Thursday, October 22, 2009

By the Book

I bet you're saying, 'Enough already! Surely she isn't still banging on about that bloody trip to Bali.'Well I am - but I promise this will be the last time!

As holidays are the only time my attention span allows me to read an entire book, I merrily devoured three while I was away, and thought we could have a funny little online version of a Book club.

The pick of the bunch was The Women in Black by Madeleine St John. Set in a 1960's Department Store, this sharply observed and witty tale of the lives, relationships and friendship of the women who work in the Cocktail Dress section, really took me by surprise. Every sentence is deliciously written and I often found myself rereading sections simply for the joy of how perfectly each word fitted with the next. The Women in Black is sheer brilliance. In fact, I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a novel so much...I know that's a big call, but I'm prepared to stand by it!

Next up, is Perfection. This refreshingly candid memoir is written by Julie Metz, who was widowed at 44. Six months after her husband's passing, she discovered that he had a string of affairs, including a continuing relationship with a woman she considered a close friend. What follows is a compelling, albeit sometimes downright uncomfortable, story of love, loss, lies and moving forward. Although the last part of this book loses some momentum, Perfection is a quintessential summer read. Funnily enough, while I really enjoyed this book it is actually a quote Julie references from Mary Oliver that I have often thought back to:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

And lastly, a memoir of an entirely different type, is Mama Mia: A Memoir of Mistakes, Magazines and Motherhood by columnist/magazine editor/blogger/media personality Mia Freedman. I feel like a traitor to the 'sisterhood' by saying this, but I found Mia's book a little underwhelming. Particularly as the jacket says Mia has been called the voice of her generation! To liven things up, I suggest getting Happy Hour started early by downing:
  • 1 x Lychee Martini for every reference to a 'ticker-tape parade'
  • 1 x Bintang for every time she likened something to 'crack'
  • 1 x Pina Colada for every proclamation that she would 'rather poke her eye out with [insert any sharp implement you can think of]'
Still, her searingly honest account of The Catch-Up debacle gives a fly-on-the-wall view of the toxic, blokey culture of Channel 9. And, in many ways explains why Sam Newman and his imbecile mates on The Footy Show continue sucking up air time.

So, have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts? And what are your recommendations for worthwhile Summer reads?

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