It took all my restraint to not type ‘Anna Delvey’ into Google as I was reading My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams because, although I was vaguely aware of the outcome of Williams’s ‘Sex and the City meets Catch Me if You Can’ story, I couldn’t recall the detail. And it is the detail that makes this memoir so engrossing. Continue reading
Sure, I might squeeze in another couple of books before midnight on December 31, 2019 but I think I can safely draw a line under the reading challenges for the year.
I participated in five challenges this year – finished three; one is ongoing; and I failed one – not miserably but I didn’t complete the target number of books. Continue reading
What do we want?!
Plots*, strategic marriages**, coups, betrayals, eccentric behaviour***, murders, revolutions, and a different definition of ‘favourite’****. Continue reading
I’m hopelessly behind with reviews and I’m fairly sure I won’t have much free time between now and the end of the year… so, catching up with what I liked (or didn’t) about four recent reads. Continue reading
Argh! Three excellent reading challenges for the month of November – what will I do? How can I squeeze them all in?!
I volunteer with a palliative program as a biography writer. People tell their stories, I transcribe them. People will often say that they have ‘nothing to tell’. That’s never true, although I have learnt that the dates and facts about a person’s life are not that important. Instead, the story is in the small details and their recollections of how they felt at particular moments – that’s where the meaning is found.
Favel Parrett’s third novel, There Was Still Love, demonstrates how detail tells the story. It’s an ode to the life Favel shared with her grandparents – her fond memories are woven through a fictional account of twin Czechoslovakian sisters, separated by World War II. One stays in Prague, the other crams her life into a small brown suitcase and travels to Melbourne.
You must close up tight, protect your most needed possessions – all you can hold. Your heart, your mind, your soul. You must become a little suitcase and try not to think about home. Continue reading
Do you ever start a book, notice something peculiar, and then can’t see anything but the repeated peculiartity? Such was the case with Upstate by James Wood (I’ll get to the peculiarity).
Alan Querry is a successful property developer from the north of England. He has two daughters: Vanessa, a philosopher who lives and teaches in upstate New York, and Helen, a record company executive based in London. The women are very different, “…Helen did things while Vanessa thought things”, but neither had ever quite recovered from their parents’ bitter divorce; the early death of their mother; and their disapproval of Candace, Alan’s second wife. Continue reading
A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop is a quiet, contemplative collection of stories about a brutal topic – the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires.
You remember mostly, three a.m.: they found our neighbours in clusters, mostly in amalgam fillings and tyre rims trickled into what looked like snowy earth – silvers, gunmetal greys and blacks so petrol-shiny you’d think of a currawong’s wing… We were comforted, afterwards, that things ended for them together, holding each other under betadine-and-copper-coloured smoke. Under a sky that’d once promised kinder things: maybe Vegemite toast on Sunday morning, maybe a weeknight, after-work kiss. Continue reading
The 20 Books of Summer reading challenge drew to a close on Melbourne’s first distinctly-Spring-like day (it was 21 degrees here yesterday and glorious). I don’t have trouble reading 20 books in the allotted time (this year I read 20.5 hard copies and listened to six audiobooks) however I am a bit behind on reviews… Continue reading