Thursday 17 July 2014

Four Friends by Robyn Carr

I do like this cover.
Today I went and got groceries, came home, made a hot coffee with almond flavouring in it (really, it's quite good) and am about to settle down to a "fluffy" book.  "Fluffy books" are those you can read quickly, they have happy endings, everyone is a good friend to everyone and the bad people get what they deserve. Sometimes you just feel like "fluff".

I'll seriously get back to Moby Dick and the Richard Flanagan WWII book next week.  My husband, T.  is about to go visit family in the USA and Canada for 3 1/2 weeks and I am going to be taking care of all the creatures that live here.   It will be a pretty quiet month with just the dogs and cats for company and of course all of my books.  Still winter but was very mild yesterday and today and we got in a 240 km bike ride with a stop at a bakery and a cafe.  These days are very good.

The book Four Friends (by Robyn Carr) starts out with one friend throwing her junior husband (by ten years) out of the house for cheating on her and everything he owns onto the front lawn.  She is also getting her kitchen renovated so I am wondering if she is going to start up something later on with the lovely man doing her kitchen.

The other friend has a wonderful family, great kids and everything is perfect until she stops at her husband's place of work to quickly meet him for lunch and runs into his Personal Assistant in the restroom in tears. As they go along talking about the PA's relationship problem the friend suggests she go to a marriage counsellor.  As they continue to talk the PA thinks this must have been recommended because of the friend's husband's affair he had and the whole office talked about 6 years before and isn't the friend Gerri just wonderful to not have thrown him out and forgiven him.
Oops, the cat is out of the bag as Gerri never realised for a minute that this happened.
Author Robyn Carr

Well she has just confronted him and it is all about to hit the fan.  I know by the time I finish this book I will be craving something with more substance but hey, we all have books for different moods.  I am enjoying reading about all the problems and I know everything is going to work out so I am not too worried about it. Though the characters don't know it will all work out yet. They're pretty depressed right now.

Another reason I'm putting up this post is because I have had a couple of comments from my last post that comments are being directed to Google and not going up as before.  I need to see if I have sorted this out.  I noticed there are help pages directed to this problem but I have not had a lot of time to read it. So if people who do comment regularly have any problem please bear with me.  We all know Google and Facebook are monsters onto the universe and don't seem to have too many scruples if you don't keep a tight rein on them.

I hope everyone is having a pretty good week and do let me know what you're reading for your mood...TODAY ! More soon.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Sunday Market and Short Stories

As you have heard me go on and on about we are in the middle of winter. Being a motorbike enthusiast amongst other things I do not like this cold, wet weather. Sunday is usually our day for the club ride but this past Sunday was just that little bit too chilly to deal with.  For one all the clothes we have to wear weigh so much and I just didn't have the energy to put them on.

My good friend Kate rang me up and said it was a good day to do the Glenorchy Market with her 15 year old daughter. That sounded much better than wearing my weight in armor and gloves and helmet so we decided to meet out there.
The Glenorchy Market held every Sunday year around.
 For one you get homemade doughnuts for 6 for $2.00.  Also the coffee is hot and not too bad. Glenorchy is a 150 year old city that is just north of Hobart.  They have a huge warehouse on the showgrounds property and every Sunday is it turned into a market.  It is full of junk.  Nothing of great value here. It is dusty, has food vans parked around it, people who seem to be on their last leg at times and we love it. There are big tables of books and I usually find a Penguin or two.

The only Penguin I found this week was a reprinted Monica Dickens book I didn't have and as I don't buy reprinted Penguins for my collection I thought I would leave it there.  I know I didn't have it and the man selling it was trying to make a living and it was only 50 cents?  Do you think I gave in and bought it?  Yup.

However as we wandered around  eating our doughnuts and waiting to get a hot coffee and sit down and chat I came across another table with a few books on it.  It was a pretty book, looked like part of a set you would get through Reader's Digest or something like that. 
A beautiful, old book of short stories.

It looked new. I picked it up to leaf through it as Kate and Sarah were looking at clothes.  Turns out it was a 1947 book called A World of Great Short Stories edited by Hiram Naydn and John Cournos.

On the title page it states that it is 115 stories, the best of modern literature.  I looked at the copyright page and there were roman numerals MCMXLVII.  The book appears to be brand new, put away out of light, never opened, it practically cracked when I opened it.  I could not believe it was so old. Over 60 years old.  I wondered where it had been all these years. Probably on a farm property, in a big library with books that were never read or stored in the sun.  It was marked $4.00. The cover is beautiful and when I opened it up the short stories are from authors all over the world.  There are short stories from America (the book is American), Britain. France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Greece, China, Korea, Japan, India, Iran, Arabia, Syria, Armenia, Turkey, Burma, Annam, Thailand, Phillipines, and one story from each country in South America.
Our deck of cards.

Then standing there looking through it I remembered the game that James plays with the deck of cards on his blog James Reads Books (here).

I began telling my friends about it and they thought that was a great idea so we said we'd look for a deck of cards at the market.  I found a big deck of cards for sale on one of the tables, extra large cards, and thought that was it! 

I brought my cards home and wrote the page numbers the stories begin on, two to a card and three page numbers on a few.  I shuffled the cards and put them back into the box.

The game is played like this:  Put the name of a short story or the page number where it is located in the book if only one book is used and shuffle the cards. Read the story that comes up and then write about it. The focus is one a week so you can read 52 short stories in a year.  I don't think I'll commit to a day, will just do when I have some free time and not working still on Moby Dick!

When I got home I was quite pleased with myself for finding such a gem of a book and a deck of cards all for $6.00.  What a cheap form of entertainment. Stay tuned folks and we'll find out if this book of stories is any good together.  Feel free to join me if you like. Something to get through the winter months and beyond.

Cousin Eddie, now 8 months old.

I had to include Cousin Eddie in this post. He loves the playing cards when they are shuffled in
front of him.  Maybe I'll let him pick the first short story we read.

Thursday 10 July 2014

Winter Blues and Books

We are well and truly enmeshed in winter here and it is all a bit blah.  You know the feeling. Grey dreary days. A bit of drizzle but not enough wet to do the garden any good. The birds look cold outdoors. Days are short.

Books abound but having to push myself to get through them though some are much better than others.    I'm still going with Moby Dick.  I put it aside for a bit while I read Moonstone for July book group. I am on chapter 60 right now so a fair ways still to go.

On a bright note Moonstone by Wilkie Collins had enthusiastic discussion at our book club meeting. I think we talked about it for almost 2 hours plus other books we are reading.

It is a wonderful book if a bit wordy but that was what they did when it was written in the 1860's.  The book is briefly about an Indian moonstone that is supposed to be the birthday gift of an aristocratic young woman. She receives it without any problem but it goes missing the night of her birthday and the rest of the book is trying to find it. The moonstone is actually a rather large diamond so it is quite valuable.

The story is broken into parts told by various narrators that are involved in the story.  The mystery is solved and that's all I'm saying. There was a lot of humour, more than I expected, in the book.  It was most enjoyable and though long because of the wordiness (can take several pages to get up a staircase) we all enjoyed it in our group as we discussed it while eating chocolate and drinking tea.

For a totally opposite book I also read Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman. Many of you will know it is also a television series, one of which I am totally addicted to and am anxiously waiting for season two.  I ordered the book at the library months ago and it finally came in.  I enjoyed the book though I must say there is more action on the t.v. series.  By the time the book arrived at the library I had watched all of series one so I was very familiar with it.  I found it to be an interesting story of a woman's year spent in minimum security prison.  I found it interesting that she actually didn't get to prison until 10 years after she committed her crime by which time she was out of the drug carrying business and quite settled with her life and about to get married. I wondered by then what the point was of locking her up.  But society doesn't often explain itself sensibly so this was another example.

Another book I have just started from the library is a series of stories called Raft by author and doctor Howard Goldenberg. I read a review of this book on an Australian website, sorry, I can't remember whose.  It is the true story of a man who works with indigenous people in Australia and the review made it sound quite interesting.  I am just about to start it.

Last, but not least our August book club read is Richard Flanagan's latest, The New Road to the Deep North. This is a memoir of his uncle and his experiences during WWII. Richard Flanagan is from Tasmania and is one of Australia's top writers.  He is also quite outspoken about environmental issues which are largely ignored by our government recently and he stirs a few pots.  However the book is quite separate from that. Should be an interesting read.

That's the news from this part of Hobart and nothing too exciting happening right now.

Animals asleep in various warmest parts of the house, mainly under blankets and donnas. It is too wet and cold for scootering, we're drinking too much coffee, tea and milo because the heat is comforting and trying to sort out reading for this month.

Looking forward to spring. What are you up to this week???