Four elements in The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce stood out (and will leave me feeling fondly toward the story) –
01. It’s a book version of The Castle – local shop owners on Unity Street (somewhere in London) battle a property developer, who wants to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with apartments. Furthermore, Frank, who owns the music shop, only stocks vinyl. As CDs begin to take over the music market, Frank holds out.
“CDs aren’t music. They’re toys.” Continue reading
Ian McEwan sure does have the corner on the middle-class-white-men-having-existential-crises market, doesn’t he?
In Machines Like Me, McEwan conjures a world not quite like the one we know. It’s the eighties in Britain – the Falklands War has been lost, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. Continue reading
The cover of Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead suggests a story that is gentle and relatively undemanding but beyond the pastels is a thoughtful examination of the relationships between mothers and daughters, complete with the funny and loving moments, the frustrations and complexities, and the sadnesses.
It begins in 1980, New York City, with Laura who is Park Avenue born and bred. Laura considers herself progressive – she is deeply concerned about the environment; lives in Harlem (well, on the border); uses the subway and shops locally. Yet she has a cushy job via the family trust and her mortgage is paid for by her parents – the slightly eccentric Bibs and the formidable Doug.
After an out-of-character casual encounter, Laura discovers she is pregnant and decides to keep the baby. Bibs falsely informs her society friends that the baby is fathered by a Swedish sperm donor although she’s not opposed to Laura’s single status, saying of marriage, “It doesn’t matter who you marry, one day you’ll be sitting across the table from him thinking, Anything would be better than this.” Continue reading
The Chamberlain case was the background to my entire childhood. Outside, we had smiling Safety House signs screwed to each letterbox in the street. Every house safe. Every house a refuge. While inside, the court case of a mother alleged to have murdered her child played out each night, in prime time, in the lounge room.
Yes, this is my memory too. And that adults all had an opinion about Lindy Chamberlain. However, The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean is not an account of the Chamberlain case. Instead, the case provides an interesting parallel to the fictitious part of this book – the disappearance of the three Van Apfel sisters, Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth. Continue reading
01. A cloud I wish I hadn’t seen – pyrocumulus. Bushfires have been burning out of control in many parts of Victoria – this cloud (pic taken by my friend, Sonali) is from the Bunyip fires that are burning 100km from Melbourne. Continue reading
It’s time for #6degrees. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up!
01. I went to a couple of MEL NYC dinners last week. The winner was the Starward Distillery’s whiskey cocktails and ‘street food’ event. Cocktails were spectacular, food delicious and the venue was superb. 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