Books · Uncategorized

WWW Wednesday 6th May 2020

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I’ve had a long hiatus from this post but got inspired in my reading last week and am keen to share 🙂 Thank you to Sam from Taking on a World of Words  for hosting this fun and simple meme, with just three W questions to answer: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? You can also join by answering and linking your blog post back on Sam’s post here.  

What did you recently finish reading:

Last week I found myself reading The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir by Samantha Power. Somehow I came across this on Libby (my library ereader app) and I loved it. I’ve been interested in learning more about the UN for awhile but hadn’t quite managed to open the ‘beginner’s guide’ I’d picked up. This memoir, however, about President Obama’s US Ambassador  to the UN had me eagerly checking wikipedia for more details about titles and descriptions of the UN. Samantha Power has also been a foreign journalist, author (Pulitzner award winner for a book about genocide), human rights advisor etc. etc and her memoir was a real eye opener.

What are you currently reading:

Somehow I’m managed to start and have 3 books currently on the go (not the usual for me). I was only a few pages into The Baghdad Clock by Shahad Al Rawi ( – author and Luke Leafgren -translator) before my hold for Educated by Tara Westover became available and then I realised my loan for The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton was almost up. So we’ll see what the week brings in getting through any or all of these!

What do you think you’ll read next:

Inspired by how Samantha Power’s memoir got me thinking, I’d like to try my hand at an Australian politician, so my next goal is My Story by Julia Gillard. Will be interesting to see if I get into it or not. Maybe you’ve got a different politician/activist memoir to suggest? Have you heard of Samantha Power or read her memoir?

That’s all folks, happy reading!

 

Books

Happy New Year – WWW Wednesday, 1-January-2020

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Wow it’s been over  a year since my last WWW Wednesday with Sam from Taking on a World of Words,  although it’s been a regular part of my weekly blog reading. It is a fun and simple meme, the perfect way to start a new year. Just answer three W questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? You can also join by answering and linking your blog post back on Sam’s post here.  

Currently reading: The Philosophy Book – DK Big Ideas, Simply Explained and Friday with my Folks by Amal Awad from Goodreads

Amal Awad’s life changed when her father was diagnosed with kidney failure. Seeing the impact it has had on him, both physically and mentally, and the way the side effects trickle into those around him, Mentally, it had an impact as he was unable to recover from his fresh grief at not having the same freedom to move and live as he had known before. Work had made him feel whole and retirement was a challenge. When he became ill, he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. Amal eventually realised that life offered a new reality. Not always pleasant, but also not unique to her family…

At a time when ageism and health is high on the public’s radar, what we’re not always talking about is how to deal with the anxiety, depression and overall challenges that come with someone you love facing their mortality and a decline in health…

This book stems from a personal experiences, but it expands to a much wider, more universal discussion about life, suffering, coping and hope.

Recently finished: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang a bit steamier than I expected but definitely a good read. Sadly I won’t be finished Girl by Edna O’Brien about the Boko Haram girls, I feel it’s an important read I just couldn’t face it at this time.

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Reading next: Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales a bookclub Christmas gift about resilience. I also have The Sociology Book and The Economics Book out from the library but doubt I’ll get to them before they’re due back. The one I’m mostly likely to read next though is The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, while you’re on a good thing 🙂

Wishing you all a year of wonderful reading

GJ

 

Books

Spot On Book Quotes

Some recent reads really hit the spot for me (oh how I love books) especially some of these quotes:

From ‘As Bright As Heaven’ by Susan Meissner

I no longer fear Death, though I know that I should. I’m strangely at peace with what I used to think of as my enemy. Living seems more the taskmaster of the two, doesn’t it? Life is wonderful and beautiful but oh, how hard it can be. Dying, by contrast, is easy and simple, almost gentle.

your mother’s heart is healing the best way it can…the heart always does what it needs to do.

This book was set in Philadelphia during World War 1 and the Spanish Flu epidemic. It was told by three daughters and their mother which amazingly well, covering themes of  Death (and undertaking), Family, and Hope. A great book with just a slightly disappointing ending.

From ‘Words in Deep Blue’ by Cath Crowley

No one has anything to get up for. Life’s pointless and everyone gets up anyway. That’s how the human race works….No one likes how the human race works.

The bookstore is a building, but it’s not only the building. It is the books inside. People are not only their bodies. And if there is no hope of saving the things we love in their original form, we must save them however we can.

Loved this book which included a bookshop setting. From goodreads:

This is a love story.
It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

And finally I’ve just started ‘Fridays with my Folks’ by Amal Awad

Strangely the activity that helped me best decompress was doing puzzles…it’s the therapy of them…knowing that concentrated purpose and persistence pay off; that sliver of relief you feel each time you lock a piece in to place.20190609_140853.jpg

One of my puzzles from 2019

Books · life

Thankful for…

As is tradition (or so it sometimes feels) I’ll start my post my saying it’s been a rough couple of weeks with grief, depression, end of year busy-ness/slow-ness taking it’s toll. Each day ends with a significant sense of survival, I made it through another day. In between there have been small moments of wonder, joy, connection and….thankfulness

  • I’m thankful for good books

A Lifetime of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird – a powerful read, with a gum-boot wearing Granny, a daring big sister and a big dose of trauma.

The Calling Of Emily Evans by Janette Oke – a re-read as I think about division in my church around women pastors. Janette Oke has written many sweet christian-romances and they are great go to, easy books – this one looking at the role of a deaconess

Up Out of Egypt by Helen Marsh – one of those books that sit on your shelves for sometime before appearing again at just the right time, a very personal autobiography.

Streiker 1 & 2 by Robin Hardy – I’d love to do a more in-depth review of these books, an analogy of Christ and his church with many poignant metaphors.

And tonight a truly Australian read Taking Tom Murray Home by Tim Slee – another great story told from the perspective of a young boy with a timely rural message. (Plese check out https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/13822335/posts/12677 for a great review)

  • I’m thankful for good tv shows

A Million Little things and I started The Handmaid’s Tale Saturday and have already binged my way a fair way through.

Along with the last book above though I wonder about their messages and the take-home points…

  • my children and the deep  love that connects me to them
  • Christmas shopping with my husband
  • meaningful distractions
  • puzzles
  • no judgement from others just myself
  • limited pressures
  • being trusted to listen to others stories
  • health and security
  • God
Books

Six degrees of Separation – Wonder to Wicked

This wonderful meme is hosted by booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  alice-in-wonderland-4413732_960_720and asks you to take one title, and link through five other titles to see where you end up. Our starting point this month is Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll a well-known classic, I wasn’t a fan of this story as a child growing up with the Disney movie, too scary and fantastical for me, but I did read the book for bookclub and learnt to like it a bit better.

 

My favourite Disney movie was Beauty and the Beast and I only had to go through three pages of versions to find my childhood book written by Jan Carr and illustrated by Katy Bratun, which still sits on the bookshelf at my parents house.

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One of the bloggers I follow has also written a version of this tale Beautiful by Fran Laniado. I havn’t read it yet but I sincerely hope to, especially after reading this goodreads review

[This] felt more like a tale than a novel, a tale where we are told what the characters feel and do the way the writer might in an old fashioned fairytale. The result is the reader turns the pages with great anticipation waiting for the storyteller to give us more and she does. No spoilers but there are beasts and there are beauties and it is the readers job to know the difference.

I find myself still reflecting on Alice and Disney and movies and confess I have been known to mistake an Alice costume for a Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum another classic this one probably more well known for its movie starring Judy Garland. d and a

(Image from an article about ‘Netflix scooping up this franchise potential!)

I just discovered from my reliable goodreads that there is a series of Oz books. While I havn’t read any of them I was inspired to read Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years, #1) by Gregory Maguire after seeing the theatrical production. I believe I may even have given the second in this four part series a go but am still none the wiser how such an amazing musical came from such a …..long book :p

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Sorry not sure to add a video to my post!

 

Loved this journey from Alice in Wonderland to the Wicked Witches from Oz.

Happy Reading 🙂

 

 

Books · faith · reviews

Six Degrees of Separation from Three Women to…Redeeming Love

Once again I’m going use this wonderful prompt the Six Degrees of Separation to share some of my recent, let’s call it holiday time, reads. This meme hosted by booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  gets you to take one title, and link through five other titles to see where you end up.

This month we are starting with Three Women by Lisa Taddeo a book i hadn’t heard about prior to the prompt. Goodreads starts with ‘Desire as we’ve never seen it before: a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting.’ My first impression was that it sounded interesting, reviews left me a bit conflicted and I’ve yet to add to my TBR list. I do believe the world needs more frank and honest discussion about sex and this book could possibly be part of that discussion. My chain however takes the topic of sex to it’s evil sister rape in the form of…

Sadie by Courtney Summers. I can’t remember who but one of the bloggers I read has been raving about this book all year and it certainly lived up to its hype for me. From the blurb… “Alternating between Sadie’s unflinching voice as she hunts the [her sisters] killer and the podcast transcripts tracking the clues she’s left behind, Sadie is a breathless thriller.” The story covers Sadie and her sisters childhood in a remote town, with their drug-addicted mother and one (over?) caring neighbour….Sadie is a story about childhood trauma which has been a common theme in my recent reads…

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton also had the commonality of drugs with two boy lives swiftly changed when their step-fathers drug boss comes to visit. Again from goodreads

‘A novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age, set in Brisbane’s violent working class suburban fringe – A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It’s not as if Eli’s life isn’t complicated enough already. He’s just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way – not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer…A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships.’

The two books above also included mutism and stuttering, which along with childhood trauma link in with the title of my next chain The Words that Fly Between Us by Sarah Carroll. The blurb read, ” From the outside, it looks like Lucy has the perfect life. She has everything. Everything that money can buy. But money can’t buy Lucy the words she needs to stand up to her bully of a father, the words to escape her suffocating family life, the words to become the person she wants to be.” Again I really enjoyed this book  (perhaps a bit lighter than the two above) including it’s interspersing of texts and blogs.

The book I just finished also covered childhood trauma but unlike the three above written primarily from the perspective of the young adults, this book,  the latest release from my all-time favourite author, The Masterpiece by Francine Riverscovered the effects of trauma on the two main characters lives in adulthood. This ultimate romance, although predictable in it’s ending had so much depth in the journey, I was not disappointed. We are all God’s masterpieces and this book was full of christian grace and wisdom.

It seems fitting for me to end on another Francine Rivers book her classic, my favourite Redeeming Love which like the first book in this chain covers sex with a prostititute for the main character, along with sadly childhood trauma (all these books cover this real and ever present issue in our society well, but I confess it does seem somewhat wrong to follow this as a theme) and the all-important and powerful Redeeming Love of God.

Happy Reading All 🙂

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Books

Six degrees of separation from the French man’s wife to the Australian convict

Six Degrees of Separation is hosted by booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  and gets you to take one title, and link through five other titles to see where you end up.

January’s starting point is The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles. I was randomly gifted this book at our annual bookclub Christmas bookswap however never finished it.

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Another older book I recieved at this annual event was Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert. It appears unread in my Goodreads account but I’m sure I finished this thanks to it also being a bookclub read. I seem to remember an interesting feminist discussion was had.

Madame Bovary’s title characters first name was Emma which takes me to another more classical book Emma by Jane Austen. I don’t believe I’ve read this book nor seen the complete movie however I do know I have watched the complete series of Pride And Prejudice along with reading the book which I seem to remember enjoying.

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Another classic I’m sure I’ve read and enjoyed was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte when I was a teenager living at home. It sounds like I need to re-read a few of these to refresh my memory. Another book I read from the shelves at home was For the Term of his Natural Life by Marcus Clarke which for a long time I’ve wanted to re-read to see if it still as good as I remember.

Well I didn’t mean to take a classical theme but there you have it.

Do you have any thoughts on these links/books? Happy Reading 🙂

Books

6 degrees of separation – from Atonement to …the Light Between Oceans

Six Degrees of Separation is hosted by booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  and gets you to take one title, and link through five other titles to see where you end up. August’s starting point is Atonement by Ian McEwan. Although I’ve heard about this book and it is generally highly rated I’m not compelled to read it because….

…the only Ian McEwan book I’ve read is The Children Act which I won at a joint bookclub meeting. I only gave it 2/5 and it won’t entice me to read any more of his books in a hurry. Although I did enjoy learning about the antagonist’s perspective as a judge.  This novel reminds me of another book with children in the title…

The Children of Men by P.D James. This was a fairly unsuccessful bookclub pick although again generally highly regarded. It was a suspenseful science-fiction novel with the one lasting image for me of prams with dolls. Goodreads synopsis sets the scene as ‘the human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace.’blogAgain the theme of children reminds me of another thriller science-fiction book I read and unfortunately rated lowly, Perfect People by Peter James, again only 2/5.  John and Naomi lose a child and then get the chance to have another baby  guaranteed to have none of the genetic illnesses  passed from the parents. It doesn’t quite go to plan when they end up expecting twins who very quickly show signs of extreme intelligence.

I think I read all of these books around the same time, one of life’s funny coincidences, however to get away from my bad reviews lets move to…

…Claiming Noah by Amanda Ortlepp again covering the issue of infertility except this one I liked :p I guess I’m just not a sci-fi girl (even if I do find the plot-lines very interesting). This book was much more focused on the stories of two mothers whose lives become intertwined.

This leads me to my to-read list with The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman which I keep reading great reviews about. Again based on consequences from decisions surrounding fertility, I can’t wait to read it and think I will make it my next choice!

This link certainly stuck to a theme! Hope you all enjoy your August reading 🙂           What books have you been reading lately, heard of any of these?

Books

WWW Wednesday 10th July 2018

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Now I’m back, I’ve been waiting all week to update this meme! Our host is Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s fun and simple, with just three W questions to answer: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? You can also join by answering and linking your blog post back on Sam’s post here.  

What did you recently finish reading:

The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide 

Whilst last week I was a bit unsure about this book, I ended up loving it. From Goodreads

Delia has made a living writing an acerbic advice column and a series of wildly successful modern household guides. As the book opens, she is barely 40 but has only a short time to live. The novel charts her preoccupation with two things: how to make provision for her husband and daughters – and how to make her peace with her past.

I think it was a bit slow starting but in reflection, considering the topic I believe it probably needed to be. The time shifts weren’t smooth but the overall pacing and characterisation were great. I have an interest in palliative care and it was from this perspective I read the book and it delivered. From blood sausages to messages left in the lawn, it was quirky and meaningful and I gave it 5/5.

My only other complaint comes from my christian perspective which didn’t quite fit with the ending but I can cope with that.*

What are you currently reading:

I have quite literally just read the first page of The Break by Katherena Vermette so I could tell the truth in this section! One of it’s opening quotes is, “the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any” by Alice Walker, which rings truth to me and reminds me of a clip I saw on my facebook feed today of a graduation speech:

 

What do you think you’ll read next:

I’ve added a few books to my Goodreads list this last week but it’s Windfall by Penny Vincenzi I’ve requested from the library. I was on a bit of a doctor theme a few weeks back.

High-five to the reading Wolfpack 🙂

 

* I’m just not sure the world can in times to come – a post for another day (or a question to be asked)

blogging · Books · mental health

June: Six degrees of WWW

I’ve been wondering how to bring myself back into the blogging world after somewhat of a hiatus (just one post since end of March). There are a few drafts sitting around, most of which would take a lot of effort to get back to where I was when I started them.

Today though I finished a great book (not the first since March!) and it may just be my Tipping Point – this months chosen starting title for the meme, Six Degrees of Separation  hosted by booksaremyfavouriteandbest. The meme gets you to take one title, and link through six other titles to see where you end up.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell sounds like my kind of book. I’m a big believer in small acts of kindness and my big ambition in life is to make a difference. His focus however it seems is in how products sell so perhaps not so much my thing.

My most recent depressive experience has turned into quite a tipping point for me – I’ve quite my job, not completed one uni subject and extended another. These are pretty big changes and I wouldn’t normally advocate for making such decisions as a result of depression but after good discussions with my hubby, various friends and lots of prayer I’m feeling pretty comfortable.

Alright, now how I am going to link this to my next book….

Yeah I’m not, instead here’s the list of awesome books I’ve recently read:

  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  • The Kite Runner by Hosseini, Khaled
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • The Very Grumpy Day by Stella Jones

Also for your enjoyment here’s a bit of a review from a WWW Wednesday I attempted rather awhile back

What did you recently finish reading: Tell Me Your Here by Anne Deveson this last (haha) weekend. I really like Deveson’s writing style which in this autobiography (much like her book Resilience)  shares a lot of information and personal story. It showed a harrowing image of mental health care particularly for schizophrenia and around homelessness which thankfully in her Afterword suggested improvement although I’m sure not enough.

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What do you think you’ll read next:

I have Anthony Lehman’s (an Australian comedian) book This Shirt Won’t Iron Itself which I’m looking forward to having a read of – in fact I finished it last week. There was a bit about country living and families I could relate to, especially the bar man brother but the author and I are very different people so majority of the book was really not my thing.

Thanks for having me back WP, hope you readers are all doing well, I’d love to hear about some of your recent reads or maybe a tipping point in your life.

God bless

GJ