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Movie: The Hounds of Love

Ugh. What possessed me to go and see this? I hate violent movies. Actually, I know why I did see it. Because it’s Australian (and I like to support local movies) and I heard that it garnered good reviews.  It … Continue reading ?

‘Cuentos de Edgar Allan Poe para estudiantes de espanol. Nivel A1’

There’s a little test you can do of your language skill against the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL). “I’ll try that with my Spanish!” I thought, only to end up thoroughly deflated at the realization that I … Continue reading ?

‘The Pacific Room’ by Michael Fitzgerald

2017, 237 p. When I saw that this book was about Robert Louis Stevenson I wondered if I should just spend a little time googling around before I read it. I knew very little about him beyond ‘Treasure Island’ and … Continue reading ?

Movie: Twentieth Century Women

  Set in Santa Barbara in 1979 this is a coming of age story told from the perspective of fifteen year old Jamie, whose single-mother Dorothea draws on the ‘village to raise a child’ metaphor when she feels at a … Continue reading ?

‘The Promise’ by Tony Birch

2014, 219 p. I was prompted to read this book as part of Lisa’s Indigenous Literature Week at ANZLitLovers.  I’ve read several books by Tony Birch previously, one a novel Blood and the other, Shadowboxing a series of linked short … Continue reading ?

Movie: Viceroy’s House

Some may find it hard to believe, but I’ve never watched Downton Abbey, and so my credulity was not stretched in seeing Hugh Bonneville play Lord Mountbatten in this film. I would have scoffed at Gillian Anderson’s cut-glass accent too, … Continue reading ?

‘In the Country of Men’ by Hisham Matar

2006, 245 p. When reading this book I found myself thinking of Ian McEwan’s Atonement or L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between.  An odd connection to make, in many ways, with their golden summers and racketty affluence.  Late 1970s Libya does not … Continue reading ?

Some Rare Book Week exhibitions

Melbourne has hosted Rare Book Week between 30 June and 9 July 2017 (an extended week, it seems). As is my usual practice, I missed most of it. It was a beautiful sunny winter’s day on Friday so we popped … Continue reading ?

This Month in Port Phillip 1842: June 1842 Part 2

You might remember that during May there had been the trial of the Plenty Valley Bushrangers and having been found guilty, three of the four remaining bushrangers were sentenced to hang (one was killed during capture). Even though Judge Willis … Continue reading ?

‘An Isolated Incident’ by Emily Maguire

2016, 243 p The reviewing cycle for a much-talked-about book seems to move so quickly that, after a few months, everything seems to have been already said and people are moving onto the next new much-talked-about book. So I come- … Continue reading ?

Colonial Frontier Massacres in Eastern Australia 1788-1872

The University of Newcastle has a fantastic new site showing colonial massacres on the frontier in Eastern Australia. You can access it at The map shows the approximate location of massacres of both indigenous people and settlers in the … Continue reading ?

This Month in Port Phillip in 1842: June 1842

In my report for April 1842 I mentioned that a three-month licence had been granted for the performance of amateur theatricals at the Pavilion Theatre (also known as the Theatre Royal). There was always official squeamishness about the raffishness of … Continue reading ?

Movie: ‘Their Finest’

I really enjoyed this brilliantly cast movie. I’m always attracted to films set in the Blitz, and this had it all- laughter, a little tear, some feminist bolshyness and a good sense of fun about propaganda, images and the meaning … Continue reading ?

‘The Legacy’ by Kirsten Tranter

2010, 438 p. Like all good titles,  the title ‘The Legacy’ is a double-barrelled one.  It could refer to the unexpected financial bequest that sets the chain of events in this novel into action, or it could refer to the … Continue reading ?

Movie: ‘Whiteley’

A friend recommended this, and I was wondering how I’d like it as she is very art-minded and I’m not.  The late Brett Whiteley has been in the news recently because of a courtcase which rested on whether some paintings … Continue reading ?

‘Thirteen Ways of Looking’ by Colum McCann

2016, 256 p Written by the author of one of my favourite books (This Side of Brightness) this is a really strong collection, comprising a novella and three short stories.  Each one of them is memorable in its own way. The … Continue reading ?

‘A Book of American Martyrs: a novel’ by Joyce Carol Oates

2017, 736 p It’s been a while since I last read a book by Joyce Carol Oates. What a prolific author she is! Her bibliography lists 41 titles, with one book published each year since 1994. Some of them are … Continue reading ?

Report: ‘Why do we need social mix?’

Abdullahi Jama and Kate Shaw: ‘Why do we need social mix?’ An analysis of an Australian inner-city public housing estate redevelopment Available at : If not longer available, try here:   JamaAndShawReport Newspapers often use an academic or commissioned report … Continue reading ?

‘Refurbishing’ memorials

The memorial in 2005. Image source: Wikimedia So, I see from a report in the Guardian (16/6/17) and on the Honest History website that the Ataturk memorial in Turkey is undergoing ‘refurbishment’.  Australians have often felt a warm inner … Continue reading ?

Exhibition: Love – Art of Emotion 1400-1800

Hurry! The excellent ‘Love: Art of Emotion’ exhibition closes at the NGV on 18 June 2017. Yes, once again I’ve failed to blog about something until it’s about to close – sorry. This free exhibition is on the ground floor … Continue reading ?

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