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Lovely, cloud-strewn skies in Wamberal this weekend.

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Currently Reading this Beast

This beast of a book is taking me longer to finish than I expected and not for lack of trying… granted the beast itself is over 800 freaking pages.

Game of Thrones: the first in the famous series penned by Mr. George R. R. Martin. I have about another 70 pages to go.

I’ve yet to decide if I’ll critique it properly – I’m leaning toward “no” as the public view of Martin’s work and the current television show are already so awash with ideas and reviews. I’m enjoying both, no less.

Next on my list are a few library borrows, plus another one lent by a neighbour. In order:

  1. Men We Reaped by the recently reviewed Jesmyn Ward (my views here)
  2. Room by Emma Donoghue
  3. The Last Pulse by Anson Cameron

For more reviews and lists to peruse, check out Goodreads. My recommendations are here.

What are your top reads for 2016?

 

A Critique: Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin – Yawn

I was less than impressed with Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have ever picked it up if it hadn’t been lent to me by a neighbour. Alas, I finish what I start.

Rubin describes herself as a non-fiction writer. True, but her writing leads the reader to believe she’s aiming more for the self-help style. Rubin herself denies this genre in the book though. If it weren’t for her precise mention of this, I would have remained convinced that Happier at Home was indeed a rough attempt at the self-help genre.

For me, it was:

  • at best – entertaining for a chapter or two
  • at worst – infuriating and frustrating
  • most commonly – a complete yawn

Still, I’d rate it 2 stars, out of 5. Why? Because when you’re finally following one of Rubin’s thoughts, she yanks you out of your focus to tell you about yet another quote. She herself says near the end of the book that she’s obsessed with quotes. My thought: Captain Obvious, sweetheart. Every reader who has made it this far through your book KNOWS you’re obsessed with quotes. They’re a powerful tool when used appropriately, but overuse is distracting, detracts from your overarching goals, and becomes a complete nuisance.

I wanted to like this book. Truly.

At its heart, Happier at Home exemplifies Rubin’s respectable goal to study and experiment with increasing one’s happiness. She chooses a theme on which to focus for each of nine months. Themes include: possessions, marriage, parenthood, interior design, time, body, family, neighbourhood, and now.

The writing is brave, without a doubt. Rubin puts her heart on her sleeve and shares her trials, tribulations, and goals with the reader. I found her writing that centred on relationships and choosing how to think about happiness more worthwhile than the rest, but that comparison doesn’t mean much in this instance because the writing was so completely wishy-washy and self-centred.

I would absolutely not recommend this book. I rate it 2 stars, rather than 1, because Rubin does have a voice, personality and way with her words, but it honestly felt like a memoir of too-often whinging.

To learn more about Gretchen Rubin and her work, visit her website.


Rating: 2 of 5 stars

Baltimore Tunes

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These photos were taken in 2009 at a friend’s live gig in Baltimore. He had no idea a few close friends would be in the front row at his show!

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This was my previous camera – a little red digital one that travelled around the world with me. And my last camera before investing in a fancy shmancy DSLR. Not too shabby.

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Darling Harbour

Taken in 2014 for a FotoRiesel photography competition in Sydney.

Photo itself pictures the Sydney skyline and Darling Harbour – the Wildlife Museum and Madame Tussaud’s. Background is viewed through the cross-hatches of a footbridge.

Art Shopping

The gold piece, with the hand transforming into a tree–I’m seriously considering buying it for our home.

The photo is mine. The art pictured is that of a group of talented individuals in Sydney, in a group exhibition.

The question (and a piece of my hesitation) is how to frame or hang a triangular piece, especially one whose bottom is a point.

Thoughts?