Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Reading Plan for 2016

I have been thinking about what my own challenges will be for the upcoming year. I think I have finalised it.

Novels and TBR Triple Dog Dare:
The first three months will be devoted to the Triple Dog Dare of TBR books (link here on James Reads Books).  It is not too late to sign up. The dare finishes on 1 April and I see this as good motivation to read both my vintage Penguin books and my non-Penguins on the shelves.
However I am also combining this challenge with a list of books on My Library Thing that I own and matching it to 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. You can search My Library using the name TravellinPenguin.

I will start at the back of the 1001 Books.... book and turn the pages one at a time. When I come across the first book I own that will be my read.  I like the 21st and 20th Century books more than the very ancient ones. So I am starting there. I will see how far I get. Many of the book in this reference book are published in Vintage penguins.  I can also align the 20th century books to the Classic Club's A Century of Reading challenge. I would like to get more of those  years completed.

Short Stories:
I will use a set of Giant Playing Cards I Own and align those choices to two books.  I have a book called A World of Great Stories edited by Hiram Haydn and John Cournos, published 1947.

The other book is called That Glimpse of Truth; 100 of the Finest Short Stories Ever Written Selected and Introduced by David Miller, published 2014.

 I will choose a card on the 1st of the month from the World of Great Stories and on the 15th of the month from That Glimpse of Truth. I will align that card to the relevantly marked short story. Many of these short stories have been translated and I feel I will get a good taste of various countries. I hope to find the time to blog about both stories each month.

I will devote early mornings to non-fiction books for 30 to 60 minutes as I drink my morning coffee. I will read one or two chapters per day 4 or 5 mornings a week. I will write about these as I go.  I plan to make this more of a discussion for others to join in on with their comments.  I am starting with Susan Wise Bauer's book The Well Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had.

Library Books

Book Jar
Now what do I do with all those book reviews and recommendations from friends? How do I use the library?  I have a book jar for library books.  Whenever I hear of a book that sounds really interesting I put the name of it on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it in the jar.  I will pick out the name of that book and book it through holds on the library web page. When it comes in I will read it. Once read I will choose another book from the jar. If the wait is more than 100 days long as new books often are, I will choose a second slip of paper from the book jar. These books, as they are only reserved one at a time will not count for the three months of TBR Triple Dog Dare challenge. We must support our libraries.

Literary Magazines
There are many Australian Literary magazines and their numbers seem to be increasing. I will read some of the articles in these to round out more information of current reading happening in this country. I will plan that reading in the evenings or when I am too tired for anything else. These magazines also include quite a bit of poetry which is sadly lacking from my experiences lately.

Book Group
I currently belong to two book groups but one will be the main one I attend over another one. There will be more about this new book club I have been accepted into when I attend my first meeting at the end of January. It is more social but I understand they are serious about books.  We meet in the lounge of a large hotel on the Hobart Waterfront in the evening. They often go to movies together after reading the book and it is not as formal as the other book club I belong to. I have followed their Facebook page for more than a year as I waited for an opening to come up. Members choose the books.

The other book group has been with the independent book store of Fullers. There are several reading groups that meet during the first week of the month at the store. Members do not choose the books. Often books are not chosen that are thought to upset some  members.  It is more formal and once the discussion is over that is it until the next month. Everyone reads the same book from month to month and people swap days and times for convenience so the continuity is often disrupted regarding those who attend. No chance for making solid friendships.  However they do choose good books that make me think and if I can carry it off I will attend some of their group meetings as they are enjoyable when they occur.

I think all of this will keep me busy and once again I hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew. If so then I will reassess the situation down the track a bit.

I plan on updating the blog more often as my reading gets underway. I also plan on having a weekend wrap up that sums up some of the high and low points of the previous week. I really enjoy blogs that have a personal side to them and I hope others feel the same way. It is a good way to get to know the person and become friends with those others who share common interests.

I am really enjoying seeing what everyone else is up to on their blogs regarding their 2016 plans. It is lots of fun and I hope to get some serious work done as well as enjoy those fluffy, light hearted times that pop up here and there. Enjoy 2016.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Brilliant Careers: The Virago Book of 20th Century Fiction

I wanted to share this older  book with people who may not be aware of it.  It is called Brilliant Careers: The Virago Book of 20th Century Fiction.  They also publish Virago Book of Women Travellers. I found a copy of that on Abebooks.com for $3.00 in Australia so have ordered it as I love travel writing and had not seen this before.

I digress. I am thinking quite seriously of what I want to read in 2016. As Virago publishes books by women writers I think that would appeal.  I don't want to buy a lot of books next year. I have a lot of TBR books on the shelves. However there is one second hand book shop in the city that is excellent and I do like to browse their shelves. (Cracked and Spineless)
I don't find a lot of second hand Viragos in Hobart. But when I do find the odd one I pick it up and it always looks interesting.

What is nice about the '20th Century' book is that it lists one Virago book for each year of the 20th Century.  It would be good to find a couple on my shelves or at the tip/op/second hand shop and read it towards my Century of Books challenge.

I am thinking about the reading challenge that 2016 will be. I'll post more up around the new year as it's not ready yet.

However I would like it to contribute towards my books on the shelves waiting to be read. I am looking at my reference books on the shelf and trying to fit them into the challenge that will be 2016.

I am looking at the books 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, 501 Must Read Books, the Best American Non-required Reading and the Virago books.  My Penguin books are included in much of this so that goes without saying.

I think if I were to go through the indexes of the above books I would find enough on my challenges that would match the list.  I could stay quite busy for a year.

Then there are two book groups I am beginning the year with.  I may cut that down to one though if it proves to be too much.

I didn't read as much in 2015 as I usually do because I had home projects to complete. Now they are behind me I am ready to have a more cultured year.

I will talk more about that in January.

So for now,  enjoy hearing about the Virago Book of 20th Century Fiction and let me know if you have heard of it before.  Here are some more details.

"A Writer for every year of the 20th Century" is on the front cover. It is a hard cover book with a dust jacket. On the back cover of the jacket is a list of every writer mentioned for each year. Examples are:

1915: Katherine Mansfield
1928: Virginia Woolf

1940:  Martha Gellhorn
1948:  Dodie Smith

1977:  Marilyn French
1985:  Janette Turner Hospital

1989:  Margaret Atwood
1999:  Sarah Waters

The copyright is 2000; Edited by Kasia Boddy, Ali Smith and Sarah Wood

So stay tuned to see what direction is taken in the new year.

Wally says Hi and wants to
know if your Christmas shopping
is finished yet.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Emma and the Spin Number

Busy with book happenings this week.  I am enjoying the Read-a-long with Dolce Bellezza of the book Emma by Jane Austen.

I am supposed to finish Part II by today so hopefully I will finish it by tomorrow if not today. Still have a few chapters to go.

I have never read Jane Austen's books and I really  thought I would not enjoy them but having now read Pride and Prejudice earlier in the year and now Emma they really are great fun.

I won't review Emma as it has been done by too many people that know more about her than I do over the past 200 years but I do have thoughts on the book.

It was slow to get started but listening to the audio book from Audible.com and also reading along with my lovely Penguin Cloth classic hardcover I am able to focus on the print while hearing the English accents. The narrator is great fun and very entertaining as she reads the Bates ladies.  Especially the younger one that talks so fast. She is also very good with the  male voices. All of the voices are quite different from one another and it does anchor the characters in my mind.

The Knightley's were confusing at first but I have them sorted now now.  Emma is most annoying with all of her meddling and matchmaking that usually blows up in her face. Of course her station in life is so much better than most of the other characters and she doesn't let you forget it. and I enjoy watching her flaunt her attitude over everyone.

I enjoy the day to day activities and feel as though I am following her around the area as it is described so well.  I am currently at the part in the book before Chapter II ends as she really does struggle with Jane Fairfax and the pianoforte. I am looking forward to seeing how everyone ends up. I am more attached to the characters than I thought possible and I find myself thinking of them as I travel down the road on my motorbike into town to do my Christmas shopping.  My life is certainly different to theirs.

This is the first read-a-long I have participated in and it is great to follow along on the Twitter Feed, #Emma200th.  Though I find I need to keep up for if I read the feed and am too far behind the tweets turn into spoilers.

Part III should begin about Monday and I do hope to have it finished by the next weekend.

There is also the Classic Club spin number to begin reading just after Christmas. I have set aside the week between Christmas and New Year's to read this book. It is a vintage Penguin, about New South Wales 200 years ago.  I am a bit apprehensive about it as I think I could be very dry but I will give it a shot and see how I go.  It is called Notes and Sketches of New South Wales (Penguin Colonial Series)
Written in 1844 originally, published by Penguin in 1973.
                                                                      It is hard to believe that 2015 is so close to an end and 2016 about to begin. I am really looking forward to the New Year and I hope everyone else is too.

Advice for this week:  Breathe. The running around for Christmas is exhausting, remembering all of the little things that need to be done.  Write it all on a list and plan at least an hour a day to sit with a coffee, tea or glass of wine and read to calm the mind.  I find it is really lovely to slip into Jane Austen's world after running around in mine.

Merry Christmas from Australia

Monday, 7 December 2015

The Classic Club Spin with Vintage Penguins

Today (Monday) is the Spin for the Classics Club.
As Monday in Hobart comes almost a full day after the USA and UK I am still able to get my book list up before the number is picked.

Nothing like leaving it for the last minute but it as been a bit busy what with the Secret Santa things to get out, the Emma read along with Dolce Bellaza and the regular posts.

I have decided as I have this wonderful Penguin book collection I will
use the Spin days for Penguin reading.  I spend lots of time hunting them but not nearly enough time reading them. I am hoping this will change in 2016. 

I went to the shelves and picked 20 books randomly from several different series. Some will be easier reads and some a bit more dry but they all went into the pack.

Here are my choices for the spin.

1. How I came to know fish by Ota Pavel (Central European classics)

2. Village Christmas (Miss Read)

3. Notes from Madras by Colonel Wyvern (Great Food series)

4. Rock Gardens by E. B. Anderson (Penguin Handbook 1959)

5. To-morrow by Joseph Conrad (Penguin 80th anniversary classic 64)

6. Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell (Penguin no 1249 - 1959)

7.  Be Ready with Bells and Drums by Elizabeth Kata (no 1817 - Penguin 1963)

8. The Hill of the Red Fox by Alan Campbell McLean (no PS208 Puffin)

9.  Quick Service by P.G. Wodehouse (no 994 - Penguin 1954- original 1940)

10.  Public Enemy by Hugh Clevely (no 1618 - Penguin crime 1961)

11.  September Roses by André Maurois (no1806 - 1962)

12. The Night is Darkening Round Me by Emily Bronté (80th Anniversary Classic no 63)

13. Across the River and into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway (no 2425 - Penguin publ 1966)

14.  The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell (cerise Penguin no 1266 - Penguin publ  1958)

15. The St Trinian's Story by Ronald Searle (graphic-cartoons) (no 1659- Penguin publ 1959)

16. A High-Pitched Buzz by Roger Longrigg (no 1676- Penguin publ 1962)

17. A Dissertation upon Roast Pig and other Essays by Charles Lamb (Great Food series)

18. Ballooning (King Penguin Series 1948)

19. Notes and Sketches of New South Wales (Penguin Colonial Facsiniles 1st publ 1844 Australia-
                                                                          Penguin Publ 1973)

20. Maigret and the Burglar's Wife (no 1362 Penguin green crime Penguin Publ 1959)

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Getting Geared Up for 2016

I am going to steal Jane's alphabet letters from her blog Beyond Eden Rock. I always enjoy it when she does her list. I, like many bloggers always enjoy a good list whether I run with it or not, always a joy to read.

I am wrapping up 2015 because as usual, when December rolls around, I am well and truly ready to move on. I know, wishing my life away, but blank slates are most appealing and that is what lies ahead.

2015 was a year of downsizing, de-cluttering and making changes in the way I think, act and participate in life.  I dropped some very negative people in my life and befriended several positive ones. Photography, photoshopping and writing groups found other active, inspired retirees who don't moan and groan all the time.

I have also been lucky enough to finally get an invite into a book club I have wanted to join for more than a year.

I have been in Fuller's book shop club for several years. Although it has been fun it has been pretty prescriptive and once the 90 minutes of discussing books is over there is no  more social interaction.

This book group meets in the lounge of a very nice hotel on Hobart's waterfront. Coffee and wine is available, the group is small as numbers are limited and members often go to films together, pick a couple of books per month and have a busy Facebook page.  My first meeting will be 27 January at 7:30 pm.  The books up for discussion are The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati and Flying Tangines and Magic Lobster by James Whaley.  I have heard of the Gilded Hour but not the James Whaley book. We are to read one or the other or both. I think I will begin with the Gilded Hour.

Now before I get too involved in talking about the past year and before I really get started in our next year here we go......

A is for the Advent Colouring Calendar I sent my sister that she is now working on. Each day has a  
    different Christmas picture to colour. The colouring craze really is amazing.

B is for Buying New Books for Christmas and my Secret Santa person

C is for Colouring Book craze that I admit to being a small part of. I like to
    work on the detail while listening to an Audio Book before bed.

D is for Dogs running around the house and yard and their excitement over
   very small things. We can learn a lot from dogs.

E is for the Emma read along I am currently participating in with Dolce
   Belleza (here). It is not too late to start if you're interested.
   We're reading Part this week. I am reading  my Penguin classic
   that is a beautiful book but listening to audible.com as well so I get the English accents. Great fun.

F is for Friends. Friends are the most valuable people in the world. Where would any of us be without  

G is for a Gilded Hour which I realise is quite thick and I need to have it read
    soon into January.

H is for Harried, which I always feel this time of year. I am so glad once it is
   over and the long days
   of summer lie ahead with no shopping or cooking for people.

I is for interesting things going on in Hobart. There is always a festival, a
   lecture, a rally on Parliament lawns and the summer only makes it more so.

J is for Jumping on my scooter and heading to the rural Op and Book shops to hunt for Penguin books.  I plan on continuing that tradition in 2016.

K is for kickstarting the brain and paying closer attention to my new
    photography skills and writing group. Both are very challenging.

L is for lying in a chaise lounge on a sunny warm day and reading. I
    am really looking forward to that.

M is for meeting up with friends over coffee and creme brûlée tarts at
     the book shop cafe.

N is for my lovely (k)neading cats who settle beside me at night and pummel my sides, or my head.

O is for Other People cooking as summer means eating out a bit more and enjoying country show

P is for preparing Penguin Books history presentations to
   community groups. I have completed two one hour sessions and
   have two, possibly three more groups to share the joy of my
   Penguin collection with.

Q is for the quirky things I need to wade through when visiting the Op and Tip shops for my vintage

R is for Reading. Reading, reading, reading. I look forward to talking about more books next year
    with friends, book groups and posts with blogging friends.

S is for my Samsung phone which I loved and killed when falling into a river at the dog beach last
   week. Tried the rice immersion and reset but it really is dead.

T is for Thursday and alternate Wednesday midweek bike rides with
   my motorbike group where we ride from bakery to bakery in the
   beautiful country side.

U is for Under the Japanese Maple Tree where my previous pets
    now lie in peace and planting summer flowers in their memory.

V is for the book The Lady in the Van which
    is our March read and the film with Maggie
    Smith is soon to follow. Love Maggie  

W is for Water. Water at the Dog's beach, cold Water to drink on hot summer days, Water for the garden. Water for the Bush fires that crop up every summer.

X is for my annual x-ray of my head to see if I have more MS lesions for the
   year. So far they have all been stopped and I am thankful for that. I am
   also thankful that they actually find a working brain.

Y is for the Yellow Mini Cooper I dream of owning but  need to
    win the lottery first.

Z is for Zeitgeist and what it might reflect for 2016.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Looking Ahead to 2016

Our first book read for
the Fuller's Group
Feb 2016
I am looking ahead to 2016 because I am trying to ignore Christmas. I am wondering if it can sneak past me and not be noticed. Wish me luck.

I have been thinking a lot about  next year's reading goals. Since I seem to finally be  succeeding at some of my goals after 6 decades no sense in stopping now.

I have some TBR books on the shelves and of course all of my Penguin books stare at me.  I am in a book club at Fuller's book shop so that will keep me up on some of the modern literature going around.

I also have not done any Read-Alongs before.  So I am not putting up any lists yet for the coming year but I am going to dig deeper into the ideas.  I am starting with a trial run with Jane Austen's Emma in December this  year. I am looking forward to it.

Lots of penguins
marching around my house.
Some of the ideas floating around my head are.   * Read the Penguins.  Especially the ones from the 50's and 60's.  I need to fill in my Century of Books challenge more. This will be a good way to do it.

*Read the books for the book group and enjoy the discussions. This always ensures I read books I normally wouldn't choose which is always interesting.

*Join in some of the Read-A-Longs.  There are many of these that happen throughout the year from people on my Blogroll.  I have subscribed to all those listed on my blogroll so I get the emails immediately telling me when a post has come. I am finding it easier to keep up with people, allowing me to make more comments on their blog. That in turn increases visitors and conversation and that is fun.

Then I think there will be a category called Accidental Finds. These are the books you read about in someone else's blog, a review in a book, some book that flies down from the clouds and hits you in the face. The books that are "accidentally in your life".  That will offer spontaneity. 
Cousin Eddie is having his
second birthday on Sunday.
He will be 2 years old.

I think these three areas are a good starting point.

I will also continue to post up any posts re: Penguin Hunting excursions and finds.  

Of course I will keep people up on my cats and dogs as that seems to be a drawing card of interest. We all love each other's pets. 

I might put up the odd photo-art I am working on developing skills in this new found interest.  I think that sums it.

I'll include book happenings and miscellaneous events happening around me in Tasmania as I love people to learn about this state and my life here. Maybe you'll visit and allow me to show you parts of it.
Always finding something to do.

So here's for fine tuning these goals as we get closer to that magical date of 1 January, 2016.


* Book Club Books
* Accidental Books

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Springtime in Tasmania

All ready to ride off into summer
It is springtime in Tasmania and  lots of things are going on.  My reading has picked up even though I said it probably wouldn't until after Christmas. The reading mood has finally hit after being pretty dormant for awhile.

I am looking ahead to 2016 to reading and blogging much more than I did this year.  This year has been the Year of the Student and the decluttered house.  The student being ME.

I am more than halfway through the Photoshop course I am taking and seem to be picking it up quite easily with only a couple of real stumbling blocks to pick through. Our Photographic Society has challenges each month that I have completed and also several training sessions.  I want to get this photography skill level well and truly under my belt by Christmas so it has been a priority over everything else.

Our last play of the year for
Play Reading class in U3A
I am still doing the Play Reading sessions and we have had great fun with Electra by Sophocles and The Wasps by Aristophanes.  When I learned this is what we would be reading I had a bit of a panic thinking I would be completely bored as I know nothing of these early classics.  But it was so much fun. Our class divided up into the choruses and adapted our voices to fit the characters. I found both of these plays really entertaining, not to mention how relevant they remain to today's society.

We are still working on Electra and will finish up the term with it in another couple of weeks. Then summer holidays kick in and we will pick up the class again in March next year.

I have a 6 week photography class beginning next Tuesday evening to really understand all the little buttons on  my DSLR Canon 600D.  I have been enjoying learning about the different lenses available on eBay. I do wish I was wealthy at times. Camera equipment is like anything else......expensive!

On Wednesday afternoon I am spending my time with a small writer's group and we are busily compiling a publication to feature the member's writing.  I will only put one or two pieces in as I have not been writing all year like the others.

A remarkable journey.
Books read:  I finished up Walking the Nile by Levison Wood. I understand the BBC or someone made a TV series of it. I would really like to watch it.  I loved the book as I learned a tremendous amount of history of the countries that border the Nile River.  I thought at times the author was rather careless with his life especially when traipsing into a desert without enough water. He did experience very high and low points including a tragedy that probably could most likely have been avoided.  He certainly had a Guardian Angel sitting on his shoulder at times. The characters that accompanied him were fun and interesting. I liked the camels. They had their own personalities also.

A lightweight Australian
whaling tale.
I read Rush Oh by Australian writer, Shirley Barrett  for our Fuller's Book Group read. Half of the group enjoyed it and the other half didn't. The reviews on Good Reads seems to reflect this as well.  It was a first time novel for the author after winning awards for her previous screenwriting.  It was based on the history of whaling at the beginning of the 20th century in Eden, New South Wales.  The only thing I knew about Eden previously is it is the location where sailors in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race every Boxing Day pull into before crossing Bass Strait if something goes wrong.

The information of how the Orcas helped the whalers round up the whales they were hunting was quite fascinating.  The writing was irritating to begin (in my humble opinion) as I thought there were too many brackets, where the author talks to the reader. She also used very lengthy sentences with a million commas which also bothered me a bit. That had settled though by the halfway mark. I enjoyed the characters and the story though it is a bit light weight.  I found it kept my interest and the family in the book.  The father was based on a real man who lived in Eden during that time.

Tom, the orca whale who featured in the book was also based on a real whale and his story can be seen in the whale museum in Eden.  The information about the skill of the Aboriginal whalers was also interesting.  I would recommend this book if you want something light and a little different.
Reading my new Penguin
in the December readalong.

I have a couple of credits waiting for me on Audible.com for audio books. I think I will use them for classic books.  I enjoy listening to a classic book while following along the pages at the same time. I can see the writing but I get to hear the voices which I enjoy. I did this with Moby Dick and Middlemarch and enjoyed both experiences very much. I find I also remembered the stories much more with both visual and auditory input. After all you know what they say about the short term memory of older people.  

I haven't worked out plans for 2016 yet though I did volunteer to participate in a group reading with Dolce Bellaza in December of Emma.  I have a nice Penguin cloth bound copy of the book on my shelf and I think I will enjoy the commentary from others as we progress through the book. 
Our dog Odie is still goofy
 and we love him.

That pretty much sums up what is happening in my small part of the world.  I mention I did follow the Marie Kondo decluttering book chapter by chapter and got rid of many clothes, 1000 books, kitchen paraphernalia in the backs of closets, paper work I thought I needed but didn't and my husband got into the spirit of things and had one of his mates come with a trailer and cleaned out the garage.  It all seems to be happening this year.

I look forward to reading, blogging, scooter riding, photography, writing and play reading and Penguin hunting in 2016 and I hope you enjoy coming along on the journey with the Penguin (who might have a fancier wardrobe next year due to my new photoshop skills.)
Mr Travellin' Penguin
is feeling quite casual these

Thursday, 1 October 2015

A Slow Month Blogging-wise.

I realise it has been almost a month since my last blog post.  I reread it to see where I was then and I noticed that I did say I might be slowing down until Christmas. I hope to get back to it before then.

I had that silly virus that has been going around Australia where you cough and cough, every time you talk too much or get too much activity going. I thought it was gone, did a lot yesterday and back it has come. Sleeping a lot trying to get rid of that. It also presents with a good dose of fatigue.

Then there is the spring activity where a beautiful day comes up, you race to the garden store, buy lots of potting mix and plants and haul large planted pots around the yard. I woke up the next day and couldn't walk due to the strained back.  I seem to do this every year, you'd think I'd learn.

I have been reading though. A lot. Every book, magazine article and blog post about Photoshop and Photography. Our Photographic Society has these wonderful challenges each month. I have the creative ideas in my head but don't have the skills to implement them.

The six month photoshop course I signed up for is going well and I am learning but my goodness, that program has so many complex variations to it.  I promised myself I would prioritise all things photography until Christmas. I did manage to finish the de-cluttering of the house project in July and August and the tip and op shops benefitted hugely. My husband also completely de-cluttered the garage too. This really has been a year of down sizing possessions and study. But it feels great to clean up the rubbish, make so much of it disappear and learn new skills that take us into new directions.

I am also in a writing group that is new to me. That has been great fun and it also comes with its own challenges. Next week a 200 word (exactly) piece is due that has a sting in the tail.  I have a few ideas but have not put it on paper yet.

Really enjoying this book. One
gutsy lady.

The book I am reading is All the Gear, No Idea by Michele Harrison. I love travel writing and this one is a really interesting one.   Michele is a 31 year old English woman who has worked in banking for 10 years and is now tired of it. She is in a relationship that she doesn't know where it is going.

She decides to take a course in riding a geared bike as to date she rode a Vespa scooter. She goes to India for one year. She buys a 500 cc Enfield motorcycle and spends the time dodging trucks, animals in the road and the heat.  It is a wonderfully gutsy story told by an interesting young woman. I am enjoying it very much.

If only I was 40 years younger.

I have also discovered Zinio for Libraries app on my Samsung tablet and that allows me to download quite a few different magazines from the library.  I have been reading up on photography and have a course scheduled to begin in November for 6 weeks that is supposed to teach me how to use all the buttons on my Canon 700D.

I am trying to get things organised in the yard and I am really loving being able to play frisbee in the front yard with my dog Odie and watch the plants I have planted in the last few years begin to bloom. I am looking forward to getting a good knowledge of Photoshop and camera usage under my belt and get the garden organised a bit. Then Christmas will be here that for us is quite low-key.

Our beautiful Odie with his beloved frisbee.  
I am thinking ahead to 2016 already where my reading plan is to get stuck into some Penguin books on my shelf that I really want to read. I also want to read some good classics with audible.com books paired up for the narration and follow along in the book. I find when I read a harder book, having the sound with it as I follow on the page really brings the characters to life. I did that with Moby Dick and Middlemarch and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Summer will be here at Christmas time and the bike riding season should also be in full swing. I want to pack up some camera equipment and head to the countryside for some photos and maybe a bit of camping on my big scooter. I would like to learn the new 600mm lens I have which ways a ton and is on a tripod, to look up into the air without falling backwards out of the chair I am in.

Lots of plans. Bear with me while I take a bit of a break from recording everything in my blog. I will leave you with some photos while I continue to be in study mode at the moment.

I hope you enjoy them.
One of the natives I planted last year to encourage
bees, butterflies and birds. I only plant
animal/insect friendly plants
I forget the name of this plant in my front yard but it
is now full of flowers. The colours are beautiful.
The bees seem to fly around it a bit too. We need
more bees.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Walking The Nile and Some "New" Penguins

This month is pretty busy. There is the Tasmanian Reader's and Writer's festival starting on Thursday. I am signed up for 6 sessions. There are interviews to watch, a master class to participate in, an opening with champers and some books to hear about.  I am looking forward to it.  I will try to put up some posts and maybe a couple of photos over the weekend or the following week. I will certainly be taking notes.
Happy Spring Australia

My blogging is slowing down a bit until probably Christmas. I have signed up for a Hobart Photography society membership.  Now I need to catch up to the skills of the other people in the class. One woman recently won top first place prize in an international competition of several thousand people. You can see what I'm up against.

I have signed up for a photography class that goes six weeks beginning in November. I will learn how to use all the manual settings on my Canon 700D.  Last time I took a photography class was in the early 1970's and digital DSLR cameras had not been heard of. Had I only known.

I am also taking a six month online Photoshop course from America. There are 13 sessions, they tell you you'll learn everything (EVERYTHING!!) about photoshop in the six months you have to finish the course.  So far I have learned how to make a preset template under File : New:  Select a template: Save it. Moving right along as you can tell. I am trying to devote four days a week to the study of all that.

I have a MOOT mindfulness class starting on Monday through Future Learn website. They have heaps if free classes.
Hopefully that will teach me how to settle down and concentrate on everything else. It's hard not to be scattered when the flowers are blooming and spring is in the air.

My current book is Walking the Nile by Levison Wood. I love travel and adventure books and walking is one of my favourite methods of travel (in other people that is.)  This is a remarkable tale. The man begins in Rwanda walking north along the 4000+ mile Nile River to Egypt.  The history of the countries he travels through is very interesting although so violent. The guide who goes with him is an interesting man and certainly has his own opinions about the trip in general and the tribes he talks about.
No one has ever completed the entire journey before.  The swamp lands are enormous. The heat, the insects, the animals, the jungle, the terrain are all extremely difficult to deal with. The writing is good and as the story is true it is most interesting.

He writes so well I feel like I am travelling along beside him as I sip a cappuccino, curled up in my warm bathrobe in a comfortable chair. I love to endure arduous adventures with other people.

I was not familiar with this series. Need to research it a bit.
There has been quite a bit of Penguin hunting. I was driving home a couple of weeks ago and something inside said,  "Turn here", "Turn here". It was the road to the tip shop. I had been there the previous week and knew I wouldn't find a thing. Well I turned. I like to think I listen to my inner voice. Sure enough I walked back to the bookshelves and everything looked the same. Until the attendant walked up, pushing a trolley and it was (YES!) full of Penguin books. I could not believe it.

Is there a God? and does he help one look for Penguins? The thought did cross my mind. He won't stop the Syrian war but helps me find Penguins? I don't think so.

A couple of PG Woodhouse books I did not have.
So I will share some of them here and also I found two hardcover Penguins in a series I had not seen before in a second hand book store I go to regularly.  I need to find out more about them before I write more but I have included their photo.

Also there is a new book out about the Lane brothers I just wrote and turns out Allen Lane was not the kind man I believed him to be.  Also the story about Allen Lane getting his inspiration from standing on a train station platform and thinking small, cheap paperback books is a lot of bunk too. That made me sad.

The book is scathing of the man and the ABC radio ran an interview I accidentally heard late one night with the author. The author was hired by the daughter of the other Lane brother who Allen allegedly ripped off big time.

If you click on these I think you get a larger photo. A PL series
with the plays and the L series with the old classic.
I  walked into my local, Fuller's book shop and the owner, Clive put the book into my hand. Had to laugh. I am in that bookshop so much they call out "See you tomorrow" when I leave.  I will have to write another feature on Fuller's  in future as they have new front renovations and it looks lovely.

That's me for today. Moving along quietly. There is a virus that has been going around here that is a nasty cough and fatigue and you cannot shake it before a 3 week period of time has gone by. I am speaking from personal experience.  So no big time scootering going on here but the other interests have been fun.

Lots to look forward to and I will try to keep everyone updated. Happy Springtime Australia.

I have most of the King Penguins but was delighted to find the
Crown Jewels that is this one. Two Penguin classics that are
not vintage but I collect them because they are such fine books.