Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lost the Plot – Episode 20

Support Lost the Plot
Become a Lost the Plot Patron
Subscribe, like and comment on SoundCloud
Subscribe and leave a review on iTunes
Follow Tinted Edges on Facebook

Show Notes

The new Lost the Plot logo was designed by Louise Brooks
Brooksy Design

Jólabókaflóð
About

Jolabokaflod

The Jungle Books, Penguin Clothbound Classics
The Jungle Books

Bookish Christmas Presents
Book LampNovel Journal

20180102_160007248291910.jpg

Australian Women Writers Challenge
Sign Up for 2018
November Round Up

ACT Lit-Bloggers of the Future
Hope in Dark Times, An Evening with Michael Leunig
All the blog posts

Whispering Gums
Blog Website

Street Library Australia
Website

Our New Street Libraries
20180106_1157001802641786.jpg     Greeves Street Library

The Green Shed
Website

Street Library Vandalism
20180118_195737-1407615140.jpg
Article on Street Library Vandalism

The Foxall Street Library Brothers
20180118_200352-52389038.jpg20180103_142910260916055.jpg20180103_142535-1453547245.jpg20180103_144515847228638.jpg

Asia Bookroom Christmas Tree
Episode 19 – Giving Books

Worldbuilders
End of Year Fundraiser

Storytime Pledge
Alan Finkel’s Pledge
Australian Library and Information Association

My Storytime Pledge to my Niece
20171224_1506041377894817.jpg

2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards
Shortlist

2017 Goodreads People’s Choice Awards
Full List of Winners

2018 Indie Book Awards
Longlist

2017 Bad Sex Award
The Guardian’s Article

Charles Darwin Annotated Origin of Species
Daily Mail Article

“The Shepherd’s Hut” by Tim Winton
Cover Released

“Transcription” by Kate Atkinson
Facebook post

Sydney Morning Herald List of 2018 Book Releases
Full Article

The Green Books
The Guardian Article
Publisher

Trailer for adaptation of Tim Winton’s “Breath”
The Guardian Article

Jennifer Lawrence starring in Hannah Kent’s “Burial Rites”
The Guardian Article

The Age’s Good Weekend interview with Hannah Kent, October 2016
20180118_2046131802641786.jpg

Miniseries Adaptation of Little Women
Stan Facebook post

“The Public” film
Youtube Trailer

Harry Potter news
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery game
Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash
Harry Potter and the Creaky Cabinet
J K Rowling on Grindelwald Casting
Amber Heard on JK Rowling’s Statement

Backlash against To Siri With Love
Bookriot Article
Observer Article

Is the senior English syllabus too depressing?
ABC News Article

Cat Person
The Guardian Article
“Cat Person”
The BBC’s “Cat Person: What Robert (Probably) Thought”

Max the Cat
Washington Post Article

Tiny Books
Video

Annie’s Pie Charts                                                 Angharad’s Pie Charts

/r/fantasy Subreddit
Link

The Australian Human Rights Commission reports 11% of Australians identify as LGBTIQ
AHRC Website

“Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurty
The Best Book Ever Written

“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood
Annie’s Second Top Read

“The Sellout” by Paul Beaty
My review

“Do Not Say We Have Nothing” by Madeliene Thien
My review

“On Doubt” by Leigh Sales
My review

“120 Days of Sodom” by the Marquis de Sade
Wikipedia link so you don’t end up on a watchlist
“Quills” starring Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet

Sorry about my dog barking! She wasn’t even sorry.
Image may contain: dog, grass, outdoor and nature

Scratch Map
20180118_213440248291910.jpg

Book Bingo
20180118_1906051377894817.jpg

Should I review the religious text I read?

The Economist’s 2017 Books of the Year
Article

The Guardian’s Best Books of 2017
Article

Barack Obama’s top reads of 2017
Facebook post

ACT Writers Centre Christmas Party
Blog Post

Muse Christmas Sale
Muse Christmas Sale

“Beneath a Scarlet Sky” by Mark Sullivan
My review

“La Belle Sauvage” by Philip Pullman

“The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” by Haruki Murakami
My review

“Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow” by Jessica Townsend
My review

“Joe Cinque’s Consolation” by Helen Garner

3 Comments

Filed under Lost the Plot, Uncategorized

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

A lot of people have been talking about this newcomer on the scene of children’s fantasy. The book is by an Australian author, and when I saw a signed copy in the window of a Canberra bookshop, I thought I’d better grab a copy and give it a go myself.

20180107_202700-1351793349.jpg

“Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow” by Jessica Townsend is a children’s fantasy novel about a young girl called Morrigan who is cursed. Blamed for every mishap that takes place in Jackalfax, a town in the state of Great Wolfacre, in the Wintersea Republic, where her father is Chancellor, Morrigan is treated like an outcast by her community and her family. Due to die on Eventide, Morrigan is instead rescued by the charismatic Jupiter North and taken to a magical city called Nevermoor. However, her status in this city is not secure. In order to avoid the deadly hunt of smoke and shadow, Morrigan will have to trust Jupiter’s confidence that she will pass the trials to gain entry and sanctuary into Nevermoor’s prestigious Wundrous society.

First things first, I think kids will probably enjoy this book. Although I’m an adult, if I look at this book through the eyes of my younger self, it’s easy to read, it doesn’t shy away from heavy themes, yet it has a strong sense of wonder about it. There are some really creative elements that I enjoyed in Jupiter North’s hotel like Morrigan’s bedroom that changes daily and the chandelier that regrows. It’s a fast-paced story and Morrigan has a sense of integrity that really resonated with me. Townsend writes in a style that’s both complex and age appropriate and I think has a particular knack for capturing the subtleties of a young person’s emotions and relationships. There was a particular part where Morrigan felt guilty about something and eventually confessed to Jupiter, and I just felt like the whole emotional exchange was handled by Townsend in a really realistic way. Something being a much bigger problem for the child than it is for the adult, but the adult appreciating being told the truth in the end nonetheless. I’m certain I would have whipped through this as a kid.

However, I am no longer a kid, and this is not my first fantasy book. This book has been touted as the next “Harry Potter” and I think that is a fair but not necessarily favourable comparison. Drawing on themes from J K Rowling’s famous series and the gothic atmosphere from “A Series of Unfortunate Events“, this book definitely has a familiar vibe to it. I could go through the various tropes in it, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I did really like some of the side-characters, but Morrigan herself I thought could have been a bit more interesting. Maybe after Harry Potter and Bella whatserface from “Twilight” I’m a bit tired of dark hair and pale skin being considered a revolutionary appearance. The trials themselves as well I wasn’t completely sold on. Morrigan felt a little bit like Harry Potter bumbling his way through the Triwizard Tournament meets Jill Pole muddling up Aslan’s instructions in “The Silver Chair”.

Also, there was something about the world building that confused me a bit. The Wintersea Republic seems like a very English-inspired world/country (surprising given Townsend is from Queensland, Australia but again very typical for this kind of fantasy), and Nevermoor is this kind of missing magical fifth state that is only accessible via a type of giant clock. I couldn’t quite get a grip on the relationship between the Wintersea Republic and Nevermoor, and the extent to which the former has magic. Maybe this will be revealed later in the series, but at the moment it feels a bit unfinished.

Anyway, while I may be old and jaded, I’m fairly certain that for lots of kids for whom this will be their first foray into fantasy, this book will be a breath of fresh air and they will thoroughly enjoy the story. For adults who have read several children’s fantasy books, this one will feel very familiar. Perhaps a little too familiar. Either way, it’s about the target audience and the target audience will love it.

image of AWW badge for 2018

2 Comments

Filed under Australian Books, Book Reviews, Children's Books, Signed Books, Uncategorized

Soft on the Devil

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author.

33270395

“Soft on the Devil” by Robert Lampros is a Christian mystery story about a young man called Ian. Ian lives a simple life – he lives by himself in an apartment, he works in a local cafe and he goes to church regularly. However, Ian’s life is turned upside down when his neighbour Cindy goes missing and turns up at his door a week later asking for help. When her body is found the next night, Ian decides to do his own investigating which ultimately brings him face to face with demons past and present.

I was a little uncertain about reviewing this book, but I thought I’d try to have an open mind and give it a go. Lampros is a confident writer who creates a likeable everyman character in Ian. As the story progresses, you learn more about Ian’s difficult past and celebrate with him as he achieves small wins in his work and budding relationship.

This is a quick and easy read. I think I only had two issues with the story. First, despite being a crime novel, it was left largely unresolved at the end. Secondly, despite the Christian themes and the otherwise matter-of-fact tone of the book, ghosts and visions were used a couple of times as plot devices.

All in all, a surprisingly enjoyable and insightful story in a genre I wouldn’t ordinarily read.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Mystery/Thriller, Uncategorized

Clovers

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author.

28533663

“Clovers” by Samira is a science fiction parody about Androxen, mercreatures who live in the Earth’s ocean and procreate with human women. However, despite living in relative secrecy from their human counterparts, increasing interaction brings the Earth’s dire situation to their awareness. The Androxen decide to seek help and send a message out into space to be intercepted by aliens.

This is a creative book interspersed with lots of colourful illustrations that you need a colour eReader to fully appreciate. It is a creative and light-hearted story that casts humanity into relief against two other sentient races. The book is structured like a anthropological text told by the fictional Samira.

At times however, this book can seem a little overwritten. The author relies very heavily on alliteration and the story is sometimes obscured by the wordplay.

A fun spin on the science-fiction genre that is as much about the words as it is the story.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, eBooks, Science Fiction, Uncategorized

Woe to Live On

This is the third book I’ve read by this author. I really, really loved “Winter’s Bone” and “Give us a Kiss”, and this one had been sitting on my shelf for ages waiting for the right time. I borrowed it from a friend who had struggled to finish it, but I given how much I’d enjoyed his other books, I was certain I’d enjoy this one as well. This was my 9th book in my five weeks of American literature, and again, I forgot to take a photo of it. Instead, here’s a photo from an incredible lake I went to in Montana.

wp-image--1410792277

“Woe to Live On” by Daniel Woodrell is a historical fiction set during the American Civil War around the Kansas/Missouri border. The story is told from the perspective of 16 year old Jack Roedel, the son of Dutch immigrants who has joined his childhood friend Jack Bull Chiles in becoming a Bushwhacker. Due to his heritage, Jake isn’t liked by the other Bushwhackers, but his steely nerves and friendship with Jack Bull Chiles earn him first tolerance then begrudging respect amongst the men. However, as the war progresses, more men die and the violence perpetrated by the Bushwhackers becomes less about Southern values and more about personal gain. Left mostly to himself hiding out one winter, Jake becomes friends with another unliked but tolerated Bushwhacker: Daniel Holt, a free black man. As the season thaws, Jake begins to lose his taste for guerrilla warfare.

Some of the incredible things about the books of Woodrell’s I read prior to this one were his fearlessness in tackling complex social issues, his characters and his unflinching portrayal of pockets of America. So (and I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say this) when I reached a point where I thought that it was maybe going to be an interracial gay romance set on the Southern side of the Civil War, I was so impressed at the bravery of this book. What a premise! What a literary gamble! However, it turns out that this it is in fact not an interracial gay romance. Instead it is much less groundbreaking exploration of the violence and wildness of young men, the futility and hypocrisy of war and the apparent temperance that a family and hearthside brings to one such hot-blooded man.

This is one of Woodrell’s earliest novels, and I think that his later ones are much better crafted. This one just didn’t have either the tension or the punch that I was expecting. While his writing is fine, the characters were pretty beige and despite all the horse-ridin’, gun-totin’, yee-hawin’ action – the plot was really much more of a gentle hill than any kind of great climax. There were so many times in this book I thought that Woodrell was going to take a risk and do something interesting with his characters but he never did. I think history buffs and people who are interested in the Civil War might get something out of this, but for the rest of you: forget this one and go straight for “Winter’s Bone”.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Uncategorized

The Girl on the Train

I was in the mood for something fast-paced, and I had this book sitting on my shelf after I picked it up for an easy $2 from the Canberra Lifeline Bookfair. This book has gotten a lot of attention recently after being made into a film, and has been touted as the next “Gone Girl“. Would it match up to all the hype?

20170725_181809

“The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins is a thriller novel set just outside London, UK. Rachel, a thirty-something woman with a drinking problem, catches the same train to the city, morning and evening. While the rest of her life seems like it’s falling apart, she looks forward to that brief moment twice a day where she can watch a particular blissful couple she’s named Jess and Jason and daydream about their perfect lives. Until one day, Rachel sees something. Something that shatters her fantasy and pulls her back into a world she’s been desperately trying, and failing, to escape with alcohol.

This book starts out strong and kind of fizzles from there. I think there’s no other way about it. The premise of the fleeting glimpse from a train window is a compelling one, and the beginning seems really promising. However, it ends up being like one of those old time cartoons where the scene starts off beautifully illustrated and the further the character walks, the more unfinished the scene becomes until they end up just standing by themselves on a blank page looking admonishingly at the animator.

The characters end up being quite two dimensional (I think only one woman character out of four has a job). The men are kind of indistinguishable, and the amount that the women’s lives seem to revolve around the men is super boring.  Opportunities for interesting relationships and characters are lost (I’m looking at you, red-headed cockney train guy). The “twist” is easy to guess. Only one character has any kind of interesting backstory. Even the conversations end up being really repetitive because there’s never really any new information.

I could understand how “Gone Girl” was so popular – it was enthralling and it was an excellent example of the unreliable narrator. This book instead leaned heavily on the concept of unreliable memory and as a result the revelations just felt a lot more unlikely (or uninteresting).

A quick read but by no means an excellent read, this book is exactly OK.

5 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Mystery/Thriller, Uncategorized

The Beat on Ruby’s Street

I received a copy of this eBook courtesy of the publicist.

The Beat on Ruby's Street

“The Beat on Ruby’s Street” by Jenna Zark is a historical young adult novel about Ruby, an eleven year old girl growing up among the Beat Generation in Greenwich Village, New York City in 1958. Living a carefree existence with artist Nell-mom, musician Gary Daddy-o and brother Ray,  everything comes crashing down when “the Man”, in the form of a social worker, comes looking for her. Although she tries to comfort herself with her own words and poetry, when she misses out on seeing Jack Kerouac, Ruby worries that her golden birthday coming up in just a couple of days isn’t going to be so golden.

This is a great little story that is really easy to read. In fact, after being invited to come watch my friend play jazz this afternoon, I thought what better place to spend my afternoon reading a book about the bohemian lifestyle than at a quirky live music venue. Ruby is a strong character with the perfect adolescent mix of overconfidence and uncertainty. Although we see the Beatnik scene through her eyes, this book raises some interesting questions about the children who grew up there and the tension between artistic self-interest and acceptable standards of care. Ruby has far more freedom that many children do today, but she also has a lot of uncertainty about meals, schooling and, sometimes, even the location of her parents. The only thing that I was a little disappointed in was the abrupt ending. However, this book does have a bit of a “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” feel about it and I think is ultimately meant to just be a glimpse into Ruby’s life.

I really enjoyed this book. A lovely and nuanced little snapshot into a vibrant time in history.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, eBooks, Historical Fiction, Uncategorized, Young Adult