Tag Archives: Australia

Daily Discussion with BQB – Is Avocado Toast Keeping Millenials from Becoming Homeowners?

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Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal BQB here.

Australian millionaire Tim Gurner, himself a millennial, has been quoted in the media (this Time Magazine article, for example) as, and I’m paraphrasing here, that millennials aren’t becoming homeowners to the extend that previous generations did because they essentially spend their money on crap.  They go out to eat too much, they take too many expensive vacations to Europe, they buy too many lattes and too many pieces of avocado toast.

Personally, I’m aghast that I’m behind the times because I never knew that avocado toast was even a thing.

Regardless, those wacky millennials took to the Twittosphere (where, shameless plug, you can follow me @bookshelfbattle) to mock Gurner, cracking jokes along the lines of who knew that all their problems could be solved by cutting back on avocado toast.

Typical snarky millenials.  Argh, I just want to channel Uncle Hardass and shake my fist at them in an impotent manner while shouting, “Get off my lawn, hippies!”

Or, hipsters, as is the modern parlance.

I do understand the point millennials are making.  The economy took a big hit in 2008 but honestly, it’s been pretty stagnant since 2000.

Meanwhile, a college education has never been more expensive, yet a college degree has never been less relevant as more and more people have degrees and yet they are pitting themselves against each other for fewer and fewer jobs.

So yeah.  Add to that mix the fact that property values are high and yup…you can’t really blame people who are pissed that they’re living in Mom and Dad’s house well into adulthood for being told all their problems result from that piece of avocado toast…or a latte…or insert your favorite comforting thing you buy that you know you spend too much money on here.

On the other hand, I’m going to side with Gurner.  Life sucks.  You’ve got to make choices.  Save your money.  I’ve always advocated for saving money on this fine blog.  I know it’s hard.  I know times are tough.  I know there will be times like it seems impossible but if you can even save just one dollar out of every paycheck, it’ll grow in time.

OK, you probably have to save more than one dollar.  Save a lot of dollars when you can and save just one when you can’t.

Ultimately, if you’re taking multiple vacations to Europe and throwing your money away on useless gadgets and stuff, then you’re choosing a certain lifestyle.  You have decided to live in the now, the present, to enjoy today.

You have decided to live while the living is good and see the world and do and see and experience awesome things when you are young.

You’re also selling your future old self out because your old self may not have a house to live in when you’re older but you know, your old self will also have nice memories of a fun youth so…it’s up to you.

I can’t really knock anyone for picking that lifestyle.  I’ve had old relatives who worked their entire lives and never went anywhere or did anything and never treated themselves to something extravagant.  They planned to do it in retirement then croaked before retirement came.

So there’s definitely an argument for living in the now and spending it all in the now.

But there’s also an argument for saving that moolah so you can own your own piece of land, a piece of property where you can hang your hat and not get nagged by Mom and Dad about what you’re doing well into adulthood.  And honestly, that’s good for the soul too.

I do agree that in many ways, our political and economic leaders have screwed the big time pooch for awhile now.  The “pay big money for college and college will get you a job that pays big money to you” pyramid scheme is bust.  Less jobs.  Less opportunity.  Less money.  People are less happy.

So it’s up to you what to do with your pennies.  Spend them now and enjoy it now.  Save them now and that will lead to something good later.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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#31ZombieAuthors Rewind – Day 30- J.M.Wilde – Australia Zombified

With Your Host: Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian

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“And now, the end is near, we’ve reached, the final curtain…”

I’m telling you, 3.5 readers, Frank Sinatra was awesome and he’s even a better singer as a zombie.  Took in his act at Zombie Vegas the other day.

But I digress. Yes, there is only one more day after today left in #31ZombieAuthors Rewind.

If there are any zombie authors out there that you’d love for BQB to interview at a future date, discuss them in the comments and perhaps our resident nerd will conduct a Q and A via Alien Jones’ space phone.

In the meantime, last year BQB had the distinct pleasure of interviewing one of Australia’s greatest nerds, zombie writer J.M. Wilde of the Eva series.

J.M. talked to BQB about zombies down under and how to develop your following on Wattpad as J.M. is indeed a Wattpad star.

Check out that interview here.

And don’t forget to check out the Eva series on Amazon.

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 30 Interview – J.M. Wilde – Australia Zombified

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

Amazon          Website

Facebook          Twitter

Wattpad

:::Looks in the mirror.  Slaps myself.:::

OK, BQB.  Get a grip.  You’ve got a half-hour left until East Randomtown is blown up.  You need to complete this interview, then go save the day.

Time is of the essence and you’re about to talk to a professional.  Sure, J.M. Wilde is one of today’s top Australian zombie fiction authors, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk and ask her about Australian stuff.  She doesn’t want to talk about kangaroos, koala bears, or dingos.  She doesn’t want to compare knife sizes a la Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee.  Don’t ask her about vegemite sandwiches or if the Men Without Hats’ mandate to ostracize friends of your friends who don’t dance is still in effect over there.

Just take all of your pre-conceived Aussie stereotypes and throw them out the window.  The fans of the highly popular Eva series deserve no less.

OK.  The space phone is ringing.

NOTE: BOLD=BQB; ITALICS=J.M.

Q.  Hello J.M.  I’m trapped in a zombie apocalypse and my hometown is about to be blown to smithereens as part of an elaborate conspiracy, but I’ve dropped everything to use a highly sophisticated alien communication device to place a call clear across the world in order to ask a question of utmost importance:

Clockwise or counterclockwise:  which way does the water swirl down the drain in the land down under?  Please.  Go flush your toilet, take copious notes, then come back with a full report.  I swear that’s all I’ll need to get all the curiosity about Australia out of my system.

A. I actually have no idea. I’ve never really noticed, I guess counterclockwise? Flushing the toilet isn’t any help because most toilets here don’t swirl, they just flush down. I didn’t even know that myth existed until that one episode of The Simpsons when they came to Australia.

Q.  By the way, since its already October 31 in Australia, Happy Halloween!  I realize this is an American holiday that began in the pre-colonial days of the U.S. in which colonists believed it was necessary to ward off evil spirits by running around in costumes, because if it’s one thing that a hell beast fears most, it’s a puritan in a bed sheet.  Fast forward to today, where once a year we all openly encourage children to disobey all the rules we impose on them throughout the rest of the year by encouraging them to “go ahead and knock on that stranger’s door and demand free food stuffs!”

Long story short – Halloween in Australia.  Does anyone over there do anything to celebrate or is it just another day?  Don’t worry if the answer is the latter.  With all the goofballs running around in costumes and all the weight I gain from eating fun size candy bars, there are times I wish it was November 1 already too.

A.  This is an interesting one. Halloween is also connected to Samhain, which takes place in Autumn. Here in Australia, Samhain takes place on May 1st, so technically that’s our Halloween. But thanks to commercialization and the many American TV shows and movies we watch, Halloween has made its way here over the last few years and is celebrated more and more on October 31st. It wasn’t celebrated here at all when I was a kid, but I would have loved to have gone trick or treating just like all my favorite characters on TV. Now, I see more and more kids and teens knocking at my door in costumes, and more Halloween decorations being sold in stores. Halloween parties are becoming a thing, too, which is awesome as I love a good costume party!

51b3SGDcMfL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Q.  Let’s talk about The Eva Series. In this three-book collection, you’ve turned Australia into one great big zombie infested death island.  Readers follow the journey of Eva as she and her friends make their way through the madness in search of safety. I have to admit, this is a pretty unique turn for the zompoc genre.  How did you come up with Eva’s story and what inspired you to tell her tale?

A. It really started because of my husband. I’d never written fiction before and wanted to try it, and at the time I thought my husband would be the only one who would ever read it. He loves zombies, so I decided to write a zombie story. And seeing as we live in Australia, I figured it would be cool to write about what might happen if a zombie virus broke out here. And voila! As They Rise, the first in the series, was born.

Q.  As I told a pair of writers the other day, I don’t have much pull in Hollywood.  Sure, Taye Diggs follows me on Twitter but I’m pretty sure he hit the follow button by accident.  That being said, “Zombies in Australia” seems like a concept ripe for a movie. On the off chance that J.J. Abrahams visits my blog by accident, give him your pitch as to why we need an Eva movie.

A. Taye Diggs follows me too! Okay, here’s my pitch. Hey J.J (or other equally awesome Hollywood person), enough already with zombies in the U.S of A! It’s been done to death (Ha! Puns.) Let’s move the fun down under where the stakes are higher and the production is cheaper. I’ve got the story, you’ve got the skills and the connections. Let’s make movie magic.

Q.  OK, I don’t want to brag, but I have been known to attract as many as 3.5 readers to my blog.  I thought that was pretty impressive until I learned that The Eva Series has racked up over 3 million reads online.  How did you get so many eyeballs on your work and for any aspiring writers out there, what can they do to attract more readers?

A. It’s all thanks to Wattpad. I don’t really know how it happened, but once I started uploading chapters to Wattpad a few years ago, it skyrocketed. I wouldn’t have ever considered being a pro writer without all the support from those early readers who kept begging me for more Eva. Aside from writing a good story and having a cool cover, I’ve found that being persistent and consistent is key when it comes to writing on Wattpad and attracting readers.

Q.  You’re a Wattpad star.  For people who aren’t as hip as we are, Wattpad is an online site that allows users to post their works and receive feedback from other users.  What about this site have you found useful and would you recommend it to other authors?

A. I adore the hell out of Wattpad, and I definitely recommend it to other authors. I think my favorite aspect about it is the interaction with readers. I’ve made friends and get to talk to my readers regularly, gain feedback on my work and just have so much fun with them.

J.M. Wilde on How to Get More Readers on Wattpad

Q.  So what’s next for you?  Any other book ideas in the works?  Could the zombies attack your neighbors?  Just going to throw it out there.  I feel like “TaZmania” or “New Z-Land” are rife with potential.

A. Haha! I love the New Z-Land idea. I’ve started working on a spin-off about one of the characters from book three, and I’ve been thinking about a potential fourth book in the series. But right now I’ve got a few other projects in the works; a couple of geeky YA contemporaries and a fanfic of The 5th Wave commissioned by Sony that’s being posted to Wattpad.

Q.  You’re a self-described fan girl.  On your website, you talk about how you want to be Iron Man and have pictures of yourself in Marty MacFly’s “future wear” from Back to the Future II, in which you’re meeting Christopher Lloyd, the actor who played Doc Brown.  I tip my hat to you, madam.  You’ve dethroned me as the Internet’s most renowned poindexter.  A lot of great superhero/comic bookish movies are coming out next year.  Which one or ones are you looking forward to most?

A.  Meeting Doc Brown was definitely one of the best moments of my life. BTTF is my fave movie so it was surreal. He’s such a nice dude. To answer your question … All of them! Deadpool. Captain America: Civil War. X-Men: Apocalypse. Suicide Squad. The list goes on!

Q.  J.M., thanks for taking a moment to talk with me.  Before I go, do you have any last minute advice that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A. As Eva learned the hard way, fire doesn’t work against zombies, it just turns them into undead fireballs. Running is always the best choice. If you can’t run like hell, fight like hell. And always follow Rule #2 of Zombieland: double tap.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE: J.M.’s running a Halloween sale!  Get all three books of the Eva series for .99 cents!

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 23 Interview – Peter Cawdron – Outsmarting Zombies

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

Amazon        Website      Twitter

My guest today is Peter Cawdron, who comes from the land down under.  I don’t have to pay the Men At Work a royalty for saying that because Peter is an honest to God Australian zombie enthusiast.

Peter’s the author of the Z is for Zombie series of books which include What We Left Behind and All Our Tomorrows.  These books tell the story of teenager Hazel, who in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, searches for Steve, David, and Jane, the only people who ever understood her.

An avid fan of such classic science fiction writers as Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton, Peter is also a prolific science fiction author in his own right.

I wonder if there’s an extra charge to call Australia?  Aw screw it, the bill for this phone goes to Alien Jones anyway.

G’day Peter.

NOTE: BOLD=BQB; ITALICS=Peter

Q.  I just discovered that my perpetually angry uncle, who I thought never understood me, is in fact, the only person who ever understood me and what I need to make it in the world.  Unfortunately, he’s dead, though he visits me in ghost form from time to time.  Your protagonist, Hazel, feels like only three people understand her.  Is she really that confounding or is it typical teenage “no one gets me” angst?

41CT9h3vOuL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)A.  Teenage angst is cliche, and yet there is an element of personal growth we all go through where we’re learning about the world afresh. I don’t know that it stops as an adult, at least, it shouldn’t. It hasn’t for me. I’m always learning, and not just intellectually. Emotional learning is often more important than facts or figures. I think that’s one reason why coming-of-age books have such universal appeal. It’s a chance to re-learn and renew, regardless of how old we may be. 

In my novel What We Left Behind and the sequel All Our Tomorrows, we see life through the eyes of a teenager struggling toaccept the end of the world, fighting to make a change. All too often, it is the upcoming generation that is the catalyst for change. Us old farts need to respect that, listen and understand. It’s the youth of today that can change tomorrow, and that’s the message common to my novels as well as books like Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and so many others. Change is good. It’s the status quo that’s scary.  

Q.  As a zombie fan, I’ve noticed that in most zompoc tales, zombies are never referred to as “zombies.”  They’re “walkers” or “the undead” or “creepers” and so on but never zombies.  Your characters refer to them as “Zee.”  Why is that?  Is “zombie” too informal?  Will we ever crack open a novel where a writer has a character saying, “Holy crap!  It’s a zombie!”

A.  Oh, they’re called zombies in What We Left Behind as well as Zee, but Zee makes things more personal, and I think that’s important. Zombie stories are notorious for being impersonal. Survivors are often portrayed as brutal if not more brutal than the zombies themselves, whereas zombie stories are really about survivors. And what is a zombie but a survivor that fell and failed. Zee makes that more poignant, reminding the reader that zombies aren’t simply cannon fodder. To the survivors, they once were as we are, and the term Zee keeps that fresh in mind.   

Q.  How did you get into the zombie craze?

A.  My kids love The Walking Dead, and I enjoy it too, but I get frustrated with the inaccuracies. Gasoline, as an example, has a shelf life of about nine months. Diesel’s a little better, but will be pretty nasty after a couple of years. So at some point everyone’s going to be walking, or riding bicycles or horses. The SUV might look like the ultimate zombie killing machine, but it’s not sustainable, so in All Our Tomorrows, they drive around in a Tesla with the doors stripped off and the seats torn out to keep the weight down, charging the car with solar panels. For me, it’s fun to consider practical stuff like that. 

Zombies are dumb, right? So what’s the greatest weapon in the zombie apocalypse? Smarts. I’ve tried to write novels that have smart, unique solutions to the zombie apocalypse rather than relying on shotguns and machetes all the time. Shotguns might work on the zombie in front of you, but the noise is going to bring in a dozen more zombies, while a machete is just plain stupid. It’s going to get stuck every time. 

41IgGgymVqL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Q.  You’re also a sci-fi aficionado.  One work of yours that caught my eye is Little Green Men, about a crew of space travelers who set down on a frozen planet and are attacked by, sure enough, little green men.  Is a story about trustworthy, non-murderous aliens possible?  Does it say anything about us as humans that we have a tendency to think the worst about the possibility of life on other planets?

And by the way, I have a colleague named Alien Jones who is in fact, a little green man.  He’s been totally above board thus far, but do you think I should keep an eye on him?

A.  Little Green Men is brutal. It’s a homage to Philip K. Dick and has an alienesque feel to it (Alien Jones would love it), but yes, it is possible to write about trustworthy, non-murderous aliens. Anomaly is my best selling novel, having sold over 75,000 copies.  Anomaly was my debut novel and even today, a dozen stories down the road, it still outsells everything else I’ve written. If you enjoyed Carl Sagan’s Contact, you’ll love Anomaly.

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As for Alien Jones, he’s clearly hampered by a paranoid companion 🙂

Q.  On your Amazon page, you talk a bit about the difference between general and “hard” science fiction.  Could you explain it for my 3.5 readers?

A.  Hard science fiction is a misnomer. 

Science fiction shouldn’t be hard to understand or hard and inflexible. There’s merit in keeping scifi as accurate and plausible as possible. There’s always a degree of handwavium in science fiction when authors start projecting their thoughts into the future, but the limitations of concepts like the speed of light actually add to the realism of a story. 
As much as I love the Star Trek reboots, I cringe when they ignore common sense. There’s one scene in Star Trek Into Darkness where Kirk is on the Klingon home world some undisclosed number of light years away from Earth, and he calls up Scotty on his handheld communicator. Scotty is in a bar on Earth and answers Kirk’s technical question. To me, that’s a wasted opportunity. Even if Kirk was somewhere within our solar system, say on Mars, Scotty couldn’t have a realtime chat like that, he’d be waiting at least half an hour for a message to arrive. Communication between star systems would be like the letters of the 1700s taking months to years to transit the globe. Star Trek Into Darkness wasted a wonderful opportunity, as instead of taking the lazy, easy way out, the writer could have used that limitation to drive up the tension. Sure, Scotty’s got the answers. But he’s not there, so Kirk has to figure it out on his own and that’s far more rewarding for the audience than watching Kirk being given a get-out-of-jail-free card. 
Hard science isn’t difficult, it’s just plausible and believable, and it makes stories more gritty and realistic. 

Q.  Peter, thanks for taking my call.  Before I go, do you have any advice that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A.  Think before you act. Remember,

  1. You’re smart. They’re not. 
  2. They have numbers. You don’t.  
 Keep those two facts in mind and you’ll do fine. Oh, and keep a copy of What We Left Behind handy, you might find some good tips in there. 
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Where Are My Readers From? (Views by Country)

Bookshelf Q. Battler here.

My readers – they stoke the fires of the Bookshelf Battle Blog Machine, fueling the furnace of this humble blogger and inspiring me to be steadfast in delivering the latest news about books, movies, aliens, yes, and of course, my magic bookshelf.

Where are you all from?  Let’s take a look-see:

NOTE:  All figures below are for 2015 today)

#1 – USA – Coming in first place – The Americans!  From sea to shining sea, the Yanks are dominating the Bookshelf Battle scene with a whopping 6,262 views.  That’s almost as many times as I caught The Yeti using his Commodore 64 to checkout those Kim Kardashian photos.

#2 – United Kingdom – God Save The Queen!  The Brits come in second place, but at a mere 682.  Was it something we said, Brits?  Are you guys still feeling some sour grapes over that whole revolution thing?  Hell, if it’s any consolation we pay more taxes now than King Edward ever levied on us.  Hoisted on our own petard if you ask me.  Tax the crap out of our tea for all I care.  This blogger’s drink of choice is Diet Shasta Orange anyway.

Please don’t tax my Diet Shasta Orange.  I don’t want to throw all my orange soda into the harbor.  The fish will get gassy.

#3 – Canada – Oh Canada, our home and native land, true patriot love and something something something!  (Look, just be impressed that I knew that much.  We’re still trying to convince 75% percent of the population down here that you guys actually exist and aren’t just a bunch of magical wood sprites living in a fabled frozen land.)

The Canucks have viewed my site 335 times.  Frankly, I blame myself.  I need to do more to capture the Canadian market.  That’s why I’m diligently working on the following reviews of prominent Canadian Films:

  • Dude, Where’s My Moose?
  • The Maplenator
  • Hockey Man
  • Hockey Man 2 – High Stickin’
  • The Fast and The Polite

#4 – Australia – G’day Mates – The Aussies have viewed this site 249 times.  I was impressed until I realized they were all from this guy:

Koala

He’s been e-mailing non-stop, begging me to review his self-published book, Eucalyptus Leaves Are Delicious!

FURTHER ANALYSIS

It comes as no surprise that my four top countries for views are English speaking lands.  I welcome all viewers, but obviously, I’m limited in that I only speak English, Klingon, and Dothraki.

(New Zealand, I was a little disappointed with you guys – 81 views?  Seriously?  What, you guys are too busy watching all those Hobbit movies get filmed?  Get on the ball, NZ.

Of course, I welcome viewers from all across the globe.  Therefore, I’m working with Google Translate to reach out to viewers in Non-English speaking countries.

For example, the Germans viewed my site 101 times (20 more times than you, New Zealand, not that I’m trying to make you feel guilty or anything.

So allow me to translate some commonly used Bookshelf Battle speak for the Germans’ enjoyment.

ENGLISH:  Stupid Yeti!  Get in the basement!  You know you are only allowed to come upstairs on Thursday nights to watch Scandal!  Away with you!

GERMAN TRANSLATION: Dumme Yeti ! Holen Sie sich im Keller ! Sie wissen, Sie dürfen nur im Obergeschoss am Donnerstagabend gekommen, um Skandal zu sehen! Weg mit dir !

Wow.  That gave me chills.  Thanks Google Translate.  And let that be a lesson to you, Herr Yeti.

What about France?  Our French friends visited this site 49 times this year alone.

ENGLISH:  Alien Jones takes your questions and plugs your blogs!  Yes yes, I love croissants!

FRENCH TRANSLATION:  Alien Jones prend vos questions et fiches vos blogs ! Oui oui, je adore les croissants !

I adore the croissants too, Frenchies.  I really do.

Finally, the Japanese have viewed this site 17 times this year alone.

ENGLISH: The series finale of Dexter was awful! I can’t believe the protagonist became a lumberjack!

JAPANESE TRANSLATION: Dekusutā no shirīzu no fināre wa hidokatta! Watashi wa, shujinkō wa kikori ni natta nante shinjirarenai!

Oh wait.  Before that I should have issued a:

ENGLISH:  SPOILER ALERT!!!

JAPANESE TRANSLATION:  Supoirā keikoku!!!

Sorry about that, Japanese folk.

Thank you citizens of the world for taking in the greatness that is the Bookshelf Battle Blog, brought to you by Blogger-in-Chief Bookshelf Q. Battler.

Also, please allow me to apologize in advance if those translations were incorrect.  In no way did I intend to insult a) your honor b) your beliefs c) your culture or d) your lovely, lovely mothers.

As they say in Portuguese, the official language of Brazil, where my blog was viewed 141 times (still way more than you, New Zealand, just saying):

ENGLISH:  Join us tomorrow on Bookshelf Battle, where nothing can stop the one post a day challenge!

PORTUGUESE TRANSLATION: Junte-se a nós amanhã em Bookshelf Battle, onde nada pode parar a deixar um desafio do dia !

Koala graphic courtesy of a Creative Commons license via Flickr user Marc Dalmulder

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Author Colleen McCullough’s Obituary

So, if you’ve been taking a break from Twitter, you may have missed the backlash of #myozobituary.

Colleen McCullough, a celebrated doctor in addition to being one of Australia’s most respected authors, passed away recently.  Her book, The Thorn Birds was turned into a TV mini-series that was popular in the early 1980’s.

I’ve always felt that obituaries should be held sacred, and since they are, for obvious reasons, a person’s last hurrah, newspapers should be careful to get them right, and make an effort to be as respectful as possible.

Alas, here’s what Australia’s major newspaper, The Australian had to say:

““Plain of feature, and certainly overweight, she was, nevertheless a woman of wit and warmth. In one interview, she said: ‘I’ve never been into clothes or figure and the interesting thing is I never had any trouble attracting men.’”

– The Australian 

Hmmm.  Well, I mean, had the woman never even written a word, she still would have had a lot to be congratulated on when it came to her contributions to the Australian medical community.  But on top of that, she was a writer, and her work was enjoyed by many.

So, it is pretty sad that a newspaper would start an obituary with a line that, if you break it down, basically reads, “It’s amazing that this fat ugly woman found a way to be happy.  Because, you know, she was fat and ugly, and fat ugly people shouldn’t be happy.”

I can’t remember who it was, but one twitter user it put it best, by saying something like, “At least it was better than the paper’s rough draft, “Fattyfatfat book lady dies.”

Sigh.  The world is becoming a sad, looks-obsessed world, isn’t it?  To paraphrase another twitterer, “Thank God Abraham Lincoln was born before television.”

Read more on the story at the Huffington Post

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Book Review – The Light Between Oceans

BASIC BOOKTOMETRICS:

TITLE: The Light Between Oceans

AUTHOR: M.L. Stedman

YEAR PUBLISHED: 2012

PUBLISHER: Scribner

FORMAT REVIEWED: Hardcover

NUMBER OF PAGES: 343

Move over, dingoes. There’s a new danger Australian babies – lighthouse keeping couples.

The premise – in the 1920’s, Tom, depressed and bitter over the WWI baggage he is carrying finds a new lease on life when he meets happy-go-lucky Isabel. Tom is a lighthouse keeper and moves his new wife to the small, secluded island where he tends to a giant beacon of light that prevents ships from going astray. It’s a lonely life, far removed from the comforts of civilization. Isabel wants to be a mother but begins to believe her dream will never come true after she suffers one miscarriage after another. Tom only wants to make her happy.

One day, a rowboat carrying a dead man and a live baby mysteriously washes up on shore.

Pop quiz, what do you think the couple does?

A) Contact the authorities. Surely the baby has living relatives somewhere that miss her.
B) Signal a boat to come to the dock to carry the baby back to civilization and to the nearest police station so the whole mess can be sorted out.
C) Locate the dead man’s family so he may have a proper Christian burial.
D) Toss the dead man’s carcass in a ditch. Take advantage of the fact that you’re the only two people on the island to raise the child as your own. Return to shore later and tell the world Isabel gave birth to the baby while on the island.

Stay out of trouble...report babies immediately when they wash up on shore

Stay out of trouble…report babies immediately when they wash up on shore


If you selected A-C, you’re good people. If you selected D, you’re probably Tom or Isabel.

All joking aside, author M.L. Stedman does a fantastic job at displaying the mental gymnastics that people put themselves through in order to convince themselves that they are doing something right when in fact, what they are doing is so clearly wrong. Isabel grasps onto an assumption that the baby’s mother must have died in some kind of high seas tragedy and the only right thing to do is to take the child in. Tom wants to report the baby to the authorities but wants so badly for his wife to be happy that he can’t bring himself to do it.

Of course, when they return to shore, they discover who the mother is, how the baby came to be washed up on shore, and all manner of gut wrenching sadness goes on display as they debate whether or not to tell the baby’s true mother what they’ve done. With more mental gymnastics to convince herself that what she wants and what is morally right are the same thing – she argues that the baby, now a young child, has grown attached to her and Tom, recognizes them as her parents, and it would upend her world to turn that around. Tom, on the other hand, can get over the fact that the baby’s mother, Hannah, has become a sad, depressed, shell of a woman, in a constant state of sadness over her lost husband and child, clinging to hope that one day her baby will somehow magically return.

Well, it would be too spoilery to reveal all of the twists and turns, but overall, the book is a real tearjerker and the author has a knack for leaving the reader wanting to know how this truly messed up situation will work its way out.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy

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