Monthly Archives: January 2012

Reader’s Block

Greetings, Salutations and All That Jazz,

I have a case of Readers Block, Stephen King. I’m not entirely sure why – I’ve had ample opportunity to bathe in sunshine, book in hand, cup of tea within arms reach, a blossoming garden full of singing plants to provide a soothing soundtrack to many literary adventures.

Perhaps it’s that I just turned 29 and when you turn 29, you lose all desire to invest time and energy into make believe people in fictional worlds..? No, couldn’t possibly be! Perhaps it’s the pressure of now having Official Reading Goals looming in the distance where, much like an impending deadline, suddenly trivial things like watching tennis and investigating $10million houses on the web is extremely important and time consuming. That sounds pretty plausible actually.

Speaking of Official Reading Goals, I’ll have you know that I am absolutely no where close to achieving them. You’ll remember, I kicked off 2012 with the following resolutions:

  • 5 Stephen King books I haven’t read before,
  • 5 Virginia Woolf works, and
  • 10 Australian short stories.
  • (I also resolved to upload a new blog post every week.. I think my definition of ‘weekly’ is nothing if not flexible)

To be honest, they’re not difficult reading targets – I love your books, I enjoyed reading “To The Lighthouse” by V.Woolf last year, and I know the exact place where I will find 10 Australian short stories in one volume. It’s really not the “Oxfam Trailwalker” of Literature that requires months of training and a support crew to pep me up at intervals along the way. The only thing I can put it down to is a cold hard case of Reader’s Block. Perhaps a trip to an art gallery, or literary lunch is the ticket? Perhaps the Harry Potter series, or some Tom Clancy will energise me to pursue my reading goals? Who knows. Watch This Space.

On another note, you’ll be eager to know that some upcoming correspondence will include the following topics:

  • On The Finkler Question
  • A Word on Audiobooks
  • The Talisman

Your Struggling Reader,

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Goodbye Friend

A beautiful man died on Sunday, January 15.

Jim Stallard, author, activist, public speaker, leader, friend, was a man passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless – particularly people with disabilities living in the poorest nations. His own lived experience of disability gave profound insight and compassion for others. His knack for captivating an audience – be it a room of 3 or 3000, meant that the stories of the poor and the vulnerable were given a dignified voice.

If you haven’t read “You Owe Me Dinner” by Jim Stallard (Published by CBM Australia) read it. Find it and read it. It tells the story of an extraordinary man.

He will be missed. We will miss you Jim.

Goodbye

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Death of a Wasp

Greetings, Salutations and All That Jazz,

Yesterday our trio were run out of town by a pail of wasps.

It began as a pleasant morning: I, sitting with my coffee, listening to the general hubbub of life bubbling around me, when a wasp casually flew passed my nose and landed on the kitchen table. Somehow, the little bugger had managed to find a weakness in our fortified canvas home and was buzzing around like he belonged there.

Being nothing less than a lady, I offered our uninvited winged guest a spot of tea to which he politely accepted. The creature, approximately 3cm long, introduced himself as Scout, self-named after his favourite character from the famous “To Kill a Mockingbird” (wasps name themselves you see). Having read and adored the Harper Lee classic, I falsely assumed a bond had been forged between us as our literature chatter continued. We agreed on many things – the role of ‘environment’ as a character in literature, the wonderful Lewis Carroll, how “The Finkler Question” sucks, and we both found “Anna Karenina” a beautiful, disturbing piece of art. It was lovely.

The conversation took a turn when Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” was raised. I argued that just because Kate Bush thinks it a romance, doesn’t make it so. A fan of both Kate Bush’s interpretation and Wuthering Heights as a romance, Scout took offense. Things continued to deteriorate: Scout declared with a rather pompous tone, the Harry Potter series a sham- a jigsaw puzzle compiled of plots and characters of the great classics. He may have won points with husband H. but I was dismayed, and somewhat murderous at the slander of the world and characters I hold dear. Then he had the nerve to blatantly dismiss Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and labeled Virginia Woolf’s work as too “floaty” or “airy” -I would have thought that for an airborne creature, ‘floaty’ and ‘airy’ would be desirous?!! (Scout did not agree, saying I had made a sweeping generalisation about his species and should be more open minded). I am now, more than ever, convinced that I will love Virginia Woolf.

Scout was foe, not friend. He turned on me, gearing up to use his sting once I mentioned my love for the espionage-thriller genre. Fortunately for me, H. ever the faithful protector, stepped in and without remorse, whacked the parasite with an effectively lethal shoe. In his last writhing moments, Scout turned, spat a few words of contempt as I lowered my head and whispered ever so gently, ever so soothingly, that Sherlock Holmes is one of the greatest and most fascinating characters ever written, and, by the way, did he realise that he named himself ‘Scout’ after a girl? My triumph secured, Scout’s eyes widened with fear and recognition of the humiliating error! The creature’s body jolted, stiffened and finally slumped, dead. Dead on our kitchen table.

My maddened (and frightening, no doubt) shrieks of victory were dampened by the ominous buzz of a hundred vengeful wasps heading our way. Our trio packed up, left Scout’s body for his comrades, and hauled ass out of our sanctuary, on to another.

So, the moral of this story, Stephen King, is this: wasps are not to be trusted, even if they are named after renowned literary characters.

Your Reader,

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2012: Year of the Woolf

Greetings, Salutations and All That Jazz,

Welcome to a new year, the begining of a new era, a fresh start. It’s the time where you make outlandish declarations about the next 12 months – I will lose 10 kg’s, I will excercise more, I will quit my bad habits as if by default the change in year permeates a change in my willpower or decision making capabilities. For all its unrealistic facets, it’s a nice concept, a season of hope that we all need, particularly after the exhaustion of the year gone by. Therefore, I’ve decided to join the bandwagon and make a few literature related resolutions of my own:

1. The Year of the Woolf:

Virigina Woolf

Last year I read “To The Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf and enjoyed her writing immensely. So, as an effort to read more feminist literature, and because I appreciate her prose, this year I will read 5 Virginia Woolf works.

2. In short

I will read more short stories! I love short stories, though I haven’t been exposed to many short story authors. I’d like to change that this year, particularly reading more Australian literature. I will read atleast 10 Australian short stories.

3. Simply Stephen

Yes, I will read more of your works this year, Stephen King – and not just the favourites I’ve read a zillion times, but some newbies too! I will read 5 Stephen King books I’ve never read before.

4. Blog related

I am really enjoying this whole blogging adventure, and I’d like to release a regular post, so, I will post once a week.

5. In total,

I think that means that I’ve just committed to 52 posts, (let’s call it an even 50), 5 Viriginia Woolf novels, 5 Stephen King books and 10 short stories… But there’s so much more I want to do: read poetry, tackle more Russian literature, enjoy the Harry Potter series – again! Oh well, let’s see how I go. Watch this space!

I better get cracking, I’ve got some resolutions to keep…

Until next week,

Your Reader,

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