10 January 2013

Review: When It Happens to You

OK so I've been in hiding for a while...

New year, new start and all that. For 2013 my aim is to read at least 100 books, and increase my reviews. I'm going to shoot for around one a week and hope that I can maintain that! So here goes number one...

When it Happens to You

Author: Molly Ringwald (Yes, the actress from "The Breakfast Club")
Published: 2012 - Simon & Schuster

A Novel in Stories

From a mother as she grapples with age, infertility and an increasingly distant husband to a former children's television star who tries to rebuild his life after being hospitalized for 'exhaustion'. From an elderly woman mourning the loss o her husband to a single mother who finds the strength to protect her flamboyant six-year-old son, these stories follow the hazardous terrain of everyday life, revealing the deceptions, heartbreak, and vulnerability familiar to us all.
When It Happens to You is an unflinching yet poignant examination of the intricacies of the human heart and an auspicious literary début.

betrayal comes it takes many forms. A husband's betrayal of a wife, a mother's betrayal of her son, a woman betrayed by the loss of her soulmate.
When It…
comes it will take you by surprise. But it will happen. And…
When It Happens…
everything will change. You may not know it now but…
When It Happens to You…
you will understand.

This is a novel of short stories, wound together with connective links to make up one story. There is essentially one plot running through the whole novel, but there are also other stories told, peripheral to the central plot but linked in via a character connection.
The story centres around Greta, Phillip & their daughter Charlotte. As their family slowly falls apart, we explore the different emotions and perspectives through their interactions and relationships with other people.

Reading this, I found that I struggled a little with the fact that the short stories are… well, short stories. They are interspersed throughout the book, and I did have difficulty reconciling the completion of one story within a longer, ongoing story. Some of them didn't feel particularly… finished. Particularly for me, the story of Marina, who befriends Phillip following his separation. They develop a friendship as their children, Charlotte and Oliver, play together. The story of Marina and Oliver is a complex one that I would have liked to explore further. Marina is struggling with the fact that her son identifies as a girl, and wishes to dress like one and be called Olivia. He feels it is simple - he is a girl, and that's that. She imagines his life, and how difficult this journey will be.

This book highlights struggles and repercussions as a marriage falls apart, from the perspective of the betrayed, the betrayer, and those impacted such as children and family. At different points in the book I both liked and disliked most of the characters, depending on the point of view we were looking from. It's definitely a book that makes you think, and it will stay with me for a while. I'd like to re-read this once I've had some time to think and digest it, I think this is one of those that you get more out of every time you read it. 

Novel number 2 of 100 towards my Goodreads 2013 Challenge!
Have you read this? What did you think?

17 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For

I love catch ups with girlfriends. It can be hard to coordinate schedules, especially with work, husbands, partners, kids... Even though I myself am single, most of my close girlfriends aren't. But I love it when we do get together, be it for a quick coffee at work, dinner, book club or motivating each other at the gym.

I had a lovely coffee catch up with a work friend who has been on leave today, and I get to have dinner this Friday with one of my closest friends and her new baby.


16 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I don't read stuff just because it's popular. If fact I'm opposed to people reading something just because everyone else is. Proof - I haven't read Harry Potter. I haven't read Twilight. I figure, if I read the blurb and am not interested, why waste my time? 

So I didn't plan to read "Fifty Shades of Grey". I was, in fact, vehemently against it. I still really don't know why I succumbed. And then I toyed with the idea of not admitting to having read it. But I have an ambitious 2012 reading challenge and I did read it so it's going on the book count.

The writing - I wasn't a fan. I found it repetitive, unimaginative... Got a bit sick of the constant 'oh my', 'my sex', eye rolling and lip biting. Gasping and breath hitching. Find a new phrase! Geez. When you're writing 500+ pages, you can't say the same thing on each and every one, and sometimes multiple times a page. 

Ana. Really? A 21 year old university student, without a computer, and borrowing her housemates laptop. I'm sorry, but a) explain to me how you get through an entire degree using a borrowed laptop, and b) why the hell did the housemate not get shirted off with the constant borrowing before graduation?? Innocence is one thing, but this was beyond belief.  

And Christian. Complete creep. Ugh. That's all I have to say. 

However... couldn't put it down (and I'm a little upset at myself about this!). Done in 3 days. And I will say that I didn't expect the ending. Will probably read the other 2 as I bought them as a set so already have them.

Have to say I think I was a little ambitious trying to do a month of gratitude posts! Not to say that I've run out of things to be grateful for, just a difficult task. Or maybe it's me. I'm also having a go at #photoadayJuly on Instagram... and find myself taking the photos, but winding up posting about every 3 days. Maybe commitment is my issue... 


Have you read the Fifty Shades trilogy? What did you think? 

10 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #9

I love chocolate. I have no control around it. None. So right now I am grateful there is none in my house, as I would devour it all!

Aaaah. Will have to make do. Cuppa tea anyone?


08 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #8

OK, so this one is gonna be me trying to gain some appreciation.

Today was the Melbourne RCNA Nursing Expo. Geared towards undergraduate nursing students, it is a giant "COME AND WORK AT MY HOSPITAL" promotion. Fun the first year you participate, after that the appeal wanes somewhat. This is my fourth year of being involved. "Involved" meaning "having to give up my lovely sunny Sunday afternoon to talk about work"

Soooooo, I am turning it around and saying I am grateful that I have a job. There are aspects of said job that I find less than appealing, but for the most part I enjoy it. As a nurse, there will always be a job for me, somewhere. And the good points are pretty awesome. Nursing can mean a wide variety of different jobs - hospital based, community based, academic. I can work full time, one day a fortnight, or anything in between. It is transferable - I can do it where I live now, or move just about anywhere. I can do it overseas should I desire.

I appreciate the fact that I am employed. Means I can pay my rent, buy food, and fund my obsession with books.


Do you like your job? Do you love your job? What about it? 

Things I Am Grateful For #7


I am grateful that coffee exists. I don't think I would be able to get through early mornings or long days without it! 

And it smells soooooooooooo good....


Think I'm going to go make a coffee. Anyone want one? 


06 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #6

Today I am grateful for MUSIC

It makes yucky things more bearable. It makes happy times more joyful. It makes time pass much quicker when doing things like computer work, at the gym, going for a walk, doing housework, cooking dinner... 

It helps me think, and can also help me stop thinking, help to turn my over working, over analysing brain off. I love lots of types of music, and lots of different singers, bands, genres. At the moment I am loving Norah Jones, Missy Higgins, Ed Sheeran, Train, and Prince. 

Play it loud! Sing along! Dance! 


What is your favourite song? Who is your favourite band/singer? 

05 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #5

Today I am grateful for Winter! We are really in the middle of it now, and the nights are cold, the mornings are cold, the evenings are cold. 

How do I cope? I have a lovely warm doona, heat packs, hot showers (even if the hot water only lasts about 3 minutes, it's a blissful 3 minutes!), tea, coffee and hot chocolate, and a heater in my office ;)

I am very much opposed to the overheating, sweating, heavy air of a humid summer, so for what it's worth, winter can stay in my house for as long as it likes!


What is your favourite season?

04 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #4

My body.

A work in progress.

A constant source of self esteem issues.

But today I am grateful for the fact that my body is strong. It is healthy. It is functional. It can climb stairs, ride a bike and drive a car. It has it's issues - but they're pretty minor.

And, it has to be said - reading "Fifty Shades of Grey" has made me much more aware of certain parts of it ;)


03 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #3

Hello there!

OK so today was pretty average. In fact so average that by the time I left work I was fuming, looking forward to stomping my way home and then ranting about it all on facebook and twitter. So I got home. Turned the heater on (because I now have a functioning one, yay!), made dinner (fine, cracked out the take away I'd bought on the way home), turned the TV on, and sat on the couch. I took my #photoadayjuly photo - "The Best Part of My Day". Today - my Ugg boots. And Masterchef, but that didn't photograph as well as my comfiest slippers. 

Over the course of changing into my trackies, eating dinner, cheering on Kylie on Masterchef, and checking emails, I breathed. Consciously. Slowly. And despite retaining some feelings of irritability, I realised that it's just not worth it. Some people don't think, don't consider others - and my getting annoyed about it isn't going to change them. And ultimately, it's not important enough to give myself a migraine over. Over time, as I've grown up (UGH! Did I really just say that...?) I've gained some perspective. Some things matter, some things don't. Some things don't really matter but you have the ability to change them. Some things do matter, but you can't change them. So you learn to deal. And breathe. 

In the scheme of things, I'd go so far as to say for the most part, the things that annoy me on a day to day basis I won't even remember in 10 years time. 5 years time. 6 months time.

So, today, I am grateful for my own ability to thoroughly contemplate, consider, and calm down rather than blowing up, or acting in an irrational fashion that would only showcase a lack of maturity in me, and that I would undoubtedly regret later.

See? I'm getting better! I'm learning the things!

Oh yeah, and "Winners and Losers" for some escapism TV... ;)