Coincidentally this month, I read two life-accounts by women raised in religious movements outside the mainstream (the Westover and Janzen books) which provided a stark contrast to each other. The bleak Westover book v.s. the cheerful Janzen account. I now realise why the Westover book was such a hit in 2018 in the USA. I must confess I was shocked that these events could and did take place in the fairly recent past. Had the setting been in the Pioneer days of the Wild West, the story wouldn’t have been so remarkable, but in the late 20th century ? An entirely different era, and therefore shocking.

Another twinned read: two space themed books. The Latimer South African Space romp, and the deeply thoughtful Matt Haig survey of humanity. Joanne Harris summarized the Haig novel as The Man Who Fell to Earth meets the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Very neatly and accurately put.

And now we come to The Binding – Bridget Collins. I was dying to read the Fantasy novel, partly seduced by the gorgeous cover, and plunged in. But: about a quarter way through, the story took a different turn into the realms of faux-Victorian erotica. Its described as a Gothic novel, and it is. The writing is vivid, the characters memorable, and I must confess to being swept away. I cannot say more, lest I stray into spoiler territory. I suspect it was the cross genre direction of the novel that threw me. I’m still not sure if I enjoyed it or not! I’d love your views on the novel?

You already know my weakness for reading cook books, don’t you? Plus my addiction to MasterChef Australia ? So when I spotted a second hand copy in my local indie bookstore – Books Galore, Sunningdale  – we all know what happened next, don’t we? Worth every cent. As the sub-title says: 204 Recipes you’ll want to Cook Again and AGAIN. And Matt Preston on the cover, with a roguish twinkle in his eye. What I loved most about the book was his entertaining text, prefacing most recipes. Warm, down to earth, with jolly little quips and asides. I think I put on 2 kg just reading the damn thing. It was a worthwhile splurge.


The Binding – Bridget Collins. Fantasy novel; more of a love story, despite the magical elements in the story. Unusual cross-genre story.

The Space Race – Alex Latimer.  South African Afrinauts set off to conquer new worlds. Fun read debut novel. Very authentically S’Affrican!
The Plains – Gerald Murnane. Difficult and challenging literary novel by renowned Australian author.

Happiness for Humans – P Z Reizin. A laugh-out-loud easy read: what if your AI project set you up with the perfect date? AI meddles in the real world with hilarious results.
The Humans – Matt Haig. A thought provoking look at our species via the cool eyes of an alien visitor. Quirky, elegiac, wonderful. High on my Re-Read Soon List.

Mennonite in a Little Black dress – Rhoda Janzen. Cheerful memoir of a Mennonite childhood plus a sobering reflection on a 15 year bad marriage.
Educated – Tara Westover. Shocking account of a brutal childhood, bravely overcome in early adult life.

Fast, Fresh and Unbelieveably Delicious – Matt Preston. Pasta with Personality, Teatime treats, and Matt Preston in all his twinkly glory, sans wildly colourful suits, but plus lovely recipes. Yes please: I’d love to come over for tea. Or any food event in your house!