Monday, May 11, 2015

Book report!


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!!



  1. Blogging this time of year is difficult isn't it? There's so much going on! I've just written a short catch-up post myself.
    I'm not reading anything at the moment as I find it hard to find good content in adult's books...reading was so much easier when I was a child lol!
    Hope you have a good week,
    Sarah x

    1. I often read the books my kids are reading and enjoy them just as much as my own, I wonder if YA books might be what you've been looking for? x

  2. What a lovely selection Kate! I really want to buy both Pip and Michelle's books. Such a nice time of the year to reading...when time permits!? I am reading A Fig at the Gate by Kate Llewellyn, a lovely story about gardening, poultry, aging and friendship. x

    1. I'm popping that book on my list, sounds just like the kind of book I love to read.
      Thanks Jane.

  3. I loved Pip & Michelle's books. Such great, great books!
    I'll pop some of those books on my list for next year because this year I'm following along with Pip & reading just Australian authors. It's been great so far. I actually wrote about all the books I've loved so far last week. You can pop over & have a look but don't feel you have to. I always feel a little uncomfortable commenting on other peoples blogs & then saying "go read my blog".
    Have a nice week Kate & I hope you find time to catch up xx

  4. What a great set of recommendations,Kate! They all look very interesting for different reasons. I will save them for my summer reading....Thanks! I am currently reading a book called "Burial Rites"by Hannah Kent for my book club, which is set in rural Iceland in the 19th century. It is based on real events and tells the story of a woman who has been convicted of murder and the power of truth and people's interpretations or judgement of the truth and how damaging these can be. It is very good. Have a lovely week! Pati x

  5. I haven't read a good book for such a long time. Thank you so much for these ace tips. I'm fascinated by that boarding school life and how kids react within it. I'm off to buy that nook right now.

  6. Hello lovely - great post! I shared it with my bookclub... Looking forward to tearing into all of the list above! I've just devoured Breath by the great Tim Winton, and as I'm learning surfing, I was completely engrossed. He has such a way of bringing up all 5 senses to full tilt. We've just read Fear of Flying by Erica Jong for book club and 100 years of Solitude is on the next up list after The Secret Life of Philomena Lee. My favourite cookbook at the moment is the fabulous Gluten Free Grain Free by Tania Hubbard - simple and I love it! Happy days to you and yours from me and mine! xx

  7. Lovely bookish post! I'm very keen to read Elena Ferrante's books and Tracks is lurking somewhere on my bedside table waiting to be read. So many books... xx

  8. I'm going to check a few of those out (and some from the comments too!) I really like the look of Tracks and A table in the orchard...
    I'm reading 12x12 by William Powers at the moment and I'm finding it very inspiring- not sure I'm ready for that level of simplicity yet but it's definitely making me think about what I have and what I need! Oh and I just finished a book you might know called vantastic... :) and have plans for lots of bunting making this summer...
    Looking forward to the crafting catch up but only if you have time!


Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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