Book Review: The Recovering Intoxication and its Aftermath by Leslie Jamieson

Book Review: The Recovering Intoxication and its Aftermath by Leslie Jamieson

The Recovering is a memoir about alcohol and how it runs rampant in the lives of writers and artists throughout history. It’s seen through the lens of the book’s author, Leslie Jameson as she navigates her way through life and the being drunk and being in recovery. Jamieson clearly has a knack for the written…

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Among the Irish Faeries and Norse Gods

Travel: Among the Irish Faeries and Norse Gods

Many years ago, I went hiking in Ireland in Glendalough I saw some magical landscapes. Ireland has a beautiful soft light in the summer. The diffused sunlight is speckled with clouds that pass over the vast valleys and mountain-sides. It's possible to sit there all day and just watch the way the light travels over…

Anaïs Nin on why she writes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-dRf7Zxf8Q We write to taste life twice...in the moment and in retrospection. Those few moments of communion with the world are worth the pain. Writing is worth it for others. It's an inheritance for others. A gift to others in the end. One has to create a world in which to live. I could not…

Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson

Book Review: Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson achieved great fame for her book Life After Life. This is one of her earlier and lesser known collections of short stories. I have to admit I never got into Life After Life, so I was a bit dubious about whether or not I would like this one. However, I was absolutely transfixed…

A tribute to the phenomenal Scottish writer William McIllvanney

Book Review: Docherty by William McIlvanney

An epic story of a mining family at the beginning of the 20th Century by Scottish national treasure William McIlvanney. The Dochertys live in the fictional town of Graithnock in Ayrshire, Scotland. The clan are headed by Tam, a hard man but a good hearted one who lifts up his son on the day he…

Ancient word of the day: Athene Noctua or Athena's Owl

Ancient word of the day: Athene Noctua or Athena’s Owl

The Greek goddess Athena had as her sacred animal familiar the owl, also known as the Athene Noctua in Latin. The Romans, fond as they were of stealing from the Greek pantheon, renamed Athena to Minerva. Athena and her owl are considered to be symbols of wisdom, in both cultures. Silver tetradrachm coin at the…

Athena Expelling the Vices from the Garden of Virtue 1502 by Andrea Mantegna

Opening Pandora’s Box: Phrases Borrowed from the Classics and the Stories Behind Them by Ferdie Addis

If you are in love with language, storytelling, folklore or classical history then you will love this book. It’s short at only 162 pages. However Opening Pandora’s Box punches well above its weight in terms of quality with many amusing and shocking stories from classical history to enjoy.

Anna Breytenbach: Inspirational Animal Communicator

Anna Breytenbach: Inspirational Animal Communicator

Anna Breytenbach has the unusual ability to be able to communicate with animals. This may sound ridiculous, and if so I encourage you to watch this video with an open mind and heart and come to your own conclusions. Regardless of your opinion, this is still a touching and remarkable story of courage. Any attempts…

Book Review: The Tao of Winnie the Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (1982)

Book Review: The Tao of Winnie the Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (1982)

The cultural phenomenon of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (1926) crosses generations and time. Winnie the Pooh still speaks to me as an adult within the adult world. It speaks to the child within and her curiosity and wonder at life. The characters are each archetypes of human desires and fears. Pooh: a certified…

Book Review – Men without women by Haruki Murakami

Seven larger than life short story collections that open up big worlds

These bite-sized tales punch well above their weight and will have you questioning why you would waste time on full-length novels. Selected Short Stories by Anton Chekhov To read Checkhov's short stories is to be plunged into a completely different realm. Although written over a century ago, the characters and their emotions and struggles resonate…

Ancient Word of the Day: Hibernal

Ancient word of the day: Flukra

As the southern hemisphere turns now towards the colder months we are all finding comfort into our nests and getting cosy for the winter. In New Zealand and the southern parts of Australia we are experiencing snow in the alpine regions. So it seems appropriate now to talk about the many ancient words for snow.…

Travel: A winter afternoon of contemplation in Queenstown

Ancient Word of the Day: Chrysalism

Chrysalism The strange and cosy combination of tranquillity and protectedness experienced when safely indoors as a thunderstorm breaks overhead. The sensation of warmth and well-being induced by listening to waves of rain pattering onto the roof. Originally coined by the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.   

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

This is a book to devour in enormous gulps. When you do come up for air, fill yourself with black tea and then settle back into your armchair, to be borne aloft once more. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is a bittersweet and melancholy tale of a woman named Agnes Magnusdottir. Set in Iceland in…

Book Review: The Abundance by Annie Dillard

Book Review: The Abundance by Annie Dillard

Creative non-fiction genius and nature writer extraordinaire Annie Dillard has won a Pulitzer Prize for her essay writing. She has a unique, warm and intensely spiritual, even transcendental way of writing that elevates her above most other writers. That’s big praise I know, but this is really great writing. She has the ability to probe…

Les Oréades (1902) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, in Musée d'Orsay

Ancient word of the day: Nymph

In Greek mythology, the nymphs were tiny and minor goddesses that each presided over a type of landscape feature. Normally something glimmering, glittering and bewitching in nature like waterfalls, streams, mountains, lakes or trees. The name nymphe means bride in Greek and so the tiny and bewitching nymphs represented the brides or maidens of the…

Book Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Book Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

*Contains no plot spoilers. Pachinko is a family saga about Korean migrants living in Japan against the backdrop of the unheaval of the 20th Century. The novel traces struggles, triumphs and colourful personalities of several generations of one family. It rockets along at an amazing pace and doesn’t let up. This is a book to…

Every Picture Tells A Story: The Gloaming on the Isle of Skye

Travel: Roaming in the gloaming in the land of soft colours and dramatic firmaments

Around ten years ago, I had the best trip of my life when I went to the Isle of Skye, Scotland with the Polish bear. We cozied up in the most comfortable little croft in all of the Scottish isles. Located in Borreraig, the farthest point of the Isle of Skye and as far away…

Book Review: The Romantic Italian Days and Nights by Kate Holden

Book Review: The Romantic Italian Nights and Days by Kate Holden

Kate Holden is the Australian author of the amazing memoir In This Skin. The Romantic is a follow-up to this memoir. A bit about Kate Holden, she’s a woman from Melbourne who grew up in a respectable middle-class family. She then broke away from her stable family life and became a heroin addict and a…

Ancient Word of the Day: Philoxenia

Ancient Word of the Day: Philoxenia

Philoxenia comes from Ancient Greek. This literally translates to be "friends with a stranger". Philo - Friend, Xenia - Stranger. In Ancient Greece, hospitality was ranked highly as a personal virtue. Great honour was bestowed upon a guest by a host. If a stranger was to appear on your doorstep in Ancient Greece, you were…