Things That Are Making Me Happy This Week

01. Dinner at Solarace by Chef David. Apart from the actual space being over-the-top fabulous, the standouts were cod with tomato, lychee and avocado fancy bits; abalone tempura that was out of this world; and a wild rice salad that was so good I just wanted to put my face in the bowl (which I couldn’t do because we were with friends and standards and whatnot). 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

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. I went to the Lionel Richie concert on Sunday night. We were Dancing On the Ceiling All Night Long. Sure, some might consider his ballads cheesy but I can’t resist singing along to Hello, Truly and Say You, Say Me. Continue reading

I do sometimes read non-fiction…

I’ve done more non-fiction reading this year than I have in previous years. Partly stuff associated with uni, partly stuff about dementia (particularly relevant to my family at present), and of course I continue to be a sucker for a memoir.

I’ve jotted down a few thoughts on some of the books I’ve read recently – not reviews as such, just a record. Continue reading

Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney – a literary mixtape

It’s had a squillion reviews on Goodreads; it was a re-read for me; and it’s packed with pithy one-liners – all good reasons for a literary mixtape for Jay McInerney’s eighties classic, Bright Lights, Big City.

If you haven’t already read it, get on it – it’s a brilliant snapshot of grief in its denial phase, set against eighties New York with its largesse, its cocaine, its filth, its beautiful people.

4/5 It holds up.


Saturday Night / Cold Chisel

The night has already turned on that imperceptible pivot where two A.M. changes to six A.M. You know this moment has come and gone, but you are not yet willing to concede that you have crossed the line beyond which all is gratuitous damage and the palsy of unravelled nerve endings. Continue reading

The Women In Black by Madeleine St. John


I don’t usually write reviews for re-reads because they must be ace books* if I’m taking the time to re-read them, right? But there’s been a few exceptions along the way and The Women In Black by Madeleine St. John is one.

I’d forgotten just how charming this story is when I picked it up last Friday. My hasty re-read (it is a very short book) was prompted by my theatre engagement that evening – Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Ladies in Black.

Set in a department store in Sydney called Goode’s in the late 1950s, the story traces the lives of four women working in the Ladies’ Frock Department.

“Goode’s stayed ahead of the competition by means of a terrific dedication to the modes.”
Continue reading