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‘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 : http://www.smh.com.au/cqstatic/gwsjcu/JamaAndShawReport.pdf 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 ?

Movie: Moonlight

Well, I know that I always leave it late to catch movies but I excelled this time, with catching the very last showing on the very last day at Cinema Nova.  I knew that this won an Academy Award for … Continue reading ?

‘Alicia en el Pais de las Maravillas y El Mago de Oz’

155 p. I feel a bit as if I’m cheating counting Spanish books as ‘books read’ but – dang it- they take me as long to read as any 400 page novel, so count it I will! This book is … Continue reading ?

Movie: ‘Lion’

It’s been around for a while, and still going strong. Based on a true story, Saroo is separated from his brother, ends up lost in Calcutta and is adopted by an Australian family. Google Earth comes to the rescue as … Continue readin...

‘Surviving Peace: A Political Memoir’ by Olivera Simic

2014, 188 p It’s not often that I open up a book and find myself thinking “Hey! I was there!” I did in this book, though, where Olivera Simic starts by describing an encounter at a law and history conference … Continue reading ?

Movie: Things to Come (L’avenir)

  (French, English subtitles) I liked this movie- a lot. My 88 year old father hated it. Nathalie is a middle-aged university philosophy lecturer, fully immersed in the academic life of teaching, reading and writing text-books. Her long-standing series of … Continue reading ?

What happened in Port Phillip in 1842: May 1842 Pt.II

Feting the gentleman captors Not a lot else happened in May, other than the excitement of catching the Plenty Valley bushrangers. So grateful were the good people of Melbourne to the ‘young gentlemen’ who  were feted with capturing them, that … Continue reading ?

Recordings for ‘Democratic Opposition to War’ conference

You might remember that a fortnight ago I attended a conference hosted by the Brunswick-Coburg Anti Conscription Centenary people (among others).  When I hear about a conference that I would have liked to have attended, I’m always delighted when the … Continue reading ?

‘Spanish Mystery Stories for Beginners: El Detective Pepe Sevilla’ by Alex Diez

2016, 108 p. Well, it may only be 108 very widely spaced pages, but it took me weeks to read! There were 60 chapters, each no more than two pages in length. And believe me, my Spanish is so rudimentary … Continue reading ?

This Month in Port Phillip: May 1842 (Pt.1)

In May 1842 the talk of the town was BUSHRANGERS!  There had been reports filtering into the newspapers from late April about a spate of holdups and invasions and by early May it was clear that the same gang was … Continue reading ?

Movie: The Innocents

“So, what are you off to see today, Janine?” they asked. Nobody suggested joining me when I told them that I was going to see a movie about Polish nuns being raped after WWII. It was just as grim as … Continue reading ?

‘The Mysterious Mr Jacob’ by John Zubrzycki

2007, 262 p & notes Transit Lounge In 1912 it was said that when the real story of Alexander Malcolm Jacob was written, it would be invested with more wonder and mystery than “even in our strangest dreams we never … Continue reading...

Conference: When we voted ‘NO’: Democratic Opposition to War 20 May 2017

I attended a very enjoyable conference last Saturday at Brunswick, under the auspices of the Brunswick-Coburg Anti-Conscription Commemoration Committee, Melbourne Labor History Society and Victorian Trades Hall Council. Just look at the speakers: Barry Jones, Stuart Macintyre, Joy Damousi, Ross … Continue reading ?

Movie: “A Man Called Ove”

It seems that recently I’ve read seen several books (Extinctions; Our Souls at Night; Reading in Bed) and movies (45 Years; I, Daniel Blake) that deal with older characters. Is this the demographic pressure of Baby Boomers who prefer to … Continue reading ?

Exhibition: Something Borrowed

This fleeting exhibition at Victoria’s Parliament House would have to be the closest-held secret in Melbourne!  It’s only on for a week (i.e. 15-19 May 2017) and there’s not a single sign or indication outside Parliament House that it’s even … Continue reading ?

Movie: Manchester by the Sea

A nuanced and bleak view of masculinity.  Lee Chandler left Manchester By the Sea many years earlier to work as a janitor in Quincy, Massachusetts.  He lives alone and he is a coiled-up ball of trauma, grief and aggression.  When … Continue reading ?

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