Stories & Shout Outs #41

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My Week:

  • Bah!
  • Three Australian states are in various degrees of lockdown once again.
  • The politics of fear is in full flight. It’s hard not to get caught up in it, as states are pitched against states against the federal government, who sends it back against the states!
  • Trying to remember instead that I am/want to be a kind, thoughtful and generous person (& not a mean-spirited, narky, person who posts negative, unhelpful comments on social media).
  • As a result I have basically stopped looking at facebook and twitter.
  • All the weeks look the same at the moment.
  • Work, eat, read a bit, watch the news, go for a walk, go to sleep, then repeat…and repeat…and repeat.
  • I worry for B24 and about to be B21. Their young adult lives are stuck in this holding pattern. Thankfully they both have good work and lovely GF’s.
  • I’m trying to summon up the energy to write a new Covid Chronicles but it’s all so dispiriting. It’s hard to imagine our lives ever returning to a pre-Covid existence. Not completely sure I want it to. But it’s also hard to see a way out of where we are now and an end to this virus. It keeps on mutating. Despite vaccinations, the number of cases continue to rise.
  • I don’t mind the quiet life, but I do miss eating out – a lot! And art galleries.
  • Hopefully my inner stoic will return soon.

What I’m Reading:

  • Women | Mihail Sebastian (part of the Penguin European Writers series)
  • The Labyrinth | Amanda Lohrey (winner of the 2021 Miles Franklin Prize)
  • Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World | Laura Spinney (I felt it was time to tackle this one)
  • Midnight Chicken: & Other Recipes Worth Living For | Ella Risbridger (recommended by a regular customer at work)
  • Committed Writings | Albert Camus (non-fiction)

Read But Not Reviewed:

  • Yuiquimbiang | Louise Crisp (poetry)
  • Émile Zola: A Very Short Introduction | Brian Nelson (non-fiction)
  • Nothing Holds Back the Night | Delphine de Vigan (read for Paris in July)
  • Virginia Woolf | Nigel Nicolson
  • The Wingmaker | Mette Jakobson (an August new release with Text Publishing)
  • Wandi | Favel Parrett (chapter book for children, due to be published in October by Hachette Australia. For some early thoughts click the link to my goodreads review)


  • The Lincoln Highway | Amor Towles
    • I was very excited to hear that Towles had a new book coming out later this year (October to be precise) and I was even MORE excited when my wonderful rep delivered an early proof copy in June. I raced it home and started it immediately. I was caught up in Emmett’s story and was delighted to meet his younger brother, Billy. I was thinking a long road trip with these two would be a worthwhile thing to do. I sensed a story about what it takes to become a good man developing. I was happy enough to go along with that.
    • Then along came Duchess and Woolly. My heart plummeted along with my hopes. Oh no. Another bad guys versus good guys story. A book where action and reaction drive the story.
    • I’m out.
    • But not for good, or forever.
    • Mr Books picked it up thanks to the great old car cover it sported. He devoured it during the first week of the soft Sydney lockdown.
    • He thoroughly enjoyed it. He tells me I had it all wrong and that I should read it.
    • I will!
    • One day.


  • My proposed Edith Trilogy readalong for Oct/Nov/Dec. Will try again next year – this one has got away from me.

New to the Pile:

On the Blog:

  • I have been tidying up some of my old recurring posts and images. You may suddenly get weird pingbacks from old Stories and Shout Out posts as I get rid of the 60 plus images of my badge currently residing in my media gallery. I will eventually tackle my AusReading Month posts and some of my Classics Club posts as well.
  • I’m in the process of converting to blocks, my TBR lists and classics club lists (see drop down menus above). It’s painful and tedious, but will make it easier for me to use going forward. In fact I have stopped using these lists thanks to how clunky they have been since my move to WP. That means 6 months of catching up and adding in all my new books!
  • Time to put this lockdown to good use 🙂

Shout Outs:

  • Adam’s much anticipated return of Austen in August will be a low-key affair. I plan to read my annotated edition of Northanger Abbey.
  • For Paris in July I have read a Maigret, a memoir (Nothing Holds Back the Night), some Camus (his thoughts on war and peace and the death penalty) and although Mihail Sebastian is a Romanian writer, his stories are mostly set in Paris or the French Alps.
    • I have cooked a Quiche Lorraine from Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen to great acclaim. It was even better cold the next day.
  • I’ve read 14 books so far, for 20 Books of Summer Winter, however I’ve only reviewed 10.
  • For Lisa’s Indigenous Literature Week, I read Benang by Kim Scott, After Story by Larissa Behrendt as well as putting together my annual Indigenous Picture Book post. To see all the reviews for this week, visit Lisa’s Review Page.
  • Only two more sleeps until we find out the longlist for this year’s Booker Prize. Robert @The Bobsphere has filed his predictions. What do you think?

Until next time, stay safe, and happy reading!

34 thoughts on “Stories & Shout Outs #41

  1. Thanks for the shout-out:)
    My copy of After Story arrived this week, they had to send me a new one because the first one must have gone astray. I can’t wait to read it but I got two other books I really want to read too, so now I don’t know which one to read first—a good problem to have.
    I’m struggling a bit with whether to go ahead with Eleanor Dark Week in August, or not. I’m weaning myself off the painkillers but I’m still tired and I just don’t have the energy ATM.
    And I miss baking. Baking, whether it’s muffins or a quiche, is very satisfying during Lockdown but it’s just too hard to do one-handed.


    1. To be in lockdown & not be able to fall back onto a favourite pastime would be very hard! Thank goodness you’ll always have reading!

      I’ve just started a conversation with a local cake maker I know to create something spectacular for almost B21’s bday, as that is something totally beyond me.
      Hosting a reading week is tiring. And lots of typing. I have a few Dark’s on my tbr, that can always wait until next year 😊


      1. Yes, it is tiring, and there’s also the pressure to read for the week, when really, after #ILW I just want some time to read some books that have been on my TBR for a while and I want to read them. I’ll see how I feel next week, I might just be a bit down in the dumps today. I need a good walk in the fresh air but my knees are still too sore, and I’m sick of wearing the same loose cardigan because I can’t wear anything that fits snugly on my arm. I need coffee with The Girls so that I can have a good whinge and get it out of my system!


          1. I say postpone it Lisa. I look forward to taking part but I am so behind in my reading that I can wait until you feel like it. Even if I weren’t behind I could wait, as I always have plenty to read. Look after yourself first and don’t add stress.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I tried to “like” this but it didn’t work. It flashes a WordPress pop – probably wanting to sign me in – then it flashes away again letting me do nothing. Why does WordPress behave so differently on different blogs!

              Liked by 1 person

    1. I watch my one half hour of ABC news most nights and that’s that. Sometimes SBS world news but any more than that makes me feel like the world is a really awful, dangerous place to live in.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. its hard to know which response model works best. Australia’s rapid response when cases materialise has undoubtedly saved lives – but it’s not a sustainable long term strategy is it.

    The UK’s delay in imposing lock downs caused deaths unnecessarily but the vaccine programme has been first class. Now there’s an unseemly rush to open everything again.

    It’s all got too much to cope with so i barely watch the news any longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No it’s not. I think we are just waiting until we get good vaccination penetration. How much is the questions? 60%, 80%, what? But, I think that will have to be the answer. However, we are just not getting it done because we don’t have enough Pfizer and people are scared of AstraZeneca (which Mr Gums and I have had.) It feels hopeless.


      1. I was listening to a report today about the resistance to having the AZ vaccine which means some of the doses will have to be thrown away. What a waste when there are people elsewhere in the world that would love the option of any vaccine


        1. Yes, I know. There was talk of sending some elsewhere eg to PNG but, while I accepted having AZ, because I had no choice, and appreciate that it’s a decent vaccine, it feels wrong to give away your cast-offs if you know what I mean. I actually don’t know what has happened re that.


          1. As far as I can tell, this was in reference to doses of A-Z in remote Indigenous communities in the NT – the one state with a very high percentage of vaccinated people. As the messaging changed, they were preferring to use Pfizer in these remote communities. Apparently the excess A-Z was then being sent back into Darwin, where young people keen to get vaccinated were taking it up.


      2. I saw the maths on ‘herd immunity’ and vaccine penetration today (Alan Kholer in New Daily I think) and basically it’s impossible to achieve. To get 80% population immunity with vaccines that are 80-90% effective you must vaccinate 100% of the population, right down to babies. Which I think means we have to learn to live with it (Covid-19).

        I saw also a while ago that Australia has zero flu deaths this year. Perhaps we should just wear masks all the time. And wouldn’t that stuff up the surveillance state.


        1. I’m actually getting used to wearing a mask. There are times I quite enjoying ‘hiding’ behind it, that sense of not being seen or recognised by everyone, my own personal little barrier to the world. Certainly my introverted ways have become much stronger again this past year or so. Not sure that is always a good thing though…


  3. I’m with you Brona… I very rarely engage in any social media discussions for this reason. I can’t bear the nastiness, the name-calling, the refusal to see anything from anyone else’s POV. Instagram is fine, as I don’t see any nastiness in the people I follow or the posts that come my way.

    We are not locked down … and we can at least eat out … but otherwise we feel very stuck because we really can’t go anywhere as most places won’t have it, and, if they do, who’s to say we can get back?


    1. It’s how quickly things can go pear-shaped – It makes it difficult to plan ahead.
      And yes, my Insta account is heavily curated to feature nature walks, books & food 😁
      I tried to do the same on Twitter but it’s a platform designed for opinions 🤷🏼‍♀️


  4. I have come away from most of the Facebook groups I was in, esp after feelings ran high in one and there were some accusations. I feel better for just seeing my proper friends’ real news now. Lots of love to you in these hard times x


  5. After the four years of nonstop horror we recently endured here in the US I finally learned to severely curate Twitter follows and topics and limit SM altogether for better mental health. I hope things improve for you soon.

    You’ve got lots of intriguing new additions to your TBR, I look forward to reading what you think of them. Meanwhile, take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sorry to hear that you’re back in lockdown. Restrictions have loosened twice away from lockdown here (which leaves most businesses open and schools expected to open early September but with capacity limits) but are not fully open, with some sectors lagging (hair salons just opened for the first time since March 2020). Talk of the border opening with the US has stalled again (was to have been early August but not now, given their spiralling rates). It’s a lot of shifting and readjusting and conflicts and hard to grapple with, but there are so many people having an even harder time, eh? Not that thinking about it is always helpful, not in darker moments. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

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