Tag Archives: literature


About this time last year I jumped on birdienl‘s bandwagon and answered a series of questions on my favourite films. This year she has been at it again with a very enlightening series of posts on books, and again I am inspired to follow suit. This time I have done it all in one go.

I have hidden my self-indulgent reading reflections behind a cut.

For the curious and bored: Spally was once an avid reader…



I used to love reading fiction. I devoured so many books through school. But uni killed my passion – there was no time to read anything except for textbooks and journals.

Now that uni’s over, I’d like to start again but I’m not brave enough to venture away from the safe classic books that I know and love. I have only read two new fiction books in the last year! This is despite having a mum (school librarian) and a mum-in-law (whose house may as well be a library) constantly recommending good new fiction for me.

I don’t know whether this is something to change or just the way I am now.

Anyway, here is a book meme.

Catch up

In a bid to not let my journal fall asleep in these frantic days, I have specifically taken some time out to write out a few of things that have been occupying my thoughts and time.

Old People and Computers
I have been slowly writing a report at work about a project in one of our nursing homes where some high school kids volunteered to teach residents how to use computers and the internet. While writing it has been slow, for a multitude of reasons, it’s been a really beautiful project to reflect on. The stories that have come out have been very inspiring. One lady had not spoken to anyone for 10 years, but then she was introduced to the Nintendo Wii and played Wii sport, and started interacting with people again. The connections made between the students and residents became so strong that some of the students returned to the nursing home to visit in their own free time, and have formed real friendships with the people that they worked with. It’s tear jerking stuff. Hopefully I can write this evaluation well enough for all of that emotion to come through.

Dust and Cars
If you don’t live on the East Coast of Australia you may not know that we had a freak giant dust storm on Wednesday, when millions of tonnes of dust from the outback was dumped on the cities and coastal towns. It was intriguing and gross simultaneously. Now the air is clear again, but I am noticing the red dust in crevices on footpaths, in gutters and in the corners of windows. It looks very strange. My favourite activity that has engrossed me since yesterday afternoon has been mentally approximating the proportion of cars that have already been washed (my greenie inclinations make me feel like washing your car with lots of water isn’t that important). It is much higher than I expected. How vain we Sydneysiders are, that we feel like our cars can’t wait even one day to be clean and shiny.

I keep finding myself teetering on the brink of consuming way more than I need to. Having a proper income means that now I have money to spend where I like, and I’m finding it was too easy to justify spending on things that I don’t need. I’m aware of it, which is helpful, but I feel like I am battling with consumerism on an even deeper level. I am starting to look forward to the ‘buzz’ I get when I get something new or set up a budget for something I really want. I know in my mind that I will never be content this way, that consumerism will never satisfy. I can quote to myself endless bible verses, social commentators and theologians to tell me how insubstantial this all is, but it’s still hard, because of the feelings caught up in it. I really feel like I need to think and pray through this problem, and maybe work out a way to discipline myself better.

North and South
Elizabeth Gaskell is so hot right now. I devoured North and South and then got lost in the BBC miniseries, which Matt got me for my birthday. The book is, as always, much better, but I can live with the miniseries. It’s very beautiful. Of course there is also Cranford, which has been a favourite since the start of the year. I have recently made friends with two sisters, who have moved here from Canada and are new to my church. They are die-hard North and South fans (the miniseries more than the book). We have planned to have a handful of girls nights and work our way through several period dramas. Whoo! It will be awesome.

High School Musical
Speaking of movie nights, my never ending quest to seek out people who would probably appreciate High School Musical continues. Mark is next on the agenda and I am very excited about watching HSM2 again, although not as excited as I would be if it were HSM3. Does anyone else want to indulge their inner mindless child and watch some Disney fluff with me?

Other People’s Holidays
The next couple of months at work will be weird because everyone is taking leave except me and another person (who is only here one day a week anyway). My boss in in Europe for 6 weeks, the senior researcher is at a conference in New Zealand as I type, my supervisor will be in Cairns all next week for a geography conference, and my other colleagues are going away multiple times – honeymoon leave, study leave, personal leave, etc. I made a poster to put up in the open plan part of our section where I work. It says ‘Policy Unit’s fantastic springtime adventures’. Everyone who goes away has to send a postcard back to the office, where it will be attached to the poster. Already we have one from Townsville, but I am expecting many more, from France, Germany, Italy, Cairns, New Zealand, Tonga, the Hunter Valley and anywhere else that the policy unit happens to find itself between now and the end of November.

The end is practically here!
In a couple of weeks I am graduating! I am so so very excited. Also I am graduating with distinction. I’m not really sure what that means, but it sounds awesome. The best part of graduating is that I can take a day off work, and spend it with Matt and my mum and dad. I hope the weather is nice! I will be sending the policy unit a postcard of Sydney Uni (yes, they are available). My graduation is at 11:30. If you are around Sydney Uni on a Friday (Mark?) feel free to come after the ceremony and try on a square-shaped hat.

Congested American Roads
Sufjan Stevens is releasing a new CD/DVD inspred by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in New York. It sounds very quirky and exciting. Matt and I are looking forward to hearing it.

On Message Boards

Well ridiculous Christian Chapel drew me in, so now that’s another message board I am addicted to.

Pemberley will always be my first and most wonderful message board home. Especially with such incidences as one which has been going on over the last week when “Peter” came into our midst. He appeared on the Persuasion board with a thread titled: “Is there a plot to this book?”

Unlike Flynn’s earlier Pemberley hijacking attempt, Peter kept his language calm and friendly, but we all saw past his supposed good will as he tried to trash our most favourite book. And then he received replies from at least 16 different ladies (not including myself, I had nothing witty to say) who coldly and politely put him in his place. This was all punctuated with some guy called David William who kept posting things like “Peter is mauled.”

Then Peter got lost as all the women started finding metaphors about the book (“I love your description of Persuasion being like a flower blooming!”), and interpreting the novel as a story about secret agents.

I love message board communities. They are beautiful, like a flower blooming.

Excuse me, I need to vent

Do you know what would be cool? If you could play DVDs in CD players, so you could listen to the dialouge and picture it all yourself.
I would have Persuasion in there constantly, it would be like an audio book, with Chopin.
Oooh I am so pretentiously cultured.

Philip has developed a new liking for my Spice Girls CD. This may or may not be a shock to people, depending on how well you know my brother. To detail, it isn’t actually a Spice Girls album, but the compilation they released of songs by women. The reason he is listening to this CD is because of Love actually. If you’ve seen it, you may remember the scene where Hugh Grant dances through 10 Downing street to the song “Jump”. This is now Philip’s new favourite movie moment. For two days, that song has been playing (thanks, Spice Girls), accompanied by much dancing up and down the house, mostly by Philip.

A Florentine Tragedy