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
It’s time for #6Degrees and it’s a cinch to play – please join in!
This month’s chain begins with Lauren Groff’s bestseller Fates and Furies. I haven’t read it (yet) but I do know it’s a story about a marriage, told from different perspectives. Continue reading
Firstly, what’s the collective noun for a bunch of author talks? A glee? A yay? A make-Kate-very-happy? Anyway, in the past week, I’ve been to three – that deserves a collective noun.
Secondly, I have a half-a-dozen posts in my drafts folder about author talks I have attended. I never get to the ‘publish’ stage. Can’t really say why – I suspect that I leave it a week or so and then feel unsure about the fine detail of what was said – I wouldn’t want to misquote someone.
So, three author talks in one post – my favourite bits of what Rosalie Ham, Hanya Yanagihara and Jonathan Franzen had to say. Continue reading
01. How’s this for a PoDN*? I reckon it’s fabulouso – it’s near Vegas, it’s called Seven Magic Mountains, and it’s by Ugo Rondinone. Continue reading
1. Went to the Marilyn exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery this week. The pieces on display were predominantly from Marilyn’s movies. I loved the exhibition but I’ve also always liked the pictures of her reading. She was, by all accounts, a great reader with an impressive collection of books. Continue reading
1. I think we should all take a moment to appreciate the effort that has gone into this world map (and it’s interactive… I know! An interactive world cookie map! Genius).
2. Of course the “…second only to Tim Tams…” part of this article is bullshit but the rest is tops (because the Mint Slice rules). Continue reading
Even more exciting (and wildly popular) than my 2014 List of Lists was my post on the Best of the Best. It was the books that appeared most frequently on all of the lists I listed. So before I have to write the words ‘best of the best’ and ‘list of lists’ again, here it is, the 2015 Commonly-Agreed-by-the-People-Who-Publish-Best-of-2015-Book-Lists-in-November top 32 books to add to your To-Be-Read stack. Continue reading
Today marks the end of the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. After a slow start, I romped it in with days to spare, although haven’t written detailed reviews of my final two books – Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller and Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith. It was a strong finish. Continue reading
1. Isn’t it fabulouso when friends think of you when they’re shopping? My ace friend Sam spotted these boots and texted me with “I’m seeing you in these boots. #sublime” I’m seeing me in those boots. Actually, scratch that. See me in those boots*.
2. The recommendation from the author of this article is “Don’t click on the Franzen think pieces.” Except that one, obvs. Continue reading
I’m loathe to start a review of Jonathan Dee’s most-wonderful, most-brilliant new novel, A Thousand Pardons, with a reference to Jonathan Franzen but if I don’t get it off my chest, it will make me peevish.
Here’s the thing – while everyone is getting their undies in a twist over Jonathan Franzen there’s Jonathan Dee. His stories are character-rich. His observations of modern society are astute and, quite pleasingly, snarky. His plots are detailed and surprising.
When I read a promo for A Thousand Pardons recommending the book for “…readers of Jonathan Franzen….” quite frankly, I felt annoyed. Dee isn’t your ‘filler’ between puffed-up Franzen releases. Read him because his books are brilliant.
So, now that I’ve had my whinge, to the book. In summary, it’s the story of Helen and Ben Armstead, a couple at breaking point. It begins with them leaving their teenage daughter, Sara, at home while they head off for their regular ‘date night’.
“On the television a girl and her father appeared to be auditioning a group of male strippers. “Happy Date Night,” Sara said in a deep voice meant to sound hickish or retarded, and with one finger she mimed inducing herself to vomit.” Continue reading