16. A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

There has been much debate in my household as to what is actually meant by this category. How do we define joy? How can it be seen and measured? As avid readers don’t all books bring us joy? 

I feel like this is a gimme category that I should perhaps be saving for later when I find a book I can’t categorise. But unlucky for me (or really lucky for me, because it’s the best book ever) I have already found that uncatergorisable book.

My mum got me this for Christmas because she knew I would love it. And I do. 

I love a book about books. I’ve got many a book which lists other books and explains why they are important. And that’s why this book brings me joy. It has shown me so many other books that I need to read, or that I need to share with other people.

Each of those post its represent another book that needs to be read. It’s the book that keeps on giving. I think.you can never have too many books. I’m moving house soon and my husband went round counting our bookshelves and right now we have 8. All full. And that’s even after I did a huge cull when I rearranged our furniture last year. I don’t even keep many of them to reread, I just keep them because I like looking at them.

They bring me joy.


30. A Book from a Non-human perspective

First of all I can’t believe there is no graphic novel on the reading challenge list this year. I don’t read many but I like the opportunity to read at least one, especially as I have this series that I need to keep up with.

This could have been my blue cover book, but I don’t want to read a book from an animal’s perspective, so fantasy is a good fit for non-human characters (no one said they couldn’t be humanoid).

My favourite characters in this series are a little seal, a lie detecting cat and a prince who has a television for a head (in fact their entire race a TV headed robots, but I like the prince best).

This is one of those Romeo and  Juliet fantasy stories set to the back drop of war. Two people not supposed to be together, let alone fall in love, and well what do you know they do and have a kid to boot. 

The whole story is told from the kid’s perspective and follows the journey of her parents, and others, as they try to find her. It’s got all your classic fantasy/sci-fi alien lessons about understanding and prejudice and war and peace. And therefore it’s also got all your non-human characters and so fits this category perfectly. There is not one human, as we are human, human characters in the whole thing.

Reading Challenge 2017

Every year I complete a reading challenge. For the past three years this challenge has been set by my colleagues at work and is based on the Read Harder model.

Reading Harder means picking up books that you never normally would. It’s not about reading more in quantity, but makes you read more widely. Because we all know if I really had the choice I would just read YA non stop all year.

So this challenges gets you to read 50 different books that are each used to fill one category on the list.

Sometimes I plan what I am going to use for each category and other times I have to do a bit of tweaking to make the book I want to read fit. This year I think there is going to need to be a lot of planning as the categories are more specific than ever.





A book based on a fairy tale


A Young Adult bestseller


A book set in your home state


A book translated into English


A book set in Europe


A book that’s becoming a movie this year


A book written by a celebrity


A book at least 100 years older than you


A book recommended by a family member


A book with a protagonist who has your occupation


A book that takes place during summer


A book with a blue cover


A dystopian novel


A book about a road trip


A book that takes place on an island


A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy


A book written by a local author


A book published this year


A book based on a true story


A book whose author has an X in their name


A ghost story


A book with a month in the title


A book by a female author


A book recommended by a librarian


A book that is a story within a story


A book with multiple authors


A book with a cat on the cover


A book by an author who uses a pseudonym


A book with a subtitle


A book from a non-human perspective


A steampunk novel


A book set in two different time periods


A book set in a hotel


A book that’s been mentioned in another book


A book from a genre you’ve never read before


A book with a synonym for chase in the title


A book by an indigenous author


A book of short stories


A book by your favourite author


The first book in a series


A book with more than 350 pages


A book about history or science


A prize winning book


A book by an author you’ve never read


A classic


A book of poems


A play


A book with an alliterative title


A book with a great first line.


A book you love – read it again!

And the cupboard was bare

So I’m not really one for resolutions, mostly because I don’t have the will power to stick to them. The only promise I make to myself every year is to read as many books as I possibly can (check out this year’s reading challenge in an upcoming post).

But then I saw this article on Twitter about not buying any clothes for a year and I thought 

Maybe I can do that

For those of you that know me, you know this is going to be a challenge. I see shopping as a sport, one I’d get a gold medal in at the Olympics if the world felt the same way as me about commerce. I go every weekend, and while I don’t always buy something, I’m not stopping myself from buying anything either.

But the article made me stop and think about why I buy new things at all. It’s not like I desperately need them. My wardrobe spans to one of my kids bedrooms and takes up half the space under my bed. Even with that much stuff to choose from I still end up wearing the same few things over and over. So then I thought maybe I should just stop buying things. The same day I read the article I went to the shops again (no surprises there) but I didn’t buy anything. Not because I didn’t see anything I liked, but because I chose not to. And it was totally liberating. 

Walking through those shops knowing I wasn’t going to buy anything just made it so much more stress free. I didn’t have to worry about.whay was on sale, or try anything on only to feel not good in it. I was simply at the shops.

Now don’t think I’ve completely lost my head. It’s only clothes shopping I’ve given up. On January 1 I was in IKEA purchasing up a storm. And there is no way in the world I would.ever stop buying books. But a smaller wardrobe starts with a single step away from the shopping centre.

(inter)national tourist

We seem to be starting a tradition on my family where every new born kid gets taken on a trip to Canberra around the time they are six months old. In 2015 I went during July, and last year (which is only really yesterday) I went between Christmas and New Year. 

I wasn’t really going to take the new kid. It’s not like a five month old really gets a lot out of a trip to the museum. Rather is went to see two spectacular exhibitions and he just had to come along because basically wherever I go he goes. 

The whole point of the visit was to see the treasures of Versailles exhibition at the national gallery. 

I have been to Versailles and seen everything in situ, but there is something really nice about not having to travel for twenty four hours to see important and interesting historical objects.

We lined up outside the gallery before it opened and as a result were the first ones to walk through. I can also tell you that that is a lot nicer than following an umbrella around the palace which is all you can see of your guide as she holds it above her head as there are just so many people there with you.

Some of my favourite things from the exhibition were the etchings.

Seing artwork like this always make me wish I could draw. Or that I had an art studio at the back of my house that I could retreat to to paint when it took my fancy. But alas, I have neither the talent nor the studio.

Because we were staying two nights the time needed to be filled and lucky for me the British Museum’s 100 objects was still open at the national museum.

I had seen this before also, and read the book. But again, there is something about getting to see these mind boggling objects in one’s own country that is just a little bit special. 

Got 2G o

So it is with a heavy heart that I write this post. The universe is forcing my hand. Forcing it to drop my beloved flip phone 

And to pick up a smart phone. 

I’ve resisted for a long time. I’ve always been a strictly texting type of person and didn’t need to be on the internet on my phone or take pictures or anything else really. But the world is moving on and apparently I have to move on with it.

And honestly, I didn’t know what I was missing.

I spent all yesterday glued to my new screen. So much so that o almost made myself car sick because I was looking at it so much.
I’m not sure if having the internet in my hands 24/7 is going to be the best thing. Every thought or question I have I turn straight to the phone to fact check and research.

It’s possible I’ll never look up again.

The Flipside

Then there is the not so great fantasy.

I just don’t think I can do high fantasy anymore. And this isn’t even it in its most purest form because there are portals from the fantasy land to the world as we know it.

I must have like the first story in this series though, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, because I did by this sequel. Though it has been sitting in my shelf for about a year I think. And I won’t be buying the third in the trilogy to see how it all ends because I just don’t care.

Some of the concepts in this series are good. I like the resurrecting, and the mysterious far off land they introduced in this book, but overall there is just too much gore. And not enough explaining. I don’t get why the two different peoples are fighting so much, I don’t get why they want to take over earth, I don’t really see where it could be headed, there doesn’t seem to be a solution to the problem the author has posed. Or at least not one I want to read about.

What is good about these books though is that the love story is not the focus as it is in so much fantasy. It’s important, but more important are the ideas of hope and peace. But that is also one of the problems with the series. I don’t really care about the peace because I haven’t been given enough information/back story to care and so without romance, there is nothing tying me to the characters. I guess it’s just really hard to empathise with them. Perhaps because they are not human.

And that’s another problem with high fantasy, it’s mostly just doom and gloom and nobody gets what they want. Including the reader.

In case you didn’t know, Garth Nix is the greatest writer of all time


I could totally live in the Old Kingdom. Well, except for all the dead and demonic beings wandering around. 

The new cover art for The Old Kingdom books is not the best but really, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. So don’t go judging this one by its cover. They are too old school fantasy for my liking, I wish they’d stuck to the versions that were black with the symbols, but perhaps that was a different publisher.

This new novel comes after Clariel, and I think before Sabriel, but I am going to reread them all anyway, that is the power of Nix’s prose. It’s got all the best bits of fantasy; a little magic, a little romance, a very well thought out history and lore. And none of the bad bits; no overly long descriptions of scenery, no overly long journeying sequences and everything turns out right in the end.

Nothing I could write here though would do any of his novels justice. You just really, really, really have to read them.

The Removalist

So I did say to myself, and you, that the plan was to start blogging again regularly. And you may have noticed that that didn’t quite happen. This is for a few reasons:

  1. I rediscovered my Veronica Mars DVDs. She is the best. And I can’t watch TV and write, I’m just no good at multitasking. So she won out.
  2. I was reading awesome books. If you didn’t know Garth Nix had another Old Kingdom novel out and if you haven’t read it already, shame on you.
  3. I decided to rearrange the furniture in the lounge. I am currently house hunting (and watching a lot of House Hunters) and this has put me in an antsy mood re: my own living situation. So I did some heavy lifting.


It’s only half done and you probably needed some before shots to be truly wowed but it is what it is.


Sometimes I wonder if I’m truly a Luddite at heart. I have no problem turning my phone off overnight, I don’t need to be able to access the Internet 24/7, and I only feel truly naked if I leave my house without my watch – analog of course.

I am very suspicious of electronic copies of things. Give me a hard copy any day. I still buy CDs. I still buy books. And while I can see the benefits of google docs, I can’t think properly without a pen in my hand.

But I do not stick solely to the physical, hold in your hand version of things. Yes, I have an iTunes account. It’s the only way to buy ‘singles’ these days. And I will read the occasional ebook.

Every so often there is the apocalyptic article about how one or other traditional form of entertainment or media consumption is dying. This week it was books.

The tweet links to an article in the Chicago Tribune that says Americans are reading books, paper based page turners, just as much as ever. That ebooks haven’t taken over yet. All I can say to that is 


This year I have read one series of ebook, five books in total. Normally I would read none.

I started with Not Famous in Hollywood by Leonie Gant because my read harder challenge dictated that I read a book by an author with the same first name as me. And boy are there slim pickings for someone named Leonie. But once I’d read that first one I had to read them all. I even had to go out and buy an iTunes card because I ran out of money by the third book.

These books are what I consider perfect ebooks.

They are interesting, funny, have a decent romantic plot line, and cost less than five dollars each.

I read ebooks when I want something light. They weigh nothing in the hand and should weigh little on my brain. If I’m reading something heavy I want to feel that physical weight too. It seems silly to cry into a screen, it doesn’t soak up tears as well as paper pages do. Nor does it make that satisfying thwack on the bed or ground if you grow your device down in disgust at a character’s actions. More likely than not you’re just going to be doubly mad as not only did something terrible happen in the boo, but you also cracked your screen.


This series by Gant follows an Australian (though she hardly acts like it) personal assistant in Hollywood as she sees to her clients needs and becomes entangled in murders that happen around them. The main character Trudie is the perfect balance of funny, needy and friendly. And the love interest, a cop is the right mix of condescending, confused and conscientious. The mysteries themselves are not overly predictable and all the supporting characters make this series really readable.

Now if only she would write more.