Friday 31 May 2024

May Reading

A lot of reading in hardcopy and less listening for a change.

The Kamogawa Food Detectives. This was recommended by a few of the bloggers (want to say Min first but who knows?). It's short and light, but fun and sweet. I liked the thoughts about food and memory, recreating over regret and also the very Japanese ideas in the street and dishes. We'd just been in Kyoto so it's a perfect book for travellers. There is a bit of repetition (felt like a made for tv series) which bothered my mum but I didn't mind. I am very pleased to see some of the other books are being translated.

Fourteen Days This was a project written in lockdown and Margaret Atwood edited it. It's a book of short stories woven into a larger story. Some of the contributers are Margaret Atwood, Sylvia Day, Emma Donoghue, Dave Eggers, Diana Gabaldon, Tess Gerritsen, John Grisham, Erica Jong, Celeste Ng, Tommy Orange, Doug Preston, R.L. Stine, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Meg Wolitzer and more, 36 in all. You read it blind, in that you don't know who wrote what. Because I listened to it borrowed from the library, I didn't get the pdf attachment that did tell you who did what. I did manage to track down a partial list and it was interesting to see some authors play around with their style. It's a really fun way to see what people chose to do with their story. The main characters weave throughout the whole book so even if you don't think you like short stories, this would still work for you. I think the hardcopy book has the list at the back. If you do read it, try to not check it out until the end, though like me, you may get too curious not to want to work out who wrote what.

Got a free bathbombs at Lush on Mother's day.Made reading in the bath a bigger indulgence!

Smart Ovens for Lonely People Another collection of short stories, but this time actual short stories. Really fun, kooky and creative. I really enjoyed this book, at times sad and a lot of the time sweet. Or sinister. I can see why it was longlisted for the Stella Prize. Great book.

Close to Death Every year I eagerly await the new Hawthorne book, and I am thrilled he said there are 10 more to come (or at least 5 if he meant there were 10 in all). I adore Horowitz. He's smart and funny and these meta fiction books, where the author is the begrudging Dr Watson-style narrator of the story are charming and literally delightful. For me they are a joy to read. Only criticism is I now have to wait at least 11 months for the next one. This is book number 5. You can read in any order but the jokes and references work better if you read in order. (I don't really read his other stuff but his  Diamond Dectective books were a fave for me to read to my kids, who were less amused at my uncontrollable laughter runing the flow of the story.)

Number One is Walking We watched the Steve Martin doco and this book came up so I got a copy. It's a sweet collection of cartoons that tell short anecdotes from the movies he's made. Things famous people said to him, how ideas made the film, encouragement from idols etc.

Unleashed Facebook threw me an ad for a crime series and it interested me enough to give it a shot. This is the first in the Sydney Rye series (I got books 1-3 on audible for the price of 1). It opens with a hilarious Starbucks scene that got me onside almost immediately. It's fallen into the pattern of more normal crime/mystery books, so is easy and interesting, however, I'm hoping more of the strong character building in the first chapter continues in the later books. I've about 2/3 of the way through.

Yet to read (but up next), I attended the book launch of this book and learnt a few more things about it. Post is here.

Five Favourite Monthly Moments - May

While May has been a quieter month than my April, which was non stop sensational fun, when I look back it's been a pretty good month. In no particular order:

1. I love the Comedy festival, this time 3 weeks and 10 gigs. It's a low cost and in most cases only an hour investment of time for a 'night out'. Great fun and endorphin releasing, easy catch up with friends, making the most of week nights or even late Sunday afternoon. Great for well being.

2. Really lovely Mother's Day with my husband and kids, and then another celebrating with my Mother

3. Great day with friends at the Hawkesbury Races, capped off with dancing! 

4. A smidge of live music and more dancing. And of course, the beauty & buzz of VIVID. 

5. Increasing my exercise, sunshine near water, baths with books, catching up with friends, my favourite flowers coming back in season...lots of lovely little moments.

I love looking at my Insta to recap the month. Like a gratitude journal in pictures.

How's your month been? 

Linking with  #MFFMM  and #WWOT #WWOAT #WWWhimsy #MondayMusicMovesMe #TheRandom t#SundayBest #WeekendCoffeeShare  #MCoW for the pics. VIVID is a fabulous time to visit Sydney.

While this is not my favourite Jungle song (that's Time) this one went off! Fantastic live!

The Characters in other People's Stories

I mentioned my friend finished a manuscript before she died and this week the book was launched.The fabulous Ariel Booksellers in Sydney hosted the launch and it was very exciting to finally get my hands on a copy.

The publisher gave a lovely speech and read a few passages, with the most intriguing aside that one should never trust everything the housekeeper says. The book has a feminist angle, looking at women in those days when they had fewer options, and one character has to choose between the love of their life and their child, so I'm thinking this book may have more more links to Madama Butterfly than just the composer.

A lot of research went into the book and Sue met with Puccini's last living relative (a grand-daughter, I think) twice in Italy and once in the UK. So there should be lots of interesting 'inside' information in the book too!

It's next in my queue so a proper review will come soon.  Available in eBook and Paperback here.

However, the strangest or most interesting part of the night, was meeting people we had heard stories of from Sue over the years. I know all about her children and grand children (now adults!) and many of her lifelong friends. And they know all about me. Whenever we caught up, Sue would bring me up to speed on her family as well as the other people she'd seen that week. 

There's this weird familiarity with strangers, even strangers you don't recognise because you never saw pictures but know the ups and downs of their life, their interests and achievements and more.

There's a meme going around social media that says we should have bring a friend to work day so we can put faces to the characters in our friends work stories. There's so much truth in this. We are conncted to people we may never meet, just by a friend venting or gossiping on their daily life. We are characters that exist in an alternative universe, more or less, and the mutual friend is the portal between the worlds.

Miffy makes me go Awww #AwwMondays

We had dinner with Sue, her son and his then partner (now wife) when they were dating, and yet chatting with him 25 years later, I knew his work, where he lived, his kids (much older than I'd realised) and all sorts of things. He too was asking us about things he'd only heard the stories of. It was a surreal expereince feeling connected and familliar with someone we'd only met once briefly.

I guess this is what historical fiction is. Hearing stories about people that you've never met then fleshing out  them out imagination. 

It's also the way we keep people alive in our hearts. Sometimes we can reach across the universe in celebration of the person that once linked us.

Linking  with #WoWOnWednesday #MonthlyBookWorms  #Bookdate #TrafficJamReboot #WWWhimsy #SeniorSalonPitstop#WeekendCoffeeShare 

Thursday 30 May 2024

It is a serious thing – just to be alive – on this fresh morning – in this broken world.” —Mary Oliver

 I've mentioned before when my husband is away I like to sleep with the curtains open. I love the city sparkling in the dark when I go to bed and the orange glow of the sky being the first thing I see when I open my eyes.

It is a luxurious way to start the day!

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” —Marcus Aurelius

It is the simpliest of pleasures and the quickest way to boost your spirits. 

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.” –E. B. White

Wednesday 29 May 2024


VIVID is back on until 15 June. Due to being quite busy, last night was my first chance to get out and see it. My camera seems to have a focus issue, not helped by me accidently flicking the wrong setting for half the photos and not realising...opps!

Very keen to get to Barangaroo but not sure when. 

Also want to go to Dark Spectrum and Lightscape but not sure when I can fit them in...

Musically, though I have a few gigs. Last night was Thelma Plum and tonight is Underworld so I'll see the glorious harbour lit up in a kaleidoscpe of colours.

I love Sydney in VIVID!  

Also, I know nothing about this but if anyone wants a short cruise rather than commiting to a whole evening, this sign is in front of the MCA, first boat ramp after Circular Quay.

Not sure I'll make the Drone show but do hope to get out to the Goods line and Darling Harbour.

There are swear words so NSFW (but not offensive, just the words)