Reading and Listening

Up until this past year I’ve been an “old school” reader preferring books to electronic forms of reading. A lot of people I know have been switching to downloading their books or listening to audiobooks instead.

I have a lot of books and I don’t necessarily want to get rid of them but I decided that some type of device would be useful for travelling. When I regularly travelled to Hobart and to Oatlands I usually had a “bus book” with me. However, I didn’t want to carry a huge pile of books when we went cruising so I bought a Kindle. Initially, I’d tried reading on a tablet but the Kindle is better as the screen is easier to read even outdoors.

I discovered that a lot of books are very cheap, some even free. A lot of those are a bit lightweight but sometimes when I’m tired I just want to read something and I don’t need it to be too deep. However, sometimes I find one I really like for just a couple of dollars, a bit like finding a hidden gem in a secondhand bookshop. I do have a wish list of books I’d like to read and some of those cost more but over time I’ll get them unless I find them in the Op Shop first of course.

More recently I decided to give audio books a try. I started off with Paul Theroux’s “Deep South”. I had mixed feelings about that. I had wanted to read the book for a long time but I didn’t like the reader’s voice that much.  I will get the rest of his travel books either in Kindle or regular book form. Then I bought “Fahrenheit 451”. I read that book in high school so I thought I’d enjoy it but I didn’t like that reader’s voice either and kept falling asleep listening to it.

Once I realised that voices mattered I decided to be more careful about selecting books. My next choice was “A Christmas Carol” read by Patrick Stewart. A favourite story of mine read by someone who has a really great speaking voice.

I bought a dramatisation of “The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy” read by some of the actors from the original radio series. I watched the TV version of this some years ago so that sounded quite familiar.

H2G2 UK front cover.jpg
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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Book Cover.jpg
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I also like Stephen Fry’s speaking voice so I am currently listening to him reading the Harry Potter books. I always meant to read them and have never quite got around to it until now. Having just got to the end of the first one I can quite understand why children loved them so much. In contrast, my current Kindle book is “The Last Librarian” by Brandt Legg.

I won’t stop reading “real” books but trying something different has helped me to branch out and read more books more often than I have for some time.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge : Books or Paper

I’ve gone with vintage items from around the house for this challenge of “Books or Paper” The small tins are actually items Mum bought herself while shopping during the seventies. There is still mustard in the Keens tin. I love the old graphics and designs on these old items. Thinking about the street directory how do people get on with them today? I noticed you can still buy one even though most choose to use a GPS device. Who uses airmail paper these days. It’s all email now or text messages. No one actually writes anything on paper anymore to send by snail mail. Another lost art which is sad. I used to get quite excited about getting a letter from a friend. The tickets are all from concerts that I attended with either Vanda or my cousin Della. They were such good times too. Tickets are not usually made like this anymore and all look the same. I love the paper Xmas bell. It is quite fragile and made of very thin tissue like paper. The post cards are some of the ones I have collected over the years.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Books or Paper

Books & Paper

If there is one thing I never have to look for in my house it is books. Even though I got rid of quite a few books and packed others away in boxes I still have plenty  in the house. I do have a Kindle now which is handy for travel and reading in bed but I like real books. Here are just a few from my bookshelves that reflect some of my interests. Can you guess which of those three old books, all favourites, I have reread the most often?

Another thing that I have a lot of at the moment. I mean really a lot, is magazines. A friend who knows how much Naomi and I enjoy old stuff has brought over boxes and boxes of old magazines which will eventually go to the Op Shop but at the moment we are busy sorting them, reading them and putting by a few to keep.

The Australasian Post and Pix magazines were more general interest magazines and featured a lot of bikini girls.
Magazines from 1948, 1949 and 1955

I started to think of how many other things around the house are made of paper. Here are some paper objects from my recent birthday.

We use paper for writing, wrapping and for hobbies. I do a bit of scrapbooking.

a selection of scrapbooking papers

I like this old box even though it is a bit tatty.

an old cardboard box

So much paper! And where does a lot of it end up?

Where will it all end up?

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Lines and Angles

Books, Books and more Books

I remembered these angled bookshelves which are in a little room called The Bower at the Botanical Gardens. I had another opportunity to photograph them while we were there on Saturday and that inspired me to use books as my sub theme for this challenge. Rows of books create a lot of straight lines.

Books at an angle

I have a lot of books myself and recently had to move three book cases. I can’t remember why I photographed these books but it was probably thinking that I might use them in a challenge. These are my favourite travel stories.

Some old travel books from my bookshelves

Of course I have a lot of doll and bear related books that come in handy for a doll blogger.

Doll and bear books

Here is part of the book area at our Op Shop. The book nook is my pet project as I try to fit books onto the shelves and keep the whole thing reasonably tidy and accessible to customers. I have had to do a lot of stacking to achieve that.

Books at the Op Shop

A Long Way Home – The Story Behind “Lion”

My Thoughts on the Book and the Film

 

Lion (2016 film).png
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I am sure that by now some of you will have seen or at least heard about the film “Lion” which was nominated for several Academy Awards. I have no idea why it did not win any. I don’t as a rule follow Hollywood movies and had no idea what most of the other films were about but I doubt that they were better than this one.

I first heard the amazing story of Saroo Brierly in 2015. David told me about it one day when I was visiting him in hospital after hearing about it from a friend. I asked our friend to tell me a bit more about it and learned how  John and Sue Brierly had adopted this little boy from India in 1987. If you know the film you will know that Saroo became lost after getting onto a train which carried him across India to Calcutta as it was known then. He was just five years old and as he spoke a different dialect he was unable to communicate with anyone to tell them who he was or how he got there. He survived on the streets for some time before being taken to the orphanage which  the Brierly’s adopt him from. When he grows up Saroo searches for his home by using Google Earth and eventually is successful.

I was interested in this story at once because it is so unlikely that such a thing could happen that I wanted to know more but also because of the Hobart connection. The Brierly’s own an industrial hose business in Hobart and I had often seen their ads on television.

The film is based on the book Saroo Brierly wrote about his experiences, “A Long Way Home”. I decided that before I saw the film I would try to read the book and luckily some friends had it and loaned it to me. It is a very readable book and I was able to finish it in three days finishing the day before seeing the film. Naturally I noticed a few differences which is to be expected when you try to compress a book into a two hour film but on the whole it stayed fairly close to the book.

The Book

One of the things that is different of course is that in the book Saroo writes in a lot more detail about his memories of his home and family and his experiences living on the streets.  I have to say that he was an incredibly fortunate little boy and obviously had good instincts about who to trust as he was in danger of being abducted more than once. He also had the good fortune to be saved from drowning by a complete stranger.

It must have been a hard decision for a young boy  to make to abandon all hope of returning to his family and making the long trip to Australia. Hobart must have seemed about as different from Calcutta as it could possibly be. I was also very interested to learn that the Brierly’s had chosen to adopt rather than have children of their own because they felt there were enough people in the world already and that by adopting an abandoned child they could do some good in the world. Although it is not mentioned much in the film they did all they could to ensure that Saroo and later his adopted brother had Indian things around them. He tells how he had a map of India in his room when he was growing up and how, when he was able to speak some English he told his mother what he could remember of his life and she helped him to draw a map of his home. If you had only seen the film you might think that Saroo only started to think about India when he met the Indian students at college but in fact he wrote that he always thought about it and willed himself to remember as much as he could.

The Film

I was not at all surprised to read that Dev Patel would play the adult Saroo. I had first seen him in the TV series “The Newsroom” and liked him a lot. Actually I had seen him a few years earlier on the British TV serues “Skins” but I did not realise this until later.  I have also seen him in “Slumdog Millionaire”, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and its sequel “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” I thought that he gave a fine performance as Saroo Brierly and yes I agree he nailed the Australian accent.

Nicole Kidman I was very impressed with too. I think that is the first time I have seen her playing a part that did not require her to look glamorous and I liked that she was willing to do that.  David Wenham is also a good Australian actor. I hadn’t seen him in anything for some time as I don’t really watch a lot of movies. I remember that I liked him a lot in the Australian TV series “SeaChange” which I’ve recently been re-watching.

As for little Sunny Pawar who played young Saroo, how cute is this child? I think that must have been a difficult role for a little boy with little or no acting experience but he was so believable.

The other thing that I liked about the film was the cinematography. It won’t come as any surprise to you that I love to see Tasmania on the big screen but I thought that the way the Indian scenes were filmed was beautiful too and I liked the scenes featuring Google Earth. I have always been fascinated by Google Earth and like most of us who use it I’ve walked the streets of places I’ve lived  with it.

Conclusion

If you have not seen “Lion” it’s well worth a look and if you would like to delve deeper into the story read “A Long Way Home”. If, like me, you were wondering how the film came to be called Lion it is because Saroo’s real name, which he could not pronounce as a five year old is Sheru which means Lion. If you are appalled at how orphaned or abandoned children are forced to live I’ve included a link from the film’s website to some organisations that try to help them.

Further Information

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3741834/?ref_=nv_sr_1

http://lionmovie.com/#charity

#Lionheart

 

 

 

Snapshot Sunday – Michael Clarke – Former Australian Cricketer

Michael Clarke -Book signing, Hobart Tasmania 11/11/2016. Photo by A. Clark
Michael Clarke -Book signing, Hobart Tasmania 11/11/2016. Photo by A. Clark

Today’s photo was taken by my friend and cricket buddy Allyson at Michael Clarke’s book signing event in Hobart.

Matthew Flinders’ Cat

It has been a while since I’ve found a book that I just didn’t want to put down. I have several books “on the  go” at the moment, some eBooks which I read on the tablet and one other hard cover book. My reading habits have become a bit erratic lately as, especially with eBooks, I tend read a bit here and a bit there at night before I go to sleep rather than sitting down and reading a book cover to cover.

At the Op Shop where I now volunteer three times a week someone came in with a load of household goods including a box of hard cover books. I have plenty of books and wasn’t looking for more but then I saw a book with a picture of  a cat on the cover and had to pick it up. I used to have a cat that looked very much like it. It was “Matthew Flinders’ Cat” by Bryce Courtenay.  I have read some of Bryce Courtenay’s other books and enjoyed them and I once read a biography of Matthew Flinders so I was intrigued.

I was alone in the shop and the weather was bad so there were no customers. I opened the book and started to read. Within a few minutes I knew I was going to have to buy it so I could read the whole thing so I popped $3 into the till and have been reading it off and on since Thursday.

Matthew Flinders’ Cat tells the story of a homeless man, Billy, a street kid called Ryan and how they save each other. During the course of the book Billy tells Ryan the story of Trim a seagoing cat who belonged to Captain Flinders. Although the story of Billy and Ryan is fiction Trim was a real cat. There is a statue of Trim on a window ledge of the Mitchell Wing of the State Library of  New South Wales near the statue of Matthew Flinders. For those not familiar with Australian history Captain Matthew Flinders RN (16 March 1774 – 19 July 1814) was an English navigator and cartographer, who was the leader of the first circumnavigation of Australia and identified it as a continent. I remember learning about his voyages in school.

Trim-the-illustrous.jpg
By en:User:PanBKhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Trim-the-illustrous.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1182097

While I don’t want to give away too much of the plot of the book, it is not a new one, it was written in 2002; it follows Billy who was once a lawyer as he struggles with alcoholism and rehabilitation.  It seems a well researched and honest book and even though I have not finished reading it yet I would recommend it.

A good read
A good read

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trim_(cat)

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/flinders-matthew-2050

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-23/bryce-courtenay/4388240

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2338.Matthew_Flinders_Cat