‘Holidays’ by William McInnes (2014)
Best Christmas ever is when the book you buy your mum, she buys you too, because that’s how awesome her taste is and how awesome your taste is.
If you’ve read my blog for the last 4 years (anyone? anyone?) then you are already completely up to date with my worshipping of William McInnes’ writing. His novels, his non-fiction texts, I love them all. ‘Cricket Kings’ is still my favourite, and ‘The Birdwatcher’ is still my second favourite, which seems to suggest that I like his fiction better than his non-fiction, but he hasn’t disappointed me so far, with 7 previous books under his belt.
‘Holidays’, as the title suggests, is a book about Australia’s relationship with holidays. It is a book of its time, exploring the kinds of holidays McInnes has experienced, quintessentially Australian holidays. There are lovely little vignettes about people that have come and gone in his life, and some especially endearing snippets involving McInnes’ children. It is a book that reminds us, as the blurb suggests, that ‘life is sweet because you’re on holidays’.
Yet again, towards the end of the book, McInnes made me cry. They were tears for him and tears for the beauty and wonder of simple moments. They were also tears of joy for the miracle that is a simple kindness on an ordinary day. I loved this book and I thoroughly recommend it.
‘Meltdown’ by Ben Elton (2010)
As a massive Elton fan, I launched into this book with a lot of faith… but it was a bit unfounded for once. This book really didn’t deliver in the way that some of Elton’s others have (‘Blind Faith’, ‘Dead Famous’ and ‘The First Casualty’ are stand outs).
Jimmy Corby is a futures trader in London. Trading and making obscene amounts of money, his life is one big, cocaine-fuelled party. He and all his university friends are ridiculously successful and rich, one way or another. Then he meets Monica and settles into living the dream, bringing up their children with a whole lot of domestic help. But then it all comes crashing down. When the global financial crisis hits, Jimmy discovers that it’s a lot easier to be stupidly successful than it is to be stupid and broke.
The book has all of the ingredients that make Elton’s books work. A cliff hanger at the end of every chapter. A multi-narrative that keeps you engaged in all the different storylines (a bit like a soap opera), and enough excitement to keep you vicariously wishing you had a little bit of whatever it is they have.
But that was the problem with this book as well. Because, even though I’d really like to be stupidly rich, it was obvious from the start that Jimmy was stupid. And I don’t want that. And all his friends were twats. And his wife wasn’t very appealing either.
And there’s no way any of them deserved a happy ending… but that sounds too much like a spoiler.
I do thoroughly recommend Elton. But try some of the titles listed above. Don’t bother with this one unless someone gives it to you for free… and you don’t have anything else handy…
I’m a bit late with my review – usually I write it on New Year’s Eve. But I had actually pretty much decided to stop blogging when it came to New Year so this post remained unwritten.
I have relocated my blog mojo, however, and here are my highlights from 2014…
First of all, I read a much improved total of 39 books. I only read 25 books in 2013, so I am very pleased with this higher figure. I think the discovery of audio books has had a big impact on my ability to ‘read’ more consistently.
One of my reading goals for 2014 was to read more young adult fiction, which I did. 15 of the 39 books I read were in this category. I also added new categories – Drama and Children’s Literature – and read some excellent texts as a result.
However, all of my top 5 books come from my two favourite categories – YA and Adult Fiction. And here they are:
5. ‘Archer’s Goon’ by Diana Wynne Jones
4. ‘Retribution Falls’ by Chris Wooding
3. ‘Vertigo’ by Amanda Lohrey
2. ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by Lucy Maud Montgomery
in no surprise to anyone who follows my blog
my favourite book for 2014 was…
1. ‘Eyrie’ by Tim Winton
And now it is 2015. My reading goals for this year are very simple… I want to keep reading. Whatever comes my way. And I want to maintain the approach I more successfully developed last year, of building more reading time into my schedule.