My Best Books for 2019

An even spread of excellent books and some truly memorable author events has made 2019 a terrific reading year.

As I’ve done in previous years, I’ll focus on the books that have continued to resonate with me (as opposed to those I gave five stars to as soon as I’d finished reading). Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. I’ve been too busy to study the 2020 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival program closely but a few things did catch my eye – Women’s Weekly Birthday Cakes exhibition and this focus on food and wine from the volcanic region of Italy. Continue reading

Broadside 2019 – Zadie Smith

There were moments when I wanted to call out “Stop! Wait! I need to process that!” during the conversation between Jia Tolentino and Zadie Smith at last weekend’s Broadside festival. Their banter was rapid-fire; the topics they were discussing were big and intense ; and it’s taken me a week to reflect on all that was covered.

Zadie got straight into it with, “I’m always thinking a lot about death. And human autonomy, free will. Shit like that.” She was being truthful and funny all at once. Continue reading

Broadside 2019 – Helen Garner

What a day! The inaugural Broadside Festival opened with Helen Garner in conversation with Sarah Krasnostein.

It was the first time I’d heard Helen speak (despite trying to get to her rare speaking engagements in the past). My immediate impression was that she was much warmer and funnier than I had expected (I guess my expectations were unthinkingly based on her subject matter and her spare, pared-back prose).

The conversation began with talking about publishing a diary, something that by nature is intended to be private. On rereading her diaries, Helen said, “There was a lot of boring stuff in there, which naturally I found fascinating. To sort out what others would find interesting about you is actually quite a challenging process.” Continue reading

Two author talks (with three authors)

I went to two author talks last week (both were free events) and I was reminded why it’s ace living in a UNESCO City of Literature.

The first event was part of the Wheeler Centre’s Double Booked series. Favel Parrett and Anna Krien talked about their new books, There Was Still Love and Act of Grace respectively). At the second event, hosted by Readings, Charlotte Wood talked about her latest book, The Weekend (review to come but spoiler alert: I LOVED it). Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. It’s school holidays in Australia. We spent a few days with family in Kyneton (with some mountain-biking in Harcourt and a hike to the summit of Hanging Rock). 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

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

Melbourne Writers Festival 2019 – the first bit

Can you see Tayari Jones in the pic above? She looks tiny but I had to show off the magnificent Capitol Theatre, one of the venues for this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival.

I managed four sessions on my first Festival day. The highlights: Continue reading