an idea and a very special read

THE IDEA

I have an idea… the idea is to blog my writing projects. The research process; how the writing evolves; shapes itself. The further that I venture into this degree and the more that I write, the more I learn about my practice. A lot of that final piece that you go to see on a stage in a dimly lit room is the product of the act of putting pen to paper but, a hell of a lot isn’t. A hell of a lot is other ‘stuff’. Continue reading

i’m having an affair…

I’m having an affair. There. O.K. I said it. I used to think monogamy was the only way. The best way. That way I could devote all my attention to him… or her. That way I could be completely present in our relationship. No conflicting schedules. No decisions. No choices. It was so easy. So effortless. And now… well now I’ve ruined it. Destroyed that unwavering and unconditional sense of security… completely undone all that we had. Continue reading

all good things must come to an end… and a wee announcement

They say that all good things must come to an end and, although I don’t disagree with the saying (after all, all things come to an end don’t they, so why should good things be any different?), I don’t love it. In fact, I don’t even like it. So, when the best book I’ve read in a long time came to an end a few days ago I was less than impressed and have been left nursing a horrible emptiness. Yes, I know, I probably should have realised at page 931 of 932 that the book was nearing its conclusion, and I probably did have a bit of an inkling (!), but it still didn’t prepare me for the  post biblio-tic stress that I’ve been experiencing. Night sweats (I’ve been falling asleep in front of the heater now that I don’t have a thrilling read), heart palpitations (what to read next?!?), flashbacks – I’ve experienced it all – and all because of a book. I shouldn’t say a book because it isn’t just any book that I’m talking about. It’s Murakami’s latest “doorstop” of a masterpiece (it really has been described as a doorstop and probably fairly so – it’s big) 1Q84 (pronounced “nineteen eighty four”). Continue reading

it’s time for yet another book bargain!

This month I’ve had the pleasure of reading Ian McEwan for the first time – and I really do mean pleasure. If, like myself, you didn’t read this book when it was first released in 1998 you simply must hunt it down and read it now. The Book Grocer is stocking it for a lovely $10. Grab a copy ASAP. You’ll thank me for it. Until you do, enjoy the review.

Happy reading xx

Enduring Love, Ian McEwan

What were we running towards? I don’t think any of us would ever know fully. But superficially the answer was, a balloon.

Thus begins McEwans magnetic novel. His tone is careful and his prose observant, in this electric tale of love; obsessive, fleeting, enduring or otherwise. Continue reading

LOCAL LIFE LOVIN': LUKE C JACKSON

So it’s finally here. The new interview series that you’ve all been waiting for!

Who better to open the series for a wordy blog like mine than a writer? Introducing (for those of you who don’t already know him) Luke C Jackson. By day, Luke teaches and by night he writes; stories of secrets and spies; exotic cities and robots. Well… not really. Luke does write and he does teach but not as dramatically as I’ve made you believe. Just thought it would be fun to get all ‘opening night’ on you. Drama aside, Luke was a pleasure to interview and more than generous with his wisdom and time. For all that boring resume-ey stuff check out Luke’s website. Otherwise, enjoy the interview.

A few days ago while walking the dog and pondering what approach to take for this interview, I stumbled across a pile of metal bits and bobs at the foot of a shrub – old lock barrels, screws, some hinges (I think – my bits and bobs knowledge is far from extensive!) – so I took a photo of them and sent it to Luke with a caption that read, Dead robot?. His reply was typically Luke, Maybe a robot waiting to be put together. And it could have been. It just wasn’t the first thing that I saw because I’m a pessimist. Luke, on the other hand, is the eternal optimist. Read and learn…

ON ‘MAKING IT':

I always knew I was a story teller.

You have to be optimistic / confident / thick skinned in this industry, according to Luke. So how did he ‘make it’? Hard work and self belief. And natural ability? Surely you need to be able to put words together in some sort of decent arrangement to call yourself a writer? No? Sure. But for Luke this probably only accounts for 30% of what goes on, the rest is just putting in the hard slog. What’s that Edison quote? Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration

Continue reading

4th of the month book bargain time!

Apologies. Apologies. This month’s book bargain is finally here, albeit three days late. Let me assure you, though, you’ll find it was well worth the wait. You know the drill. Pick it up for 10 schweet dollars (!) at The Book Grocer in Northcote and read yourself into oblivion!

Happy new year & happy reading xx

Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Later she remembered all the hours of the afternoon as happy – one of those uneventful times that seem at the moment only a link between past and future pleasure but turn out to have been the pleasure itself.”

Tender is Fitzgerald’s writing, however, seldom the night in this purportedly autobiographical account of love, lust, marriage and yearning. Continue reading

it’s time to turn a new page

My darling, loyal, inspiring and appreciative followers – thank you! Thank you for your comments, feedback, support and encouragement. Thank you for reading and sharing. Thank you for caring. Thank you for keeping this blog alive enough and growing at a rate whereby it’s seen its first new year. Thank you.

Now for an apology (!): my time management skills went out the window with all that Christmas wrapping and, alas, my book review for this month will have to be a 3rd of the month, or 4th of the month book review / bargain depending on how the next few days pan out – I’m sincerely sorry (it’ll be a good one when it arrives… I promise!). Continue reading

christmas surprise

My entire life, I’ve offered the same response whenever anyone has asked me what I’d like for Christmas: books. Big books, little books, good books, trashy books. Just books. However every year I’m met with a sack full of Christmas present disappointment. Maybe it’s under the socks? No, that’s a nail file. It could be hiding under that low fat cooking magazine? No, that’s just a book shaped body wash.

This year, I must have done something right because Santa heard me… well it was actually my mother in law but hey, Santa / mum – not much difference right? Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that I was ecstatic to find on Christmas morning that I had received both the DVD and the book of The Bridges of Madison County. I must confess, ordinarily it would never be a book that I’d pick up to read / buy for myself but because it was a gift (and my MIL had raved about the film) I figured I’d give it a go. Continue reading

first of the month book bargain time!

It’s first of the month book bargain time again and this month I’m reviewing Anthony Quinn’s Half of the Human Race. Admittedly I knew nothing about the book or the author when I picked it up but I can honestly say that I was more than pleasantly surprised. It’s no masterpiece but it is well written, entertaining and well worth a read. And yep, you guessed it, you can pick up a copy at The Book Grocer in Northcote for $10! Yayness!

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

’til next month… Happy reading xx

Half of the Human Race – Anthony Quinn

Connie is a young woman fighting for her rights to vote freely and be treated equally to men in early 20th century England. Will and Tam are cricketers, at the peak of their professional sporting careers. Somewhere, somehow, all three lives cross and what ensues is sometimes beautiful, other times complicated but always moving and entertaining.

Set among the throes of a dawning era, Quinn’s second novel, Half of the Human Race, is a charming exploration of the stuff of life; those relationships that ground us, the love that sustains us and the feuds that arise in between – be they personal, political or social.

In Quinn’s protagonist Connie, these life values are rendered tangible. A female suffragist, Connie inhabits the grey areas of early 20th century life. Intelligent, independent and fiercely driven, Quinn uses Connie as a critique of the era and its injustices.

Despite being written by a male, the females in this novel are strong – both in voice and characterisation. Not only does Quinn manage to capture the finer differences between the sexes that, quite often are overlooked, but he does so with delicacy and style. As the title of his book suggests, Quinn’s concern in this book is “half of the human race”. However, which half exactly remains an elusive question for readers to answer.

In this novel Quinn solidifies his status as an exceptional writer. As with The Rescue Man, the sincerity with which Quinn observes the workings of early 20th century England is refreshing and compelling. The tone of his prose is convincing and his reflections on history, love and what it means to be free ring with a simplicity that engages and compels.

Quinn’s second novel is a tale for all – despite the claim that its title makes.

jess rudd on ruby blues

(published: http://www.lightfm.com.au/Open-House/Jess-Rudd-on-Ruby-Blues.html)

We all know what the struggle to juggle work with life feels like and how impossible it can get at times. Should we pursue the relationship or put in the overtime? Go to that birthday party or meet that deadline? Work or play?

This week on Open House, Jess Rudd author of Campaing Ruby and now Ruby Blues, joined Leigh to discuss her latest writing venture which addresses this work / life conundrum.

Unsure whether we “can have it all”, in Ruby Blues Jess explores themes of balance and priorities – in particular for women in the workforce. One thing that became particularly salient to Jess while writing her latest Rubyinstalment was just how unsupportive women in the workforce are of each other. Although Jess can see where the origins of this inability to be supportive come from – with a lack of senior positions available to women – she, nonetheless, would like to see things operate in a more positive manner in the future.

When asked about her writing process, Jess likened it to spending time with “imaginary friends” that she simply “commits to paper”. Despite this sounding like an easy and enjoyable enough process, Jess is unsure whether she’s ready to write a third Ruby book just yet. As with any friendships, there can come a time when you’ve spent a little bit too much time with each other, and at the moment this is where Jess stands with Ruby!

To hear more about what you can expect from Ruby a second time round and about what Jess has to say on the current state of the Kevin versus Julia debate, tune in to the rest of her interview with Leigh below.

Open House: Author Jess Rudd on her new book “Ruby Blues” by 899lightfm