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in the light of the sun

moments of me and my life by the sea

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reading

Zine tripping with June, Tammy and In the Light of the Sun

I don’t know what you’d call them really but I used to LOVE these when I was a girl of 10 summers. Fresh, sunny and sweet (me or my reading material?!). Girls magazines? Cartoons, comics, pulp fiction for kids? Did you ever read them?

I used to have a hard cover annual that I absolutely treasured, I can’t remember what it was called (maybe mum knows? I think it was a June Girls Annual circa 1975?) but it had stories about exotic adventures, boarding schools, tennis, horse riding, sewing tips and beauty info. I was smitten. I read it over and over and over and wished they still made them, and that was back in ’92. Those were the days before Dolly and Girlfriend magazine took over my must have reading list…

I stumbled across a bunch of old school girls paper zines in a little antique junk shop on the way to Healesville on our last trip to Melbourne. If we hadn’t taken carry on luggage only with a weight limit of 15 kilos I would have bought them all…alas, all I could squeeze in my bag was 2. One ‘June and School Friend’ circa July 1969 and one ‘You’re never alone with Tammy’ circa July 1978. A decade apart but the content is still the same – exotic adventures, school girl antics, tennis stories, making fun of that fatty Bessie Bunting, handsome and dangerous men.

I didn’t go on holiday this Easter long weekend, but discovering these forgotten zine purchases whilst cleaning up our house makes me feel like I’ve traveled back in time to my childhood, and the childhood of the original girls who saved their pennies (all 7 or 8 of them) to purchase these papers and be transported to a world of adventure.

I might chop these up when I’m done reading them. I think they’d make fun envelopes, paper cranes, wrapping paper and cards. If anyone wants to know what happens in any of the above stories, let me know and I’ll scan the next page for you!

P.S I hope you’ve enjoyed this zine trip down memory lane more than poor Ann (who speaks her mind) did…

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how do you organise your bookshelves?

I’ve just spring cleaned the bookcase. This true, but unappealing message, prompted a late night dusting phase that swiftly grew into a de-clutter, cull and reorganisation of all of my books 24 hour marathon.

Why would someone who loves books throw them away? It’s a question I’ve asked myself in the past. I can’t even bring myself to use a library anymore, I have to BUY the book, so it’s mine to keep forever. I grew up in a very pro-reading house and I was never denied any book I ever wanted, even though mum did protest at a proliferation of Babysitters Club books when I was 11 or 12. I got up to #41 before the spell broke. Slow learner?
Ever since I moved out of home most of my spare dollars or even most of my not so spare dollars would be spent on books at Ariels or Berkelouw. It was a cool 20 minute walk down from my apartment to these Paddington institutions and many a late night would be spent ambling through the aisles before the doors shut at 12, browsing must read classics, contemporary darlings and staff recommendations. I’ve never left empty handed.
But how many of these books will I ever read again? How many are just posers, sitting there for street cred but will doubtfully ever be read? In the spirit of the new years resolutions and starting afresh in 2010 I decided it would be a healthy experience to de-clutter my bookshelves, returning long lost books to their rightful owners, offering no longer needed uni texts and gifted books that I would never ever read and ‘read-but-will-never-read-again’ novels to friends and family. I’ll post a list soon of the books up for grabs, then the rest will head to Vinnies.
The real dilemna was not what to keep and what to give away. It was how to put all the pieces of the puzzle back together. How do you organise your bookshelves? Alphabetical? Genre? Colour? Dewey Decimal System?
I read this post in the Guardian, which was amusing but not particularly helpful. I asked twitter and facebook and everyone said to organise by colour. I usually love colour coordinated anything, so I gave it a try but I just wasn’t moved by the results.
 
I did find this gem amongst the dust. Despite the fact I will never want to read this Perry Mason Mystery, The Case of the Restless Redhead is staying on my shelves. Exeption to the rule.

So I settled on a mixture of colour blocks and genres chosen by me. I wanted to make little signs for each section but that idea was strongly contested by Tom. What a pain it is, cohabitation and compromise.

From the top, left to right, we have: ‘The Board’ – my top 3 authors whom all other books are compared to (J.K Rowlings, J.D Salinger and Kurt Vonnegut), Post Colonialism, Post Modern American Classics, Art/Photography, Fluff and Amusement (I hid the Twilight Saga at the back of that section but have elected to pass Bridget Jones Diary on. Sign of the times. Shake your heads…)
Second Row: Well Red, Brit Pop, Childhood Memories, Australian Authors, Latin Americanos,
Third Row: Notable Women, Murder She Wrote, 20th Century Classics and European Masters, Medieval/Myth/Pagan Housekeeping, Travel and Adventure
Fourth Row: Cookbooks, Languages, Texts and Theory

How do you organise yours?

Ruminating about reading…

Have you read The Reader by Bernhard Schlink? I saw a copy in Gertrude and Alice’s the other day and bought it on a whim. I haven’t seen the film adaptation, but I do remember hearing how controversial it was, that it humanised the perpertrators of the Holocaust and that Kate Winslet had won an Oscar for her role as Hanna, former SS guard at Auschwitz and the main antagonist of the book. I thought I’d give it a go.

I finished reading it last night just after I hopped off the train. Even though I only ever read it in blocks of 10 or 20 minutes whilst on the bus, train, or walking home, it easily captured my attention and despite the lack of thrilling plotline, (It’s no Millenium Trilogy) the emotional ‘thrill’ (for want of a better word) had me turning the pages at great speed. Then, unexpectedly, tears were pouring down my face, mixing with the snot dribbling from my nose (I have a cold!) and I had to turn on my windscreen wipers (also known as hands and sleeves) super fast in order to finish the last few pages. I must have looked pretty strange.
“A flash flood of emotion was reported to have hit Oxford Street mall in Bondi Junction yesterday evening at approximately 5.47pm. Witnesses claim to have seen a small, pre-loved copy of Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader floating at the top of the foam and flotsam. The Weather Bureau states it had no way of predicting this downpour of salty discharge but warn that the phenomenon is not uncommon and many sightings have been reported in the Eastern Suburbs area.”
Schlink describes feelings of shame, confusion and unrequited love in a way that reached deep into my subconscious and wrenched out buried memories from my teenage years. Sure, I have nothing in common with Michael Berg, the story’s protagonist who at 15 begins a love affair with 36 year old Hanna Schmidt, the tram operator with a secret past. Sure, I haven’t experienced the Holocaust and it’s devastating consequences in the way that entire countries and races and subsequent generations have. In fact, that whole part of the story remained strangely detached in my mind. Too lazy to enter the moral discussion? Perhaps I am. But whatever your moral veiwpoint, there’s no denying that the way Schlink writes about shame, guilt, confusion and love is powerful and impressive.  
Click here to read a review of The Reader published by The New York Times. I don’t exactly agree with everything written, but it’s an interesting review.
Click here to read an interesting article about the author Bernhard Schlink on The Guardian.
What gripped me as a reader, or ‘the reader’ even, was Hanna’s illiteracy and it’s devastating impact. Now, that’s not giving anything away, I haven’t spoilt the ending for you and perhaps you’ve seen the film anyway or read about the book anyway. If not, go ahead and give it a go. I’d love to know what you think.
Can you imagine not being able to read? I don’t think I can. I don’t think I want to. I can’t imagine what life would be like without books. Hanna’s life, and therefore everyone she comes in contact with during the course of her life, are deeply affected by her illiteracy and her consequent shame. What would her life have been like had she learnt to read as a child? I can’t imagine who I would be without the books I have read. I know I had an imagination before I could read, and was curious about the world, but being able to travel all around the universe in the safety and privacy of your own bedroom is something every child should experience.
Would I have a love of adventure, a never ending urge to travel, be as curious and inquisitive had I never read these books as a child?
The Growing Summer by Noel Streatfield
The Adventure Series by Enid Blyton
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis
Would I be as mischievous, bossy, confident, impetuous, bold and opinionated had I never read these books as a child? (Some might argue these traits are not complimentary to a lady, I argue otherwise!)
The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary.
The Eloise Books by Kay Thompson
The Naughtiest Girl in School series by Enid Blyton
The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Would I strive to be as brave and compassionate if I’d never read these books?
The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Would I have survived puberty without every book written by Judy Bloom?!
And that’s just a handful of books I read as a child. I think I’d need a whole new post for books that influenced me as a teenager and as an adult!
I’m not saying that just because Hanna is illiterate that she’s somehow not responsible for her actions in The Reader, not at all. Just that it’s awfully sad.

What books changed you as a child? Tell me about them and I’ll try to read them. I’ve still got loads of growing up to do!

can’t stop reading

My aim for the weekend was to get some serious reading done. Serious, in that I wanted to spend lots of time reading, not the subject matter per se.

I do love the feeling of being emersed in a book. I love watching the hours tick past on the clock as I turn page after page. I love it when it turns from day into night into day again and I’m still lying there reading. Like I could have been filmed in a time-lapse and if you played it back fast, nothing would change except the lighting in the room.

I just hate when you get down to the last part of the book, and the race for the finish line, because I’m so desperate to finish it I can barely take it in. I can never slow down for that part, it’s like a mad dash to the finish line, which I inevitably have to reread to soak in all the details. Especially if it’s taken me well into the night, and at say 1am I think, sure, I’ll be finished in a bit, then the time between 1 and 2 and 3 feels like 10 minutes has flown by.

Then there’s that weird post-book feeling, when you are released from the stranglehold and are obliged to go about your daily life as normal, but all the characters and events and feelings are still ambling (or racing, depending on the book) around in your mind, bumbing in to other thoughts and getting confused with reality.

I had four books set aside for this weekend. 1 down, 3 to go.

That’s the second in the Millenium trilogy by Swedish author Steig Larsson, the amazing Mr Kurt Vonnegut (how could you resist a book titled ‘God Bless You, Mr Rosewater’? It’s like a Salinger title. brilliant.) and the sharp witted Mr Evelyn Waugh. Where to start?! Lucky I have approx 8 hours sitting on a bus to look forward to this weekend!

The sky was amazing this morning. Tom and I got up pretty early for work and the view down to Bondi was so clear and crisp it made me wish I was just going straight to the beach for a relaxing day of reading and one of those divine felafal rolls and delightful rose lemonades from Sabbaba. Now I’m hungry too…

My camera doesn’t do the sky justice, but you get the idea.


I hope whereever you are the sun is shining and you have a good book to read.

Twilight

I just finished devouring the Twilight Saga. Can’t say it was the best written stuff I’ve ever read but boy did i fall hook line and sinker for that love story. Well, for Edward Cullen, vampire extraordinaire, in particular.

swooooooon.

Sure, I declare myself as an independant feminist but I can’t deny that a character such as Edward, with devastatingly handsome looks, intelligence, manners, stacks of cash and most importantly his overwhelming devotion to his love and family and morals didn’t have me all starry eyed. dammit. I must be a hopeless romantic at heart… or hopeless dreamer in any case. I don’t think his type really exist. (well I’m not certain about the vampire part, I could believe that part, but the rest is just all too good to be true.)

The writing was a cliche and repetitive and predicatable, but hey, it’s blockbuster young adult fiction not a booker prize nomination. I was disappointed with how the ending played out. I felt a little flat after I had finished the final book. But what comes up must come down and I was HIGH AS A KITE whilst reading those books. Weeping. Frequently. Laughing like a school girl. Jumping with glee. Embarrassingly so. I haven’t been that obsessed over something for a long time. Regardless of it’s faults, the series certainly managed to light a fire within me that I hadn;t felt in a long time.

I didn’t sleep for 4 days in order to finish them off as soon as possible. (Vampires never sleep though so I can hardly complain.)

Not sure how I feel about the movie. Not sure about whether it will live up to my imagination. But I’m seeing it this Saturday anyway. I’ll let you know!

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