Posted in Blog

Cockatoo

My little dot on the map has been over-run with peach-faced cockatoos. They screaming overhead, grazing on the school oval and tearing the trees apart. I love them.

My husband is not such a fan of the mess they make though and thus, on Saturday, he had as out in the garden brandishing hoses and squirting water at any cockatoo that looked like it might be thinking about landing in our trees or on our roof. He was like some crazy one-toothed old man you see in movies. However, they outnumber us about forty to one and after some initial success he let us give up.

Long live the cockatoo!

The birds! The birds!
Posted in Blog

Language is a Living Thing

I just finished reading a YA book called The List by Patricia Forde, which was a brilliant book, beautifully written and very entertaining. At the end of the book Forde had written some notes about how her inspiration for The List, in which the last remaining humans can only speak a language of 500 pre-approved words, came from working in the Irish language and finding that she and her colleagues didn’t have the words for everything. They would then need to contact older relations or friends who might remember the word.

As a native English speaker, I’m in a privileged position (although, as with many privileges, it can set you up to fail). English is spoken world wide, with many non-native English speakers having it as a second language, while for many native English speakers it is their only language. It’s difficult for me to imagine what it must feel like to watch the language or your parents and grandparents die.

People, especially older people, often become frustrated by changes in language. The way the youth of the day speaks takes up newspaper space much more often than it should. But language must be able grow to and evolve and change, because that’s how it stays alive. When we native-English speakers hear people LOLing, or googling something or that they went to a gay club with their friend, we should be pleased that our language is still vibrant and living. Because the alternative leaves us both linguistically and culturally poorer.

Posted in Blog

Reading Gold

You know what’s the best thing? When you get to the end of a book and you think, “Oh my God, that was awesome. I need to write this author’s name down and see what else they’ve written.”

Guess what’s even better? When you do that twice in a week!

I am going to review both books so I won’t give any spoilers here. What I will say though is that I Crawl Through by A.S. King and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver were both surprising and that’s what kept me reading. And I don’t mean there was a twist at the end, I mean that they had a unique take on things and while the themes might not have been anything new, they way they were presented was.

Finding an author, not just a book, who’s work you enjoy is reading gold. Honestly. And I can’t wait to read more of their work.

When’s the last time you had a moment like that? Do you have favourite authors or do you ‘read around’?

Posted in Blog

Australia Day

I know what you’re thinking. Today is Tuesday but this is not a two-sentence story. I know, but yesterday was a holiday because Australia Day fell on a Saturday this year (and Australian’s love a long weekend). So I spent yesterday frolicking at the beach with my family and that’s put me a bit behind.

The thing about Australia Day is that, it’s not really Australia’s Day – not for everyone. Australia has a long history of brutalising and demeaning non-Anglo people, beginning with the Indigenous people of this country after colonisation followed the landing of the First Fleet on January 26th, 1788.

Australia’s history is not unique. All over the world colonisation brought pain and suffering to the indigenous people of different countries. The past cannot be changed…but people, ideas and sentiments do change.

Modern Australia is not the Australia that once was. Australia Day is a reflection of the sentiments, ideas and beliefs of a certain time. Thankfully, that time has passed. And I have no doubt that my grandchildren will probably celebrate the wonderfulness that is Australia on a completely different date.

And it will be a day that all Australians – Australians who’s ancestry is over two-millennia old and Australians who are freshly arrived and everyone in between, can enjoy and take pride in, together.

And hopefully it will be in February, because we really need a long-weekend slotted in there.

Posted in Blog

11 Years

I once read that one of the most important career related decisions a woman can make is who she chooses as a partner – someone who values her career as much as his or her own and is willing to do things to support it, or someone who sees their career as most important and can only take what they need to sustain it, not give what their partner needs. What this comes down to is mutual respect. Seeing each other as equal partners where, when one person succeeds, they both succeed.

11 years ago today I made one of the best decisions of my life and married my husband. We’d been together for four years before that and, to be honest, if he had’t proposed when he did we wouldn’t be where we are today. But he did, and here we are.

We’ve weathered our fair share of storms. We are incompatible in every way but the important ones. We’ve embarked on the journey of parenting and eight years in have managed to produce two beautiful little boys without killing each other (or them. Some days it’s a close run thing though). He lifts me up, makes me laugh, holds me when I cry, forgives my weaknesses, leads when he must and follows when he must. Apart, we are still whole but together we are so, so much more than the sum of our parts.

Truly and as trite as it sounds, everyday I love him more.

Allot 2007 171

Posted in Blog, Book Reviews

Wuthering Heights

I’ve just finished reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. If you’re wondering how I could just have finished reading Wuthering Heights this week when I had just finished reading The Mouse and His Child last week, then all I can say is, it’s all down to a voracious appetite and a determined disregard for house-work.

I hadn’t read Wuthering Heights before. It’s another book-fair find for me. But of course I’d heard of it because, well, most people have. I always thought it was a love story between Heathcliff and Catherine but it’s really more a story of obsession, hatred and revenge. If it is about love, it’s a very twisted kind of love. And it seems that people either fall into two camps; strong but cruel and selfish or kind but weak and selfish.

All that said, I enjoyed the read. Possibly you’ll be forced to read it in English but if not, I’d still recommend finding a copy and giving it a read for your own pleasure.

wuthering heights

 

Have you read Wuthering Heights? If goodreads is anything to go by, it’s one you either love or hate. What do you think?

Everyone has an opinion

 

Posted in Blog, Book Reviews

The Mouse and His Child

I’ve just finished reading The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban. When I was little I watched the animated movie many times. There’s a scene in the cartoon where a rat beats an old wind-up donkey to death and, unsurprisingly,  it always stayed with me. I saw the book at a book-fair and picked it up for $2, for old times sake really.

mousechilddonkey

It was a brilliant book. While I recognised a lot of scenes from the movie (including the scene with the donkey) there was so much more to it. Even knowing how it would end, I couldn’t stop reading about the toy mice’s journey from the toy-store to the cruel word and their quest to become self-winding and autonomous.

And I would never have picked it up if not for the book-fair and a bit of childhood nostalgia.

We tend to be attracted to what’s shiny and new but old stories have so much to offer. The Mouse and His Child was first published in 1967 but it’s themes are timeless. The writing style of older books is very different to modern style, often with much more description and author intrusion, but they’re often beautiful and poetic because of an author’s artistic license.

If you get a chance, keep an eye out for The Mouse and His Child and in the mean time blow the dust off some older stories for a chance of pace.

mousechild