A month of favourite books... Day 25: Who doesn't love a good witch hunt? Arthur Miller saw how the Salem trials if the 17th century resonated with the Macarthy era of the 1960s when he wrote the play The Crucible. To quote the New Yorker: "Miller understood the universal experience of being unable to believe that the state has lost its mind. The Crucible remains one of the most pertinent modern literary works dramatising the destruction of communities through self-interest and manipulation…

A month of favourite books... Day 23: I adore fairy tales and was introduced to them by a beautiful volume from Little Golden Books. It seemed such a magical thing this hefty slipcase treasury full of tall tales and true but it sadly did not survive the years. I will hunt another down eventually thanks to eBay but in the meantime I've consoled myself with this reminder one of my favourite tales from that collection and my favourite illustrated version of the many different takes on the…

Spotted a case full of vintage souvenir koala toys while thrift shopping in Hamilton today.

I found an old copy of Struwwelpter by Dr Heinrich Hoffman at Portobello Markets having just read about this old German children's classic the day prior. It's dark. It's inappropriate. But there are some useful life lessons: don't be cruel to dogs don't play with matches don't be racist look where you are going stop fidgeting and - most importantly - don't suck your thumbs or a monster will chop them off. I'll only read this to children when their parents aren't in earshot.

Jacaranda at night - it's amazing how their blue flowers seem to always glow no matter the light.

A month of favourite books... Day 27: one author whose body of work I greatly admire (for me equal to Jane Austen in my affection) is Edith Wharton in particular Ethan Frome Summer House of Mirth and Age of Innocence. She was the first female author to win the Pulitzer an award for literature that I think consistently acknowledges the best novels (some other awards too often acknowledge some pretty dull stuff). Not only was Edith Wharton a remarkable writer she was a fascinating woman…

A month of favourite books... Day 26: I started reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time epic fantasy series 25 years ago and was absorbed so deeply in that I began to despair after many years that the author would never finish it (and technically he never did were it not for Brandon Sanderson who wrote the final few - there are 14 novels overall) and nor have I finished it after stalling around book 10 or 11. I guess 25 years is an anniversary and a good reason to finally finish a series I…

A month of favourite books... Day 24: Once upon a time not that long ago chick lit was awesome full of outrageous women unlikely matches and screwball plots. But soon shallow repetitive and frankly twitty books started to smother the good stuff. I didn't give up hope and still seek out good romcom novels (though fewer and further between) and so was delighted to read one of the most outstanding ones of recent years The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It's witty fun thoughtful and relishes…

A month of favourite books... Day 22: another Australian author I dearly loved as a child - and still do - was the remarkable May Gibbs. She and Beatrix Potter had a great deal in common not least their whimsical stories and beautiful detailed illustrations that celebrated their natural environments. Scotty in Gumnut Land is my favourite story about a curious Scottish terrier who encounters her iconic characters Snugglepot and Cuddlepie Bib and Bub Ragged Blossom the Banksia Men and Tiggy…

A month of favourite books... Day 21: Australian authors Dymphna Cusack and Florence James collaborated on Come in Spinner which went on to win the Daily Telegraph's novel competition in 1948. Set in Sydney towards the end of WW2 it examines the exciting opportunities and harsh realities of a group of women on the homefront but it's content was so controversial that the first publication in 1951 was abridged. I read the unabridged version from the 80s and am so glad I read this atmospheric…

A month of favourite books... Day 20: I found a book on the Titanic when I was in 1st or 2nd grade (this is a few years before they had found the wreck) and have been fascinated ever since. I've read many books on the subject but A Night to Remember by Walter Lord published in 1955 is still the definitive work and the movie adaptation staring the ever-chipper Kenneth Moore is excellent (better than the 1996 film though that film's sets are impeccable even if the script is absolutely not…

A month of favourite books... Day 19: Australian Robin Klein was THE author of my late primary school years perhaps even more than Judy Blume. I loved her Penny Pollard serkes and the creepy People Might Hear You. Hating Alison Ashley was my favourite: the hilarious tale of primary school rivalries friendship envy and empathy feeling like a dork and secretly (or not so secretly) wishing your world recognised how amazing you are. #greatreads #booksellersrecommend

A month of favourite books... Day 18: I am reliably informed by my Mum that this is the first book I ever read on my own - Meg's Eggs by Jan Pienkowski. This Polish-born illustrator writer's other works happen to feature one of my favourite illustration styles of stunning silhouettes in the foreground against colourful images to theatrical effect . This book us much more simply illustrated though as he illustrates Meg a witch whose spells invariably end in disaster and her loyal companions…

A month of favourite books... Day 17: Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell is a tale mythic in scope but written in a small but perfectly formed book. Set in the Ozarks of America it follows the journey of a young woman responsible for her young siblings and mentally ailing mother who is set a task in order to save the family home the only thing that keeps a life of drugs and crime at bay. She must find her father who has failed to show for his court date. #greatreads #booksellersrecommend

A month of favourite books... Day 16: Louis de Bernieres is best know for Captain Corelli's Mandolin an excellent novel but I love his glorious Latin American trilogy (his debut novel and follow-ups) much more. Beginning with The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts set in a fictional South American national the series illustrates the excesses of certain Latin American nations ruled more by corrupt military drug lords and churchmen (with each novel focusing on those powers in order) than by…

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