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Sporting Glory and Rabbit Proof Fence

Sunday January 23rd, 2011 in Audio books, Memoir, Sport, Travel | No Comments »

We headed to Inverloch this weekend for some sport. I participated in a very windy ten kilometre beach run and my partner did an ocean swim. We are a sports mad fitness couple like Grant Kenny and Lisa Curry ex Curry-Kenny nee Curry, except not divorced yet.

(In case you’re wondering just how glorious our sporting achievements were, let’s just say that we both saw a bit of the podium. From the crowd during the presentations. Not to worry. We are friends with the girl who came third – reflected glory!)

Needing a cassette based story tape for the car (one that wouldn’t shit my partner to tears) I borrowed Rabbit Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington and Nugi Garimara, read by Rachael Maza.

This was top story tape selection. Not only is the story itself gripping but I felt like I was learning something. And something important too. Listening to the tape I realised that I haven’t engaged with many stories about the stolen generations in Australia, and I should.


Wednesday January 5th, 2011 in Audio books, Memoir, narrators | No Comments »

Keith Richards’ autobiography Life was amongst the Christmas loot in our house and I’ve been reading it agog. Very interesting times indeed.

I’ve realised that I was amused rather than shocked when Keith Richards revealed many intimate details about his relationships in the book. Whereas, when I listened to Cleaving I was shocked that Julie Powell wrote so openly about her marriage breakdown and affair. This looks like a double standard – I think it’s okay for a man to write gleefully about fucking up relationships and being awful (with only token regret expressed) but I feel a ripple of moral outrage when a woman does the same thing. Something to think about.

On the other hand, Keith Richards is older and can get away with quite a bit of “It was a long time ago and I was on drugs”.

Following the trend for celebrity narrators for blockbuster books, the audio book of Life is read by Johnny Depp, which seems appropriate.

The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project

Monday January 3rd, 2011 in Memoir | 2 Comments »

After listening to Julia & Julia and Cleaving I have become a bit obsessed with all things Julie Powell. My main hobby is now reading bad reviews of Cleaving but I am also enjoying following the Lawrence/Julie & Julia project. Lawrence is watching the movie of Julie & Julia every day for a year and blogging about it.

By reading his blog I am encouraging him to waste his time, which he could spend more productively on almost anything, but let’s say, sorting buttons. However, his blog amuses me and we’ve got too many people on the planet, so it doesn’t really matter if a few of them waste their lives to entertain me? (Also, what is the point of anything, really? Sure buttons look great when sorted by colour in groups of 20 in mini zip-lock bags, but I’m still going to die.)

Of course Lawrence still has almost 11 months to go so the project could become extremely tedious well before November. We’ll see.


Friday December 24th, 2010 in Audio books, Memoir | No Comments »

I’ve finished listening to Cleaving by Julie Powell. For those who don’t know – Cleaving is a memoir in which Julie Powell ruminates on her destructive extra-marital affair while conducting a butchering apprenticeship and random world tour to meat-loving locations.

I’ve said I was enjoyably scandalised by Cleaving though I agree with criticism that the book is at times rambling and incoherent. This might be a result of the publication timeline. The memoir’s events end in February 2008 and Julie Powell’s blog says she submitted a first draft to her publisher in July 2008. So she must have started writing as the events were happening or had a five minute tea break before jumping on the lap top.

As a result, I think Julie was still a bit confused and emotional about it all.

After all, if I’d written about Year 10 International Nerd Camp in Year 10 I probably would have said: “I am suffering through a tremendous loss, aching over the chasm of continents and seas separating me from my soul-mate in South Africa. My life is halted, and pointless until we meet again.”

Writing about it now I would say: “Nerd camp was fun. I had a crush on a South African boy. He’s probably an accountant now.”

That’s not very gripping is it? Julie Powell’s willingness to put it all out there, fresh and bloody, made for an entertaining read.

At the end of the tape there was an interview with the author and narrator, Julie Powell. She said she found narrating Julie and Julia more emotionally difficult than narrating Cleaving. On the other hand, while she was writing Cleaving she would shake uncontrollably at the end of every day. Having just listened to it, I can understand why.


Friday December 17th, 2010 in Audio books, Libraries, Memoir, Travel | No Comments »

We are driving to Adelaide from Melbourne for Christmas. Obviously having a story tape to listen to is vital. Our car doesn’t have a CD player, but there’s NO NEED TO PANIC – the Richmond Library still has cassettes. Tomorrow I will be heading there to consider the options. I could be gone some time.

My partner makes things tricky as he sometimes acts like story tapes are annoying. He will have to suck it up though, because there’s no way I’m driving for eight hours with no narrative.

In order to be sensitive to his feelings I will try to avoid anything with:
a) A narrator with an American accent (despite having lived in America he acts like he’s being stabbed in the ear).
b) Stories about plucky young women making the best of being thrust into unfamiliar surroundings – most commonly a palace, cattle station or bonnet making factory.
c) Stories about English village life.

My partner’s pickiness along with the fact that I have to get cassettes not CDs severely limits my options, but no-one said listening to story tapes would be easy. These are the challenges that make it great.

In other news, I’m still listening to¬†Cleaving. Julie is now travelling the world, visiting random places to sample their meat while she fantasises about being reunited with her skanky lover who has completely lost interest in her. Her husband is waiting for her at home, which is yet another burden for Julie, why is her life so hard?

Omg I’m listening to Cleaving

Monday December 13th, 2010 in Audio books, Film, Memoir, narrators | No Comments »

Last month I listened to Julie and Julia read by the author, Julie Powell. I saw the film earlier this year and really enjoyed it mainly for Meryl Streep hamming it up as Julia Child.

When I listened to Julie and Julia I became curious about what Julie Powell did next. Typing Julie Powell into Google one of Google’s clever guesses was “Julie Powell affair”. I was intrigued.

I discovered that after Julie and Julia was published, which presents her marriage as an almost perfect union of two twin peas in the pod, Julia Powell had a scandalous affair and then wrote about it.

Combining the topic of her adultery with butchery she wrote her next memoir Cleaving: A story of marriage meat and obsession. This book has inspired much vitriol, and I became a little obsessed with seeking out this juicy and sometimes hilarious criticism. I read so much about it that I felt like I didn’t need to read the book, but I knew I would.

I am now being enjoyably and predictably outraged by the rampant over-sharing in the audiobook of Cleaving, once again read by the author. (Julie Powell is a good narrator.)

I’m now two disks in and I think I can identify a number of reasons why this book provokes such a strong (and sometimes ugly) response from readers/listeners.

1. It is fully disgusting. I guess you could say that it is explicit and lusty but I say it is gross. (Which I enjoy.)

2. Julie has some very messy, self destructive and hurtful relationships, but she doesn’t seem to feel much guilt about them. Any guilt she does feel she resents.

3. It’s all true. The mind boggles about how Julie’s aged relatives would respond to this book.

4. Julie is not very nice to her husband. And then she writes about it, revealing details that must be embarrassing to him.

5. The butchering bits are long and detailed and the metaphors are laboured and once again, gross. Sausages are shaped like penises. Yes.

I am loving being horrified by this book. I can’t wait to do the dishes so I can listen to more.