Sample Saturday – altered reality, Gatsby, and a reunion

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.

This week, all three are samples that have been on my Kindle for years. Continue reading

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Nonfiction November – Be the Expert

Put your ‘expert’ hat on, it’s Week 3 of Nonfiction November.

This week, JulzReads asks us to Be The Expert/ Ask the Expert/ Become the Expert – essentially, share a bunch of books on a particular topic. My topic is ’empathy’. Continue reading

Nonfiction November – Book Pairings

It’s Nonfiction November, this week hosted by Sarah’s Book Shelves. The task? Pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title.

I had so much fun with this topic last year and although I feared I’d exhausted my ideas, I’ve managed a few more pairings –

Ireland divided – Lost Lives by David McKittrick / Across the Barricades by Joan Lingard 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

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

Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee

17% of Australian women aged 15 years and over will experience sexual assault.

1 in 6 assaults reported to police result in a conviction (so this says nothing about all the cases that are not reported).

In a legal system where the accused perpetrator may choose to say nothing and the victim must relive their trauma over and over and over again in the witness-box; be cross-examined; and have their ‘story’ judged by a jury, you can only think, “Why would you go through it?”.

Bri Lee did. Eggshell Skull is her harrowing story. Continue reading

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright

To be perfectly frank, the Australian gold rush history I learnt at school was dull. We suffered through it for the excursion to Sovereign Hill, of which the highlights were having personalised ‘Wanted’ posters printed and spending a vast amount of money on boiled lollies. I’m sure we covered stuff about living conditions, the growth of Ballarat, and the far-reaching effects of the miners’ protests about compulsory licences… I probably filed it under ‘Oh yeah, that was the Eureka Stockade‘, and moved on to Sovereign Hill’s chief attraction – panning for gold.

Imagine if I’d been taught from Clare Wright’s The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka? It’s a spectacular, riveting book that gives an account of the events leading up to the Eureka Stockade from the perspective of individual women on the gold fields. Until Wright’s book, women had been left out of the Gold Rush and Eureka story, despite the fact that they played a significant role and in turn shaped Victorian history. Continue reading

My Movie Business by John Irving

John Irving’s memoir, My Movie Business, is a book that will appeal to the narrowest of audiences: hard-core John Irving fans and/or people interested in screenwriting. Fall outside of those groups and you’ll probably find this book self-indulgent.

My Movie Business is Irving’s account of the long, frustrating process of turning a book into a screenplay, and a screenplay into a movie – in this case, the book/movie was The Cider House Rules. Over the course of its thirteen year development, the movie had two producers, four directors and countless rewrites (which were all done by Irving at the behest of the producers and directors). When the movie was finally complete, it was perfection – that’s my opinion but critics agreed and it won two Academy Awards in 2000 – Irving for Best Adapted Screenplay and Michael Caine for Best Supporting Actor. It was also nominated for Best Picture (but lost to American Beauty). Continue reading