Get Your Motor Runnin’

On The Move: A Life
Oliver Sacks
Picador
May 2015

OnTheMove_smThe way other people see us isn’t necessarily the way we see ourselves. This was my first impression of Oliver Sacks, eminent neurologist, when seeing the cover of his memoir On The Move. Rather than providing a photo of himself as a distinguished older gentleman at the end of a distinguished neurological career, what we get instead is Sacks, virile, young, muscular, and leather-clad, astride a motorcycle. This is the Oliver Sacks that he wants us to remember, the inner Sacks that perhaps people had began to forget but he never had. There’s a fondness for the adventure of youth before the pages even open, and I found myself needing to recalibrate to the idea that perhaps this wasn’t the story of dogged academic pursuit after all.

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Justin Bieber First Step 2 Forever: My Story

JUSTIN BIEBER FIRST STEP 2 FOREVER: MY STORY

Bieber, Justin (Harper Collins, 2010  ISBN: 978-0-00-742692-8)bieber

I paid a whole $4 for this little gem in an op shop in Bentleigh. I scored such a bargain. This book is full of so much good advice, you only have to open it at a random page and read out the words – the truth shines forth for all to see.

“I’m not a fighter by nature, but, if I believe in something, I stand up for it.” I mean, can you argue with that?

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Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES: AND OTHER LESSONS FROM THE CREMATORIUM Book Cover SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES: AND OTHER LESSONS FROM THE CREMATORIUM
Caitlin Doughty
Allen & Unwin, RRP $27.99
April 2015

Death. It’s not a topic most people like to linger on. And those who do perhaps feel they are indulging in morbid and shameful thoughts. Our modern Western societies seem to have done away with death, making it as foreign and invisible as possible so that the living can get on with living… and with spending money.

For me, however, death has always held a fascination. My bookshelves contain probably more books dealing with death and burial practices than might be considered decent. And perhaps the less said about my obsession with the Black Death and with transi tombs, the better.

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A Matter Of Style

BETWEEN YOU AND ME: CONFESSIONS OF A COMMA QUEEN Book Cover BETWEEN YOU AND ME: CONFESSIONS OF A COMMA QUEEN
Mary Norris
Text Publishing
April 2015

Between you and me, Between You and Me* may well have made it into my top three favourite not dull books on Modern English grammar and punctuation. Now, I’m not saying the Commonwealth of Australia’s Style Manual is dull but it’s not exactly a rollercoaster made of glitter. Between You and Me is not a style manual but Mary Norris’s autobiographical account of life as a copy editor at The New Yorker. Though the reasons for loving it are numerous, it deserves accolades for making me aware of the existence of a pencil sharpener museum and that a pencil party is a thing that can happen.

Before reading this, Mary Norris’s first book, I had a vague notion that someone called the Comma Queen existed†. Of course, being so far removed from any stimulus that might encourage reading of The New Yorker, I have managed to remain unfamiliar with her work. Thus my only attraction to the book was its contents, which promised fabulous giblets of juicy punctuation fun. I have since discovered the Comma Queen has begun a wonderful video series, on The New Yorker’s website, which I will be following from now on. Continue reading

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