Thursday, December 31, 2009
and on a side note: after having read it i am something near to appalled that the american publishing house put a white girl on the cover. the question of race played such a huge part of the book. really, what were they thinking?
had breakfast at the rathdowne st foodstore. delicious croissant, bad jam. bad soy latte.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
!top 5 aussie YA books of the year! (disclaimer: in my own opinionated opinion)
loving richard feynman by penny tangey (UQP)
catherine is 15 and she's got a mega crush. on a physicist who, in the 40s, helped to build atomic bombs. so yes, catherine is a bit different from the other people at her school. but she says: "i suppose i could be more popular if i tried harder. but i don't want to pretend to care about facile television shows, eyeliner and who in year ten is on the pill." i think catherine is a rad character, so clever and so so so funny (seriously, she could give georgia nicholson - from angus thongs - a run for her money!). this book takes the form of her letters to the scientist over the course of one year, during which she slowly reads feynman's autobiography surely you're joking, mr feynman! and during which her life starts to come apart at the seams. writing to feynman helps her cope with all the problems she faces. this book deserves a lot of attention. come and get it!
when the hipchicks went to war by pamela rushby (lothian/hachette)
i reviewed this one awhile ago here. i love historical fiction, especially ones written for teenagers and especially when they deal with different aspects of a history we know quite well, parts of a war we tend not to focus on - and when women get their stories told!
beautifully written, sad and moving story about skip, a young boy who runs away from his abusive foster family only to find himself a victim of war. though she doesn't specify, i get the feeling that millard has set her war in melbourne. skip and bill, the old homeless man he meets, find themselves caring for little max who was safe in the library when bombs started falling but who is still waiting for his mum to come and get him. the trio head out on foot along the tram line to an abandoned fun park where they meet the teenage mum tia and baby sixpence. glenda millard's characters are always spectacular and poignant and these are no exception. the way she approaches the war is so well done, so brutal but brilliant. and there's always hope in her voice.
when john "beatle" lennon meets destiny mccartney you could forgive him for thinking that it was fate...err...destiny maybe. and if it was fate then what's the harm in taking her for ice cream and for a beer. or two. and is it really so wrong to kiss her? and maybe going on a picnic together the next day? perhaps it is a bit wrong when you consider beatle's lovely and faithful girlfriend. this is a riotously fun book with a pair of very real, engaging and not always well-behaved characters and a brilliant support cast. there are twists and turns, laughs and tears, eccentric families and a great (read: bizarre) stalking storyline. it's very melbourne and all kinds of awesome.
from the author of deadly, unna and nukkin ya this is very different. hugh is a cello-playing private schoolboy from sydney with a secret obsession for muscle cars. an old hippie man with a long ponytail has been hanging out the front of his school, trying to talk to him. it turns out he's hugh's grandfather - long estranged from the family - and he's got a proposition. poppy wants hugh to drive them to uluru in his '69 monaro. hugh falls in love with the car instantly, plus he wants to get his hours up (he's still on his Ls) and not even the audition in a week's time at the conservatorium can stop him. hugh is totally out of his comfort zone with poppy and away from his posh sydney life. with poppy he has to mingle with rough types of people and is confronted by the girls he constantly refers to as 'skanks'. predictably, things don't go to plan on the road. there's the hitchhikers manifesto, which dictates they must pick up all hitchhikers: not always a great idea, there's the runaway and then the psycho... but they meet some great people at truck stops and they camp in swags off the beaten track (checking into the million star motel!) and they wrestle with the powerful car, which remains the main character in the book. this is a moving and funny novel.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
give me wine, women, and snuffuntil i cry out "hold enough!"you may do so sans objectiontil the day of resurrectionfor, bless my beard, they aye shall bemy beloved trinity
Monday, December 28, 2009
the billionaire's curse is the story of gerald who inherits a billion dollars from an old aunt in london but then discovers that she may have been murdered and he must solve the mystery of her death, find the missing diamond, avoid the man who smells like bleach, all with the help of a pair of wisecracking twins. a rollicking adventure.
- the ask and the answer, patrick ness
- tomorrow, when the war began, john marsen (in preparation for the movie!)
Thursday, December 17, 2009
i read macbeth as a teenager as part of english class and it remains one of my favourite shakespeare plays. last week i read lisa klein's latest novel lady macbeth's daughter and it was fantastic, a wonderful companion to shakespeare's scottish play. plus i also love all things scottish, so perhaps i am biased.
the novel follows albia as she grows into a young woman, far from the zealously ambitious macbeth and his ever-assisting wife. of course their lives become inevitably re-entwined, and the reader meets the other famous characters of macbeth: banquo, duncan, malcolm and macduff. and she has fleshed out the female characters, given them a voice and a role. albia in particular (of course, being the heroine) is smart and strong, flawed but determined and compassionate.
all these characters are given extra story, back-story, and more character. it's wonderful, and so well done. it never feels anything like fan-fiction - klein's storytelling and characterisation is brilliant.
i love that the wyrd sisters are actually friendly and funny people, caring. they fool macbeth because they had been loyal to the previous thane - and because they can. macbeth hears whatever he wants to hear, twists the sisters' words to fit.
best of all, lady macbeth gets some more page-time. she's not simply the willing-assistant-turned crazy-remorse-woman, but she is grelach: wife and mother. she has emotions and thoughts and we get to know her. excellent.
klein has drawn this world so clearly and her characters were so accessible. i am sure that even someone who has not read macbeth will enjoy the book - maybe even more so because they do not know what is to come! i didn't read klein's previous book ophelia (based on shakespeare's hamlet, of course) but will certainly be seeking it out now.
and here are some photographs of scotland, from when i lived there:
here are some creepy woods in crieff, where i lived - about an hour or so from dunsinane, actually!
this is the view from the crieff knock:here is urquhart castle, near inverness (on loch ness):
this is inside of urquhart castle:
Monday, December 14, 2009
lucky me, i got to see some excellently brilliant performers this weekend at the meredith music festival. true, i may have lost my voice and still be too tired to make much sense, but it was too wonderful not to share. above (and below, actually, with added shoes) you have the incomparable paul kelly who charmed us all.
he played how to make gravy which is one of my very favourite and best christmas songs and i was so happy to discover that others felt the same way. his thought-provoking song everything's turning to white about fisherman who find the body of a young woman murdered but wait a few days before reporting her death because they have only just arrived for their fishing holiday is an excellent, and very moving, example of storytelling through song.
jarvis cocker. oh jarvis you were the highlight for me, i believe. he turned the whole crowd on. from his cutesey and funny puns in leftovers: "i met her at the museum of paleontology / and i make no bones about it" to his sexy self-deprecating pronouncements in i never said i was deep : "if evey relationship is a two-way street / i have been screwing in the back whilst you drive / i never said i was deep / but i am profoundly shallow / my lack of knowledge is vast / and my horizons are narrow" he was fucking hot. i loved his lanky awesome dancing. his rendition of running the world roused the crowd enormously.
kitty, daisy and lewis are siblings. young. totally ace. their sound? kind of rockabilly hawaiian blues. top songs: mean son of a gun and honolulu rock-a roll-a.
along with wagons, kid sam, oh mercy, akron/family and the middle east - it was an ace weekend. now i can't wait until the port fairy folk festival.
but now...back to books (and coffee - today it at was birdman eating on gertrude st, fitzroy. two thumbs up!)
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
i think i got to almost 11,000 words, which took me about three weeks and some fairly achy tendonitis-esqe wrists. it was very fun, nonetheless, and now i have 11,000 more words to work with than i did a month ago. it'll be fiiiiiine.
sign me up for next year!