Monday, May 11, 2015
I guess the main problem with blogging so infrequently is that I'm always catching up. And when I'm catching up I often forget some of the details, I sometimes don't have the relevant material with me anymore and I always feel like there's so much to get through that I don't know where to start. So I guess this is a kind of warning that the weather forecast for this week is grim so I might finally find myself with a bit more inside/computer time and a couple of catch up posts might be on the cards.
The first is a book report. Or bookS as the case may be.
Season of Salt and Honey was written by fellow blogger and mother of two cute girls Hannah Tunnicliffe.
In Hannah's own words - Seasons of Salt and Honey is the story of a young Italian-American woman escaping the tragic loss of her fiancé by retreating into the Washington coastal rain forest.
I read it in a couple of nights, devouring all the relationships, the descriptions of grief and Hannah's gradual physical and emotional journey from a life that was safe and expected all the way through to one that she chose and fought for.
The thing that makes this book so different for me was the traditional Sicilian recipes included within the chapters. Nine recipes that had me reading each word of their ingredients lists and methods as if they told an important part of the story. While I've seen loads of cooking scenes in movies, I'm not sure I ever have read them in a novel before and I loved the extra flavour it gave to the story.
When Hannah wrote to me explaining that she was a friend of Beth's and had written this book and would love to send me a copy, she suggested I might like to cook a couple of the recipes in my review. While I haven't yet had the chance, I can certainly see her Nzuddi - Vinnies - roasted almond cookies, Spring risotto and Rosolio alle Erbe - sweet herb cordial/liqueur in my future.
Season of Salt and Honey can be purchased online here.
My sister Abby lent me Rebecca Starford's Bad Behaviour last week and I read it in about two days. I could not put it down.
Bad Behaviour is the story of one woman's experience of life at the country campus of an exclusive Melbourne school. The book examines boarding school life and bullying and gives the author an opportunity to tell her own story of life before that year away and since.
This book touched me on so many levels.
Firstly, when I was about halfway through BB I clicked onto Facebook one night and found a gorgeous picture of a group of current students of that very same school, all heavily laden down with enormous matching blue backpacks on the top of a mountain somewhere in the Victorian high country. I sat searching those 15 or so faces for ages, looking for the characters in the book (even though it's been years since they hiked that trail), trying to work out who would be the leaders and the followers and imagining all sorts of other scenarios from the book. I guess that snapshot gave a reality to the book that could otherwise have been just another story.
Secondly, BB took me all the way back to camps that I went on at school. The things we got up to, the popular girls, the cruel taunting that went on and the general day to day life.
And lastly, a book about a 14 year old girl of course made me think of my 14 year old girl and some of the stuff that goes on with her friends and classmates.
I'm sure BB ruffled a lot of feathers and upset a lot of people and I do feel awful about that. I'm not sure how I would feel if someone were to publish a book detailing the goings on of my year ten camp. However it is an interesting story and for all the reasons above - I couldn't put it down.
When Marika from Scribe publishing emailed me asking if we would like her to send us a copy of The Underwater Fancy-dress Parade, a new children's book, I originally thought I'd say no. My girls are all now well out of the picture book department and it didn't seem like it would be relevant. But then I read Marika's review and changed my mind.
Marika wrote - It's a very sweet story of childhood shyness and fitting in - the message being that it's OK to be shy, and that it's not a character flaw to be fixed.
While stories of elves and fairies and horses are great, I've found that books aimed at young readers don't necessarily tackle the big life stuff and sometimes a picture book is just what you need to get the conversation started. This book certainly does just that.
And did I mention that it's GORGEOUS!!! Allison Colpoys illustrated this book and Davina Bell wrote it.
We've read it several times in our home, both together and alone. We've used it to discuss and understand situations we've found ourselves in and also some of our friends. I think we might donate our copy to our school library this afternoon so more kids can read it and discuss it.
Here's a cute story of how the book came to be.
My sister Emily lent me the Ferrente novels a few weeks ago and told me I'd love them but before that I'd never even heard of them. My Mum said they are huge but I guess that shows how out of the literary circle I am.
But nevertheless I loved them!! Loved them!!
Three big, fat books that carry the story of two girl friends from childhood all the way into their womanhood. Their story is filled with descriptions of a neighbourhood, a community, of places, of times and politics, of family and of friendship.
For me, the worst part of reading these books was coming to the end of the third book and feeling like I had to say goodbye to the main characters Elena and Lila. You can imagine my happiness when Emily told me there's a fourth and final book in the series coming out this October. Yay!
Which brings me to Tracks by Robyn Davidson, which my sister Meg recommended to me and I am reading right now. And loving. No picture of the cover because I am reading it on my kindle.
Hopefully I'll post soon about Pip's new book - Craft For The Soul - which Miss Indi has claimed and is adoring and Michelle's book - A Table In The Orchard - which farmer Bren is devouring hungrily.
Phew, that's books all caught up, I'll try and do craft next I think. Or maybe an outside farm post if the weather cooperates.
In the meantime - what are you reading?
Happy page turning!!