Spark joy by Marie Kondo

Wendy Spark JoyAfter living in the same house for nearly 30 years and in more recent years our home became an “empty nest” – the time has come for de-cluttering and thinking ahead for retirement and to be honest I don’t wish to leave a heap of “junk” for others to have to sort through when I die.

So where to begin with what appears to be a mammoth and overwhelming task?  Marie the author mentions at the very beginning, that there are six basic rules of tidying and also notes that the “process is not about de-cluttering (as I have mentioned above), or making it look neat for visitors.  Rather, you are about to tidy up in a way that will spark joy in your life and change it forever.”  Apparently once using the method described by this author, you will never again relapse into clutter. Continue reading


Jarulan by the river by Lily Woodhouse

Cynthia Jarulan by the riverI was looking forward to reading this book based on the blurb; Australian – Family – History, all the things that I love to read. Lily’s descriptive writing gave me a good sense of place and what life was like at Jarulan. There was an overall sense of uneasiness and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen with the family. Then came Rufina, a character that I could not feel anything for, and this let the story down for me. I was also disappointed about not finding out the full story of the ghosts that would appear at the appropiate times, but not fully explained, and this made the novel feel a bit unfinished.

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A few right thinking men by Sulari Gentill

Amy A Few Right Thinking MenSet in Sydney in the 1930s, A Few Right Thinking Men is an historical, cosy mystery. Rowland Sinclair is a wealthy artist, turned amateur sleuth. I really enjoyed the setting (they also went to Yass!), and the characters were suitably quirky and amusing. I found it more about the political history of New South Wales than the murder mystery, but there was just enough intrigue to keep the story going, and I wouldn’t say no to finding out what’s next for Rowly and his friends.

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The scret river by Kate Grenville

Susan The secret river.jpgThe secret river, written by Kate Grenville in 2005, is a historical novel about an early 19th century Englishman transported to Australia for theft. I love this title and have read the book a couple of times. It is an older publication, however I really enjoy the factual story of William Thornhill who was transported from the slums of London to NSW for the term of his natural life. William Thornhill ends up a free man who sails up the Hawkesbury River to claim some land.

However, it is a little confronting when the land he claims is actually owned by the Aboriginal people. The book illustrates the cruelty the Aboriginals faced due to people like William claiming the land, although he wasn’t as bad as some of them.

The book really focuses on the reality of the settler’s life, about ownership, the dangers and dilemmas. The Secret River is part of a trilogy about early Australia, along with The Lieutenant, published in 2008 and Sarah Thornhill, published in September 2011.

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What would Beyonce do?! by Luisa Omielan

what would beyJust finished the most hilarious audiobook, it was like being at a comedy show where the laughs (briefly interrupted by moments of tears) are non-stop for seven hours. I guess the paperback or ebook would be just as funny but not as enjoyable as hearing Luisa Omielan narrate it herself with such passion, conviction and enthusiasm, so much so I had to stop myself from yelling ‘go sister!’ time and time again with such passion, conviction and enthusiasm. Continue reading

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

Amy MoonglowMoonglow is Michael Chabon’s speculative autobiography, fictional non-fiction. As Mike Chabon’s grandfather is dying of cancer, he tells Mike about his life. It’s about being Jewish, about growing up, the war, marriage, brokenness, love and rockets. It isn’t a linear story, but rambles along, back and forth, in a beautiful, full of truth, story of the heart.

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Suite Francaise

Amy Suite FrancaiseThough only two parts of the suite were finished before the author was taken from her family and killed in a concentration camp in 1942, the scale of this novel is still so grand. In the first part, people flee Paris as the Germans approach, and in the second, a country village is occupied. The setting is breathtakingly beautiful, the different reactions to the situation are raw, shocking, tender, brutal and very real. It’s hard to separate the book from the author’s real life tragedy, and why should we? The film focuses on just one part of the book, where it is set in the country village. Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts and Kristin Scott Thomas ( American, Belgian and English) do a great job playing the French and German characters and it is a moving film.

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