21.03. Bookstores and book challenges

I love that Abbey’s in Sydney is supporting the AWW Book Challenge in their display.
When recently in Sydney I made a point of popping by.
Ended up buying Part 3 of The Hunger Games and the new collection of short stories by Nathan Englander. Ripping through them, they are terrific. Review to follow soon.

Also of late, I’ve been following Jillian and her #theclassicsclub on twitter. It seems like a great initiative to me, and when I started thinking about it, I realised there are heaps of classics I’d love to catch up on- many already in my bookshelves at home. So I’ve decided to join in the fun.

I am planning to read 50 classics in the next 5 years…by 31st December 2016.

Wish me luck!

My list currently has 69 books on it. I will only read 50, but wanted to leave myself some wriggle room.
I feel like I covered alot of English literature at school and at uni, so I have sought out alot of American and foreign classics that I hope will broaden my mind.
I’ve also tried to include quite a few women writers- I feel like women get a dud run in most classics lists once you get past the Brontes and Jane Austen.
And I’ve thrown in a couple of graphic novels, some poetry and short stories, one play and a kids book to keep things interesting.

The prize I intend to gift myself at the end? I think I will put $5 in a special jar for each classic I read and at the end go out for a classic dinner- that’s a pretty good budget for a fancy night out I reckon!

So here are the books on my list:

THE ONES I HAVE FINISHED (I’ll be constantly updating this. Click through on the title to read what I thought.
1. Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston Completed 26.03.2012
2. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy Completed April 6 2012

American Classics

3. Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
4. A Confederacy of Dunces Toole, John Kennedy
5. Everything is Illuminated Jonathan Safran Foer
6. Stories Dorothy Parker (Short Stories)
7. The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne
8. Jazz Toni Morrison
9. The Wasteland T.S. Eliot (Poetry)
10. The House of Mirth Edith Wharton
12. Breakfast of Champions Kurt Vonnegut
13. The Princess Bride William Goldman
14. Infinite Jest David Foster Wallace
15. Fear of Flying Erica Jong
16. Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
17. A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams (Play)
18. The Complete Poems Emily Dickinson (Poetry)
19. Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak (Children’s Book)
20. What we talk About… Raymond Carver (Short Stories)
21. Junky William S Burroughs
22. The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver
23. The Village David Mamet
24. War all the Time Charles Bukowski (Poetry)
25. Breakfast at Tiffany’s Truman Capote
26. The Man with the Golden Arm Nelson Algren
27. The Complete Maus Art Spiegelman (Graphic Novel)
28. Catch 22 Joseph Heller
29. A Heart So White Javier Marias
30. Blue of Noon Georges Bataille
31. Midnight’s Children Rushdie, Salman
32. The Name of the Rose Eco, Umberto
33. The Bone People Hulme, Keri
34. The Master and Marherita Mikhail Bulgakov
35. Like Water for Chocolate Esquivel, Laura
36. The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
37. Les Fleurs du Mal Charles Baudelaire (Poetry)
38. The Second Sex Simone de Beauvoir
39. Suite Française Irène Némirovsky
40. Bonjour Tristesse Françoise Sagan
41. The Leopard Giuseppe di Lampedusa
42. The Prince Niccolò Machiavelli
43. Siddharta Herman Hesse
44. The Lost Honour of Katarina Blum Heinrich Boell (Novella)
45. W.G. Sebald Vertigo
46. Austerlitz W. G. Sebald
47. Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe
48. A Bend in the River V. S. Naipaul
49. Waiting for the Barbarians J.M. Coetzee
50. Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro
51. Kafka on the Shore Haruki Murakami
52. Persepolis Marjane Satrapi (Graphic Novel)
53. The Namesake Jhumpa Lahiri
54. Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky
55. A Small Circus Hans Fallada
56. The Tale of Genji Murasaki Shikibu
57. The Lover Marguerite Duras
58. Mario Vargas Llosa The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta
40. Gigi & The Cat Colette
59. To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf
60. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy John Le Carré
61. Songs of Innocence & of Experience William Blake (poetry)
62. The Turn of the Screw Henry James
63. Tales of the Unexpected Roald Dahl (Short Stories)
64. Collected Poems Judith Wright (poetry)
65. The Female Eunuch Germaine Greer
66. My Brilliant Career Miles Franklin
67. Songlines Bruce Chatwin
68. Monkey Grip Helen Garner
69. Gigi & The Cat Colette


20.03. A Bed of One’s Own

I don’t travel very often for work any more.
But when I do, I really enjoy it.
One of the things I enjoy most is the hotel room at the end of the day.
It is just divine, to have the whole bed to myself and revel in the crisp whiteness of someone else’s housekeeping.
And there are no tapdancing dogs waking me up at 6 am.

Hip hip for hotels.

Do you love to just leave your life behind sometimes. Just for a night?

18.03. Bookclubs, real and virtual

I love my book club.
I’ve mentioned it before. But every month I think how lucky I am.
12 boisterous women, all different ages and viewpoints. We’ve come to know each other well, and most of the afternoon is devoted to sipping wine and catching up on the month’s shenanigans. But we do discuss the book. We’ve been going for 6 years and have had engagements, babies, breakups, the works- just like in those bookclub novels.
This month, we talked about Marieke Hardy’s You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead which I reviewed here.

The general consensus- enjoyable but superficial. Being in Melbourne, it was interesting to be reading about such a colourful Melbourne identity. Listening to the girls, there are certainly some very colourful stories floating around about Marieke that have not been printed in the book. It also seems that publishing the book has sent massive waves through Marieke’s circle of friends.
A wonderful book for a gossipy afternoon in the shade of a friends back yard.

I’d love top hear about other bookclubs out there. The ratio of gossip to books and the favourite books you’ve read…

17.03. St Patrick’s Day

I’m not native to Melbourne.
But I love it.
One thing I love is how people put thought and love into outfits and don’t just follow the latest trend.
I loved this girl’s St Patrick’s Day outfit- so elegant. Lovely.
(Is it super creepy to photograph people on the tram?)

The highlight of St Patrick’s Day was Lenny Kravitz. He’s still got it!

What was your weekend highlight?

15.03. The Walking Dead

Let me be clear. I am not a horror fan. I don’t even usually like sci-fi and fantasy that much. I couldn’t quite get into True Blood.
But suddenly I am loving things I never used to love. The Hunger Games. Game of Thrones.
And now, The Walking Dead.
I’ve had the first few eps on my iq for ages. I’d heard the buzz and wanted to see what it was all about. So I gave it a crack. And love it!
The premise: Police Officer Rick Grimes goes into a coma after an arrest gone wrong. He awakens, several weeks later, to find the world gone haywire.
Dead bodies and blood everywhere and a padlocked room with the warning “Don’t Open. Dead Inside” from behind which we see the haunting fingers poking out and the groans of a zombie crowd.

The world has been changed by a virus that has turned most of the population into zombies. And so, Rick goes on a mission to find his wife and child.
The first two eps were great. So why do I like it?
1. It’s totally believable- taking the zombie premise to the max with the promise of plenty more to come.
I love the moral ambiguities of zombie infestation, like if your wife is infected and becomes a zombie, would you/ should you put her out of her misery?
Also believable, the characters. Ethnically diverse and with an obnoxious redneck (realistic, not just a caricature), the cast is reflective of a realer America than the usual white bread horror movie casts.
2. Its funny. Zombies make me laugh. They’re clumsy and apart from being so undead, they’re quite comedic.
3. At the same time it’s rivetingly scary.

I am completely hooked and very happy to have found a TV show that I like.

If you want to get on board, it looks like Foxtel are running a bit of a catch up marathon this Sunday the 18th March. On fX (where the fashion channel used to be).

Watch it. If you dare 😉

13.03. Something to look forward to- Finders Keepers Markets

These markets are always brilliant. Heaps of creators you don’t see around the usual traps and music and food and a lovely friendly creative vibe.

If you live in or near Melbourne, pop the 20th / 21st April in your diary and get down to the Exhibition Building.

I know what I’ll be doing!

Friday 20th April 6pm – 10pm
Saturday 21st April 10am – 5pm

The Royal Exhibition Building
9 Nicholson Street, Carlton