You make me feel like dancing…(and reading)

Okay, that’s a Leo Sayer song but this post is all about the Gibbs.

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I felt it was time for a Bee Gees literary mix tape (mainly because I’m still sulking about Barry’s cancelled Melbourne tour).

Marvel at the lustrous hair (chest and other) and the magnificent use of solid gold.

01. You Should Be Dancing / Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead Continue reading

The best book soundtracks begin with ABBA

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I have a very, very deep love for ABBA. I won’t try to explain it because if you’re not an ABBA fan, you’ll never understand (and why waste my time when I could be singing along to excellent tracks such as Bang a Boomerang?).

I’m not sure if I’m doing this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic right, but I figure if Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid can pose for a photo in tin foil, then anything goes. So, I’ve taken ten ABBA songs and matched them (very loosely) with ten books.

1. My Love, My LifeWilful Disregard by Lena Andersson Continue reading

Top Picks for Book Groups

book club

I’ve mentioned my book group previously. I love them all dearly but they’re not flash at reading the book. That would drive some people mental but, after 15 years, I’m okay with it. On the upside, whenever my book group actually does talk about the book for more than a few minutes, the book was obviously a good pick.

Over the last month or so, two of my Twitter buddies have asked for book group recommendations. Here’s what I suggested (all being books that got my book group really talking) – Continue reading

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

Thinking out loud here – after an author releases a stunningly brilliant debut, do they feel rushed to release a second book, riding on the wave of success?

Like the ballet career of the main character, Joan, Maggie Shipstead’s second book, Astonish Me, is accomplished but not astonishing.

It’s a peek into the demanding world of professional ballet and is told predominantly through the eyes of Joan, a young American dancer who helps a Soviet ballet star, Arslan Rusakov, defect in 1975.  Also in the cast is Jacob, the man Joan eventually marries and Harry, their son, who also becomes a ballet dancer. Through Harry, Joan is pulled back into a world she’d purposely left behind – a world that includes Arslan. Notably, Joan is a member of the corps, never quite making it as a soloist. This important detail sets up what I found to be the most interesting theme of the book – the strive for perfection (and conversely, the threat of failure).

“She wonders out loud to Elaine how much of her life she wants to spend sliding one foot out from the other and back again, lifting one arm over her head and lowering it. She says, “I feel like I’m working on an assembly line, but I’m not even making anything. I’m just doing something that disappears as soon as it happens…”” Continue reading

Books I’m looking forward to in 2014

This week, the Broke and the Bookish set the ‘task’ of listing ‘Top Ten 2014 Debuts I’m Excited For’. At the moment, I’m here:

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As a result, I’m not spending time at the computer putting together photo montages of book covers. And my list isn’t debuts, it’s just books I’m looking forward to. And it’s not even ten books, it’s twelve. Do with it what you will. Continue reading

Top Ten Books for 2013

top ten books 2013

It’s that time of year (the last reading day of 2013) where I pick my favourite and bests. The first nine are in no particular order: Continue reading