Monday, June 19, 2017


What I've Been Reading
Nevertheless: a memoir by Alec Baldwin - I love Alec, he is very charismatic, intelligent guy, I had great expectations of his memoir, but was let down a little. It was well written and interesting, and mostly focused on his upbringing and family.

The view from the cheap seat: selected nonfiction by Neil Gaiman - I previously read this amazing book but when the talking book, read by Gaiman himself, came through at work, I knew I needed a second go. Listening to an author read their own work is something else. The first section were essays about Libraries and Literature, and hearing his gorgeous voice talk up my own profession was delectable. I drove around with a huge smile on my face. It is truly one of the best compilations I have read/listened to.

Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett and narrated by David Wenham - I 'discovered' Favel at the first NWF when she was on a panel about place with Bob Brown. Her descriptive turn of phrase haunted and hypnotised me. This is her first novel and about three young boys living in an isolated seaside fishing town. Their mother is absent, their father troubled. It's a lovely shortish novel, with haunting undertones, you are not quite sure what is going to happen. And David Wenham's voice was just perfection.

Only: a singular memoir by Caroline Baum - this is an amazing memoir. Caroline had the most extraordinary childhood in France and England with very strong parents. As an only child she had it all, but yet due to the personalities of her parents, lacked much. Her story is honest and raw, and quite heartbreaking at times. I was very moved by her story. As her parents age, her relationship with her parents grows more complicated. This is a really contemplative memoir, it makes you think, cry, and laugh. I was transfixed and highly recommend it. 

Orchid Fever by Eric Hansen - this was a short spoken word story I listened to about the height of the 'orchid wars' with people going into native jungles to steal rare orchids etc. It was a fascinating and rather amusing but weird tale.

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan - I had tried to read this when it first came out and won practically every award around, but I struggled. A talking book came through at work and I gave it a go. It is mostly about Bennie and Sasha, who worked in the music industry from the San Francisco scene and their lives and the people they are intertwined with leading up to a post 9/11 New York. It twists and turns, drops characters and comes back to them much later when you've almost forgotten about them. It is a difficult read/listen, but ultimately a very rewarding one. 

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay - this is Roxane's latest work of fiction. It is short stories about women. Some are funny, some are sad, and some are simply heart breaking. Roxane can write about anything, she is simply remarkable. This is a must read.

What I've Been Watching
Black Mirror S1/2 - I finally got around to watching this very meta series based on technology in the worst and very warped way. It is difficult to describe without spoiling. Each episode stands alone and will blow your mind and make you think. In one a princess has been kidnapped and the demand is the UK PM has to have sex with a pig on live TV for her release. It takes reality to the very base, is shocking and completely messed up. Yet utterly watchable.

Frankie and Grace - I wanted to love this soooo much. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as women whose husbands have fallen in love with each and leave them late in life. It seems a little cliched but with such solid actors it should be magnificent. BUt it is not, it is cliched and a little hokey. However, it is not bad and I stuck with it. It has it moments, usually to do with Tomlin's character. I'll give S2 a go, but not in a hurry.

Twin Peaks - this is the highlight of my month, my year, quite possibly my life. I guess when Twin Peaks was so roughly (but possibly rightfully) yanked from our screens without complete resolution all those years ago, I was pretty upset. Upon hearing about it's resurrection I was in two mind, but it has been nothing short of genius and perfection. Yay for Lynch letting his freak flag fly. I have written about it in more detail here. But it has got to be the single most satisfying television I have ever seen!

250th episode of Inside the Actors Studio - ITAS is one of my favourite shows, and this compilation of old clips and new interviews with actors looking back to their original interview with the fabulous James Lipton was outstanding.

BFG - a very sweet and faithful adaptation to the Roald Dahl book

A Month of Sundays - Anthony LaPaglia is a divorced real estate agent who is stuck. He starts to get phone calls from his deceased mother and things start to turn around. Of course the phone calls are not actually from his mother, but open him up to a chance to restart his failing life. This is a lovely Australian film also starring the great John Clarke in one of his last big screen roles, also the lovely Justine Clarke and the gorgeous Julia Blake.

Casablanas: the man who loved women - interesting doco about John Casablancas, his life and his modelling agency. 

Francofonia: a film by Alexander Sokurov - this documentary by Russian Ark director is the remarkable true story of the Louvre under Nazi occupation and the men who saved the collection. It tells the history of the building, the art, and of course the war. Drawing from still pictures and some video, this is put together in a clever way.

What I've Been Listening To
70s Radio - mostly been listening to this.

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