New Books this Week

Snip20160609_6New books, even if one is second hand, are always a joy to receive and hold. I thought I would share these three with you. I have also included a couple of magazines that are published here in Tasmania that I find interesting.

Here they are:

I saw this, I think, on Simon’s blog (Stuck in a Book) blog. It was published in 1956 and I’m interested to see what books are talked about at that time. Most books I find, that are about books are published closer to the current date. It grabbed my fancy, so to speak. Also it will fill a slot in the Century of Books challenge.

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I also read about this book on somebody’s blog. Sorry, but I can never remember where the book reviews I read come from because I read too many.

This book is described as one of the longest running, in print children’s book in Brazil and looks charming. The dust jacket blurb states, ” Meet Zezé – Brazil’s naughtiest and most loveable boy, his talent for mischief matched only by his great kindness.”

This should be fun. I also love the cover of this little book.

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The third book is a book I won, in 25 words or less, from the Tasmanian Writer’s Centre and I picked it up yesterday.  I read about it in their newsletter I receive and most likely I was the only person who responded. I have won several books from them this way.

“As children, Ida loves looking after her younger sister, Nora, but when their beloved father dies in 1926, everything changes. The two young girls move in with their grandmother who is particularly encouraging of Nora’s musical talent. Nora eventually follows her dream of a brilliant musical career, while Ida takes a job as a nanny and their lives become quite separate.”

This story interests me because it takes place after 1926, the year my mother was born, and in the Tasmanian bush. It will count towards the Australian Women’s Author challenge.

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The final two are Tasmanian published magazines. Island Magazine has been in existence for quite awhile and features many short stories, essays and poetry from writers of this region.

Womankind is locally published and is a ‘new to me’ magazine. It has stories in many different categories. Literature, philosophy, religion, science, etc.  I am not short of any reading material this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon

Snip20180205_1Jupiter’s Travels has been on my shelf for a very long time.  There are many motorcycle “around the world” travel books out there but this is the bible of all of them.

From Wikipedia:

“Ted Simon (born 1931) is a German-born British journalist noted for circumnavigating the world twice by motorcycle.[1] He was raised in London by a German mother and a Romanian father.

After studying chemical engineering at Imperial College he began his newspaper career in Paris with the Continental Daily Mail. Back in England, whilst undertaking National Service with the RAF he founded Scramble, a magazine for recruits, which caught the attention of Arthur Christiansen, redoubtable editor of the Daily Express, and worked in Fleet Street for ten years. He eventually became Features Editor of the Daily Sketch, and shortly before that paper was amalgamated with the Daily Mail in 1964 he left to found and edit a man’s magazine, King, which survived for three years. He moved to France and contributed to various English newspapers and magazines, including The Observer and Nova.

Snip20180205_3In late 1973, sponsored by The Sunday Times, Simon began travelling around the world on a 500 cc Triumph Tiger 100 motorcycle. For four years he travelled over 64,000 miles (103,000 km) through 45 countries. Most accounts from his trip are detailed in his book, Jupiter’s Travels,[2]while some of the book’s gaps are filled in its second part, the book Riding High.[3]

His books and long distance riding inspired the actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman in their 2004 journey from London to New York on motorcycles (Long Way Round), during which they arranged to meet Simon in Mongolia.”

The Book:

I listened to the audio version of this book as well as reading the hard copy. I enjoyed the narration of this book (Ted Simon and Rupert Degas) very much. He started with the African Continent going from north to south. The roads were rugged, the water crossings were fast and deep and he wasn’t probably as prepared as what Charley Borman and Ewan McGregor were. No support vehicles.

From South Africa he took a transport ship to Brazil and immediately was detained by the police for almost two weeks. The. minds games he had to endure were frustrating to read. He was never arrested but you wouldn’t know it.  His bike had all kinds of things go wrong with it but he always managed to fix what it needed and ride on.  Sometimes when he ran out of petrol there was none to be had and he had to ride a bus to a small town just to get a litre.

He then rode to Chili, Peru and Colombia. Colombia was very dangerous in the 1970’s but he managed to get through it in one piece. He made it to the Panama Canal and then didn’t write too much more until he hit California having traversed through Mexico.

He was in California, north of San Francisco in a commune for three months where he worked on the land and had a relationship with a woman.

From San Francisco he took another ship to Sydney, Australia. He went north to Port Douglas and then south to Melbourne and west to Perth, across the Nullarbor.

He wanted to go to Indonesia but because Cyclone Tracy had just devastated the city of Darwin there was no transport. The only transport he could get was from Fremantle to Singapore.

From Singapore to Malaysia and then he went to India. Much of the last third of the book talked about India. Once he left India to head back to Europe he didn’t describe as much in his book.

Snip20180205_8There are many gaps in this book but as Wikipedia explains above he did a follow up book, filling in those gaps, called Riding High.

Mind you for a 64,000 mile journey over four years, it is hard to limit oneself to 460 pages. There was a lot that was left out.

He philosophises a great deal and at times that felt tedious.  It made the overall book quite uneven but it always got back on track. He didn’t describe much of his accommodation but rather focused heavily on the people he met and their lifestyles. It was truly a life changing adventure and I probably don’t do the whole story justice.

I really enjoyed this book. I read a lot of travel writing and this is right up at the top. Every time I got in the car I would listen to more of it. When I woke in the night I would turn it on for the 30 minute sleep timer and listen to more. I was sad when it ended.

Snip20180205_6I must mention the narrators of this story did a brilliant job of the African, Portuguese and Spanish accents. When describing the Australians, the accents were amazingly good. I have lived here 30 years now and still can’t pronounce Australian vowels.  It was good to hear him read his own book and I am not sure how the two men shared the role because I thought there was only one narrator until I looked at the book’s description on Audible.

Snip20180205_4As I started to research more about Ted Simon on google I was pleasantly surprised to see that he did the same journey again 30 years later as a 70 year old man. I have found and ordered the book on Abe Books for $4.00! I don’t think I’ll read Riding High as I have had enough of his first trip. But who knows.

Can’t wait to get Dreaming of Jupiter. He has also recently published another book of his photos. In the 70’s the quality of the photos wasn’t good enough to print but current technology now allows it. The cheapest copy I could find though is $110.00. It is obviously quite collectable.  I won’t be looking at that anytime soon.

If you like travel writing then this wonderful writer (I forgot to mention he is a brilliant writer) tells an excellent tale. No google maps, no mobile phones- travel the old fashioned way.

Saturday Squawk

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As one crosses the foot bridge across the Brown River to the dog part of the beach. 

Saturday Squawk is a mish-mash of bits and pieces of the week.  Today after my 8:00 am Aqua Fit class I came home, had breakfast and then the dogs to the dog beach.  Since I always take photos of my own dogs there I decided I would take photos of something else.

Mr. Penguin and I are going to Botswana, Namibia and the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls for 25 days in March.  I wanted to practise taking photos of wildlife with my Canon I own. It has so many settings and I am using the manual settings more and more. I have been in the Hobart Photography Club for two years now.  I thought as we don’t have gazelles or hippos in the area I would practise on some active dogs at the beach.

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Dog Beach

I came across an 18 month old Boxer named Rupert who is lovely and extremely energetic.  His kind owners let me use him as a model so I got to practise on the “Tasmania Veldt”.

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This guy loved the water.

There were some other interesting things happening there as well so I am here today to share them with you.

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A beautiful lurcher. I hardly ever see this breed here.

Enjoy the sunny summer weather of Tasmania.

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She was trying to read her book but the dogs were a bit distracting.

 

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Beautiful Rupert the Boxer. Love the ears.

 

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Rupert is very stately here.

Wandering on a Wednesday

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What are YOU looking at?

This morning I have to take Molly to the doctor for her elbow. It pops out sometime. This is following another day when I book her into the hairdresser.  Grizzy has been the one that keeps me busy with the doctor but he seems to be doing okay now.  Grizzy is our black cat. He is only two years old.

No, Molly is not human.  She is our little silky terrier cross, madam of the house.  She is undergoing a series of anti inflammatory injections (once a week for a month, than once a month for—well, forever probably.) The hairdresser is really Woofer’s of Hobart and she will have a bath and a haircut. But she can’t get in until after mid February.  She will come home with a pink bow attached to her collar and she will think she is pretty special.

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All I need is here.

She will put our Odie into the corner after the vet appointment this morning.  Everything is always Odie’s fault. She is 13 and after several years of being second in command she is now the Queen Bee, in charge of one other dog and three cats.  There are few signs of slowing down.  She is a terrible manager. She is a bully, a disrespectful, narcissistic tomboy at times who blames everyone else in the household for anything she doesn’t like.  She will turn up at the vet’s office, be sweet as pie. Butter wouldn’t melt……  “What a sweet dog you have” the nurses will coo. What an act. She can really turn it on.  But once home, she will run in the house, find Odie, who is at least 4 time her size and

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Best Friends Even if Everything is Odie’s fault.

put him in the corner with lip raised. It is his fault she had to go to the vet’s. Everything in life is his fault.  Odie almost rolls his eyes and gets on with life. He knows how to ignore her. After a sideways glance at me, as though to say, “Do you believe her?”   Then she will jump into Mr. Penguin’s lap and give him kisses. She is a daddy’s girl. He lets her get away with murder. I make her behave. I tell her things she must do. She looks at me, walks over to him, and jumps in his lap….then looks at me. “What are you going to do about it?” she challenges.  What a laugh.

I started this post, ready to write a quick “what did I think about” the book Extinctions by Josephine Wilson. When I put my fingers to the keyboard, Molly popped into my head. By the way, we call her Monkey.  That is her nickname and she responds better to that than Molly.  For 13 years she has been our Monkey. I will write about Extinctions soon.  But the sun is shining, it looks to be a beautiful day. I have a meet up later in the morning for a coffee with a friend in the city.  It is too nice a day to write about a book about a grouchy old man and the regrets he has as he looks back on his life. He realised the truths of his life way too late. As much as I enjoyed this book, and I really did, today is too nice of a day to not pay attention to what is going on around me.  So this morning I am appreciating my little monkey and I am grateful she lives with us.

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Always so much to explore.

Deal Me In Challenge – 3 of Diamonds

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This week’s short story came from the book Stories From Beyond the Clouds, An Anthology of Tibetan Folk Tales. It is a book of Tibetan folk tales and an easy and enjoyable read.

Sangay Khando was the lovely daughter of an old and cranky mother. The mother would never let Sangay ask questions so she didn’t know much.

They never had enough to eat although a lovely jar of rice was stored in the cupboard. She was told to never fix it. It was being saved for the “Brother Long Spring Day”.  One day while home alone a very old and tired monk came to the door telling her he had travelled far and was hungry.  He told her he was “Brother Long Spring Day”. She fed him the rice.

“Brother Long Spring Day” really meant the longest day of spring had arrived and was not a person at all. She fixed the rice for him, saved some for herself and her mother who she knew would be tired and hungry after work.  The monk seemed to know about her terrible mother and told her she could always find a home in the mountains with him. He knew a great deal about her.

You can figure the rest out.

Mother came home, was very angry and threw her daughter out of the house. She lived with the monk for several years, being taught Buddhist principles of kindness, mindfulness actions and the Buddhist scriptures. She was happy living with the monk and his pet rooster and cat.

One day, when she was fetching water she came upon the king’s men who spied her and followed her. They saw she left footprints in the snow shaped like lotus blossoms.  They knew she was special. She was a human Dhakini who was right up there with the faeries.

The monk knew these horsemen to be servants of the King and that they needed a Princess for his son to marry.  The monk explains she will one day marry the prince. She is covered in beautiful clothes and has more food than she has ever seen.

She sadly leaves the monk, marries the Prince and one day a poor beggar woman arrives at the castle. Yes, you guessed it, her mother.

She takes her in, she is dying and houses her for 7 days.  She cannot tell her history to the prince. It slips out though as she forgets to be mindful. The prince asks a lot of questions and she convinces him to leave her alone for 3 days. He agrees. With that, she secretly rides through the night to consult the monk. What should she do? She cannot tell him the history of her childhood and her mother. The monk organises for her to return home and come back with the prince. When they return there is a large castle, lots of servants and her mother has come back from the dead. It is really the monk in the form of the mother.  A good  deed done, they all go home happy. The monk is released from this life on earth to disappear into the ether, through the rainbow hued sky and join the Dakinis and faeries.  Every one is happy.

Snip20180121_1It finishes with: Sanghay Khando, the human Dakini, realised her mission in life. The wind was blowing through her hair, the birds were returning from their journey to foreign lands. She felt the sandalwood beads and was at peace with the world.

For a Sunday afternoon that is pleasantly warm, the windows are open and not much to do this was a pleasant read. I haven’t read fairy tales in many years and I think this little bit of escapism into the folklore of Tibet will be a bit of fun. There was even an gardnerillustration in this story.

 

Sha Ding: The Magnet

Snip20180118_1Deal Me In Challenge- The Six of Clubs

This short story book of Chinese tales was published back in the 1930’s. The stories are quite short.  I have had a look at several and they are fairly obscure and the themes are sparse.  I am not finding them to be of a depth of thought I am currently craving.  I am thinking as it is the beginning of the year I am going to swap this book out for another book of short stories.  The Magnet is a simple tale of a teenage boy during the 1930’s named Yuan who wants to leave home, leave school in winter and join the rebellion against the Japanese.  Not much is said about the actual revolution. The title refers to him being attracted to the new adventure “like a magnet”.  The magnet is a very obscure theme related to his attraction to do something he feels is important rather than his uncles telling him he will become a teacher, which he doesn’t want to do.

His mother doesn’t want him to go, he has no money to do so and he won’t accept money from anyone who might want to give him some. He feels angst about the whole situation and in the end he leaves home.  The story is only about 4 or 5 pages long and the conflict was simply stated.

I realise Japanese literature at times can be quite obscure but this was so obscure it almost doesn’t exist.  After reading this tale I read some other tales from this book and decided the overall book is not what I am looking for in a book of short stories. I want something that is a bit more applicable to my sometimes obtuse mind.

The book has already been consigned to the bag headed for the Tip Shop Book sale, where it came from in the first place.  Snip20160609_6

I doubt Yuan will spend many years in my mind as I continue through life.  What do you do with books you begin to read when they just don’t stack up (no pun intended) ?  Now, to go back to my shelves and find another book of short stories to replace the Ace to the King of clubs.

Saturday Squawk

Snip20160612_11The Week:  This week has been a bit of a write off but I did get some reading done. Just not enough to write about it.  I  stepped on a bug. I think it must have been a white tail spider because within 48 hours I was at the doctor’s with necrosis spreading rapidly across my big toe and onto my foot.  I was told if the strong acting antibiotics didn’t work I would end up in the hospital. I have heard about these Australian flesh eating insects but not really encountered them closely or appreciated what they are capable of.  I now have a new respect for their power.

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White tail spider

I am happy to say the care of my GP and the wonderful antibiotics we have access to have done their magic and it is improving rapidly.  I couldn’t help but think though “what if we lived before the time of antibiotics”.  It really doesn’t bear thinking about and I wonder what the anti-vaccine people would think of this. We are fortunate we live in a time we don’t need to cope with the ailments and diseases of the past.

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News: Feeling good today that everything is working out. Then I read Book Journey’s blog post and learned of the death of Sue Grafton. She writes of an encounter with this lovely lady and tells about it here.

Sue Grafton is the author of the alphabet murder mysteries. “A is for Alibi, B is for Burglary,” etc. I have read several of these and used to buy them for my mother for Christmas and birthday presents. She always enjoyed them. My mother got up to the letter R or T, I forget. Sue Grafton died 28 December 2017 after a long battle with cancer. I wish to high heaven a cure for that awfulness would be found. She finished the book “Y is for Yesterday” but sadly died before she could publish her book for “Z”.Snip20180113_9

Deal Me In Challenge: This week I dealt the cards and got the 6 of clubs for this weekend. That means I will be reading a short story by Sha Ding called The Magnet. Absolutely nothing comes up on Google for this author or short story. Since it is from the book Stories From the Thirties and this author is presumably Chinese it is probably in the land of obscurity now. If anyone out there knows anything about this author I would be interested to know more.

Other stuff: I have been doing a bit of photography reading and playing with Lightroom and Photoshop but not a great deal. Our challenges were due for our photo club this past weekend. The theme was “Cloudscape”. Lots of “cloudy” photos on our facebook page, all of them quite beautiful.

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My entry for January:   Coles Bay Cloudscape

Crawling into this Book:

On a final note, I have just begun the Australian book Extinctions by Josephine Wilson. It was the 2017 winner of Australia’s premiere Miles Franklin award. The Sydney Morning Herald describes it as:

“Extinctions is the scrupulously structured story of Frederick Lothian, an engineer

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Josephine Wilson with her award winning book.

specialising in concrete – “the J.D. Salinger of concrete”  – who has moved into a “retirement village” after the death of his American wife. He has a fractious relationship with Caroline, their adopted, Indigenous daughter now living in London where she is curating an exhibition to be called “the drama of extinction”,  and a virtually non-existent one with his son Callum, who is in care after suffering a cataclysmic brain injury in a car crash. Then Jan, the old woman who lives next door, comes into his life and the tectonic plates of their lives start to shift.”

So far I am enjoying it though I have had to turn back a couple pages here and there because there are quite a few characters and the story jumps from now to then frequently. I like the protagonist so far. The author, Josephine Wilson, stated she had to consult the thesaurus when she won the Miles Franklin award because she couldn’t find the words.

Well I guess that sums up the Week that Was… What has been your main focus this week?