This week

By Vita Forest

Wet weather walking scenery


This week I have been

READING

Weslandia by Paul Fleischman (they loved it!)

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (some comfort reading).

WRITING Skubiszewski on the wireless 

GETTING ready for Bullying. No Way! day at school with lots of teamwork, meetings, collaborative artwork and a poetry competition

DRAWING a magical garden inside a pantry in the style of Shaun Tan in Eric (I think we might make a 3D sculpture garden too…)  The kids enjoyed using 4B lead pencils, many of them discovering them for the first time.

LISTENING to a lot of Adele at dinner with the kids.

MAKING Jules Clancy’s Fudgy 5 ingredient chocolate cake (so delicious)http://thestonesoup.com/blog/2013/03/a-duo-of-easter-treats/

then

CELEBRATING my sister Kara’s birthday with all the fam (eating the aforementioned cake)

WHIPPING out for a quick walk when the rain stopped with sister Briony and Lucy.  It’s been a relentlessly wet week here…

FEELING rather exhausted.

This week

By Vita Forest

Costume craziness

Costume craziness

This week I have been

READING

  • Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta (love spending time with those Skuldenorians)
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell (on Max’s recommendation)

WRITING Day tripping

MAKING costumes, costumes and more costumes!

WATCHING Borgen Series 1

VISITING

  • Gerringong and Kiama with Saskia
  • Cockatoo Island

CATCHING

  • up with some lovely colleagues past and present
  • up with my old Mothers Group.  What an amazing bunch they are, what a lot we have gone through since we first met.

DOING some “extreme sketching” at Cockatoo Island in wild winds and with aggressive sea gulls dive bombing.  Who knew sketching could be such a daredevil activity?

 

This week

By Vita Forest

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This week I have been

WRITING Justify

READING

  • Greene on Capri by Shirley Hazzard
  • Tell the truth, Shame the devil by Melina Marchetta (well the last two days anyway – don’t normally buy “just released” books but it is MM).

RESTING due to being absolutely floored by the flu.

VISITING the doctor. Twice.

LOOKING after my sick children too.

WATCHING The Bridge (Swedish/Danish version) on DVD (not with the kids).

CUDDLING up with the kitty cat gals.

SOLVING puzzles in my Codewords book.

SLEEPING a lot

This week

By Vita Forest


Pelicans at Merimbula.

This week I have been

EXPERIENCING my own disaster – the flooding of my apartment while I was away in Merimbula (over 500km from Sydney….)

RUSHING back to Sydney to the aftermath (thanks Alessandro and Sui-Sui).

FEELING very touched and grateful  to the tribe of people who helped with mopping, moving furniture, cat-minding and offering accomodation and other support. A big shout out to Saskia – you are a champion! 

CAMPING out at my parents’ place.

READING small snatches of Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (comfort reading late at night, Marchetta always makes me feel better).

WATCHING the DVD of As it is in Heaven after a lovely dinner made by Saskia. 

REMEMBERING it could have been worse…

When should you stop reading?

By Vita Forest

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So, for a few weeks now I have been reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

The Luminaries… winner of the 2013 Booker Prize,

The Luminaries… set in the goldfields of New Zealand in the 1860s,

The Luminaries… over seven hundred pages long,

The Luminaries… which I am now about halfway through and which I am going to stop reading.

When do you give up on a book?  I used to struggle through, grinding my teeth if I found it excruciating.  Reading on til the bitter end.  Sometimes I still do.  If the book is two hundred pages long.  But this is a brick of a book.  I think if it hasn’t grabbed me yet, it is not going to.  And I’ve given it a goodly chance.  I’ve given it a few weeks of my life, as a pile of books I want to read sit unread on my shelf…

It’s not the length.  (Although that is not helping).  I relish spending as long as possible in certain books.  And sometimes do it again and again (Possession by A.S. Byatt, or WolfHall by Hilary Mantel, The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta).  But the story and the characters have not grabbed me beyond a very limp handshake.  I can let go without feeling loss.  I don’t really care what happens…

I am supposed to be reading it for a bookish meeting you see.  This is the good and bad thing about book clubs.  The good thing – you read books you wouldn’t normally read and discover wonderful authors you may not have come across before – Wallace Stegner, Diane Setterfield, Hilary Mantel.  The bad thing is – you read books you wouldn’t normally read and discover authors you never want to read again (not naming names, but

  • there was a certain book about a certain time travelling stone that involved a lot of very badly written caveman sex…  Yes, there is such a thing.  The girl who suggested it left the country soon after, we like to think it was due to the shame of having picked such a book.
  • And the very bad vampire romance with the main characters with the hilarious names with very bad spelling.  (Actually some of the club loved this one and went on to read the series, peopled with more vampires with mothers who couldn’t spell).

So I guess I will be one of those people who go to a book club without reading the book.  Someone who can add something to the conversation about the book, just not a whole lot.

Not that having read the book always matters.  We had a very spirited and funny book club meeting last night (another book club – you can never belong to too many), where a good portion of the attendees hadn’t read the book (All the Light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr – now make sure you read that one!)

How long do you give a book?

I’m letting this one go.

 

This week

By Vita Forest

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

This week I have been

  • READING
    • On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.  You can never read this book enough times.
  • WRITING
  • MAKING up a dance with my buddy teacher for Year 5 and 6 dance auditions next week.
  • VISITING the beach twice this weekend.  Happy days!
  • WATCHING Labyrinth with my kids and sister Briony.  A trip back in time.
  • PRESENTING at the Parent Teacher information night for my class.
  • FINISHING covering all the class exercise books with our home-made book covers.
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    Can you spot the monkeys? (QVB Chinese New Year decorations).

The end of the affair

By Vita Forest

What's wrong with a happy ending?

What’s wrong with a happy ending?

The truth is hard and tough as nails, that’s why we need fairy tales.

from Munchhausen by Hollander

While convalescing at home, awaiting the results of a whooping cough swab, with my voice deepened to a sultry level, but missing the resonance required to address twenty-three small children without it cracking into inconsistent seal yelps, I turned in consolation to literature.

As you may know, I have recently finished reading the delightful Brother of the more Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido.  Before being laid low, I had handily picked up a couple more of Trapido’s books from the library.

I have finished Juggling (not as lovely as BOTMFJ) and have launched into The Travelling Hornplayer.  Some of the characters began to feel familiar, then I realised there were favourites from the aforementioned novels, now years later, bumping into each other across the end pages of those other books.  This was not necessarily a cause for alarm.

But then it was.

“No!” I wanted to scream in my cracked voice, as my literary crush from BOTMFJ engaged in a seedy affair in a grimy flat in London while his wife pottered about in The Cotswolds.  “No, Barbara Trapido, I don’t want to know this!”

Some books do not need epilogues, do not need sequels.  I want to think back affectionately to the “closure”, to the satisfaction of everything ending how it should have.

I want Georgie giving Lu the kiss of life in the bottom of a boat after he has pulled her from a sinking plane, not reading that Tim Winton has written a play reusing these characters in which Georgie is grieving her lover who has been KILLED.

I want Lucy Honeychurch and George Emerson  to live blissfully together after she throws over that cold fish Cecil, not the future mapped out in the epilogue of boredom, resentment and cheating.

I certainly don’t want to read about what happens to Darcy or anyone else after the perfect ending (particularly from someone who is not the original author…) but when it is the author – oh, they still need to be very careful.

Melina Marchetta has done it successfully (“Of course,” I hear you say, “Could you stop going on about her!”)  J. K. Rowling too.  And I didn’t mind meeting up again with Michael Ondaatje’s Caravaggio and Hana once more in The English Patient.  But I agree that A.S. Byatt didn’t need to add the epilogue to Possession and I think that Suzanne Collins could have stopped after The Hunger Games.  Don’t even get me started about Stephenie Meyer…

So I suppose I will continue reading The Travelling Hornblower but my hackles have been raised.  I do not want to fall out of love with Jonathon.

Have you ever wished an author had just stopped?