Sunday, August 25, 2013

PPOM #4 Giving away my books

It's the last post for Potentially Problematic Opinions Month! I can't believe it's come around so fast, although in other ways it's been a very long month. I have been so busy at work, I'm working extra hours (much to the loving disapproval of my father), which means that my house is looking a bit messy. As well as messy, I've been noticing for a few months now that it looks really cluttered. So I'm going to get rid of the items I have the most of - books. Horror!

Some of my friends are horrified at this plan to get rid of some of my books, and others can't believe I'm not planning to get any money for them. Personally, I'm just at the point where I want the extraneous tomes out of my house. Don't get me wrong, I love books, but at the moment I'm tired of being surrounded by so many of them that I don't want to read. 

I have favourite books which I return to year after year, and which I love re-reading - I get something new out of them every time I read them. These are the books I'm going to keep. But I also have shelves full of books I had to buy for school or university which didn't really grab me. And I have books which I've read and enjoyed and... that's it. I'm not in love with them, and I don't plan to read them again. 

Then there are the books I've received as gifts, or for free, or as review copies. Some of these I really enjoyed, but I don't necessarily want to keep them in my house forever. I'm all about priorities - there are lots of books out there that I do want to buy and keep around forever, so I need to make some room. 

One of my friends said that I can't love books as much as I say I do if I'm "throwing them away". Bollocks. I love books so much, I'm making room for more. It's not like I'm making a giant bonfire in the local park, I'm planning to donate them all to a charity. This lets other people see books they perhaps wouldn't be exposed to, and they can even buy them cheaply! 

But another one of my friends is annoyed with me that I'm planning to give them away. She says that since I spent so much money acquiring these books, I should get some money back. Plus, the money I get can go towards new books. I do like the idea of money for more books, but it just doesn't sit right with me. A lot of these books I got for free, and the books I paid for, I feel like I've got my moneys worth. I've read them as many times as I want, and now I want the space they are occupying more than I want the books. 

I will admit, this is a weird PPOM post, but it's what's going on in my life at the moment. 

I've really loved being part of PPOM, and I thank Alex very much for inviting me to be a part of it. Posts this week include this one from Alex herself, one from Britt in Boots, one from Lizzy at Hum Drum Plum, a post from Tim at Hutt of Tea (who is new to PPOM!) and more to come. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

PPOM #3 What's with the foul language?

I am really sick of hearing bad language in public. Everyone seems to be using it, including myself sometimes, but there are still some occasions when it's just not appropriate, and I'm tired of being afraid to ask for it to stop or being sneered at when I do ask.

I have been in a few situations recently where I've heard people swearing in public, and I really don't like it. In particular, on the train. There seems to be something about the train, especially when people get on in a group, that feels like home, as if somehow, the people sitting within touching distance can't hear you. Lately, there seems to be a lot people being reasonably calm and swearing. They're just using the f-word as punctuation, not in an angry, scary way, and not in a malicious way. It's almost as if they don't realise that it could be offensive to some people.

Now, I'm not innocent of this. I started out not swearing at all, and then I kind of went the other way. Now I'm trying to rein it in again, and it's really hard. I always feel particularly bad when I swear at work, which I'm really working on stopping altogether. Although it relieves some tension in the moment, I always regret it immediately afterwards, and feel guilty for using bad language around my co-workers. Plus, it's not just around my co-workers, anybody could be walking past our office and hear what I'm saying. That's not a great feeling.

Bad language is also more prevalent in music, making it difficult to sing along to the radio, and making me horrified when I hear my little cousins innocently singing words I don't ever want to hear them say, let alone when they're still in primary school and don't even understand what they mean.

I think my biggest problem is that people are using this language because it's easy. They just don't want to think harder about what's coming out of their mouth, how they are expressing their thoughts - it's laziness. I do not like that. How you communicate your thoughts matters, and you should think hard about that. I know that I spend all day talking to people, and I think I owe them the respect of choosing my words carefully. Now, why would I go to all the trouble with the customers I deal with, and not show the same respect to my wonderful colleagues? Why would I be so careful around strangers on the train, and not around my friends and family, who I love?

So I'm declaring a moratorium on bad language for myself. I don't want to say it, and I'd prefer it if it isn't used around me, although I respect the right of people to use whatever language they like wherever they are legally allowed to do so - don't forget, there is a law against using 'disorderly, offensive, threatening and violent' language in public in Victoria, which can see you receive a $240 fine.

Inspired by my own experiences, and by this post at The Rheel Daze.

More PPOM posts: from Lizzy at Hum Drum Plum, a defence of Sansa Stark; from Noni at A Doll's Drivellings, on being fat (Noni has just joined PPOM, and it's great to have her); and Alex at Adventure in TV-land talks about Aussie politics.

PPOM #2 Who is Dr Who

I just love watching Dr Who, although I never really watched the original series - I'm a fan of the re-boot. I really loved Christopher Eccleston, and I thought David Tennant was great too. I did lose interest slightly a few episodes into Matt Smith's tenure, but I did still occasionally check in.

Most recently, I was caught up in the speculation about who would become the new Doctor. There was a lot of speculation about who might be considered, and I found a lot of it really interesting. As I said, I'm not a hard-core fan, but I do like the show, and I like being a part of conversations about it. It was really interesting to see who people thought would be good at the part, and occasionally adding my own opinions about that.

However, there was one type of conversation I steered right away from: discussions about the gender of the next Doctor. I was really frustrated by conversations about this, as I just couldn't understand them - the Doctor is a man, he has always been a man, it is only right and proper that he continue to be man. Although Time Lords don't die, but rather regenerate with a new body, they don't change their gender.

My problem with a lot of the posts was that they seemed to want Steven Moffat (the lead writer for the show, and an executive producer) to choose a woman, for no other reason than they (the fans) wanted a woman to play Dr Who. I really don't understand that - Dr Who is a man. If you want to see more great female characters, then push for that, but I don't think re-casting a fantastic, well-known role in a different gender is the answer.

This post was inspired by a lot of people, mostly random commentators on the internet, and also specifically a tweet by Adele Walsh, the Program Coordinator at the Centre for Youth Literature (the tweet read "Having a fandom tumblr blog doesn't make you an authority on the decisions currently being made in the writer's room. Ugh.") and an article Justine Larbalestier tweeted about, which can be found here, called Why I Hate Strong Female Characters.

Also, this post was due up last week, but I got swamped at work and I couldn't make it happen. Fortunately, the other guys were more organised and got their posts up. Lizzy is talking about crumpets and Britt wants people to stop lecturing her about safety. Finally, Alex is talking about Dr Who - she's another person who inspired this post.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Potentially Problematic Opinions Month

I was so delighted when Alex from Adventures in TV Land contacted me, and even more delighted when she asked me to be part of a group blogging about Potentially Problematic Opinions Month over August.

I have really enjoyed reading Adventures in TV Land over the past year or so, and it's great to feel that Alex is now reading my blog - no pressure!

Anyway, on to Potentially Problematic Opinions Month!

Working in a bookstore, there are lots of potentially problematic opinions - liking or not liking certain books, authors or genres; recommending a book you know the child will love but having to try and convince the parent; and even dressing a certain way - I've been told, 'you don't look like you read fantasy, get me someone else'.

One question which comes up again and again, in bookstores around the world, is 'have you read all these books?' If the bookseller answers 'no', which they usually have to do, because no-one has that kind of time, then they're asked 'if you haven't read them all, how do you know what to recommend?'

Personally, I have a troubled relationship with the classics. Although there are many that I do love there are many more that I do not.

I love adventure tales, and stories of shipwrecks, but I have never read Moby Dick. I have never been moved to even pick it up and read the blurb.

I have never read anything by Ernest Hemingway. I know a few stories about Hemingway - the touching shortest of short stories he wrote ("Baby shoes for sale. Never worn.") and that he fought in Spain and loved bullfighting, and his legendary drinking. But again, I've never been moved to pick up a single one of his books.

I borrowed Dante's Inferno from a friend after she raved about it. I had it for A YEAR and still didn't read it all. I barely got into Hell.

I don't mind that I don't connect with some of the classics, but it was a big problem for some of the customers at the store, and it continues to be a big problem with some people I meet who know that I love books, but are shocked, horrified or disgusted because I don't love the books they think everyone should love.

Obviously, these people are wrong, but it's annoying when it happens.Everyone has their own top ten books, their favourites, books they return to time after time, books which have touched their lives and given strength in times of trouble and comfort in times of distress. Everyone has the right to choose their own books. I don't mind listening to people make the case for why I should read their favourite books, in fact I love it, but please, tread carefully when talking about classics to me.

Note that you can read more posts from people who are part of Potentially Problematic Opinions month here (from Britt in Boots), here (from Hum Drum Plum) and here (Adventures in TV Land).

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Melbourne Rare Books Week and great service

I went to a fantastic event on Wednesday night for Melbourne Rare Book Week, at Reader's Feast and had a really wonderful time. It was Never Do That To A Book, readings from Anne Fadiman's book Ex Libris.

I arrived early, intending to have a browse and only realised when I got there that the shop might have intended to shut and then re-open. Thank heavens they didn't! It gave me some time to have a lovely browse. The staff at Reader's Feast are always so great, and checked in with me to see if I was there for the event and then left me to it.

The event itself was wonderful, and was introduced by Mary Dalmau, an inspiration to booksellers everywhere. Mary has been involved in Rare Books Week from the beginning, and introduced Zoe Bertram and Roz Hammond, actors who read three essays each from Ex Libris. I have the book, and have read it a number of times, and thought that both women did a great job in bringing the essays to life.

After the readings, Mary spoke again and asked the audience to think about their favourite books, while she asked Zoe and Roz about theirs. That created a lovely atmosphere, and a few people shared their thoughts.

It was a really lovely night, and I look forward to many more events at Reader's Feast. Melbourne Rare Book Week was certainly lots of fun for me, even though I only attended a couple of events - I hope you were able to attend some too! I recommend registering for the mailing list on their website, which you can do here.

As well as being on this mailing list, I am also on many, many others, including international book newsletters. One of those newsletters is from Publishers Weekly, which includes a blog called ShelfTalker, written by children's booksellers. This entry caught my eye, and actually really touched me.

There are a few things happening in the post, but the story of a how a bookseller tried to cheer up a grumpy young girl on holiday with her family really touched me. For many years when I was younger, I was this grumpy teenager, not content to be grumpy myself, but actively trying to bring down others around me. It's not a time in my life that I'm proud of, and I work hard every day to be a completely different person. This bookseller really went above and beyond for this customer - she wasn't just out for a sale, she was really trying to cheer up someone who needed it.

That idea of service is something I really try to exemplify myself, and I just love to see it in others. As well as being an admirable quality, it makes me want to shop at stores staffed by people like this, and tell everyone about them, and come back to shop again and again. If I get the chance, I'd love to drop by the store staffed by this blogger.

Happy reading!

Monday, July 22, 2013

All the things

Phew, I've been all over the place the last couple of weeks - sorry, no time to write! I hope you've been reading something good!

As I've been all over the place, this is going to be a post with a whole lot of things included.
Firstly, last Thursday I went to the opening of Rare Books Week, Beautiful Books at the Wheeler Centre. It was such a great night, hosted by Steve Grimwade, the former Head of the Melbourne Writers Festival. I volunteered for the festival when Steve worked there, but of course he wouldn't remember me - that was years ago, and there were hundreds of us! But it was still nice to feel a connection to someone on stage. The talk was really wonderful, lots of pictures of beautiful books, both historical and more modern. The cover is what gets most of us to pick up a book in the first place, but it's interesting to think about the inside as well - what font is used, how much white space is there, are there illustrations or decorations at the start of each chapter? How much does the beauty of a book influence your willingness to buy it, or how much you love it?

I've been reading the Game of Thrones series on a e-reader recently, and although I love the books, the e-books are some of the ugliest things I've ever seen. No care has been taken with them, they are really just electronic versions of the paper book - blank pages and all. Blech, not attractive. I think it's the lack of care that gets to me. But it's much easier than lugging those 1,000 page behemoths around!
I've had to re-think going to the Bendigo Writer's Festival - I couldn't get the leave I wanted, and I've accidentally booked myself into some events here in Melbourne. I think I'll still try to see my friend Megan's panel on Sunday, but it will just be a day trip.
I came across this article over the past 3 weeks, and was not surprised to hear that Jamie Oliver has never read a book - he's dyslexic, and he pointed out he gets bored quite easily. That's cool - get into audio books, Jamie!

But what if a friend of yours came to you and said that they had never read a book, or hadn't read since high school (over 10 years ago for me), and they would like you to recommend what they should read first. What responsibility! Your choice could either turn them off reading forever, or help them fall in love with reading, a love that will last the rest of their life. What books would you recommend?

For me, it would depend on the person. This was something I loved when I worked in bookstores, talking to someone, asking what they liked - not books, just tell me what you like. If they had just read something they loved, or hated, sure, that helps to narrow down the possibilities to suggest, but it's not really necessary to talk about books to find the perfect book for someone.
Speaking of bookshops, the Australian Booksellers Association is running a poll for people to vote for their favourite bookstore. You can win book vouchers worth $500, and you can vote here. I voted already! And I'm planning what I'll buy with my $500, so I hope I win!
One of the genres I wanted to get into this year was comics and graphic novels. I'm stalled on the graphic novel area, but I'm powering ahead with comics! One of my very lovely friends works at Classic Comics, at the top end of Bourke Street, so I dropped in one Sunday afternoon and had a delightful time getting a personalised recommendation. I was so excited to see that The Phantom is still in production, as I have fond memories of reading this series as a kid - I used to spend $1.50 of my $2 pocket money on a Phantom comic every week, and still get a giant bag of lollies to read. I laughed to see that the price had hardly gone up at all - a regular issue is still just $3.50!

I also bought a Captain America comic, The Winter Soldier, which I was excited to read. I loved the movie that came out in 2011, and decided then that I wanted to read the comics, and I'm finally getting round to it.

My friend recommended Green Lantern too - I haven't seen the movie, and the comic was so interesting. A really fascinating story, which led to a lot of talk the next time I visited - yes, I am now one of 'those' people, who argues in comic book stores about whether Green Lantern or Batman is better! Green Lantern all the way!

I'm hardly a regular yet, but I am loving seeing more of my friend, and talking about comics. They are really such a fascinating area of literature, and I'm really in awe of some of the fans I've met at the store, and the staff, who can reel off Green Lantern's oath, and all the names of Batman's sidekicks, and tell you the Kryptonian names of Superman's parents, and so on. The depth of knowledge and passion some people have around comics is just fantastic!
Finally, I'm going to another Rare Book Week event on Wednesday night (24 July), Never Do That To A Book. I think tickets might still be available, but you will definitely have to book. Get onto it! Love to see you there.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rare book week - Melbourne

I almost missed Rare Book Week! It's on in Melbourne from Thursday 18 July and runs until Sunday 28 July (a little longer than a week, but it's wonderful, so we'll forgive the extra few days). You can find all the information online here, but below are my picks of the events I'd like to attend, and the events I'd encourage YOU to attend, if you can.

In a long session on Saturday 20 July, you can bring along family treasures, which might turn out to be real treasures, to the Rare Book Discovery Day at the Melbourne Museum. Even if you don't think your book might be a national treasure along the lines of Phar Lap, you can still take your treasures along to get advice on how to care for them and store them properly, to prolong their life. This session runs from 11am to 2pm.

On Sunday 21 July, there's a session called People's Passion For Words, featuring Professor Kate Burridge. Professor Burridge is going to "examine the passion we all have when using words to express our selves." Of course, with my love of books and my willingness to listen to passionate people, I'm interested in this session.

Monday 22 July has two sessions I would dearly love to attend, but I just won't be able to get the time off work to attend the one during the day. That session is Treasures of the MCC Library, running from 12:30pm to 1:15pm - so short! I did a placement at the MCC Library at the Melbourne Cricket Ground - did you know there was a library there? It's the most amazing library in Melbourne, in my opinion, and if you have the chance to visit it and see some of the jewels of their collection, you definitely should! There's another session on Tuesday, so do try. I will have to do a post on my time at the MCC Library later on...

The other session on Monday I would like to attend is They Are Still Strange People, These Book Collectors, which is on during the evening and I'm going to try and get to. The session is about novels written about people committing crimes.

I really love Federation Square, and this next session looks like so much fun - Retro Storytime! They will be reading some classic story books, which is something I really miss - hearing books read out loud. It is a real art, and I fondly remember my own childhood bedtimes, having a story read and pleading for 'just one, more!'

An event being held in one of my favourite bookstores, Reader's Feast, is Never Do That To A Book. This is readings from Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, by Anne Fadiman. I've just pulled my own copy of this book off the shelf! Reader's Feast is such a gorgeous store, with those high vaulted ceilings, and row upon row of shelves filled with old favourites and new favourites, just waiting for you to discover them. I'll definitely be going to this! It's on Wednesday 24 July.

The last session I want to attend is like The Book Thief in real life - it's called The Book Theft Century, and is about exactly that: people stealing books, and committing crimes against books. It talks about the crimes, and about "recognition of books as cultural objects whose value cannot be adequately captured by market price." This is something I find really fascinating - how do you put a price on something that is totally unique, such as a folio illuminated by hand by a monk from the 13th century? If someone deliberately damages that book, what is an appropriate punishment? Oh, even thinking about someone damaging such a book gave me shivers! This session is held at Melbourne University on Thursday 25 July, and I'm really going to try and get to this too.

I love that Melbourne is a City of Literature, and I love celebrations like this around books. Festivals are such hard work, and putting them together really takes a team, and blood, sweat and tears from many, many people. All of these events are free, which is also something I love! By making events like these free, especially where the events are as varied as these, it allows as many people as possible to participate. Valuing books, valuing education and valuing literacy and literature are wonderful traits, and I am glad to see so many Melbournians attending events such as these. I hope I'll see you there!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bendigo Writers Festival - events to attend

Okay, first of all, I need to say, this program looks amazing! There are so many events I want to attend, not least of all the opening session with Malcolm Fraser and the session with Denise Scott, hosted by Michael Williams from the Wheeler Centre.

There are two sessions running first thing on Saturday (at 9:30am) that I want to attend. Argh! I hate when that happens! How to Make Believe is a fantasy panel session and What Children Want, What Children Need is about quality in children's literature. I love fantasy and I love children's literature - which session to go to?! Oh well, I suppose it will depend on which session is closest to the cafe - I'll need a hot chocolate, that early on a wintry Bendigo morning!

I have always admired societies who venerated intellectuals, and listened to smart men and women. I think that this session, When Australians Think Out Loud, Does Anybody Listen? looks pretty interesting. It's on Saturday at 11:15am.

What Matters More, the Speech Writing or the Delivery? is a session running on Saturday at 12:30pm. I love hearing people talk with passion, and will listen to pretty much anyone talk about pretty much anything if they can capture my attention! For me, it's a combination of the speech itself, and the delivery, but I'm certainly interested to see this session and hear what others think.

In another potential double-booking, at the same time as the session above, there is a session on the future library, called Not Just Books. The Head of the State Library of Victoria, Sue Roberts, is on this panel, and I'm excited to hear what she has to say. Oh, if only I could get my hands on a TARDIS!

Writing can be very personal, but where do you draw the line in writing about family members? See what the experts have to say in Family Matters, on Saturday at 3:45pm.

I am of the opinion that education is the best way to solve some of the biggest problems in our society, and I wonder about how the Internet could help better with that. At the moment, it seems like it simply gives some people a place to share their nastiness, so I am very interested in a panel called Has Our Cultural Golden Age Ended? This panel is on first thing Sunday morning at 9:30am.

One of the big reasons I went to the Bendigo Writers Festival last year was to see the magnificent Megan Burke. I had been reading her blog, Literary Life, for years, and she and I actually became friends in real life, which is so wonderful! Megan's passion for books is so admirable, and although she is taking a break from her blog for now, it still contains so many wonderful posts and is definitely worth taking a visit. It looks like Megan is doing another session this year, appropriately called New Ways To Be Outrageous, about social media. This is a must see for me, both on a personal level, as I love Megan, and because I have my own blog now! It's on Sunday at 1:15pm, I'll definitely be at this session!

Right after that session is another one I'd like to see, Unbecoming. I, like a lot of others, have been watching over the past few months as women in the public eye seem to take far more than their share of abuse, which often rises to a horrifically vitriolic level, and becomes intensely personal (such as threats to rape and kill the woman herself, and her family members). I just can't understand this kind of behaviour - it's just not in me to behave that way to a perfect stranger. I'm so glad lots of other people feel the same way I do! The session description says "In the wake of powerful debates about sexism and equal rights, Dennis Altman, Andrea Goldsmith and Monica Dux talk with Shannon Kerrigan about what's changed for men and women and why."

Poetry Slam is on Sunday 5:00pm, and as I said in my first post, one of my aims this year is to read more poetry. Well, going to a Poetry Slam counts! This looks like lots of fun, and it's on late on Sunday, so I can justify staying Sunday night and coming home on Monday! Yay!

I will say that I found the program quite tricky to read online. The daily version just lists the events by title, and you have to click each title and open it to see when it runs and where it is being held. Aha, I've just found an easy to read PDF version here. When I went to the Festival last year, they had paper copies of the program that were easy to pick up pretty much anywhere in town. I really am a fan of a paper version for a program like this - I love to circle the events I want to attend and plan out breaks to visit the bookshop, the coffee shop and the toilets! All the essentials, in other words.

I'd also like to see more information about each speaker listed. Most authors have simple biographies they could post on the page, so that you are sure exactly who the author is. It would have been good to have them included.

Alrighty, I am off to check out the official Bendigo Tourism website, and the unofficial guide to Bendigo, sweetly called I heart Bendigo. I hope to see you at the Bendigo Writers Festival!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bendigo Writers Festival

This is just a quick post to say that the program for the Bendigo Writers Festival has been released and is online here.

I will be putting up a proper post about the program later this weekend, but I went to the very first Bendigo Writers Festival last year, and had the most amazing time. Bendigo is such a fantastic town (city?), and I promised myself that if possible, I would be back this year and would give myself more time in Bendigo.

Off to put in my leave request!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What I'm Reading: Lirael, by Garth Nix

I have been waiting and waiting to start this blog, and partly it was because I wanted to have a really great book to review first off. Of course, there is no perfect book that will suit everyone! So I decided to just go with a great book I really am reading.

Lirael is the second book in The Old Kingdom series, which begins with Sabriel and ends with Abhorsen, and includes the book of short stories, Across the Wall. The books are written by Garth Nix, a brilliant Australian writer - he has written two of my favourite series, this one and the Keys to the Kingdom series. They are both fantasy series, but The Old Kingdom is Young Adult, while the Keys to the Kingdom is more for younger readers, although you could make a case for YA.

Lirael is part of a bigger story where the Old Kingdom is under threat from a Necromancer who is ensnaring other Necromancers, creating Dead things, and even trying to capture the Prince of the realm, Sameth. Lirael herself is a daughter of the Clayr, a community of women (sister and cousins and aunts) who all have the Sight and can See into the future - except Lirael. She feels increasingly isolated, and ends up becoming a librarian, which gives her something to throw herself into and become passionate about. However, it eventually becomes clear that Lirael's future lies outside the library, and away from the Clayr altogether.

There are magical animals of unknown origin, Dead things, assassination plots, and cool librarians with swords. What's not to love?! Lirael herself is a strong female character, who works through her feelings of despair and worthlessness. She pushes through her natural shyness and reserve to be courageous and even display a sense of humour. Garth Nix's writing is really incredible. He can absolutely create a whole world that feels as real as the one you live in everyday, and characters you feel like you know as well as your own friends.

Lirael is one of my favourite books, and especially since I got my copy signed by the author!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Welcome to the blog!

Hello and welcome! It's lovely to have you here with me.

I am Jessica, and this is my space to talk about books. Books that I'm reading and that I loved, and books that I don't think did their job well, and books I think everyone should read and books I wish I had read.

I'm also going to talk about book-ish things - libraries, authors, book launchs, exhibitions, other blogs. I have signed up for newsletters about books from all over the world, so I'll share any interesting tidbits I get from those, too.

I love to read all sorts of books, both fiction and non-fiction. My favourite genre is Young Adult, especially YA Fantasy. I also love stories of survival, like after a shipwreck, or a plane crash. Bonus points if cannibalism is mentioned! I really love reading about World War II, I find it a fascinating period of time, with amazing examples of self-sacrifice and heroism and utter nastiness and horror. It just feels like a really specific time period that encapsulates absolutely the best and the worst of humanity.

Following on from my fascination with WWII, I want to read more poetry. Some really wonderful poetry was written by men in the mud and blood and the nightmare of the trenches, poetry that can fill your spirit and carry you away on a dream. I want to read the poetry from the trenches. And I want to read Australian poetry too. I have always admired people who are able to recite poetry and I want to be able to do that.

I have not been spending a lot of time in real-life bookstores lately, which is another thing I want to change. I have been getting a lot of books from the library and re-reading some of my old favourites, but I also know there's so many amazing books coming out all the time and it's important to keep up with those. My favourite bookstore is Reader's Feast, which I loved when they were in a slightly tricky-to-find spot on Bourke street, and which I completely adore now that they are in the gorgeous former George's building on Collins street. There are lots of others I love too, Dymocks on Collins street, Hill of Content, Readings in Hawthorn and Readings at the State Library of Victoria.

I'll try to keep things mostly book related, but I'll probably stray occasionally. For instance, I love Melbourne. I mean, really, I love Melbourne a lot. And there are so many book-ish things to do in Melbourne! So I'll definitely be talking about my own beautiful city, Melbourne.

This is your space to talk about books too - if you have thoughts on a post of mine, please do share! When I worked in a bookstore, my favourite thing to do was talk to people and find the perfect book to recommend to them. If you need a book to read, let me know what you've read lately and loved, or what area you want to get into, and I'll see what I can do. I luckily have some very talented friends who will probably jump in with suggestions too.

This is really just an introductory post, but I'll be back soon with a review or two to share.