August 2018

Blog Archive - September 2018

1 September 2018

Killing Commentore by Haruki Murakami

I discovered today that Haruki Murakami has a new novel out when I saw that the shortlist for the New Academy Prize for literature has been announced. How did I miss that?

The New Academy Prize was established for 2018 only after the Nobel Prize for Literature was cancelled for this year after a sex scandal involving Jean-Claude Arnault, who is a husband of one of the Swedish Academy’s members. Accusations have also been made that he may have leaked the winners of previous Nobel Awards, which are heavily betted upon. Normally, the Nobel Prize is decided by a panel who have lifetime tenure. This year’s New Academy Prize was first been decided upon by librarians, producing 47 nominations which were reduced to a list of four finalists by a popular vote. The final prize will be decided by an expert jury.

The New Academy seeks to award an author who tells the story of humans in the world rather than the traditional remit of the Academy to select the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.

The four finalists are Haruki Murakami, Neil Gaiman, Maryse Condé and Kim Thúy, Like the Nobel Prize, the New Academy Prize is awarded for a body of work rather than one particular book. I’ve only read Murakami and Gaiman out of the four. My pick would be Murakami out of those two.

Apparently, the Academy plans to annouce two laureates next year to make up for this year's cancellation.

6 September 2018

I'm very careful to avoid broken links on this website, but I know, despite my best efforts, there may be one or two. This morning I was checking out Owlman's Penny's Pages, which can also be easily found from a link on his website. From reading this I realised I could create a custom 404 page, so I did that. I've tested it and it works. Hopefully, no one will ever encounter it while reading this website. But if you want to take a look you can click on this deliberately broken link.

7 September 2018

Last night, just before we went to dinner, I checked the website and found we had hit 100,000 views.


Thank you to everyone who has shown interest in our website since the beginning of last year. We've put a lot of work into it to make it as good as we can. I thought I'd list a few stats about our website as of today for anyone who might be interested. Our website has:

  • 282 pages that comprise the website;
  • 179 reviews of 174 different books;
  • 178,960 words across the 179 reviews
  • 33 Federalist Papers read for that project, totalling 21,082 for that alone;
  • 9 Man Booker Prize winners now reviewed for that project;
  • 3 main reviewers with reviews by a total of 6 different people;

We're hoping to reach 200 reviews by the end of the year, although that might be a reach. However, we're always happy to accept any reviews, even if they're one-offs, so don't be shy if you have a favourite book you'd like to write about. If you're one of our extremely few regular visitors, I hope we keep doing what it is that interested you in our project in the first place. Thanks

16 September 2018

Toriaz and her daughter participated in a run in Sydney this morning, which took them across the Harbour Bridge from the north side of the harbour to the Opera House. She managed to take a few shots which she sent to me. I have included them in our banner at the bottom of the main page of this website, which we originally created for overseas readers to enjoy.

10 September 2018

While I was out for a walk yesterday I decided to try to get a better picture of the Springwood HUB and Braemar Gallery for this About page. I think I managed it. The problem I've had is that panoramic shots are difficult to use on a street - they're better for sweeping vistas and sometimes cars can be blurred as they move - so the distorting effect can be quite distracting. Over the next few weeks I'll try a few new locations in Springwood.

This morning I have also added a link to the Google Street View beneath the photo for anyone interested.

I have also added a Message Page (commonly known as a Guest Book) which can be accessed via the Contact tab on the main page, or by links at the beginning and end of this blog.

30 September 2018

I made a few book purchases yesterday in Sydney. I bought two of The Escapist graphic novels inspired by Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavelier & Clay, which I am currently reading, as well as Esi Edugyan's Washington Black, which is shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year. I have no idea what its chances are, but it sounded interesting. If it doesn't win, I now have enough points accrued on my store loyalty card that I'll be able to get the winner for free when it's announced in the next few weeks.

21 September 2018

Man Booker Prize Shortlist

The shortlist for this year's Man Booker Prize was announced yesterday, although due to differences in international times it was sometime during the night for me as I slept. This year's list features three English writers, two Americans and one Canadian, none of whom I have previously read. The list is:

  • Anna Burns (UK) - Milkman (Faber & Faber)
  • Esi Edugyan (Canada) - Washington Black (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Daisy Johnson (UK) - Everything Under (Jonathan Cape)
  • Rachel Kushner (USA) - The Mars Room (Jonathan Cape)
  • Richard Powers (USA) - The Overstory (William Heinemann)
  • Robin Robertson (UK) - The Long Take (Picador)

Given our other reading commitments we will not really have time to attempt the entire list as we did for the Man Golden Booker Prize this year. However, we will try to review the 2018 winner sometime after it is announced on 16 October.

October 2018