Simply Sunday

map-of-italyThe past couple of weeks have been rather busy so I’ve been catching up on medical appointments, reading and socialising.

Events:

I’m dealing with too much pressure in one eye so getting that attended to. Drops and more drops. Treatable so no problem there.

My photography friend in Sydney and I had booked a month long trip to Italy, Croatia and Slovenia to begin in mid May in Milan and Venice. After agonising over it for awhile we decided we had to cancel. It is very disappointing but it would be more disappointing to get quarantined somewhere or to catch the virus everyone is sick of hearing about.  As the virus is so widespread in northern Italy, everything is closed up tight and the streets are empty. Though photography would have been great as nobody is walking around. We are  dealing with the travel agent and hopefully we’ll recover cancellation fees through travel insurance as we booked it last October before anyone heard of the virus.

Atwood
Apologies for poor quality of phone photo

Another lovely event was held at Wrest Point Casino theatre. Margaret Atwood appeared interviewed by Australian journalist and television presenter Carolyn Baum. It was a lengthy interview attended by 800n people. She was intelligent, astute and extremely funny and the chat was great. During the intermission people could post their questions to a Twitter address and when we returned for the second half several of the questions were answered.  I enjoyed it thoroughly and to make matters even better, I won my ticket through Fullers Book shop.

 

The week before last a friend and I travelled up to the small country town of New Norfolk which is about a 45 minute drive north of Hobart. There is a new bookshop and a stationery shop with beautiful things in it. We wanted to see what it is like. The bookshop is called the Black Swan and has a lovely small cafe. We enjoyed some wonderful baked goods and cappuccinos and had a look through both the new and second hand books. The young owner had a good collection of vintage Penguin books on his shelf and I was only too happy to discuss all the books with him.  It was a lovely morning followed by a very good Pub lunch.

Fullers Book shop had some lovely events I attended this week.  First was the book group where we discussed The Godmother byFrench writer Hannelore Cayre.  Most in the group really enjoyed it.
Originally published in 2017 as La Doronne, later translated by Stephanie Smeethe into English and published in 2019.  A widowed woman, Patience,  in her fifties works as a French-Arabic translator employed by the French police who monitor Arabic drug traffickers through wire tapping.  She translates the conversations for them and it evolves that she starts to be less than honest with the police.  She is needing money to establish some security for her grown children and The Godmother (online)also to pay the fees for the nursing home her mother resides in. She ends up acquiring a very large haul of hashish and begins to sell it. The story deals with those activities, her boyfriend who happens to be a policeman and also the difficult relationship she has with her mother. She also adopts a wonderful retired police drug sniffing dog named DNA who is quite important in the book. (Nothing bad happens to the dog.) The book, at a mere 200 pages is concise, well written and everything is neatly woven together. There is a lot of black humour that keeps you chuckling here and there. I really enjoyed it. No spoilers (except for the dog) so if you like this kind of French noir crime you will enjoy this book.

Fullers also launched the new book just released by Tasmanian born historian Cassandra Pybus. It is the non fiction biographical tale of Truganini, an important Aboriginal woman who was born south of here in the early 1800’s. The book, told through journals and historical documents, all listed at the back of the book, is absolutely fascinating. Truganini was an important figure in Tasmanian history.  I started reading  the book the day of the launch.  I read half of it and couldn’t put it down. The Aboriginal people were completely annihilated from this state and/or moved to the islands to make room for white settlement. It is a horrifying tale but an important one that needs to be

Trugunini
Cover photograph by the late Tasmanian Photographer Peter Dombrovskis.

told. I hope this use this book in Tasmanian schooling as many do not know our history. The motivation for Ms Pybus to write the tale is because in her thirties she learned Truganini grew up on the land that was later acquired by Cassandra Pybus’s family on Bruny Island and Cassandra grew up in her footsteps. The book is very factual and not at all sensational. It is not sentimental but written in a style I enjoy and the individual tales are fascinating. The bookshop was packed with people who came to hear about her story and many were later seen to be leaving the shop with the book under their arm.Screenshot

Later that evening three of us went to the Playhouse Theatre to see the amateur play, Keeping Up Appearances. Most would be familiar with the British tv show with Hyacinth Bucket (Pronounced Bu-Kay) and her wacky family. My father’s second wife was much like her and I always get a kick out of it when I see it. We had a fun night out between the book launch and the play with a lovely Nepalese meal in between.

What I have described is only about half of what I’ve completed in the past fortnight but I did want to catch up with this and I’ve added a new category to my blog posts called Photo of the Week that I will post at the end introduced by the Penguin. Our photo club meeting is coming up soon and I needed to work on some photographs for our print and digital challenges.

Until next time…..Screenshot 1 copy

 

 

 

 

Architecture Don Quixote
Don Quixote mural taken in a Spanish courtyard- Spain for Architecture challenge for photo club.

 

The Age of Innocence and Kensuke’s Kingdom

age innocenceI’ve read a couple books this week plus a short story. It’s quite hot out so nice to stay inside where it is cool.  Southern Tasmania is probably the only place in the nation without smoke in the air. It’s really been terrible for people.

I read The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton for my upcoming book group meeting in February at Fullers Bookshop. Edith Wharton was the first female author to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1921. It was originally serialised in four parts in a magazine the previous year and then published and sold as a book.  I’ll be interested to see what the book group thinks about it. Last year they hated the period piece of Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield which I loved.  I enjoyed this book once I got into it. It’s one of those books I wouldn’t start unless I had a good block of time to get into it so I’d want to pick it up again.

Newland Archer is engaged to May Welland and looking forward to his wedding very

edith wharton
Edith Wharton

much. Then her cousin the Countess Ellen Olenska arrives from Europe where she has left her brutish Polish husband and does not plan to return.  It is the end of the 19th century, New York, so of course there is a great deal of discussion about her upcoming divorce and will she be accepted into society or not.  She is a bit Bohemian, wears scarves, loves the wilder side of life and is very independent.  Newland falls in love with her and that sets up the plot for the rest of the story.

However the beauty of this book is how it defines social class in the later half of the 1800s in New York.  The requirements of proper society ladies and gentlemen are very clear and heaven help you if you break one of them. The scandals, the gossip, the theatre, the interactions between the extended families of both Newland and May come into the tale very much.  It was an important piece of literature in America in the early 1900s because of the impact World War I had on society.  Values were changing and that impacted on New Society and pretty much the entire way of life. Events such as the war, the Stock Market crash of 1929 and the depression changed the face of America. This book defined how life was previous to all of that and you could see the beginning of those changes as the year rolled over into the new century from the 1800’s.  There is also the theme of balancing what is responsible in one’s life versus what one wants. Does one forego a life, hurting many people in exchange for only thinking of oneself to attain what is wanted.  As predictable as the story was the ramifications of how it addressed an important part of American history stays with the reader.  I enjoyed it.

322My second book of the week was randomly selected from 1001 Children’s Books You Should Read Before You Die.  The first couple of selections were not available in our local library but this book was. Michael Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom is a book I’d never heard of. Mr. Morpugo was born in 1943 in Hertfordshire, England. He has written many books and our library seems to have most of them. I would think the reading age for this book would be about 9 or 10 upwards. It is the story of an 8 year old boy who moves onto a yacht with his parents after they lose their job when the local factory closes down. They sail to various places in the world and one day while the boy is on watch with his dog, they fall overboard. His parents are asleep below deck and have no idea this has happened. He and the dog manage to stay above water but when all is lost and he becomes unconscious and the dog has floated away, he awakes and finds himself on an island. Only one other person lives on the island, a 90 year old Japanese man who has been there since Nagasaki was destroyed in World War II and he cannot go home again.

The man eventually works out the boy is not an enemy and he takes him under his wing.

Michael_Morpurgo
Michael Morpurgo

They care for the gibbon monkeys and the orangatangs. They live in a cave fitted out with items from a sunken ship nearby. While there, evil men arrive in a sloop with rifles and their aim is to kill the adult gibbon monkeys so they can steal the babies for the tourist trade.  There are a lot of environmental messages in this book. They talk about the animals and the extensive clearing of land. At the end of the book there is a page about all the illegal and governmental land clearance around the world and the impact that has on the wildlife.  The message it portrays is very pointed.  I didn’t think I’d like reading a book for such a young audience but the main characters were enjoyable and developed enough that I cared about them. I worried about the monkeys and orangatangs too. I finished it in a couple of hours as I was interested in how they would all end up.  If I had children in my life I would recommend these adventure stories to them. There is enough adventure that the educational value of it does not become overwhelming.

I’ve got another couple books on the go but I’m not far enough into them yet to say anything.  I have a very funny short story from the book Funny Ha Ha to share too but will do so later.

Until next time…

Yellow Casual Penguin
It’s raining today. We need more!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book counts for the Century of Books Challenge:  1920.