Top Ten Unread Books That Have Been On My TBR Shelf Since Before I Began Blogging

Not my catchiest title, I’ll admit. But this week’s Top Ten Tuesday forces me to admit which books I’ve been putting off reading for far too long. As you’ll see, mostly my excuse is just plain, good old-fashioned laziness….

Top Ten Unread Books That Have Been On My TBR Shelf Since Before I Began Blogging

1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot – Eliot seems like the natural choice for readers making their way through the most famous English female writers, from Austen to the Brontës to Gaskell. I’ve done all three of those authors, but I’ve yet to build up the enthusiasm to face Eliot’s grimmer style of writing. Plus I’m sad to say that The Mill on the Floss kind of bored me to tears.

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Lit Major Abroad: Istria, Home of the Famous Colossal Trousers

Porec StatueAustralians are a travel-hungry people generally, not content to sit on this hot, boring little island for too long at any one time. So we generally go overseas and sit on hot, boring little islands there, because it’s interesting and the people are fun and the food is better. Also we can collect those little bottles of soap and hair conditioner that you find in nicer hotels. Because, let’s face it, you never know when you might ten millilitres of runny, fifteen-year-old shampoo from a bottle that is older than all three of your children.

So in true Australian fashion, I have once again abandoned my home, and have headed to the home of my forefathers – Croatia – on the first leg of a year-long stint which will include plenty of travel, and a year of university study in the UK wedged in there somewhere (but let’s not talk about uni just yet, because it makes me terribly anxious, and also I haven’t bought all of my books yet). Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Authors I’ve Never Read

VirginiaWoolfThe lovely people over at The Broke and the Bookish clearly share my fascination with lists (seriously, I really like lists. I’m thinking of doing a ‘Why I Like Making Lists List’) because every week they run a feature called Top Ten Tuesday. There’s a new theme every time, and this week the theme is ‘Top Ten Popular Authors I’ve Never Read’. So I’ve decided to look at the ten popular (classics) authors that I have, for one reason or another, never got round to reading. Admittedly, not all of these authors could be classified as ‘popular’, but on the other hand, they’re the sort of thing people never stop talking about and always pretend they’ve read to impress their dates. So, here we go…

Top Ten Popular (Classics) Authors I’ve Never Read

  1. James Joyce. (Probably for the same reason that a lot of people haven’t read him. The thought of reading Ulysses scares the pants off us.)
  2. Fyodor Dostoyevsky. (See above re: pants.)
  3. Marcel Proust. (Ditto.)
  4. D.H. Lawrence. (I was told I wasn’t ready. That was five years ago.) Continue reading

The Most Famous Door in Dublin

joycecentre2Merry Christmas, my fellow book lovers! Now that the Festive Season is drawing to a slow, quiet end, I thought I’d share some more from my trip. I’ve spent the last few days in Europe visiting family. I’ve been without internet, which can be both liberating and stressful. If you’re the sort of person who checks the weather intermittently on their phone (as though by checking it every five minutes you can somehow control it), or can’t keep track of their spending without firing up a Google Doc, you’ll understand why I use the word ‘stressful’.

But that’s not why I’m here today. I want to talk about my last day in Dublin, which was actually much more than a week ago (but let’s pretend I’m more organised than that and I wrote this up sooner). We managed to get quite a few exciting literary-themed activities into the day. Our two main writers for the day were James Joyce and W.B. Yeats.

In the morning we set off for the north part of Dublin and a nondescript little row house which claimed to be The James Joyce Centre. The sign outside promised a veritable feast of activities: Continue reading

This Statue of James Joyce Says I Must be in Dublin

IMG_0241.2Yes, this dapper statue of the famous James Joyce is here to tell you that I have left behind the sweltering heat of December in Australia to potter around Europe with my sister, a handful of books, and not nearly enough winter clothing to keep an ordinary human being from contracting pneumonia. Throughout my trip I’ll be sharing stories from some of the literary places I visit, including writers’ homes, literary museums, and – of course – bookshops.

My first stop is Dublin, Ireland’s capital and a UNESCO City of Literature. This, to me, sounds like an appropriate place for a eager lit major to start. So after one full day in Dublin (half of which, admittedly, was spent in a blissful jetlag-induced haze), what have I learnt about the city’s approach to literature?

Well, for one thing, they like to make jokes. Specifically, they like to make jokes about Ulysses, James Joyce’s behemoth of a book set in early twentieth-century Dublin. They are proud of it and amused by it in equal measure. It’s hard to hate a book that really put Dublin on the literary map, even if Joyce actually wrote most of it in Switzerland and France, where he ended up living until his death. Still, you’d never guess from the number of statues, museums, and mentions Joyce receives in Dublin.

There’s more to Dublin than just James Joyce, though. Ireland has a rich storytelling history which was highlighted in our first museum of the day: the National Leprechaun Museum on the city’s north side. Now, I know what you’re thinking. A museum dedicated to leprechauns? This is something to see.

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