Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving

“Some unexplainable things are real.”

After finishing John Irving’s latest, Avenue of Mysteries, I’m left wondering, did Irving want us to read more deeply into particular elements of the story (notably the power-play between two Virgins {Mary and Guadalupe}, and a vaguely threatening mother-daughter team) or was the whole thing pure Irving folly?

I’m going with the later because fans will know they’re dealing with hallmark Irving – circuses, transvestites, the importance of reading, prostitutes, the meaning of faith and absentee mothers. Continue reading

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Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

1. I’ve finished exams. This blog is a GIF-free zone but given that the subject I had an exam for was really, really, really difficult, I’m breaking out the Sheep of Joy.

Barbra-streisand-guilty-album

2. Last week I went to see Buyer and Cellar. And I laughed and laughed. It’s a play about Barbara Streisand’s personal ‘shopping mall’. The amazing thing is that Babs does have her own mall and you can read about it in the book she published about design – My Passion for Design. After reading some of the reviews on Goodreads, I’ve decided that as much as I love her, she’s nuts.

“I simply must know if everything in Barbra Streisand’s life is that silvery blue color. Her laptop, her toilet paper holders, her Xanax bottle cosy?”

3. Babs and Barry’s Guilty album is one of my favourite albums ever. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

lola and sizzles

1. Charlie and Lola have recently celebrated their 15th birthday. I mention this because the name of this blog is a little nod to Charlie and Lola. I love them to bits (especially when it comes to Sizzles). Continue reading

Let’s talk (a top ten)

Last week, Katie of Bookish Tendencies wrote a post about attending her first author talk (Lauren Fox talking about Days of Awe, so I’m jealous, obvs). Katie asked fellow bloggers for a few pointers on being “…not such an awkward dork…” at book signing time (her words, not mine). I don’t have any tips but her post did make me think about author talks I’ve been to. And it’s many. Because I’m a bit of an author-event tart (I’ll blame the fact that I have lots of opportunities through events such as the Melbourne Writers Festival and regular author appearances at my local book shop, Readings).

So purely for my own records, I’ve put together a top ten list – five of the best author talks I’ve been to – Continue reading

The Wonder Lover by Malcolm Knox

the-wonder-lover-malcolm-knox

I picked up The Wonder Lover by Malcolm Knox a few weeks ago but couldn’t focus (a mid-semester exam was on my horizon). Jenny suggested I set it aside until I could give it my full attention. Which I did. In the interim, she mentioned the book on her blog and compared Knox’s writing to John Irving. STOP EVERYTHING. Irving is my absolute favourite and best modern author. Stuff the study of population genetics, I thought, as I ripped into The Wonder Lover.

Read the blurb but all you really need to know is this: “What’s the worst thing that can happen to a man with three secret families? He falls in love.” Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

1. I love a list but I’m a bit fed up with all of the book lists circulating Twitter at the moment. Can’t keep up with what’s hot, what to look out for, what was the best and who’s the next Franzen.

2. That said, if you must read a list, this list of 27 books to look forward to this year is good.

3. Except that they forgot to include Irving. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – A Bookish Wish (Bucket) List

I’m not really a fan of the ‘bucket list’. I find them a bit depressing. Although I don’t have a bucket-list per se, I do have a list of things I wouldn’t mind doing if time and money were no object. As it happens, I crossed one thing off my wish list a few years ago, when I went to Vegas with a friend to see Barry Manilow in cabaret. It was everything I’d hoped (because music and passion are always the fashion).

manilow-1

The Broke and the Bookish have asked readers to nominate their bookish bucket list. I thought I’d play along because there are a few bookish things on my wish list.

Continue reading

The Virgins by Pamela Erens

the-virgins-pamela-erens

New England setting? Check. Boarding school? Check. Teenage angst? Check.

You can read the blurb for Pamela Erens’s The Virgins here but in short, it’s about a teenage boy and girl (Seung and Aviva) who everyone thinks are hard at it at every opportunity but are in fact not at all. But not through want of trying. Hence the title. Continue reading