Why reading and writing is the road to happiness...

This blog started years ago as a place to muse on the life projects keeping me entertained. It is no surprise then that it has morphed into a blog about my reading as that has been my lifelong project. Here I review lots of different types of books, with an added focus on Australian women writers. Hope you enjoy - feel free to contribute to the conversation!

Friday, 30 November 2012

Project Update

The projects have been trundling along nicely in recent months.

Renovations: The front room continues its transformation from 1990s Aussie cottage into a 1960s Scandinavian retreat. Okay, its a slow transformation - no need to invite Olaf and Helga over yet. But with the addition of charcoal colour lounges, a knock off Hans Wegner arm chair (I'm not to proud to declare its knock off status) and a real antique - maybe? - ship acquired from an auction house, the nautical look is really taking shape. Crack open the sardines and the Finlandia vodka...

Gardening: The spring veggies are going into overdrive. We've planted a range of tomatoes, the leeks are still trying to fatten up (so slow to grow!), broad beans are looking good, cucumber vines are taking over, corn cobs are actually forming, and we have zucchini flowers popping up here and there. To add to the mix, we have basil, oregano, mint, thyme and some chillis to fill in the empty spots in the patch. But by God, its hot, and there has been very little rain. Subsequently, I've almost killed a peach tree, and I'm hovering over my blueberry bush nervously. Mulch may be my only hope. We've entered the world of composting (what are we, 70 year olds?) but I'm getting increasingly obsessive about how little garbage I'm filling the wheelie bin with, and how much waste is going into my fermenting fertiliser! Very excited about our little gift to the environment.

Running: Back on the regime last week with a twelve or so km run, and a few smaller ones throughout the week. No big runs coming up but may have to book myself into one to make myself train....uugh

Animal PeopleBooks: Just finished three books in the last fortnight of writers who I have reviewed here before. Ben Law's new non fiction 'Gaysia' is his collection of findings from travelling to Asian regions and taking a snapshot of their gay and lesbian culture. Part fun, mostly serious, Law looks at, among other issues, the Ladyboy phenomenon in Thailand, the acceptance of camp culture in Japan but not of lesbian culture, the strictness of Mayanmar society and the terrible toll that and poverty has taken on those with HIV, and the clash between strict religious beliefs and homosexuality in most of the countries. It's a really interesting read and told with Law's deft touch. Denise Scott's 'The Tour' was not as funny and poignant as her first memoir 'All That Happened at No 26' but was still an enjoyable read as she recounts her relationship with her mother from the 1960s in her childhood to the difficult years of caring for her mother during her latter years with Alzheimer's. The last was a 2011 novel from Charlotte Wood, 'Animal People'. I reviewed 'Love and Hunger' here previously, which was her 2012 non fiction that I loved. 'Animal People' was well regarded by critics when it was released: it follows one crappy day in the life of the protagonist who is a 40ish Australian man trying to cope with the relationships with his coworkers, his family and his partner and her children. The day culminates in a kid's party with annoying in laws, ex partners and a cranky hired fairy performer. Hey, we've all been there. The characters are unlikeable, and the tension is well tuned by Wood. Not a pleasant read, but well crafted and in the genre of 'The Slap' if you liked that.
Hey, all Australian writers! Good to support the talented locals...

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