Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Just finished reading #59

I just found this languishing in my drafts...lovely book

Linda Olsson - the kindness of your nature

Linda has written three books and I have read them all and I am a BIG fan.  Check out 'Sonata for Miriam' and 'Let me sing you gentle songs'.  The latter is gorgeous.  Linda has an amazing way of sharing gentle and interesting characters how should be desperate and sad but are warm and engaging.

Again the story is of a woman (Marion) living a solitary life, this time on the wild west coast of the North Island.  She is s Dr so has some community face but generally keeps herself to herself.  The reason for this is revealed during the story.  She comes across a young boy (Ika) who has a bunch of problems of his own and from there they start a relationship.  Both are lonely and isolated and together they learn about trust and love.  It could be an achingly sad story but that Linda is such a master storyteller you just love the whole thing.  Just beautiful writing and story telling.

Just finished reading #58

The shadow girls - Henning Mankell

This book was written in Swedish and published in 2001.  Ten years later it turns up in English and even ten years on it is very relevant and surprisingly current.  It is the story of a poet Jesper who is moderately famous and his discovery and interaction with the underworld of illegal immigrants.  We learn about the life of Tea Bag, Leyla and Tanya.  All have tales of horror about how they ended up in Sweden or how life is for them once they got there.  There is a lot of train travel, a boxing gym and mad mother and some very funny scenes with Olaf the idiot editor who is trying to get  Jesper to write a Swedish crime novel as a money maker.

Interestingly, Jonty is reading Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the barely veiled references in my book about crime novels are referring to his book. Spooky,  Another spooky incident was the mention of New Zealand in both of our books pretty much at the same time as we were reading them.  NZ always sounds a little exotic in other peoples books. 

This story is not surprising  as we know more about the subject than we might have a few years ago but it is still sad and thought provoking. The level of value placed on human life in many countries is probably astounding to most people living in our first world.

I love Henning Mankell's books and this is no exception.  Not as good as 'Italian shoes' but a good read.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


There is a very nice habit forming whereby people who don't live here do nice things for us.  Some people find it annoying because they want their homes fixed and will not have a bar of anything good until the very last house is back to normal.  Some of us is broken houses on shitty streets in sad neighbourhoods embrace teh good at every opportunity and are very grateful to the lovely people who take a moment to help make life a little better.  Life is not that great if you live here and have no city and all of the above shittiness.

So, when 300 architecture students from universities in NZ decided to make us an event in the city, on a bunch of rocky empty sites that once housed buildings we just went for it.  What a fantastic event and many of us were very happy to be there doing something interesting in a place of despair.  THANK YOU.

We went early and left as the many thousands crowded in but we had such an awesome time seeing friends and connecting with bars and cafes who were on trestle tables in the rubble selling their wares.  I took some very average photos but there are some stunners floating around in cyber space so you could check them out if you were of a mind to.

Experimental balloon lights...not sure they worked out as intended but great anyway.
The music was very LOUD here and that is what dancing looks like in our house
Alex, Jonty, Nic, Pete, Oliver, Joseph and me
Shadow play

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Just finished reading #57

After the party - Lisa Jewell

Couple Ralph and Jem have been together for 11 years and things aren't going so well.  For various, reasonably ordinary reasons they are drifting apart a bit.  As they drift away and experience some different people and experiences they start thinking long and hard about each other, why they are together and what their future might or might not be.  This is a story that us everyday married folk will find points of connection and places to give advice as our own experiences are likely to be reflected in some way.

It took me ages to read this book and I didn't love it.  However, I didn't not like it.  You know how some books rock your world? (The book thief) - and others just help you get through some long cold nights.  I found this book readable, credible and I probably wont remember it forever but if you are scanning the library shelves looking for something to read, then pick this up, it is worth the time it takes to read it.

I have read a few other reviews and those people LOVED it so it is probably a low risk read.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


Buying interiors magazines adn books is becoming an expensive addiction lately.  Luckily I have the wonderful Christchurch City Libraries at my fingertips.  To complement my study I am trying to find my style.  This is surprisingly harder than I expected.  You tend to know what you like but if you were to start a house from scratch and make it everything you wanted (within a realistic budget) it would be much harder than you think.  So much depends on the materials and size of your home, your budget, and who you live with.  When I flick through the magazines and books I realise I am going to need about 5 houses on the go at once to incorporate all the things I love.  There is beachy casual, vintage chic, warehouse funky, cosy cottage, ethnic, eclectic, Pacific cool, urban chic and so on.    Instead I could become a designer/decorator and do everyone elses houses.  That is the long term plan.  Finding enough people who want to challenge the norm and be free and fearless is not so easy I suspect. 

In the meantime I am going to continue to drool over the books and the free spirit of others fearless designs.  Here are a few books I have been paging through recently..
Susanna Salk has gathered together the best ideas of other peoples in her book 'Be your own decorator'.   She focuses on Colour, Whimsey, Accessorizing and Rule breaking.  This book is rich pickin's for every kind of interior design except perhaps for neutral on neutral on 'resale'...two things I don't understand.  Bland to live in but great to look at and designing your house for someone else to live in when you sell it in 10 years time.  what the??