Bookish Tidbits

Things are a bit slow on the reading front. The weather is freezing and I can’t feel my hands. Suddenly, I envy those enjoying the Northern Hemisphere summer! But I suppose our winters aren’t as bad since we don’t get snow except out in the country and alps.

'Chop Suey' by Edward Hopper (1929)

Anyway, onto bookish stuff:

  • I have nearly finished with Poor Miss Finch which has been an enjoyable read but it’s not the typical Wilkie Collins (in a good way).
  • Finished Muriel Sparks’ The Prime of Miss Brodie and enjoyed it but not as much as I thought I would. I’m a bit unmotivated writing up a review since there’s so many on the blogosphere already.
  • The lovely BBC adaptations ofΒ  Emma (with the very talented Romola Garai) and Little Dorrit are making me want to read them. I gave Emma a go last year but got nowhere with it and Dorrit intrigues me.
  • For some reason, winter always makes me want to devour French existential literature. I existential-ed myself out around this time last year. I think I will make July my existential month (ha!). I’m hankering to read some more de Beauvoir and Sartre which is great timing since I’m hoping to attend this month’s existential lecture run by an existentialist society. There are lectures every month but I always keep forgetting to go and Tuesdays are rather a bad time.
  • Did I mention we also suddenly have a new Prime Minister? Yep, she’s the first female Australian PM (and the media is not about to let us forget about it either, making a song and dance about her gender and appearance) and she kicked out our other PM rather unceremoniously. And Australia lost the World Cup on the same day. Even though we won the game.
  • Book Depository makes buying books far too easy. Two clicks and you’re done! It’s far too dangerous for bookaholics!
  • A new bookshelf is hopefully on its way to my house later in the week. Hurrah! And to celebrate, I’m probably going to buy more books.
  • AND, I got roped into signing up for Literary Speed Dating, aptly titled ‘Love in a Cold Climate’ at the Wheeler’s Centre. It’s … different, but I’m a little scared! The spots have booked out amazingly fast. We shall see what will transpire if I do attend. πŸ˜‰ Anybody done something else similar?


  1. I saw the news report about your new, first female PM! That’s pretty impressive, I think. I’ve been rather bogged down by annoying reports of the G8/G20 in Toronto… the whole thing is a little frustrating. The news seems to be on a loop, repeating the same thing over and over.

    Also, random Australian note: Just saw The Square over the weekend. W-O-W. It’s quite the movie. In a good way!

    1. Ah, I’ve seen the news reports of the G20 too. They’re always so violent and so hysterical. It also doesn’t make sense for each summit to be held at some 5 star or exclusive resort when talking about the world’s wealth. It’s very contradictory.

      I haven’t seen The Square but good on you for seeing an aussie indie-ish film! I think it has David Wenham in it? I love him.

  2. First: Have you read “Elegance of the Hedgehog”? It was originally written in French (I believe the author is a native of Paris) and it’s quite philosophical in tone. πŸ™‚

    Second: LOVE that you’re going to christen your new shelves with some new additions!

    Third: I hear ya on the reading. We’re in the heat of summer up here and I’m sadly behind on my reading endeavors. Stay nice and warm when you can!

    1. No, haven’t read Hedgehog but I’m thinking about it. It’s also being/been made into a movie? I might give it a go if the hype doesn’t go into overdrive.

      I’m excited about my shelves too! I’ve already bought far too many books!

  3. Mae, you absolutely MUST do a write up of the literary speed dating for those of us who are too shy and socially awkward to attend such events. Ahem! What book are you going to take?

    1. Oh, I hope I’m brave enough to attend in the end. I’m hoping there will be a gathering of all socially awkward and shy people at the event! I’m not sure if I’m taking a book with me. If I do, it will have to be small enough to fit into my Saturday night out bag!

  4. I’m glad to hear you’re thinking of giving Emma another try. I actually liked it better than P&P!

    Do let us know how the literary speed dating goes πŸ™‚

    1. I liked Persuasion better than P&P! I thought it was more heartbreaking, mature and romantic than P&P but P&P was much more funnier.

  5. Sounds very existential! πŸ˜€ Very brave of you, I tend to shy away from them.

    I love that we finally have summer, but somehow I miss curling up with hot tea and lots of blankets.

    Congrats on the new PM! Hope her politics are cause of celebration as well πŸ™‚

    1. I don’t think existential stuff should be shied away from. I hope I didn’t sound too lofty! The whole idea perplexes me but I’m intrigued by it and very fascinated but it’s a little depressing.

      The new PM: still mixed feelings.

  6. I seem to be more attracted to classics now that the weather’s getting colder.
    Literary Speed Dating?! That sounds really interesting! You should do a post about it afterwards. πŸ™‚

  7. I’m just halfway through Jean Brodie! What a coincidence. I’m enjoying it but not as much as expected too. Hate winter. Yesterday was the coldest day in Sydney since 1993 they say, and today is still as cold if not colder. Brrrrr. That literary speed dating thing sounds super fun. Too bad it’s only in Melbourne, and I’m married ;).

    1. Maybe Miss Brodie has had too much hype over the internet? I do kind of like winter; I don’t do too well in the heat but it gets hard when you can’t hold your book up because your hands are frozen!

      Ah, alas the married part! πŸ˜‰

  8. Oh I love your bullet point update. It can be difficult when you’ve been doing lots of bookish activities but don’t want to do an individual post on them all. I say move on and do the ones you want!

    I find it so strange that it’s winter where you are and it’s summery over here….

    Hooray for lady PM. Actually I hope it’s hooray – I have no idea if she’s supposed to be a worthy lead or not, but either way it’s still exciting for womankind.

    1. The bullet points is just me being too lazy to write up a proper post. πŸ™‚ But yes, it’s a nice, simple way to bring everything together in an update.

      I find it strange about the weather too. You should try a summer Christmas one year! One day, I’m going to follow the sun…

      The lady PM is a pretty good politician but I don’t really like the way she came to power. I just really don’t like all the attention on her gender in the media who are contradicting themselves in saying that there is now finally equal opportunity. Then there’s STILL all the attention on her relationship and family status (never been married, de facto, partner is hairdresser, no children). There’s never this kind of attention on men.

  9. Thanks for the beautiful Hopper–he always draws me in.

    Sorry to go a bit off-topic, but you mentioned To Kill A Mockingbird elsewhere, and I believe you’d really, really enjoy seeing the film. I knew the man who wrote it, he was very encouraging to me, and he was a kind as well as a brilliant man.

    So enjoy!

    1. I love Hopper’s art. They’re always so beautiful and distinctive.

      I will give TKAM a go in the future. It’s been on my list of movies to see for awhile and I’m not at all adverse to Gregory Peck!

  10. I liked the recent Emma adaptation as well. It makes me want to reread Emma because I never really quite “got it”. And I have Little Dorrit on my shelves as well, bought it after watching the adaptation. I have heard that the book isn’t as good though. And it is quite long. Maybe it should be my next “long term reading” project after Anna Karenina?

    1. I haven’t see either yet – just the previews and they look great. I don’t want to see them until I’ve read the book. I read a quarter of Emma and I think there’s so much sly humour beneath the writing but I wasn’t in the right mood. Little Dorrit sounds like a good book for the next long read. πŸ™‚ I have a few long reads lined up, including Anna, but my next Dickens will probably be Our Mutual Friend which is also very long!

  11. Hmm, pity about Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – it was the Spark I was planning to read next (well, either that or The Driver’s Seat). 😦

    Book Depository + your new shelf will probably ensure that your new shelf doesn’t really stay “new” for long……

    1. I still want to read The Driver’s Seat. I hope that’s more satisfying than Miss Brodie but it was still enjoyable.

      Lol. Yes, Book Depository – how I love and only very slightly hate you!

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