My Best Books for 2021

I did away with ‘top tens’ a few years ago, and instead I finish the reading year with a recap of the books that are still speaking to me (less about four and five-star ratings, more about what has stuck). Continue reading

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

There are a handful of books that I enjoyed so much when I first read them, that they have taken a reverent place in my reading life. And while I want to experience that particular reading pleasure again, re-reads can be like returning to the ‘perfect’ holiday spot – somehow it’s not quite what you remembered, despite the main ingredients being the same.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt is one such book. I first read it when it was released in 1992. Like the characters, I was at university, wholly absorbed in campus life and a circle of friends who were new, but immediately close. I recall being engrossed in the story, but not much of the detail other than the fact that one of the students was murdered, stayed with me.

Religious slurs, temper tantrums, insults, coercion, debt: all petty things, really, irritants – too minor, it would seem, to move five reasonable people to murder. But, if I dare say it, it wasn’t until I helped to kill a man that I realized how elusive and complex an act of murder can actually be, and not necessarily attributable to one dramatic move. Continue reading

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

Truly, there is nothing new left to say about Bret Easton Ellis’s generation-defining novel, Less Than Zero. And, despite having a bunch of options for week one of Novellas in November, I decided to re-read Less Than Zero, purely because I am absolutely engrossed in the podcast Once Upon a Time at Bennington College (to the point where I’m waiting for each new episode to drop). The podcast examines the years that Ellis, Donna Tartt and Jonathan Lethem were at college together, and specifically, the people and events that inspired characters in both Less Than Zero and The Secret History.

So, this is not a review but rather a collection of Less-Than-Zero-associated-thoughts: Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. I had an ace day in the Yarra Valley last week (much wine, a superb lunch at Tarra Warra, and my first visit to Four Pillars distillery where the sales staff probably made their monthly quota after our visit – specifically ‘Espy’ Gin, breakfast negroni, and because I love negronis, this). 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