Reading and Rambling

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Far too long ...

It has indeed been far too long ... but I am pleased to say that I have read much!!!

But the latest, the new love, is Kate Atkinson.  When Will There be Good News is the first novel by this author that I have read - and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!  The characters are so unique and yet so believable; it is dramatic and tragic and yet so funny.  I am so impressed and so inspired by the author!!  I adore the character of Reggie :) and love the way that the relationships of various characters connect and intertwine - I do not struggle at all with the coincidences inherent.  It is truly goregeous <3  I am almost at the end and I believe this is going to be one of those stories that I am sad when it ends.  I will review in more depth when I am done ...

I also HAVE to comment on S J Watson's Before I go to Sleep - which a student gave to me ... and I was so delighted :)

Oooh ... so much to catch up on ... and finally the time to do it!!!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

How long has it been ???

OMG! I can't believe how long it has been since I posted anything ... oh dear, where to start????  Perhaps I should go backwards.  

Tonight I have to find something new to read, as I have just finished Chris Womersley's Bereft.  I really enjoyed this novel - I had started it a few times and kept putting down, but finally 'got into it'.  It was certainly tragic and rather heartwarming, and one I recommend :)

I have also recently read a young adult novel, The Visconti House .. a rather delightful little story of discovering the history of a house, friendship and belonging.  Rather sweet, and I enjoyed it - when I remembered not to read it as an adult !

Before that?  I can hardly remember .... Jon McGregor's Even the Dogs - so different to what I usually read, a narrative about a group of drug abusers, death and societal exclusion.  I found this in the library with my students, gathering ideas and texts on ideas and issues.  I myself decided to explore the idea of living on the fringes of society, and this novel was certainly about that!!!  Although I confess I am yet to go back and finish it - not the norm for me - it was intriguing, and the style of writing reflected the addictive, repetitive and impoverished experiences of the characters ....

My writing has been fragmented - odd inspirations, but as it is the dreaded result and report writing time (meh!) I have not been particularly productive!  But I will, I will ....

Good news is that I have my new desk - yay!!!! - and have (sort of) moved into my new study library :)   So once these horrid reports are out of the way, I plan to be BACK!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A poet I am clearly not ....

I have commenced writing a new book: My Book of Lousy Poetry.  So far it is disgustingly bad.  I am fairly certain it will never be a best-seller; in fact it will probably never see the light of day.  And yet it makes me laugh - or should I cry?  No matter ... I wonder how long this little whimsy will last??

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Eddie love ...

There are fewer things in life more inspirational than the divine Eddie Vedder ....  Recently I was fortunate enough to see him live in concert at the superb State Theatre in Sydney.  There would seriously be very few people on this earth who could entertain you - mesmerise you - for two solid hours, performing solo on stage ... and yet Eddie did.  Not that I doubted he could, for a moment. 

I have seen Pearl Jam live three times, and yet this was a memorable performance ... a combination of Pearl Jam and Into the Wild tracks led to a superb evening of music - where Eddie missed neither a chord nor a lyric.  It was an absolutely amazing gig, and I am still reeling from the buzz of the event - marred only by a few 'tools' in the audience.   Eddie Vedder ... you are a legend <3

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm still here ...

Hello blog,

Just wanted to let you know that I am still here! Oops, apologies for my neglect - I WILL return soon!!!

Gina :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Distant Hours

   Kate Morton - I love you!  And I love this book!!!  Much awaited, this book is sooo much 'my thing' - historical fiction, past and present stories, gothic castles and a slowly unravelling mystery.  I am engrossed, so keen to continue to turn the pages and yet I do not want it to end!!  It took me a short while to engage with the narrator, Edie Burchill, and yet I now so accept her, and believe her, and 'like' her.  While I am frustrated by her relationship with her mother, I am sure that this difficult habitude will reach a point of amiability, and feel that an ultimate openness between Edie and her mother will be a necessary element in the conclusion of this story.  I am so loving reading this fantastic story :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

latest reading ...

Well, I finished Wonders of a Godless World (some time ago) and was pleased that I did ... although it was very different to what I normally read, I think that I did enjoy it - ultimately!

I am now reading Kate Morton's latest, The Distant Hours, which is much more 'my thing'.  I fell in love with her first two novels and was so keen to read this one.  I absolutely adore it - the gothic Milderhurst Castle, the fusion of past and present, slowly unravelling to reveal the essential idea.  Although I was intially a bit perturbed by the style of the narrator's character, I have come to like her dearly, and am so thoroughly enjoying this tale :) I am sure that this is going to be one of those books that I am sad when I finish, but I still have plenty of pages to go before that sense of loss occurs.  I will elaborate ...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Bruny Island Indulgence .....

My debut as a travel writer?  Yes, indeed.  The beginning of a lucrative new career, I am sure!  Okay, so it’s not quite Paris or Calcutta or Moscow, but humble beginnings and all that ... right? 

So … here stands the tale of the recent family holiday to Bruny Island.  First, meet the family: myself, Shaun, Lucie and Liam, and the in-laws, Fred and Gwen.

(Thank you to Makayla Graham Photography for this shot!  Check out her amazing work at
We left Longford in our two car convoy not quite as early in the morning as we intended, but never mind that.  A stop at Campbell Town, for much needed coffee and a delightful visit to the Book Cave, and another for lunch at Kingston, and we were zooming further south to make the 2.15 ferry to Bruny … just!
Liam and Monkey en route ....
first panorama, from the oyster shuckers ...
A few stops on the way in included the Bruny Island Cheese Company before heading to Lunawanna, and our first night's acoomodation at the All Angels Church House - just divine!!!


Daniels Bay at Lunawanna

Dinner was a short stroll along the road to the Lunawanna Link with the colourful characters, Jenny and Kiwi, and Lucie and I bought some locally handmade scarves :)

On the Wednesday morning, after my breakfast of brioche rolls in the church house, we drove down to Cape Bruny to see the lighthouse ... this is such a remote and beautiful part of the world!  I kept thinking about Danielle Wood's novel, The Alphabet of Light and Dark, which was set here .....


We then headed over the mountain to Adventure Bay, home for the next two nights.  The Eco Village was really cute ... very much like camp!  Lucie befriended a little boy, Jasper, on holiday from Victoria, and they had a lovely time investigating the wildlife and sharing shells sweet :)  We met Mother Duck and her eight little ducklings, and an array of albino wallabies and birds.

Tasman Cottage, Adventure Bay Eco Village

On Wednesday night, we made out way to the Neck to see the penguins coming in.  Liam was tired and Gwen was freezing so Shaun took them home before the fun began.  Although we did all get to see two dolphins making their way south, not far from shore - very cool!!  Lucie was determined to stay up and see the penguins, and we were finally rewarded, some time after 10.  We did see some of the babies emerging from their burrows before dark, waiting for their food - including two cute fuzzy chicks huddled together :)  Lucie was delighted with it all, made a new friend in the ranger, and wanted to go back and do it all again the following night!

An absolute highlight of the holiday was the Bruny Cruise ...  but before that, we did a walk to Grass Point.  I was surprised and amazed by the rock towers - Bruny Island's own Stonehenge - and of course, we felt the need to add to the tradition (although Liam was intent on destroying them :P)- and of course, we felt the need to add to the tradition (although Liam was intent on destroying them :P)

Making our way back, we had to hurry so that the nasty pirates did not catch us (they would have kidnapped us and made us walk the plank!!). 

Then it was on to the Bruny Island cruise ... to see the seals.   This was SOOOO amazing!!!  The changing coastline along the eastern side of South Bruny is simply breathtaking. 

Lucie absolutely loved the experience; Liam did initially (asking the guide if the boat could go faster), but he then succumbed to seasickness and wanted to go home.  
Entering the Southern Ocean was an almost spiritual experience: the change was distinct, and the thought of there being nothing but ocean until Antarctica was an incredible idea.  The seals (about a thousand of them) were just magic ... what a life of lolling around on the rocks!  The ocean, at this point in the afternoon, began to churn up a bit, and we turned around for a zoom back up north until we returned, safe and satisfied, to Adventure Bay.

the great Southern Ocean!

On Thursday night, we cooked our own meal - the only time we did so on our little getaway (loved it)!!  A wet and windy night, but such a wonderful atmosphere as we snuggled up in our little cottage.

And so ... Friday rolled around.  Before leaving, we decided to go and take a look at Cloudy Bay beach … Liam bolted from the car and ran ….he loved it!  And what a gorgeous beach it is.  The home of the Bruny Island Surf Classic, I had to take my board out for a surf … okay, so I can’t surf, and I don't have a board,  but if I could, I would have :P  (because Eddie would have been proud ... )

the stunning beach at Cloudy Bay

my photographic artistry ....

Heading north, we stopped at the chocolate hut …. Mmmmmmmm !!!  (After a stop at the Berry Farm to pick up Monkey .....and some coffee)  Bought some tasty fruit and nut chocs in a sweet old fashioned tin, and we could not resist the cute little wooden toys either!!

at the neck ... farewell South Bruny
Prior to making our way to the ferry, we did a loop around the north of the island … Barnes Bay, Dennes Point (which has a lovely cafĂ© and little gallery), beach and some amazing views from Bull Bay!

But alas, it was then time to proceed to the ferry – this time filled with cars on both levels (and a huge line-up on the Kettering side waiting to board!!) 
Homeward bound

We had a fantastic time on this unspoilt, tourist friendly island .. and we are keen to investigate some real estate there, or at least make it a regular annual holiday destination J  What a little piece of heaven on this amazing earth of ours. It was nice to get home, but what a memorable trip!


Next destination ... France!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wonders of a Godless World ....

I am not entirely sure, but I fear that I might hate this book by Andrew McGahan...

Narrated by an orphan girl, living in the mental hospital where her mother died, a new patient arrives - with bizarre and disturbing consequences.  This 'foreigner' is a comatose man, burnt all over, and yet he communicates with the orphan (who cannot remember her own name, let alone anyone else's) telepathically.  He leads her into out of body journeys to explore space and the inner earth, 'teaching' her about volcanoes and floods, and revealing the story of his own lives (so far he has died two times).  And it goes ....

So ....          ? ! ? ! ?

I find the foreigner an unlikeable character, and I am not sure of his motivations just yet ... although he has led the orphan to encourage (by thought transferance) an insane man to attack a man with a pitchfork, so not altogether of good intentions, I suspect.  I feel sorry for the ugly and simple orphan in the story, and yet she is also difficult to like ...

It is difficult to persevere with this weird and disturbing story, and yet I feel compelled to see it through and find out how it concludes ... though heaven help me if it is an unresolved ending!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Legacy ...

I have become completely engrossed in this story ... I love the alternation of past and present, feeling on edge when it shifts from Caroline's story in the early 20th century, to Erica's in the present.  Each alternation now leaves me desiring answers, and I find it difficult to put the book down, and a need to read on when one section ends ....  Caroline's story is now clear, but Erica's understanding of it is not, and there is still the mystery of what happened to cousin Henry to be revealed.  This book is a classic one I love, and I cannot wait to continue reading - I love this <3

Friday, January 14, 2011


Hello blog,

Remember me??? I am sorry I have been so neglectful x x  I have to admit that I have not been reading enough, and I certainly have not been writing :( 

What am I reading?? Well, after many false starts on Extremely Close, Incredibly Loud and Bereft, for example, I have finally settled on Katherine Webb's The Legacy.  It is an historical fiction novel, which I love, and it has engaged me with its past-present structure that develops the plot in an intriguing style.  I do enjoy the classic past-present, and look forward to the fusion of plot lines :)  Naturally, I love the setting of Stornton Manor, an old mansion with history yet to be fully revealed, including the past story of Caroline and the present narrative of sisters, Erica and Beth, and the mystery of what happened to cousin Henry .....

I MUST make an effort to progress with my reading ... only two weeks left of holidays :( !!!!