Wednesday 14 October 2015

Goodbye Blogger

My husband, web person extraordinaire, has made me a blog. I will be moving over there, and hopefully actually posting regularly and general stuff will happen.

you can find it at

Thursday 8 October 2015

Things I liked in September

September is all of the assignments but also I managed a few other things.

I finally finished listening to John Krakauer's book Missoula. He is an investigative journalist and wrote the book about his research into the sexual assaults that happened at the University of Montana. Hard going but important. I think listening to the audiobook made it more intense, especially the parts that were statements made by the victims. But given this is a serious and ongoing issue around the world it's worth reading. What really struck me was the way law enforcement acted. That was very hard to hear.

This video by Hank Green about outrage was very interesting. I'm not sure I completely agree on everything but it was very thought provoking. He raises some important points.

My sister sent me this comic. It's great.

I am completely in love with Halsey's album Badlands 

As always Australian politics are awful and the world is upsetting. One organisation I think is important to support is RISE, which is run by refugees and ex-detainees so is really I think the best placed to determined how the conversation should go and what action should be taken.

Monday 31 August 2015

Things I Liked in August

August has been kind of intense. Uni started up last week of July which turned everything into a rollercoaster of crazy. Readings for uni have meant not a lot of fiction reading, and the stress has meant not a lot of liking things and also a lot of strongly identifying with tumblr art. My 'me' tag is kind of full of cartoons about procrastination.

In particular I have been hardcore relating to Beth Evans' drawings. Plus they're super cute.

I have managed to read most of Every Day is For the Theif by Teju Cole, which is fantastic. It was suggested for my english class, and I am enjoying it a lot. 

I've been listening to this song a lot. Dodie is a really great musician, I love her songs.

First Dog on the Moon is always my favourite. Here is his cartoon on the Border Farce debacle. This government though. Really needs to go in the bin.

Finally I really liked this video from one of my favourite youtubers, Rosianna, about youtube becoming mainstream. It sparked some super interesting discussion. Might even write a post about it if I have time. Youtube culture is something I find endlessly fascinating to think about.

Monday 15 June 2015

Review and Thoughts on: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I had heard only good things about All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, so when I picked it up from the library I was excited to read it. It is a large book, and something of a slow read. I would categorise it as historical literary fiction, it is set in World War Two, and is exquisitely written. The chapters are short, sometimes only a page, but each are intimately detailed, depicting the stories of of two children who grow up during the war. The narrative moves between the end of the war, and the events that lead the characters to that point, starting from the first rumblings of Nazi Germany. It also switches perspectives, primarily telling the stories of Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, and Werner, a German orphan.

I found Marie-Laure a captivating character, and the chapters about her deeply engaging. However, switching to Werner was a jarring feeling. I didn't feel I empathised with him as much, it seemed more of an observational experience while Marie-Laure's story was immersive. Marie-Laure provides an unusual perspective of occupied France, the people in the town's acts of resistance as well as her experiences of the losses that war brought, and I connected with her. While Werner provides a perspective of the poverty and propaganda that provided a foundation for Hitler, as well as the experiences within the Nazi army and the cost of their power and then defeat.

The supportive characters, such as Marie-Laure's father, her great-uncle and Madame Manec were well-characterised and their relationships provided a wonderful depth to the story. Similarly, I appreciated characters such as Fredrick, Jutta and Volkheimer in Werner's story, but often felt I cared more for them than Werner.

Though perhaps most of the worst aspects of what occurred in the story were in Werner's experiences of the war, and I certainly felt sad that these experiences happened, I was most emotional in Marie-Laure's early chapters, her innocence, confusion and reliance on her father who can only make false promises of security to her, and the change that brings in her in heart-breaking.

All The Light We Cannot See is a very well crafted story, and can be enjoyed simply as a wonderful use of language and expression. It is also deeply thought provoking, a story that must be absorbed and cannot be read quickly. Through detailed, beautiful imagery and characterisation the story examines themes such as innocence, suffering, courage, and the choices people must make. It is worth reading for the writing alone, but I also appreciated the thoughts it sparked.

A small incoherent ramble: 
I spent sometime in the evening after finishing the novel thinking about the narrative of war, and in particular the kinds of stories about war we read. It occurred to me that most of the fictionalised accounts of World War Two that I have read mention of the atrocities committed in concentration camps, but are rarely from that perspective (example, The Book Thief, it certainly contains information about the persecution of Jewish people, but it is focused on the challenge of German citizens). And often challenge the idea of glorifying war, by talking of the suffering of soldiers, and even of civilians. They will challenge the propaganda idea of the all-good allies and all evil Nazis. Is it easier to remember the humanity of the German people (something I think is deeply important) without that perspective of their very worst actions? Is it because if we humanise those who stood by, or those who fought on the loosing side it reminds us that we are also capably of great atrocities. Is the Holocaust too horrific? Is it easier to talk of the horrors of war than of the state-sanctioned systematic genocide? Is it because we don't want to acknowledge we still Other Jewish people, or any of the other groups persecuted by Nazi Germany?
I am not saying there are not stories that do this, and I have read some stories written by Jewish survivors. However, it does seem to me the talked about books, the celebrated books, are more like The Book Thief or All The Light We Cannot See and I think this is dangerous, particularly given the obvious continuation of anti-Semitism throughout the western world (there also broader implications such as the extremely worrying trend towards indefinite detention for refugees - lead by Australia - which I think has similarities but don't want to take away from the specificity of the Holocaust).
I don't have answers, but this is something I want to think more about, and so I am glad I read this book, which challenged this thought process.

Thursday 28 May 2015

Australian YA (snapshot from my bookshelf)

Something that frustrates me about the internet is how easy it is to get stuck in an American centric place, particularly when it comes to book recommendations. The other night on Twitter I noticed a few people tweeting photos of their favourite Australian YA novels under #loveOzYA

I grabbed some of my favourite Australian YA authors off my shelves. Australia has a lot of talented authors, I couldn't recommend highly enough. I think I would probably frequently say Melina Marchetta is my favourite author. 

Of course there are heaps more amazing Australian authors who I don't happen to own.

I'm trying to work on increasing the number Indigenous books I read, I know this list is lacking in that. I hope to fix that in the future.

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Crush Your TBR

I have a TBR pile that never seems to get any smaller. So I decided to participate in the #crushyourtbr readathon this weekend.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.
This was really good. I'd heard so much hype, and then so much talk saying it didn't live up to the hype, that I went in without high expectations and was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps pleasant is the wrong word. I cried. I couldn't put it down. It was a good reading experience.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. I am glad I read it. It was a little painful though, like I was hesitantly reading for most of the book and only in the last third or so I really started wanting to finish it. I was tempted to stop reading, but wanted to know what would happen and couldn't bring myself to just read the ending. I'm glad I persevered but I'm not sure if I'd recommend it. I guess it depends on what you want from a book. It made me think. And it made me work hard to like the main character.

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
So fun. I really enjoyed the concept, the world was interesting and I especially liked trying to figure out the mystery element. It was a strong, well crafted story.

Family Life by Akil Sharma
So this is literary fiction, which I have a particular kind of love for. For me, if literary fiction is well written, it generally doesn't matter so much what it is about. As well as being well written, Family Life tells an interesting story of an Indian family's immigrant experience, with very specific difficulties. I really liked reading it.

I also finished listening to Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling and almost finished My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins.

I managed to finish the books I meant to read by Saturday and was going to read more but got caught up watching Arrow on Netflix.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

2015 Reading Goals

So moving interstate meant I didn't post November or December. I did read some books though. And bought more. Moving on...

2014 achievements: 

My Reading Goals from 2014 were:
  • Read every book on my bedside table
  • Read at least 100 books from my Goodreads To Read list
  • Read a more diverse range of books
  • Read more Australian books
  • Review at least one book a month
I didn't read ever book on my bedside table (but I did move them off my bedside table). I managed 73 books in the Goodreads Challenge, but not all from my To Read list. I successfully managed to read a more diverse range of books, with more Australian stories, but not quite as much as I would've likes. I did not manage to review many books at all (well, I started a lot).

2015 Reading Goals:

Again, this year my Goodreads Reading Challenge is 100 books. I have also decided to participate in the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. I'm doing this as a way to be more successful about diversifying my reading. Once I've actually unpacked my books I will make a post about which books I intend to read.
I'm also aiming to read more of the books I own but haven't read.

Also to finish writing and post all the drafts I have sitting around.