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#20BooksOfSummer 2018


  • I must stop buying books…and start reading them!
  • What to do?  Make a list for…
  • #20BooksOfSummer hosted yearly by Cathy  746 Books
  • I selected books that
  • …I REALLY REALLY want to read.
  • 6 non-fiction – 4 novels – 2 plays – 2 biographies, 2 crime fiction
  • 1 essay, 1 short stories, 1 science fiction, 1 poetry collection
  • List of Challenges 2018
  • Monthly reading plan
  • #20BooksOfSummer


  1. Deep South Paul Theroux – (NF) – READ
  2. A Very Expensive Poison – Luke Harding (NF) – READING
  3. Just Enough Libeling – A.J. Libeling (anthology of his articles from the New Yorker) (NF)
  4. Why Horror Seduces – M. Clasen (NF)
  5. Islander: Journey Around Our Archipelago – P. Barkham (NF)
  6. From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories – M. McKenna (NF)
  7. Nation – Terry Pratchett (novel)
  8. Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes (novel)
  9. The Redemption of Galen Pike – Carys Davies (novel)
  10. The Serious Game – Hjalmar Söderberg (novel)
  11. The Judge and His Hangman – F. Dürrenmatt  (CF)
  12. Down These Green Streets – Declan Burke (CF)
  13. Bearing Witness: Life of Charles Bean, Australia’s War Correspondant – P. Rees (Bio)
  14. Maori Boy – Witi Ihimaera (Bio)
  15. Kill The Messenger (play) – Nikkaih Lui (play)
  16. Rice – Michele Lee (play) – READ
  17. The View From the Cheap Seats – Neil Gaiman (essays)
  18. Like a House on Fire – Cate Kennedy (short stories)
  19. Neon Vernacular – Y. Komunyakaa (Pulitzer Prize Poetry 1994)
  20. The Dispossessed – Ursula Le Guin (SF)


Twitter: @burns_nancy

Challenges 2017: ( here are the links to all the books read)

  • Time to say goodbye to 2017 and look at the results:


Most looking forward to 2018 – #DealMeIn2018

  1. Jay host a refreshing challenge each year.
  2. It give me the opportunity to read short stories
  3. …and essays!
  4. I will be joining his challenge for sure!
  5. I will be making my  ‘to read list’ soon!


My favorite of the year – #AusReadingMonth @Bronabooks

  1. …here is the reason why:  ‘Wrap-up AusReadingMonth’


Most difficult: #HLOTRreadalong2107

  1. Read-a-long @Brona’s books
  2. I decided to leave my comfort zone and read all 4 of Tolkien’s books.
  3. Brona had to nudge me along at times…but I did finish the books!


Most funThe New Yorker Magazine

  1. I tried reading the New Yorker Magazine the week it arrived!
  2. I failed miserably (read only 5 issues since June 2017).
  3. But is was the most fun….because I never knew what I would read!


Most intoxicatingCocktails and Literature

  1. I stumbled upon National Daquiri Day this summer.
  2. After some investigation I found more links between
  3. …cocktails and writers and even WWI  weapons!


Most disappointingModern Library’s Best 100 Novels List

  1. I had high hopes for this challenge.
  2. Some of the choices
  3. …I doubted if they were worthy to be on the list!
  4. I read 20 books and enjoyed only…4    (20%)


Most surprising – Read Ireland challenge

  1. Again, I stumbled  into this challenge via
  2. …the History Book Club group on Goodreads.
  3. I throughly enjoyed Irish plays, non-ficton, fiction!
  4. No one can tell a story like an Irishman!


Most work – Nobel Reading Challenge

  1. I started this challenge 3 years ago.
  2. Every chance I had I searched for a new book for this list.
  3. Now, sadly, I just cannot find the enthusiasm I once felt.
  4. I ‘m afraid this challenge will be dropped in 2018.
  5. There are too many other genres ( poetry) I want to discover!


Here are my top 5 in 3 catagories:


  1. Cloudstreet – T. Winton
  2. The African Queen – C. S. Forester
  3. The Slow Natives  – T. Astley
  4. The Dry – J. Harper
  5. Bleak House – C. Dickens


  1. Milligan, L. – Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell
  2. Franklin, R. – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
  3. Lamb, K. – Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather
  4. White, R.C. – American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant
  5. Meade, M. – Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This


  1. Le pouvoir au féminin – Badinter, E.
  2. Passagère du Silence – Verdier, F.
  3. Ça ira (1), Fin de Louis – J. Pommerat (play)
  4. Dans la tête de Marine Le Pen – M. Eltchaninoff
  5. Le diable est dan les détails – L. Slimani

31 December 2017

Twitter: @burns_nancy


  • This ends three weeks of ‘reading anything I like’.
  • After an intense #AusReadingMonth  in November
  • ….I needed to take a break.
  • I slapped on my apron and have been cooking one great dish after another!
  • Now I must get back into my reading chair.
  • Today I will choose some challenges for 2018 and my reading direction.
  • There are a lot of choices to make today!
  • Now this last poem by Australian Bronwyn Lovell was the perfect ending.
  • I managed to memorize Emotional Astronomer.
  • Wishing all readers, visitors and bloggers  a very Happy New year 2018 !


Update: 31.12.2017

Read poemEmotional Astronomer (Browyn Lovell, Australian)…but at 0300 AM this morning.  I awoke and could not fall asleep and managed to memorize the poem. Then I slept for another 5 hours. My brain absorbed Lovell’s words like a sponge. I discovered the FORM made memorization easy! Each  phrase starts with a verb  3rd person present….except for the last line.


Emotional Astronomer

  • cares for telescopes like mechanical pets
  • camps out with cameras and an aching neck
  • tints torchlight, dims his van brothel-red
  • waits for the Earth to move, the moon to set
  • props a director’s chair for the fade to black
  • can’t factor his children’s resentment
  • accepts the conditions, won’t ask the sky why
  • will not love a nebula less the tenth time
  • gets teary at a clear viewing of Alpha Centauri
  • feels things to which his wife won’t relate
  • needs no chart to plot the now fragile arc
  • of a retired accountant’s amateur star—
  • knows meteors will rain down consolation:
  • Jupiter a river pebble, Saturn a silky stone


Last line:

  1. I wanted to learn the meaning of this line
  2. …why did it differ from the rest of the poem?
  3. I started to look into meteor showers
  4. …and found that the gravitational pulls of
  5. Saturn and Jupiter might combine to
  6. ….cause spectacular meteor showers.
  7. Meteors are fragments of ice and rock.
  8. Now I see how Lovell used this information
  9. to give the poem a surprising sense of closure
  10. that satisfied this reader….after some investigation!




Readings Week 52

….Time to slowly leave the kitchen and get back into my reading chair.


Update: 25 December 2017

Read:  The Dublin Review: 4 issues per year containing first-rate writitng from Ireland and elsewhere. Essay: The Tourist and the Journalist by D. Ralph (Ass. Prof Sociology Trinity College, Dublin).

Read: Path to Power (R. Caro) I’ve been listening to the 1st vol of Caro’s award winning biography series about Pres Lyndon Baines Johnson. Started on 06 Dec and hope to finish this week.  I am surprised how little I know about this man.

Finish date: 25 December 2017              On Elizabeth Bishop by C. Tóibin

Genre: non-fiction
Rating: A
Review: Biography, analysis of Bishop’s poems, and her world (trauma losing her parents, childhood in homes of family, friendships male (R. Lowell) and female (Lotte, Marianne Moore).
The fact that the world was there was enough for Bischop and she describes all that is around her. This was her defense…. so she can avoid descriptions of herself. #MustRead if you are interested in Elizabeth Bishop’s poems.

Read: On Elizabeth Bishop (C. Toibin) – biography, analysis of some of her poems, and descriptions of Bishop’s world so she can avoid descriptions of herself.  #MustRead before I try to read Bishop’s poems.

Read: Bishop’s poem “North Haven,” her elegy to Robert Lowell. In six, five-line stanzas the poet composed a masterpiece of remembrance that stands among the finest evocations of a Maine island ever written.

Read: The Sun December 2017  (ad-free independent magazine, stories, poems, interviews, essays) – Read short story Believers by Kate Osterloh. I found this short story…a bit too long! Not especially interesting to me. 15 ch each alternating  about ‘HE’ and SHE’. Narrator is flat, detached and not one line of dialogue. in comparison to Dave Ralph’s essay which I loved…this was a boring read.

Read: short story by Poe Ballantine. He  is a fiction and nonfiction writer (1955)  known for his novels and especially his essays, many of which appear in The Sun. This short story that was very entertaining….a bit more polished than Believers. Poe Ballantine wrote Mining the Lost Years. I liked this quote: “ Mining the lost years….or how to take the dirty coal of your life (breakups, breakdowns, shattered dreams, sickness, death, misdeeds, indiscretions and other ringing failures….and compress it into diamonds!

Read: Poem by M. Cochrane    Stage Four  in The Sun.  The form is 37 lines with no paragraph breaks. I see that Cochrane uses ‘ I believe…”  repeated 6 x . I will read the poem with these words as a ‘mental break’ (lines then divided 4-15-4-4-10). Cochrane lists so many things he believes in (therapy , mindfullness, holy water and the saints….etc) but the powerful ending made the poem worth reading! It is what the poet makes us as readers think of ourselves. I remembered my own ‘lemonade small business on a summer street curb’!

“….Always stop at a lemonade stand.
Doesn’t matter where you’re going, who’s
waiting for you, or how late you are.
You pull over, get out of the car,
take it all in, savor the sun on your face,
the sweetness on your tongue,
this little kid watching
you drop a twenty in her jar.”

( good feeling!)

Mick Cochrane is professor of English and Lowery Writer-in-Residence at Canisius College, where he has three times been named Peter Canisius Distinguished Teaching Professor.


Update: 26 December 2017 –  reading The New Yorker 18-25 December


Update: 27 December 2017

Read: poem  Emotional Astronomer by Bronwyn Lovell  in Australian Literary Magazin Meanjin and the poem spoke to me instantly. She has been shortlisted for the Fair Australia Prize 2017  . There is something unique, something hidden in the images….something  but have not been able to put my finger on it yet!  This one needs more reading and thinking. Bronwyn Lovell’s website.

  • Wordsworth believed that the poem is the record of a great emotion,
  • …later ‘recollected in tranquility’.


Emotional Astronomer

cares for telescopes like mechanical pets

camps out with cameras and an aching neck

tints torchlight, dims his van brothel-red

waits for the Earth to move, the moon to set

props a director’s chair for the fade to black

can’t factor his children’s resentment

accepts the conditions, won’t ask the sky why

will not love a nebula less the tenth time

gets teary at a clear viewing of Alpha Centauri

feels things to which his wife won’t relate

needs no chart to plot the now fragile arc

of a retired accountant’s amateur star

knows meteors will rain down consolation:

Jupiter a river pebble, Saturn a silky stone
















Readings week 51

  • Between grocery shopping and cooking…
  • I’ve litte time for ‘ sit down serious reading’.
  • Here are a few snippets, thoughts while making pumpkin pie (Mom’s recipe)
  • and  …mushroom lasagna! (Cookbook Plenty by  Y. Ottolenghi)

  1. #SNAFU in the Xmas kitchen….chilled dough ready for pumpkin pie
  2. …. and I can’t find my rolling pin!
  3. PS:  I can eat Pumpkin Pie for breakfast!


  1. This  dish took me 4 hours to make:
  2. 4 different cheeses – béchemal sauce – chop 2 lbs mushrooms + 15 onions
  3. pre-soak lasagna pasta….and then put all this together in layers!
  4. I deserve a ‘y-uuuge’ glass of wine after this culinary extravaganza!
  5. Ready for the oven….XMAS Mushroom Lasagna!
  6. I used every frying pan, dish, spatula and bowl in my kitchen
  7. to make this…I’m exhausted!
  8. Happy Holiday!


UPDATE 17-18 December 2017

  1. Read: ISLAND  magazine (nr 151)
  2. This is a Tasmanian Literary publication sent to me all the way from Port Hobart!
  3. Read: editorial by Geordie Williamson
  4. Read: poem Munchian O by Mededith Wattison.
  5. Re-read the poem   Munchian O   this morning with my coffee: makes very little sense to me except the allusions to E. Munch ‘The Scream‘ and Bruegel’s ‘Landscape With the Fall of Icarus‘. I’m sorry …I really tried to like it!
  6. Read: personal essay by Erin Hortle “How Do You Make Them See You Belong” (feminist issues in the middle of Tasmanian surf culture). This essay was so-so….issue seemed trivial to me.  Erin is trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill in my opinion…but it is important for her.
  7. Read: The Writer at Present Interview  by Benjamin Law with author Heather Rose.
  8. She is the winner  of Stella Prize 2017  book: the  Museum of Love Modern Love. She describes her journey while writing her prize winning book.
  9. Read:  2 personal essays by husband and wife team on their decision to move to Tasmania from Melbourne. These were excellent  personal essays by  Damon Young and Ruth Quibell.


Film: finished  short series HBO The Young Pope (Jude Law nominated Golden Globe 2018) ..I spent 6 hours watching the last episodes and enjoyed it but felt still as if I was wasting my reading time. Watching films and series on HBO or Netflix just feel like a ‘sugar buzz’  and later I come crashing down. On the other hand…books keep me afloat for days.

Read: The New Yorker with the new app “The New Yorker Today”.

Daily shouts:    Xmas grocery shopping/cooking got you down? #JoinTheClub
But I have just been jolted into ‘Ho-ho-ho” spirit @NewYorker “Life Hacks for the Reluctant Home Cook” (@tasneemraja)   Tasneem Raja’s  article has given me #CulinaryShame “Astronauts in space find time to make their own stock. What’s your excuse?”


ReadMeanjin  – an Australian a literary magazine

  1. Essay:  Two Fires  by T. Birch – winner of the  P.White Award 2017
  2. He is the first first indigenous writer to win the Patrick White Award
  3. His newest novel is Ghost River (2015)
  4. A collection of impressions  and people Birch met during a
  5. 2 week residency in Canada, Banff Cenre for Arts and Creativity
  6. …and Christmas Hills Readers and Writers Festival 2017.
  7. The history of a stolen generation in Canada…sound haunting.
  8. Tony Birch makes many comparisons (CAN vs AUS) and its history
  9. …of dispossession and attempt to destroy the indigenous peoples.
  10. Essay was very readable but did not ‘wow’- me.


ReadQuarterly Essay, vol. 68;  White, Hugh,  28 November 2017  (Australian)

This is worth the time it took to read….2 hrs!

  1. Essay: , ‘Without America: Australia in the New Asia’
  2. Hugh White is Professor of Strategic Studies
  3. ….at the Australian National University.
  4. Stop assuming that USA is going to dominate Asia forever
  5. Stop  assuming that USA will keep Australia safe.
  6. China is now so strong and ambitious that USA under weak
  7. that USA will cease to be a  significant player in Asia.
  8. Australia must prepare itself for this transformation.
  9. I loved White’s explanation of two world powers put their rivals to the test!
  10. “classic power-political salami-slicing”
  11. “…each slice of the salami might be insignificant,
  12. Washington looks weak if it can’t or won’t stop China taking
  13. …one slice after another, and China by contrast looks strong and resolved…”
  14. OUCH!
  15. “Rex Tillerson has proved to be the worst secretary of state in living memory,
  16. ….and the overpraised General James Mattis in Defense
  17. ….has failed to bring coherence to the administration’s strategy.”
  18. WHAT?
  19. Who would have thought that Indonesia will be a
  20. ..VERY POWERFUL country, second only to China?
  21. Thank you, Hugh White for opening my eyes….about China and Indonesia!!
  22. I think TRUMP should put this essay
  23. ‘Without America’ in his bedside night table….
  24. …his TBR!!
  25. Conclusion:
  26. 40 years ago Australia managed a ‘post-alliance’ transition with Britain.
  27. Now Australia’s task in the next few years will be…doing the same with America!
  28. China’s rise is a fact and isn’t going away.
  29. This will require Australia to rethink a lot of things,
  30. ….to make some hard choices, and perhaps
  31. …to pay some heavy costs.
  32. #ExcellentMustRead essay!


Pre- Christmas movies: 

  1. Babette’s Feast ( Best Foreign Film Oscar 1988) –  classic favorite
  2. Casablanca   –  classic love  WWII story (3 Oscars – best picture, screenplay, director 1944)
  3. Going My Way –  7 Oscars 1944;  Oscar for best actors B. Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald #MustSee
  4. Hail Caesar – picked this up at the library….don’t waste your time!
  5. Mr. Holmes – great actor Ian Mckellen…..despite this talented thespian the movie was boring!








Readings week 50



  1. Today I just read anything I came across.
  2. I treated myself to some subscriptions for literary magazines and reviews.  
  3. If  I just keep reading the same ol’ same ol’  classic fiction
  4. ….I will be missing out on all that is to be discovered!


  1. Read The Song of Hiawatha (just the last verse) by Longfellow lovely!
  2. Read In Darkling Thrust by T. Hardy…very nice.
  3. Read Tim Lilburn Where  – The Malahat Review nr 200 –  excellent
  4. Read Tim Lilburn Shame –  The Malahat Review nr 200 – disappointment

Tim Lilburn:

  1. images with emotion…but it did not brush off on me.
  2. Read Julie Paul  Esquimalt Road – couldn’t relate the first time….later it sunk in.
  3. Julie Paul has written collections of short stories that are on my Xmas wish-list:
  4. The Pull of the Moon (2014) and The Rules of the Kingdom (2017)

Julie Paul:

  1. Read The Burning Tree and Wanting It Darker by Canadian Ben Ladouceur
  2. Both poems feel like  mèh….but I just have to read them a few more times.
  3. On the General Being of Lostness by Canadian Jeff Latosik
  4. …again this one  needs more reading.
  5. How do these men win poetry prizes?
  6. These poems were in Poetry Magazine, December 2017



Read this poem… just beautiful!

Unsaid (Dana Gioia)

  1. So much of what we live goes on inside–
  2. The diaries of grief, the tongue-tied aches
  3. Of unacknowledged love are no less real
  4. For having passed unsaid. What we conceal
  5. Is always more than what we dare confide.
  6. Think of the letters that we write our dead.
  1. I managed to learn the first stanza by heart…
  2. The Darkling Thrush by T. Hardy.
  3. I keep reciting it to the cats…and they love it!
  4. Later I read my first Marianne Moore poem Poetry first published in 1919.
  5. Just think…it took nearly 100 years before this poem crossed my path.
  6. What more am I missing?

Marianne Moore


  1. Read Yeats’s poem: Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven (beautiful)
  2. Read Browning’s poem: Meeting at Night (beautiful)
  3. Ordered: 1 yr sub to ‘The Dublin Review’ – 4  issues per year
  4. I….want to read more Irish!
  5. Reading: Why Poetry?
  6. I’m introduced to many new poems ( …practically all poems are new to me).
  7. This morning: I felt a Funeral, in my Brain by Emily Dickinson.
  8. I learned about Adrienne Rich and her legacy.
  9. Her poem ‘Rape’ is in the book.
  10. I could not resist ordering  Anne Carson‘s book
  11. …Men in the Off Hours: book of shorter poems .
  12. I feel I am catching up on all the my years ‘without poetry’.


UPDATE: 15.12.2017

  1. Finished book Why Poetry?  (M. Zapruder, 2017).
  2. It was wonderful.

Matthew Zapruder:

POET Zapruder index

  1. Tried to read Tim Lilburns’ Shame once again…I give up on this guy!
  2. The Irish Times and a section ‘Poem of the Day:
  3. Read Martina Evans’s  poem
  4. …Time Wounds All Heels her memories yet I’m unimpressed.
  5. Read Kevin Higgins poem Exit, a Brexit –   (quirky political satire…it works!)
  6. Read Daragh Bradish poem Bacarolle – …don’t feel anything for this poem, nothing!


UPDATE: 16.12.2017

  1. I will re-read 3 poems from the Irish Times once more.
  2. Evans’s  poem still just has a hint of nostalgia
  3. …but not enough to  give one a skin shiver.
  4. Higgins’s poem is  very funny (satire)  and Bradish just fizzled out again!


Kevin Higgins:


Exit, for Brexit  (Kevin Higgins)

There will be no more thunderstorms
sent across the Channel by the French,
no acid rain floating in from Belgium.
Pizza Hut will offer a choice of
Yorkshire Pudding or Yorkshire Pudding.

You’ll spend the next twenty-seven bank holidays
dismantling everything you ever bought from IKEA.
The electric shower your plumber,
Pavel, put in last week will be taken out
and you’ll be given the number of a bloke
who’s pure Billericay. Those used to caviar
will have jellied eels forced
down their magnificent throats.
Every fish and chip shop
on the Costa del Sol will in time
be relocated to Ramsgate or Carlisle.

All paving stones laid by the Irish
will be torn up to make work
for blokes who’ve been on the sick
since nineteen seventy-six.
Those alleged to be involved in secretly
making spaghetti bolognaise
will be arrested and held
in a detention centre near Dover. Sausage dogs
will be put in rubber dinghies
and pointed in the general direction
of the Fatherland. Neatly sliced
French sticks topped with pâté
will make way for fried bread
lathered with Marmite.

There’ll be no more of those new
names for coffee your gran
can’t pronounce. The entire royal family
will be shipped back to Bavaria, with the exception
of the Duke of Edinburgh who’ll be given
a one-way ticket to Athens. Curry
will no longer by compulsory
after every twelfth pint of Stella,
which itself will only be available
by special permission of the Foreign Office.

We’ll give India back its tea, sit around increasingly
bellicose campfires in our rusting iron helmets,
our tankards overflowing with traditional Norse mead.



AusReadingMonth 2017 week 2


Where are you reading your books?

  1. I took a long weekend to the Frisian Island Vlieland
  2. …and read my Australian books there!
  3. I took the boat trip (1,5 hrs) from Harlingen to Vlieland.


  1. The boat makes 3 trips a day to the island….
  2. Here is the boat arriving at Vlieland under a rainbow!

It was a chilly day at the beach….but a wonderful time to contemplate….how good life is!

Weather on the North Sea  is at times…..dazzling!

…but we all know…the sun will come out again!


No island is without a lighthouse!




Q&A AusReading Month 2017


Tell us about the Australian books you’ve loved and read so far.

  1. I joined AusReading Month 5 years ago @Brona’s Books.
  2. I was clueless about the country and knew of only one author:  Nevil Shute.
  3. Brona was there for me ….providing tips,  book lists and suggestions to get me started.
  4. Now I can’t STOP reading  Aussie!


Reading list:  2012 – 2017


ASTLEY, Thea.    Girl With A Monkey
ASTLEY, Thea.    The Well Dressed Explorer
ASTLEY, Thea.    The Slow Natives
ASTLEY, Thea.    A Descant for Gossips
BARRY, Bernice.    Georgiana Molloy: The Mind That Shines
CANAVAN, Trudi.    The Magicians’ Guild
FRANKLIN, Miles.    My Brilliant Career
RICHARDSON, Henry Handel.    Australia Felix
WATSON, Don.    The Bush
NIALL, Brenda.   Mannix
LAMB, Karen.   Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather
KAPLAN, Gisela.   Bird Minds: Cognition and Behaviour of Australian Native Birds
JONES, Gail.   A Guide to Berlin
KENT, Hannah.   Burial Rites
SHUTE, Nevil.   On the Beach
SHUTE, Nevil.   Trustee from the Toolroom
WHITE, Patrick.   Voss
LAWSON, Henry.   Past Carin’ (poem)



Most favorite Aussie books:   These books made a lasting impression on me

  1. Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather (K. Lamb)
  2. All of T. Astley’s books:
  3. Girl With a Monkey
  4. A Descant for Gossips
  5. The Well Dressed Explorer
  6. The Slow Natives
  7. Birds Mind: Cognition and Behaviour of Australian Native Birds (G. Kaplan)…amazing!
  8. Past Carin’ – (Henry Lawson) –  stop and listen to the poem….the hard  life in the Outbush.
  9. A poem which records the lament of a bush woman whom hardship and tragedy have made ‘past carin’’


Past Carin’ (1899)

Well, up and down the sidling brown the great black crows are flyin’
And just below the spur I know another milker’s dyin’.
The crops have withered from the ground, the tank’s clay bed is glarin’
Yet from my heart no tear or sound for I have grown past carin’.

Through death and trouble, turn about, through hopeless desolation,
Through flood and fever, fire and drought, through slavery and starvation,
Through childbirth, sickness, hurt and blight, through loneliness and scarin,
From being left alone at night I have grown to be past carin’.

Our first child took in days like these a cruel week in dyin’,
All day upon her father’s knees or on my breast a-lyin’.
The tears we shed, the prayers we said were awful, wild, despairin’
I’ve pulled three through and buried two since then, and I am past carin’.

‘Twas ten years first, then came the worst, all for a barren clearin’,
I thought, I thought my heart would burst when first my man went shearin’.
He’s drovin’ in the great North West; I don’t know how he’s farin’,
And I, the girl who loved him best, have grown to be past carin’.

My eyes are dry, I cannot cry, I have no heart for breakin’,
Where it was in days gone by is empty dull and achin’.
My last boy ran away from me; I know my temper’s wearin’,
But now I only wish to be beyond all signs of carin’.
Past bothering, past carin’, past feeling and despairin’,
And now I only wish to be beyond all signs of carin’.


Least favorite Aussie books:  I felt I wasted my reading time.

  1. The Magician’s Guild (Trudi Canavan) fantasy
  2. Georgiana Molloy: The Mind That Shines (B. Barry) non-fiction
  3. A Guide to Berlin (Gail Jones)  fiction
  4. Weak point: the writing was repetitive, lacking creative imagery and just dishwater grey.


2. When you think of Australia, what are the first five things that pop into your mind?

  1. Kookaburra
  2. Sydney Literary Festival (May 2018)
  3. Nevil Shute
  4. Foster’s beer
  5. Dragonfly airplane (De Havilland)


3. Have you ever visited Australia? Or thought about it?
  1. I would love to visit someday…but now only in books!
  2.  What are the pro’s and con’s about travelling to/in Australia for you?
  3. ….long flight (con)  …visit towns/places I’ve read about!  (pros)


4. If you have been or plan to visit, where will you be heading first?

Green Island off the coast of Carins
5. Do you have a favourite Australian author?
     Thea Astley –  Please, take the time to read her biography, you won’t be disappointed!
6. Which Aussie books are on your TBR pile/wishlist?

Australian fiction and non-fiction list:

  1. The Hate Race – M. Clarke
  2. The Other Side of the World – S. Bishop
  3. Portable Curiosities – J.Koh
  4. Dying in the First Person – N. Sulway
  5. The Redemption of Galen Pike – C. Davies
  6. Secrets Between Friends – F. Palmer
  7. The Eye of the Sheep – S. Laguna
  8. The End of Seeing – C. Collins
  9. The Neighbor – J. Proudfoot
  10. Talking to my Country – S. Grant (NF)
  11. The Art of Time Travel: Historians and Their CraftTom Griffiths (NF)
  12. One – Patrick Holland
  13. Seeing the Elephant – Portland Jones
  14. That Devil’s Madness – D. Wilson
  15. Soon – Lois Murphy


7. Which book/s do you hope to read for #AusReadingMonth?

  1. Aunts Up the Cross by Robin Dalton – NSW
  2. Power Without Glory  by Frank Hardy – Victoria
  3. Salt Water – Queensland
  4. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton. – Western Australia
  5. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute – Northern Territory
  6. Into the Heart of Tasmania by Rebe Taylor – Tasmania
  7. The Grief Hole by K. Warren – ACT ( author is from Canberra)
  8. The Element of Need: Murder and Memory in Adelaide by James Bradley – Southern Australia
  9. A Boat Load of Home Folk – by Thea Astley overseas setting (Pacific Island) – FREE


8. It came to my attention recently that our overseas friends view Australia as a
land full of big, bad, deadly animals.  Can you name five of them?
  1. Five??   only one  Dingo


What about five of our cuter more unique creatures?
  1. Kookaburra ( …thanks to Gisela Kaplan)
  2. Galah ( …thanks to Gisela Kaplan)
  3. Kangaroo
  4. Shrike-tit bird ( …thanks to Gisela Kaplan)
  5. kangaroo desert rat (…thanks to Don Watson)


9. Can you name our current Prime Minister (plus four more from memory)?
No googling allowed!
  1. I have no clue!
  2. I do remember the female PM….
  3. I can see her face, hear her voice….
  4. but the name escapes me.


10. Did you know that Australians have a weird thing for BIG statues of bizarre animals and things?
Can you name five of them?
I’m guessing…
  1. Kangaroo
  2. Gold Rush equipment ( Miners Gold Cradle)
  3. Kookaburra
  4. Dingo
  5. Gumtree

Hope you enjoyed my thoughts!





Love My Garden…the autumn colors

14 October 2017


The autumn garden: (De herfsttuin)

  1. Heuchera Indian summer the most intense colors can be found in planters on the fence.
  2. These plants can even survive the winter!
  3. Pink Scotch Heather (heideplanten, Calluna vulgaris) is another sturdy winter plant
  4. …that will give the garden color.
  5. Chrysanthemums (bolchrysanten) (yellow and white)….my birthday flower!
  6. The other planters are filled with tulip, crocus, grape hyacinths bulbs
  7. …that will start flowering January through May 2018!
  8. #LoveMyGarden














Age is Just a Number


  1. Do you know how it feels when you give up ?
  2. I always thought I would never give up….but I did.
  3. After fitness training with a personal trainer for 7 years…..I stopped.
  4. At first I felt elated.
  5. No more aching muscles, no more pushing  yourself  to the limit.
  6. Then after a year….I felt my body change.
  7. I lost muscle strength and …gained a few pounds
  8. … and worst of all….I lost my drive to stay healthy.
  9. It took me another year to finally realize fitness is not an option…
  10. …it is a life long project.
  11. Since we all are living longer and at home….I have to keep fit.
  12. I cannot depend on others to lift heavy bags of cat litter
  13. …take out the garbage and do house- and gardening work.
  14. I have been inspired by many women …for example:

100 year old Ida Keeling who started running at 67….and is still running.

Read her story HERE.

82 year old garden architect Penolope Hobhouse

garden writer, designer, historian and lecturer….still works the soil 5-6 hrs a day!

Here is one of her beautiful creations!

Leontine van Moorsel:  Olympic athlete (Dutch)  and international champion

  1. At the end of 1993 and beginning of 1994,
  2. …it seemed Leontien’s career would come to a premature end.
  3. Health problems developed as a result of an eating disorder.
  4. Leontien tried to keep her weight down….particularly for the cycling climbs.
  5. Leontien was tired both physically and mentally —
  6. …it became the lowest point in her life.
  7. Then it changed when she met Michael Zijlaard.
  8. Michael was a competitive cyclist.
  9. He is credited with teaching Leontien to live healthily and eat properly again.
  10. They married  in October 1995.

All these women are proof that age is just a number

  1. …and  physical and mental strength can be achieved.
  2. Now I have decided to get back to my training.
  3. I know I can do it with the help of   Sport Met Hart
  4. It starts today @home  with 2 weeks  walking, stretching
  5. …plank exercises, push ups and perhaps
  6. …later some jogging.
  7. My diet is varied and I am following the advice of  Dara Torres.

  1. Her meal plan looks like something I can live with!
  2. It all starts with a different breakfast every day!
  3. My plan is on the kitchen counter….and I’m ready to go!
  4. I will keep  you updated on my progress….because
  5. I know this is going to be tough
  6. …and it is going to hurt!

Breakfast plan: