Are you a Lauren Kate fan? Do you reside in Australia ? Then this competition is for you.
So beautiful – you are an amazing poet Heli.
I have to share my joy with you; last night 35 Letters win Best Biography at Australian Teachers of Media IPAF ATOM Awards 2014 !
A moving story with characters you will connect with.
Hodder & Stoughton
‘I was looking forward to us growing old together. Me and you, growing old and dying together.’
‘Douglas, who in their right mind would look forward to that?’
Douglas Petersen understands his wife’s need to ‘rediscover herself’ now that their son is leaving home.
He just thought they’d be doing their rediscovering together.
So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again.
The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed.
What could possibly go wrong?
This is a narrative that can be easily and enjoyably read for the pleasure of the journey itself; of discovering the characters and their failings and their triumphs as they journey through life’s ups and downs. David Nicholls has a wonderful ability to write stream of consciousness prose and great characters and realistic dialogue.
Give this narrative a little more thought and head space and you will discover many revelations regarding relationships, family, children, love and death and building bridges. For me though the stand out message was about gratefulness. Being grateful that someone finds you attractive and wants to spend time with you is not the best way begin any emotional transaction or indeed build any type of relationship on. It is certainly not the basis for marriage regardless of how much one party loves the other. Douglas has low self-confidence and cannot believe that someone like Connie could enjoy his company, love him and agree to marry him. Lesson number two; if you don’t love yourself how can you expect anyone else too? Douglas always tries to please and placate (as you can probably tell I find myself disliking Connie and her cavalier attitude; great work David Nicholls is making me believe in these characters, for the empathy I felt, for the insightful relationship guidance you provide on this journey). And I liked that you conclude the narrative with a glimmer of optimism for the future.
This is a great read, one that I think will particularly suit book clubs who will find many issues, many behaviours, conversations and attitudes to discuss and debate.
Moving, astute with a subtleness that belies the expert analysis of the human condition.
Too Much Happiness
Ten superb new stories by one of our most beloved and admired writers—the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize.
In the first story a young wife and mother receives release from the unbearable pain of losing her three children from a most surprising source. In another, a young woman, in the aftermath of an unusual and humiliating seduction, reacts in a clever if less-than-admirable fashion. Other stories uncover the “deep-holes” in a marriage, the unsuspected cruelty of children, and how a boy’s disfigured face provides both the good things in his life and the bad. And in the long title story, we accompany Sophia Kovalevsky—a late-nineteenth-century Russian émigré and mathematician—on a winter journey that takes her from the Riviera, where she visits her lover, to Paris, Germany, and, Denmark, where she has a fateful meeting with a local doctor, and finally to Sweden, where she teaches at the only university in Europe willing to employ a female mathematician.
With clarity and ease, Alice Munro once again renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories that shed light on the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives.
Too Much Happiness is a compelling, provocative—even daring—collection.
These short stories will do many things; they will move you, they will make you think and re think your own assumptions and beliefs and in some you will find optimism and some you will find human failings subtly revealed in what at first appears to be a simple recounting of events or life’s history. These short stories will surprise you.
In particular I thought the first story, Dimensions was a powerful and emotive read with a bleakness that tugged at my heart. I did however think that the villain in the piece was let off too lightly by this author – an insanity verdict to my mind excused the behaviour; the crime was inexcusable. I did however enjoy the ending, the small ray of optimism that shone through.
Something that did indeed surprise me was Child’s Play, what a revelation! (No spoilers here, you need to buy the book).
Alice Munro writes with an ease and a simplicity that belies the deep psychological understanding she has of the human condition; of the foibles and failings that make us human. These short stories will make you think, will open your eyes.
We are dog/house sitting. Here are Bob and Star looking very relaxed:)
A real Aussie larrikin.
‘A holiday is a time when you do lovely things that you never get a chance to really do otherwise.’ So Iris McInnes told her young son, William, as she tried to explain the meaning of a holiday.
This book is about the Australian love affair with holidays.
It is about going away and staying home. It’s about the relaxing times you had as a kid, escapes you have with your children and the stories you hear from your friends.
It can be about a romantic sunset, the spare seat at breakfast being taken by an attractive stranger, a miraculous airline upgrade – or missing bags, unfortunate rashes and wrong turns that lead to places you definitely did not intend to go.
But most of all it’s about being in your backyard in an above ground pool, floating in circles, staring at the clouds as you go round and round and knowing that life is sweet because you are on holidays.
My View: William McInnes – a real Aussie larrikin.
At the beginning of this book I laughed so much the tears ran down my cheeks, at the end I cried silent sad tears. A remarkable book of memories and more.
William McInnes writes a beautiful creative memoir; he paints colourful images of the innocence of childhood, life in a small town, growing up, family holidays, and then about the holidays he created with his own family and the last holiday he had with his wife before she died.
I especially like hearing the tales written in his childhood voice – his first recollection of a holiday with his mum and siblings that involved the wonder of train travel (some hilarious laugh out loud anecdotes around train toilets…) and memories of school holidays and then the outrageous recounting of “school holiday activities” (I know you will either have your own memories of these type of activities or you would have enrolled your own children in the like), “All across Australia there were schemes, plans, events – activities – that were designed to entertain holidaying children and get them out of their parent’s hair for a few hours a day…Basket weaving, pottery, painting, orienteering, craft design, woodwork and holiday swim camps. Almost any activity that could be thought of to eat up holiday time got a run in the suburbs of Australia.” (p.51) I loved the story of the “Day long body building and health ‘tutorial’.” This particular story is pure childhood, fun and full of fart jokes – a kid’s paradise. This started me laughing once again so much so I had to explain the reason to my husband; I laughed so much explaining the joke I cried.
Hidden amongst these hilarious anecdotes are gems of wisdom and astute observations. At one time McInnes is working away from home staying in a hotel, alone in his room he starts to feel lonely then has a revelation: “I realise I am no that lonely. I lie here and think of how much I like my friends. How much I love my family, the one I grew up with and the one I have…Sometimes the best place to realise what you’ve got is the loneliest place.” p.216) This book is filled with such gems.
McInnes concludes this charming, fascinating account of holidays and what they mean with these words; “It’s when the memories of a place, and the people who passed the time with you there, all come colliding with the present that the acute feeling of simply being human can be so great. (p. 279)…and “How, if we are lucky and are loved enough, we might become cherished holiday memories, for holidays may be the realest, most sweetest part of life.”(p. 286)
Read “Holidays”, laugh, cry, remember…plan your next holiday now.
Love, anger, grief – all were weapons in their own way. (p. 340)
The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker #12)
Hodder & Stoughton
Prosperous, and the secret that it hides beneath its ruins . . .
The community of Prosperous, Maine has always thrived when others have suffered. Its inhabitants are wealthy, its children’s future secure. It shuns outsiders. It guards its own. And at the heart of Prosperous lie the ruins of an ancient church, transported stone by stone from England centuries earlier by the founders of the town . . .
But the death of a homeless man and the disappearance of his daughter draw the haunted, lethal private investigator Charlie Parker to Prosperous. Parker is a dangerous man, driven by compassion, by rage, and by the desire for vengeance. In him the town and its protectors sense a threat graver than any they have faced in their long history, and in the comfortable, sheltered inhabitants of a small Maine town, Parker will encounter his most vicious opponents yet.
Charlie Parker has been marked to die so that Prosperous may survive.
This instalment in the Charlie Parker series left me wanting more. Connolly cleverly writes in characters/story arcs with a history from the previous eleven books in this one and so I think it is really important to read the others in order before attempting this. Connolly weaves a Gothic like tale, it is moody and atmospheric and very mysterious and the conclusion finishes with a cliff hanger; but the pacing is patchy and not quite as engaging as the previous novels. I think this episode sets up the next read brilliantly – and that I can’t wait for.
PS the soundtrack to the novels – Ghosts – is great.
More thoughts on writing and self publishing 🙂