My Bruce Springsteen project

Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, is a big book (528 pages). Sure, I wanted to read it, but when I spotted the audio version, read by Bruce, I knew I wanted to listen to it more. Nineteen hours of his sexy distinctive voice, reminiscing about New Jersey, guitars and recording studios was bound to be absolutely fucking glorious.

And then I took it to the next level. I interspersed listening to the audiobook with listening to every album in its entirety, as he discussed them in the book. I listened to the songs in the order they were published (because as Bruce says, ‘…an album with its A and B sides has a ‘collective’ story…’, something that millennial-playlisters who cherry-pick songs will never quite understand). It was another 15 hours and 38 minutes of Bruce-listening-pleasure.

I’m not going to write a review of the book – fans will read it and love it to bits (everyone else will think “528 pages? Pass.”). But I have picked a favourite song from each album. Continue reading

Two autobiographies by Drew

“I had my first drink at age nine, began smoking marijuana at ten and at twelve took up cocaine.” 

Drew Barrymore’s legal emancipation from her mother at age 14, her self-driven ‘rebranding’ as teen-seductress, and her multiple engagements and three short marriages were still to come. So it should make for some wild reading, right? Actually, not really. Continue reading

Bugger. This happened.

I had a self-imposed winter book buying ban. I’ve held true to it, despite all the temptations that came my way. And then last night, with approximately 28 hours left on my three-month long ban, this happened:


No excuses. I was in the moment at Cyndi’s 30th anniversary She’s So Unusual tour. I love a bit of tour merch and I really, really love Cyndi. Continue reading

‘Ru’ by Kim Thúy

You know that clever little feature on your Kindle that lets you highlight favourite passages? Mine went into overdrive when I was reading the utterly brilliant Ru by Kim Thúy.

At ten years old, Kim Thúy fled Vietnam on a boat with her family, leaving behind a grand house and the many less tangible riches of their home country: the ponds of lotus blossoms, the songs of soup-vendors. The family arrived in Quebec, where they found clothes at the flea market, and mattresses with actual fleas.

There’s a delicacy and an innocence to Thúy’s words that is quite simply, breathtaking.

“Love, as my son Pascal knows it, is defined by the number of hearts drawn on a card or by how many stories about dragons are told by flashlight under a down-filled comforter. I have to wait a few more years till I can report to him that in other times, other places, parents showed their love by willingly abandoning their children, like the parents of Tom Thumb.” Continue reading

‘Swimming Studies’ by Leanne Shapton

A few years ago I read a life-changing book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. ‘Life-changing’ might sound somewhat over-the-top but the book prompted me to examine what made me truly happy. And my conclusion was this – reading and swimming. I especially like reading by the pool. At some stage I will put together a review of The Happiness Project (so I can document the bits that I found helpful) but in the meantime, here’s a book about swimming – the remarkably lovely Swimming Studies.

Swimming Studies is a curious little book. It’s a memoir by Canadian writer and artist Leanne Shapton, focused on the period of her life when she was training for the Olympic swimming trials. Shapton provides a unique and original perspective on  swimming, swimming pools and even bathers (that’s swimwear for my non-Aussie readers). It’s described as this –

“What do you with an all-absorbing activity once it’s passed its relevance, and yet you can’t quite give it up? Is it possible to find a new purpose for its rigours and focus? “Swimming Studies” ….explores what it is like to move from a world of competition and discipline to one of recreation and introspection.” Continue reading