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

Six Degrees of Separation – from Where the Wild Things Are to The Aftermath

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 the children’s classic, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (thanks to Sue at Whispering Gums for this suggestion). Continue reading

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

here-i-am-jonathan-safran-foer

There’s a lot going on in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am – an earthquake followed by a war in the Middle East; the death of a family patriarch; an unwanted bar mitzvah; a crumbling marriage. But through all this ‘busyness’, you quickly understand that Here I Am is Foer’s ode to family and his Jewish faith.

“Parents don’t have the luxury of being reasonable, not any more than a religious person does. What can make religious people and parents so utterly insufferable is also what makes religion and parenthood so utterly beautiful: the all-or-nothing wager. The faith.”

Continue reading

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith

I’ve been wondering if ‘art-thriller’ is a genre… I’m thinking books such as What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt, Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and my latest read, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith. Why does the art world make such a good backdrop for fiction? Perhaps because it involves creativity, big personalities, money, glamour, sacrifice and poverty? Or maybe I’m over-thinking it and creating tenuous links between these books…?

A rare painting, titled ‘At the Edge of the Wood’, provides the link between three separate places, times and characters in this tightly told cat-and-mouse story. The painting is by Sara de Vos, a Dutch artist of the Golden Age and the first woman to be accepted as a Master painter into the Guild. Fast forward to New York in the late fifties, when the painting hangs on millionaire Marty de Groot’s bedroom wall. Meanwhile, struggling Australian doctorate student, Ellie Shipley, is living in Brooklyn and making ends meet by doing art restoration work…and a forgery. Smith brings the story to the present day where, at an art exhibition in Sydney, the pasts of Sara, Marty and Ellie collide. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

Cookie-Map

1. I think we should all take a moment to appreciate the effort that has gone into this world map (and it’s interactive… I know! An interactive world cookie map! Genius).

2. Of course the “…second only to Tim Tams…” part of this article is bullshit but the rest is tops (because the Mint Slice rules). Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

exxopolis-1

I’m doing another speed edition of Bookish Thoughts (hosted by Christine) this week. Because pedigrees and learning eleventy-billion genetic disorders beckon.

1. Exxopolis. Amazing.

2. Sonya Hartnett at the Melbourne Writers Festival – more detail to come. Brilliant. Continue reading