A Bit of Delightfulness

There are many wombats at Cradle Mountain. Wombats have a hard shell on their rear so when in their burrows they can raise up and crush a predator if needed. They also have a pouch that faces backwards.

I edited a few more photographs from the Cradle Mountain Trip. I have a really cute dogs photo that makes me laugh and I hope you will chuckle a bit.

I have a few books to briefly write about and just some natter going on in my head. So let’s get started.

We’ll talk about a couple of books first

I am now 99 pages into Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman for the Fullers Bookshop shared reading. We read some of it in the reading group on Monday. Our facilitator, Ebi is a German man who really studied this book for more than a year and knows his Russian/German history inside out. We stopped several times to discuss features of the story or to hear some more history.

Then we had to read another section at home as it is such a large book and we have 12 weeks to finish it. I am really enjoying this Russian novel about the war between the Russians and Germans. I might add we aren’t doing too bad either with the Russian names either.

I have given up on the Shirley Hazard Collected short stories because I don’t have the patience for them. She is an excellent writer and her characters are developed well and her locations are descriptive. I do like the writing and will read other novels by her. However these stories were written in the 1950s for the most part and with all that goes on socially around women’s issues (and many other issues) in Australia, I am having difficulty going back to the time in a book at the moment.

Most of the stories have been about men lusting for younger women, boring descriptions of their wives, unrequited love. The entire book is a description of disappointment (which she does very well) but against the suffering endured in the Russian book I just want them to all go away. I made a small chart of the type of men and women described in the 40% of the book I did read.

I have been reading about the short listed Booker nominees this week too. Jason Steger who is Literary Editor for the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald has a newsletter that he sends each Friday. This week’s newsletter is about all of the problems with the Booker Prize, the criticism, the rules. I found it very interesting.

As I can’t attach this newsletter I will send it to anyone as an email to anyone who would like to read it. Email me at: travellinpenguin at gmail dot com.

So speaking of the Booker shortlisted books, you can find them online with google, (Booker shortlist 2021). I won’t go into the shortlist today though there are a few I’d like to read. I did start with Patricia Lockwood’s book No-one is Talking About This. It is very much stream of consciousness around the world of Twitter. As I don’t use Twitter and have never been interested in it I found the book bored me to tears. I actually downloaded the Kindle version. As I didn’t care for her book Priestdaddy that we read for book group a year or so ago. I didn’t want to spend a lot on this one. I read 35 to 40% of it then threw it down in frustration. I really couldn’t bear it. I looked up the reviews on Good Reads and found about 50/50 between ‘love it’ and ‘hate it’. I think I am too old for it. I’m sure she’ll find her audience who praise it but it won’t come from here. I was actually within the time period I could return it to Amazon. As I never return things to Amazon they allowed a refund which I happily accepted.

In the meantime I heard a podcast about Anthony Bourdain and as I’ve not read him before I downloaded his older book Kitchen Confidential. I began that last night and am really enjoying it. It is biographical as well as discussing the restaurant business, warts and all. The two American men on the podcast I was listening to, There Will Be Books, gave a good description of what they enjoyed about the book and it isn’t all peaches and cream when it comes to criticising the chef or wait staff. You have been warned. Bourdain has another book out recently, put together by others since his death and Good Reads reviewers pan it as an overrated grab for money on his name so I wasn’t interested. Kind of what happened to Harper Lee’s last book published after her death.

My copy of Womankind magazine arrived this week. It features the Arab world this month and I look forward to delving into it. Womankind is published bi-monthly.

That’s it on books for the moment.


Now on to photography. I have a few other photos I edited from Cradle Mountain that showcases our wonderful wilderness areas in Tasmania.

Enjoy the photos. I was quite happy with them.

Philosopher Falls- Warratah, Tasmania
Philosopher Fall area
The wilderness area is full of these ferns. So green and beautiful.
This photo was taken by Kerri Huang, who gave me permission to post. She was a fellow
member of our tour at Philosopher Falls.
It is a truly beautiful area and there may be an elf or a hobbit who lives here. Just wonderful.

Next I have a wonderful snippet about Peanut and Ollie. I take the bus into town two or three times a week to go to the gym or run errands. Mr Penguin is often off to his gym and doing his errands so the dogs are home. As they play hard in the mornings they are ready for a sleep in the afternoon. They curl up on the bed that is under the window in our front room that is on the second story above our garage. Great views all around.

They have figured out one of us is often on the bus. The bus goes by on weekdays every 30 to 40 minutes. When they hear it, they pop up from their bed, look out the window and watch for a few minutes to see if we come walking up the drive. If not I assume they go back to sleep. If we are on it, they follow with their little faces and greet us enthusiastically at the door. No-one is ever happier to see us than our dogs. I snapped this photo with my phone last week as I walked up the driveway.

Are you on this bus?

Well, that is about all that happened this week. I look forward to seeing what others are doing with their time and their reading.

17 thoughts on “A Bit of Delightfulness

  1. I really, really disagree with you about Harper Lee. I know everyone loves To Kill a Mockingbird (except me) but Go Set a Watchman in which Scout’s father is far more problematic than the simplisitic saint of Mockingbird is the book Lee wanted to write and was talked out of publishing. Ursula Le Guin wrote an absolutely beautiful review of Watchman in which she bemoans how much we lost when Lee refused to go on writing after she was so misrepresented by the reception of Mockingbird.

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    1. It’s okay to disagree with me. I did enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird. I read quite a damning article somewhere (it’s been awhile now but Guardian or NY Times or somewhere) about the lawyer that pushed to get the second book published. Probably why I think as I do. But who really knows.


  2. Thanks for the Patricia Lockwood review: I was also put off the Twitter theme – as you say, there comes a time when uber-modern themes no longer appeal. Great pics.
    Oh: Anthony Bourdain – I’m a huge fan, and was upset when he died. I read his early books Kitchen Confidential & the follow up, loved them and have also enjoyed most of his TV travelogue series.


  3. i saw one of those little animals when i was driving home the other day. i asked my daughter what it was (she’s a vet) and she said it was a mountain beaver, which i’d never heard of and never seen before. it looked just like your photo of the wombat! i know what you mean about some older, dated, books: they have to have additional attractions to make them perusable, i think… wonderful photo of the falls – curious name…


  4. That is gorgeous about the dogs… ours have always ‘known’ our cars, and whoever is home knows beforehand if the other is arriving because the dog has raised the alarm:).
    I’m not the slightest bit interested in the twitter book either, but The Promise is really good.
    And Life and Fate, what can I say that hasn’t been said before? It’s just brilliant.

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  5. I’m summoning energy to start Life and Fate. Dogs are great – we used to have a 5-bar gate across our drive. My dog Bronte was often standing peering through the bars when I was due to come home. As I walked up our road (we’re at the end of a cul-de-sac) she’d recognise me and start waving her tail, becoming increasingly delighted. You can’t beat a dog’s welcome!

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  6. I love your images, particularly Philosopher Falls through the trees. I’ve lived in Tassie my whole life but only been to Cradle three times … two of those since Covid. Wonderful place and even better without the tourists 😉
    We’ve been watching an Anthony Bourdain travel/food series on one of the streaming platforms. Very entertaining, he hid his demons well 😦

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