Saturday, October 26, 2013

"Everything I Knew" by Peter Goldsworthy

I read this book as part of the Aussie Author Challenge. I have previously read two other books by this author ("Wish" and "Honk if you are Jesus") both of which I thought were excellent. This book was quite different. It was set in Penola, South Australia. It reminded me more of Tim Winton's style of writing rather than the style I associate with the other Peter Goldsworthy books I've read. Basically it follows the story of a young teenage boy and his infatuation with his teacher. Some very creative aspects, but inevitably tragic, like a train crash watched in slow motion. The ending was not satisfying to me, and actually reminded me of when I had creative writing assignments at school and was criticised for ending my stories with "and then she woke up and it was all a dream". Peter Goldsworthy is  a great writer and captures so many details of the era and the atmosphere of a small country town in South Australia, but it left me wanting more from the last 1/4 of the book. 

Started reading on my kindle: 19th October 2013
Finished: 26th Oct 2013
My score: 6/10

Sunday, October 20, 2013

"Sweet Poison" by David Gillespie

This book basically explains to a general (non-scientist) audience the problem with the high amount of sugar (in particular fructose) we as a general western population consume. If you don't know what I'm talking about, or think that eating a "low fat" diet is going to help you really lose weight (but are constantly surprised why you are not losing any weight), then this book would be a great place to start. I didn't learn a lot I didn't know from this book overall (but I have been reading a few things including scientific papers around this topic lately), but it did fill in some of the details and gaps and give historical perspectives and made it make more sense in easy-to-read language. If you don't want to read the book, take home over-simplified message is: Minimise/eliminate sugar from your diet, also eliminate things you might have been taught are healthy like fruit juice as it is basically concentrated sugar (fructose) without the goodness of fibre etc which would be found if you just ate a piece of real fruit. You aren't going to sit down and eat 5 apples in one sitting but you will get the same amount of sugar from a glass of juice and you still will feel hungry after the juice and go and eat more food. Plus our bodies don't have the same biochemical checks and balances to tell yourself you have eaten enough fructose, compared to similar checks and balances for consuming fats or even glucose (e.g. insulin). Also just for fun, next time you want to buy some 'low fat' product at the supermarket, compare the sugar content to the similar "normal fat" product, it's often higher in sugar. I know I'd rather have the full-fat but lower sugar version any day. I must confess I have been experimenting with the 'Paleo lifestyle' this year, and finding that i have a lot of energy, losing weight and feeling awesome. Cutting back on sugar and processed food is a big part of the Paleo lifestyle combined with cutting back/eliminating grains, so the anti-sugar/fructose message in this book definitely appeals to me.

This book is the first non-fiction book I have read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge. It is also written by a male author who was new to me, I hadnt previously read any of his books before. It's not a long book, and I think if it was the first time I came across the concepts in this book I would probably rank it higher, but I am giving it 6.5-7/10.

Started reading on my kindle: 19th October 2013
Finished: 20th October 2013.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

This book was like nothing else I've read before. I don't think I can even remember another time when a book made me physically cry so that I couldn't see the words to keep reading, but the last 50 pages of this one did. I don't think I will ever forget this book. I 100% recommend it, despite the tears, it is one of the best books I have ever read. It is written from the point of view of a very unique narrator - "Death" who oversees and follows the main characters of this book during the time of Nazi Germany. Despite how grim this story sounds from my review so far, trust me it has so many beautiful unforgettable moments in it, and it is told in such a different way to other stories I have read, it is a great book. I don't want to give the storylines away, just want to say that you really need to read this book.

I actually read this book without realising it was written by an Australian author. It was recommended to me by a few friends and one of them lent me their copy to read. It turns out the author is Australian, so I have added this book to my Aussie Author Challenge list, as a male author (new to me), historical fiction genre.

Started reading: 6th October 2013
Finished: 19th October 2013
My score: 10/10