The Top 50 from the Best Books of 2019 List of Lists

This is my annual community service to book-bloggers – a list of the books that appear most frequently on the 56 lists that I listed on Best Books of 2019 – A List of Lists. Continue reading

You make me feel like dancing…(and reading)

Okay, that’s a Leo Sayer song but this post is all about the Gibbs.


I felt it was time for a Bee Gees literary mix tape (mainly because I’m still sulking about Barry’s cancelled Melbourne tour).

Marvel at the lustrous hair (chest and other) and the magnificent use of solid gold.

01. You Should Be Dancing / Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead Continue reading

‘Mimi’ by Lucy Ellmann

Mimiby Lucy Ellman had me laughing from the first page. Not just little smiles, but snort-laughs. I’m all for Ellman’s brand of sarcastic humour. But it’s not all laughs. There’s a serious, thoughtful side to this book and whilst the feminist theme weaves through much of the story, Ellmann delivers a shocking plot twist midway through the book that reminds the reader this is no fluff.

Mimi is the story of a Manhattan romance. It’s Christmas Eve when Harrison Hanafan, an eminent plastic surgeon, slips on ice and sprains his ankle. A woman comes to his rescue, pulling him to his feet and putting him in a cab. Harrison recuperates with the aid of Franz Schubert, Bette Davis, his favourite childhood stories (Ant & Bee) and a foundling cat, Bubbles. All to soon it’s back to rhinoplasties, liposuction and a growing sense of dissatisfaction for Harrison. When asked to do the graduation speech at his old high school, Harrison accepts, despite the fact that public speaking scares him. He enlists the help of a public speaking coach and from there an unconventional love story unfolds.

Mimi has been hailed the ‘feminist novel of the century (so far)’. I can see that (well actually, it’s hard to miss) but I’m going to leave the dissection of the feminist manifesto described in Mimi to the professional book reviewers. Instead, I’m focusing on what I really enjoyed about this book – the creative writing.

I’ve come across a handful of books in my adult life that are written ‘creatively’. Of course, all books are inherently ‘creative’ but I’m talking about the use of format and form as a way of giving a story something extra. A prime example is Safron Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Anyone who has read that book will know exactly what I mean. So, to Mimi – Ellmann does it. Mimi includes lists, asides about Bach and cats, a bunch of comprehensive appendices (including recipes!), not to mention the use of the CAPS LOCK. But it’s the lists that I loved. Continue reading