The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think. (Harper Lee)

This past week was really busy with all kinds of “catch up” appointments such as eyes, teeth, gym, events. I did manage to get a bit of reading tidied up.

What I finished reading this week:

I finished Sei Shōnagon’s The Pillow Book . It was written 1000 yrs ago from the perspective of a lady at the imperial court of Japan. It is described as a “crazy quilt of vignettes, opinions and anecdotes” of the times.

Our book group will discuss it on Wed night. It was a real eye opener to see many of the issues in that book were the same as the ones we deal with now.

There is also a lot of humour in the book. I laughed out loud at this quote:

Old fashioned people put on their gathered toursers in a very time consuming and awkward way. They pull the front panel up against the stomach and proceed first of all to tuck all the layers of robe in under it, leaving the back strings dangling till they’ve got the front completely straight and tidy, then they bend forward to reach for the back panel, gropping behind them with both hands. They look like monkeys with their arms tied behind their backs, standing there fumbling about with the strings like that. You can’t imagine how they could ever get dressed and out the door in time for any urgent appointment.


Infuriating things: A guest who arrives when you have something urgent to do, and stays talking for ages.

Or a very ordinary person, who beams inanely as she prattles on and on.

Or a dog that discovers a clandestine lover as he comes creeping in and barks or a baby who cries when you’re trying to hear something.

The entire books is made up of many observations of life.

Audible book finished this week.

How to End a Story: Diaries 1995 to 1998 by Helen Garner.

I enjoyed her narration of the book but she is in so much pain as she ends her third marriage and she doesn’t leave much out of this book of how she feels.  It continues how people can write about the extreme angst they might have in their life for the world to see.  It seems she’d want to keep it private but then who am I to know how others handle their grief. We’re all different. 

Bookish Event of the Week: 

My friend and I attended a book launch at Fullers this week. The book is:

Nine Lives For Our Planet:  Personal stories of nine inspiring women who cherish Earth by John Watts. It is described as “Here are nine personal stories of brave hearted women defying the greed and corruption smashing Australia’s environment, including its farmlands. 

John Watts introduced s to women who light up the darkness of the climate and extinction emergencies with their flair and stoic commonsense. Each has acted to take on the gas frackers, coal miners, native forest loggers, wildlife killers, water profiteers and their political agents.

(quote by Bob Brown, acclaimed author, photographer and life long activist).

The author was interviewed by Bob Brown and the discussion was very interesting. The women are not well known celebrities of any kind but those who work to make positive changes in their own quieter ways.

One of the women was Simone Marsh and she was also part of the three person panel.

There was a lot of head shaking and discomfort hearing what the big corporations and politicians have done to no advantage of the environment or people living on the land.

Penguin’s Choice:  Last week I announced the random draw of the week was the short story, Christmas in Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor. I began it but I just couldn’t face another story about war.  I have read and heard much about the atrocities of war in the past two years and I am over it.

I decided to pass it back to the box, maybe for another time and I spun the wheel again and a Roald Dahl book was chosen. It is A Taste of the Unexpected. I have no idea what it is about but it should be a bit cheerier than the war books.

Life as it happens

The coming week is not going to be as hectic as this past week was. A couple of weight classes at the gym, maybe a long walk, if the weather changes from cold rain to something more pleasant. I have the shared reading book Monday of the Kafka stories and Wednesday will be the book group discussing the Pillow Book.  I think there will be a big variety of opinions about this book. Thursday night there is a book launch that I’ll be attending. That should be enough to keep me socialising and exercising this week.

From the Photo Archive:

Here are two more photos of beach scenes from the south coast of NSW.  It was a lovely day to be out with a camera. Such a shame it seems like it was such a long time ago.

Stay well, until next time….keep moving, catch up with people and stretch your brains.

13 thoughts on “The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think. (Harper Lee)

    1. Our entire book group really enjoyed it. It was written 1000 yrs ago and is still relevant to current issues which was quite interesting. We all said it’s a book you read maybe 20 pgs a day. Not a book you’d read all at once in big chunks. It has very funny comments in it too.


  1. Thanks for your comments on The Pillow Book. It’s on my TBR and I’ve beenfeeling rather daunted by it, however you have made it sound quite accessible.
    I confess that I find the level of Garner’s openness about divulging her life daunting as well. I grew up being taught not to discuss such matters, which is not good either. A happy medium between the two suits me better these days. Which means I’m happy to read other people’s reviews of Garner’s diaries, but don’t feel the need to read them myself.


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