A Little Bit of Winter Fun

On these darker, colder, rainy days it is still important for me to get my walks in for some exercise.  I have been trying to motivate myself so I find things that are entertaining. Yesterday I went into town to do a couple of errands. Mr. Penguin dropped me in South Hobart and I walked the 20 minutes into town.  I took my camera and decided I would look for art work as I went along.

I did my errands and then of course ended up at Fuller’s Book Shop for a hot coffee and a warm apple turnover that was very nice. Their winter guide to books is available now so I sat down with that and ticked the books that looked good. I’ll see if the library has them as there are just too many to buy.  I have been reading my TBR from my shelf but I do like to support the library as I believe they are important to a community.  Even if I don’t get time to read everything I still like to check the books out.

I digress….. the walk turned up the following photos:

I always enjoy walking past this old advertisement. 
This mural is on the Artery Art Store wall. I love the Japanese theme.


The following art work is in frames on the back wall of the art store.









I passed these dog sculptures while walking back to the bus.  I have always enjoyed seeing them.

I got the bus home just before the skies opened up with rain. Snip20180527_1

Tuesday Trivia-To The River and Other Life Doings

snip20170129_3I don’t usually do this. Start off loving a book so much and then throwing it all in with the towel.  Yes, sadly I am referring to To The River by Olivia Laing. The beginning held such high hopes for me. I loved it. Here are a couple of examples of her writing:

“There is a mystery about rivers that draws us to them, for they rise from hidden places and travel by routes that are not always tomorrow where they might be today.
Unlike a lake or sea, a river has a destination and there is something about the certainty with which it travels that makes it very soothing, particularly for those who’ve lost faith with where they’re headed.”


“I’d barely seen the Ouse all morning and now I could hear water running low under the nettles, a tributary trickling to the valley beneath. A couple of wood pigeons were entreating one another to take two cows, Susan, take two cows, Susan. Behind or above them I could hear a train passing, calling with its horn as it reached the massive viaduct that vaulted the river. The wind was sifting the leaves and the passing sun cast strong cloud shadows across the countless grasses. There was only one more field ahead, and then the path would meet the water.”

The author is getting over a broken relationship. She decides to spend a week walking the Ouse River. The river that Virginia Woolf died in. She booked her pub rooms for the week and began her hike following the river banks wherever she could. The beginning of the book was about nature and how rivers affect natural settings.

She then goes on quite a few tangents most of which I enjoyed. She talked of geology and the geology of the area but not so much one gets a bit sleepy eyed. She had really interesting tales of Virginia Woolf and Iris Murdoch and her husband. She discusses her writing and her dementia later in life. I felt interest and compassion. She talked a lot about Kenneth Graham and The Wind in the Willows. He was such a disappointed man and things just never worked out for him but he wrote a beautiful book. She talked of the sequels written later by William Horwood. (I have the first copy hardback of everything William Horwood has ever written. I recently got an email from his page telling me the Duncan books are all to be brought in eBook format this coming year. I know, trivia.)

Just when I’m thinking this is one of the most interesting and beautifully written book she goes off on a tangent about the Battle Of Lewes.  Everything she had written to this point I feel would be of interest to worldwide travelogue buffs and readers. Maybe not the geology but that is short. Then she begins this obscure English history of smaller areas. The world would probably not be familiar with this. Who the players were, what it meant and on it went. I did feel too that it just would not quit. No more nature, no more books or authors based on rivers, just a sudden change. Yes, she was walking through the area so it is probably relevant but there was just too much. (or so I thought.)

The description and experiences in the pubs stopped. Although to be fair I just couldn’t take another page.  Maybe I didn’t read the whole book quickly enough. Maybe next to the story of Kenneth Graham the battle of Lewes just bored me silly. Maybe it is because it is due at the library this week and I can’t renew it because there is a hold on it. Maybe, if, maybe.

I had enough. My mood changed? Maybe my underwear was too tight and I couldn’t get comfortable in my chair. Who is to say. It was just one of those things.

I would definitely read something else by this author of the beautiful passages. But I don’t want to read anymore obscure English history. Maybe it isn’t obscure to the British population. I had heard of the battle of Lewes but didn’t need any further information on it.

motorbikerAnyway, the rest of the week went well. I have a 1200 km motorbike weekend over three days coming up so I have been out riding quite a bit this week getting ready for it.  Our motorbike group will be riding to the northwest of the state. I have booked myself into a single, small cabin as I know I will be extremely tired after riding the 480 kms there on very twisty hilly roads. No freeways or motorways here. Then the second day we will be 350 kms through the Tarkine wilderness  forest area. The most beautiful part of our state that everyone fights the government tooth and nail to not log it. Pristine wilderness. It has been listed as World Heritage in recently years and when the previous Prime Minister tried to have that status overturned to log it the World Heritage committee said “Absolutely not!” as it meets all five criteria for listing.snip20170206_2

You only need one or two criteria to get it in the first place. So I am hoping I’ll be able to see it. Then Monday (Regatta Day holiday in the south of the state) is the 480 kms ride home.


I will take some photos and try to get them up for next week’s Tuesday Trivia but here is a photo I found online as a teaser.

Enjoy the rest of the week. Drop a line and tell me what you’re reading, what you’re doing when you’re not reading and generally what’s happening in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday Trivia on a Saturday

snip20170121_3Okay, I like to shake things up once in awhile. Before Christmas I came across this book in my local independent indie book shop, Fuller’s.  I saw it on the shelf and made a beeline straight to it. A young woman was holding a copy in her hand and said to me, “Somebody had better get this for me for Christmas!” There were three copies in the shop.

1001 Ideas That Changed The Way We Think.  I do enjoy these 1001 compendiums and have the ones that relate to both books and children’s books. They are great fun to dip into and read a few pages here and there.  I find them both motivating and fascinating.

This one is no different.  I asked for this book for Christmas but of course the people I asked did not rush down to the shop and get one of the three copies. I got a wonderful book voucher for Christmas but alas, the book itself had disappeared. Enter book depository and about three weeks after Christmas my book arrived. (Mr. P should have bought it before because now I still have the book voucher and the book. He could have saved a bit by getting this and foregoing the voucher.)

How does one read such a book? You can’t read it page after page because the information will go in one brain cell and be filed away by another to that forgotten data base in the back of our head. It may or may not ever be seen again.

I decided to go to random.org.  I put in 1 to about 950, the number of pages and came up with: number 866.  I could feel a little wave of anticipation as I thumbed through the pages of this heavy tome looking for the magic number. There are actually two selections on this page.


1. Rap Music: United States– I learned that the word “rap” as a verb or noun meaning to talk,  actually dates from the sixteenth century, but its application to a form of music began among African Americans in the 1960’s.  It goes on to explain the various styles of rap music, its structure and uses. There is also a large black and white  photo of ‘Grandmaster Flash’  who is considered to be the grandfather of rap music in the USA. He was a Dee Jay in the 1980’s.  So close the file folder on that bit of trivia and put it into my data base storage unit of brain cells.

2. The second item of trivia relates to Social Networking Service. It states the earliest way people connected to others  (beyond snail mail and telephones) were email and chat programs. They appeared in the 1970’s.  I remember when we immigrated into Australia in 1988 how hard it was to keep in touch with family overseas. I was excited because I bought a new word processor that made writing letters so easy.  When email appeared I thought all of my Christmases had come at once. Instant communication at once. Then Facebook with instant photos of what was happening with family and friends. I do love social media for that reason alone.   The paragraph says that USENET was our first instant messaging system and it developed  as a system between Duke University and the University of North Carolina and went from there.

Okay that was fun. Tomorrow morning when I have my coffee I will have random.org choose another page number for me. Just think, in about 950 more days I will have an encyclopaedic mind of trivia for casually entertaining at dinner party conversations. (Not that I attend many dinner parties, I take comfort in knowing I will be ready.)

Other topics to name just a few from randomly exploring pages are:

*Symbols      *Reformed Epistimology    *Astrology          *Robin Hood          *Islamic State

*Sewer Systems          *Mathematical Function          *Many Worlds Theory (Universes)

*Skepticism        *Expressionism in Music      *Six Thinking Hats     *Beatrice Potter

snip20161225_16If I come across some interesting information about books or authors  I will put them up on Tuesday Trivia.

Next time you are attending a dinner party make sure you are not sitting too close. Unless you are a trivia person like I am.



Is there such a thing as the Great American Novel?

TUESDAY TRIVIA:snip20161225_16

That is today’s query. I subscribe to Lit Hub, a free online magazine and there are many articles that pop up I find of interest. I was getting it daily but I just don’t have time to read the featured eight to ten articles a day so now I get it on weekends only. If you have not heard of it you can view it here.

The author, Emily Temple writes,

“On this date in 1868, novelist John William DeForest coined the now inescapable term “the great American novel” in the title of an essay in The Nation. Now, don’t forget that in 1868, just a few years after the end of the Civil War, “America” was still an uncertain concept for many—though actually, in 2017 we might assert the same thing, which should give you a hint as to why the term “great American novel” is so problematic.  

At the time of his writing, DeForest claimed that the Great American Novel, which he defined as “the picture of the ordinary emotions and manners of American existence,” had not yet been achieved, though he thought he could spot it on the horizon—he noted that Uncle Tom’s Cabin was “the nearest approach to the desired phenomenon.” (He also pooh-poohed both Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, …”)

The article then goes on to a list. I know how much people who read books like lists but I thought a couple of choices on the list didn’t belong there but I won’t mention details as I know everyone has their own opinions. You could argue this list forever and never reach agreement.

What I did enjoy in the article is the illustrated map (here). You can link to the map for more detail through the article but here is the picture of it:

snip20170110_1As I am such a visual learner I love it. It would be fun to take the trip around the country and read  all of the books. For you ‘challenge people’ you might like to do this. After all you have a full year ahead of you.

The question is: Next time you read an American novel ask yourself, Is this “a Great American novel?” or is it “THE Great American Novel. ”

I see the article has been featured on the John Steinbeck centre Facebook page with a conversation about his books being on the list. It comes down to:

Is there such a thing as The Great American Novel over all others? Or is it an impossibility.  It was a fun read.

(All highlighted text above goes to a link.)