We read...

To know we are not alone. ~C.S. Lewis~

Wednesday, April 14, 2010



Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
397 pages
Gothic romance
my rating: DDG

This is one of those books that you return to time and again throughout your reading life. When read ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again’, one of my favourite first lines, I am instantly transported to 1930s England and the house on the coast that I wanted for my own as a teenager reading this for the first time.

The Rebecca of the title haunts the story rather rebeccathan participates in it and there are many of the other characteristics required for a gothic horror story, although it’s probably a bit tame for modern  audiences. It’s a love story in the style of ‘R’omance – there’s not a lot of mushy stuff but there is a deftly handled romance between Maxim, Rebecca’s widower, and his new bride.

She’s the one who dreams about Manderley, the first person narrator, and she’s very easy for a reader to love so go on – give her a go.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

2010 so far

read in 2010





  • Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger

Becca reminded me

….I’ve read The Nineteenth Wife & Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (actually I started it but abandoned it for 84 Charring Cross Road).

Thanks Becca, it’s good to know someone is paying attention even when I’m not… See full size image

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tomorrow When the War Began

review[7] tomorrow-war-began-john-marsden

rating: VPI



It’s a teen novel about a war that sneaks up on a bunch of teenagers who are camping in the remote countryside of an unnamed country, which I couldn’t help but think of as my own Australia. This, I expect, comes from the Australian-ness of the narrative voice and my knowledge of the origins of the book. I heard John Marsden interviewed somewhere and he said he wrote the Tomorrow books to speak to his students who were disengaged with literature.

I’ve been wanting to read it since my teenagers read it and l.o.v.e.d it to  pieces! It’s an easy, enjoyable read, a bit too teenagerery for me and, while I love the apocryphal storyline, I was bored by the romancey bits – that’s not a criticism of the book I’m rarely a fan of the smelchy, will-he-won’t-he/does-he-doesn’t-he/I’m-so- confused relationship-stuff.

I loved the start of the book - disorientation of coming home a world abandoned by all humanity but found the teenagers amazing feats of cunning a little far fetched. If an aggressor had enough skill to invade, take a whole town captive and create a base of operations  within the space of a week I think they’d be able to round up the stragglers pretty quick too. It didn’t detract too much though & I can see why it would capture the hearts and minds of a youth reader audience and inspire the reading of the whole seven books in the series.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

84 Charring Cross Road


rating : DDG (drop dead gorgeous)

During the Christmas break I started reading Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, one of my Christmas books. It reminded me so much of 84 Charring Cross Road I abandoned Guernsey to revisit 84, a charming book which should be required reading for all book lovers.84 Charing Cross Road An epistolary novel gathering the correspondence (which did actually take place so It’s not really a novel I guess) between Helene Hanff (in New York) and Marks & co - 'antiquarian book-sellers' -  (in London) just after WWII. The lovely pithy little letters make it a quick read.

The juxtaposition of Helen, a fiery New Yorker who writes just the way you’d imagine she speaks, and the very proper English gentleman, Frank Dole, is glorious and their discussion of literature (amongst other things) makes this book a treasure.

Helen, as an anglophile, was a girl after my own heart and her desire to see, taste and feel all things English was something I could relate to in such a passionate way the first time I read this:

Please write and tell me about London, I live for the day when I step off the boat-train and feel its dirty sidewalks under my feet. I want to walk up Berkeley Square and down Wimpole Street and stand in St. Paul's where John Donne preached and sit on the step Elizabeth sat on when she refused to enter the Tower, and like that. A newspaper man I know, who was stationed in London during the war, says tourists go to England with preconceived notions, so they always find exactly what they go looking for. I told him I'd go looking for the England of English literature, and he said:
"Then it's there."

It took us about the same length of time to achieve the dream of walking those London streets – 20 years. Her visit is captured in diary form in The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, often included now in one volume with 84 Charring Cross Road.

**spoiler alert**

I find The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street disappointing and I realise it’s because it doesn’t contain Frank’s voice.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

hosted by MizB @ Should be Reading.
* Grab your current read & let it fall open.
* Share 2 “teaser” sentences, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
* Share the title of the book… remember...
**************************avoid spoilers please****************************

catcher I got bored sitting on that washbowl after a while, so I backed up a few feet and started doing this tap dance, just for the hell of it. I was just amusing myself. Catcher in the Rye p25

Sunday, April 4, 2010

think Wendy THINK!

Thanks to the little bit of blogging I HAVE done this year I know I’ve read 84 Charring Cross Road and Tomorrow When the War Began. Also There was Rebecca am still raking my brains and scouring my shelves for others. If I’ve mentioned anything I’ve read in conversation with you please let me know.

sketchy reviews of the above to follow (sketchy because some of these books I don’t have anymore so no details like first lines, fav lines, page no. etc.

what a ditz!