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‘Births Deaths Marriages: True Tales’ by Georgia Blain

2008, 224 p. When an writer dies, I often make a point of reading one of their books. It’s an act of tribute, I suppose, even though the reality is that all books live on beyond their authors eventually.  Although … Continue reading...

‘Reading in Bed’ by Sue Gee

2007, 344 p. Although I’m well aware that I probably fit a reading-market segment very neatly (retired, university-educated, politically progressive, book-grouper, ABC watcher) I don’t like reading books that feel as if they have been written precisely to fit a … Continue reading ?

‘Hunt Them, Hang Them’ by Kate Auty and Lynette Russell

2016, 78 p. This slim book of  78 pages stands in its own right as the account of a historical incident – that of the execution of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener in Melbourne on 20 January 1842- but it is also … Continue reading...

This Week in Port Phillip 1842: 16-23 January 1842

This entry contains a lengthy description of the execution of two indigenous prisoners I’m rather embarrassed that I’ve fallen behind with my weekly summaries of what happened in Port Phillip at this time in 1842.  Largely it was because I’m … Continue reading ?

‘Australian Women War Reporters: Boer War to Vietnam’ by Jeannine Baker

2015, 272 p. Each night I sit down to watch the ABC news and just accept as a matter of course the presence of Lisa Millar in London, or Anne Barker in the Middle East telling me what new tragedy has occurred … Continue reading ?

‘Extinctions’ by Josephine Wilson

2016, 280 p. My library has taken to identifying fiction books by a label on the spine denoting categories like ‘Australian fiction’ or ‘Romance’ or ‘Science Fiction’.  (They’ve also taken to grouping non-fiction by broad themes that leads to the … Continue reading ?

Movie: Rosalie Blum

I was sitting in the cinema, watching trailer after trailer of upcoming American movies. It’s so good to see something that’s not American for a change. Something that unfolds with a different sense of narrative pacing; something that doesn’t have … Continue reading ?

‘My Name is Lucy Barton’ by Elizabeth Strout

2016, 208p. Lucy Barton lies in a New York hospital bed, seriously ill,  watching the lights in the Chrysler Building. Complications have set in after an appendectomy and she is frightened and desperately missing her two young daughters. Her husband … Continue reading ?

Movie: ‘A United Kingdom’

There’s 54 countries in Africa, and each would have its own distinct post-colonial story. To my shame I know very few of them- just a smattering of knowledge about the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya and that’s just about it. … Continue reading ?

‘Illicit Love: Interracial Sex & Marriage in the United States & Australia’ by Ann McGrath

2015, 393 p & notes Someone talking about this book recently described it as “the book that Ann McGrath has been writing all her life”. They were not being facetious or unkind.  Instead, I think that they were paying recognition … Continue reading ?

Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017

Now that the Christmas tree is taken down and chopped up, it’s time to admit that yes, Christmas is over, and turn my mind to 2017. I’ll be participating in the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017 again and once again … Continue reading ?

Movie: Nocturnal Animals

This movie was nothing like I thought it would be.  I knew that it was about a woman who was forwarded the draft of a book written by her ex-husband and dedicated to her. On reading it, she came to … Continue reading ?

Movie: I, Daniel Blake

At a time when our government is sending out computer-generated demands for repayments of debts that may or may not be owed by Newstart clients, every member of Parliament should be made to sit down and watch this film. “Just … Continue reading ?

Redmond Barry’s house in East Melbourne

There’s a couple of derelict mansions in Clarendon Street. When I first read about the neglect of Valetta, I thought that it was the increasingly ramshackle mansion down near Alexandra Pde that I had assumed that belonged to the Pullman … Continue reading ?

Movie: Hell or High Water

I’ve seen this described as a ‘Neo-Western’ which is what it is, I suppose, with lots of shoot-em-up and Texan drawls that are almost incomprehensible to my little Aussie ears. But it’s more than this. Set in a dry, featureless … Continue reading ?

This Week in Port Phillip 8-15 January 1842

Twelfth Night Well, it was the week after New Year and some people celebrated Twelfth Night (which I gather is more significant in England than it is here in Australia). Twelfth Cakes were available from Mr Burgin the pastrycook in … Continue reading ?

‘Looking Through You: Rare and Unseen Photographs from the Beatles Book Archive’ by Leslie Bryce

192 p. 2016 As part of my nostalgic after-glow from seeing Eight Days a Week, I snapped up this book at my library when I saw it on the New Non Fiction shelves.  It features beautifully clear photographs that were … Continue reading...

‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ by Jon Ronson

2015,  269 P. One of the problems with a media-savvy author who travels the world promoting his book is that by the time you get round to reading it, you feel as if you’ve already done so. This was the … Continue reading ?

This Week in Port Phillip 1842: January 1-7

In 1842, there wasn’t the extended January break that we now enjoy. Instead, things returned pretty much to normal after New Year.  But let’s just laze around a bit longer for this first week of the year 1842.  I did … Continue reading ?

‘H is for Hawk’ by Helen Macdonald

283 p & notes, 2014 I’m not quite sure how Helen Macdonald managed to interweave a detailed and rather technical book about training a goshawk with a clear-eyed description of a profound grief that almost tipped into madness. But manage … Continue reading ?

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