Stories & Shout Outs #57

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What’s On My Mind:

As mentioned in an earlier post, February is my birthday month, as well as that of many of my family and some of my closest friends. It’s hectic in a fun, chaotic kind of way. This weekend we are celebrating my dad’s 80th birthday.

But I’m tired. Very tired. My hormones have been wrecking havoc with my mood, my patience and my energy levels lately. I’ll be so glad to finally get through peri-menopause. It seems though that I am in it for the long haul. Please bear with me. And send your kind thoughts to Mr Books!

What I’m Reading:

  • Victory City | Salman Rushdie (pub date 21 February 2023)
  • Little Plum | Laura McPhee-Browne (was my lunch time read at work; has now come home to be finished)
  • Glass Houses | Anne Coombs (savouring this with a slow read – April release)
  • History Keeps Me Awake at Night | Christy Edwall (my lunch time read at work – April release)
  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma | Bessel van der Kolk (my bathroom book)
  • Womerah Lane: Lives and Landscapes | Tom Carment (my sitting under the skylight on the stairs book)
  • Cressida Campbell (my lounge room coffee table book)
  • All Sorts of Lives: Katherine Mansfield and the Art of Risking Everything | Clare Harman (suddenly felt in the mood for a bio during the week)

Read But Not Reviewed (Yet):

  • Infidelity and other Affairs | Kate Legge (March release)
  • A Difficult Young Man | Martin Boyd

New to the Pile:

My New Years resolution to only bring home ARC’s and reading copies once I am definitely engaged in reading them is working…okayish.

Usually I will have lots of non-fiction books on the go but only one or two fiction titles. This new system has so far resulted in more fiction books on the go at once. The lunch time pile at work has also grown to alarming heights. Bad Cree by Jessica Johns sat on the pile for a few weeks until I took it to lunch one day and decided we wouldn’t get on. But most of the books are proving to be as promising as they sound.

And I am still bringing some books home. A few were books I ordered at the end of last year, that have only just arrived. And a couple are books written by friends.

Madelaine Lucas was a colleague of mine when I first started in the bookshop. She was a uni student, studying writing who has sinced moved to the US where she completed her Master of Fine Arts in fiction at Columbia University. She now teaches other young hopefuls when she is not writing herself. We caught up briefly last year when she told me about her debut novel due out in April with Allen & Unwin, Thirst For Salt. I’m very excited for her!

Mr Books also has a friend who suddenly wrote a book during the Covid lockdowns. I say suddenly, but no doubt this was an idea that percolated away in the back of his mind for years. Covid simply gave him the time and space to finally do something about it. Michael Thompson’s, How to be Remembered, is due out with Allen & Unwin in March. Mr Books thoroughly enjoyed it and it is now my turn have a go.

This Blogging Life:

  • Not a lot happening behind the scenes atm.
  • Reading and blogging moments are being snatched on the run.
  • Trying to keep up with everyone else’s posts at the moment is very difficult. I’m doing my best.
  • Pingbacks – are they working for everyone? I’ve had a couple of times recently where the pingback hasn’t worked on posts within my blog. Very frustrating. Are you receiving external pingbacks from me or others?
    • UPDATE 21st Feb: have checked in with the WP forum and there is a pingback problem dating from the 16th Feb. A staffer responded to the thread by saying they are aware of the issue and working on it. Until then, pingbacks will not go through.
    • UPDATE 28th Feb: The pingback issue appears to be fixed. I’ve republished the 4 posts effected by the technical WP problem tonight and all the internal pingbacks came flooding in!

Mr Books:

  • A new section where I keep track of some of Mr Books reading habits.
  • Mr Books reads an eclectic mix. He will have a go at most things I bring home for him, although he still has the unfortunate habit of finishing EVERY book he starts. Even if this means spending a whole week complaining to me every single night about how terrible the writing is, how many holes the plot has or how unbelievable the characters are!
  • His go-to genre is crime fiction, but he also enjoys a political memoir and contemporary fiction.
  • He recently read Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor. A friend had said this was a book of two halves which is what Mr Books found. He was utterly absorbed by the first half of the story but felt that the second half got away from Kapoor.
  • One of my colleagues suggested that Mr Books might also like to try Bob Mortimer’s new book, The Satsuma Complex. He was right. After a bumpy start, Mr Books enjoyed his time with the gentle, slightly odd protagonist.

Book Group Reads Coming Up:

Shout Outs:

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.

20 thoughts on “Stories & Shout Outs #57

  1. Ooo, Allen & Unwin sent me an unsolicited ARC of “How to be Remembered” but haven’t had a chance to read it. My reading has tailed off… only doing it on the weekends because I started a new job and my bandwidth is running at full capacity!

    Sorry to hear about the peri-menopause woes. I think I’ve been very lucky… minimal symptoms (on and off for about 10 years!!) and when I last had a hormone test it came back normal but showed I was very low iron and low vitamin D 🤷🏻‍♀️


    1. I hope you enjoy How to be Remembered as much as Mr Books.

      Most of my peri-meonpause symptons have been minimal too but I’ve had E V E R Y single one that can possibly be had in the past 8-9 years. The worst were UTI’s in the early stages and the mood swings. Early on I experienced uncharacteristic rage. As a calm, even-tempered person I found this phase very disconcerting and disturbing. This past year, the moods have switched to sadness. Not all the time, like the rage before the desire to cry all day comes and goes. Knowing it’s ‘only’ my hormones helps as a part of me is aware that it’s not forever, but in the middle of sad week, it can be hard to remember that!

      Thanks for listening 🙂


  2. My reading and blogging has tailed off big time too at the moment due to Melbourne trips , keeping up with usual responsibilities here, and preparing for our move (buying new furniture needed) and of selling our house (various repairs). Too much. I’ve one review that’s been half-written for a week. Wonderful book that I want to do justice to. Can’t just get the brain space.

    Had something else to say but it’s gawn!!


    1. I confess that I thought once the boys finished school and started living independent lives, I’d have more time. I seem to have less! While they were at school I had this phenomenonal ability to juggle and organise and arrange and be in two places at once and read and blog inbetween! As soon as I didn’t have to do this any more, that ability to do so has gone too.

      I look forward to hearing about the wonderful book when you get the space.


  3. I get you with the perimenopause, although I think I’m slipping through now as I missed a whole pill the other month and only got a tiny result instead of the usual (I’ll say to spare readers’ blushes).

    I am doing Reading Ireland and Dewithon next month, too – very exciting, as I only usually manage to do one or the other from my TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

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