On the plane to France, I read ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ to see what all the fuss was about. It was an easy read, I quite enjoyed it, but the characters were a bit hard to like. Not sure if I’ll bother reading the sequels.

On the way home, I read ‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel. Didn’t finish it though, until I was at home. I enjoyed this more. I haven’t read many historical novels, so it was a stretch for my shaky recollection of English history. I had to study ‘A Man For All Seasons’, a play about Thomas More, when I was in high school. From my unreliable memory, he was presented as a hero in that play, a man martyred for his beliefs. Interesting to see him portrayed similarly as a martyr in ‘Wolf Hall’, but from such a very different perspective; a terrifying persecutor of heresy when in power and when not in power, a proud and ungrateful man, hell-bent on his own destruction. And what a picture of Thomas Cromwell, the consummate pragmatic courtier/politician. Fascinating and compelling. I wanted to keep reading after the book was finished.

Now I am starting on ‘Truth’ by Peter Temple. Looking forward to this, as ‘The Broken Shore’ was a real favourite with me, which I only read last year, or was it the year before? Time slips away. I fell in love with Cashin, the hero, the iconic good bloke in a dreadful world, just trying to do the right thing. I always have a soft spot for that sort of bloke. Whether I can feel the same warmth for Villani, who was a minor character in ‘The Broken Shore’ and is the protaganist of ‘Truth’, I’m not sure yet. He seems more slick somehow. I will keep you posted.

There was a book fair at the Australian Book Review last week, they were giving away books to subscribers, so I went and got a stack. This means books I would not usually choose, so that makes it interesting. So far, I have read Nikki Gemmell’s latest book, ‘Why You Are Australian – A Letter To My Children’. She made some interesting observations about life and childhood in Australia, written from the perspective of a homesick ex-pat. While I agreed with her sentiments and she writes with passion, it really was stretching to make a book of it. An essay would have been the perfect length for this, and would have saved much repetition.

Strangely, the other book from that stack that I have read is ‘Sunshine On Sugar Hill’ by Angela Gilltrap, also had an ex-pat theme. But this one was about experiences of an Australian singer living in New York, rather than a perspective of Australia from OS. Unfortunately, although the story is often interesting, the writing is flat and the author comes across as a bit self-obsessed, so not one I would recommend.

Also caught up with a lot of movies on that long plane trip back and forth:

‘When In Rome’– forgettable rom com, blah. Although it did have one funny scene, featuring a very small car driving into a lift;

‘Fantastic Mr Fox’– funny and clever animated movie. Big tick;

‘Twilight’ and ‘New Moon’– wow, vampire Romeo and sweet Juliet, no wonder the teenage girls are going nuts, it’s all so impossible and romantic. I enjoyed them, to my surprise, although I think Bella is going to annoy me if she keeps being so helplessly co-dependent, which is unfair, I know. The very basis of Romeo and Juliet is helpless co-dependancy. But I guess you really need to be a teenager in love to fully wallow in that. Nice for us oldies to remember, but who would want to be back there?

‘It’s Complicated‘- terrible rom com with Ms M Streep and Alec Baldwin, why is he so unlikeable? Very, very blah.

I think that’s all, anything else I was just pretending to watch and slept through.

And I did go and see ‘Toy Story 3’ with Max on Friday. That was very funny; Ken (as in Ken and Barbie) is my favourite new character, he is hilarious. He is a vain clothes-horse and a chick magnet, but really a good guy deep down. He reminded me of someone in this house, whose name might begin with L and end with eo