Saturday, March 29, 2014


I don't have much to share for February, was too busy.
Books read
Yours truly: cathartic confessions, passionate declarations and vivid recollections from Women of Letters curated by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire
This is the third volume in this wonderful series. Again chock full of heart wrenching, honest and fun stories. This time my favourites were:

Amanda Palmer - to the person who told me the truth, which was about her friend Anthony

A letter to my other half - Megan Washington and Benjamin Law about their fun and long friendship

Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster Blake - cute letters back and forth working planning what they want to say.

To the woman who changed my life - William McInnes to a hairdresser who gave him a perm, hilarious! and Richard Fidler's love letter to his wife...sigh...

Anita Heiss - The moment the lights came on - a hilarious and honest appraisal of academia

The fault in our stars by John Green
All the kids are reading this, so whenever something is popular I guess I have to read it, part of the job! This was ok, a bit like Nicholas Sparks for teens, soppy and sad, not my thing at all! But I can see why it's popular.

The Forgotten Affairs of Youth by Alexander McCall Smith
I do like his Isabel Dalhousie series, they are my guilty pleasure, nothing much happens in them, but she is a philosopher, and he uses words so beautifully, I just escape into the melancholy that is Edinburgh and breathe in their lives. Having said that, this one did not hold me as previous ones have, so I am possibly starting to tire of them.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I read this when it first came out, a follower of Zusak's work from his early teen days, I could see his writing develop into something fine, but never for a moment thought he would deliver such an instant masterpiece. I recall when I first read it, I was holidaying at Fingal Bay, in this holiday hut thing. The afternoons were warm, so I'd crank up the old air con, pour a drink and read, read, read. I'd often have Max on in the background, it was the Summer of Bernard Fanning's Wish You Well, to this day that song and The Book Thief go hand in's all rather odd. 

But the worst thing was I found it difficult to get into. I only brought one book with me, knowing it was a big book and how much I loved his work. I realised it just took a while to get used to the style, which once understood is haunting and stunning and humourous and devastating. I laughed and sobbed my way through it. And so on to now, with a movie coming out, I scheduled it as the first read for my work Movie Book Club and for my personal Bibliotweeps Book Club. 

This time, I listened to the talking book of it in the car. So much more detail when you listen, and the reader sounded awfully like my beloved Neil Gaiman, I was in heaven listening to it. I did not anticipate the impact of the end of the book, it finished as I was driving to visit my parents, I parked my car outside their house and sobbed (if you haven't worked it out by now, it doesn't take much to make me cry!). Dad was hosing the garden, and tapped on my door to see what I was up to, lol!

If you haven't read The Book Thief, you simply must. It is a Holocaust story (a subject matter that kills me, but I oddly have always been drawn to), but a gentle one, told from the perspective of a young girl. The narrator is death, who tells the story with a little wit and the right sort of dry humour. I've yet to meet anyone who has not appreciated the story.

After Dark by Haruki Murakami
Murakami is one of my most favourite writers. I have devoured his essays and short works of non-fiction and after proclaiming Norwegian Wood (the first fiction title of his I read) as one of the best, romantic novels I have ever read and placed it firmly in my top 10 books of all time, I bought a huge stack of his other titles! I started this in Melbourne last year and been savoring it ever since...he is that kind of writer, he is poetic and scrumptious, and sensual and stunning. His pace is slow and even and ponderous in the right possible way. Barring Norwegian Wood, he writes most of his fiction in the magic realism style. After Dark is one such example. Set in Tokyo late at night, a range of characters run into each other over the course of the evening, each drawn to each other and connected in the most intricate ways. It is romantic, and rough, and freaky, and beautiful.

Love Marilyn - a doco about her life with footage but actors reading from her letters/dairies/writing. I really enjoyed this, a fresh take on the subject.

Parades end - English mini-series about a love triangle between Rebecca Hall, Benedict Cumberbatch (sigh) and Adelaide Clemens as the world turns towards World War I. Also stars Miranda Richardson, who is always a pleasure to watch.

Sherlock S3 -  More Benedict, and this series, whilst, not as great as the two previous, was still outstanding.

Derek - I loved this series so very much, I was worried at first, that it was making fun of the subject matter, but it was beautifully told, funny and melancholy, brilliant acting, and made me weep.

Rush - the epic tale of James Hunt and Niki Lauder's show down in F1 in the 70s. As a huge F1 fan, my expectations were high, I am a fan of Lauder and in awe of his comeback. The film was a sheer delight, thrilling, attention to detail, great acting, and of course what a story. I only wish I had seen it on the big screen.

Metallica: through the never - I always loved Metallica, they are my heavy metal band of choice. But then I saw Some Kind of Monster and will never really be able to look at them again in the same light. A better doco you'll never get, but boy it had it's funny moments. This is another doco and to be honest it was very ponderous in the wrong sort of way, set against a Metallica concert, a young roadie is sent on a mission - of which I forget - it turns surreal, but really who cares, it's the music we want and they do sound good!

Hmmm, I bought a lot of music this month but have hardly listened to anything. I know I listened to Bob Seger and Nick Cave at work a lot, but then, that's nothing new. They are my go to comfort music or calming music when I need to concentrate...usually on budgets and statistics. My brain is wired for words not numbers!

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