Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring, Autumn, Books, and other Things

Happy Easter.

And I guess for Australians, Happy Day After Easter.

For any Jews out there: Happy Passover.

I hope Australians are having a nice Autumn, and I hope everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is having a nice Spring.

I'm still doing my Flickr activities while listening to Australian music.

I'm on 1997 now. It takes me a long time to go through a year. I guess because I listen to only a few songs a day.

I've come to realize that I'm not a big fan of Savage Garden or Human Nature. Or maybe I just haven't yet heard a song from either of those that I like.

With some artists I can't easily find a song on YouTube, from them for that particular year, so I end up listening to any song of theirs.

This happened with Spiderbait. Somehow I ended up listening to their 2004 cover of Black Betty.

I love it.

I actually thought they invented the song because I've never heard it before. But then I learned it originated as an African-American work song.

As for Flickr. I'm currently looking at photos of Darwin. I mean I'm not looking at them right at this moment, but later today I will.

I'm having less negative feelings about crocodiles lately. I mean I don't want to swim with one, but they no longer give me the creeps when I simply look at a photo. I think they're kind of cute.

I see photos, though, of people swimming in Darwin. I'm guessing they're swimming in places that don't have beware-of-crocodile signs. But I'd be scared to swim in any body of water in Darwin. I could probably gather enough courage to swim in a man-made swimming pool with very clear water, but I would check the bottom before I hopped in.

Before moving on to Darwin, I was doing Alice Springs.

Like Halls Gap it has captured my heart. I hope to go there one day.

I think my favorite thing is the second hand shop. It has a statue of a hand with a hand protruding from the hand. I saw the statue first and had no idea what it meant. Then I saw another photo that included the shop.

The store sign says they have Australiana and Collectables. I would love to rummage through all that. I'd probably want to buy a few things too.

A few years before becoming obsessed with Australia I was obsessed with spirituality. I read the Robert Monroe books and he convinced me that it's foolish to collect THINGS. We can't take these things with us, so why hoard them?

I still agree with that on most levels, but I've decided to hell with it. I like collecting Australian books. My books are all used, so it's not like I'm contributing to the death of trees.

My buying Australian books is nothing new, but before I did it with a mindset that I'd try to pass them on. I once gave some away to the man who came to install our burglar alarm. I've sold some to Half-Price books and got very little money back for them. I once wrote a post on my blog offering to give books away for free. No one took me up on the offer.

Now I've decided to just love my books and keep them. I'll be an Australian book hoarder.

If someone comes to my house; and they end up loving Australia and/or reading, I'll definitely let them borrow the books. Or even take them for keeping. But I'm not going to go out of my way to try to find new homes for the books.

Robert Monroe and other spiritual people are right. We probably can't take material things with us when we're dead. But it's fun having them while we're alive. And the hunt is wonderful too.

I fantasize about hunting in Australia. There's some downsides, though. Books are more expensive there, and they add more weight to the luggage.

I continue to buy books from Powells with the extremely generous gift cards I received on my birthday. I recently bought a bunch of Elizabeth Jolley and Claire McNab books.

Claire McNab writes lesbian crime fiction. I usually don't like crime fiction, but I liked one of her books. I might have jumped the gun a bit with then buying a bunch of her other books. Maybe I was being a bit impulsive?

The Elizabeth Jolley book was called Milk and Honey. It's a Gothic story—a lot like Jayne Eyre. I loved it, but was confused with some things in the ending. I hoped to find discussion of the ending online, but failed in that quest. Now I can't really remember what had me lost and confused.

Well...maybe I remember a little.

So if you end up reading the book by chance, please tell me so I can drill you with my confusing questions.

What else?

I'm still keeping up with Australia news.

The Labor Party isn't doing well. I think they should have taken back Kevin Rudd.

It's such a hard thing, though. What do you do when someone is popular with the masses; but not so popular with those who work closely with them?

Another idea would be to bring in a third person. Maybe Gillard AND Rudd are the wrong choices.

As for TV and movies.....

I don't think I've seen anything Australian lately.

Well, there was Liam Hemsworth's small role in The Hunger Games. He doesn't have much of a role in the first of the trilogy.

I loved the movie. Out of the three mega-popular book series,  I liked Hunger Games the least. I was not excited to see the movie. But I ended up liking it a lot. And I think it's the best adaptation of the three mega-popular books.

Upon Jack's leadership, we've been following the American version of The Voice. Jack's a big fan of reality TV contest shows. I'm morally opposed on some levels; but I can't deny enjoying the program. Jack informed me that Australia is soon to come out with their own version of The Voice. I might follow it (if possible) on YouTube.

I'm eager to see the third season of Offspring.

I just checked. That's coming back this month.


What else?

I've been reading my old posts. I read one post per day. There's a few posts that I like a lot. I've decided to list them on the sidebar. There's a widget that people use that lists their most-popular posts. I personally think my most popular posts are overrated. They're mostly full of YouTube links that are now blank because the videos were illegally uploaded.

I think some of my unpopular overlooked posts are better....personally.

I've read a few other old posts that shocked me because I lied in them. I always think of myself as being overly honest. I know I don't purposely lie to others, so I think what I do is lie to myself.

In one lie I said I enjoyed Cloudstreet. I remember not liking the book the first time I read it. I'm pretty sure I daydreamed through most of it.

Or maybe I wasn't lying. Maybe I did like it, and then forgot that I liked it. My memory IS pretty awful. I remember in a recent post saying that I've probably never seen a Kookaburra outside a zoo. But then I was recently looking at our 2007 trip photos and there was a Kookaburra photo. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a zoo or animal park picture.

As for the other lie, I waxed poetic about Henry Lawson's writing. I'm pretty sure though that I was bored by his writing.

I think it was a matter, back then, of me wanting to be the perfect Australia fan. And Henry Lawson is a huge major Aussie icon. I felt a huge amount of pressure to like his work, so I guess I convinced myself that I did.

I'm much more secure in my Aussie-love now, so I can be more honest about what I like and don't like.


I hope I don't read this post in five years and think, why did I lie to myself about liking the Elizabeth Jolley book?


Andrew said...

Nice to hear from you and best wishes.

FruitCake said...

Hi Dina, great to hear what you've been doing, and that you have developed an interest in Alice Springs and Darwin.
Tim Winton's writing is something I've never been able to warm to, though people I know rave about him.
About the only thing of Lawson't I love is The Faces in The Street. Google offers different dates for it, but I guess it's roughly a product of the 1890s depression. As for most of his stuff, perhaps its greatest appeal was that it portrayed Australians and an Australia that no longer really exist.
I've not read Elizabeth Jolley for a very long time; she had a very refreshing voice, but after 2 or 3 novels seemed to me to have lost her edge.
Not so much of the 'liar liar pants on fire'. Growth can be a good thing.
Hope you are all doing well!

Dina said...

Andrew: Thanks.

Fruitcake: Hi!

I do like Tim Winton; and I loved Cloudstreet once I tried reading it again. But I have to really concentrate to understand his books. I easily drift off if I'm not careful. Usually I prefer to read easier things.

I imagine I'll get tired of Jolley. I probably ordered too many of her books.

Are you reading anything good now? Lately?

I hope you had a nice Easter.

FruitCake said...

Hello again!
I made my first comment rather hastily, and hope you don't mind if I expand a little?

Lawson's stories are the product of a time when Australia was still over-run by Anglo males [or at least it seemed that way] so it's all brave men doing it hard in the bush, and mateship and so on. One of his stories though, to give him credit, does acknowledge the contribution women made, and the isolation they endured.

The poem faces in the street [although much older] has always been associated in my mind with the painting Collins Street 5pm by John Brack. [You could try Wiki if you don't know it].The faces in the painting are not so weary or haunted, but there is a hint of monotony and tedium - or Sisyphus - about them.

By far the most fascinating thing I've read in ages is Planet Word. It's a TV series as well as a book, though I'm rarely organised enough to watch a series from start to finish. In any case, a book is easier to "rewind".

I've also just made my first two "ebook" purchases - technologically challenging and intimidating for one such as myself. Naturally the cheap tablet I bought via ebay doesn't cut the mustard, so I've now got ebooks on a heavy old laptop [for now] which shall have to do for the long commute [starting tomorrow].

One is Am I black Enough for You? by Anita Heiss. Have you ever been to They are starting to feature a lot of ebooks - perhaps the range would appeal and, without postage, they would be as cheap as your second hand hard copies.

cheers again [and some smiles]

Dina said...


No, I don't mind that you expanded a little. I love that you did.

I'm so excited about the book website link you gave me. At one point I lost my excitement, because when I went to the website it said I can't download books from my country. So unfair. However the lists on the page look fantastic and I can use it to try to find books here. I feel like I'm in one of those dreams where I buy or find something really wonderful and exciting related to my obsession. (I'm disappointed when I wake up from the dreams; but I'm pretty sure I'm not dreaming this time).


I'm also thinking when we do finally go to Australia, I'll download some books there.

I'm sorry you're having to read e-books on your computer. It's sad that your tablet isn't working good enough. It's so hard to keep up with technology. You blink and things are obsolete.

Planet Word looks interesting...and the type of thing that you'd love.

I think I understand what you mean about TV vs. book. I'm the same way with movies and books.

Anita Heiss...she's one I've wanted to read and haven't found yet. I may have to download her when in Australia.

Oh...and the e-book prices are actually higher much higher than the used books I get here. Every so often I'll buy a book over $10, but usually I get ones under $5.

One of the Elizabeth Jolley books I got (hardcover) was $1.50.

Books in general are much cheaper in America.

FruitCake said...

Books are hideously expensive here because the market is so small, and price per unit must be high to cover overheads.

Books are cheap in the States - especially from Amazon - but the postage is a killer.

I'm amazed you can't download readings books in the States. I can't think of one good reason why not, unless there is some kind of turf war between Bookish and the US. Have you written to ask them why?

The ebooks aren't always a lot cheaper, here, but at least I don't end up with an expensive book that's worth $1 or less, and which I end up keeping because I resent giving them away. Stuff. Every home needs more stuff. Tons and tons of it.

Dina said...


I'm guessing the book denial thing has something to do with the parallel importation thing? I'll pretend to know what that is. It confuses me.

Or it might be a copyright law? Same reason why I can't easily watch Offspring here.

During the Julia and Kevin battles my Aussie expat friend was complaining on Twitter that the ABC wasn't allowing expats to see their 24 hour news coverage. ABC explained that they didn't have copyright coverage to show in the US (and other places) but they were going to remove the geo-block on the actual day of the voting.

I'm guessing maybe companies have to pay extra to sell (or broadcast) international?

Good idea about writing the book website. Maybe they'll explain things so I can stop guessing.

Although they'll probably explain things. I won't understand and will have to keep guessing.

As for e-books...they save trees I'm sure...and space. So definitely better than buying a new book.

With used books I feel it comes out even.

Dina said...

I was about to email the Readings website to ask about the blockage. Then I saw they provide the answer there. I didn't read it closely before.

They say "We're sorry, this book isn't for sale in your country.

Copyright restrictions imposed by authors and creators can mean that a title may only be sold to customers within certain countries or territories. Unfortunately these restrictions apply to this title."

So I guess it's about the author and publisher...not the store.

And it also seems from what they say that not ALL the books are restricted. I'll look through and see if any are available to me.