Monthly Archives: July 2010

options

As I may have mentioned here before, our lovely little book club has a fabulous method when choosing our next book.  One person chooses 3 options and then the group votes.  It means we all feel like we are involved and it also means we read a huge range of books.  So far we have read everything from Dracula to Lolita to Cannery Row.

This month it was my turn to pick our three possibilities.  You do feel a bit of pressure in the process – you want to get it right.  But you also know that this is your chance to suggest 3 books you are really keen to delve in to.  So here are my 3 options (I’ll let you know what gets voted in!).

The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) – by Henri Alain-Fournier

When Meaulnes first arrives at the local school in Sologne, everyone is captivated
…by his good looks, daring and charisma. But when Meaulnes disappears for
several days, and returns with tales of a strange party at a mysterious house
and a beautiful girl hidden within it, he has been changed forever. In his
restless search for his Lost Estate and the happiness he found there, Meaulnes,
observed by his loyal friend Francois, may risk losing everything he ever had.

We Have Always Lived In The Castle – by Shirley Jackson
Living in the Blackwood family home with only her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian
for company, Merricat just wants to preserve their delicate way of life. But
…ever since Constance was acquitted of murdering the rest of the family, the
world isn’t leaving the Blackwoods alone. And when Cousin Charles arrives,
armed with overtures of friendship and a desperate need to get into the safe,
Merricat must do everything in her power to protect the remaining family.

One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Aleksandr SolzhenitsynThis brutal glimpse of Russia under Stalin shocked the world when it first appeared.
Discover the importance of a piece of bread or an extra bowl of soup, the
…incredible luxury of a book, the ingenious possibilities of a nail, a piece of
string or a single match in a time where survival is all. Enter a world of
incarceration– and participate in the struggle of men to survive both the
terrible rigours of nature and the inhumanity of the system that defines their
conditions of life.

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quiet

I know that is has been very quiet here of late. Mostly due to being ridiculously tired and pre-occupied by lots of other things going on around me/us.  Of note is the end of the Tour De France – I’m sad it’s over for another year but probably needed to be because hubby and I were exhausted (the Tour is shown live 10pm-2am nightly!).  The Saxo Bank boys were extraordinary yet again, Andy Schleck came in second and was just magnificent.  The Vuelta (the tour of Spain) starts in September and the World Championships in Geelong are in late September – so we will not have to go without for long!

Also of note is our darling 3-year-old needing stitches to her top lip after a fall.  It would have been quite ok but when the Dr sedated her (which you have to when you are trying to stitch a 3 year old’s face), she had a reaction to the sedative and there were a few very scary moments when her pulse dropped and she stopped breathing.  Due to our little girl’s history with respiratory problems, this has been a really hard thing to think about and work through.  Her frailty and vulnerability breaks my heart and scares the hell out of me.

And in the midst of all of that, baby is growing beautifully and doing everything he/she is meant to.  Bets are on as to the gender of this bubs, after having two girls most people are convinced number 3 will be a boy.  Who knows?


perfume

I just finished this.

Perfume: the story of a murderer by Patrick Suskind.

Ummmm…not quite sure what to say about it at this stage.  I think I need more time to process it.  Brilliantly written, but  thematically quite confronting.


the mayor of casterbridge

I am reading The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy at the moment.  It is an unexpected pleasure.


and so it begins again

I am going to try to limit my comments regarding the Tour de France this year.  It will be an exercise in restraint!  One stage down and I am already hooked and beyond excited.  My big reality check is that the stages are shown from 10pm every night and I just do not have the constitution in my current ‘with child’ state to commit to every night watching.  So I am trying to be selective about what stages I stay up to watch: stage 3, when they hit the pave’ (the cobblestones), and the stages in the Pyrenees and the Alps, were what I was aiming for.  But last night at 3.30am when Fabian Cancellara from my team (Saxo Bank) won the prologue in impressive style, all my plans went out the window!

So we’ll see what happens – regarding my restrained commenting! and my watching stages!


penguin bonanza

I realised this week that my 4-year-old thinks that I read lots of books about penguins.  She sees a Penguin Classic with the iconic penguin character so often around the house she has come think that I have quite the fascination with penguins.  It made me smile when earlier this week she asked me if my ‘book about penguins’ was good!  Ahh, so cute…and so observant!

It has been a little bit of a penguin bonanza of late.

This month’s book club pick was Sonya Hartnett, Of a Boy.  We haven’t had our book club discussion about this book yet, so I’ll keep my thoughts here to a minimum, except to say, I could have lived without this one.  I struggle with books that are obscure for the sake of it.  While Of a Boy had some definite overarching themes, the end of the book did little to address these themes.  It dipped so quickly in and out of the lives of its characters there was no time to gather a real sense of who they were or develop any warmth towards them.  The end of the book is horrifically tragic and left you feeling distressed and disturbed.  Undoubtedly, book our book club discussion will be an interesting one this month!

So on a lighter and much more fun note; I have also stumbled across a range of Penguins that I never knew existed.  There is incredibly fun series called the Penguin Ink which are covers done in the style of classic tattoos.  Bridget Jones’ Diary looks almost readable carrying a cover like this!

The Great Love series is another Penguin set that had slipped under my radar.  They are not only designed beautifully, they are a range of amazing books from a incredible cross-section of authors.  There a quite of few of my favourite Russians represented and a few surprises, like Updike and Kierkegaard, and overall a fantastic collection of books.

Penguin says about them, ‘United by the theme of love, the writings in the Great Loves series span over two thousand years and vastly different worlds. Readers will be introduced to love’s endlessly fascinating possibilities and extremities: romantic love, platonic love, erotic love, gay love, virginal love, adulterous love, parental love, filial love, nostalgic love, unrequited love, illicit love, not to mention lost love, twisted and obsessional love…

See the entire set here.

And finally, the best till last!  This extraordinary series of Penguin’s is called the Great Ideas Series (1-4). It is a collection of world changing books that have impacted individuals and entire societies.  It is an incredibly diverse collection of books and authors, ranging from Cicero, St John, Orwell, Freud, St Augustine, Kant and Du Bois.  Such a beautifully put together collection, not only designed well, but I love the unapologetic way they have placed rival books and contradicting ideas side by side.  If I could, this series would be finding its way to my door sooner rather than later.