Stories & Shout Outs #45

Stories & Shout Outs Badge

My Week:

  • Christmas shopping done – tick!
  • Mr Books & I enjoyed our first night out at the movies since Feb 2020. We dined beforehand, then enjoyed a rather large glass of rose during the screening of Dune!
  • I decided to reinstate the sending of Christmas cards this year. It felt like the right thing to do.

What I’m Reading:

  • No. 91/92 A Parisian Bus Diary | Lauren Elkin
  • Master & Commander #3 HMS Surprise | Patrick O’Brian
  • These Precious Days | Ann Patchett
  • Last Letter to a Reader | Gerald Murnane
  • Fishing For Lightning: The Spark of Poetry | Sarah Holland-Batt
  • Griffith Review 68: Getting On | editor Ashley Hay
  • Signs and Wonders | Delia Falconer

Read But Not Reviewed: (at the rate I’m going I cannot see these being reviewed this side of Christmas, except the Christmas ones of course!)

  • Christmas Eve at Warwingie | Mary Gaunt
  • Piranesi | Susanna Clarke
  • Leaping Into Waterfalls: The Enigmatic Gillian Mears | Bernadette Brennan
  • Fire Front: First Nations Poetry and Power Today | edited by Alison Whittaker


  • A weekend with one of my sister’s and her family.
  • Summer holidays!


  • Summer!
  • La Niña has made for a wet, grey, coolish start to summer so far.

New to the Pile:

On the Blog:

  • WordPress Block Editor users – have you any tips for how to insert captions onto images like reading challenge badges? I know I can add them using image editing apps on my computer, but can I also do so in WordPress? I had a go last week by moving the caption option for the image around, but it seemed to turn the image dark, like it had a shadow over it. Help!

At the Movies:

  • Dune – at times the BIG sound and BIG visuals overwhelmed the story, but it was still well done. Obviously the book is better though (at least what I remember of it – I read the book 30 yrs ago!)


  • I had planned on doing this readalong during 2021, but time got away from me.
  • I have read the first two books in this series twice, but have not yet completed the trilogy. It’s time!
  • Especially after being reminded of how wonderful Edith is thanks to the recent book program on the ABC hosted by Claudia Karvan, The Books That Made Us (see Kim @Reading Matters posts here).
  • It will be a leisurely readalong over several months.
  • Dates TBC.

Shout Outs:

  • A Literary Christmas with Tarissa @In The Bookcase #ALiteraryChristmas
  • First Book of the Year with Sheila @Book Journey
  • The Japanese Literature Challenge with Meredith @Dolce Bellezza | January – March 2022 #JapaneseLitChallenge15
  • AWW Gen 4 with Bill @ The Australian Legend | 16-23 January 2022 | Read books by Australian women who began writing in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. 
  • #PilgrimageTogether – A Dorothy Richardson readalong
  • And a big shout-out to this year’s QVB Christmas Tree. It’s inspired by Australia’s native Wollemi Pine, with illuminated seed baubles and 3 different designs of the native Flannel Flower and topped with the traditional Swarovski star.

Until next time, stay safe, and happy reading!

This post was written on the traditional land of the Wangal clan, one of the 29 clans of the Eora Nation within the Sydney basin. This Reading Life acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are this land’s first storytellers.

19 thoughts on “Stories & Shout Outs #45

  1. Thanks for including AWW Gen 4 Week. I’m not sure I’m paying it as much attention as I should.
    Envious of the Gerald Murnane. I didn’t know he had one last book coming. Commentaries on each of his novels, that will be wonderful. Disappointed Crow Books (Vic Pk, WA) didn’t have it in New Releases, but their lack of commitment to Oz Lit often disappoints me.
    I just read and wrote up Murnane’s first, Tamarisk Row, so I hope he hasn’t written something that makes mine all wrong.


    1. I’m finding it hard to pay attention to anything until it’s right under my nose atm! So I understand completely. AusReadingMonth this year, was the most fly-by-the-set-of-my-pants experience ever.

      I’m enjoying the new Murnane in small doses. His sense of his own self -importance often gets up my nose and I have to snuffle around for the writing insights, but it is interesting. Especially in light of his writing friendship with Gillian Mears (whose bio I am in the process of reviewing).

      Going off to find Tamarisk Row…


  2. Your question about captions and images got me to experiment. I managed to get a piece of text into an image but although in the edit mode I could get the text to show up in a different colour and in a different size, when I looked at in preview, it was just plain black and small. I think it’s related to the way my particular theme has predetermined how it will handle captions.

    I’ve done a search but there doesn’t seem to be any way you can achieve the effect you want within WP itself. If yiu create a featured image, then you can use a free plug in to overlay it with text but featured images don’t show up always on the page.

    So I’m sorry but I think you’ll need to keep using your photo editor which will give you maximum flexibility


    1. I was kind of hoping you would see this call for help! And THANK YOU for taking the time to check it out. It sounds like you found similar problems to me, so hopefully WP will continue to tweak this editing option as time goes by…but for now I will stick with photo editor.


  3. Chai Time at the Cinnamon Gardens sounds interesting. I’m happy that more books about older folks are coming out, though I’d also like to see more books by older folks about older folks.


    1. Ultimo Press (who is publishing Chai Time) are a new small independent publishing house looking to bring out to some really interesting Australian titles in the new year. I’ve just read Love & Virtue. I have also seen some great reviews for Cold Coast this past week or so (maybe Lisa, Sue or Kim?) Chai Time will be released in Jan and Australiana in March. Mr Books has Canticle Creek as one of his summer holiday reads…maybe I should ask them for a job 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Last year’s tree was rather disappointing, so I’m glad they’ve worked out something much better this year (& one they can continue to use going forward). What the photo doesn’t show, is that the tree stretches up three floors through the middle of the building up into the dome. It’s quite a spectacle.


  4. I read Dune about 30 years ago, too. I am scared of the sandworms – still – so don’t really want to go and see the film (also obviously we’re not going near any cinemas again now). Exciting challenges, I’m looking forward to my own Larry McMurtry one and doing Annabookbel’s Nordics in Jan.


    1. The sandworms were done well – they looked almost as I had imagined them – those teeth!!!
      Although I’ve just found out that the to-be-continued ending that the movie left us with is actually only halfway through the first book, not the end, like I had assumed.

      Good luck with your reading challenges this year. I will host one next year to help me finally read the final book in a trilogy I’ve been meaning to complete (Edith Readalong). Hmmmm now you’ve made me think…perhaps I should add this idea to the post to help me get going with it…..

      Thanks Liz 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Christmas Cards are a wonderful, wonderful tradition. For 12 years now, at then end of my last working day of year before I go on year end holidays, I send out personal cards to all my colleagues across the globe and I see so much value in this effort; so many of them are now friends and not colleagues though many I have yet to meet in person! Very intrigued by Tucci, Solnit as well Bouvier books – all of them in my TBR as well!


    1. I agree! I used to do them every year, but over the past 5-6 years it has fallen to the wayside. It is such a lovely way to spend an afternoon, thinking about dear friends and the times we’ve shared together.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This year DID seem like a good year to re-start the “holiday card” thing. But I didn’t get to it. Doesn’t change the fact that it was a good idea. Heh

    Your current stack looks like a great combo. I hope you’ve had a chance to enjoy some reading over the holidays.

    As for your photo issue, I’ve found that it’s often easier to edit photos using app’s on my phone (even the same app’s seem to have more features for editing on the phone than they have on the computer) than I tend to think). You might be able to edit the image on your phone much more quickly and then upload it to WP than by using your photo editor. That’s been true for me anyhow. (Feel free to email if you think this might be helpful but you’d like more detail about what I’ve been meddling with.) GL!


    1. It has taken me a while to get into reading mode this holiday (that is masquerading as close contact self-isolation right now)! But we are now on the last day and I’m starting to feel like we dodged the covid bullet this time, and I’m starting to relax more.

      Thanks for the image tips. I’m happy using my phone for editing my own photos, but when trying to put together a readalong badge, the phone is too small a canvas for me (& my eyes!)
      But I have recently discovered Canva and I used it to create the badge for my Edith Readalong above.


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