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Book Chat - Issue #6

Book Chat
Hello reading friends (and especially new subscribers), I’m very excited that you’re here. This newsletter comes out once a fortnight, usually on a Wednesday, and I welcome your comments and feedback. Just hit reply!
This week I’ve been thinking about how much time I spend searching for my next great read. Do you do this too? I have a long list of books I’ve seen reviewed or recommended, and a massive pile of books next to my bed, but I still spend a lot of time browsing the library catalogue and reading the book review section of the newspaper searching for a truly great read. There’s something very appealing about a shiny new book, fresh from the printers.
Last weekend I went to the Words on the Waves Writers Festival at Umina (a beautiful beachside suburb near where I live), so now I have an even longer list of books that sound interesting. I’m very keen to read Shannon Harvey’s book on mindfulness and some more books by Emily Maguire. Having just finished Love Objects, I’m now a big fan.

What I've been reading
In the last couple of weeks, I also finished Monogamy by Sue Miller. It was a book group pick (my choice), and I had mixed feelings about it, as did the rest of my book group. One person found it totally boring and abandoned it after 50 pages, another thought the principal characters were too introspective and became tired with everyone examining what they were thinking and doing. A third member thought the relationships were interesting and nuanced, but the book was slow in places.
I found it hard to get into and worried whether this was because I been consuming light fiction for too long. I wondered if my reading muscles had atrophied through lack of use? After a shaky start, I found the themes of grief, loss and fidelity to be well told and thought provoking. There were quite a few places in the book where I thought “I know exactly what you mean”. I wrote a longer blog post on my thoughts about this book, especially the sex scenes, if you’d like to read more.
And speaking of book groups, here’s a piece I wrote a while back you might enjoy.
Book group “rules”
What I've been writing
I’ve been working on a children’s story about some musical vegetables. Sounds weird right? It’s a lot of fun and makes me smile, so I hope to find a home for it one day. Going to the writers’ festival renewed my enthusiasm for writing (and publishing) my own book.
When a famous author says that she had 200 rejections for her first four books, you realise that persistence is the key to becoming a published author.
What I've been listening to
I saw this podcast mentioned in the Cup of Jo newsletter. Dr Lucy Kalanithi is Jo’s twin sister and also the widow of Paul Kalanithy, who wrote When Breath Becomes Air, a fantastic book about what makes a life worth living. In this episode they discuss coping with depression. It’s not as gloomy as it sounds.
Podcast — Dr. Lucy Kalanithi
What I've been cooking
At the beginning of the pandemic I started posting pictures of my lunch on FaceBook. I was bored and it was something to do, but I also thought other people stuck at home might run out of ideas about what to have for lunch. I try to make my own lunches attractive and varied, keeping mind that I don’t like sandwiches unless they are toasted cheese.
I rarely post photos of my lunch these days because many people are back at work and/or not stuck at home, but I still often snap a pic if I think my salad looks nice!
There’s no real recipe to share today, I just throw together what’s on hand and dress it with some home-made dressing. This salad included haloumi, radishes, brown rice, cashews and dried cranberries. I topped it with fresh herbs and a spoonful of hummus, plus some lime juice. Yum!
A salad made from things in the fridge
A salad made from things in the fridge
One last thing
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Margaret Moon
Margaret Moon

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Central Coast, Australia