Wednesday 23 February 2022

Take two: The Green Man, Kingsley Amis (1969)

I am not sure where I bought this book but it must’ve been second-hand (probably at the 2MBS FM Book and CD Bazaar) because there’s a “$4” sticker inside the front left there by some retail clerk. It’s a good price for an entertaining read. The cover illustration is a touch misleading, though there’s ghosts in the story, which is about a pub with the name that appears in the title.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this novel, which appeared to me – though it falls into the later opus of the novelist’s work, which I read about not long before in a biography – as it compares well to the work of his son, Martin. In fact, I venture to say that Kingsley is the better writer. Full review on Patreon. 

As a background in this photo I chose a small painting by Renata Pari-Lewis, ‘Untitled III’. It’s an interior but it also has strong abstract tendencies, unlike Amis, who spurned high modernism though he borrowed ideas from it. A truly contrary personality, but in many ways an attractive one. Perhaps I’m showing my age.

Friday 18 February 2022

Take two: Splitting, Fay Weldon (1995)

I bought this book at a stall outside the recent council election polling place. It cost a dollar or something like that, and so was excellent value for money.

The picture in the background was bought from a woman in the south of Sydney via Facebook Marketplace. It’s a strange 90s painting of a woman in outdated dress, so it suits this stylised novel of madness and solidarity for women. Read full review on Patreon. 

Monday 14 February 2022

Take two: Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History, Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio (2012)

This was bought at a bookstore in Leichhardt, a suburb of Sydney. It was bought new but I’ve had it in my collection for a decade without reading it. The confusing publication data says the book was published first in 1862 but a website contains more reliable information. I can’t account for the neglect of this excellent book other than by saying that the Oscar it won for the movie probably put me off: I like to browse in the shadows.

For the background I chose a flag in my collection. I’ve actually got two flags, one of which at the time of reading the book was at the framers’ waiting to be mounted. For a full review, read my Patreon. 

Thursday 10 February 2022

Take two: Boxing with Shadows: Travels in China, Brian Johnston (1996)

I bought this book at Vinnies for three dollars. It’s a Melbourne University Press publication and was originally sold for $22.95. This is an edition that came out in 2006, by which time China’d changed remarkably compared to how it features in Johnston’s narrative.

I took this photo in front of a linocut I made after my trip to Japan in 1982. The structure in the print resembles the building on the cover of the book, especially the twisted roofs. Full review on Patreon. 

Monday 7 February 2022

Take two: Marcel Proust: A Life, Edmund White (1999)

I don’t know when this was bought but it was at some point after 2009, when this edition appeared in print. The book was bought used but there is no sticker on any part of it to indicate where this occurred. 

Pairing the cover with a photo of my maternal grandparents on their wedding day was intentional. This picture – blown up by my mother and framed when we lived in SE Queensland – sits on xthe staircase among drawings my daughter made when she was small. Some of the drawings were also framed by mum, who enjoyed going to the shop to choose something fitting, this creative activity adding diversion to her mostly utilitarian days. Full review on Patreon. 

Friday 4 February 2022

Take two: The Circle, Dave Eggers (2013)

I don’t know when this was bought but it must’ve been in 2017 as that was when this edition was published. The sticker on the back says it was bought at Dymocks. Now, there’s a Dymocks on George Street in the CBD and because I used to go for walks from my apartment in Pyrmont it could’ve been bought there but I have no recollection of the event. I suspect that this was what happened, however, as such a solution makes most sense.

I’ve taken this photo of the book’s cover in front of a mid-century painting by a deceased family friend. An old family friend. I chose Pixie’s painting as ‘The Circle’ contains new money from IT and one of the founders likes the mid-century aesthetic. In fact ‘The Circle’ is about a large company like Meta or Alphabet and Eamon Bailey, the art connoisseur, has flair and panache. Full review here.

Tuesday 1 February 2022

Take two: The Dry, Jane Harper (2016)

I got this for a dollar at a stall at the recent municipal elections. A bargain and well worth the pocket change. I finished the book in just over a day’s time.

The photo shows a drawing of a grevillea by a friend. For a full review, see my Patreon