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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Summer of Love by Katie Fforde

Katie  Fforde writes sweet and light romances which are perfect for holiday reading. This one was no exception. I was sorry to finish it because the characters became like old friends! Fortunately, there are still some Katie Fforde novels which I haven't read.

When Sian moves from London to a small village to find a better school for her son Rory, she discovers that Rory's father is her new friend, Fiona's son. She never told Gus about Rory and when he returns from his explorations, old feelings rush back. But how does he feel, and, more importantly, is he a suitable father for Rory? Stable and wealthy Richard loves Sian, so she faces a struggle between the two men.

Sian's friend Fiona decides to try internet dating.

This was enjoyable reading with likeable characters. Katie Fforde also mentions Ethel M. Dell. I must try her novels!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Wonder Women 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Mags

This book about great women is inspiring and interesting and highly recommended for teenage girls. However, I didn't like the 'slangy' language, such as 'dudes'.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Planet Jackson Power, Greed and Unions by Brad Norington

Luxury holidays, private schools, clothes, perfume, presents, electronics. These are just some of the ways in which some of the leaders of the Health Services Union spent union funds obtained from their poorly paid members. These members were amongst the lowest-paid workers in the country. The greed, corruption and lack of oversight in this organisation was almost unbelievable.

Brad Norington has carefully gone through the evidence in this well-written account. However, some of the machinations and intricate dealings of people like Kathy Jackson were necessarily convoluted and can be difficult to follow at times. Michael Williamson, now in jail, had a family company which he used to spend union funds, hid this so carefully that even the lawyers of the Royal Commission had difficulty finding it.

Abbott, the former PM, and Shorten,the Opposition Leader, do not come out well in this book. Abbott appointed Michael Lawlor, and then didn't do anything about his taking long periods of unpaid leave from his important role at the Fair Work Commission and various other matters. Turnbull was quick to act, apparently.

The book raises questions about Shorten that are far worse than this, however. Several criminal and civil offences occurred when he was in charge of the Victorian AWU branch. What was he doing? This is the man who could be Australia's next Prime Minister.

This horrifying story of unmitigated corruption and greed should be required reading for all Australians.

I received this free e-book published by Melbourne University Press from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dylan's Nobel Prize

I completely agree with this article!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Les Parisiennes by Anne Sebba

Noel Coward wrote in 1939 that: 'Paris is beautifully war-gay. Nobody dresses and everybody collects at Maxim's'. Life was good for the glamour- set such as Coward and Chanel who lived at the Ritz which had the best bomb shelter in Paris. Some of them refused to face reality and thought that the threat of war would just go away, while others continued to live jet-set lives and even collaborated.

Sebba has written an excellent and interesting study of how the war changed the lives of these French women and women who worked for the Resistance or helped the Jews and poor women who faced a more desperate struggle than ever. This is a must-reAd for anyone fascinated by France during the Second World War.  

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Present over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

Nat Sakunworarat, Power of Light, Public Domain Pictures

When I first started reading this book, I didn't find Shauna Niequist's writing at all relaxing. Her description of her busy, hurried life with her husband and family, her stellar career and her travelling and speaking engagements made me feel rather frantic myself! She was probably heading for a burn-out if she continued to pursue that kind of life, so I wasn't surprised that she started looking for a more peaceful life. Much of the book is written in the present tense which didn't have a calming effect.

However, as Shauna started to live a less frantic life, I found that her writing settled down as well and I liked the quotations, Catholic references and bits of philosophy that she includes.  This is a helpful book for everyone who wants to live a less stressful life, not just those who are trying to combine careers with motherhood.  Her account of how she was seeking approval from others and suffering from exhaustion and her journey towards peace, grace, gratitude and finding God's love will resonate with many readers.

This book reminded me of a quotation from one of my favourite books, The Purple Veil by Somerset Maugham: 'One cannot find peace in work or in pleasure, in the world or in a convent, but only in one's soul'.