Less by Andrew Sean Greer

My thought as I was halfway through reading Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Less, was why the Melbourne Writers Festival team (i.e. Marieke and her off-sider, Gene) were so invested in the book (they were mad for it).

And then I discovered that there was so much more to Less.

It’s the story of Arthur Less, a mediocre novelist who is about to turn fifty (‘Arthur Less is the first homosexual ever to grow old’). When Less receives an invitation to ex-boyfriend Freddy’s wedding, he plans a round-the-world trip to avoid the nuptials. A string of speaking and teaching engagements takes him from New York and Mexico City, to Rome, Berlin, Paris, Morocco, India and Japan.

While snow glistens on Charlottenburg Palace, Freddy is standing beside Dennis in the California sun, for surely it is one of those white-linen-suit weddings, with a bower of white roses and pelicans flying by and somebody’s understanding college ex-girlfriend playing Joni Mitchell on guitar. Continue reading

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Six Degrees of Separation – from The Outsiders to The Other Typist

It’s time for #6degrees. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up!

This month we begin with the classic teen novel, The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. Dragged the children to the MoMA exhibition this week. I didn’t take pics of my favourite pieces (too busy enjoying) – a Le Corbusier scale model of Villa Sayoye and a small Matisse canvas that was amazingly vibrant.

I watched the airport departures board included in the exhibition for ages – you don’t realise what you miss until you see it again… the soft whir of the board clicking over was deeply nostalgic. Continue reading

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton

Sorry in advance – The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton is one of those books that I can’t say much about, for fear of spoilers.

It’s the story of teenager, Jaxie Clackton. Jaxie’s mum died and his relationship with his dad is violent. 

…when everyone went home after the funeral and I finished putting all them casseroles in the freezer I stood in the lounge in my good duds and the Captain sat out on the back patio drinking homebrew and rum. Arm over arm. Neither one of us said nothing. We both knew there was never gunna be anything good again.

Jaxie decides to leave, taking off across the vast saltlands of Western Australia. There he meets Fintan MacGillis, an old Irishman, on his own for very different reasons than Jaxie. What happens next changes both their lives. Continue reading

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson

Seems people have strong feelings about celebrity memoirs (usually along the lines of ‘Haven’t you had enough of the spotlight already?!’). I don’t seek them out but nor do I avoid them. I picked up Mara Wilson’s Where Am I Now? because she was appearing at the 2018 Melbourne Writers Festival.

Wilson’s name might not be instantly recognisable but her six-year-old face is. She was the ‘cute’ little star of Mrs Doubtfire and Matilda, as well as many other films and television shows (including Melrose Place!). As the title of the book suggests, Wilson tackles what happens after the ‘cute’ is over (seemed no one wanted Matilda with boobs…). Continue reading

Melbourne Writers Festival 2018 – Opening Night and other lovely things

The 2018 Melbourne Writers Festival began last Friday with an opening night party at the Melbourne Museum. Out with the staid format, this year’s Festival launched with poets, the amazing shOUT choir, rap and soul singers, and an address from Andrew W.K.

To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what to expect from Andrew W.K. His music is not my cup of tea and I wondered about his credentials as a motivational speaker (and whether that was MWF-worthy).

His message – simply ‘party hard’ – sounded a little flimsy…

“It’s very intense to be alive. I’ve been waiting for it to lighten up but it hasn’t… so let’s do it as a team. Partying.” Continue reading