30 August 2014
27 August 2014
This book, based on letters and diaries, is a good complement to the film, The King's Speech, filling in a lot of the background to the film; however, Lionel's tendency to fawn over his 'betters', especially the Queen Mother, does at times become both irritating and even embarrassing. The book was written and published after the film was made, and, while the film concentrates on a very short period in the lives of Lionel Logue (speech therapist) and King George VI, the book attempts to give a reasonably detailed picture of the lives of both men. At times, the reliance on diary entries, can become a trifle stilted and, in places, the book reads very much as a diary or a journal; nevertheless, as a source of information, not only about the two main characters but also about the times themselves, it is an interesting and, in many ways, a valuable book.
Photo of Mark Logue and Peter Conradi from
If you live on the Central Coast of NSW, Australia, you may be interested to know that I will be talking about Room Nineteen at the Kariong Book Club (Kariong Library) this coming Friday, 29th August, 11.00 a.m. The book will also be on sale at a generously discounted price.
23 August 2014
The other day, I went online and bought a couple of books. I occasionally buy (physical) books online simply because there is no book shop near where I live, and, of course, it is so easy. However, on those occasions when I travel to Sydney, I actually do visit book shops, because, in spite of the convenience and the ease of online book shopping, there is nothing quite like the physicality of books in a book shop. The concrete reality of the book - its weight, the texture of the paper and even its smell - is simply part of the overall experience where pages can be turned and re-turned at will, without the need for some electronic prompt.
Although we may occasionally wonder if physical books will eventually cease to exist, and although we may ask ourselves whether such a demise might take a form similar to that described by Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451 or that of a skillful battle plan put into action by a plethora of electronic devices, we do not have any answers. So, for the time being at least, find a good book, a comfortable chair, a favourite drink and enjoy!
20 August 2014
16 August 2014
As I have mentioned several times, Room Nineteen has a lot to do with how we view time: does time look like like a long straight piece of string stretching from the beginning to the end, or is it more like a complicated ball without any obvious ends? It is a difficult concept, and whether or not we feel confident explaining what it is, it is so much part of our lives that we would probably feel completely lost without it. Everything we do - work, eat, sleep, socialize - is governed by the way we, and others, look at time. At the moment, I am reading a book about a woman who crossed the Australian desert on her own with four camels. A third of the way into her trek, she threw away her clock as she had reached a point where time was no longer of any importance. I can imagine what a liberating moment this must have been for her, and perhaps this is a point we all need to reach at some time, if only to experience the freedom of being 'beyond time'.
The Persistence of Memory Salvador Dali
09 August 2014
Below, a passage from The Space in Between:
... When the war broke out in August 1914, the Imperial Army became like a huge whale, sucking into itself thousands upon thousands of plankton-like conscripts. (He) was one of these conscripts. He was already twenty, but men were being conscripted from the age of eighteen. He did not believe in fighting, nor did he believe in a war that was focused on turning men into plankton to keep Imperial interests alive. He thought of Russia and Germany and Britain, thinking how similar they all were; each with an own agenda that had nothing to do with all the men being issued with uniforms and rifles. The men killed on the battlefields were no longer men, they were not even plankton; they were numbers and statistics, and, once they were de-personalized, they could be subtracted so much more easily. The faceless people moving the pieces across the chessboard were completely focused on winning; they were not interested in men who now were only numbers...
Information about The Space in Between
Information about Room Nineteen
03 August 2014
Written in 1905, this is a delightful, yet, on some level, tragic story about the vacuousness of American high society at the turn of the nineteenth century. Comedy abounds in the subtle descriptions of people and situations where money, social reputation and material possessions are the gauge by which everything is measured. Against this background, Lily - orphaned and disinherited - attempts to do everything in her power to be perceived as 'belonging' while Lawrence Seldon (already part of the circle to which she wants to belong) attempts, without over-straining himself, to make her realize that she should be focusing on higher goals even if such a focus may be equated with a less grand lifestyle. Lily has no father to support her financially and no mother to give her advice; she is at the mercy of so-called friends, many of whom - particularly the males - have no scruples in using her innocence and naivety to further their own ends. The women, all climbing the social ladder, are also prepared to use her in whatever way that might propel them further in the direction of social acceptance. Lily makes many mistakes as she stumbles from one difficult situation to the next, and, it becomes evident that those who are sincerely concerned for her are her impoverished friend Gerty and a couple of women from the working class; the upper class that she so strives to be part of, is really not interested.
Photo from www.famousauthors.org