Post Script: The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes – Anna McPartlin

 WOW!!! A fantastic read that connects to the very heart and soul of the reader. I am grateful, I am grateful.

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes

Anna McPartlin

Random House UK, Transworld Publishers

Black Swan

ISBN: 9780552773744

 

 

Description:

Here is a truth that can’t be escaped: for Mia ‘Rabbit’ Hayes, life is coming to an end . . .

Rabbit Hayes loves her life, ordinary as it is, and the extraordinary people in it.

She loves her spirited daughter, Juliet; her colourful, unruly family; the only man in

her big heart, Johnny Faye.

But it turns out the world has other plans for Rabbit, and she’s OK with that. Because she has plans for the world too, and only a handful of days left to make them happen. Here is a truth that won’t be forgotten: this is a story about laughing through life’s surprises and finding the joy in every moment.

 

 

My View:

WOW!!! A fantastic read that connects to the very heart and soul of the reader. I am grateful, I am grateful.

 

For a work of fiction this had the voice of realism and heroism that transcends the subject matter- cancer and dying. And what a fantastic narrative voice – I cried big fat silent tears from the very first to the very last page – don’t get me wrong this is a not a saccharine sweet, over dramatized, over the top, excessively pessimistic story – this is a heart breaking, honest look at love, life, cancer and a family that holds your head above the waves and stops us from drowning….

 

I loved every soaking wet page of this novel. I loved all the characters in the novel with its dialogue so real and so crazy and funny, the connections that death could not break and the family that comes together and holds together when crisis sets in. This is a remarkable read, I don’t think a book has affected me like this since….I don’t think one ever has. As I read this book I chant in my head “I am grateful. I am grateful. For every day I am grateful.”

 

Do yourself a favour, read this book.

 

Post Script: Judi – Behind The Scenes – Judi Dench

A beautiful photographic memoir.

 

Judi - Behind The Scenes

Judi – Behind The Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Judi Dench

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780297608844

 

Description:

“National treasure? I hate that. Too dusty, too in a cupboard, too behind the glass, too staid…What I love is being part of a company. On stage I am not trying to be myself, I am trying to be someone else, the more unlike me the better.”

From her first theatrical role as a teenager in York to her commanding performances as “M” in James Bond films Dame Judi Dench’s professional life has consisted of nonstop acting, leading to numerous accolades, including an Academy Award.

Behind the Scenes is fully updated and expanded edition of Dame Judi’s first photograph album Scenes from my Life, published in 2005. It is uniquely personal take on her life and brilliant career, showing off stage as well as on: in the wings, off sets, in dressing rooms and happily larking about. Beautifully illustrated with photographs from her own collections here are reflections and reminiscences on those who have mattered to her most – her family, fellow actors, directors and writers – communicated with the truth and insight of her acting.

 

My View:

As a fan of Dame Judi Dench’s work on the big and small screens I was fascinated to read what I would describe as a photographic memoir of her illustrious career peppered with anecdotes from her personal/family life. The images in this book, particularly of Dame Judi’s career on the stage are works of art; I loved the ones of her in costume of Cats (1980, p. 73), in Mother Courage and her Children (1984, p. 86), and the glamorous black and white image as Ophelia in Hamlet (1957, p.13) is iconic- the hair, the makeup, the “look”. I think even if you had never heard of Dame Judi Dench and flicked through this book you would be stunned by the art – this record speaks to the British Theatre, makeup and costume, fashion and culture from the 1950’s to today.

 

Beautifully narrated. Beautifully designed. A fantastic contemporary record of many great British stage productions peppered with Dame Judi’s personal anecdotes and images. A warm and personal read or a great coffee table book.

 

 

 

Inspired By Silver Moon – Bryce Courtenay

Bryce Courtenay in the Silver Moon (p.123) says “And God created  a flower and named it after the sun….the smile never leaves her face. Look into it and you see pure simplicity that is  genuine beauty, a personification of the sun itself.” After reading this book and in particular the last few pages I was inspired to plant sunflowers. They are stunning.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

 

 

Post Script: Mrs Brown’s A-Y Of Everything – Brendan O’Carroll

One for the fans.

mrs brown's a - y

Mrs. Brown’s A to Y of Everything

Brendan O’Carroll

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780718178956

 

Description:

Mrs. Brown’s A to Y of Everything is Brendan O’Carroll’s hilarious follow-up to the bestselling Mrs. Brown’s Family Handbook.

If there’s one Mammy in the world who knows what’s what, it’s Mrs. Brown. Here, Agnes, star of the incredibly popular TV show Mrs. Brown’s Boys, and the much anticipated Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie, follows up her bestselling Mrs. Brown’s Family Handbook with an A to Y (who really needs ‘Z’s anyway?) of modern life.

In it, Agnes explores everything from pandas to piles, from biscuits to The Big Bang and from handwriting to hairdryers. Peppered with her inimitable humour and full of hilarious photos, the A to Y of Everything is to your Christmas stocking what sausages are to a toad-in-the-hole.

 

My View:

I have found the perfect gift for my mum for Christmas this year – she is a big fan of the TV series Mrs Brown’s Boys and I know this will delight and amuse her; some light comedic reading with characters she already loves.

 

For some laugh out loud moments check out The Biscuit Zodiac (p.40) and Dreams (p.77) – Fig.2 Interpreting Your Dreams J And this little pearl of wisdom that I should ad heed (p.118) – Handwriting – Handwriting should be clear and readable, especially to yourself.:)

 

 

Post Script: The Healthy Cook – Dan Churchill

Fresh and tasty healthy meals.

The Healthy Cook - Dan Churchill

The Healthy Cook – Dan Churchill

The Healthy Cook

Dan Churchill

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925184136

 

Description:

How often do you find yourself grumpy or angry because you are starving? How much do you love going out to dinner, lunch or breakfast? How good is the feeling when your big plate of food arrives in front of you with the smell going straight into your nostrils? Sound familiar?

 

It is through this passion and love for food that we get a true rush of happiness thanks to the relationship with our hormones. By eating, you create a sense of enjoyment and this is well supported by the release of endorphins and serotonin from your glands. In my opinion some of the best times of the day revolve around our food.

 

Widely-acclaimed cook, certified physical trainer, and a dynamic new voice on health and fitness issues, Dan Churchill rose to fame in 2013 when, at the age of 23, he gained international attention and legions of fans after appearing on MasterChef Australia which aired in over 90 countries.

 

His recipes have since been featured in publications like Men’s Health, Women’s Fitness, and on websites like PopSugar and Lululemon’s blog. Churchill has a bachelor’s degree in Sport and Exercise Management, and a master’s in Exercise Science (Strength & Conditioning). He speaks on a number of food and health-related topics and consults for athletes and sports teams worldwide to help optimize their performance through nutrition.

 

My View:

Beautifully designed (I particularly love that the book has a “page marker” ribbon- so useful), fresh, exciting recipes that are beautifully and realistically photographed and when I trialled some of these recipes they actually looked as good as those in the book and tasted fantastic. These are healthy recipes that taste so good you won’t even think about them being good for you, that are easy to make, with most of the ingredients stocked in your pantry; you cannot go wrong with this recipe book, there is a recipe in this book that will appeal to all members of your family and some that will quickly become your family favourites.

 

Post Script: The Art Of Belonging – Hugh Mackay

“It’s not where you live but how you live.”

The Art of Belonging

The Art of Belonging

Hugh Mackay

Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781742614250

 

 

Description:

The Art of Belonging advances the argument put forward in Mackay’s bestselling The Good Life: a ‘good life’ is not lived in isolation or in the pursuit of independent goals; a good life is lived at the heart of a thriving community, among people we trust, and within an environment of mutual respect. Drawing on 50 years’ experience as a social researcher, Mackay creates a fictional suburb, Southwood, and populates it with characters who – like most of us – struggle to reconcile their need to belong with their desire to live life on their own terms. He chronicles the numerous human interactions and inevitable conflicts that arise in a community when characters assert their own needs at the expense of others. Through a series of riveting, interconnected stories, Mackay reveals the beautiful symmetry of the human condition: we need communities, but communities also need us. His book is a quiet but persuasive entreaty to readers to take responsibility for the places where they live by engaging, volunteering, joining up and joining in.

The Art of Belonging is the book that will reignite the conversation about how we want to live; it will provide the framework for those who argue for a particular vision of community, one that sustains, protects and nurtures the many, and not just the few.

 

 

My View:

 

In this very accessible narrative (Mackay uses life in a pseudo town called Southwood to make his points), we experience many “aha”moments that accompanies much nodding of the head in agreement as we read along and discover social analysis that is so relevant to how we lead our lives today. Mackay talks about how we make communities, the benefits to those engaged in communities and how society and humanity is shaped by community relationships.

 

It isn’t difficult to make “community” a positive experience, “when we take each other seriously and treat each other with kindness and courtesy, the suburban miracle – the township miracle, the village miracle – happens, over and over again. At the very least, we manage to live at peace with each other. Quite often we do much better than that.” (p.49) Simple words that make real sense and Mackay shows us how this can be achieved through very real interactions at a street level.

 

This book is full of practical advice that town planners, CEO’s, schools…individuals can take on board. Mackay makes an interesting point about herding behavior (p.65) that can could make the difference between success and failure of your next committee/workplace/community meeting: “we humans are by nature herd animals, and the long history of human civilization tells us that we are most comfortable in herds of between five and eight people. Below five, social energy is harder to generate; above eight, the dynamic changes and it becomes a more formal setting that’s less intimate and potentially more inhibiting for some members of the group.” Makes perfect sense to me…I nod my head again in agreement as I read this… I can see the implications all around me, it can apply to book groups, committees, dinner parties, study groups…the benefits in terms of positive outcomes and of inclusion is obvious and a small change like consciously deciding on numbers when setting up a group can make a big impact.

 

This is a great read, the language is clear and accessible, the examples easy to relate to. Wave to your neighbour as you leave home today, say “good morning” “how are you doing?” to the postie or the petrol station attendant, the checkout operator, the book seller, your teachers, your colleagues…and watch the world around you slowly change.