Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. I was lucky to see a production of my very favourite Shakespearean play last week – Twelfth Night. Frank Woodley was a stellar Sir Andrew (and that’s a large Melbourne Gin Co. gin, tonic and grapefruit next to my program, so obviously it was an ace night). Continue reading

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Short reviews of four short books

The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from Romeo & Juliet to The Last Painting of Sarah De Vos

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It’s time for #6Degrees – join in! Link up!

Are you over Shakespearean celebrations yet? Sorry if you are because we begin this month’s #6Degrees chain with one of his most well-known plays, Romeo and Juliet. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

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01. There’s already been many wonderful tributes to Gillian Mears. I won’t try to match them but will say that Australian literature has lost a great voice (also: a personal essay from Mears, published in Meanjin; Susan Johnson’s beautiful 2011 piece about Mears; my thoughts on the brilliant Foal’s Bread). Continue reading

The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

I’ll be frank, I don’t spend much (any) time reading Shakespeare. I’m not filling weekends with sonnets or amusing myself with the Bard’s wittier plays. My Shakespearean experience is largely confined to school days; performances of A Midsummer Nights Dream in Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens; and a few months during my childhood when we lived in a small town near Stratford-upon-Avon. So why was I drawn to a modern retelling of The Winter’s Tale? It was all about Jeanette Winterson, whose work I greatly admire.

The Winter’s Tale tells the story of a king whose jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter and the death of his beautiful wife. His daughter is found and brought up by a shepherd but through a series of extraordinary events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited. In Winterson’s version, The Gap of Time, it’s all gangsters, gaming and pop stars, and against this backdrop, the themes of jealousy, loyalty and redemption are preserved. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from The Goldfinch to Playing Beatie Bow

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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.

This month’s starting point is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I only have good things to say about this book and at the end of the year it will, without doubt, be on my list of the best books I read in 2014. Continue reading

School texts… I always read ahead

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At the end of every high school year there was one thing I looked forward to. No, not summer – actually, yes, I did look forward to summer but speaking of things school related, I looked forward to getting the book list for the following year. I couldn’t wait to get started on my English texts. Yes, book nerd at age thirteen.

I’m stretching the scope of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). The topic is ‘Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught In Schools’ – my topic is Top Eleven Books That I Was Taught in School. Actually, ‘top’ suggests best… This is a list of books that were the most memorable for all sorts of reasons. So here it is, Top Eleven Most Memorable Books That I Was Taught in School.

1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle- didn’t like this book but it was read in my first year of high school so my enthusiasm knew no bounds.

2. Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner – I had read this book well before high school. Possible I was a bit of a smart-arse about it.

3. A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines – notably, the word ‘shit’ is used in this text. That’s a big deal when you’re 14 and taking it in turns to read aloud in class. My friend Carter got to read the page with ‘shit’. Memorable. Continue reading