Apparently I should give up

See above for my reading theme song.

Truly, I rarely abandon a book. In fact, I can list the books I marked DNF on one hand – Continue reading

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Six Degrees of Separation – from Wild Swans to A Room With a View

It’s time for #6degrees. Join in and thrill us with your clever links!

This month the chain begins with Wild Swans by Jung Chang.  I go through reading binges and Wild Swans was part of an extended ‘China’ phase. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from The Slap to Me and You

It’s time for #6Degrees and truly, it’s easy to play (no rules, just bookish fun) – join in!

This month we begin with The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. What can I say about this book except that if you want to start a heated debate at a dinner party, mention it! Continue reading

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith

I’ve been wondering if ‘art-thriller’ is a genre… I’m thinking books such as What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt, Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and my latest read, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith. Why does the art world make such a good backdrop for fiction? Perhaps because it involves creativity, big personalities, money, glamour, sacrifice and poverty? Or maybe I’m over-thinking it and creating tenuous links between these books…?

A rare painting, titled ‘At the Edge of the Wood’, provides the link between three separate places, times and characters in this tightly told cat-and-mouse story. The painting is by Sara de Vos, a Dutch artist of the Golden Age and the first woman to be accepted as a Master painter into the Guild. Fast forward to New York in the late fifties, when the painting hangs on millionaire Marty de Groot’s bedroom wall. Meanwhile, struggling Australian doctorate student, Ellie Shipley, is living in Brooklyn and making ends meet by doing art restoration work…and a forgery. Smith brings the story to the present day where, at an art exhibition in Sydney, the pasts of Sara, Marty and Ellie collide. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from This Book Will Save Your Life to The Blazing World

six-degrees-1

It’s time again for my favourite meme. Based on the concept of six degrees of separation, Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith have created #6DEGREES, where bloggers share links between books in six moves. Check out the rules if you want to play along.

We begin the chain with This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes – I haven’t read it *sigh* but I do know that it’s an apocalyptic tale set in Los Angeles. Which brings me to California, a post-apocalyptic tale by Edan Lepucki (another book I haven’t read *heavy sigh*). Continue reading

We Are Water by Wally Lamb

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When I first started Wally Lamb’s We Are Water, I had flashbacks to Hustvedt’s The Blazing World. And I really couldn’t go back there (it was my only DNF for 2014). Flashbacks because the subject of both books is artists with baggage. I guess all artists need baggage, don’t they? Anyway, that’s where the similarities end. Where Hustvedt pontificates, Lamb simply tells a story. Continue reading

The Top 22 from the Best Books of 2014 – A List of Lists

best-books-2014

So before someone yells at me “Enough with the lists!”, I took that list of Best Books of 2014 – A List of Lists and I made another list – the books that appear most frequently on all of those lists.

Trawl through all the lists or save time by simply adding the 2014 Commonly-Agreed-by-the-People-Who-Publish-Best-of-2014-Book-Lists-in-November top 22 books to your To-Be-Read stack. 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