Books Across September

Because of my recent travels and oranges falling in price to $1.60 for a 3 Kilo bag I’ve been occupied by tourism pamphlets and marmalade recipes. My attempt at the latter is another Epic Fail though the peel is currently brewing to create an organic house cleaning product. Fingers crossed that effort is more successful. I’m also relying on Dr Google to navigate me through a couple of craft projects which is totally bizarre as I don’t craft. I’ll share if my Lazy Susan’s and table placemats make acceptable Christmas gifts….

(Pop Quiz 1: Is all this cooking and crafting a sign that I’m sliding into old age?)

September 7th marked Indigenous Literacy Day, at which time the Indigenous Literacy Foundation promotes literacy to improve the lives and possibilities of Indigenous Australians.

So I’ve also read two books from The Books That Made Us Challenge ( as in made us as a country) that featured on the ABC last year. Both deal with the white occupation of Australia and are cruel but fascinating reads.

Benevolence by Julie Jansen follows the life of young aboriginal girl, Mary, who was gifted to the white community by her father in exchange for a bag of flour. The Secret River by Kate Grenville is the story of an Englishman who came to Australia as a convict in the country’s early days but works his way up to being a wealthy land owner which just happens to necessitate the decimation of the local Aboriginal communities.

I’ve started on the third indigenous themed book in the Challenge – Carpentaria by Alexis Wright – but I’m a bit done in by history and tragedy at the moment.

So just for fun I’m working my way through The Island Of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
which is narrated by a fig tree. Yep, a fig tree. Thought some whimsy would do me well after all the bleak history but the mind is too occupied by craft glue and varnish.

The Little Library is going gangbusters and the assistance from other community members is making the whole caretaking process less onerous. I’m working on creating Book Marks for Christmas for the kiddies to colour and have just added this Book Bingo to create more engagement. I’m not fond of cricket. Can you tell?

(Pop Quiz 2 : Is this ease in handing over the reigns yet another indication of my slow slide into decline?)

The Zoom Book Club fell into a heap after Life returned to the New Normal after Covid, but we are getting back on track next week. I’ll make a cheese platter in preparation.

(Pop Quiz 3: A glass of red or a glass of white? Or two?)

At the other Book Club readers were asked to bring in the oldest book on their bookshelves. Talk about fascinating : all kinds of books made their presence, including guides to shorthand, Mickey Mouse annuals, and one lass ( in white gloves doing her Michael Jackson impersonation) brought in her book published in 1703. A great little exercise. Highly recommended.

A Bookfest this weekend, a tea towell exhibition, and a couple of new projects on the go. Don’t worry; it’s not ageing. Just doing the Gemini thing and ready for change…

Happy Weekend folks.

A Parenting Mistake Of Sorts

When my youngest daughter was transitioning from Primary to High School I made a massive mistake in gifting her the book, 1001 Books To Read Before You Die.

Why was this a mistake? Because both our lives became book-centric involving visits to book sales and secondhand outlets in search of the books on The List. It became our” thing”. My child is the one you see lugging a suitcase on the train to enable her to bring purchases home from the Lifeline Bookfest. Her greatest joy comes from spreading her purchases on the floor all around her, similar to how we emptied the contents of our Easter Showbags all those years ago and sat enthralled as we surveyed all that was on offer.

She’s been home these last few days and is still chasing books from The List. Plus, thanks to the ABC television program of late last year we are now also chasing the books from The Books That Made Us.

Cat Balou’s time in Qld went all too quickly and we’ve cooked together, chatted non stop, laughed, and drank coffee ( as well as lots of bubbly things). Walking home from a Cafe one morning she spotted a table on someone’s front lawn with a sign advertising Free Books. Move over Cathy Freeman – I’ve never seen anyone move so fast! Another twenty books for the Little Community Library. Excellent work.

We walked up to the Little Community Library one afternoon where she of course insisted on alphabetising the contents. She also located another entry from The Books That Made Us compilation which she celebrated like a medal winner on the Olympic podium.

The local Op Shop was another adventure (because Mo, I need a book for the plane ) where said child, 34 years of age, located yet another read from The List. WOW, this is turning into an exciting holiday, she says. Only 300 more books to locate.

This is one happy daughter.

Until she spots a lone book on a display shelf.

Mo, have you been donating any books here, she asks. Yes, Cat Balou, sometimes I do that. Books are meant to go round.

Mo, she says, Mo, is that my book that I lent you and asked you to return before Christmas? And is that my copy of the Booker Prize winner you were supposed to send to my sister for Christmas?

An expensive little visit to the charity store as I was required to buy back many of the books I had donated in recent months.

My payback came when reminding her that a new edition of the 1001 Books had been recently published adding almost an extra 100 newer novels since her copy was released twenty years ago. More books to collect, kiddo, said with a smirk from mother.

The house is quiet once again and we are living on pots of tea, cheese and biscuits, and left over San Choy Bow. Cat Balou has returned to her 1 bedroom, 1 reading room unit in a trendy pocket in the nation’s capital and my Wizard Of Oz jigsaw puzzle which scares the bejesus out of her is back on display.

Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.”
– Clementine Paddleford

“Miss you heaps.”
– Mo

February 14th

February 14th is Valentine’s Day and more importantly, Library Lovers Day.

I have mentioned previously how much I have always appreciated my local Library, from the days when the daughters were tots and they would participate in craft sessions during school holidays, to book clubs, and twenty five years later taking little Harry Kilom to enjoy Baby Time, where he could sing songs and listen to a story.

With retirement one of my fondest pleasures has been meandering around the Library shelving units in search of the perfect book/s, sipping on a coffee whilst flipping through pages and simply enjoying some “Me” time. At this stage I’m still ordering books online so that I only have to run in and out to collect my reads but fingers crossed that will change sooner rather than later.

The Sunshine Coast Libraries ( to the north of Brisbane) have instigated something interesting fondly known as the 10 Seats, 10 Stories, in 10 Parks program. In ten different parks around the Sunshine Coast is a designated seat highlighting a children’s story as a way to promote a love of reading and literacy. There is even a map available if you want to follow the trail.

The Little Community Library is prepped for Valentine’s Day with its #blinddatewithabook promotion. Thank you to those who donated near new books for the project.❤️

And remember :

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 ?