Reading Lemony Snicket Will Hurt Your Head!

Lemony Snicket has a wickedly clever imagination.  A Series of Unfortunate Events is scattered with these trippy tangents.  This one is from Book 13, The End.  Hopefully after reading, you’ll no longer be in the dark about why he’s one of my all-time favourite people.  

The phrase “in the dark,” as I’m sure you know, can refer not only to one’s shadowy surroundings, but also to the shadowy secrets of which one might be unaware.  Every day, the sun goes down over all these secrets, and so everyone is in the dark in one way or another.  If you are sunbathing in a park, for instance, but you do not know that a locked cabinet is buried fifty feet beneath your blanket, then you are in the dark even though you are not actually in the dark, whereas if you are on a midnight hike, knowing full well that several ballerinas are following close behind you, then you are not in the dark even if you are in fact in the dark.  Of course, it is quite possible to be in the dark in the dark, as well as to be not in the dark not in the dark, but there are so many secrets in the world that it is likely that you are always in the dark about one thing or another, whether you are in the dark in the dark or in the dark not in the dark, although the sun can go down so quickly that you may be in the dark about being in the dark in the dark, only to look around and find yourself no longer in the dark in the dark about being in the dark in the dark, but in the dark in the dark nonetheless, not only because of the dark, but because of the ballerinas in the dark, who are not in the dark about the dark, but also not in the dark about the locked cabinet, and you may be in the dark about the ballerinas digging up the locked cabinet in the dark, even though you are no longer in the dark about being in the dark, and so you are in fact in the dark about being in the dark, even though you are not in the dark about being in the dark, and so you fall into the hole that the ballerinas have dug, which is dark, in the dark, and in the park – page 191


My Romantic Reading List for Valentines Day 2016

Love is in the air this weekend!  To celebrate Valentines Day I’m revisiting my favourite romantic reads.  Some are old, some are new, some aren’t your average love story.  But one thing they all have in common is a talent for making me swoon.  What are you favourites?  Share below in the comments!

6867Atonement by Ian McEwan

Cecelia and Robbie are torn apart when Robbie is wrongly accused of rape and sent to the WWII frontline.  Through painstaking detail McEwan crafts a rich world around their star-crossed romance, weaving viewpoints and time periods together.  Atonement is heartbreaking but beautiful.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldUnknown

How can you talk about romance without mentioning this masterpiece?  Jay and Daisy’s romance is beautiful, but best of all is the writing.  Set against an intoxicating backdrop of 1920s opulence, The Great Gatsby paints a portrait of humanity more vibrant than life itself.  I am in love with its unforgettable language.

818z5OvvrWL._SL1500_Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is a story about finding (and learning to love) yourself.  Eat, Pray, Love isn’t your typical romance, but it IS deeply romantic.  Liz’s self-reflection and personal epiphanies touch upon every aspect of her world.  This book has enormous heart and soul.  If you’re alone this Valentines Day, Liz will inspire you to spend it loving yourself.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë9781471141638_hr

Another obvious addition.  Re-reading this book countless times made Cathy and Heathcliffe’s damned romance immortal to me.  I would agonise breathlessly over the claustrophobic house, the desolate moors, and the characters’ self-destructive wills.  Wuthering Heights is overpowering.

194755Esio Trot by Roald Dahl

My final pick is a children’s book.  Mr Hoppy is desperately in love with his neighbour Mrs Silver, the owner of a disappointingly small tortoise called Alfie.  Mr Hoppy decides to make her happy by secretly swapping Alfie for a slightly larger tortoise every day.  Esio Trot is simple and completely enchanting.

I can think of many more that deserve to be on this list (fodder for next year’s Valentines Day post wink wink).  I hope you enjoy these romantic reads and spend your Valentines doing something special by yourself or with loved ones xo  

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Review | A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay

Released only May this year, A Single Stone won the 2015 Griffith University Children’s Book Award.  I got to meet its gorgeous author, Meg McKinley, at the QLD Literary Awards ceremony.  (You can read all about it!)  

asinglestone_hiresA Single Stone tells the story of Jena, leader of the line.  For generations, her tiny village has been cut off from the outside world, and survives by harvesting heat-giving mica from the mountain.  However, this honoured task can only be performed by young girls small enough to fit inside the mountain’s claustrophobic tunnels.  One small discovery makes Jena question everything she knows about herself, her family, and the world of her village.

The story was so gripping that I gobbled it up in a few days.  I loved the fast, cleverly structured plot.  Jena’s world is gradually puzzled together, slowly unveiling the depth of McKinlay’s imagination.  The expert pacing kept me hooked to learn more right up until the final pages.

McKinlay’s writing is lyrical and measured.  I loved the constant sensory descriptions of tunnelling into the mountain.  Jena’s intuitive relationship with the mountain is beautiful to read.  I can so clearly see her world through her eyes and get lost in its detail.

When she was through, she paused, waiting for the next girl.  They were deep now, in the heart of the mountain.  Around her, the earth pressed so tightly it was hard to tell where her body ended and the stone began.

– page 5

Even as an adult, A Single Stone is a riveting and rewarding read.  It’s loaded with challenging themes.  However, the story develops these ideas and progresses carefully through them to deliver a layered and stimulating plot.  It combines a uniquely gritty and rich atmosphere with empathetic characters and a great plot to resonate with readers much older than its target early-teen audience.  McKinlay’s perfectionism as a writer results in a haunting work of literature.