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Posts from the ‘#20BooksOfSummer 2018’ Category


#AusReadingMonth 2021 Wrap-up post

  1. It has been a long summer…
  2. filled with climate change events COP26  (fires, hurricanes, floods)
  3. ….USA finally ending a 20 yr war….(…exit was messy)
  4. ….battle to control Covid #DeltaVariant  and now
  5. …a new #OmicronVariant continues!!
  6. I always look forward to #AusReadingMonth2021
  7. @bronasbooks (This Reading Life)
  8. ….and want to thank her for doing a wonderful
  9. …job hosting and reviewing!


 For #AusReadingMonth2021 I read:

  1. Coda – Thea Astley (1994) (novella)  REVIEW
  2. The Year of Living Dangerously – ( 224 pg) Chris Koch (1978)  REVIEW 
  3. Always Add Lemon – Danielle Alvarez  REVIEW
  4. Vertigo: A Novella – (144 pg) Amanda Lohrey (2008) (novella)  REVIEW
  5. The Newspaper of Claremont Street – Elizabeth Jolley (1981) (novella)  REVIEW
  6. In Praise of Veg – Alice Zaslavsky  REVIEW
  7. Australian Food – Bill Granger  REVIEW
  8. Basics to Brilliance – Donna Hay (cookbook)  REVIEW
  9. Tea and Sympathetic Magic – Tansy Rayner Roberts (novella)  REVIEW
  10. I’m Ready Now – (156 pg) Nigel Featherstone (novella)  REVIEW



#NSW Premier’s Award shortlist Trent Dalton

  • Author: Trent Dalton
  • Title: Boy Swallows Universe
  • Published: 2018
  • Trivia: Winner of Book of the Year 2019 Indie Book Awards
  • Trivia:  Shortlist  NSW Premier’s Awards (2 prizes)
  • Trivia:  Shortlist ABIA Awards (2 prizes)
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • @NSW_PLA
  • @HarperCollinsAU


Finished: 20.04.2019
Genre: novel
Rating: A+++


  1. In this book that is 60% fact and 40% fantasy
  2. we get to know the story of Eli Bell.
  3. And whether you realize it or not, you also
  4. get to know the story of Trent Dalton..the author.
  5. The novel gradually narrows its focus from
  6. bizarre childhood, teen years with stepfather and
  7. ex-con babysitter….
  8. to Eli’s life long ambition journalism.
  9. The ending becomes a bottleneck from which
  10. character and reader feel they can’t escape
  11. …..being dragged
  12. into a macabre universe!
  13. The book was a delight to read
  14. ..a real roller coaster ride!
  15. I have read 3/6 of the nominees that appealed to me.
  16. I’m NOT reading The Shepherd’s Hut
  17. …Aussie vernacular is too foulmouthed for my taste.
  18. Boy Swallows Universe is MY CHOICE 
  19. as winner of Christina Stead Prize for Fiction
  20. (NSW Literary Awards 2019)




Non fiction: Worst book 2018!



I cannot for the life of me understand the high
scores this booked has accrued on

Reading books that numb my soul
teach me to appreciate how
a good book can change a life!

This books wins the prize.
Worst non-fiction I read in 2018
and here is why…


  • If you have the time….here are my notes.
  • If you decide to skip this review
  • …I understand completely!


At Table In Paris:

  1. Liebling studied in Paris 1925-1926 and
  2. traveled around Normandy etc.
  3. The stories are filled with references
  4. to buildings and streets he knows well.


Paris the First:

  1. Liebling describes his visit to Paris with his parents in 1911
  2. He was 7 years old…and I wonder if a child is a reliable narrator.
  3. While Liebling’s parents dine on French food and wine “en ville’
  4. …he was firmly in the care of a dreaded nanny ‘fraulëin”
  5. This chapter was quaint but awful.
  6. It was an overblown narrative about childhood memories and
  7. fantasies with nanny and family in Paris.
  8. I lost interest about half way through the story.
  9. I hope the dispatches from the WW II years will be better.


The War and After:

  1. Unfortunately the reports written during Liebling’s time in Europe
  2. during WW II were disappointing to say the least.
  3. He is still gushing about food and wine and not
  4. enough storytelling about the people. Unbalanced.


Letter From Paris June 1940:

  1. Clinical tone…I expected more emotion describing the dread of
  2. invasion of Paris after Holland and Belgium’s swift collapse.
  3. The images I remember from Suite Française (I. Némirovsky)
  4. …are still vivd in my mind.
  5. Liebling did not come close to
  6. describing the angst the Parisians felt with the
  7. Germans standing ready to pounce on the city.


Westbound Tanker:

  1. Trip from England in convoy sailing to
  2. …Port Arthur Texas during WW II.
  3. This story was just pointless
  4. …waste of my reading time.


Quest for Mollie:

  1. This was not a WW II dispatch… was a novella!
  2. I just cannot understand the praise given to
  3. Liebling’s WW II correspondance.
  4. His stories are too long…and I cannot find a moment
  5. the hook ” that captures my attention.
  6. This is yet another chapter that I have started in good faith
  7. …and ended up being disappointed.


Days with the Daydaybay:

  1. Long description of Liebling’s
  2. ….walk around the streets of the Sorbonne.
  3. He recalls his student days there.
  4. Long description of Liebling’s entry into liberated Paris.
  5. The narrative includes his fellow reporters from other
  6. newspapers: Jack Roach and A. Morrison.
  7. This was one of the better stories….but still too, too long.
  8. Details, details and more details that numbed this reader.


The Hounds with Sad Voices:

  1. Liebling returns to Normandy (1957) and is
  2. searching for a chateau. All he can remember is
  3. the sound of hounds with sad voices near the building.
  4. But as always Liebling’s days end in restaurants.
  5. This is yet anothr gastronomic exposition….ho-hum.
  6. It is no surprise that Liebling loved his food and drink.
  7. He drank and ate excessively and reached a weight of 250 lbs.
  8. He sufferd gout in the later years of his life.
  9. He died at the young age of 59 yr.


City Life: The Jollity Building …and the rest of the stories

  1. The last half of the book describes
  2. …colorful promoters, boxers, trips to the
  3. ….Place Bar & Grill.
  4. Liebling loved the horses so we also
  5. read about the Turf & Field Club and Belmont Racetrack.
  6. Eating again…



  1. Libeling wrote for The New Yorker magazine so
  2. we can assume he was a good writer.
  3. But in my opinion the stories were too long and
  4. the pace was slow because of downpour of
  5. details that inundated this reader.
  6. Liebling’s vivid descriptions of boxing matches
  7. and other sporting events are of a bygone era.
  8. It did not interest me at all.
  9. In truth…I read 60% of the book…then skimmed the rest.
  10. I was glad when I could close the book.
  11. #SoDisappointed
  12. Reading books that numb my soul
  13. teache me to appreciate how
  14. a good book can change a life!
  15. This books wins the prize.
  16. Worst non-fiction I read in 2018….so far!

Terry Pratchett: Nation


Nation is a fantasy novel set in an alternate universe.
Ermintrude (Daphne) and Mau are washed away by a
tidal wave and survive on an island in the Pelagic Ocean.
Much of the plot concerns these young people
cooperating for survival reasons.
Explorers from Europe vs native tribes living isolated on islands.
You have to be patient and try to enter Pratchett’s world…
because it is a story with many strange characters plot twists that
are baffling!


Mau and Daphne:
“One person is nothing…two people are a nation”
“…keep her away from the sherry, do everything she says
…and we might all live.”
Lesson learned:
Don’t drink your beer before you spit in it and
…sing Ba-Ba-Black Sheep 16 times!


Last thoughts:

  1. Be prepared to concentrate
  2. …because Pratchett has created a bizarre
  3. world on a Pelagic Ocean island!
  4. The author has filled Nation with stinging
  5. Strong point: social commentary about kings, bishops
  6. the planting of British flags in foreign countries
  7. …and the real decision makers in the government
  8. …the Gentlemen of Last Resort
  9. I would recommend using an audio book.
  10. Through the voices the story and the
  11. quirky characters come alive!
  12. This was the novel Terry Pratchett felt most proud of.
  13. It was my first Pratchett book
  14. …and I loved it!


Biography: Berthe Morisot ‘Impressioniste’



  1. This book was such an entertaining read.
  2. If you want to sharpen your ‘French Skills’
  3. I would recommend this book in a heartbeat.
  4. The French is easy to follow
  5. …and Berthe Morisot’s life is very interesting.
  6. Above is her ‘chef-d’oeuvre’ Le Berceau (1872).
  7. She painted her sister Edma and niece Blanche.
  8. Notice the shimmering quality of the cradle’s veil
  9. …the diagonal lines of the drapes behind Edma
  10. and  flowing around the cradle.
  11. Notice the mother’s intimate gaze upon her infant
  12. …a moment of reflection, silence, peace with her
  13. …cheek leaning on her hand.
  14. Notice Edma’s bent left arm
  15. …a mirror image of the child’s arm.
  16. This paining is absolutely breathless.
  17. Trivia: After unsuccessful attempts to sell the painting
  18. Le Berceau stayed in the model’s family
  19. …until it was bought by the Louvre in 1930.


Did you know?

Morisot was anorexic and at times fainted in front of the painting she was working on. After the birth of her daughter 1878 Berthe finally felt true joy. Her body rejuvenated and the dark circles under her eyes vanished.

Morisot was always referred to as ‘Madame’ by fellow artists and never Berthe.

Never commercially successful during her lifetime, she nevertheless outsold Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley.

Morisot painted only 1 adult male...her husband Eugène Manet.

Last thoughts:

  1. I enjoy reading in French but it took me 5 years to
  2. build up a vocabulary.
  3. Of course I am still looking up words.
  4. A book that is easy to start with is the prize winning
  5. Charlotte  by David Foenkinos.
  6. It was awarded Prix Renaudot  2014.
  7. Here is the LINK and I know you will enjoy it!
  8. Learning a 2nd or 3rd  language opens up an entire
  9. new library for you.
  10. I can read books in English, French and Dutch!
  11. If I really try….I can get through a German book.
  12. All you have to do is choose a book
  13. …use this LINK  for  a very
  14. good digital French-English dictionary (or other languages)
  15. …and you are starting a great adventure!
  16. Here is the list of the French Books Read.
  17. I have included reviews of  books  2017 – 2018


Berthe Morisot:



Le Balcon, E. Manet




Classic Club Master List

CONRAD 3b938fe50d0e7084bba30e2a5d4bf33e

The Classic Club – community of classics lovers

  • The Classics Club is a club created to
  • inspire people to read and blog about classic books.
  • There’s no time limit to join and you’re most welcome,
  • …as long as you’re willing to sign up to read and
  • write on your blog about 50+ classic books in at most five years.
  • You can join HERE.
  • 2018 – 2020   – I hope to finish these classics


  1. Pascal, B. – Pensées – READ
  2. Shelley, M.  – Frankenstein – READ
  3. Stendhal – La Chartreuse de Parme (french edition) – READ
  4. Miller A.  – Death of a Salesman – (play) – READ
  5. Vaz da Camões, L.  – The Lusiads – READ (epic poem)
  6. Alighieri, Dante  – The Divine Comedy – READ
  7. Doyle, Arthur Conan – The Hound of the Baskervilles – READ
  8. Hermans, W.F. Nooit Meer Slapen (Beyond Sleep) – READ
  9. De Lorris, G. et De Meun, J. – Le Roman de la RoseREAD 
  10. Hugo, Victor – Les Misérables – READING
  11. Woolf, V. – Mrs. Dalloway – READ
  12. Wollstonecraft, M.  – A Vindication of the Rights of WomenREA
  13. Virgil –The Aeneid – READ
  14. Cooper, J.F. – Deerslayer – READ
  15. Hemingway, E. – The Sun Also Rises – READ
  16. James, H. – The Golden Bowl – READ
  17. Shirer, W. – The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – READ
  18. Seneca – Letters From a StoicREAD
  19. Dickens, C. – Our Mutual FriendREAD
  20. Dickens, C. – David Copperfield – READ
  21. Dickens, C. – Great Expectations – READ
  22. Sei Shonagon –The Pillow Book – READ
  23. Chaucer – The Knights Tale – READ
  24. Maupassant, G. de  –  Une vie(french edition) – READ
  25. Caro, R.Means of Ascent (LBJ) modern classic non-fiction – READ
  26. Sophocles – Electra – READ (play)
  27. Ibsen, I. – Rosmersholm – READ (play)
  28. Bronte, A. – The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – READ
  29. Boswell, J. – The Life of Samuel Johnson READ
  30. Austen, J  – Pride and Prejudice – READ
  31. Anonymous, – Myths from Mesopotamia – trans. S. Dalley – READ
  32. Horace, – Satires – READ
  33. Eusebius,   – The History of the ChurchREAD
  34. Eliot, G. – Selected Essays, Poems and other Writings– READ 
  35. Dickens, C.  – The Christmas Carol – READ
  36. Shakespeare, W.  – Midsummer Night’s Dream – READ
  37. Shakespeare, W.  – Othello –  READ
  38. Shakespeare, W. – Hamlet –
  39. Thackeray, William – Vanity Fair –
  40. Suetonius – The Twelve Caesars – ancient classic non-fiction –
  41. Pepys, S. – The Diary of Samuel Pepys Vol 1 1660
  42. Du Maurier, D. – Rebecca –
  43. Faulkner, W. – Absalom, Absalom
  44. McCullers, C. – The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  45. Spark, M. – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  46. Shakespeare, W.  – Macbeth –
  47. Mahfouz, N.- The Palace Walk
  48. Laxness, H. – Independent People
  49. Atwood, M. – The Handmaid’s Tale –
  50. Melville, H.  – Moby Dick – READ  – review?


Short stories:

  1. The Angel of the Odd – E.A. Poe (The Complete Short Stories)
  2. The Birthday of the InfantaO. Wilde ( The Works of Oscar  Wilde)





Classic: Women in Love



July 13, 2018 – page 65
Just read the first chapters…. this book is impressive!
E.M. Forster said of D.H. Lawrence in his obituary notice: “the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.

July 14, 2018 – page 165
How can I describe D.H. Lawrence’s writing?
Impatient fury!

July 15, 2018 – page 185
Managed to read a few chapters of Women in Love while taking my daily 1 hour walk. This book is tedious and thank goodness I’m listening to an audio book while improving my health! I would never have gotten this far if I was reading the paperback. Sad…but true.

July 16, 2018 – page 230
Sunny morning walk but D.H. Lawrence gives me chapters about the nothingness of life, a bestial rabbit named Bismarck and a marriage proposal that felt like a death sentence! Now I want to read a biography about the author…he has some serious issues!

July 17, 2018 – page 261
Rupert and Gerald (main characters) meet. Gerald is bored.
What can we do to be released from this ‘ennui’?
Eat, drink…or according to D. H. Lawrence the best thing the boys can do is strip naked and wrestle!
Thank goodness we have Netflix to fill in our ennui-hours!

July 17, 2018 – page 280
Love triangle: Hermione-Rupert-Ursula
A lover’s spat that took an hour to listen to
….jealousy, rotten spiritual intimacy, foul false liar….
rings are tossed and scattered in the mud.

July 19, 2018 – page 332
Just four more chapters to go ( = 2 morning walks).
Ursula is married….Gudrun is still resisting that fate in life.
I feel both girls are going to end up in tears.
D.H. Lawrence was praised for his experimental writing techniques.
Is repeating every gloomy word in the dictionary a technique?
..abyss, chasm, hollow, bare, void, nothingness, bottomless pit
… angry sunset!



The last chapter sounded ominous…
“Try to love me a little more and
want me a little less.”
The great tides of darkness plunge over this love affair.
“…but always it was this eternal seesaw
…one destroyed so that the other could exist.”
This was THE most intense love-hate story I have ever read.
D.H. Lawrence is not for the fainthearted!


Last Thoughts:

  1. Am I glad I read it?
  2. Not so much.
  3. I  do respect the opinion that Lawrence is
  4. …considered one of the great English writers.
  5. He just did not appeal to me….pas de tout!

Classic: The Sun Also Rises



  1. Hemingway was part of what is called the Lost Generation.
  2. It was a group of expatriate writers
  3. ….who found real meaning in nothing.
  4. They spent their time reveling while living in Europe.



  1. The title comes from the epigraph.
  2. Despite the despair this ‘lost generation’ feels….there is hope.
  3. Ecclesiastes 1:5
  4. “Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;
  5. And hastening to its place it rises there again.”



  1. When published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises
  2. caused a bit of a stir
  3. among the Montparnasse expatriate crowd.
  4. Many of its characters were based on real people.
  5. Donald Ogden Stewart   (character Bill Gorton )
  6. Harold Loeb   (character Robert Cohn)
  7. Lady Duff Twysden   (character Lady Brett Ashley)



  1. This book is held together by
  2. …the buying, mixing, having, spilling and pouring out drinks.
  3. In O. Laing’s book The Trip to Echo Spring she mentions
  4. that “Hemingway, who’d been drunk since he was fifteen
  5. …had put more faith in rum than conversation.” (pg 92)
  6. Hemingway used alcohol to
  7. …blot out feelings that are otherwise unbearable.
  8. ”A bottle of wine was good company” (pg 236)
  9. Drinking reflects the characters attitude.
  10. Brett drinks for psychological/physical pleasure.
  11. The Count is a connoisseur.
  12. Brett:  “Let’s enjoy a little more of this,”
  13. Brett pushed her glass forward (pg 66)
  14. Count: The count poured very carefully.
  15. “There, my dear. Now you enjoy that slowly,
  16. and then you can get drunk (pg 66)


Hemingway code:

  1. Bullfighting fascinates Hemingway.
  2. He describes in great detail Pedro Romero’s
  3. …killing of the bull.
  4. He faces danger with understanding and dignity
  5. …undaunted, grace under pressure.
  6. FEELINGS fascinate Hemingway.
  7. Everyone in that time had feelings, as they called them,
  8. just as everyone has “feelings” now.
  9. Whether Jake leaned in a cab against Georgette or
  10. leaned in a cab against Brett
  11. ….Hemingway was searching where his feelings lay!
  12. Georgette?  Brett?


Last thoughts:

  1. This book is considered a classic.
  2. The book didn’t interest me as a whole.
  3. Others may swear by it and Hemingway
  4. …but I just like The Old Man and the Sea. 🙂
  5. Advice: the book should be read
  6. …so you can form an opinion about it.
  7. It is on Modern Library’s Best 100 Novels List.
  8. Perhaps they  could have selected a book written
  9. later in Hemingway’s life….his writing matured.
  10. I can agree with Hemingway……just once!
  11. You´re always drinking my dear.
  12. Why don´t you just talk?” (pg 65)
  13. The Lost Generation–living in Paris during the 1920s
  14. …was lost on me.
  15. Finished: 11.07.2018
  16. Genre: novel
  17. Rating: D
  18. Conclusion:
    I think I’m done with Hemingway.
    I don’t care if he won the Nobel Prize or not!
    There are better classics waiting to be read.



Classic: James Fenimore Cooper

  • No, Daniel Day-Lewis did not appear in the movie version of Deerslayer
  • …but IMO he  is the best visual image I could find for
  • the main character….a  white scout who was raised by the Mohicans.




  1. I had to read this book in high school  English class.
  2. You luckily were spared this torment, I hope.
  3. I never shrink from a challenge and pledged Brona’s Books
  4. …I would try to re-read a book.
  5. Re-reading is against my literary religion.
  6. So I choose the only book I have actively blocked out of my memory.
  7. Now I will try to see what in heaven’s name made Mr Hughs
  8. select this book for my senior English exam.
  9. I graduated….so I must have read the book somehow!



  1. Deerslayer and his Mohican blood-brother, Chingachgook
  2. stumble onto an old trapper Tom Hutter who asks for their help in
  3. ..protecting a crazy old man and  his two daughters from a Huron assault.
  4. Deerslayer reluctantly agrees and  meets the old
  5. …man on his floating fort in the middle of the river.
  6. The crazy codger hates Indians.
  7. This has brought the wrath of the Hurons down on him.
  8. Hutter flatters his oldest daughter (Judith) while
  9. …telling his youngest (Hetty)  that she’s feeble-minded.
  10. Deerslayer has suspicions about the whole set-up.
  11. (no spoilers)
  12. There is a love triangle:
  13. Deerslayer – Harry March – Judith Hutter


Setting:    Lake Otsego = Lake Glimmerglass in the book


Weak point:   class distinction (pg 30) – not a weak point…but hard to read.

  1. This is what people thought in 1846:
  2. White is the highest color and therefore the best man.
  3. Black is put to live in the neighborhood of the white man
  4. …and fit to be made use of.
  5. Red comes last…those that made them never
  6. …expected the Indian to be accounted as more than half human.



28.06.2018 – #20BooksOfSummer #ReReadChallenge
If you buy the E-book version only choose Penguin Classic edition. Design and fonts are so important The cheaper books use a font that is ugly and embedded.

29.06.2018 – #20BooksOfSummer #ReReadChallenge
I need a good glass of Cru Bourgeois Chateau La Tour de Bessan Margaux 2010 to start The Deerslayer by J.F. Cooper. #ReReadChallenge.
Deerslayer must choose between uprightness of heart vs false pride and frontier boastfulness.

30.06.2018 – #20BooksOfSummer #ReReadChallenge
Making good progress and must read 5 chapters a day.
Busy morning in canoe with Chingachgook and Deerslayer on Glimmerglass Lake (Lake Otsego in upstate New York).

01.07.2018 – #20BooksOfSummer #ReReadChallenge
The book reflects the styles and attitudes of another time. Cooper wants his message of Christian morals to pervade. Revenge should be avoided and we should forgive…”turn the other cheek”. Who ever heard of a young girl (Hetty) fleeing from wild savages Huron Indians…stop after gathering dried leaves for a bed…and kneel to say The Lord’s Prayer. #HardToBelieve

03.07.2018 – #20BooksOfSummer #ReReadChallenge
Busy night: Mysterious floating moccasin found, Tom Hutter is scalped and left to die, Judith Hutter refuses Harry March’s proposal of marriage, Hetty Hutter is still reading the bible, Deerslayer is held captive by the Huron braves
…and England finally won a penalty shoot-out in World Championship Soccer 2018.
ENG-SWEDEN   1/4 final!  is this Saturday, don’t miss it!



  1. This is a classic about the early America era.
  2. It is filled with adventures, violence and clever escapes
  3. …but most importantly a few dirty secrets emerges.
  4. Did I like the book after RE-READING it after  50 years?


Last Thoughts:
This book has stalked me for 50 years.
I had to read it for high school English.
I have wondered why Mr Hughes assigned
this book to a giddy group of teen-age girls.
Is there a message in this book that
will help us starting our lives?

I think it is in chapter 30:

  • “It’s true that you being female will most likely
  • save you from torments but it will not save your
  • liberty and may not save your scalp.”

James Fenimore Cooper was an enlightend man.
I am indebted to him
….because I still have my scalp!


Flowers for Algernon


Finished: 25.06.2018
Genre: novel
Rating: C-


The only word that best describes this book is gray.

pg 156 – gray and drizzly and that may account for the depression that grips me.
pg 162 – feeling of cold grayness was everywhere around me…sense of resignation.
pg 204 – I was floating…not clear and sharp but with a gray film over everything.
pg 206 – the gray murk lifted from my mind.


Strong point: Keyes plunges the reader into Charly’s inner struggle with first person point of view.  Charly faces a long and grueling process (mentally challenged –> high IQ) in which he was constantly being treated like a lab experiment. Keyes also deals with Charly’s feeling on loneliness and lack or respect.


IMO: The praise given to this book could be 70% due to this heart wrenching journal of a mentally challenged man Charly Gordon that captivates readers.

Weak point: I found the writing dishwater gray.