November In Books

Not a satisfying month for books. Could be my brain fuzz having to spend days dealing with a major roof leak, tradies and the insurance company.

Finished Nicole Moriarty’s You Need To Know, Small Acts Of Defiance by Michelle Wright and The J M Barrie’s Ladies Swimming Club by Barbara Zwitser. Anything else is a blurr.

Off to the local Library to listen to Heather Morris on Friday, author of The Tattooist Of Auschwitz, so hope I can get the head into gear by then.

With all the rain I’ve been enjoying the garden and preparing seedlings to put in the Little Community Library for Christmas. Pumpkin seedlings mainly : my small attempt to eradicate hideous plastic pumpkins imported from China for next November.

I’ve also rescued and groomed some bears in need of adoption for the Community Library. Recycling and Sustainability, one step at a time……


This weeks movie watch was The Magic Pudding, an animated version of Norman Lindsay’s 1918 Children’s Classic. Albert, the Magic Pudding, and Bunyip Bluegum the koala, are characters much loved by those of a certain vintage, right up there with the Seven Little Australians.


The movie, released in 2000, featured the voices of Sam Neill, John Cleese, Jack Thompson, Hugo Weaving, and Toni Collette. Top shelf. It didn’t sit well with me for numerous reasons, particularly the ocker accents, and I think the humour will be lost on the Little Person. I’ll stick to a long time favourite for baby sitting purposes : Cujo, the rabid Saint Bernard.

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October Books and a Visitor

A great many books meandered through this house during October thanks to two local Rotary fundraisers. The two $2 Mystery Boxes that I purchased for the Little Community Library, each containing no less than twenty books, are stacked in the garage awaiting rotation. Although mostly exLibrary books there are many that have held my attention, including my favourite read for October : Fractured.

Written by now Australian lass and Psychiatrist, Dawn Barker, this debut novel is about a happy family who have just had their first child which results in infanticide. It looks at the differing viewpoints of all family members and is a confronting read. Her second book is about surrogacy and her third addiction and family breakdowns, so Barker is putting all her medical training to good use.

The TBR pile is breeding, along with the tomatoes, with the humid weather.

I’ve just finished the next book club read – The Newcomer by another Aussie lass, Laura Woollett. Based loosely on the real life murder of a Sydney woman on Norfolk Island (infamous as it was the Island’s first ever murder) this was another confronting read because of its ugliness and brutality, which is in total contrast to the island’s spectacular beauty. I didn’t like the book, though it has made me think. That is often said to be the sign of a good story , isn’t it?


N I.

Starting to get organised for a visit from the Little People : the Labrador and Harry Kilom. Anything located two foot or closer to floor level is being relocated to safer territory and I’m having wonderful fun going through my daughters’ old children’s books. Especially Koala Lou by Mem Fox having had a visit from Bruce over the weekend.

Always welcome, Bruce.

This Weeks Find

The youngest daughter’s middle name is Geordie. Yep, Cat Balou Geordie Whyte. The Geordie is a derivative of a family name, and is also from a movie that appealed to me when I was young and fresh faced, far too many moons ago to mention here.

Originally a book Geordie was first published in 1950 by author David Walker ( 1911 – 1992) a Scottish-born Canadian writer. Essentially, the story is about a boy known as Wee Geordie who enrols in a fitness course by correspondence because of being bullied by local children about his small stature. He becomes an athlete and as a young man represents Scotland in the Hammer Throw at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

Turned into a movie of the same name in 1955 the role of Geordie was played by Bill Travers and I think it was at this stage of my life that I developed a bit of a thing for blokes wearing a kilt. Or maybe it was just Travers because I adored him in later movies, Born Free and a Ring of Bright Water. ( Do you remember this one? Started me on my quest for a pet otter. Right up there with a Mercedes sports car. Never happened, neither of them).

Travers, not in a kilt, sadly.

Nice little storyline, nice little movie…….You may remember those type : no car chases, no f bombs, no nudity.

So, after my whinge last week about the Little Community Library and a rant about slack-arsed people within my community, what did I find on the bookshelves?

Geordie’s sequel published in 1965, Come Back, Geordie.

Who even knew?

I haven’t read it yet and am considering not bothering. After all, it’s been nearly fifty years since I read the original and sometimes it is wiser not to revisit. After all, I’m not so fresh faced……

Oh, and poor Cat Balou was born during my Dylan Thomas phase so she copped another bizarre name too. Poor thing. She’s done well to stick out the harassment – unlike Wee Geordie.


NOTE : Back in Lockdown and just loving it – NOT. Been decluttering so much I’m now looking at pulling plaster off the walls.

Grey Days and Hissy Fits

It’s been a disappointing winter with grey days, Covid and all of its accoutrements. So I admit to a recent hissy fit when for the past few weeks there has been a lack of children’s books in the Little Community Library up at the local park. None as in Nil. Zilch.Nada.

I appreciate that Little People can get attached to books and not want to share them, and I also get that times are tough and may be a borrowed book is as good as it gets for some families. That’s okay. Any child with a book is a positive, right?

With school holidays, lousy weather, and a three day day lockdown I put a call out for donations of books for the kids. Cheekily I even included information about a pop up preloved book sale ( fundraiser) happening less than two kilometres away.

Guess what? Nil. Zilch. Nada. And being bloody minded I refused to put a hand in my own pocket…this time.

Inwardly I fumed. How hard is it to return or donate a second hand book about Peppa Pig or Thomas the Tank Engine?

My interest waned in the Little Library and my visits dropped to a weekly perfunctory event only. There was even the odd rant about not being everybody’s mother or grandmother. Gemini’s do tend to rant after all.

There have also been a few unsavoury looking types hanging about the park of late. Not being judgemental but hey, I found an official document in the Little Library reminding so and so of his coming appointment with his parole officer. Gulp. Made me wonder if donated books were being sold off at Garage Sales or the like.

Anyway, I relented yesterday and set off to the park to discover twenty kiddies books, a couple of Disney DVDs and an adults section absolutely overflowing.

Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou

The Life Lesson being, I guess, that we are all battling a lousy winter and outside, unseen forces -something that’s truly worth ranting about.

Books For Little Queenslanders

First 5 Forever is a family literacy program delivered by public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs) with the primary aim of providing strong early literacy foundations for all Queensland children aged 0-5 years. 

In the first five years of life a human brain develops at its fastest. Family life and early experiences are important for healthy brain growth. Research shows that simple things like talking, reading, singing and playing with children from birth have positive impacts that last a lifetime and this has flow on benefits for the whole community. 

The First 5 Forever program at my local Library includes a weekly indoor session for mums and bubs as well as library staff meeting at local parks and nature reserves and running these sessions from picnic rugs. I am so looking forward to taking Harry Kilom in a few weeks time to one of these:)

As part of the First 5 Forever program The State Library of Queensland recently published 12 books under the umbrella of The Stories For Little Queenslanders series.

One of the titles, The Cow That Swam Out To Sea, will resonate with anyone who remembers the 2011 floods in South East Queensland, and particularly the story about the cow that fell in the river at Lowood in the Lockyer Valley that floated down the Brisbane River. A true story, the cow was rescued 95 kilometres out in Moreton Bay, cold, wet and hungry.

I have so many mixed memories of the Brisbane floods. The one that never fades is that of catching one of the last trains out of Brisbane City with some work colleagues just before the transport system was shut down. Packed in like sardines with every square inch filled with people of all shapes and sizes I vividly remember hanging on whilst being squished up close and personnel next to a young man with his pet python hanging off his shoulders. I didn’t dare blink nor move. I have no recollection of even breathing for 16 train station stops.

Talking of Little People I put these in the Little Community Library in the local park today.

Blind Date with a Book : Another Project

Valentine’s Day is an annual festival to celebrate  love held on February 14th.

I’m going all out with the feels this Valentines Day setting up Blind Dates for the occasion. Blind Dates with new and near new books that is, which I’ll be placing at the Little Community Library in the local parkland.

Blind Date with a Book gives readers a fun way to try something they never would have chosen to read otherwise as well as being a reminder that you’re never alone with a book.

Many thanks to my youngest, Catbalou, for her recent donation of books for the cause and my Gemini pal, Kayzee for the epicurean mags.

Okay. I’m done. That’s my quota of romance for the next 12 months. 

#blinddatewithabook

This Week In Books

With the current health situation I have been avoiding the local Council Library. Too many restrictions make this an uncomfortable destination for those of us who tend to enjoy three or four hours simply browsing.

This means that the well supported Little Community Library in my local parkland has provided the majority of my reading material these past months. The greatest benefit of this is my introduction to authors and genres that I might not under normal circumstances even contemplate. Neighbours have obviously been decluttering since Christmas as whole series of books have been donated. Keep up the great work People!

I thought I’de share my new favourite writers who I am now relentlessly pursuing.

Robert Crais –  an American author of detective fiction. Crais began his career writing scripts for television shows such as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, Quincy, Miami Vice and L.A. Law. Sixteen of his novels feature private investigator Elvis Cole and his laconic ex-cop partner, Joe Pike. 

Robert North Patterson – an American fiction writer, attorney and political commentator. Love, love, love these books. More please….

Jon Cleary – was an Australian writer and novelist. He wrote numerous books, including The Sundowners (1951) which I read in a bushland primary school in the back blocks of Sydney when I was 10 after loving the movie starring Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr. I was only allowed to borrow the novel from the School Library if I had a note of approval signed by both parents. I’m currently working my way through Cleary’s Sydney Police Inspector Scobie Malone series. 

I particularly enjoyed this one as that little bushland suburb, Lugarno, scored a mention.

Yes, a lot of crime, murder and mystery. What does that say about Pandemics ?

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…….

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!