Monday, 26 October 2020

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)


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Full moon rising.

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Friday, 23 October 2020

Friday Funnies: Every Insomniac's Worst Nightmare


This week, a short Donald Duck clip. I think everyone who has suffered a bout of insomnia will be able to identify with this one. 

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Review: Rape a Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates

I've often heard the expression never judge a book by its cover, but in this particular instance, never judge a book by its title may be apt. There is no denying one thing. That title is confronting. Over the years, I've occasionally seen it used by critics to pull the author down a peg or two, usually when they are criticising one of her other works. And it's probably not the best reflection of what the book is about.

This 154 page novella tells the story of Teena Maguire, an adult woman who is gang raped by a group of thugs while her twelve-year-old daughter Bethyl watches, frightened and helpless. Teena is left on the floor of a boat shed to die, but the intervention of Bethyl and the police officer that arrives on the scene ensures that she receives medical attention. And then comes the emotionally confronting or perhaps even crushing, aftermath.

Author Joyce Carol Oates tells it like it is, showing in detail the fallout. There is cruel gossip from the neighbours, a failure to believe that the young men who are arrested and charged could possibly be guilty and a court hearing, where a slick lawyer turns the tables on Teena, essentially putting her, and her credibility on trial instead of his clients. Sadly, much of this reflects the true experiences of survivors of sexual assault. However, in this fictional world, Oates offers us a hero in the form of a rogue police officer who wants to see justice play out for Teena Maguire. His methods are tough, far from legal but strangely effective. And that, I suspect is where the second part of the title comes from.

This is a confronting read, sadly realistic and reflective of the attitude toward survivors of sexual assault even in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence. The short chapters work perfectly, stopping parts of the story from going over the top in some places, and giving readers just enough information without being too graphic in others. Definitely not a book for a faint of heart, this is a story about an amazingly strong woman, the people who tried to break her and those who loved her the most.


Friday, 16 October 2020

Curiosity Show: Sand Dunes


Just wanted to share this wonderful clip from The Curiosity Show that talks about sand dunes. As regular followers of this blog will be aware, The Curiosity Show was a children's television programme from the 1980s that was filmed here in South Australia that introduced a number of important scientific concepts to viewers. Although targeted at children in their middle and upper years of primary school, many of the segments can be appreciated by viewers of all ages.

PS I'm keen to know where the shots of the dunes were taken at the beginning and end of the clip?

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Vinegar Girl
is the forth novel that I have read in the Hograth Shakespeare series and it is the best yet. A modern day retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, author Anne Tyler takes us to contemporary America. Kate Battista spends her days working at a job that she hates and is ill-suited to, and her evenings being a sort-of live in housekeeper for her eccentric scientist father and her bratty teenage sister. With no friends and no relationship prospects she drifts through life feeling unappreciated. Then, suddenly, her father has a strange proposal. He wants her to marry his Russian lab assistant Pyotr, so that he can stay in the country. And then Pyotr begins a charming and eccentric campaign to win the bitter Kate's heart ...

This was an entertaining social comedy served with a lot of heart. Kate is as bitter as bitter can be, but from the moment that the blunt but always well meaning Pyotr appears on the page, it is obvious that the pair are a perfect match--even if their relationship doesn't really develop under normal circumstances. The author has a lot to say about the pressures that men often have placed on them to not express their feelings or concerns. On a similar note, there is a moral to the story that just because some people don't discuss or express their feelings in a way that is deemed socially acceptable does not mean that those feelings do not exist. Bunny provides an interesting contrast to the bitter Kate, but it is Pyotr who truly steals every scene he is in. 

Short enough to be read in one of two sittings, this one is a lot of fun and very entertaining. 

Highly recommended. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Review: Rural Dreams by Margaret Hickey

The Australian rural landscape can be harsh, beautiful and often isolating. In her debut collection of short stories, Margaret Hickey explores this landscape and the many people and unique situations within. There's the footballer who leaves the city behind to go home every weekend, the terminally ill mother who thinks that the Gold Coast is the best place in the world and who has trouble seeing eye-to-eye with her Melbourne born and bred daughter-in-law, and a bloke who just likes birds who arouses suspicion in others. 

Author Margaret Hickey's talent lies not only in creating believable characters and situations, but adding some kind of a twist to the story that, while always unexpected, is nearly always fitting. A particular highlight for me, however, was Mind Your Language, about a single mum who swears often but who quite beautifully teaches the school principal a thing or two about politeness. 

Overall this is an enjoyable collection, with an eclectic mix of characters and situations.


This book was read for the Aussie Author Challenge 2020.