Tuesday 30 April 2019

Stories & Shout Outs #22

Read But Not Reviewed:
  • Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan - like most McEwan's I'm left wondering if it's a hit or a miss - more mulling time required before I write. Also waiting to discuss it with Mr Books, who has just started it.
  • Maisie Dobbs #14 To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear (well, just a little review on Goodreads) - a couple of weeks ago I was feeling a little frazzled and decided I needed an old friend to comfort me. Maisie did the trick, as always.
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett - my latest book club read - how on earth have I not read this gem of a story before?

Short Stories:
  • Boodjar ngan djoorla: Country, my bones by Claire G. Coleman in Griffith Review 63: Writing the Country - not sure how I can adequately describe this one. It disturbed me and moved me and made me curious about reading Coleman's Terra Nullius sooner rather than later.
  • Jokes For the Gunmen by Mazen Maarouf in his book of short stories by the same name. Not sure what to make of this. Somewhat disjointed & jumpy but compelling nonetheless.

New to the Pile:
  • All Happy Families by Herv├ę le Tellier - love dysfunctional family memoirs!
  • City of Trees by Sophie Cunningham - essays on life, death and the need for a forest - enough said!
  • The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories - cannot wait to dive into these, but suspect they will sit on my TBR pile until my next trip to Japan!
  • Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker - having recently finished The Song of Achilles, I'm keen to read more now Homer adaptations. That's how I roll.

Latest Find:
  • Unsplash for amazing pics to post on my blogs. All they ask is for you to credit the artist whenever you use one of their images.
Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

What I'm Struggling With:
  • Tiredness & a couldn't-be-bothered attitude.

May To-Do List:
  • The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch - readalong.
  • Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier - my CC #20 spin book.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo - readalong.
  • Write my (August) Moby Dick Readalong introduction post.

Scary, But True:
  • Mr Books & I are an alcohol & chocolate free zone until the end of May.

On My Radar:
  • Endless Game of Thrones speculation and conspiracy theories! None of our thoughts about what would happen in the Battle of Winterfell came to pass - except we did predict the majority of the regulars that died. Needless to say, the Night King was not on that list! Didn't see that coming, but all hale Arya.

Cover Lover:
  • Which cover of Kate Morton's The Clockmaker's Daughter do you prefer?

  • The Australian cover (top left) catches my eye every time I see it on the shelf at work, but I also like the cover bottom right (from the US I think). I'm fascinated by the choices that publishers and editors make when choosing the different covers for each country. Teal green is certainly the colour of the moment in Australia!
  • Sadly none of these lovely covers were enough to make me actually read the book.


  1. I'll be reading along The Count of Monte Cristo, too. Is this your first read?

    How did you do with A Vindication of the Rights of Woman? Are you still reading it?

    1. I'm looking forward to The Count, esp since I failed to enjoy Don Quixote (although weirdly, I've read a number of books since then that have referenced it one way or another & I'm grateful that I now know that!)

      Yes. I'm still reading Vindication - I forgot to mention it, cause it's on my ipad & I rarely read books that way. It's a very dry read, but very interesting to see the language and choices Wollstonecraft had to make to make her arguments palatable to her audience.

  2. The Australian Cover is my favourite. I’ve given up on reading McEwan, just not my thing.

    1. Because of Atonement and Enduring Love, I keep trying...or maybe I just love the love/hate relationship I have with him :-)

  3. The top left would be the one for me too, but I'm not keen enough to read it either. Giving up alcohol for a month is fine, but chocolate???? Are you mad, woman???? ­čś▓

    1. Mr Books has an easter egg fetish, so we've been eating them since early Feb! As I'm beginning to move back into my winter clothes, I'm finding last years jeans a little tighter than they should be!

      A necessary sacrifice for my wardrobe :-)

  4. Believe it or not, I am so late to the Game of Thrones party I just started the first season. I never had the channel it aired on and decided it wasn't worth it to find it somewhere else. O what a mistake that was! I am house sitting for 10 days and will be back several times throughout July where I can watch the whole series.

    It is pointless to shield myself from spoilers now that the last season is airing, but I love little Arya in this season and wondered how she would fare throughout.

    Also, chocolate free for a month? Wow, what would that even feel like?!! I wish you well :)

    And yay for the MD readalong!

    1. We were discussing the ethics of GoT spoilers over dinner last night. Mr Books and B21 are of the opinion that once the 24 hr period past the airing of the episode has past, it's open slather in the work place and in public spaces.

      In Australia our 'live' episode airs at 11am on Monday...so must of us who work, have to wait until everyone comes home, has dinner etc before we can watch it together. Staying off social media all day to make sure we don't get hear or see anything untoward!

      I chose to be a bit obscure about my comments above, so hopefully you will forget them as you catch up on the other 7 seasons. So much happens, that your head will be spinning with possibilities by season 8 regardless :-)

    2. I agree about spoilers and your 24-hour rule, especially for someone like me who is just starting out. Plus, I love to do research on shows I like, so I will hear it all before I finish!

  5. I really liked Bel Canto, too, and only got around to it last fall before the movie came out. Then I never saw the movie...not an uncommon occurrence.

    1. A movie? I didn't know there was a movie as well!
      It blew my mind when I discovered that it was actually based on a real hostage situation in Peru in the 70's, but I stopped reading about that, until I finished the book...which reminds me that I can now research that news story more...

  6. Wow, those are some *very* different covers for the same book! I also like the top left one, and the middle bottom one. Still, I wonder which one is closest to the mood of the story?

    I want to give that koala a big hug. What a cutie!!

    I'm very tempted to join you and Ruth in the Monte Cristo read-along. A chapter a day sounds easy, but I don't know if I have the stamina to stick to one book till September. ;)

    1. Koalas look cute, but have rather nasty claws and I believe they smell, although I've never got close enough to know for sure.

      It's actually harder than I thought to just do a chapter a day, having done the chapter-a-day readalong of Les Mis last year with Nick. Sadly there are some days when I don't get to read at all, and others when I reading stuff for work or book club gets in the way. Fortunately, Nick (& the other readers) are very relaxed & let me join in as I can each week.

  7. Is there anyone on earth who has not seen 1 episode of GoT?
    Yes, me. I'll wait until it ends and buy the box set...just like I did for West Wing.
    Spoilers...not an issue, don't understand any of the storyline..yet!
    I lost some 'fine tasting' taste buds on my tongue (how did that happen?) and chocolate doesn't thrill me like it used to. So no chocolate..not a problem. But I would miss my cold Heineken while watching the amazing Dutch team Ajax. For Mr Books: I predict they will win the Champion's League!! Struggle: That no-be-bothered attitude creeps up on me sometimes when I plan to read a shortlisted book. Everyone has already read a reviewed it...I think why bother? But I do finds some gems! Now, nobody reads poetry...! I dissect a poem word-for-word..and it is starting to be fun and not hard work! I'm completly out of 'classics mode' (read 50 that's enough unti 2020. Cover Lover: Sorry, covers and book don't interest me. New to pile: Sophie Cunningham's book....I added it to my TBR. Trees...they are amazing if you stop to read and look at them! After NSW Lit Awards I entereda book buying whirlwind. Upcoming post...my personal "Australian Shortlist" So that was breaking news from the Netherlands..now time for coffee!

    1. We have a holiday coming up soon. I'm thinking Cunningham's tree book and Richard Powers The Overstory will be coming along for the ride - a nice pairing I think :-)

  8. Isn't Bel Canto rather lovely - and very funny, in a dark humour kind of way! And yes, I'm an Unsplash fan as well - use it regularly for plugging my training courses.

  9. Wonderful covers, except maybe the top right one. Somewhat boring. However, I have not read the book so can't say if they are related to the story. This is not always the case. I would go for the bottom left one, since it gives an impression of mystery. But, might not have anything to do with the story. I do prefer when the cover relates to the story.

    GoT, yes. Eagerly, awaiting a new chapter every Monday. Episode 3 was not that great though. Don't like all these war scenes, and find them rather boring. No surprise that Arya saved the day. I think she will be important in the development of the story.

    1. Yes, I struggle with all the battles too Lisbeth. The Battle for Winterfell was actually more interesting with the second viewing though.

  10. No one has said this to you yet, but hurry up and read Terra Nullius you will regret that you waited so long.
    Also, I listened to Maisie Dobbs #1 last week, a good read but I think Phyrne Fisher is better.

    1. I love Phyrne too, but as with all long running series, some of the books are stronger than others.
      Definitely on the look out for Terra Nullius - thanks for the gentle prompt.

  11. That's funny as I have a review of the Morton to read in my Feedly feed. Not sure which cover she had. And yay for "The Sea, The Sea" - I can't wait to start reading it myself and look forward to hearing what you think of it.

    Mr LyzzyBee wants to read the McEwan after I transcribed an interview with him about it. And he's the GoT person in this household; it airs at 2am or something here on a Monday so they all rush home to watch it in the evening from his office. He has his photography class first so a quiet evening for me!

    1. It has certainly been a show that has taken hold in the unlikeliest places all around the world. I can't think of any other show that has got people planning their viewing hours so carefully and avoiding social media so avidly - it's quite extraordinary really.

      I'm glad to be a part of I confess.


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