Monday, May 15, 2017


What I’ve Been Reading

Between A Wolf and a Dog by Georgia Blain – Another of the Stella Prize finalists, and Blain’s final work. It is the story of a family at crossroads, daughters not talking, an ex husband about to have the rug pulled out from under him at work, and a mother who has a secret health issue. How will this affect this already challenged family. Ironically, the very disease Georgia gave her main character was the disease she got herself halfway through writing the novel and of course eventually took her from us. Heart wrenching stuff and it is interesting to see how she tackled writing life imitating art. Between A Wolf and A Dog is a great read, nowhere near as sad as you would think, and never takes the ordinary route in terms of plot.

We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – a great essay on feminism, a short read.

Ice Beer and Other Tantalising Tips for Life by Lee Lin Chin and Chris Leben – a funny look at the SBS newsreader

A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston – a basic, stand up autobiography, good but not great.

Russia: a journey to the heart of a land and its people by Jonathan Dimbley – a spoken word book read by the author. This was a fascinating look into modern Russia over the past 20 years from Dimbley’s foreign correspondence there. Mostly about the post war era, which hovers over every single story. Interesting but ultimately uplifting.

The Fictional Woman and Speaking Out by Tara Moss – these are two great books of essays and thoughts and some auto-biography by Tara. A formidable woman with a sharp mind, these are essential reading for any modern feminist!

Ah well, nobody’s perfect: the untold stories MOLLY with Jeff Jenkins – these are short stories, essays and incidentals that were left out of Molly’s autobiography. It kinds reeks of a cash in, especially as most of the stories I had heard before. Nonetheless a fun read.

The Martian by Andy Weir  - I loved the movie and wanted to read the book, but the spoken word copy came through so I decided to go with it. And I loved it, what a great book. It has more depth than the movie, far more suspense, and much more happen. Ultimately it is the same, so major changes, just a few extra turns on the way. Such a clever premise, being left on Mars alone accidentally. Weir is a genius!

True Pleasures: a memoir of women in Paris by Lucinda Holdforth – Lucinda looks at great Parisian women through history as she moves around the city herself. Fabulous read!

What I’ve Been Watching

Wild Tales – a great film from Argentina, with six short films within, each film having the characters in difficult circumstances and how they manage them.

The Wait – a French film starring Juliet Binoche. Binoche meets up with her son’s fiancee at a villa in Sicily. The son will arrive in a few days, but as the days go by it is obvious something is deeply wrong.

Midnight Special – Michael Shannon, always great, is superb in this sci-fi film. Shannon and Joel Edgerton are on the run with a young boy after removing him from a cult. They meet up with his ‘mother’, Kirsten Dunst. Why is the young boy so special, and what does the government (Adam Driver) want from him. This is a subtle but fabulous film, a must see. My pick of the month

High Rise – A great movie about a concept high-rise, visioned the architect, Jeremy Irons. Everything you need is in the high-rise, and a range of people living inside are enjoying themselves in this new world. BUt things start to go terribly wrong, can Tom Hiddleson resolve these issues. Quite a strange but fascinating tale, I really enjoyed this.

Just A Sigh – Alix and Doug are on a train going to Paris, somehow their lives intertwine and they have a brief affair. This is an interesting love story, made all the more worthwhile as Doug is Gabriel Bryne and Alix is played beautifully by Emmanuelle Devos.

Captain Fantastic – love this quirky tale of Viggo Mortensen raising and home schooling his 6 extraordinary children in the bush and living off the land while his wife is in a sanitarium. When she commits suicide he must rally the children and head into the real world for her funeral. So beautifully put together and so well acted by Mortensen, this is a sheer delight.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Great NZ family romp with a young kid on the run with Sam Neil, his foster parent to prevent him being taken back into the state. Totally wonderful, everyone will love, and very funny.

Once Upon A Time S5 – Time travel between fairy land and real world, all you favourite characters are there. Look, this can be cheesy, but by god, it’s fun. I think it’s cleverly put together and a has a great cast.

Leftovers S2 – Finally got around to watching the second season of this. I loved the first season. A reckoning has happened and 10% of the world’s population disappeared. The series was not about why they disappeared but how those left behind coped...or didn’t. The world changes overnight and it was quite something to watch. Brilliant cast too. S2 moves us to a small town, now called Miracle, where no one disappeared. People are flocking to it in hope of answers. The Main cast move there under interesting circumstances, and interesting people and things happen, including time travel, life after death and more. Hard to describe, just watch and be spun out.

What I’ve Been Listening to

After a Time by Holly Throsby -  lovely, sweet, as you would expect.

The Best of Kate Miller-Heidke, Act One by Kate MIller-Heidke – Why have I never seen this amazing lady live, I must rectify that. This is a best of, but what I like about this is it shows you Kate’s incredible range. Brilliant!!!

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