Thursday, 13 November 2014

A Regular Mish Mash of Bookish Activities

Where does the time go?  This year has been whizzing by and I feel like I am in the middle of a large snowball gathering momentum going downhill.

I have been reading, garage sale-ing, library hunting and just generally having a good time. Let me share a few things that have been going on in this little island state of ours.

***Our weekly Play Reading class through U3A (University of the Third Age) finished Dylan Thomas's Under Milkwood. I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it but the language in this play is stunning. We all really loved it and hearing  the varied voices of our members in the class reading it were beautiful. We really got into it. Several of us also listened to the audio edition with Richard Burton reading it. We also had fun with the Welsh words but several of our members knew how to pronounce them.

I love the way people decorate their gardens. 

***There have been numerous garage sales going on in our area lately. There was the National Trail of Garage sales where people everywhere held one for charity. So a friend of mine and I got up early one day, got the listing out of the Saturday newspaper and hit the road. I was looking for Penguins. I only found one but I did find a terra cotta echidna to put next to my terra cotta bird bath in the front yard. I really didn't expect to find a terra cotta echidna, not that I even knew I wanted one until I saw it.

An old hardware store building in Oatlands
***Speaking of garage sales, the little midlands city of Oatlands, about an hour north of Hobart had a garage sale day also. The advertisement said, "The entire town was holding a garage sale".  I thought maybe I'd find some Penguin books up there so another friend of mine and I headed up to Oatlands on the Sunday.  We should have been aware of the weather as we drove up the Midlands Hwy and saw snow on all of the hills. Once in Oatlands we visited about 8 houses, didn't find many Penguins,  maybe one from memory but marvelled at the weather. Tasmania has 4 seasons in a day at the best of times but we didn't expect we'd go from sun, to rain to blizzard, snow, sleet and hail all in about 3 hours.  We foraged on.  I felt like a pony express rider.  We gave up the garage sale-ing as we found all the properties with the balloons tied out front and headed to a warm cafe where we ate bananas wrapped in warm crepes with chocolate/maple syrup on them topped up with cream and ice cream and hot cappuccinos.  Lovely food.

***I am also on the dog's home auxiliary in Hobart and we held a garage sale too. We raised over $400.00 for the dogs and we had so many books plus other stuff it wasn't even funny. At the end of the day we piled it all into the back of my car and took it to Vinnie's.  Some of this stuff we have hauled from garage sale to market that many times we were sick of it.  Vinnie's were glad to get it.
We're heading in to the Christmas raffle season next. Love those dogs. (P.S. We have a zero euthanasia policy. Dogs take as long as they need and work with foster carers if needed before they find their forever homes.)

A real mess of books at the Dog's Home garage sale.
*** On the Library Loot front I found a book my cousin had talked about years ago and I never forgot it. I saw it in the library catalogue and had to bring it home. Even though I finally sorted all of the books from my own library and found treasures I forgot I had I do need to read this book. It is simply the title that sucked me in.  The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.  It is a book of short stories and having grown up in the 50's with t.v. shows of the Lone Ranger and Tonto I must see what this book is about.

***To top all of this activity off I also just finished Willy Vlautin's book The Free.  I heard an interview on the ABC radio with the author the other day.  The whole discussion was him talking about how he writes about "regular" people who struggle with daily life in America.  He lives in Portland Oregon and this book took place in the northwest of the U.S.A. There are various reviews of this book on line, The Guardian and the New York Times reviews being the most interesting (according to me) so I won't attempt to review it but I will say I loved it.
It is the story of LeRoy, a returned Iraqi war veteran and the characters around him as he lies in a hospital bed coming in and out of conscienceness from his war wounds and then later a botched suicide attempt. There is his girlfriend, Jeanette, and Pauline his nurse who has her own story line through out the book with Jo (Carol) who is a teenage drug addict and her ageing mentally ill father. My favourite character was Freddie who worked in the home that LeRoy was in and he also worked for a lazy paint store owner in order to raise enough money to try and save his house.  He had large medical bills due to a disabled daughter.

Now I know all of this sounds quite dire but the portrayal of the characters is the strength of this book. Everyone is very kind and simply trying to get through their own burdens as they go through life was suspenseful.  There is an alternate story within the book from LeRoy who is dreaming and relates an entire tale of a dystopian adventure with Jeanette and himself. This is based on his war experiences and how they play out in his sub-conscience. This story alone is quite riveting.  I loved this book and I must say (without giving anything away), the ending really threw me.

I noticed on Amazon Willy Vlautin has written quite a few books and I look forward to reading another one.  If anyone else has read any books by this author I would love to hear about it.

I guess that catches everyone up with the past three weeks and hopefully I'll be better organised in the next three weeks to get back online sooner.
Whew !

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