I’ll Have What She’s Having by Rebecca Harrington

In my late teens, my rowing crew decided to go lightweight. It was my introduction to the TJ Miracle Diet. Also known as the cabbage soup diet. Also known as the Dolly Parton diet. I don’t know how successful cabbage soup was for Dolly but for me, during regatta weeks, the diet worked alarmingly well (like 3-5kgs well). I’m quite sure that within twelve months I had done irreparable damage to my metabolism.My crew never had any success in the lightweight division.

Any time I see the details of diets that cut out whole food groups, or put foods in bizarre combinations, I’m taken back to the TJ Miracle Soup and the vile smell of overcooked cabbage. So it was with morbid curiosity that I read Rebecca Harrington’s I’ll Have What She’s Having. Harrington spent several months trialling celebrity diets, eating like Gwyneth, Beyoncé, Marilyn, Karl Lagerfield and more. Continue reading

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

You’ve either already got Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb on your shelf or you know you will never read a ‘therapy’ book. Never ever.

Therapy books (is ‘therapy-porn’ a genre?) sit right alongside misery-memoirs for me – I love them both. And if you favour these kinds of books, I’m certain you’ll enjoy Gottlieb’s insightful case studies and her own experience in therapy. Her compassion and honesty, combined with solid writing makes this book a page-turner. Truly. Continue reading

Upstate by James Wood

Do you ever start a book, notice something peculiar, and then can’t see anything but the repeated peculiartity? Such was the case with Upstate by James Wood (I’ll get to the peculiarity).

Alan Querry is a successful property developer from the north of England. He has two daughters: Vanessa, a philosopher who lives and teaches in upstate New York, and Helen, a record company executive based in London. The women are very different, “…Helen did things while Vanessa thought things”, but neither had ever quite recovered from their parents’ bitter divorce; the early death of their mother; and their disapproval of Candace, Alan’s second wife. Continue reading

Melbourne Writers Festival 2019 – the last bit

I’m hopelessly late reporting on my last two 2019 Melbourne Writers Festival events, but both were fantastic and worth a mention.

Corey White – The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory

I think my favourite session this Festival was comedian Corey White talking with Sarah Krasnostein about his memoir, The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory. Continue reading

A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop

A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop is a quiet, contemplative collection of stories about a brutal topic – the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires. 

You remember mostly, three a.m.: they found our neighbours in clusters, mostly in amalgam fillings and tyre rims trickled into what looked like snowy earth – silvers, gunmetal greys and blacks so petrol-shiny you’d think of a currawong’s wing… We were comforted, afterwards, that things ended for them together, holding each other under betadine-and-copper-coloured smoke. Under a sky that’d once promised kinder things: maybe Vegemite toast on Sunday morning, maybe a weeknight, after-work kiss. Continue reading

Melbourne Writers Festival 2019 – the middle bit

Two more events!

Powerful Landmarks

In a stroke of scheduling genius, MWF organisers put Enza Gandolfo (author of The Bridge) and Kristina Olsson (author of Shell) together to discuss how built structures can be representative of difficult pasts and uncertain futures. Continue reading

20 Books of Summer (Winter) 2019 – Challenge Complete

The 20 Books of Summer reading challenge drew to a close on Melbourne’s first distinctly-Spring-like day (it was 21 degrees here yesterday and glorious). I don’t have trouble reading 20 books in the allotted time (this year I read 20.5 hard copies and listened to six audiobooks) however I am a bit behind on reviews… Continue reading