Austen in Edinburgh: A Lecture at the NLS

Emma FlyerI don’t normally write about lectures and seminars that I go to, but I recently had the opportunity to attend a rather interesting lecture at the National Library of Scotland that I thought I’d share with you all. The lecture has some fun bookish connections: organised by the Edinburgh-based author Alexander McCall Smith, the Isabel Dalhousie lecture is dedicated to one of Smith’s beloved characters, Isabel Dalhousie, philosopher and amateur sleuth, and (naturally) lover of Edinburgh and Scottish culture. This year’s lecture just happened to be on a topic I’m particularly interested in. Juliette Wells, an American scholar, gave a talk on the first American edition of Jane Austen’s Emma and its significance for Austen scholarship and the study of Austen’s reception in America. I read Wells’ book, Everybody’s Jane, for Austen in August last year (I was also supposed to re-read Emma itself for that particular event, but as I mentioned in my review of the novel, that turned out to be a massive bust…) so I was curious to hear her talk. Continue reading

Top Ten Bookish Habits I Want To Quit

ReadingParisWe all have reading and book-related habits we’re proud of. Whether it’s a reading plan of such mind-boggling complexity that it makes government spending plans look like a toddler’s crayon drawings, or a meticulously designed reading room that required years of planning, blueprints, and trips to IKEA to get right, we’ve all got them. But for every reading habit we’re proud of, there’s also those habits we’d rather not have. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is devoted to just that.

Top Ten Bookish Habits I Want To Quit

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Top Ten Book-Related Problems

rippedpages

We all love books here, but even books are not without their problems. Delayed publication dates, e-reader mishaps, and pages ripped out of library books – I kind of feel like I’ve seen it all when it comes to book-related crimes.

This week, the folks behind The Broke and the Bookish asked us to list our top ten book-related problems, a topic that I can definitely get on board with.

So here goes….

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Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers I’d Frame as Art

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly prompt at The Broke and the Bookish. This time the theme is ‘Top Ten Book Covers I’d Frame As Pieces of Art’. Now I’ll admit (a little shamefully) that I am a bit of a visual person, and I do tend to fall into the trap of judging a book by its cover. A lot. I know, it’s terrible. This week’s prompt, however, lets me indulge my shockingly bad habit, so I just couldn’t resist.

Top Ten Book Covers I’d Frame as Pieces of Art

1. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. I’m a big fan of this style, showing only slices of the image instead of the whole thing:

Luminaries

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Top Ten Tuesday: The Most Unique Books I’ve Read

Charlotte_Ramsay_LennoxEvery week over at The Broke and the Bookish readers are given a theme for a Top Ten list. This week the theme is ‘Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read’. This can be anything that stood out from the herd. Style, characters, plot and/or structure – it all counts. Many of the books I’ve listed below aren’t necessarily completely unique, but at the time I read them I’d never seen or experienced anything similar. So here’s my Top Ten.

The Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read

  1. In the Skin of a Lion, by Michael Ondaatje. This was probably the first postmodern novel I’d ever read. Once I got over the choppy structure and confusing changes in point of view, it made for a very rewarding read.
  2. The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea, by Randolph Stow. For an Australian, I don’t actually read all that much Australian literature. Randolph Stow wasn’t just Australian; he also lived in the city where I live, and part of this book is set there. Continue reading

The Top Five Things Goethe Can Teach Us About Travel

goethesdisguiseI recently read Goethe’s Italian Journey, an account of the famous German writer’s trip to Italy in the 1780s. At the end of my review, I promised I’d share a few pieces of wisdom that I picked up from reading Goethe’s account. It’s amazing how recognisable some of his experiences are. Close your eyes, and you can almost imagine nothing has changed. This got me thinking, and I ended up going through the text looking for a few lessons Goethe might have been trying to impart on his readers. So, without further ado, I’d like to present…

The Top Five Things Goethe Can Teach Us About Travel

#1: Enjoy the Ride Continue reading

Perth Writers’ Festival 2014

IMG_0607If you’ve caught sight of my Goodreads to-read list at any time over the past few days (I know, it’s my go-to internet reading material too), you may have noticed a small flurry of new and unusual titles have appeared there over the course of a seemingly regular weekend. The books I’ve added recently might not be the sort of thing you’d expect there; they’re quite a departure from the slew of classical novels, philosophy how-to guides, and academic texts generally selected to make me seem clever and well-read in company. The authors of these newly discovered books don’t seem to have all that much in common. Their interests range from the history of maps and map-making (yes, there’s a book on that) to Australian Aboriginal myth and storytelling.

But there is, in fact, a linking factor; apart from the fact that all the authors I’ve discovered over the past weekend are interesting, well-spoken, and intelligent individuals, they were also all guests at the 2014 Perth Writers’ Festival (cue balloon drop and party poppers). Continue reading