Her love of books continues! We’ve had another wonderful year of reading, writing and sharing books together. Trips to the local library are still a weekly activity and every day must end with a book. It’s been fun exploring fiction and fantasy stories – her older brother was all about facts and the real world – so this is a welcome change.
In the last year she’s become quite the creative storyteller. She loves drawing pictures and writing words, then turning them into elaborate stories. Each night she relays her stories to her stuffed toys in bed, before finally drifting to sleep.
1. Olivia’s Secret Scribbles: Unicorn Parade by Meredith Costain
Now these books are delightful! They’re about a 7 year old girl called Olivia who loves inventing, exploring and hanging with her friends. They’re so Australian and so current that you could use these stories to explain my kids’ lives right now. They have easy-to-understand language, and are visually beautiful – with a bright accent colour for the illustrations and the stand out words.
In these stories the children are kind to each other, the teachers love teaching, and the parents share the parenting equally. It’s full of role models for us all!
Many people had recommended this book to me that I decided to take a pause from the 100 book challenge and read this book instead. Months later, as I was looking through the list to see what book I should read next, that I found this book WAS actually on the list. So it was an accidental achievement and another one ticked off the list!
One of the best things about this 100 book challenge is rediscovering books that I read years ago. Books like 1984 were on the mandatory reading list at high school, and for me they were always a struggle to get through. I never liked reading, and this dislike continued well into my adult life. At high school, I remember reading the first few pages, getting distracted, then going to the library to read the Spark Reading Notes summaries instead. This was generally enough to get me through class discussions and tests.
I’d always thought that Brontë’s Jane Eyre would be something along the lines of an Austen story… long, tedious and based solely around trying to win the man (my previous reviews of Austen haven’t been the most glowing).
And yes, Jane Eyre seemed to start along those lines, until page 130 when the mysteriousness of Mr Rochester’s attic was introduced, followed by eerie wailings and laughter at all hours. Suddenly, we had a story worth reading!
I expected bleak, and bleak was what I got. I think I’d been warned by someone a few year’s ago who read it, or I’d seen the previews for the TV series… so I knew full-well this wasn’t going to be a fun, light-hearted read.
After Moby Dick, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for another 200-odd days at sea. But this time the journey was shared with a tiger and a few other zoo animals and only talked once about whales.
I had actually planned to add a bit of non-fiction to my reading list, and I asked a few key people at work for recommendations on inspirational books they’d read lately. I was expecting a bit of Simon Sinek or Brené Brown… when my trusted mentor answered, without hesitation, ‘You have to read the Life of Pi.’
‘Have they seen the whale yet?’
So this post needs a big SPOILER ALERT! I have something I’d like to complain about and if you’re planning on reading Moby Dick any time soon (which you should, by the way) you might like to stop right here.
I’ve warned you, right? Now I can go on.
I’d never understood the appeal of fantasy. I’d read just a handful of fantasy books in my life, and pretty much all of them left me rolling my eyes and scoffing, “as if that would ever happen!” Sure, I enjoyed the storylines and that feeling of adventure, but I couldn’t see how the addition of a goblin or a wizard was adding anything to the story. When I critiqued an early version of my friend’s brilliant and now published novel Game Bird, I (embarrassingly) wrote in the margin in red pen, ‘It’s a great story… but could be better if you just took out the dragons.’ I’m glad he completely disregarded that one!
When I came to The Hobbit in my 100 Book Challenge I didn’t have high hopes. And then everything changed…
I have a confession to make. I got caught up in the COVID-19 panic-buying that happened in late March. But mine wasn’t toilet paper or hand sanitiser: it was books.
I remember the day clearly. We’d had dinner, I’d put the kids to bed. I thought I’d check my phone one last time before heading upstairs (never a good idea) and saw that all museums, art galleries and LIBRARIES would be closed… indefinitely.