Was She Pretty? by Leanne Shapton

My close friends know that there’s always one or two stories from their past that I could hear again and again – stories that represent everything I love about them.

My close friends also know that I assign my exes ‘stories’ and that those stories are usually reduced to one defining thing, one throwaway description, one random fact.  The guy that didn’t eat vegetables (I could never come to terms with it and we broke up). The engineering student that had long, blond hair, much nicer than my own. The guy who tried the cliché yawn/arm around the shoulder trick at the movies. The rower who was a sloppy drunk. Continue reading


Sample Saturday – three memoirs from authors I love

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. Continue reading

Non-fiction November – Book Pairings

I’m not a huge reader of non-fiction but my book shelves reveal my weaknesses – books about genetics, pop-science, the Art Deco era, and memoirs (am I allowed to count them as non-fiction?) make up the bulk of my non-fiction reading.

On the strength of that (and a little belatedly), I have decided to take part in Nonfiction November (spotted at JulzReads and Sarah’s Book Shelves).

This week’s non-fiction topic is ‘book pairings’ – pair a non-fiction title with a fiction title. Continue reading

Top Ten Sports Novels


In honour of what’s roughly two solid weeks of sitting on my arse watching sport, I thought it would be appropriate to list my favourite novels about sport.

I don’t read lots of sports books but felt confident that I could find novels that were of slightly higher quality than this. So, some that I have read and some that are still in the TBR stack –

01. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach – not only the greatest sports novel but one of the best books I’ve ever read. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from Reasons to Stay Alive to The Secret Son


It’s six degrees of separation for books. Created by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith. Check out the rules if you want to play along.

This month the chain begins with Matt Haig’s memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive. I haven’t read this book (and it sounds like tough reading) but I have read dozens of other memoirs. One of my favourites is Leanne Shapton’s Swimming Studies – a truly original book about one of my favourite things, swimming! 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

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Five Men Who Broke My Heart by Susan Shapiro


It’s hard to resist a book in which the author’s note says she changed names and dates “…to protect privacy, and so my husband won’t divorce me.”

Plus the title – Five Men Who Broke My Heart – immediately made me think back over previous relationships and who had broken my heart.

This relatively short memoir by Susan Shapiro will be coming on holiday with me next week (because I own a paperback and pools and Kindles don’t mix). Here’s how it begins – Continue reading