – The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. My friends were discussing it over pots of beer at The Clyde in Carlton, while we should have been at lectures… Continue reading


The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

For a book to get five-stars, I want to laugh and cry. I want to whoop with joy when a character triumphs but equally, I want to have my heart broken (just a little). Basically, I want a million feelings and Cyril Avery, the star of John Boyne’s big, ramshackle novel, The Heart’s Invisible Furies, delivers it all.

There’s great emphasis from the outset that Cyril Avery is not a real Avery – he’s adopted by the peculiar but not inherently unkind, Charles and Maude Avery.

I was not a real Avery and would not be looked after financially in adulthood in the manner that a real Avery would have been. ‘Think of this more as a tenancy, Cyril,’ he told me – they had named me Cyril for a spaniel they’d once owned and loved – ‘an eighteen-year tenancy. But during that time there’s no reason why we shouldn’t all get along, is there?’ Continue reading

Sample Saturday – picks from the eighties lit-brat-pack

Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye.

This week, all of the picks were chosen after I finished my re-read of Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney, a member of the eighties lit-brat-pack. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. Saw the MTC production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time a fortnight ago. The set (I took a sneaky pic before the show started) and the way that it was used to ‘reshape’ the stage was extraordinary, with the grid points on the box stage lighting up to show emotions, places, and movement. Continue reading

The Stella Prize 2018 Longlist

I was desperate to be at the Stella Prize 2018 longlist announcement tonight but instead I was at a school information night, surreptitiously looking at Twitter for the news. It’s here, so now I can relax (and can start reading) – Continue reading

The Stella Prize 2018 – longlist predictions

With just hours before the Stella Prize 2018 longlist is announced, I thought I’d take a stab at what I think will appear.

Apparently the judges had to work through more than 170 entries (look at that ace pic below!). Unlike the judges, I’ve only read a handful of eligible books but I’m aware of a bunch that keep crossing my radar. On that rather flimsy basis, I’m predicting the longlist*.

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In My Mother’s Hands by Biff Ward

I have fiddled around with this review for weeks and it’s only today that I realised what was bothering me – other reviews (settle down, I won’t name names).

Biff Ward’s memoir, In My Mother’s Hands, describes her life growing up in the 40s and 50s. Biff has a younger brother, Mark, but there was also baby Alison, who drowned in her bath before Biff was born. The drowning occurred because Biff’s mother was ‘distracted’  – it was an event that would have a deep effect on their lives in many ways and would continue to haunt Biff for decades. Biff’s father, historian Russel Ward, was charismatic, strong and outspoken. He was also short-tempered and frequently unfaithful to his wife.

We may not have had ideas we could voice but we breathed it in, the irrational in her, the grief in him and the unpredictability all around. Continue reading