Tuesday, August 30, 2011

[tuesday top ten] to-be-read this spring

Top Ten Tuesday is the creation of the blogging team over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday, there's a new top ten to explore, and this week the theme is the top ten books to-be-read this fall spring. Rather than listing ten books I'm looking forward to finding, I'm going to go ahead and list ten books I already possess, ones which are patiently waiting for my attention. I have an absolutely terrible habit of starting too many books at once, getting overwhelmed, and then -- in spite of loving them -- having to shelve some until I have brain space to spare. So the books I'm listing here are ones I've begun or almost begun and can't wait to finish.

1. Breath for the Bones | Luci Shaw
This was recommended for school one semester. I bought it, started it, fell in love with it, and didn't get to finish it. It's an exploration of art and faith, and it was gentle and powerful. But I only got a third of the way through, so I'm looking forward to reading more.

2. Out of the Silent Planet | CS Lewis
The brilliant CS Lewis and his bizarre science fiction. I got halfway through this one (and own the other two in the trilogy as well) and this time, I want to finish it.

3. My Seventh Monsoon | Naomi Reed
This looks to be amazing. It was a gift from friends for my birthday last year, an autobiography about a Sydney woman transported to the Himalayas. I'm excited about this one.

4. By Hook or By Crook | David Crystal
'A linguistic travelogue' exploring words and their weird histories.

5. The Clumsiest People in Europe | ed. Todd Pruzan
This was a delightful across-the-world gift from a lovely friend (hi, Asea!). It's darkly hilarious -- the naive and even bigoted 19th century observations of a woman called Mrs Mortimer, calling out the peoples of the world on their failures and foibles.

6. Taj and the Great Camel Trek | Rosanne Hawke
A children's story set in the untamed years of Australian exploration and centering on twelve-year-old Taj, an Afghani camel driver. Rosanne Hawke is a wonderful Australian YA author (and one of my lecturers, to boot!).

7. Loser | Jerry Spinelli
Jerry Spinelli is golden, and I think this very quirky story is set to break my heart a little bit. I'll have to report back when I'm done.

8. The Shifting Fog | Kate Morton
This is the only one on my list that I don't have a lot of enthusiasm about. On a purely aesthetic level, this is 566 pages of narrow margins and small print -- and I generally do not have the time or patience for intensely wordy books. Also, the story -- a moody mystery -- is told predominantly in flashback, and I am not a fan of flashback. But I want to make myself finish this.

9. The King's Speech | Mark Logue & Peter Conradi
I saw the movie, and now I want to read the book that inspired it. Real history, y'all!

10. Ransom | David Malouf
I've started this one already, but got distracted. It's a powerful prose retelling of Homer's Iliad, and the writing is delicious.

Four of the ten books are Australian, so that's a nice percentage for local reading. What would be on your list?

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Samantha R -- it was very cool and fun indeed!

Laura Elizabeth -- peaceful is right. That sunset was amazing!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Project 52: twelve

Sunset, Cleveland Point.

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Laura Elizabeth -- yippeeee! I'm definitely looking forward to next time, too :D. Thank you for being as lovely in person as you are on the page... er, screen.

Katie -- we did! :D

Staish -- yes, because you are in it. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A happy collision:

This afternoon, my virtual world bumped into my real world and I got to meet blogging/livejournalling/tumblring buddy Laura actually in person. After a flurry of emails coordinating the details, we planned to meet up at a central location in order to see Captain America together. We even had the spy-school stuff set up: Laura would be wearing a red headband and I'd be carrying a yellow paperback copy of To Kill A Mockingbird. Because we are that cool, apparently.

As it happened, no Mockingbird was needed because we ran into each other quite by accident, ten or so minutes before our designated meeting time. It was exciting! Normally I'm super nervous about meeting online friends for the first time, but Laura's words have a genuineness about them that put me at ease before we even met. And she proved to be just the same in person -- fun and sweet -- oh, and with excellent taste in movies. A happy collision!

True to form, I completely forgot to take a picture until the last possible moment, but I'm suppressing my vanity in order to share this one of us inside the dark and damp carpark. At least Laura looks cute.

PS. Captain America is a smiley happy lovely movie.

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Rebecca Simon -- yes! The Help is the book that inspired the film.

Laura Elizabeth -- I shall say 'intersting' from now on. ;) Thank you for this afternoon! :D

Chantel -- yes, graves have that effect on me, too! So many untold stories...

Mandi -- thanks for your comment! I am absolutely certain you will LOVE Daddy Long-Legs. There's a sequel, too: Dear Enemy. Not AS amazing, but still fantastic.

Samantha R -- we definitely share some favourite musicians :).


Monday, August 22, 2011

Project 52: eleven

Plot marker, Cleveland cemetery.

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Laura Elizabeth -- 1) yes, do a Daybook post! It's a fun way to record latest interests and consuming passions; 2) Yes! I definitely imagined Charlotte's Web being written by a woman. And didn't Downton Abbey have a male Evelyn character, too? So weird. 3) thank you for sharing that video. I LOVE IT! "GIRLS CAN'T WRITE BOOKS HA HA HAAA!"


Eweight -- you have my sympathies. I've frequently lived in bookstore-less towns and it's sad. We don't have a secondhand bookstore nearby so I feel your pain at least in a minor way.

Katie -- appropriate celebration activities indeed!

Samantha R -- yes, I did take that picture. Thank you! Ah, and I'm loving Brandon Heath! He's fairly new listening for me but I'm loving it. What other musos do you enjoy?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's National Bookstore Day!

This is a super-quick drive-by post to tell you -- particularly if you're Australian -- that it's National Bookstore Day. The finger is a) pointing to the vintage Penguin paperbacks that are perched on my picture rail, subliminally showing you just how much I care about books, and b) sternly instructing you, SuperNanny style, to go visit your favourite local bookstore today, and let it know it's important.

And no, kids, amazon.com is not a bookstore.

Okay, I'm off -- to the bookstore!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Daybook #10

Outside my window it's been bright and clear and sunny -- but so cold! It's a surprising departure from the weather lately, as if Winter's come out in full force for one last fling.

I have been listening to lots of Brandon Heath, Leeland, and Ben Rector. So good.

I have been wearing summer clothes, winter clothes, my school hoodie, pretty new earrings (a birthday gift from Mum), scungy clothes, dressy clothes. It's a weird confused season.

I am thankful for the weekend! for chilled family times; for reading in bed; for to-do lists even partially completed; for my little brother, even when he jumps out from corners and attacks me.

I am pondering all the responsibilities and obligations I have not yet fulfilled.

I am reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Normally I find books written in dialect to be awkward and unwieldy, but this one is proving to be a delight so far. I can hear the narrator's voice so clearly and so full of character!

I am creating space and order -- even if future-tense -- in The Housie. As time passes, things get re-shuffled and rearranged in the quest for better organisation. It's an ongoing process.

I am looking forward to sleeping in. So much.

A picture-thought I'm sharing is of one of the lovely, lovely birthday parcels that arrived in the mail this week. I know some truly warm and generous people.

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Laura Elizabeth -- I know! I was over the moon when I discovered the "White" half of Strunk & White was that E.B. White! I remember being shocked, too, when I discovered years ago that E.B. was a he. I just truly thought that Charlotte's Web had to have been written by a woman.

Ruth -- that picture is a delight. It makes me want to turn all Hemingway and find a little cabin with a seaview window and tap away at a typewriter. Ooh, you read The Help? How have we not discussed this? I'm very much looking forward to the movie.

Samantha R -- it was full of loveliness :)

Staish -- me, too. I've read Eats, Shoots, & Leaves before but pounced on the chance to read it again since it's a required text for school. Punctuation and humour? Winner. I've actually started on The Help but if I'm finding I'm moving through it slowly, I'll pass it on to you and save you the loooong wait. Otherwise I'll read it quickly and pass it on to you anyway!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Drowning in a sea of books:

Lately I've accumulated a startling amount of new books in a short space of time. Some were prizes, some were purchased with a book voucher (also a prize), and others were purchased for school (I'm sure you can tell which ones). I feel book-wealthy at the moment; it's luxurious! The only problem is working out which to read next. I'm great at starting too many books and then not knowing which ones to finish.

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Laura Elizabeth -- thanks for the birthday love! The idea of many small parties is fun because it's really just an excuse to catch up with people, and you don't have to stand up in front of a big crowd and cut a cake or make a speech :D.

Carla -- yay!!! Let's all vote YES to public holidays on birthdays!

Katie -- ah, yay! I was a little concerned there were altogether too many pictures, so I'm glad you enjoyed them.

Lauren -- yum. Let's make banoffee pie soon. I wish you could have been here, too, but I'm glad we had a pre-birthday party :D.

Rebecca Simon -- spreading the fun over several days is so much cooler :D.

SandieT -- thank you for the kind unbirthday wishes :D. I love that Robert Frost quote; thank you for sharing!

Caitlin -- I always vote for spreading the fun over a few days :). Love back!

Un -- I, too, am a big fan of the handwriting. So far I can't bring myself to clean off the blackboard and write something new. Love you! x

Ruth -- well I'll simply(this) have to mention you in every post then, right? ;) Next time we'll make the boys take pictures of us.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

[lately] birthday shenanigans

This post is especially for my sisters, one of whom is in another state, and one of whom is currently in another country. Lauren, in particular, was most insistent about wanting pictures. Here you go, Lauz. Bear with me; my photo taking skills (never earth-shattering even at their peak) were not in full force this week past.

I really felt as though I got to have a double birthday, because on Wednesday (my birthday eve), I caught up with two lovely friends. About midday, Anastasia turned up at my door -- just like this -- bearing the most wondrous blackboard, handmade by her and husband Danny. I was so excited! Staish had also made icecream sundaes in jars -- eee!

We set off for the movies where we laughed and talked our way through Larry Crowne (also, I spilled sundae-in-a-jar on myself, so there was that) and then we had sushi!

It was the best and Anastasia is so awesome for giving me a special afternoon. It is my hope that we always live less than ten kilometres apart -- even though we both dream of escaping Queensland humidity at some stage in our future.


Then, in the evening, Tain and I drove to meet Ruth and Malachi for a cheeseburger date -- the 10th being that miraculous day just after Ruth's birthday and just before mine. Of course, I forgot to take pictures of us birthday girls, but here are the boys. Judging from their excitement levels, it might well have been their birthdays.

Thursday was my Actually Birthday -- and Mum made amazing mocha french toast! Did I mention it was amazing?

And there were flowers! (gold and purple were the colours for my twenty-first birthday, way, way back in the black and white days).

Growing up homeschooled, then self-employed, and now studying, it's possible to get this irrational idea that all birthdays should be public holidays. That being the attitude I've somehow developed, we decided to spend some hours in a birthdayish exploration of one of my favourite suburbs, Bulimba.

We had lunch at this super awesome fantastic excellent very cool bookshop that I love.

It's like... everything excellent in a bookstore. Good food, books, and a verandah with a book screen!

Tain had adorably tiny sushi.

I ordered an eggplant and rocket tart.

And Mum had roast pumpkin pizza. No surprise that the food was really yum.

There was also a random -- yet friendly -- bear.

Mum and I were both weirdly under the weather, so we didn't do much other than eat, browse books, and stroll. But it was still nice -- a perfect let's-pretend-it's-spring day.

We didn't "come in and rest" but Tain was in a reverent mood and wanted to survey the interior of the church in a soulful way.

There was also some afternoon tea involved (I realise how this looks but I swear we didn't just eat all day long!).

Lemon and lime cheesecake, anyone?

Mum paparazzi'd her banoffee pie.

On the way home there were amazing clouds, and in between all of that there were beautiful gifts, and happy text messages, and kind phone calls, and facebook probably broke because of all the posts on my wall, and none of it was deserved but every bit of it was really, truly appreciated the end.

Project 52: ten

Reflections, Manly marina.

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Rebecca -- yay! I hope you enjoy Josh Garrels :).

BushMaid -- thank you for the birthday wishes. x

Samantha R -- thanks for the birthday love! x

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

on repeat: white owl

Josh Garrels' latest album, Love & War & the Sea in Between, was mesmerising from the first play. Sometimes albums take a while to grow on me, but this one has proven to be an instant favourite. I've listened to the first track, White Owl, a ridiculous number of times, and just yesterday I stumbled across this beautiful animation. It's the perfect complement to the song; together, they create a whimsical and haunting parable that soars. It makes me think of a reimagined Pilgrim's Progress. I'm really loving it.

By the way, you can download the whole album for free through NoiseTrade. This, in itself, is very cool, and I think it says a lot about Josh Garrels as a Christian artist. Bravo!

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Jessica -- hey, thanks for your comment!

Staish -- yay poetic reciprocation!!

Laura Elizabeth -- yippee Ira Glass fans! WOOOO! And the Moth! Do we like all the same media? Oh, and I owe you an email enthusiastically discussing Jane Eyre and possible viewing thereof!

Bethany -- thank you :).

Samantha R -- exactly! :)

Cara -- I hope you get lots of culinary inspiration from that blog. It actually makes me hungry :). Much love to you!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Project 52: nine

Stradbroke Island, looking west.
[Bonus: looking east]

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Samantha R -- I guess the beauty of a project like this is that we can make up our own rules and change it up a little when it's needed. I'm like you; some weeks it feels so easy and then other weeks it's a genuine challenge / Yes, Lauz's nursing apron was made by my sister Andrea. Everyone comments on it; it's so cute and practical!

Laura Elizabeth -- Yes!! This is the awesome thing: we can each interpret the project in a fun way / Ah, North & South! LOVE. It's probably one of my favourites EVER. And here's a surprise: even my dad likes it. I've shown it to several guys who enjoyed it, which is rare for a BBC drama. Oh, and yes, I have quite the soft spot for StJohn, too. I guess I like my gentlemen a little more open and upfront, less emo and brooding.

Staish -- Mum still wants poems, too :). It's a good challenge, so I hope to keep sharing them, perhaps just to a less rigid schedule. By the way, I miss your poems.

Un -- Okay, we HAVE to go to Noop next time you are up. AK would totally love it, too (girls' day!!). And your reference to Tain the Bandit made me quite literally LOL. :D :D :D

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Project 52: an update [2]

You might've noticed -- although you probably didn't -- that there was no Project 52 post last weekend. Partly that was because it was a bustling weekend full of happy activity, and partly because my whole 52 Moments project is having something of an identity crisis.

My problem is simply this: the whole picture-with-poem thing doesn't seem to work very well with my stated theme which is, of course, about the small moments that stand out each week. While I've been relishing the challenge of writing a poem every week (and sometimes it's been about as easy as, I don't know, hand-numbering the pages of the OED), often times the poem that appears will require some floaty, generic picture. Or else, the picture itself tells the whole story and no poem is required. It's as though one cancels out the other.

So I am left with, I think, just one or the other. And because pictures seem to connect more with readers (and blogs are about the readers, otherwise we're all just keeping weird journals on the internet), and because I want to become better at taking them, maybe... I'll just stick to images?

You can see how convinced I am of this by my own question mark. I'm willing to be swayed either way. What do you think? And for those of you who are also embarking of the Project 52 idea, how's it been going for you?

[lately] pre-birthday @ noop

The last few days have been ones of goodbyes. Yesterday, we said goodbye to my brother Nick as he headed back home to WA after his week of chilling and family time here. And today we said goodbye to my sister Lauren and her little family as they headed off to spend three weeks with the New Zealand Friends And Relations. Since Abby is only twelve weeks old, three weeks is a quarter of her life so far -- she'll be a different person when she returns!

My birthday falls during their time away, so Lauren planned a little pre-birthday afternoon tea at Noop, her latest local discovery. It was a great little place, and rare in that all of the baked goods (and there were so many AMAZING sweet and pretty things) are baked locally, instead of being shipped in from somewhere else. I hate going to cafes and seeing the same row of generic cheesecakes and mud cakes which could be bought anywhere (including McDonald's) so it was awesome seeing a little coffee shop doing their own thing and doing it nicely.

Peanut butter chocolate ganache cheesecake? Uh huh.

My lunch: ham and cheese toastie and peach iced tea.

Milkshakes are automatically cooler when they come with two straws -- and those amazing metal cups you can use to top up your glass with.

Some of the birthday treats Lauren spoilt me with: the first issue of new Feast magazine, Leeland's Love Is On the Move album, and Caramello Nibbles. Not pictured: adorable moccasin ugg boots.

I love my family!

[some images by Lauz]

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BushMaid -- life is indeed wonderful and busy just now :). And yay you hosting a story writing contest! I hope it goes brilliantly and you get to read lots of great stories from entrants.

Samantha R -- I always wish I had more time for journalling. I'm so disappointed to have had that habit fall by the wayside in more recent years. In a sense, blogging has taken its place, but I still miss the unguarded mind-bomb that journalling can be.

Katie -- I'm loving the photography focus on your blog. I feel like I learn lots from your picture-taking; you always have something cool to share!

Laura Elizabeth -- isn't it weird, this love-hate relationship with study? I really do love it, and yet it IS a massive job and can be a pretty huge stress factor. Oh strange contradictory life! Ah yes, StJohn!! I kind of don't want Jamie Bell to play StJohn because he's always been a bit of a noob in any of the Jane Eyre film adaptations. Are you going to go see it? PS. Received email! Loved email! Replied to email!

Rach da Axe -- so the sun has found its way down to you, too? Yay!

Staish -- ooh, you may have some textbooks I could use! Yes! I will ogle them accordingly next time I see you.

Eweight -- oh do it, do it!! And then we could compare notes! And be, like, at the same school and stuff :).

Asea -- PhD applicationsssss! Woohoo! I wish you success. And I'll have to lurk your facebook piccies and be all jealous of your homeland explorations.

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