Sunday, 19 August 2012

Book Review: Five Bells By Gail Jones

The title five bells sounds poetic. Or at least thats the only word I can think of to describe it. Which leads me to question my writing abilities. Haha dont be silly Dylan, you dont have any writing abilities. You can barely spell.

Ok but seriously, even if the title isnt exactely poetic, the story is. Five bells is an Australian novel, about 4 peoples lives. Each of these people go to see the Opera house in Sydney, on a Saturday morning. The story is contained within this day, but the memories that each individual has, extends the ideas and events to many years. In this way, the events that actually happen are not important in comparision to the memories that the characters conjure up. Its in these memories that we see what I believe is the main intention of the writer. To explore and to show trauma, and the different types and reactions of it. Each character has had someone close to them die, and although this death may have happened a long period ago. It still lingers in their thoughts, and even in their actions.

The novel was inspired by Kenneth Slessors poem, of the same name. The poem is depressing and mournful, and this is reflective of the novel. However, it isnt just a sad story, in which people feel sad because they have lost someone. Life is more than just trauma; and this is what the author Gail Jones also tries to show.

One of the things that is also present in the text, are the intertextual references. The novel mentions 'On Raglan Road' by Patrick Kavanagh, and also 'Doctor Zhivago' by Boris Pasternak. It also describes the life of Rene Magritte, as well as his painting, 'The Lovers'. These references to stories and works of art, help the reader to further frame the story, and to understand the characters more. Although if you havent read 'Doctor Zhivago' or seen 'The Lovers', you wont be left in the dust.

                                                       The Lovers By Rene Magritte

My favourtie thing about the novel was how lyrical it was, and how elegantly many of the memories
were told.

My least favourite thing was that because there was a focus on trauma, and so many main characters, there was a lack of connection the people in the stories. I felt strangely more connected to the trauma, than with the characters facing this trauma.

However I felt as though this was indeed the writers intention, and so because she managed to make this happen, and created this enjoyable piece of australian literature. Im going to give 4 out of 5 for 'Five Bells' by Gail Jones.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Book Review: Tinkers By Paul Harding

What sweet nectare, I pour down my throat. What great quality juices, and pulp, and glass that contains it.

If you will look past my strange metaphor, I would like to tell you about an amazing book. One that is rivaling A Game Of Thrones for my favourite of the year.

Tinkers by Paul Harding is this book. The first thing we should address is the  main reason I picked it up. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2010. Lets be honest, one of the main reasons we buy the books we do, is because of the awards that they have won. It tells us that we wont be wasting our time reading a book. It gives us more reason to buy another book, we probably wont read for a while. Because our 'to be read' pile is so huge it scares us.

You will definitely not be wasting your time with this book. Its beautifully written, in an interesting way. And its intellectual enough that you can proudly read it in the bus or on the train.

The book is about George, who is a clock-repairer by trade. He is on his death bed, and he is hallucinating about his life. More specifically about his father Howard. Through the novel you get to see these two characters. Their relationship with one another and their individual lives.

The one thing I really like about this novel, that I haven't found in many others is its similarity to short stories. Like short stories, it takes everyday occurances, and turns them into these amazing stories. Where the characters emotions and suffering is layed out, in a way you never would have seen them before.

The way this author sees life is truly inspiring. But the way he shows it to you, is like poetry. Sweet, quick, but full to the brim with meaning and emotion.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


So this is my writing in like 10 minutes, I was, actually still am feeling drowsy, and the sun is in my eyes. Also I'm not sure I know what a Meridian is, but oh well. Here's what I wrote...

The meridian is just over the tops of the trees. The sun is reflecting off of it, and into my eyes. I don’t look away, but look straight at it, straining my eyes against the mighty force of the light. After a few seconds, I have to look away, and I can’t remember the point of it all. I sigh because this isn’t the first time my thoughts have been lost in other thoughts. I sigh again to make it more dramatic, than it is. Finally I sigh one more time, louder this time, and I move my shoulders higher when I do so. When I’m done sighing I wonder why I was sighing, and realise that it’s happen again. This self imposed memory loss which I do whenever I need to remember something that matters. 

It’s like when you ask yourself a serious question. Something about the meaning of life, and then your thoughts wonder. And if you’re lucky, you look back and see how much you’ve grown, and you make some ground braking statement about yourself, or about the world. It feels amazing, like something that was always there in the back of your head, a problem unsolved. And you’ve just solved it, there’s one less important thing to understand.

Then the next time you delve deep into yourself, you find out that what you thought was ground breaking knowledge, was just nonsense you thought when you were younger. Eventually you realise that whenever you try to answer the meaning of life. That you just ask it again, only in a more multifaceted way.
So my question is why ask in the first place? And how could we as people, obsessed with the meaning of everything, stop asking questions? Are questions and knowledge really important? Because as soon as you’ve thought something, a second later it can be proved wrong, and you’re past thoughts are just that, past thoughts.

I suppose it’s like global warming, for those who believe in that sort of thing. There may be no hope at all for this planet, but we still have hope. We must keep that hope, and therefore we must act on it.
Speaking of global warming, it’s really hot today. And the sun is shining in my eyes. The meridian is just over the tops of the trees. The sun is reflecting off of it, and into my eyes. I don’t look away, but look straight at it, straining my eyes against the mighty force of the light.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


A couple of days ago I made Red-velvet centered cheesecake!

Yeah that’s right, I made a fancy sounding desert, and to be honest half the reason I made it was so that I could tell people I made said desert. And watch their mouths drop as they learnt once again, that I am awesome! (Wow! How much did I just sound like a douche?)

Ok so that’s half the reason I made it. The other is that I love making things, especially food. I love the feeling you get when you mix some ingredients together, and get something delicious. Cooking is like a mixture of a little hard work, and slightly-delayed gratification.

Oh and being a YouTuber, I just happened to have filmed myself making the cheesecake. It’s probably going to become a series on my channel.

If you’re going thinking about making this recipe though, you should probably be aware, that it takes 8 hours, most of which you spend waiting for things to set in the fridge. In the end its worth it, I can tick this off my ‘to cook’ list and move on to the next delectable desert. (Did I mention I make deserts almost exclusively?)
Ok well that’s my little update for today. Time to go cook!

Monday, 6 August 2012

The Lady and the Unicorn

This is the fourth novel I’ve read from Tracy Chevalier. And like so many authors, artists, and singers before her. I have been grasping for the greatness, that I saw in her first work. But have sadly not found in anything she has produced afterwards. I don’t know if this is my own mistake. If a younger version of myself saw things with wider eyes, and so celebrates them as better. I still have to say, that although Beyoncé’s songs have been amazing. Nothing for me will be better than ‘Crazy in Love’.

Maybe the same is true of Tracy Chevalier. Her novel ‘The Girl with a Pearl Earring’ surprised me by how good it was. And after reading ‘Burning Bright’, then ‘The Virgin Blue’, and now finally ‘The Lady and the Unicorn’. I feel as though she is on a downward spiral away from the book that she is now known for.

Although I feel this is her worst book, all of her books are still good. They are entertaining, and easy to read. And they have definitely drawn me in, some more than others.

The Lady and the unicorn is a historical fiction novel like all of Chevaliers other works. The historical part are the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries which are center stage of the book. There are six tapestries, which were discovered in 1841 and are now in display at the Musée du Moyen-Âge. These tapestries are considered by some, the greatest works of art from the Middle Ages.

The remainder of the book, which is shown from different first peoples perspectives. Shows the characters that have something to do with the tapestries. From the commissioners, to the painters, to the weavers themselves. Many of the characters are also connected through sexual tension, which by all means is released throughout the book.

My favorite thing about this book are the tapestries. They are amazingly described, and the process is laid out, so that I’m sure I could make them myself. The tapestries and the little story’s that go along with them seem beautiful.

My least favorite thing about the book, are the characters, and their lack of depth. I didn’t get to connect with them and their struggles as I did with ‘A Girl with a Pearl Earring’.

Still this is a very good novel, if you approach it as a fun light summer (or winter) read. It was easy and enjoyable, and I don’t regret reading it. I just wish it was more than it was.

3.5/5 for me.

Check my video on YouTube about this book!