A very happy Ollie.

Windows are open and the sun is shining. The eastern half of Australia has just been inundated with rain the past few weeks. And like everyone else I keep saying, Can you believe it is the end of the year already? Okay so getting on with it.

Books: I finished the audible book The Happiest Refugee by Anh Doh that is a biography that spans from his treacherous arrival into Australia as a small child aboard a leaky boat, attacked by pirates, hunger and all kinds of danger. It is amazing they actually made it thanks to a German ship that picked them up. He details his family’s activities, the highs and lows of life in Sydney and he really does have an indomitable spirit. He is very successful as an artist and comedian and I enjoy his tv series as he paints a portrait of his featured guests while talking to them. The guest is then presented with the final portrait at the end of the program. Anh’s Brush With Fame featured on the ABC (Australia).

I have also visited my Lonely Planet Armchair Traveller book of writings and music from the countries of the world and picked Peru for me a couple of weeks back. I downloaded a book of short stories by Peruvian author Julio Ramon Ribeyro. The book is titled Marginal Voices: Selected Stories. I am loving these stories and his writing is just brilliant. It is narrated by Kenneth Lee, part of the Texas Pan American series, University of Texas Press 1993. Translated by Dianne Douglas.

Amazon describes the book as:

Julio Ramón Ribeyro has been widely acclaimed as Peru’s master storyteller. Until now, however, few of his stories have been translated into English. This volume brings together fifteen stories written during the period 1952-1975, which were collected in the three volumes of La palabra del mudo. Ribeyro’s stories treat the social problems brought about by urban expansion, including poverty, racial and sexual discrimination, class struggles, alienation, and violence. At the same time, elements of the fantastic playfully interrupt some of the stories. More importantly, Ribeyro’s characters are culturally diverse, yet they share a common destiny—a life nourished by illusions that falls short of their expectations and invariably leads to solitude. As the characters become swept up in circumstances beyond their understanding, Ribeyro shows that the only freedom or dignity left them comes from their own imaginations.

I am enjoying these stories very much. The writing is excellent and the characters very well defined. I have also been listening to the music listed on the page of the Lonely Planet book through Amazon Music or Spotify. It is just wonderful to be able to stream music from other countries so easily. Artists: Eva Ayllon, Arturo Cavero, Bareto and Los Mirlos to name a few. I have decided to use Audible for the books I read suggested by the Lonely Planet Armchair Explorer. I can stream the book at nighttime or while driving. The same goes for the music. I am really enjoying this project and using my audible credits are useful and I also have time to read my other copies of book books.

Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman- Our shared reading group finished this book last night. We applauded the end of it. Then we had a round of Vodka shots and our facilitator Ebi did a Russian phrase for Salud. We also enjoyed a table of black bread, caviar, sausages, pickled onions, blinis that someone made with smoked salmon and sour cream. A few of the members that had Ubers coming later stayed on to enjoy their shots of vodka. The vodka was packaged in a beautiful carved glass bottle with lovely foil labeling and made in St Petersburg. It was such a fun evening. Now we are on break to read other books over our summer. New events will begin at Fullers in February.

One more project I am “diving into- as the popular trend of the moment”….is a photography project I am just getting off the ground inspired by the book launched at Fullers Undiscovered Tasmania by Rochelle and Walter Dare last week. They are a couple with a young daughter who explore the hidden areas of Tasmania and put their photos up on Instagram. Instagram name is “LetsGoDare”. They were approached by someone who wanted them to turn it into a book and to make a long story short, that is what they did. None of the iconic tourist areas of Tasmania are presented but instead they visit small country towns, wildlife areas and beaches that are out of the way.

I’ve been wanting to do some photography away from the iconic areas that everyone sees when googling Tasmania and I have bitten the proverbial bullet.

I bought a Tasmanian map and a book of camping areas and places to see around those areas and am starting to explore in the southern part of the state. I have decided I will share this project on this blog but in separate posts called Exploring Tasmania or something similar. Have not decided on that title yet. I have quite a bit of bookish activity on during the year so will keep books separate from photography. That way if you’re not interested in both fields of interests you can ignore those posts.

Another area of interest I want to do in 2020 is a new bookish feature called From My Shelves or something similar. Still thinking. I have quite a few unusual books of interest on my shelf, some read, some not. I thought I’d feature a specific book from my shelf just to share it with readers. I have books on the classics, cookbooks, photography books, reference books, etc and things I inadvertently come across here and there. I know how much I like to see a book displayed. It will be more like walking through a bookshop, picking up the book and thinking….I wonder what this is about. No review of the actual story or characters, just a review or display of the book.


In summary for 2022 you can look for: Photography with the Penguin. The Penguin shares books on our shelves. Bookish activities and short synopsis or reviews and Lonely Planet Armchair books from other countries. I think the Penguin will need to have some new outfits made.

I’m getting a jump on 2022 as no doubt others will be doing soon and I do look forward to seeing what you will all get up to in our new year. Stay well. Get vaccinated.

7 thoughts on “Finally……

  1. I liked the perky Ollie pic. And your 2022 plans sound good. Because I’m now an armchair traveller, your Tasmania plans will enable me to cyber-see some of Tasmania, and book-related blogging is always an instant magnet for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. it must be a really great book! i’ll look for it in the library if it’s still open… look forward to your photographic creations; they’re excellent and fun to see…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you start this book I suggest a good couple of uninterrupted hours to get into it. It is quite an undertaking. It is one of the reasons I enjoyed reading it in a group but we did do a lot of the reading at home alone. Just a fabulous writer and such an important story.


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