As a kid I read loads of books about survivors of the second world war. It was just something that fascinated about how on earth anyone actually got o...moreAs a kid I read loads of books about survivors of the second world war. It was just something that fascinated about how on earth anyone actually got out of there alive. My son came home from a friends place after having a few nights sleepover during the holidays and dropped this book on bed, saying, "Mum, I think you'll like this."
It is a full graphic novel of Art's parent story (and his) of survival. It incredibly intense and personal (Art bares his soul). I wept. This story has stayed with me for the two weeks since I have read it and I am sure that it will continue to stay with me. I am now going to get our own copy for the rest of the family to read and to read again. In is a very powerfully written story, and I think even more so as it is done through the graphic novel novel style. I now have a new sense of respect for the graphic novel. (I also wish I could draw a whole bunch better...).
Wow... Thank you Art for sharing this with me and the world. It is such a deep, rich, personal and horribly moving story that I could not put down. Another reminder of why war is a tragedy. Thank you, thank you, thank you. (less)
This is not the kind of book I would have necessarily picked up given the choice, however, it was on our book club list so, being an obedient reader,...moreThis is not the kind of book I would have necessarily picked up given the choice, however, it was on our book club list so, being an obedient reader, I have read it. We only have one copy between us as it was deemed quite difficult to get hold of (actually I have now found a racing car enthusiast site that sells it) so there was pressure to read to pass on. That all being said, now having read it, I immensely enjoyed it.
It is a truly remarkable life story of a strong and determined woman (I could also call her a tom-boy, remarkable, goer and incredibly driven). The main thrust of the book focuses on her adventurous drive from Melbourne to Monte Carlo in 1933, staying in London and all of the races and rallies she participated in, to her eventual return to Melbourne in 1946.
Joan had come from a privileged family who put her in good stead for her life, opening doors for her, especially in a time where women did not have as many opportunities. She was one who knew how to make the most of each situation, and it was this that enabled her to spend so much time, devote her time to racing cars in rallies throughout Europe, even when the Nazi's had begun their assault on Germany and surrounding countries.
"..Not being one for not taking advantage of a favourable situation..." pg 240 re: getting pistons made for her Fiat at Specialloid during the war when there were no pistons available when she was working for de Havillands.
This book is an incredible snapshot of a strong and feisty woman's view of life between 1933 and 1946 whilst she was living in London. She tells the story to David Price of the races, rallies, co-drivers and cars, but reading between the lines, one is able to hear how times were for the people, how times changed so rapidly, how she was affected and how they were affected.
She shows an incredible insight to what was about to happen, and being a woman, not afraid to speak up and ask questions. On meeting Herr Huhnlein at the Donington Grand Prix in 1938 and seeing their Mercedes on the stand at the The London Motor Show, she questioned him about the rear platform on the car.
"..he told me that it was to mount the machine gun or an anti-aircraft gun..."
She questioned him further about this.
"...We are not fighting you..."
He laughed it off and she tried to persist, however Lord Howe hushed her, embarrassed at her persisting. She wondered why England did not see and learn from what they had seen. pg 212
It is a story of the difference of the rights that women have from then to now in that she documents it by telling David what she was able to do and not able to do. For a woman to compete in a man's sport was remarkable and to do well at it, even more so. Joan was very proud of her driving abilities and I got the feeling that she thought she had been overlooked either due to being a woman, or due to the car that she had been given to drive (sponsored).
"..I think we were cheated out of the Ladies Cup, because they cut out some events on the flat, where our nimble little excelled..." pg 192.
Joan returned to Melbourne, unhappily with her mother, to live in her eyes an unremarkable life for the last half of her life. In reality it was anything but unremarkable, it was just not racing cars.
I had thought this was going to be a dry, motoring autobiography (I have never in my life read one of these), but I was drawn into Joan's life. A woman who would do anything to get what she wanted in a time when the world was in turmoil, when women did not have the same choices that we do now. I found it a very interesting book, even the car bits, but probably most especially the social observations that she made.
This is a book that I read as a teenager and a book that has never left me. It is an outstanding book of love, strength, trust and courage. I would re...moreThis is a book that I read as a teenager and a book that has never left me. It is an outstanding book of love, strength, trust and courage. I would reread it if I stumbled on it. (less)
Whilst I had a little difficulty holding the book some nights due to the weight of it and thickness of it, I absolutely loved it.
It really was a brill...moreWhilst I had a little difficulty holding the book some nights due to the weight of it and thickness of it, I absolutely loved it.
It really was a brilliant epic read about a child who started life as a girl named Callie to become the man named Cal. You as the reader are taken through the life of a hermaphrodite who is also a second generation American. The novel very cleverly takes you through the sagas of a clan's desire for survival from Greece during the battles of the Turkish wars, being accepted into America, the Michigan race riots, the desires of the heart, and the changes of technology and society. Through all of this, the abnormal gene is scientifically traced through the generations just waiting to erupt.
The characters are so deeply developed in Middlesex that I felt that I knew Desdemona, the grandmother, Lefty, the grandfather, Cal, the central character, Milton, the father, Theodora, the mother, and Chapter Eleven, Cal's brother so well by the end of the book that I felt sad to leave them.
Eugenides takes the reader through the different eras with such style and grace capturing the elements and issues with such depth that the novel has so much more to it than just a scientific journey of an abnormal gene. He deals with incestuous love without judgment, he also has the constant undercurrent theme of how migrants settle into new countries and the difficulties involved with this, and coming of age is of course at the forefront.
The epic novel is broken into three books with the first taking you back to Greece with Desdemona and Lefty beginning their journey together, and you as the reader are left wondering whether it is by choice or that there are no other options for them. The second book is the journey of Milton and Tessie (Theodora) who are Desdemona and Lefty's child and their cousin Sourmelina (Lina) their cousin's child respectively and how their love for each other is irrepressible. The third book is the journey of Calliope, or Cal, or Callie, who is the child of Milton and Tessie and the torment that she goes through as she reaches, then passes puberty. All three books are in Cal's voice and are intercepted with moments of his life and the struggles that he has with this now.
Eugenides has managed to write something so well that could have either be over clinical, or over emotional, and he has done neither. He has written a brilliant epic novel that raises issues for parents who give birth to hermaphrodites, and a brilliant read for everyone else. Thank you Jeffrey.(less)
Dissection is Jacinta Halloran's first published novel and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards in 2007. I found, after a bumpy...moreDissection is Jacinta Halloran's first published novel and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards in 2007. I found, after a bumpy start, that this novel provided a window into the lonely world of a GP who has a revolving door every 15 minutes. In those short 15 minutes they are expected to analyse, problem solve sometime very complex issues. Jacinta takes the reader through the most difficult and probably most depressing and isolating time for a GP (Anna). The reader is taken into the most introspective thoughts of a very depressed and persecuted woman.
She deals well with the issues of how much is expected of GP's in that tiny time slot in terms of diagnosis and how easy it is for things, especially the rare and more complicated cases to get missed.
I found that the novel began a little tongue tied and I was initally frustrated with the introspection of the perspective, however, as I got over 1/2 way, I understood that some of this introspection and constant self-talk was due to her sense of mental health.
The end was not too neat and quite realistic. Jacinta has done a good job writing about what I expect it probably a pretty delicate subject given that she herself is a GP. Well paced.(less)
Phew! What an epic read! It was very interesting information about a woman from over a century ago in Victoria, NSW and QLD, and because of my interes...morePhew! What an epic read! It was very interesting information about a woman from over a century ago in Victoria, NSW and QLD, and because of my interest in painting and indigenous plants and flowers, I stayed for the journey. However, and it is a very big however, I found this to be a long and hard journey. I did think many times that it may have been more interesting to read the articles that Ellis had written along her travels, or The Flower Hunter that she had written, with just a brief introduction by Christine and Michael Morton-Evans. Their job was made difficult with a large amount of personal information being destroyed once she died, however, the book did appear to carry a great deal of bitterness for her life that didn't really seem apparent in the way that she conducted herself. I found that this took away from the essence of Ellis Rowan. I felt that they really drew out the pitfalls in her character that actually held her back from really being recognised as a person of significance that she so wished for. A rather long drawn out book with rather interesting subjects of art, and botany. Difficult to score...7/10(less)
What a great, enthralling debut novel. I was caught right from the start. It is all about the numbers. By the end of the novel, I was unsure as to whe...moreWhat a great, enthralling debut novel. I was caught right from the start. It is all about the numbers. By the end of the novel, I was unsure as to whether I had an obsessive compulsive disorder myself and began to question everything that I did, the order that I did it in, the patterns that I needed in my life, the people. I was engrossed. http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...# I would even go as far as saying that it was a brilliant novel by a Melbourne author. I thoroughly enjoyed being drawn into this world of the obsessive compulsive. Toni managed to put the personality into a condition and dealt with how treatment affects the person within.
Addition is all about the counting, and counting is what soothes Grace when she feels things are beginning to get a little out of control. It is her mechanism of controlling her world. It is also the one thing that others think needs to be stopped.
The hero, Grace's white knight, does at times seem a little implausible, however, this doesn't really take away from Toni's great insight into the personality of person locked behind such a socially debilitating condition.
A great and interesting insight into the minds of others and ourselves. Looking forward to see what else Toni has to offer.(less)
Christos has done a brilliant job of picking out people from backyards, in a "normal" situation and just turned the dial up a little. He has allowed u...moreChristos has done a brilliant job of picking out people from backyards, in a "normal" situation and just turned the dial up a little. He has allowed us to peer into the windows of all of the people involved afterward to understand the aftershock that can only come from these things. He has highlighted how these situations do happen, can happen, in your suburbia, our suburbia. All of us, all of our suburbs have ugly characters. Situations that are cranked up a little can turn ugly, and people can turn ugly.
I really loved the commonality of his language. It was one that I found I was able to to relate to. It was fascinating to read how something like slapping anothers child can have a ripple effect on others lives, and the minuta of it all.
I found that I really enjoyed the approach of looking through the windows of each of the characters tortured souls to gain more of an understanding of them. He had great depth of character studies, except perhaps Brendan, who I was always a little unsure as to exactly his relationships with Connie and then late in the book, there was a hint of a tension between him and Aisha, leading to more confusion on my part.
Richie was a fantastic character, the angst of the teen. Well developed. Rosie was a character who Christos developed so well that I wanted to shake her into reality, to tell her to grow up.
A great light hearted read by Denise Scott that really could have been about what is happening in my house (except without Denise's great humour). A r...moreA great light hearted read by Denise Scott that really could have been about what is happening in my house (except without Denise's great humour). A really well written and very funny book. The book is basically a memoir of her and her family's life whilst they lived at Number 26 and all of the goings on there. The ups and the downs, and the ins and the outs of life whilst they grew up. The crazy times of being with incredibly creative parents, but incredibly poor. Parents putting up with each other and kids having to put up with parents.
Denise is incredible to be able to look at her own life and poke a stick at it and a have a good laugh, even at the crap. It is endearing to to see the depth of the relationships that they have in their family, even through the humour.
Well put together. I wish that I was as funny as Denise and was able to poke a stick at myself as well as she does. Well done Denise. (less)
A gentle rolling tale of suburban lives and their interactions and the importance of their past relationships. Steven captured the tiny parts of subur...moreA gentle rolling tale of suburban lives and their interactions and the importance of their past relationships. Steven captured the tiny parts of suburban life so terribly well. Rita pack s to leave her house, the reality of leaving a house after many years is so complex and Steven managed to dissect this and look at the different types of people, " ...the types that just get up and go..." and the type that need to "...say goodbye properly."
The novel got off to what seemed like a very excited and interesting beginning and from there lost momentum slowing to the pace of a horse and cart.
The information was interesting however, the tension lines in the writing waned a little. Madeline's character seemed a little weak and Peter Van Rijn could have had much more depth to his character.
There were some great lines in there and I did like the style of this writing, very common voice, , as thought he was writing straight from their heads. Being a Melbourne writer and being set in Melbourne perhaps also made it more common for me.
I did find myself guessing the whole time as to where "Progress" was. I found the title of the novel arduous, and kept forgetting it. Too long and hard to remember. All up(less)
Wow! What an exhausting story that is a must read by all so that we never, never forget what want and power can do to people, in particular to innocen...moreWow! What an exhausting story that is a must read by all so that we never, never forget what want and power can do to people, in particular to innocent people.
This is the story that puts the human face to the people at Guantanamo Bay and gives us a chance to understand them. As a reader, you are taken through anger, frustration, joy and tears. It is beautifully written, and is a book that will never leave you. Such an important story to be told. We need to learn to listen to both sides so that we can be more understanding, and Mahvish Khan enables us to do that.
I found many parts of this book to be very hard to digest. Uncomfortable, and so they should be. It is not an easy read, it is not an easy topic. The atrocity of the "war against terror" were are are still so damaging because of the lack of trial of the Afgani's and Arabs and also because of the bounty system.
It was a frighteningly eye opening book, and I thank Mahvish for bringing the stories of these hurt people to the world. Thank goodness for a change of power to the USA so that Guantanamo will be closed down and hopefully all remaining inmates will receive a fair trial.
Incredibly well written. I did finish wanting to know more, however, understanding that probably even she doesn't know more.
This is such a beautifully written story that took Bruce, (Pikelet) through the toughest years of life - adolescence. Desperately looking for role mod...moreThis is such a beautifully written story that took Bruce, (Pikelet) through the toughest years of life - adolescence. Desperately looking for role models, he finds a mate in Loonie, who is also trying to work himself out and together they find Sando, an older man, who sees their potential, and tries to live through their youth.
Sando uses their youth for his own dreams and pushes them to the extreme so that they are always wanting for more. The surfing becomes an addiction where it can only become more extreme for them to get the buzz that they are after. The rest of life becomes too ordinary for them. Tim Winton deals with the pains of this age so well, as well as the pain of failures of the older folk, Sando and his partner Eve.
There is this constant questioning, tension going on through Pikelet's mind, trying to be "out there", something different, but when everything fell apart with Sando and Loonie, he looked around town and he was unsure. "Was I serious? Could I do something gnarly, or was I just ordinary?" (pg 76). Pikelet begins to feel as though he just doesn't fit in the ordinary either, and that he really needs the "extraordinary" when ..."There was such and intoxicating power to be had from doing things that no-one else dared try" (pg 115) and "Everything around me seemed just so pointless and puny. The locals in the street looked cowed and weak and ordinary" (pg 116).
Tim's descriptions of ordinariness and extremes and the intoxications of it were brilliant and would be great as a study item for kids, boys in particular, 16 yrs plus, as long as it was a guided study. There are certainly some fairly heavy themes in here. Heavy sexual, erotic themes and addiction themes that need to be dealt with in a "Read and Discuss" situation with the adolescence age group.
I did find the ending a little abrupt after such a brilliant in-depth study of the adolescent years, and felt that it didn't link well enough. That said, the book has stuck with me very strongly. It is a great book, brilliant even especially for the possibilities it holds for helping adolescents understand themselves a little more. Tim, I think is a brilliant writer, and each book seems to only get better.(less)
I don't think that I could have read this book on a better day in my life. I read the entire book in a day (except for the first 20 pages which I read...moreI don't think that I could have read this book on a better day in my life. I read the entire book in a day (except for the first 20 pages which I read when I crawled into bed and promptly fell asleep) as I needed to finish it for book club last night, and it was a wonderful book to read in one hit. It is a really long time since I have sat down and read an entire book in one go (I have kids for those who are wondering). This is not the reason, however, as to why it was a great day to read Julian Barnes' "The Sense of an Ending" on Wednesday.
On Tuesday at my Wednesday writing group (which has suddenly turned into a Tuesday writing group due to my tutor's Masters lectures) we were talking about a character being developed in writing by the choices and decisions they make, and the consequences of these and did various exercises around this.
This book is a brilliant example of this character development.
Julian Barnes shows us over this novel the character of Anthony, the main protagonist, by letting us hear how he wrangles through life with the consequences of the decisions he made in adolescence, and the damage that is left for him to try to understand what happened. It does take him a lifetime to learn about himself and those who he was entangled with to be ready to hear and to understand. Tony, or Anthony, grapples with memory, as he remembers his adolescence as it was, or was it?
Me reading with my many tags of his brilliant lines
Julian's book is full of brilliant writing, insights and understanding of human nature. He is an economical writer who lays threads throughout the novel, leaving the reader thinking, wondering at the end. Each reader, as we found last night at book club (who all rated it 7/10-9.5/10), forms slightly different ideas from the threads that he lay within the story. A clever and thoughtful writer giving us a well formed story with a wonderful unsuspecting twist at the end to surprise most.
Definitely a book I would recommend. A most enjoyable thought provoking read of memory, aging, identity, relationships, letting go and holding on, and adolescence and young adulthood and the behaviours that surround those years.
I want to share with you some of my favourite lines from this book
"And there was no arguing against 'feelings', because women were experts in them, men coarse beginners. So 'It doesn't feel right' had far more persuasive force and irrefutability than any appeal to church doctrine or a mother's advice" pg 23
"Some Englishman once said that is long dull meal with pudding served first." pg 54
"Have you noticed how, when you talk to some like a solicitor, after a while you stop sounding like yourself and end up sounding like them." pg 68
"The more you learn, the less you fear. 'Learn' not in the sense of academic study, but in the practical understanding of life." pg 82
"Margaret used to say that women often made the mistake of of keeping their hair in the style they adopted when they were at their most attractive. They hung on long after it became inappropriate, all because they were afraid of the the big cut." pg 91
"I remember a period in late adolescence when my mind would make itself drunk with images of adventurousness." pg 93
"Compliments of the seasons to you, and may the the acid rain fall on your joint and anointed heads." pg 97
Concerning character development, whether characters develop over time: "Our attitudes and opinions change, we develop new habits and eccentricities; but that something different, more like decoration." pg 193
"May you be ordinary, as the poet once wished the new-born baby." pg 144(less)