Stories & Shout Outs #60

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What’s On My Mind:

Airlie Beach – sunshine, time with Mr Books, walking along beaches, snorkelling and cocktails with spritz!

Palm Bay, Long Island, Whitsundays (my photo)

What I’m Reading:

  • The Fire and the Rose | Robyn Cadwallader
  • 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)
  • All Sorts of Lives: Katherine Mansfield and the Art of Risking Everything | Clare Harman (suddenly felt in the mood for a literary bio)
  • Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath | Heather Clark (why stop at one literary bio?!)

Read But Not Reviewed (Yet):

  • Greek Lessons | Han Kang
  • The Battlers | Kylie Tennant
  • Nothing Special | Nicole Flattery
  • Fire Rush | Jacqueline Crooks

This Blogging Life:

Media: I finally finished cleaning up the double, triple and quadruple images in my media file, although there are still rather a lot that do not have adequate naming conventions which makes it hard to find them when I am ‘wordpress-ising’ my older posts.

A number of these older posts will have missing image links until I can get around to fixing them. In case you were wondering, I have two approaches for getting this mammoth job done.

One is starting at the very beginning of my blog back in 2009 and going through one post at a time, making a note of which one I am up to at the end of each session. I occasionally delete some of these very old posts.

The second way is far more haphazard and involves my current reads. Any time I am putting together a new response post for an author or series already featured on here or a list that draws on older posts, I fix these up before linking them. This is not fool-proof – some nights I am too tired or couldn’t be bothered – but this is a self-inflicted maintenence project that I undertook knowing it would be a long-term one.

Tags: Category and tags worked slightly differently on Blogger, so I have been contemplating how best to use them on WP. I’ve been mostly happy with the choices I made early on, but a few things bug me.

Longlist, shortlists and winners of prizes – I think I’d like my tags to reflect one of these three options.

Settings – I currently use a mish-mash of country | state | city to reflect the author’s nationality and the setting of the story. How do you tag story settings and author nationality?

New to the Pile:

Mr Books:

  • A new section where I keep track of some of Mr Books reading habits.
  • He’s done it – Mr Books has decided to reread the Game of Thrones books! That should keep him quiet for several months.
  • B25 used to be an avid reader when young, but once he got a phone as a teenager, he stopped reading for pleasure. I am happy to report that in the last couple of years he has started reading again, mostly non-fiction. I recently got a message & pic saying ‘have you read this – it was great – you should promote it at work.’ It was Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. It’s so lovely to have shared reading experiences to discuss again.

Book Group Reads Coming Up:

  • June – The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding | Holly Ringland
  • July – TBA

Shout Outs:

  • 20 Books of Summer Winter is just days away thanks again to our wonderful host Cathy @746 Books. Running from Thursday 1st June to Friday 1st September simply make a list of 10, 15 or 20 books you would like to read over the summer winter months.
  • Mallika @Literary Potpourri is hosting the purrfect event for cat lovers who also love books from 12th-18th June – Reading the Meow. I’d love to fit in The Master and Margarita, but not sure I will have time…let’s see what happens!
  • Bill @The Australian Legend has just announced his latest Gen 0 Week for January 2024 where we view women writers through an Australian ‘Independent Woman’ and now ‘New Woman’ lens. Gen 0 basically covers everything before and parallel to Gen I.

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 our first storytellers.

21 thoughts on “Stories & Shout Outs #60

  1. Well, since you ask: I categorise the origin of the authors by continent (Africa, Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, Middle Eastern, UK & Ireland. I used to do just Britian, but now (when I can) I sub-categorise into England, NI, Scotland & Wales, ready for when Scotland leaves the UK and joins the EU again!) Also within Australia I categorise further, (a) by States and Territories) and (b) by First Nations. (Part of my ‘decolonise the blog’ project).
    I started categorising settings because somebody asked me to, so I also categorise settings grouped more or less the same, except that for Australia I also categorise by beach culture & coastal; colonial era; outback, bush & pastoral; road novels and urban milieu. I also have settings for Ancient Worlds, dystopias etc. (If you’re keen, you can see them all if you use my drop down menu).
    For prizes, I just name the prize (I only do Australian ones except for the Nobel and the Booker) but I have a sub categories for the MF (winners and nominees).
    Most of these categories are more use to me than they are to anyone else. It’s the tags that bring people to the blog when they are searching.


    1. Thanks Lisa – that is very comprehensive.
      My category system is very streamlined, basically showing if it is a book I read this year or another type of post (like this one). It is the tags that I have been playing with. I often search by them & therefore use tag types that I like to search – pub date, awards, nationality of author & setting in particular. I’ve started using ‘setting’ at the beginning of a country or region or city, but wondering if I should do the same for author i.e. ‘author – Welsh’ ‘author – Gadigal’ ?


      1. As I understand it, tags are what search engines use to find content that brings readers to your site. But WP advises not to use more than 10. I forget why. So as a broad rule of thumb , like you, I use only tags for what I think readers might search for, title, author, prize and Book Reviews. Women in Translation, Reading Weeks etc. I suppose I’ve based these on things I search for, so I’ve never tagged by date of publication or setting because I never search online for those.
        All the other things go into categories, and I use them when *I’m* searching for something.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my daughters was a waitress on the Whitsundays. She had a ball. (My daughters working in hotels before they settled down probably saw more of Australia than I do).
    Thanks for mentioning AWW Gen 0 Week – just one correction: I hope to look at writers both before Australia’s Gen 1 and parallel to, so up to the beginning of the twentieth century, say. I have the impression that Australian women were more independent than US and UK women, and I’d like to look into that.


    1. I’ve adjusted the paragraph Bill.
      We’re still on holidays, so I’m a bit sporadic with check-ins atm. The Whitsundays would be the perfect place for young people. I’m amazed at how many backpackers are in Airlie Beach. It’s actually quite nice hearing a multitude of accents again as we walk around.


  3. I never click on “tags” on a blog. I don’t know why…just don’t
    I use a “Monthly Planning” link on my blog…I hope it helps
    someone find a book that I reviewed….years ago!
    Thea Ashley is on the pile…hurrah! I enjoyed this satire.
    Red Comet, I have the book and should start it soon.
    Literary biography: read about French writer Georges Perec…the man was traumatised by WW II and the loss of his family. I cannot take much more WW II at the moment,…need to switch to a “blind date”: The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Dubravka Ugresic. She fled former Yugoslavia 1991 and settled in Amsterdam. She died on March 17 2023 (74 yr)


    1. I either use the search option or tags to find books on my site and on others.
      Some of the Astley’s are being republished by this small publisher called Untapped – I’m trying to support them when I can.
      The Red Comet is a committment and, in my opinion, a little too heavy on unnecessary detail, but there is no denying Plath’s charismatic presence from an early age.


  4. Enjoyed your post. How lovely that B25 is engaging on books again. I understand your joy.

    I don’t tag settings. Sometimes I think it would be useful, but where do you start and stop with tagging the content of fiction? What about professions? What about physical settings like house, beaches, schools, hospitals, farms, rural, urban. Part of my would like to do this but I know I’d get bogged down. So, I’ve decided to leave it alone. I tag author nationality, trying to use what they themselves say or how Wikipedia describes them.


    1. I tried not to be too enthusiastic in case I scared him away!! But I did suggest he might also like Paul Kalanithi’s book.

      I’ve been trying to think about tags I would use – and settings is something I would often find handy – but not sure I would need to search by profession. It’s just something that has been percolating in back of mind for a while, and being in holiday mode has brought it to the surface (as I explore a new-to-me setting).


      1. I do settings as a category because I love reading books set in certain places and this is a good way to keep track of them. I’m not sure any blog visitors use it but I find it helpful for my own interest.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll be looking out for your review of Greek Lessons. I am yet to get to Han Ksng though I haverant to for a while.

    Thank you for the mention and I do hope you can get to the Master and Margarita😺


    1. I finished Greek Lessons the day before my holidays started, so I haven’t had time to write anything about it, but it is percolating away in the back of my mind. Lots of ideas about language, our senses, translation, words, being an outsider….


  6. What a gorgeous photo! I’ve changed tinkered with categories and tags several times and still am not entirely happy with them. I usually go with country and city (or similiar designation like county), but then what to do with something like Baltic States?


  7. I’m drooling over your D.E. Stevensons haul!
    I have Vittoria Cottage on my TBR, but can’t decide which I should add (or keep) next.. :))
    Parisian Days is interesting – I’ve been searching for more books in translation from more modern (20th century-ish) French authors that aren’t too quirky for my taste.


  8. I’m interested in hearing what you thought of Fire Rush (of course you might have already reviewed it, since I am SO BEHIND in my blog reading). Esp the very end …


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