Archive for November, 2013



Do you remember being seven or 8 years old, just in bed, under the covers, you can read now, but despite that, this night, your mum comes in anyway. You hear her come in and see the book in her hands, you don’t notice but the cold sheets just got warmer the blankets less scratchy. As you roll over to watch her sit down, she opens the book and……

Something, or several things, were happening to us all in those moments. Could have been poetry, fairy stories, a made up story, or a novel depending on your household. No matter what was being read its likely you don’t remember much detail. However, judging by last book group we all remember plenty, unconsciously, because in seconds we all relaxed and slipped back into that feeling.

I was nervous about idea. That’s why I set the short time limit of 3 minutes per read. I needn’t have worried. From the first word each person read a relaxed hush fell on the group, not an impatient tolerance, and as each person stopped there was a sense of disappointment, rather than relief.

  • don did james thurber’s  the night the ghost got in. it was very funny and a great example of how to tell a story
  • trish did an extract from a Tolstoy short story. Its called strider in english but published as kholstomer. trish explained what it meant to her, which was beautiful and very trish. she also did an extract from perfume by patrick susskind which was excruciating but completely historically perfect. it described a young paris woman giving birth, in public, and being executed. it focussed on the stinks of 1700s paris. it was brutal, powerful, accurate.
  • annie did something by scotland’s national hero and poet laureate  rabbie burns‘. a very famous poem called to a mouse – which features the eternal line ‘the best laid plans of mice and men’ . surprisingly in the original that line reads
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
  • leanne did the introduction to a book on italian cooking by elizabeth David. it said what you might expect a celebrity chef to say in a book about italian food. the kicker is that the book was published in the 1954. that is 60 years ago. given how flooded popular culture is now with celebrity chefs, and how food didn’t really change until the the 80-90s, its amazing this woman was doing what she did in the 50s – talk about being ahead of the curve 
  • mark did a very short poem by auden, which, typical of auden is often used at funerals. in response to a series of imponderable questions it features the beautiful line ‘if i could tell you i would let you know’
  • karl did a helen  garner essay on writers festivals
  • i did south of my days circle by judith wright, a famous aussie poem about the new england region, and hippopotamus by ts eliot, which is a very clever anti-church piece, especially given that eliot was a true believer
 auden elizabeth david helen garner hippo judith perfume thurber

Because we all enjoyed it Bookgroup will be doing more reading out loud and i would encourage other people to try similar events




November 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm 1 comment


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