I’ve never been particularly interested in crime novels, mysteries, or courtroom dramas, and until I listened to the Serial podcast, true crime was also on the ‘not particularly interested’ list. But there was something about the meticulously produced Serial that sucked me in (and it wasn’t just Sarah Koenig’s dulcet tones). Since that time, I’ve listened to other true crime podcasts and read a few books.
Liz Porter’s book, Written on the Skin – An Australian Forensic Casebook grabbed my attention because of the chapters on the use of DNA testing in forensic science – genes are always interesting! Continue reading
Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, is a big book (528 pages). Sure, I wanted to read it, but when I spotted the audio version, read by Bruce, I knew I wanted to listen to it more. Nineteen hours of his
sexy distinctive voice, reminiscing about New Jersey, guitars and recording studios was bound to be absolutely fucking glorious.
And then I took it to the next level. I interspersed listening to the audiobook with listening to every album in its entirety, as he discussed them in the book. I listened to the songs in the order they were published (because as Bruce says, ‘…an album with its A and B sides has a ‘collective’ story…’, something that millennial-playlisters who cherry-pick songs will never quite understand). It was another 15 hours and 38 minutes of Bruce-listening-pleasure.
I’m not going to write a review of the book – fans will read it and love it to bits (everyone else will think “528 pages? Pass.”). But I have picked a favourite song from each album. Continue reading
Curtis Sittenfeld’s You Think It, I’ll Say It is a tough act to follow on the short-story front but nonetheless, I figured Jeffrey Eugenides’s first collection, Fresh Complaint, would be a reasonable bet.
The collection opens with Complainers, a gentle story about the decades-long friendship between two women, and how their relationship changes when one is diagnosed with dementia. I feel like I’m reading about dementia at every turn at the moment, but Eugenides’s take on it from the perspective of a friend was refreshingly different.
Dementia isn’t a nice word. It sounds violent, invasive, like having a demon scooping out pieces of your brain which in fact is just what it is. Continue reading
Sometimes you leave a review so long that there hardly seems any point… Almost the case with these books, so I’ll mention just a few reasons why I enjoyed them – Continue reading
No, there are four types of slumps: add reading slumps. Continue reading
Five things I thought while listening to A Family Romance by Anita Brookner:
01. I can rely on Brookner for the sort of consistency that I love in Yates or Taylor.
02. So, so glad that there’s a bunch of Brookner on my library’s BorrowBox list and that it’s narrated by Fiona Shaw (whose voice has just enough plum to provide deeply satisfying listening). Continue reading
I have two summer holiday traditions when it comes to reading – tackling one really big book (because if I get engrossed I can block out the day for reading), and a short story collection or two (because I can read and doze and not lose track of where I’m at). Which is why I selected The American Lover by Rose Tremain.
I think of Tremain as a short-story-master and this collection didn’t disappoint. The theme of loneliness, or rather loners, runs through the collection. There’s regrets, ‘could-have-beens’, unfulfilled wishes and compromises – all written about in Tremain’s precise style.
Four stories stood out – Continue reading
Here’s my year in books (with thanks to the Goodreads record keeping tool): Continue reading
Spoiler alert (yes, you can have a spoiler for non-fiction) – if you’re a white male who has been publicly shamed on social media, rest assured it will all blow over very quickly. If you’re not a white male, prepare to go to hell and back. Continue reading
There’s a line in Sheila Kohler’s memoir, Once We Were Sisters, that is representative of much of her story – ‘As is so often the case, truth is crueller than fiction.’
Kohler begins with the terrible moment when she discovered that her sister, Maxine, had been killed. Maxine’s husband drove them off a deserted road in Johannesburg – he survived the crash, she did not. Continue reading