Stories & Shout Outs #52

Stories & Shout Outs Badge

What’s On My Mind:

  • July was a busy month with two weekends away from Sydney for various social gatherings. One with friends; one with family. The friend one was a catch up with all the women I worked with at Mudgee Preschool in my first year of teaching – 1990. Many of them are still close friends to this day, but some had moved away and been ‘lost’ to the rest of us. Some inspired sleuthing found all but one of them. The laughter and tears and shared stories flowed like wine, as did the wine! It was just like we’d never been apart.
    • The family visit was to celebrate a 50th birthday. A wine tasting session at Philip Shaw wines lubricated the occasion and helped to keep us warm over one of the coldest weekends so far this winter. It feels weird to now have TWO younger sister’s in the 50 age bracket though!
  • We have visitors coming to us this weekend – some of Mr Book’s family this time – to celebrate a belated 50th that has been held over ever since the first Melbourne lockdown. We hope the sun keeps shining for them, but we haven’t had a whole week of sunshine for a couple of years, so I won’t hold my breath!
  • B21 is on the brink of becoming B22. At least this year we can go out to celebrate his birthday in style.

What I’m Reading:

  • The Sun Walks Down | Fiona McFarlane (October release and absolutely stunning so far)
  • The Jane Austen Remedy | Ruth Wilson (for Austen in August)
  • Otherland | Maria Tumarkin (Reading Ukraine)
  • Chernobyl Prayer | Svetlana Alexievich (Reading Ukraine)
  • Burning Questions | Margaret Atwood (my bathroom read)
  • The Gates of Europe | Serhii Plokhy (Reading Ukraine)
  • Essays Two | Lydia Davis (my loungeroom read)
  • Mauritius Command | Patrick O’Brian (a stalled attempt at a readalong)
  • Last Letter to a Reader | Gerald Murnane (my mountains backpack read, also stalled)

Read But Not Reviewed:

  • Marlo | Jay Carmichael (novella)
  • Cold Light | Frank Moorhouse (Edith Trilogy Readalong)
  • how to make a basket | Jazz Money (read for Poetry Month)

New to the Pile:

This Blogging Life:

  • It has taken 18 months, but the spammers have found my WordPress blog!
    • Thankfully the WP spam filter seems to be doing a good job of catching them, but please let me know if you spot any untoward comments.
  • I continue to make progress in fixing old posts.
    • Any time I link an old post to a newer one, or I get an alert that one of you have done so, I use that as a good excuse to wordpress-ise the post.
    • To keep track of which posts I’ve fixed and which ones I haven’t, I use a couple of methods.
      • The title-author heading on most of my old used the word ‘by’ inbetween. My newer posts use the symbol | . When I fix a post, I add the | . I also add a relevant #
      • Tags are another clue. In the post itself, I now always use a tag for the authors name plus the year of original publication. I fix this in the older posts.
      • If the text or spacing is distorted in the CLASSIC block, I either use ‘clear formating’ or the paragraph/preformat option. If neither of these fix the problem, I copy the entire page from the PREVIEW screen and paste it back into the bottom of the edit page using the BLOCK format. If it all looks good, I can then delete the original from the top of the post. I DO NOT use the ‘convert to block’ option. It just makes an even bigger mess.
      • In the main menu tab, I have kept my old books read list under the Brona’s Books A-Z tab. I cleared all the old blogspot links. As I fix a post, I add the new WP link to this page.


Six of the books on my currently reading pile have the potential to be finished by the end of the month, but it’s beginning to look like this year will be one where I don’t quite hit the target. Oh well, it has been fun making the list and breaking the list. And it has been even more delightful to read so many wonderful stories. Given that four of them were chunksters at over 500 pages each, I could potentially count them as two books each #rulesaremadetobebroken

Oops – just realised I forgot to include my Maigret’s. Perhaps I will make it to 20 after all!

  1. Maigret and the Minister | Georges Simenon (Paris in July) Finished 17th July 2022
  2. Maigret Goes to School | Georges Simenon (Paris in July) Finished 15th July 2022

Shout Outs:

  • I have gotten very behind in reading your latest blog posts. Please know that I really want to and will hopefully get back on track soon.

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.

16 thoughts on “Stories & Shout Outs #52

  1. I haven’t read anything you’re reading, or going to read. So I’m not much help.
    I don’t have a brother in his 70s yet, I don’t know whether that makes me feel older or younger. Milly hates when I go up a decade because then she feels like she has too, and she’s five years younger.


    1. None of the previous decades concerned me as each sister caught up, but this decade has been weirder. Perhaps it’s because the fifties are how I think of my parents….not me!


  2. I bet that reunion was full of laughter and joy. It’s great you’ve kept in touch after so many years.
    Your blog clean up is very methodical. I’m afraid I am nowhere near as diligent as you with my conversions from classic to block editor. I just pick one at random and fail to keep track of what I’ve done 🙂


    1. Thanks to people like you, who went before me, I had time to think about how best to approach certain tasks 🙂
      Plus I had over 1000 old posts, so I felt like I needed to have some sort of system.


  3. How wonderful to have that reunion! I saw one of my old university friends the other week and then she saw another of us four in town as she was working on the Commonwealth Games, but the four of us haven’t managed to get together in years.

    I don’t think I’m going to do my 20 Books this year and I’m pretty certain I’m not going to manage my TBR project (reach Dave Grohl by 5 October) but both have helped me to clear my shelves to a larger extent than I would have expected this summer …


    1. That’s how I approach my challenges too Liz – a way to clear my tbr and have some fun as well.
      The Birmingham Games looked like so much. A real community celebration and release after the past 2 yrs. Glad it gave you a chance to at least catch up with good friend too.


  4. I both enjoy and hate these Stories and Shout Out posts – enjoy because they are so interesting, but hate because I can’t comment on it all, so I’ll just comment on a couple:

    1. Your reunion sounds great. I have my 50-year school reunion coming up in Sydney next month. Can’t wait. We haven’t had one since our 20th!
    2. You are not going to review Jazz Money’s book?
    3. I have just finished (more or less) fixing the Reading Group blog I transferred to WP. As they all seemed to come over uncategorised, I just used that as my marker. Fixing them included adding a category, and that then dropped them off the uncategorised list. After a bit of trial and error, I did do the convert to blocks. It was tedious but is seemed the best way. At the end I’ve been looking for the few that, early in the process, I decided not to convert and have converted them. Some were really messy, some converted easily. I have some guesses as to why some were simple and some not, but in the end am not really sure!
    4. You are reading way more than I am managing to.


    1. Thank you for finding so much to comment on Sue.
      1. 50 yrs! That’s certainly worth celebrating. I look forward to the pics 🙂
      2. Yes I am, but it’s waiting patiently for me to get to it. Hopefully I will have time this afternoon for the final edit. The list above is my prompt-to-self!
      3. I have wondered if the messy converts were the ones I didn’t clear the formatting beforehand, but I haven’t applied any scientific system to this thought.
      4. Mr Books regularly complains how long it takes us to finish a TV series, but I will always choose to read rather than watch something most nights, especially during the week.


      1. 1. It is, but I’m not sure there’ll be pics. We might be spending too much time talking.
        2. I think I’ve seen it come through!
        3. Yes, I suspect that is probably one of the reasons as I’d use that function sometimes but not always.
        4. I watch a bit of TV with Mr Gums, but I’m always doing other things at the same time – like now! I never watch TV and do nothing else, as I always have things to catch up on things. It means TV always gets short shrift.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m looking forward to exploring Gerald Murnane someday. He’s available, but not readily available, over here (if that makes sense). And I can relate to your slow project of mending gaps with older posts; migrating to a new theme a few years ago added the option of a feature image and that looks nice but the older posts don’t have designated images and look half-dressed without it. I snazz them up when they emerge in a search, figuring eventually there will be a small number remaining to be fixed in one last go. Good luck with your ongoing, (never-ending) updates! In that sense, it’s like your TBR.


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