Monday, February 27, 2012

4 Out of 20

I gave myself a reading challenge this year of 20 books. It doesn't seem like much and I hope to be reading more. I really suffer from lack of time and conflicting hobbies. Most of my reading is done during my train commute to work. But it's always a toss up between reading, or knitting and listening to podcasts. My aim is to at least get through all the books chosen for bookclub. I've been part of the same bookclub for nearly 9 years. I love the group of people I catch up with once a month and even though our whole meeting isn't always spent discussing the book, I've made some really good friends and read some books I would never have chosen.

The Adventures of Sherlock HolmesThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I decided to read this after watching the new Sherlock Holmes movie and my curret obsession with Season 2 of the BBC prodution of Sherlock.

What I didn't realise was that The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a series of short stories. I didn't mind this as it meant I didn't have to wait long to see "whodunnit". But the problem with condensing a mystery novel into a few pages, is that each story aren't that detailed and it makes you feel like you're just reading about a series of events.

My main problem with this book is that Arthur Conan Doyle keeps Sherlock's observations until they are at the point where the mystery is revealed. There isn't enough information given to the reader so that they may try to work out who the culprit is.

I'd recommend this book if you are happy to let the story play out and not try to work out the puzzle yourself.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another bookclub book. This time we didn't choose it because they had made a movie of it (I'm starting to feel that this is the basis of my book choices). We previously read Everything is Illuminated also by Jonathan Safran Foer for bookclub, but I have to admit I didn't get through that one. This, I managed to finish and quite enjoyed it.

It threw me a bit because there are two narrators in the book and for ages I couldn't work out who the second person was and how they were related to Oskar. Some seriously quirky characters in this book and strange strange relationships. Mainly the relationship between the Grandmother and the Grandfather. I felt sad for her because it was really a case of unrequited love.

There was one bit near the end of the book that had me in tears but overall I really enjoyed it. Now, whether or not I should go see the movie.

View all my reviews

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A little road trip

A couple of weekends ago, the BFG and I took a little road trip to Narranderra (about 6 hours out of Sydney) for our friend Fiona's birthday. We don't normally do road trips because the BFG isn't a fan of long drives. He'd rather jump in a plane and just get there. I did look at flying when I realised it was a six hour drive and we were going there and back in one weekend. But only Regional Express fly there and for the both of us, it would have been close to $1000. For that sort of money, we could have gone overseas (like Tasmania overseas!). So driving it was.

The Big Merino - no wool
We stopped over in Goulburn on the way there and stayed one night with my parents. There is a great bakery at the big Merino which I can highly recommend.

Windmills along the way
We sped through Gundagai but didn't stop at the Dog on the Tucker Box, straight pass Wagga Wagga and then finally through to the Riverina district where there were massive signs warning the dangers of bringing fruit into the area.

There wasn't much to do when we got to Narranderra because pretty much everything closes after 12pm. But we did get to see Fiona's lovely house with the fantastic vintage cooker (which isn't used). We also decided to go to the Tourist Information to see what there is to do for the rest of the day before heading over to the party.

Largest playable guitar
The Tourist Information Centre actually houses one of Narranderra's attractions. The World's biggest playable guitar (record held in 1994?). Of course the BFG felt the need to start twanging it, much to my embarrassment considering it was deathly quiet in the centre (we were the only ones there).

The other thing to do in Narranderra apparently is to spot Koalas. Now, I've NEVER seen a koala in the wild. They're really not that easy to come by. So we asked the woman at the counter who told us that we probably won't need to drive right into the sanctuary because some of the koala's have escaped so I was pretty excited about prospect of seeing one of those sleepy Australian icons.

It was only a short drive and went into "The Common" and kept our eyes peeled. The place is rather badly sign posted and actually looks like a scene from The Blair Witch Project. We only passed maybe 2 other cars. Anyway, still looking, looking..... still looking... still looking... and nothing. We drove right up to the sanctuary and even got out of the car and started walking around (while being attacked by these ginormous ants). The way the woman in the Information Centre was going on, you would have thought the area was inundated with koalas. Nothing, nudda, nil, zero, zilch. Not a koala in sight.

Anyway, we gave up and went back to the hotel to mooch around until we were ready to go the party which was just slightly out of town on a property. The theme was 70's.

Me in my 70's getup. This was the best I could do having only spent 3 years in the 70's.
There was shag pile carpet, lots of old records, and mostly everyone dressed up. It was fantastic. The property was absolutely gorgeous and you wouldn't believe that you were on a huge working sheep farm. The best thing that I noticed straight away was how friendly everyone was.

After leaving Narranderra, I realise what a charmed life Fiona and her husband have made for themselves. When they first said they were going to move to Narranderra, the BFG and I were like "why?" But I can see how moving out of Sydney has been so great for them. Cheaper property prices, less traffic, less people and being able to work for herself and from home. And most importantly, having extra time to do other things. Me, jealous? - not much.