MWF ’15

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The 2015 MWF has come and gone for yet another year so I thought I’d share some of my scribbles. Although it wasn’t my favourite MWF, it was so lovely to immerse myself in the creativity and ideas of like minded people and to soak up all their wordy goodness. This year, unlike others, I found myself wanting to note take less and enjoy the moment more so, that’s what I did! Before you ask, I’m still undecided on as to which session was my favourite – I keep to-ing and fro-ing between Will Self’s interview for Books and Arts Daily and Coetzee, Kennedy & Malouf: Three Stories. Sessions I attended and favourite little gems below. 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

a few of my favourite (writerly) things… and a wee celebration…

It’s only the 12th and already there’s so much happening in the writing world. So, today I thought I’d share some of the more exciting happenings that I’ve come across. Here are my top five.


The Joy of Books

This video has gone viral… and understandably so. It’s amazing and exactly what I imagine happens in bookstores when the doors close. A must watch. It’ll make your day. Continue reading


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…


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

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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

greetings from under the pile

Greetings dear readers!

I thought it might be wise to reassure you that no, I haven’t decided to set up shop in the tropics only to never return but that yes, I am still indulging in the blissful writing of Miller. You see, the thing is (and I probably should have shared this information with you earlier), I’m a book monogamist. I can only ever sleep with / play with / live with one book by my bedside at a time. That’s not to say that the temptation to flirt with other perhaps bigger, perhaps more burly or more dashing novels doesn’t tug on my monogamous heartstrings every once in a  while (because it does!), but overall I only have eyes for the book that I’m currently reading. So, why this profession of love for reading one book at a time? Well, it’s the reason I haven’t shared my thoughts on Miller’s The Tropic of Capricorn yet. Between the books that I’m reviewing (you should see next month’s!), my articles, blog posts and husband (yes, I am aware that he’s at the end of the list – I’m working on this issue too), it just doesn’t seem humanly possible to spread me self around. I just aint that elastically or thinly inclined! So, to all you bookish one night standers who chow through five books a week – good on you! The rest of you surely, surely I say, will understand my faithful stance and, hopefully, will patiently await my return from the tropics.

Yours ever so sincerely and apologetically,

SmartyKat xx

image by Sapphireblue

it’s that time again!

Hasn’t the first of the month come by so quickly? This month I’m reviewing Charles Bukowski’s Hollywood and, once again, for a short amount of time you lucky ducks can pick it up from The Book Grocer in Northcote for only $10!

Happy reading xx

Hollywood, Charles Bukowski

“… I want to finance your screenplay. I’ve read your work. You’ve got a marvellous sense of dialogue. I’ve read your work: very filmatic.”

The words that every writer wants to hear and what better words to sum up Bukowski’s novel Hollywood? Laden with Bukowski’s indulgent knack for dialogue, every page of his book sounds with a cinematic confidence. Continue reading

5 books that have kept me breathing

image by jordianne

Every now and then I find myself feeling quite nostalgic and reminiscing on the past few years or so; on the people I’ve met, the adventures I’ve been on and the things I’ve learnt… in books! Today I thought I’d share with you my 5 great book loves. These are the books that have kept me alive, afloat and breathing. These are the books for which I live. Continue reading