I feel like I’ve read lots of books where art (in its various forms) is integral to the plot. Here are my favourite art-lit picks – 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

Swimming… Deserves a good book

That’s one of my favourite songs, predominantly because it’s about one of my favourite things – swimming.

I could have made a list of ten words that instantly make me pick up a book (this week’s Top Ten topic, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish) but it seemed like I was repeating what I’d done here. So instead I thought of the one single word that is a sure-fire winner for me. No prizes for guessing what that word is…. But if you haven’t, you ought to go back to the start of this post). Continue reading

‘My Ideal Bookshelf’ by Thessaly La Force and Jane Mount

I just came into possession of the most divine book – My Ideal Bookshelf, edited by Thessaly La Force and illustrated by Jane Mount. Let me stress, if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for book lovers (and they are difficult to buy for because you don’t know what they’ve already read…) this book is perfect. Continue reading

‘Swimming Studies’ by Leanne Shapton

A few years ago I read a life-changing book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. ‘Life-changing’ might sound somewhat over-the-top but the book prompted me to examine what made me truly happy. And my conclusion was this – reading and swimming. I especially like reading by the pool. At some stage I will put together a review of The Happiness Project (so I can document the bits that I found helpful) but in the meantime, here’s a book about swimming – the remarkably lovely Swimming Studies.

Swimming Studies is a curious little book. It’s a memoir by Canadian writer and artist Leanne Shapton, focused on the period of her life when she was training for the Olympic swimming trials. Shapton provides a unique and original perspective on  swimming, swimming pools and even bathers (that’s swimwear for my non-Aussie readers). It’s described as this –

“What do you with an all-absorbing activity once it’s passed its relevance, and yet you can’t quite give it up? Is it possible to find a new purpose for its rigours and focus? “Swimming Studies” ….explores what it is like to move from a world of competition and discipline to one of recreation and introspection.” Continue reading

A Quick Bookish Survey

In July, I was book blogger extraordinaire, managing a post every two days or so. August…not so much. I have been reading (and have a few reviews to come) but work and family commitments have sucked my time. Added to that, I’ve had a mediocre run on the book front. I haven’t read bad books but apart from Tigers in Red Weather, there hasn’t been many of those books that have me reading while I make the kid’s breakfast/lunch/dinner (yes, I can clear the table with a book in hand) or plotting an ‘early night’ so that I can get into bed and read for an hour.

The Broke and the Bookish posted a nice little ‘bookish survey’ today – perfect fodder for a quick post! Continue reading