May 2019

May 29, 2019

Hello again, and thank you for dropping by.  April was a month of taking it easy for me as Mal needed some R&R after a surgical procedure – so what better than for me to join him and put my writing tasks on the back burner for a while.  Now though, it’s time to get back onto the merry-go-round and get some work done.  Check out my speaking page for the latest updates.

 

Yesterday, when we went to our local theatre to see a performance called Senior Moments, I was reminded how things have changed for us older folk.  The show was billed as a comedy review and starred familiar names from years ago.  Perhaps that was why there was not a spare seat in the house, but as I looked around the packed theatre it made me realise how lucky we are to be part of a generation that sees retirement as a time to take advantage of life and all that it has to offer.  Yes, we still offer to babysit grandchildren and collect older children from school, perhaps more now than ever as demands on parents have greatly increased over the years.  But we still manage to find a life of our own, to pursue our own interests, and that in turn has created a range of various activities directed specifically for older residents.  The good old days?  I think they are here and now.

 

My first reading recommendation this month follows the theme of seniors, a truly inspiring man – Winston Churchill. It was recommended by one of my Monday writing class and was written by Michael Dobbs, the author of ‘House of Cards’.  I grew up in post-war England when Churchill was regarded as a hero, and that alone was enough to prompt me to read it. 

 

WINSTON'S WAR is a masterful blending of imagination and compelling fact that places the reader at the right hand of the most momentous events in our history.

 

Saturday 1 October 1938. Two men meet. One is elderly, the other in his twenties. One will become the most revered man of his time, and the other known as the greatest of traitors.

 

Winston Churchill met Guy Burgess at a moment when the world was about to explode. Now in his astonishing new novel, Michael Dobbs throws brilliant fresh light upon Churchill's relationship with the Soviet spy and the twenty months of conspiracy, chance and outright treachery that were to propel Churchill from outcast to messiah and change the course of history.

 

I found it to be an absorbing story, which reveals the political intrigues that set the stage for World War II, and brings alive the passionate, grumpy, whiskey-drinking Winston Churchill, as he inspires his fellow countrymen to take on the world's mightiest army. The action takes place over two years from September 1938, when Churchill's was almost the only voice warning against Hitler's true intentions for the Third Reich.

I cannot let the month go by without also recommending Wimmera by Mark Brandi.  This is the author’s first crime novel, and it is very well done.  The first half moves along leisurely through the eyes of two young boys in country Australia.  The memory of those unhurried school holidays of childhood is bought vividly to life.  But, beneath the carefree days is the tension of a crime waiting to happen.  When the crime does occur, the details are largely left to our imaginations. What makes Wimmera so effective, and original, is the pacing and the restraint. A gripping read.

 

In the long, hot summer of 1989, Ben and Fab are best friends.

 

Growing up in a small country town, they spend their days playing cricket, yabbying in local dams, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab's dad hits him or how the sudden death of Ben's next-door neighbour unsettled him. Almost teenagers, they already know some things are better left unsaid.

 

Then a newcomer arrived in the Wimmera. Fab reckoned he was a secret agent and he and Ben staked him out. Up close, the man's shoulders were wide and the veins in his arms stuck out, blue and green. His hands were enormous, red and knotty. He looked strong. Maybe even stronger than Fab's dad. Neither realised the shadow this man would cast over both their lives.

 

Twenty years later, Fab is still stuck in town, going nowhere but hoping for somewhere better. Then a body is found in the river, and Fab can't ignore the past any more.

 

I hope you enjoy my recommendations. That’s all for this month - see you next time.

 

 

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