I finally found the perfect little armchair for our lounge room, but it’s become the favourite spot for children and/or a certain ginger cat to curl up in. So when I don’t have the heart to remove them from their cosy space, the autumn sunshine was very kind to me, in my little corner of the bedroom.
I spent last week sick with flu symptoms, and barely made it to (newly formed, very fabulous) bookclub, but really, nothing was keeping me away. But reading is hard when you’re snotty and exhausted, so Netflix won out most nights. Before that, however, I impressed myself with my intentional stopping and reading—who knew that even without Instagram I could find distractions from doing the things that are best for me?!
My little May reading wrap up and mini reviews:
1. Home Fires by Fiona Lowe
This is a newly released novel by Australian author Fiona Lowe. My lovely writer-girl friend Amanda Viviers was given a box full of bookish goodness by publisher Harper Collins including multiple copies of this novel, specifically with the request to use it for bookclub! How incredible! She gifted one each to a circle of local writers and book-lovers for us to read, with the promise of a chat with wine and cheese at the end of the month.
I must admit, I flew through this book.
I loved the Australiana, and it made me realise I don’t read enough from Aussie authors (bookclub will soon fix that!)—the fictional town of Myrtle with its Country Women’s Association, Aussie volunteer fireies, and themes around friendship were the best aspects.
And although I felt that the story moved too slowly in the beginning, and wrapped up too quickly at the end, I did love the light it shed on the aftermath of a bushfire for regional towns.
It was easy to read, and light entertaining (with darker parts of the plot line though, as a little warning from me).
2. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
THIS. The best book I’ve ever read on writing. Ever.
It’s compiled of short essays, each chapter tackling a theme or an idea or a thought.
It made me want to write, and I did actually begin to see and feel the act of writing and journaling as a practice, the same way as yoga practice or meditation practice. There’s an aspect of writing that we can use as a tool to explore the deepest places in us, to record memories and life. The book reminded me that all of life is magnificent and none of it is unworthy of our attention, and that every one of us has a story and a perspective—a way of looking at the world that is unique to us, and that we can and should write it down.
It reminded me of my deep, forever, unending, passionate love affair with writing. I am so grateful for this book, I know it’s one I’ll go back to again and again.
3. Love Does by Bob Goff
When this book was released, there was a lot of hoo-ha across my Instagram and other social media. It got me curious and I added it to my to-read list.
I finally got around to it, and listened to this one on Audible. I did really enjoy having Bob narrate his own book straight into my earbuds, and I did enjoy his writing style and the way he wove his stories throughout the book—what a life he’s lived! He’d be a great guy to spend a day with, just to hear about his adventures. However. You know when a movie isn’t as good as you expected purely because of the hype around it, and you know you’d have loved it so much more if you didn’t read any reviews or didn’t hear all your friends raving about how phenomenal it was? Yeah. I think I would have enjoyed the book so much more if I’d not had such high expectations. A good reminder to myself to lower them.
4. The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
I’ve been diligently following along Reese’s Bookclub recommendations, and borrowed this one from my local library, who I’m sure actually bought the book on my request. I love being the first person ever to read a new library book (book nerd thrills!) While I’ve absolutely loved every one of Reese’s Bookclub books so far, this one is probably my least favourite. Maybe it was the rom-com, chick-lit kinda genre… it just seemed like the plot was pretty linear, and I didn’t get to know protagonist Nikola as well as I would have liked, I think because of the changes in tense. In saying that though, the friendships between the three women are pretty accurate, and did make me laugh at some of their text conversations. I also loved imagining living in East LA, walking to cafes and living in apartments, and drinking in trendy bars, and being a freelance writer for the New York Times and O magazines. It wasn’t terrible, and I read it in less than 24 hours. A good one for a lazy Saturday recovering from the flu.
So. As usual, I’d love to hear your recommendations! What have you read and loved recently?
Have you read any of the above? Did you feel the same about them? Drop me a line and we can have a mini bookclub chat!
For book club this coming month we’re going to read some Tim Winton and the latest from Madeline Miller Circe which I’m telling myself to have ZERO expectations for.
Can you believe we’ve hit June already, and winter here in Australia?
The sunshine today would say otherwise – I’m off to curl up in some of it and read for a little while.