Sunday, March 22, 2009

the really good and the just okay

So ends a week of continuous pumpkin curry and muchos sitting around under the plane tree. Things of import: W's seedlings have started to shoot. The lemon tree has made solid recovery. I'm now eight chapters into Book Three. Autumn is stuck in the gate. And I was very happy to read this review from Miz Angela Meyer at Literary Minded.

Following the blog-life of Everything Beautiful has been interesting (and sometimes sobering.) When Notes from the Teenage Underground was published three years ago, I had only just started blogging and myspacing - I am way more online now compared to then. NFTU had about five blog reviews, and everything else was print. For EB it's been the reverse. I hear all the time that blogging is death for reviewers but most newspapers in Australia have had the same pool of reviewers for years and years and years - and I don't know that I respect their opinion any more than the man on the street. Then again, maybe it's like the old song goes, Everybody's talking but nobody really knows. But to the bloggers who have taken the time to review EB I say thank you! And to the bloggers who've hipped me to good shit I say thank you too. And now for my own two cents worth:

the really good:

Helen Fitzgerald's Dead Lovely - fast, funny, frequently squeamy crime fiction. Want popped mucous plugs and tent pegs in the eyes? Then this one's for you. I read that Fitzgerald has some YA books on the boil so that will be something to look forward to.

How to Make a Bird by Martine Murray - really lovely writing, lines that I just wanted to read and read again. A strange and beautiful voice and a sad, sad tale. (And nice to be reading about contemporary St Kilda too, also Castlemaine.)

Here's Manny is describing Mr Moon from Luna Park:

"So it's crazed, but also old and rickety, fenced in by the shaky wood lattice of the roller-coaster. It looms, leers and creaks there in the centre of St Kilda, like a resident ghost, like a memory from the past that won't go away and won't come forward either. It's like the corner of your mind that echoes, the small madness that you live with simply because it won't go away. You cover it in new clothes, you cage it up inside your strong chest, but still, it is there." (p143)

the just okay:

Choke. It was tres glib and had all sorts of directional urgles, and I could probably watch Sam Rockwell do anything, but this one didn't grab me. I don't mind Chuck's weirdnesses but a bit of space is also nice. I mean, just one normal character in there for levity ... Mostly I enjoyed wondering about the relationship between Victor and his mother (magnifient Angelica Huston) - because I'm interested in unconventional mothering stories ... and the whole mad-woman-kidnap-stockholm-syndrome conundrum. So I'd read the book for that part of the plot... but the rest... oh, you know, too much.

Obscene. A documenatry about Barney Rossett, publisher of Grove Press and The Evergreen Review. This was disappointing and shambolic considering its fascinating and revolutionary subject. Grove Press - publisher of some of my favourite favourite writers: John Rechy, Barry Gifford, William Burroughs ... but it seemed to mostly consist of a long interview with that matmos who published Screw magazine ... and I don't knwo what I wanted from it. Perhaps there is a book. Perhaps someone will write and oral biography.


  1. when do you think book 3 will be out? hoorah for 8 chapters, thats fantastic!

  2. Thanks for the shout out to the bloggers! But I want to thank you for the recommendation of 'The Beginner's Guide to Living', I really enjoyed it.

    In terms of the Australian media, I think they are pretty bloody poor. The amount of attention for new releases or award recipients is non existant.

    Hope you've had a great weekend!