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!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

confessions of an ersatz blogger

Yes that’s right I confess there’s not much original thought going on at WeRead. I copy format, layout, even tone in an effort to fit in to the blogosphere, because I really like it it here. I came back all enthusiastic after the Christmas break and then I went back to work everything started back & BAM the old not-enough-time-thing cut into my blogging…plus after such a long break away from blogging I didn’t/don't know how to return.

Especially as my return may well be short-lived. I just can’t seem to juggle all the things I must do to leave room for all the things I like to do, I take my hat off to all you regular bloggers with original, creative ideas (who I admire & copy like crazy). I’m convalescing atm and under doctor’s orders to do nothing strenuous. He even underlined housework as strenuous AND warned MGM to enforce the ‘do nothing’ rule (I love my doctor). So I have a small window of blog time, which I’m going to devote to recording the books I’ve read this year.

I realise now that I can’t remember all that I’ve read this year... f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.i.n.g!
humph…that’s why I started this blog in the first place!

I don’t know what I’m going to do with Friday Firsts – I’ve missed ANOTHER first Friday (how could it be four already that I’ve missed!) I’m just going to rack my brain for books I’ve read and if I can do more I’ll be overjoyed (& shocked). If that’s all I can do well... life’s too short to sweat the small stuff.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Other Boleyn Girl


The Other Boleyn Girl Phillippa Gregory
452 pages
historical Fiction
my rating: VPI

Gregory gives life to the court of Tudor England and creates some relatable characters in her book about Mary Boleyn, and its five sequels.  I found myself hating Anne and loving Mary and I think strong emotion evoked in the reader is an indication of good writing.

I love historical fiction and so the VPI rating should be other-boleyn-girl taken under advisement – if you’re not into this genre you won’t like it as there is a lot of history here. The wikipedia entry has a lot about the historical inaccuracies, but you don’t read fiction for  fact. Just read it for the pleasure of the vivid and detailed life of Mary Boleyn. Don’t short-cut this by watching the movie which did not do justice to the book despite the gorgeous Eric Banner as Henry VIII.

Monday, February 8, 2010

too many books, so little time

Musing Mondays button

hosted by Becca of Just One More Page. Pop over and read lots of interesting comments & post your own.

This week: Do you frequently read more than one book at a time? Do you try to limit this to a certain number? Do you have different books for different purposes/topics?

I am a dyed-in-the-wool read one book at a time fan. I like to immerse myself completely, no distractions or characterisations blending into one another, no getting storylines mixed up…you get the picture. Alas my total devotion to one book and one book only has gone by the wayside.

I usually have a book club book going at the same time as one (or two) from Mt TBR. Too many books not enough time-before-I-turn-out-the light sums up my abandonment of my preferred reading habit.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

[review[7].jpg] 514 pages
Genre: Family Saga/whodunit/religion
Tone: factual/historical
Rating: VPI
Fav lines: We were something else – a cult, a cowboy theocracy, a little slice of Saudi America. p8

First Line: In the one year since I renounced my Mormon faith, and set out to tell the nation the truth about American polygamy, many people have wondered why I ever agreed to become a plural wife.

Synopsis: Interweaves dual stories of a nineteenth wife; one, Ann Eliza Young in 1875, who sets about divorcing her husband and de-bunking the practice of polygamy; and two, BeckyLyn a current-day 19th wife accused of killing her husband who must be rescued by her estranged son, Jordan Scott.

What do I think?: This is a book about families and the pressures we put on each other which of course are compounded for the polygamous family. I was very interested to see how the women in a multiple marriage cope and it has to be said that this story shows both he good and the bad (although perhaps not with equal measure). It’s not what you think, it’s not all LDS bashing in fact one of the aspects I really enjoyed was the focus on faithful people living out their lives according to their beliefs even when the rest of the world can’t understand or doesn’t agree.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s not at all sordid, the voracious way women are ‘consumed’ and then discarded by a few men in positions of power is subtly handled with lots of spaces in the text for the reader to fill in themselves…nice.

Overall I enjoyed both storylines although Ann Eliza gets a bit dry at times. Polygamy is an interesting subject deftly given life in this book, I’d recommend it if you’re interested in the different ways people live their lives.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy New year

Hello everyone in blogland I know the 1st of Feb is a ridiculous day to say happy new year but my year has got off to a bit of a rough start so I’m declaring January a non-entity and starting afresh with February.

I hope you all got the books you wanted for Christmas and am looking forward with relish (pickles and mayonnaise too) to reading all your reviews of your summer/winter/holiday reading. How lucky am I…I got 3 of the 4 books on my wishlist.

19th wife unbearable  Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

The 19th Wife David Ebershoff, Unbearable Lightness of Being Milan Kundera & Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society Mary Ann Shaffer.


using functional grammar 1000 glass beads shabby

Using Functional Grammar: An Explorer's Guide David Butt, 1000 Glass Beads: Innovation & Imagination in Contemporary Glass Beadmaking & Junk Style Melanie Molesworth.