The postie has been very kind to me this week – now I need to do some serious reading – so many great reads ahead of me, thank you Simon and Schuster, Hachette, Spectre, Sphere, Scribe and their imprints.
During the week I had the opportunity to attend an author event hosted by our local bookshop, The Margaret River Bookshop. What a perfect setting for an intimate discussion with author, traveller and storyteller, Georgina Penney.(photo courtesy Lily Malone)
Georgina delighted the group with her personal stories of growing up in the region, specifically the property which is now home to the Churchview Estate Wines in Metricup (thank you Churchview Estate for providing the wine for this occasion). Georgina has certainly led a very interesting life having lived in many cities and towns in Australia before relocating overseas to spend time in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Brunei Darussalam. Georgina is currently living in Scotland. During the course of her travels Georgina has had the opportunity to speak to many expats about their Fly in Fly Out experiences and you will recognise some of these stories in her novel Unforgettable You aka Fly In Fly Out.
Fly in Fly Out is a romance sited in Perth, Fremantle, on an oil rig of the coast of Mauritania and the Margaret River region. Fly In Fly Out is not typical of the Romance genre – whilst writing a romantic novel Georgina weaves into the narrative examples of many of the difficulties that people working in a Fly In Fly Out situation experience – isolation, long shifts, exhausting rosters… and the difficulties in maintaining relationships and friendships long distance. Some of these difficulties were attested to by those who attended the event. Further the book opens up discussion on Domestic/Family Violence and provides a conclusion of realistic optimism where events of the past are highlighted as that – the past – and can be overcome. A very interesting read.
A great evening thanks to all involved. I look forward to hearing more about Georgina’s work and her remarkable life and travels in the future.
Fun and enlightening – coffeelicious!
Coffee Gives Me Superpowers
An Illustrated Book about the Most Awesome Beverage on Earth
Andrews McMeel Publishing
For coffee lovers and those who love them, Coffee Gives Me Superpowers is a fun, graphic design-centered book focused on one of the world’s most addictive and beloved substances–coffee.
If coffee is the foundation of your food pyramid, then this is your book. Inspired by Ryoko Iwata’s popular Web site, I Love Coffee (en.ilovecoffee.jp), Coffee Gives Me Superpowers is overflowing with infographics and fun, interesting facts about the most awesome beverage on earth written by Ryoko, a Japanese coffee-lover living in Seattle. The book includes the most popular pieces on the site, such as “Your Brain on Beer vs. Coffee,” “10 Coffee Myths,” “The 15 Most Caffeinated Cities in the U.S.,” “The Best Time of Day to Drink Coffee (According to Science),” and “10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Caffeine,” plus 25 percent new, original material that is available only in this book.
I learnt a few coffee facts, some myths were dispelled and I had fun! The descriptions of the various type of coffees was very useful – I need to have this book with me the next time I order a coffee at a café. (And the coffee calorie count info was mind blowing!)
A DC Max Wolfe Short Story
Random House UK, Cornerstone
An exclusive short story featuring DC Max Wolfe from Tony Parsons, the Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author of The Murder Bag.
One am, Boxing Day. Snow falls, the city sleeps.
Not DC Max Wolfe. He is looking out of his loft apartment at the deserted streets below.
A van has just drawn up. Two men get out. Dressed in black and wearing ski-masks, they are dragging something.
It’s a man. Half-naked. Half-dead. But still alive.
Not for much longer.
Soon Max Wolfe is hunting a gang of killers who decapitate their victims
And this time it’s personal …
Includes an exclusive sneak preview of Tony’s new novel, The Slaughter Man.
Tense, gritty and graphic this short story is pulse raising in its violence level however I feel this genre (short story) left the narrative a little bare boned and lacking in character development and the associations I so enjoyed in his first book The Murder Bag. The narrative felt a little rushed, when I was keen to know more. That Tony Parsons can write and engage the reader is not in doubt but I think his talent lies in the long form art – I eagerly await the publication of his next full length novel, The Slaughter Man.
Evocative. Transforming. Gentle. Powerful.
When the Night Comes
The hauntingly beautiful story of a young girl transformed by the power of kindness from award-winning author Favel Parrett.
Running away from the mainland was supposed to make their lives better. But, for Isla and her brother, their mother’s sadness and the cold, damp greyness of Hobart’s stone streets seeps into everything.
Then, one morning, Isla sees a red ship. That colour lights her day. And when a sailor from the ship befriends her mother, he shares his stories with them all – of Antarctica, his home in Denmark and life on board. Like the snow white petrels that survive in the harshest coldest place, this lonely girl at the bottom of the world will learn that it is possible to go anywhere, be anything. But she will also find out that it is just as easy to lose it all.
For Isla, those two long summers will change everything.
Favel Parrett delivers an evocative and gently told story about the power fear and kindness have to change lives.
This is a beautifully written book – I loved the language, the style, the characters, the setting … the realistic optimism this work conveys. This narrative reminds me that there are kind, gentle, thoughtful, sensitive people in the world and if you think hard enough you will be able to identify some in your own life that have eased the way for you; these are remarkable people and this book pays homage to these memories.
Ms Parrett takes you on a journey – literally and figuratively – we journey with the crew of the MS Nella Dan – a ship that is home to so many, filled with extraordinary characters, where we learn you don’t have to be related to be part of a family. We journey with Isla as she is shown a different path, one of light and inspiration and happiness through storytelling, thoughtfulness, inclusivity and kindness.
This is a beautifully executed book that takes you to new places and adventures- Antarctica, Hobart Tasmania, Denmark and the classroom – where we are reminded that some teachers do make a difference. I loved the descriptions of the of foreign landscapes in this book – in particular the description of the snow kestrels is haunting and evocative, the “little angels come down from the sky and fly around you…I closed my eye and dreamt of falling snow that turned to pure white birds. I watched each snowflake fly away one by one, and I wished I had wings so that I could go with them. I wish that I could follow.” Beautiful.
I am so proud of our film 35 Letters and this award is just beautiful!
35 Letters will be screening in Vancouver March 11 courtesy of Simon Fraser University’s Woodwards Cultural Unit, Reel Causes.org and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Assoc (BCLA).
When: Wed, March 11, 2015. 7:00 PM
Where: Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St. Vancouver.
For more information about the screening please see this link: http://www.sfu.ca/sfuwoodwards/events/events1/2014-205-spring/35lettersscreening.html
If you live in this part of the world don’t miss this opportunity to see our award winning film.
Brutal. Raw. Jagged. Insightful.
Maxine Beneba Clarke
In this collection of award-winning stories, Melbourne writer Maxine Beneba Clarke has given a voice to the disenfranchised, the lost, the downtrodden and the mistreated. It will challenge you, it will have you by the heartstrings. This is contemporary fiction at its finest.
Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award 2013.
In Melbourne’s Western Suburbs, in a dilapidated block of flats overhanging the rattling Footscray train-lines, a young black mother is working on a collection of stories.
The book is called FOREIGN SOIL. Inside its covers, a desperate asylum seeker is pacing the hallways of Sydney’s notorious Villawood detention centre, a seven-year-old Sudanese boy has found solace in a patchwork bike, an enraged black militant is on the war-path through the rebel squats of 1960s’ Brixton, a Mississippi housewife decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her son from small-town ignorance, a young woman leaves rural Jamaica in search of her destiny, and a Sydney schoolgirl loses her way.
The young mother keeps writing, the rejection letters keep arriving…
Ms Clarke writes with a passion that explodes on the page. This collection of short stories, is, for the main part brutal and savage and for me the experience was mind opening… many of the circumstances described here are familiar, we have seen something like this on the TV or heard on the news but have become desensitised to and have switched off or ignored. Here you cannot ignore the story; the style and the intensity of the writing will ensure these narratives stay with you long after you finish turning the pages.
If I was recommending this book to you I would suggest you start from the middle or towards the end as I found the authors voice to be easier to read than in the first few stories (the first few are spoken with accents that I am unfamiliar with and I really had to study the words to understand some of the conversations.) For me this was a distraction to the purpose of the prose but that speaks to my experiences or lack of. I think some of these stories should be told not read for best effect.
Regardless of where you start reading, just start. These are voices that need to be heard. Ms Clarke has delivered a brutal and honest message that might at times be uncomfortable to read but is worth the effort.
This is the life: “Not the one you had yesterday. Or the one that might not be here tomorrow. Just this one. Here and now.”
This is the Life
Even when you have received a death sentence, you still have to live…
“Life just seems like a big party sometimes, at which we all gradually get edged to the door, and then we are out in the cold. But the party continues without us…”
This is the story of Louis, who never quite fitted in, and of his younger brother who always tagged along.
Two brothers on one final journey together, wading through the stuff that is thicker than water.
Tender-hearted, at times achingly funny, This is the Life is a moving testimony to both the resilience of the human spirit and to the price of strawberries.
This is the life: “Not the one you had yesterday. Or the one that might not be here tomorrow. Just this one. Here and now.”
Never a more relevant word was spoken – this is the life we have, right now, not tomorrow, or yesterday or…someday. Life is right now and we should be doing our best to live our life fully and be the best we can be. Don’t wait for a life sentence to wake up and see what is happening around you, participate…now.
This is a very quirky book written with great insight (some ideas I didn’t really appreciate until after I had finished the book and had time to let the observations settle and permeate my brain) others I silently nodded my head in a agreement as I read, or read out loud to my partner so he too could appreciate the nuances of this narrative. This book resonated with me, I discovered people I knew in this narrative, people who had the same quirks, the same opinions, the same diagnosis – life and for death surround us – but some chose to start dying prematurely, before the sentence has been revealed (and I want to shake them and say “wake up, don’t just exist… you are worth it, eat strawberries if you want to”).
Quirky. At times hilarious. Always poignant. Reflective. Inspiring.
The truth is sometimes ugly and confusing and complicated.
Crash and Burn
Description: My name is Nicky Frank.
I’m in hospital after crashing my car. I am afraid. The only thing that I can think about is Vero. I know I have to save her but why couldn’t I find her? She’s just a little girl.
The man standing in my hospital room tells me we are married but there is no Vero. That six months ago I suffered a traumatic brain injury which caused changes to my personality. I have dramatic mood swings, an inability to concentrate and large gaps in my memory. I’m much easier to anger these days. And I drink. All of which he says explains the car accident and my confusion.
Now a Sergeant Wyatt Foster is investigating. He has questions about the car accident. He has concerns about my husband. And he’s worried about a missing girl.
He would like to know what happened to me. So would I.
My name is Nicky Frank. This is my life.
Lisa Gardner – how do you keep doing this? You keep coming up with plots that are twisted, addictive and compelling. You keep me enthralled, you keep me turning the pages and you keep me up at night reading until I finish and then finally I can sleep when all has been revealed and I have digested and re-examined all you have shared with me. This is a heartbreaking yet realistic scenario, it presents many a quandary, many moral dilemmas and yet managed to be quietly optimistic. I loved the characters, all the characters (well maybe not so much Thomas but even he had his good points). Nicky Frank is so credible – in her post concussive behaviours and her desire to seek the truth – whilst all the time hiding a huge secret and eventually revealing a shocking plot twist or two. Brilliant! More!!!
Have a look at the video, hear the author speak about her inspirations for the book, read an excerpt . Pick up the book and read it before you see the movie, I hear that both are fantastic. Thanks Janine K and Anna for the recommendation.