Six Degrees of Separation – from Normal People to New Lives.

It’s time for #6degrees. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up.

This month we begin with Sally Rooney’ bestseller, Normal People. I absolutely loved the book, and thought the TV series was perfection. My next book-to-TV-series to watch is Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much is True. Continue reading

Yarra Valley Writers Festival

There are some upsides to our COVID-19 isolation. For example, events turning into online affairs. Such was the case with today’s Yarra Valley Writers Festival – had it been held as was intended (a weekend of author talks in the Yarra Valley), I would not have been able to attend, but with the cancellation of weekend sports and the Festival moved online, I was able to enjoy the full program.

The Festival was live-streamed over ten hours. I ‘attended’ eight sessions, which covered topics ranging from bushfires and nature, to grief, families and religion. Too much to recap, so instead some soundbites: Continue reading

My Best Books for 2019

An even spread of excellent books and some truly memorable author events has made 2019 a terrific reading year.

As I’ve done in previous years, I’ll focus on the books that have continued to resonate with me (as opposed to those I gave five stars to as soon as I’d finished reading). Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. I’ve been too busy to study the 2020 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival program closely but a few things did catch my eye – Women’s Weekly Birthday Cakes exhibition and this focus on food and wine from the volcanic region of Italy. Continue reading

Broadside 2019 – Zadie Smith

There were moments when I wanted to call out “Stop! Wait! I need to process that!” during the conversation between Jia Tolentino and Zadie Smith at last weekend’s Broadside festival. Their banter was rapid-fire; the topics they were discussing were big and intense ; and it’s taken me a week to reflect on all that was covered.

Zadie got straight into it with, “I’m always thinking a lot about death. And human autonomy, free will. Shit like that.” She was being truthful and funny all at once. Continue reading

Broadside 2019 – Helen Garner

What a day! The inaugural Broadside Festival opened with Helen Garner in conversation with Sarah Krasnostein.

It was the first time I’d heard Helen speak (despite trying to get to her rare speaking engagements in the past). My immediate impression was that she was much warmer and funnier than I had expected (I guess my expectations were unthinkingly based on her subject matter and her spare, pared-back prose).

The conversation began with talking about publishing a diary, something that by nature is intended to be private. On rereading her diaries, Helen said, “There was a lot of boring stuff in there, which naturally I found fascinating. To sort out what others would find interesting about you is actually quite a challenging process.” Continue reading

Two author talks (with three authors)

I went to two author talks last week (both were free events) and I was reminded why it’s ace living in a UNESCO City of Literature.

The first event was part of the Wheeler Centre’s Double Booked series. Favel Parrett and Anna Krien talked about their new books, There Was Still Love and Act of Grace respectively). At the second event, hosted by Readings, Charlotte Wood talked about her latest book, The Weekend (review to come but spoiler alert: I LOVED it). Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. It’s school holidays in Australia. We spent a few days with family in Kyneton (with some mountain-biking in Harcourt and a hike to the summit of Hanging Rock). Continue reading