This Week In Books

With summer on the doorstep we are sliding into a heatwave this weekend. Thank God the house is currently spotless and full of both reading material and mangoes.

My Chilli Chicken with a Mango Salsa

The DVD Fairy made a donation to the Little Library last week encouraging a selection of movies not generally considered. These included POMPEII, featuring an abundance of flames and fury with poor little Kit Harrington copping the wrong end of the stick yet again. And then there was OBLIVION which caused a great deal of psychoanalysis on my part. Sci Fi AND Tom Cruise. Why do I self inflict like this?

This facility has become so popular in our local parkland that the Council has agreed to install a separate utility to house books for Little People, allowing them the sensory pleasure of choosing their own books. WOOT WOO!

Read Jane Harper’s fourth novel, The Survivors, based in a small coastal town in Tasmania, unlike her previous books where the harsh Australian outback becomes a stand alone character. Couldn’t put it down though I have lots of “buts”……….

Stephen Fry’s Mythos is a retelling of Greek Mythology and is written the way he speaks making it easy to keep up with who is whom in the zoo.


My garden is beginning to suffer due to the lack of rain ( though the media continues its scare tactics by quoting expected cyclones : Was 15 down to 4). Optimistic, I treated myself to a new addition:

Stay hydrated…….

A Recipe Book For Those With Food Intolerances.

My daughters have eaten all manner of interesting food whilst travelling the world including moose, armadillo, duck tongues and sea urchins. Do you think I’ve ever been able to get either of them to eat cucumber? Not on your life ! It wasn’t until they were both in their early twenties that I could stop hiding Brussel Sprouts in their meals. How I adore the much maligned Brussel Sprout – my favourite all-time veg.

Thankfully my offspring have never suffered from any food allergies. I remember the increasing difficulty of holding celebratory Morning Teas at the Office because of the various food intolerances so many suffered. It became easier to cater for your own needs only and not to share-a-plate.

Blogger, Jillian, from FeedMyFamilyblog.com has a husband and a son who each have 8 food intolerances, 3 of which are shared.

Jillian is one of those “quiet achievers” who knuckled down during the social constraints of the Pandemic to produce a Recipe Book from her years of tweaking meals to better meet the needs of her family. Mothers’ And Others’ Recipes From the Heart has recently been published in both e-book and print format and includes recipes handed down through the generations with variations to cater for different dietary requirements.

Recipes cover Biscuits and Slices, Cakes, Desserts, Dips and Savoury Nibbles, Salads and Main Meals. They are easy to read and to follow. More importantly these are all meals that can be integrated into everyday meal times.

Under the name of each recipe is a colour coded reference to advise which intolerance the recipe caters for : Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soy Free, Sulphate Free or Nut Free.

At the end of each there are notes should you wish to make further variations such as swapping one ingredient for another.

This book has been produced with much love and with contributions from Jillian’s family and friends.

One disappointment only: not one Brussel Sprout in sight!

Here’s a link for further information:

Mothers’ and Others’: Recipes From the Heart

You’ve got to respect those amongst us who have achieved something other than a batch of sour dough or brownies during ISO, don’t you?

NOTE:

Although Jillian and I both live in Brisbane we have never met, yet we have shared information about local WordPress events and Book Fairs. She asked for an honest review which I like to think I achieved by replicating one of the recipes in her book – the Roast Vegetable Couscous (with tweaks as I’m spring cleaning the pantry and defrosting the fridge in readiness for Christmas).

Delicious – even if I had to hide the pumpkin.

Bub’s Books For Xmas

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” — Albert Einstein

My daughter, Pocohontas, has already read six week old Harry Kilometres this years Booker Prize Winner. So of course I have been having great fun at local bookstores finding more appropriate literature for the child for Christmas.

This is Harry’s major Christmas parcel from his Meemaw:

I’m a firm believer that you cannot begin your Classic Movie education too early.

Aunt Cat Balou is gifting a copy of the movie Calamity Jane and a book about Audrey Hepburn. (Have I done well with my kids, or what!)

“You don’t have enough money to be considered eccentric. You’re just weird.” – my friend, Bernadette Mercer.

This one’s going into the babe’s Christmas stocking :

Harry’s Dad, a military boyo, has also been reading to young Harry : books on international conflict and aviation strategy.

And they think I’m weird…………..

NOTE :

Discovered a great website which encourages young girls to follow their interest in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths. Go to http://www.amightygirl.com

For fairy tales starring clever and courageous girls, you can find over 180 girl-empowering books of fairy tales in A Mighty Girl’s “Fairy Tale Collection” at https://www.amightygirl.com/books/fiction/fairy-tales-folktales

If you’re looking for princess stories that break the ‘damsel in distress’ mold, A Mighty Girl’s “Ultimate Guide to the Independent Princess” collection features 100 books starring princesses who are smart, daring, and aren’t waiting around to be rescued at https://www.amightygirl.com/mighty-girl-picks/independent-princess

I’ll share these purchases soon with no guilt. Helping both the economy and the sisterhood.

Visiting Beaudesert, S E Qld

With all travel plans flying out the window this year we have continued with our short trips away to places close to home yet previously unexplored. The benefits are numerous :

  • Provides stimulation. I tend to go feral when bored. It’s a Gemini thing.
  • Provides an opportunity to learn more about my own country.
  • Provides an opportunity to drop a few funds in a community that may be doing it tough
  • Provides an opportunity to pick up a possum tea cosy.

Beaudesert is 90 kms southwest of Brisbane making it an easy destination for day-trippers for those from Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Located on the Mt Lindesay Highway, the area sources its income predominantly from rural activities such as cropping, grazing and equine activities. 

The township boasts several heritage-listed sites including the Beaudesert War Memorial in William Street and the Racecourse and Grandstand on Beaudesert-Boonah Road.

Under normal circumstances, Brisbanites tend to drive straight through Beaudesert. I was meant to attend a Charity Race Meeting a couple of years back but consistent rain flooded the track which meant the horse racing was cancelled and replaced by pig races. I didn’t bother.

We used Beaudesert as a base camp to investigate some of the surrounding smaller areas such as Rathdowney. The terrain, after a little rain, with its winding creeks and Eucalypts is just lovely and is known as Thoroughbred Country with all its horse studs.

We visited the Beaudesert RSL ( Returned Services League, more affectionately the Rissole) for a beaut lunch and again later that evening for a Share Plate and something chilled in front of the footie which was appropriate for November the 11th.

There was also an interesting exhibition in the main street highlighting the local indigenous families who had contributed to the war effort in times past.

My favourite spot in town is the Information and Arts Centre where the Devonshire Tea with homemade scones overlooking local parkland was perfect. I also finished my Christmas shopping. No doubt there will be a rush on tea cosies.

One for Baby Kilometres for Xmas
And one for me.

A Rollercoaster Of A Week

What a rollercoaster ride we all experienced last week and that does not even include events on the other side of our world. Two of our most important sporting events were held according to our new Covid World and OMG it was ……….different.

 These were followed by The Junior Master Chef Semi Finals last night. The cooks are aged between 9 and 14 years and lets just say that they decimate my confidence in the kitchen. Grand Final tonight so I’m expecting tears. That’s me – not the contestants.

Take these cooks for example :

Mirror Glazed Carrot Mousse with Carrot Jelly and Biscuit courtesy of 10 play.com
Brownies with Candied Beetroot, White Chocolate and Beetroot Rocks courtesy of 10 play.com

One sweet little thing in pigtails cooked a pumpkin tart with a parsnip flavoured ice-cream. Who eats parsnip flavoured ice cream? Why would you even think of such a flavour? I don’t get it. My favourite contestant, a lad aged 10 whose favourite snack is Pate and Blue Vein Cheese has since been eliminated, though I see he is now giving online cooking classes…..OMG

On a more personal level last week I experienced a couple of Epic Fails.

My attempt at making clay wind chimes, without a lie, almost burnt the house down. Who was the imbecile that declared that creating home made gifts was a positive mindfulness experience ? Unless mindfulness includes a heap of expletives…..

And I had a death in the family. My favourite Rosemary bush carked it, requiring a massive effort for its removal. There’s more to the story including sewerage pipes, Grevillea trees, and several trips to the Dump but you get the gist.

The books by my bedside grew yet again. I’m drowning in them, I tell you.

And then there was this. Bless my cotton pickin’ socks.

This Week In Books (Spring)

The old bod is a little under the weather with all the Spring Cleaning taking place. Simply crashing when I hit the sack. The pile of books beside my bed just continues to grow……. ( Note that the wretched Hilary Mantel just keeps moving to the bottom of the pile. I tell you : it’s killing me). This one was gifted to me by a girlfriend from the other side of the country.

Thank you Teneille. Next on the list.

A few months back my daughter in Canberra visited the Australian War Memorial as she is want to do regularly as it is near her favourite *cough* wine bar. Yeah, ok, her mother’s daughter. ….She sent me some Poppy Seeds for planting, both Red and Purple (for the animals). No success with the red as per usual though signs of a good showing of the purple for Remembrance Day.

Thanks Cat Balou

Year 12 Exams have finished, there is an abundance of Driving Schools on the road with their pimpley clientele, and the young things are a tad hormonal with the freedom and spring weather. It appears they had a wild night at the Local Community Library as I spotted half a dozen novels in the creek. Literally. I have taken to making my visits armed with a gold club – to fight off the swooping magpies of course.

Spring also means Spiders. What I think about spiders cannot be repeated here.

Not into Romance Novels or Chook Lit ( Aussie romance in a rural setting generally including chickens ) though have read my fair share lately thanks to Covid Brain. Thought this map was a clever marketing strategy combining books with travel. What do you think?

Happy Weekend Peeps. Queenslanders, remember to vote, and the rest of my mob, watch out for those ghastly arachnids. Everyone else, remember:

This Week In Books

Just for fun played this with family and friends over Messenger late one night when we were all suffering from insomnia. Name the book and the author. ( Courtesy of Australian Writers Centre Newsletter)

Have a go ( or as we Aussies say ‘avago).

  1. TCP by AW (1982)
  2. DC by CD (1850)
  3. TCITR by JDS (1951)
  4. JE by CB (1848)
  5. HPATPS by JKR (1997)
  6. AK by LT (1878)
  7. APTI by EMF (1924)
  8. BSU by TD (2018)
  9. DQ by MdC (1615)
  10. U by JJ (1922)
  11. THG by SC (2008)

The local Rotary Cub Redlands Sunrise ( because they hold breakfast meetings as opposed to dinner) held a Bookfest over the weekend to raise funds for local, national, and international projects.

I came away with two Mystery Boxes for $2 a box which will keep the Little Community Library going for quite some time. Only issue was that it required a major rearrangement of the She-Shack. A five hour task. You see, books in boxes in garages during a Qld summer tend to attract cockroaches. Have I told you that Qld cockies are amongst the biggest in the world?

And this is the Little Library spotted in the main street of Kalbar where all the Hay Bale Sculptures were located over the weekend.

Answers:

  1. TCP by AW (1982) The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
  2. DC by CD (1850) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  3. TCITR by JDS (1951) The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
  4. JE by CB (1848) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  5. HPATPS by JKR (1997) Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
  6. AK by LT (1878) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  7. APTI by EMF (1924) A Passage to India by EM Forster
  8. BSU by TD (2018) Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
  9. DQ by MdC (1615) Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  10. U by JJ (1922) Ulysses by James Joyce
  11. THG by SC (2008) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Happy Weekend, Peeps!

Around The World Reading Challenge : Turkey

Last Letter From InstanbulLucy Foley

You will guess my age group when I confess that as a child at school learning about places on the Map of the World there was no Instanbul in Turkey, just Constantinople. There was also a Burma, Persia, Ceylon and Calcutta. Closer to home many towns are changing their names on the basis of their heritage such as Gove which we now know as Nhulunbuy and Ayres Rock known as Uluru. Some other towns are looking down the barrell of a name change because of “Cancel Culture”. I tell you, it can get mighty confusing……….

Last Letter from Instanbul is set in Constantinople as it was known in 1921, three years after the occupation by allied forces following World War 1.

The story is told in chapters by five different characters with differing perspectives and roles ( and which can add to the confusion) :

  • Nur, a young woman who is the sole provider for two elderly female relatives who were all turfed out of their beautiful home to make way for a hospital for the British Army
  • A young, orphaned Armenian boy rescued by Nur whom she also takes home
  • George, an Army Doctor from Scotland
  • A Prisoner taken during the war 
  • A Traveller crossing through European countries

When the young boy falls seriously ill Nur has no choice but to take the lad to the British Army Hospital where she forms an unlikely attachment to George. We see the lines between enemy and friend grow fainter.

The positives about this novel are the wonderful descriptions of the city, from the heat of the day, to the gardens, to the architecture, and the smell of spices in the markets and in the meals that are prepared, which all make you want to learn more about Turkey. The author also tackles the changes within the city since wars end : younger women not wearing face veils and their changing roles in the workforce and the resentment amongst the young men who have been disillusioned by war.

Through the activities of all characters we are shown that it’s not as simple as ‘2 sides’ in a war, or that one can accept ‘facts’ at face value. 

The negative is that sometimes it is difficult to “join the dots”. It’s not until the end of the book that it all comes together.

Deemed a Romance, I thought it more a love letter to Turkey than something special between characters. That romance was a fizzer in my book. But hey, I’m a Ceylon and Persia girl – what would I know……

About The Author

Lucy Foley , born in 1986, studied English literature at Durham University and University College London and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry. She is the author of The Book of Lost and Found and The Invitation . She lives in London and is mad keen on travel.

“All Our Shimmering Skies” by Trent Dalton : Book Review

Australian journalist, Trent Dalton, hit gold with his debut novel Boy Swallows Universe. Critics promptly declared the quirky novel about growing up in the suburbs of Brisbane the “ latest Australian classic”.

Big call, and although I enjoyed the read, I only connected with it after hearing that many aspects of this coming of age tale mirrored Dalton’s own life. The author did have a renowned Queensland criminal as a babysitter and his mother most certainly had an unconventional life. 

I gained an appreciation for BSU after listening to Dalton at my local Library. He was open, funny-as and a delightful raconteur, chatting to the audience as if he was simply sharing stories over cold beer at a backyard barbie. 

I’ve just finished Dalton’s follow up novel, “All Our Shimmering Skies”. 

Molly Hook is a gravedigger’s daughter whose only friend is the shovel she uses in the Darwin cemetery. Life is harsh with her alcoholic father and uncle after her mother’s death. She survives the 1942 bombing by Japanese war planes though believes her family is cursed which goes back to previous generations who were gold prospectors. Molly undertakes a long and dangerous journey deep into untamed country to find Longcoat Bob, an Aboriginal Medicine Man. With her is Greta Maze escaping an abusive relationship with Molly’s uncle, who is following them menacingly. As they travel they are joined by Yukio, a Japanese pilot, who has parachuted from his crashing plane.

There’s only people, Molly. There are good ones and there are bad ones and then there’s all of us nuts stuck in the middle.“

I loved this book and think it absolutely smashes BSU. It is storytelling full of whimsey and magic and includes the Dreamtime, history, intrigue, and maybe a few tears. I was even reminded in part of old cowboy movies. Bizarre, right ? This tale too is quirky and the critics might deem some parts “unbelievable”. Who cares?

I’m not one to “judge a book by its cover”. Indeed, with my penchant for preloved books many that I read are devoid of a cover, or in the very least are so damaged that they have their own story to tell. Shimmering Skies with its cover full of colour is just like Trent Dalton’s storytelling. 

Loved it !

This Week In Books

Firstly, my fave : A beautiful friend from the other side of the country sent me through the post a May Gibbs Gumnut Babies cardboard book, Goodnight Gumnuts to share with Harrison Miles ( born on October 7th) when he visits his Meemaw. You are one of the world’s sweethearts, Tenielle.

Peter Corris, Australian crime writer’s Lugarno. My home town and birth place of both daughters. Ok, not one of Corris’ best efforts and just 103 pages in length. Only one decent description of the suburb I felt with “ it was elevated and leafy, without any through traffic. Nice place if you had a good car and a swimming pool and didn’t mind being that far from the CBD. It looked like everyone living there would be much the same – comfortable and conservative -but I knew that wasn’t true ; there’d be secret drinkers and crossdressers and One Nation voters”.      

Cecila Ahern’s sequel to PS I Love You. Hated the original – loved the movie. Gerard Butler, Harry Connick Jnr and Jeffrey Dean Morgan – what’s not to love? Enjoyed this novel about adjusting to loss but not sure if it was because of the author’s story telling ability or more that my thoughts kept returning to the previously mentioned boyos. Probably the latter……

Had wanted to read Where The Crawdads Sing for months if only to learn more about crawdads. Imagined them to be like a yabbie. Bzzzzzzz. Wrong. I enjoyed this novel  though the American colloquialisms, especially about food, had me baffled. A good read.

Another good week for the Little Community Library with one of the local mummas painting and hiding rocks around the park for the Little People.

And great news! Further easing of COVID restrictions mean that Author Talks at my local library are recommencing. These are fantastic opportunities to learn what motivates writers and what makes them tick. Haven’t been disappointed yet.

Yee Haa!