Stories & Shout Outs #39

My Week:

I’ve had better.

I continue to feel too tired and wiped-out after work each day to even think about blogging. And I’m lucky to read a chapter of my book before falling asleep at night. I remember when I was a kid, how I would read on and off all day. Mostly on.

I was always being told to get my nose out of my book. I could read a Trixie Belden book in a day. I could read so much my eyes would hurt and my head would get that dull-I’ve-read-too-long-cotton-wool-feeling. I haven’t read like that since my early twenties. I love that my ten year old niece seems to have inherited this gene from me. She now has my box of Trixie Belden’s.

I Am Reading:

  • The Mirror and the Light | Hilary Mantel
  • The Satapur Moonstone | Sujata Massey
  • The London Scene | Virginia Woolf (non-fiction)
  • Into the Loneliness: The unholy alliance of Ernestine Hill and Daisy Bates | Eleanor Hogan (non-fiction) very slowly. I’m stuck in a section about Daisy Bates that is going on and on and on.
  • Yuiquimbiang | Louise Crisp (poetry)

Read But Not Reviewed:

  • Square Haunting | Francesca Wade
  • The Pea Pickers | Eve Langley
  • Gratitude | Delphine de Vigan
  • Old Seems to be Other People | Lily Brett

New to the Pile:


  • The Dictionary of Lost Words | Pip Williams won this year’s Indie Book of the Year Award after also winning her category of Debut Fiction. She also won the People’s Choice award at the NSW Premier’s Literary award ceremony.
  • The Bass Rock | Evie Wyld won the 2021 Stella Prize.
  • Phosphorescence | Julia Baird won the ABIA Book of the Year 2021 after taking out the non-fiction prize as well. She also won the 2021 Indie non-fiction book award.
  • Throat | Ellen Van Neervan won the 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry, the Multicultural award and the Book of the Year award.

In the Kitchen:

I’ve been enjoying the cooler autumn evenings and Ottolenghi the past couple of weeks.

From SIMPLE I horrified surprised B20 by baking a Mustardy Cauliflower Cheese. I love it when the end result looks just like the photograph in the book!

It turned out to be a huge success, although B20 was not in a hurry for me to repeat the recipe.

From PLENTY I tried the Very Full Tart.

It took a lot longer than I thought, with lots of chopping, roasting of capsicums & sautéeing of onions. I should have followed my gut instincts to add an extra egg. The middle didn’t really set properly until it had been refrigerated overnight, which was great for the leftovers, but not so great for the evening meal.

Getting Excited About:

  • Seeing Hamilton live in Sydney this weekend. I hope it lives up to the hype!
  • Celebrating 34 years since Mr Books and I went out on our very first date.
  • Spending Sunday night with the boys and their GF’s for Mother’s Day.
  • Listening to Linda Jaivin talk to Jennifer Byrnes about her new book on China this Tuesday.

Not So Exciting:

  • Wearing masks again thanks to a mystery Covod-19 case in Sydney on Thursday.

Shout Outs:

My Southern Hemisphere badge. Feel free to use.

16 thoughts on “Stories & Shout Outs #39

  1. It’ll be lovely to see you in 20 Books … again! Hooray! Sorry about the tired week. I can sympathise. I had a hard week with a hospital appointment in it that I was dreading – but was OK, but I’m still tired from the anticipation, I think.


    1. I’ve got some appointments & tests this week, so I understand how you felt about the anticipation! Hope all is well with you.


  2. I understand. I don’t know how I blogged while I worked.

    Love your cooking experiments. A reminder to me to bake more savory pies, I think.

    Off to join the 20 Books of Summer. The best part is always the planning.


    1. Yes, I’m looking forward to the next few days, going through my tbr stacks & making lists. It gives me the chance for a little tidy up – take back to work those arc’s I’m realistically not going to read but brought home in a fit of anticipation & excitement.


    1. Omg! Hamilton really was as great as they said it was. It’s curious, as an outsider, the see the American origin story bring mythologised to such an extent. The scene where Washington leaves office was particularly poignant given Trump’s ungracious exit
      “One last time
      And if we get this right
      We’re gonna teach ’em how to say goodbye”
      But learning the lessons of history was not his strong point!


  3. I hadn’t heard about the du Maurier project before but am going to participate in it. I am also going to try to complete the 20 books of summer (in New Hampshire it is summer) project again. Great job on the recipes–the cauliflower cheese looks delicious!


  4. I am having a hard time with The Mirror & the Light. Not that I don’t like it. I do. But it takes a long time to get through even ten pages. I took two days off to read Curtain by Agatha Christie, and now I am reading Poirot and Me by David Suchet along with Mantel’s book. I want to find a book of essays to read at the same time too.


    1. There is a lot of going over old ground at the beginning for sure. I was finding it annoying for a while, but then realised this was perhaps Mantel’s way of showing that Cromwell was haunted/scarred by the the executions of Anne et al. He keeps going over the details, remembering different things. He may justify how he managed things, but he is obviously a changed man.

      But like you, I am reading some lighter books in between. I’m currently reading (last night and tonight should do the trick) The Birds, a short story for Daphne du Maurier reading week.


      1. You have described it well. He is not the same person he was in Bring Up the Bodies, not so sure of what he has done in the past. On the other hand, he is helping people when he has made promises to their relatives to protect them, and he shows loyalty in that area. (And I can’t keep up with the characters, even going back to the cast list.)

        I wish I had anything by du Maurier to read. I only have Rebecca and I don’t want to do that this month.


        1. One of the advantages of reading them all together like I have done this time, is that the names are much clearer in my head, but I still get confused when they suddenly get new roles or titles.

          I thought the humour had deserted this book too, but now that I’m past Cromwell reminiscing about the executions, the funny has returned. Some entertaining set pieces with his son, nephews and wards.


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