Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Lee Israel

Who isn’t intrigued by a literary scandal? As I type, a few pop to mind – Helen Demidenko, James Frey, and whether Harper Lee ever wanted Go Set a Watchman to be published. But I’d never heard of Lee Israel – best-selling author and ‘literary forger’. She fesses up to her criminal activity in her memoir, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (and yes, let’s park the fact that she profited from writing a memoir about her crime).

I had never known anything but ‘up’ in my career, had never received even one of those formatted no-thank-you slips that successful writers look back upon with triumphant jocularity. Continue reading

The Fragments by Toni Jordan

I’m prefacing this review by saying that I like Toni Jordan’s writing (and in particular, Addition was a terrific book).

The Fragments is a literary mystery (in every sense of the word). The story alternates between 1930s New York and Brisbane in the 1980s. In New York, celebrated author Inga Karlson dies in a fire and her highly anticipated second book is also burnt, leaving just a few scorched fragments of the manuscript. Continue reading

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

I think, if they were being brutally honest, most people would give Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman two stars. But you throw an extra star Watchman’s way because it’s Harper Lee. And because we all know those arseholes published this book against her long-held wish.

But I have no qualms about my three star rating because I pulled the right rein and listened to this book. Yes, the words are still the same but when they’re spoken in Reese Witherspoon’s smooth-as-molasses Southern drawl, it’s a very lovely story to hear. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

1. I’m still in two minds about Go Set a Watchman. I have a copy… But the whole situation just doesn’t sit right with me. And the news of a third book by Harper Lee made be all the more uncomfortable.

2. So last week I saw Magic Mike XXL. Don’t judge. If you’ve seen it, you’ll understand that the film is a satire – without a plot, in the traditional sense. Or a script that was worked on for more than half an hour. It’s basically a soundtrack, with bare chests, fire phobias, nods to Flashdance, level 3 Reiki healers, Backstreet Boys and artisanal pro-biotic fro-yo.

magic mike3. And the “How much for the Cheetos and water” scene is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in years. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts


1. I have a saying – “Gelato Messina is on the way home from everywhere.” Think you can handle 40 flavours? Knock yourself out.

2. While we’re on Gelato Messina, last night I had their special of the week – Old Gregg. It was sublime.

3. Which is the perfect segue into the Baileys Prize. If you haven’t connected the dots, watch this (and laugh). Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

1. Harper Lee. Wow. Just wow.

2. Reading Ireland Month – March, of course. I’ve got at least seven Irish authors in my TBR stack, so I’ll be participating.

3. I love this ‘40 page test‘. Essentially, Michael Bourne decided to look “…at the same line — the first sentence of the fifth paragraph on page 40…” to see whether it would offer a “…window onto the author’s style…”. Try it.


4. The biggest news in Melbourne this week? The Nylex Clock is back on. Most Melburnians understand the significance and if they are/were also rowers, even more so. There was many a time I would look at the time and think “5.30am and 7 degrees… What am I doing?” Continue reading

Fictitious Dishes by Dinah Fried

Fictitious Dishes

If I was going to write a book (and was also an ace photographer and a brilliant stylist), it would be exactly like Dinah Fried’s Fictitious Dishes. There couldn’t be a more perfect book. Why? It’s best summed up with its subtitle – ‘An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals’.

This gem of a book combines literature, food, beautiful photographs, memorable quotes, and historical and factual detail about the books and foods included. It’s a masterpiece. And difficult to review because I find it tricky to get passed the brilliance of the whole thing. Continue reading

School texts… I always read ahead


At the end of every high school year there was one thing I looked forward to. No, not summer – actually, yes, I did look forward to summer but speaking of things school related, I looked forward to getting the book list for the following year. I couldn’t wait to get started on my English texts. Yes, book nerd at age thirteen.

I’m stretching the scope of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). The topic is ‘Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught In Schools’ – my topic is Top Eleven Books That I Was Taught in School. Actually, ‘top’ suggests best… This is a list of books that were the most memorable for all sorts of reasons. So here it is, Top Eleven Most Memorable Books That I Was Taught in School.

1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle- didn’t like this book but it was read in my first year of high school so my enthusiasm knew no bounds.

2. Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner – I had read this book well before high school. Possible I was a bit of a smart-arse about it.

3. A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines – notably, the word ‘shit’ is used in this text. That’s a big deal when you’re 14 and taking it in turns to read aloud in class. My friend Carter got to read the page with ‘shit’. Memorable. Continue reading