Things that are making me happy this week

01. Melbourne Writers Festival program – an apt theme, given our uncertain times. In The Comfort Book, Matt Haig quotes film director Jean-Luc Godard who says a story should have a beginning, middle and end, but not necessarily in that order. Is it fair to say that we’re all craving classic narratives and conclusive endings, right now?! Continue reading

Things that are making me happy this week

01. I was supposed to be at Philip Island this weekend… which would have meant I missed out on the Yarra Valley Writers Festival – so the silver lining of Lockdown 5.0 is that I got to ‘attend’ (virtually) the Festival (and my trip has been rescheduled). I’m classing it as a win, okay?!

02. Related: When Meg Mason was talking about Sorrow & Bliss, she said that in the first version the story, Ingrid was going to be in Martha’s imagination i.e. how Martha might be without her mental illness – WHAT?! I’m glad she made Ingrid a real person. Continue reading

Stella Prize 2021 Longlist Predictions

The Stella Prize 2021 longlist will be announced tomorrow night (tune in here).

Unlike the judges, I’ve only read a dozen or so eligible books but I’m aware of a bunch that keep crossing my radar. On that rather flimsy basis, I’m predicting the longlist*. Continue reading

My Best Books for 2020

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 best of lockdown

 

Has there ever been such a grim title? Sorry, it’s the Pollyanna in me. I started writing Things That Are Making Me Happy posts seven months ago, when Melbourne went into its first lockdown. There was a brief gap between lockdowns one and two, but not enough for anything to feel ‘normal’. For me, that’s changed in the last two weeks and being able to see family and friends, and enjoy some dinners out, has been marvelous.

So, before I immerse myself in Melbourne’s ‘new normal’, I thought I’d remind myself of the highlights of ‘happy’. Here’s a quick summary of the best stuff – Continue reading

Nonfiction November – Book Pairings

It’s Nonfiction November, this week hosted by Julz Reads. The task? Pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title.

Charismatic fraudsters living the high-life – My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams and The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. Continue reading

Sorrow and Bliss – we need to talk further

I have strong feelings about spoilers (just don’t). When reviewing a book, I err on the side of not saying much about the plot – that’s what blurbs are for and, if that’s not enough, you can head over to Goodreads where there’s always someone who has given a blow-by-blow account of the story.

As I’ve said previously, when I read a review, I want to know about how people felt when they read a particular book. Especially if they feel like this:

But sometimes you need to discuss a book, and that discussion involves a spoiler. I did it here (for The Other Typist).

And so….

There were elements of Meg Mason’s glorious, heart-breaking and funny novel, Sorrow and Bliss, that demand discussion. Continue reading