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review 2018-04-19 23:21
there's delight in every sentence
A Long Way From Home - Peter Carey

It's been a long time since I've found such delight in a story's every sentence.

 

The telling is all fine wordsmithing and sharp phrase-turning and frank soul-searching, neither sentimental nor cynical nor pretentious, and thoroughly engaging.The story is also satisfying and among the best I've read, and it's not the only Peter Carey work to earn that status with me.

 

It's told in first person, primarily by two narrators, each nearing 30 and introduced as neighbors in small-town Bacchus Marsh. The woman, Irene Bobs, is married to car aficionado and would-be Ford dealer Titch Bobs, and they're raising two children. The man, Willie Bachhuber, is a school teacher and quiz-show whiz, who left his wife and child over a misunderstanding about the child's parentage. The latter leads to much of the story's depths and surprises, and takes the reader into the thick of Australia's troubled racial landscape. The narrators wind up in a car called a Holden (Ford's Aussie competitor) in Australia's 1954 Redex Trial, a cross-continent auto race over much grueling outback.

 

Irene is my favorite narrator, but I've grown very fond of both voices. Irene, who considers herself little more than a pretty decent mum, turns out to be a bad-ass driver. Willie is her spot-on though occasionally delirious navigator. Their personal journeys progress apace with the race, eventually along separate but criss-crossing paths, never stereotypically and always with great heart.

 

Here's a taste of the telling, from Irene's perspective:

 

"The smell of a rally car, the stink, the whiff, the woo, you will never find the recipe for this pong in the Women's Weekly but ingredients include petrol, rubber, pollen, dust, orange peel, wrecked banana, armpit, socks, man's body. I drove into the night on the ratshit regulator. My headlights waxed and waned depending on the engine revs. Beneath us was bulldust, two feet thick. It was always smooth and soft-looking but the Holden banged and thudded like an aluminium dinghy hitting rock. It is a miracle our suspension didn't melt. Sometimes I saw the shock absorbers of a car in front, white hot, glowing like X-rays. Cattle loomed from the blackness and if I had rolled or hit a roo, if I killed us all, what then?"

 

What then, indeed. It is well worth the read to find out.

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text 2018-04-19 15:22
TBR Thursday
The Lie Tree - Frances Hardinge
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
The Warded Man - Peter V. Brett
Dragonfly in Amber - Diana Gabaldon
The Magic of Recluce - L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Stations of the Tide - Michael Swanwick

I'm currently reading Smilla's Sense of Snow and The Good Women of China.  Once I've finished them, it's time to move on to these books.

 

My real life book club meets soon, and our May choice is The Lie Tree.  This is our year of reading exclusively young-adult literature and this book was highly recommended to me.

 

I've got three books for my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project:  Dragonfly in Amber, The Magic of Recluce, and Stations of the Tide.  There's a hold on Dragonfly and the other two are interlibrary loans, so they can't be renewed. 

 

I'm also reading with an eye to my August conference.  Peter Brett will be a guest of honour and I'm going to read his The Warded Man to get an idea of what his work is about.

 

Years ago, for RL Book club, I read Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees.  Now I intend to see what The Poisonwood Bible is like.

 

Saturday I'm headed to an art show where one of my friends is exhibiting and Sunday I'm doing brunch & a movie with another friend.  The movie is a filming of a Shakespearean production, Timon of Athens, a play that I have never seen performed. 

 

Happy reading, friends!

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text 2018-04-17 14:56
Reading progress update: I've listened 2006 out of 2459 minutes.
Judas Unchained - Peter F. Hamilton,John Lee

Oh god, we just had a sequence where it took Orion three tries to get out more than "Girl". Why is he being encouraged to talk to her rather than leave her alone? (I know why: she's been hired to entertain him.)

 

I really hate this future and its treatment of women. 

 

I wonder if I can up the speed again...

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text 2018-04-13 22:31
Reading progress update: I've listened 1794 out of 2459 minutes.
Judas Unchained - Peter F. Hamilton,John Lee

Orion (an impressionable teenager): "She was beautiful!"

 

Ozzy (guy who is hundreds of years old): "She wore that much makeup because she's not actually very pretty."

 

<.<

I can't wait to be done with this book. 

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review 2018-04-13 18:25
Judy Moody Saves The World, Megan McDonald
Judy Moody Saves The World! - Megan McDonald,Peter H. Reynolds

This middle school age book was fun. I received it for free and voluntarily chose to review it. While it was fun with a lot of action, the characters lacked any real depth. I would have liked to see a little more. While it was centered on recycling and saving the world, I would have liked to have answers as to why. I would hope that this would make some of our teenagers think about it more. Because it was a little fun and a good subject matter, I've given this a 4* rating and I'll be sharing this with my grandchildren.

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