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Showing posts from October, 2021

Uncle Chip's Literary Quotes

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  “Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.” ~ Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

Aunt Cole's Believe it Or Get Bent

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  DBC Pierre, author of Booker Prize Winning novel Vernon God Little was born in Old Reynella, South Australia. By the age of two had lived in multiple countries. He briefly lived in Australia as an adult.

Review: Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

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What do you do when everyone else seems just out of reach? Micah is a man in his forties who has his own way of doing things. He is intelligent, basically reliable and runs his own successful business. He also lives a very regimented and ordered life, and has difficulty communicating with, and relating to others. Even the people who care about him consider him to be well, a bit odd. But when a teenage runaway lands on his doorstep, and his lady friend breaks up with him, Micah finds himself stuck in a situation that he seemingly cannot handle. Or can he? Redhead by the Side of the Road is a sympathetic portrait of a man who is slowly coming to realise the difficulties he has communicating with and relating to others, and what he does about it. Told over the course of a week, we see the communication difficulties he has with his lady friend Cass, when she starts dropping a whole lot of hints about moving in together that Micah fails to pick up on, and then their eventual break up after

Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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Imagine that there is a whole other world below the city of London. A world filled with all kinds of people. Monsters. Saints. Murderers. Angels. And more. Imagine that it is a city filled with people who have, in one way or another, fallen through the cracks. That world exists within the pages of Neverwhere, a brilliant novel by Neil Gaiman. Richard Mayhew is a big hearted and somewhat passive young man who moved from a small town in Scotland to London. He has enjoyed some success as a businessman and seems to enjoy, somewhat, being pushed around by his fiancĂ© Jessica, a bossy and ruthless go-getter who really isn't his perfect match, but Richard can't see that, even if the reader can. Anyway, against Jessica's advice, Richard finds himself coming to the aid of a young woman he finds on the streets. This simple act of kindness propels Richard into the world of London below, where he finds himself on a twisty and occasionally frightening adventure  to help his new friend an

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)

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Uncle Chip's Literary Quotes

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  “Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.”  ~ Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Greetings From the Unicorner: A Random Sweet Valley Post

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  Did you know ... Sweet Valley High was originally conceived as a television series? Creator Francine Pascal pitched it to a number of TV networks, but when it didn't get off the ground, she reimagined the concept as a series of pre-teen books.  In the mid-1990s Francine Pascal's original concept became a reality when the Sweet Valley TV series debuted. It ran for three seasons and spawned two books based on the scripts from the series ... all of which were, in part, based on the books (It's like we've got Sweet Valley on spin cycle here.) I'm not sure how official this is, but you can view most of the Sweet Valley High TV series on this YouTube page.

Aunt Cole's Believe it Or Get Bent

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  Several scenes from Flowers in the Attic were cut from the UK and Australian editions of the novel. 

Review: Being Black 'N Chicken, & Chips by Matt Okine

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Australian comedian Matt Okine leverages on his real life experiences to create a novel about a young man who is just trying to grow up and fit in, all while his mum is dying of cancer. The year is 1998 and Mike has just started high school in a city called Brindlewood that shares more than a passing resemblance to Brisbane. Mike's mum is white and something of a social justice crusader (the good kind,) and his dad is black, African and works as a school dentist. (Basically, he travels around in a fully equipped van doing school visits. Mike finds this slightly embarrassing.) What Mike wants more than anything is to fit in, for his crush to like him and to take part in a school sports tournament. Unfortunately life has other plans. His Mum has cancer. Mike doesn't want people to know, or to feel sorry for him. But he does want to get things right and to make his mum proud, but the reality is, he's just a kid, some things are out of his control, and other things he doesn'

Review: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

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I had so much fun reading There's Something About Darcy last week that of course I had to follow it up by reading a Jane Austen novel. This time around, I decided to turn my attention to Northanger Abbey, which I had not read since I was nineteen, and was the Austen novel that I remembered the least about. Although Northanger Abbey was written in 1803 and later bought by a publisher, the novel itself was not published until after Austen's death in 1817, along with Persuasion.  (Random Austen fact: only four of her novels were published in her lifetime, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma.) It turns out there is a reason for that. Although Northanger Abbey is an entertaining read, it fails to make the impact of some of Austen's other much loved novels. The novel opens with a character who is innocent and, as the author is at pains to tell us, unremarkable. Despite being unremarkable, Catherine Moreland, who comes from a big family who are by

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)

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Review: There's Something About Darcy by Gabrielle Malcolm

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Let's face it, Mr Darcy is the ultimate hero for a lot of Jane Austen fans. Quiet, a deep thinker, proud, rich and above all, a thoroughly good and principled man deep down, who truly loves the heroine of Pride and Prejudice, Miss Elizabeth Bennett. But why is this character so appealing? In There's Something About Darcy, author, scriptwriter and academic Gabrielle Martin seeks to answer this question by studying both the original text, various film and television adaptions and even some surprising contemporary retellings and interpretations of the character. This was a fun read and for me, a great way to return to the characters and the story I've loved since I was nineteen in a slightly different way, without having someone else's interpretation of who Elizabeth and Darcy should be ruin it for me. That said, there isn't much in here that I didn't know already. I've seen nearly all the adaptions (but for the Faye Weldon one,) mentioned in the book, and I a

Review: Echoes of War by Tania Blanchard

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In the past few years Australian author Tania Blanchard has seen enormous success with her historical fiction, telling the stories of the real people caught up in pivotal moments in the twentieth century and the impact that is has on the character, and their family. In Echoes of War she turns her focus to Italy. The year is 1936 and Giulia is a headstrong teenager who desperately wants to follow in the footsteps of her Nonna and become a healer. Unfortunately for Giulia, her equally headstrong father wants nothing more than to see his daughters married and living respectable lives. A small deception helps Giulia get the training that she longs for, but it isn't long before life, and the realities of the era--civil unrest and war--soon get in the way. Giulia finds herself bound to her family and duty in ways that she never thought was imaginable. Although I have enjoyed some of Tania Blanchard's work in the past, I did not enjoy this one anywhere near as much as I had hoped to.

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)

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Uncle Chip's Literary Quotes

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“My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.”  ~ Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Review: Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Nee Nutter

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There's nothing that Maggie wants more than a puppy. And so, on her birthday, her parents take her to a shelter where she is tasked with selecting a puppy. She finds one she loves straight away. But then Maggie has a severe allergic reaction. It turns out that Maggie is severely allergic to pets. This cute and beautifully illustrated graphic novel tells the story of how Maggie tries to navigate an allergy that she most definitely doesn't want. And not only does she have to deal with feelings of resentment, but there's a lot going on at home. Her mum is pregnant and her younger twin brothers never seem to have any time for her. Worse still, boundary changes mean that she has to start at a new school. At least the new girl next door wants to be friends. But Claire is a little spoiled. And while she means well, she doesn't always have the best understanding of Maggie's allergies or what's best for her. (After all, she's just a kid.) The subject matter is handle

Aunt Cole's Believe it Or Get Bent

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  As well as being the author of four novels for children, Hollywood actor Isla Fisher authored two YA romance novels with her mother in the mid-1990s. Her mother is also the author of an unknown number of romances and books for children.

Review: Little Scratch by Rebecca Watson

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Painfully realistic Little Scratch tells the story of one day in the life of an unnamed woman. As she struggles through her day, a little scratch keeps rising to the surface, quietly reminding her of what has been going on beneath the skin, the memories of something dark that happened recently, that she is trying to forget, but that she knows that she must acknowledge. The most remarkable thing about this one is the story telling. Not quite a stream of consciousness, the author uses single words, fragments rather than sentences and anything else that comes to hand to describe every event that occurs in the protagonists day. The storytelling is clever and deceptively simple. It also leads to places that are ... well, let me put it this way. A few pages in we get a description of what the protagonist calls her post hangover poo. So, I guess, instead of a warts and all account of her day, we get a poo and all account. It may be a highly effective narrative tool to show the reader the she

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)

  View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kathryn White (@kathryns_inbox)

Uncle Chip's Literary Quotes

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  “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.”  ~ Roald Dahl, The Witches

Greetings From The Unicorn: Sweet Valley Twins Book 6, The New Girl

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  Sweet Valley Twins #6 The New Girl The early Sweet Valley Twins novels had some fun storylines that never take themselves too seriously. In this one, a new girl called Brooke moves to Sweet Valley from France. Her Dad is somehow acquitted with Mrs Wakefield and the twins and Brooke are more or less thrown together ... and they don't get along. Brooke is bossy, spoiled and mean. She soon rubs all of the other kids at Sweet Valley Middle School up the wrong way and they decide to teach her a lesson, which involves Elizabeth and Jessica pretending that they have an identical triplet named Jennifer. There are all kinds of reasons why this would never work, but Brooke is fooled and well, Sweet Valley chaos ensures ... This one was an entertaining, though highly implausible read, making it an excellent instalment in the series. The trick is exposed, of course, and Brooke eventually turns good, though she never quite makes Unicorn status. A minor character who appears only in Sweet Vall

Aunt Cole's Believe it Or Get Bent

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  The first Sweet Valley novel was published in 1983. The final novel to be published (to date) was a graphic novel titled Academic All Star in 2019.