Melbourne Writers Festival 2018

It’s Melbourne Writers Festival program launch day!

Having had to keep #ALLTHESECRETS for the last few months (I have had the privilege of being on the Audience Advocate committee this year), I was busting for tonight’s launch so that I could start talking events. The program is a ripper and I can’t tell you how much I love this year’s theme – ‘A matter of life and death’ (that’s Virginia Gay in the pic, launching the Festival).

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Sample Saturday – three from authors I’ve read before

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 the books are from authors I’ve read (and enjoyed) previously – Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from Memoirs of a Geisha to Howard’s End

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 Arthur Golden’s international bestseller, Memoirs of a Geisha. I took this book on holiday with me to Far North Queensland and have fond memories of sitting on the beach and by the pool, absorbed in Golden’s sumptuous story. Continue reading

My Best Books for 2017

As I did last year, I’m paying less attention to four and five star ratings and more attention to the books that are still speaking to me. Continue reading

The Top 47 from the Best Books of 2017 List of Lists

This is my community service to book-bloggers – a list of the books that appear most frequently on all of the lists (32 of them) I listed on Best Books of 2017 – A List of Lists.

So here it is, the 2017 Commonly-Agreed-by-the-People-Who-Publish-Best-of-2017-Book-Lists-Before-December-31 top 47 books. Continue reading

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout hardly needs introduction – it extends some of the characters mentioned in My Name Is Lucy Barton, and is structured much like Olive Kitteridge – interconnected short stories, to be read in order (some stories are resolved through other characters’ chapters later in the book, so you do need to read sequentially). It’s not necessary to read Lucy Barton first (or at all) in order to enjoy Anything is Possible but I reckon the book is enhanced by knowing Lucy’s story.

Despite the focus on the interior lives of individual people in small town America, Strout addresses two universal themes in Anything is Possible – that we are shaped by our past, and that we all want to be heard. Each character gives a different perspective on these themes, and the result is subtlety layered (without once feeling repetitive or contrived).

She did not say, and only fleetingly did she think: And you have always taken up so much space in my heart that it has sometimes felt to be a burden. Continue reading

20 Books of Summer (except that it’s winter)

Cathy at 746 Books is hosting the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge again this year. I’m joining in, with a particular effort to read from my stacks of hard copies. The challenge is straightforward – read twenty books between June 1st and September 3rd. Continue reading

Quick! I need to read a whole book.

Sometimes a very, very short book is just the ticket – reading slump, testing a new genre, choosing something for your book group (because you know they don’t have the stamina for anything over 200 pages), a long train ride…

Here’s a list of my favourite very short books. Continue reading

I’m waiting for…

2017-new-releases

Okay, I’m ignoring the ‘debut’ part of this week’s Top Ten topic and simply sharing the books that I’m looking forward to this year. I’m also ignoring the ‘ten’ part. I can’t help it if there are lots of excellent new releases on the way, can I? Continue reading