Things that are making me happy this week

01. Peak lockdown: wearing trackies; drinking Prosecco and Refosco from Salatin during live tour of the vineyard in the Venetian hills; eating cheeses from That’s Amore, and insanely good Baccalà followed by duck ragout with green herbs and gnocchi from Caterina’s (on Queen St). Continue reading

We’re halfway through the year…

This time last year, I was feeling really worn out as a result of Melbourne’s COVID situation (little did I know how much more was ahead). I certainly wasn’t doing much reading, despite having oodles of time on my hands.

This year, I was supposed to be at Ningaloo Reef, diving, and snorkeling with the whale sharks, before heading to Perth tomorrow. We cancelled the trip a few weeks ago because Melbourne was in another lockdown, and Western Australia have been firm on keeping their borders closed until states have weeks of zero cases. I appreciate the irony that right now, Melbourne is the place to be, given that the bulk of Australia is in lockdown – had we been in Western Australia, we’d be stuck in a hotel room. Continue reading

Kokomo by Victoria Hannan

I really, really wish Victoria Hannan hadn’t started Kokomo with a sex scene. The tone of the scene is not representative of the remaining 294 pages, which are insightful, subtle, and wonderfully atmospheric.

On the other hand, maybe that sex scene is exactly representative of the book – that all is not as it appears. The book takes it’s name from the Beach Boys song. Apt, because while we think Kokomo is a song about a tropical island paradise, it is in fact “…not even a real place … Well, it is, but it’s an industrial city in Indiana…” And like the song, the characters in Hannan’s novel appear one way, but their inner lives reveal something quite different – full of complexities, insecurities, desires. 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

20 Books of Summer (except that it’s Winter)

Cathy at 746 Books is hosting the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge again this year. As Cathy states, it’s the most relaxed reading challenge you’ll participate in (swap books out, change your target, do whatever). Continue reading