reading

Reading, Watching, Listening.

Watching:

13 Reasons: I’ve debated for a while about watching this but intrigue finally got the better me. There’s been much conversation and debate about this show that’s based on the story of a teenager who commits suicide. I’ve decided to watch it so that I can make up my own mind. I’m five episodes into the thirteen episodes so I’ll let you know what I think when I get to the end…I hear that the final episode is especially confronting. Have you watched?

This is us: Who’s hooked? I am. This show had me right from that brilliant twist in the very first episode. I feel like it’s all building to something, and of course we all want to know how Jack died (I still can’t believe he’s going to die). Any theories?

Reading:

Small Great Things: Last month I finally found the time to sit down and read ‘Small Great Things’ by Jodi Picoult. Jodi is one of my all time favourite authors so I always have high hopes whenever she releases a new book. Jodi is renowed for always have some kind of big twist towards the ending and I have to say that was probably my only real disappointment in this book. For me, the ‘big twist’ lacked the usual punch and shock factor, maybe even seemed a little too neat, with everything tied up in a neat little bow at the end. But, having said that, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book and it held me captive right the way through.

Work Strife Balance: I’m going to be brutally honest and say I’ve never been a big fan of Mia Freedman (she seems to be the woman that other woman love to hate) but I didn’t really know why exactly. I don’t think I’ve ever actually even read anything on Mamamia before (not that I can remember anyway) but I do love her podcast No Filter; though I think that’s more about the subjects she interviews than Mia herself. Anyway, I decided I didn’t really know enough about Mia to judge so I picked up this book, a little intrigued to find out more. And you know what? I actually really, really enjoyed the book. There were funny bits and touching bits and even some uncomfortable bits. There were bits I couldn’t relate to and bits I couldn’t. But overall, I enjoyed it and I definitely feel like I know Mia a lot better now (as much as a total stranger can!) At the end of the day, she just another woman, another mum, trying to do the best she can, stuffing up a lot along the way; something which she openly admits. Have you read Mia’s book?

Listening:

The Well: One of my favourite podcasts is finally back after a long break! I’ve talked about The Well here before; Rebecca Sparrow and Robin Bailey talk all things motherhood, friendship and life. And they’re back with a bang with the “when life pulls the rug out from under you” episode. Get on it people.

S- Town: Oh man, I could devote an entire blog post to this podcast (and I might just do that one day). Just seven episodes long I binged listened to the whole thing in a week. And then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I recommended it to a friend who I knew would enjoy it as much as I did so I had someone to talk to about it. If you haven’t listened to S-Town it’s hard to explain in too much detail without giving anything away. I can say this; it is quite unlike anything I’ve ever come across before. As my friend so perfectly put it in a late night text message after he’d finished listening “clocks, mercury and gold. A story about nothing and everything”. The story begins with a man contacting a journalist, Brian Reed (the creator and narrator of the podcast) informing him there had been a murder in his small town that had been covered up and asked him to investigate. In the end, that’s not really story at all….and that’s all I’m going to say. A little like Sarah Koenig’s commentary in Serial, you find yourself mesmerised by Brian’s voice and left wanting to hear more. Lucky for me I will be as my friend and I scored tickets to this event in Melbourne next month where we’ll get to hear Brian talk.

So, what have you been reading, watching and listening to lately?

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First, we make the beast beautiful

Wednesday is usually my day for getting stuff done; it’s the one day of the week that I don’t have to go into the office and I’m kid free. Wednesdays for me usually involve working from home, doing the housework and washing, paying bills, going to the bank and the post office…you know all that boring grown up stuff that you don’t really want to do but needs to be done. But today? Well today I was totally self indulgent and I spent the whole day in bed reading. Hubby was home from work so he took the little man to and from school. It was cold and miserable outside so I cuddled up in bed with my heat bag and my latest read ‘first, we make the beast beautiful’ by Sarah Wilson. Hour later, I have emerged and I just need to share….

I’ve read many books on the subject of anxiety over the years but this one was different. The title and the cover grabbed me from the start, it promised to be ‘a new story about anxiety’ it really was.

As I was reading, there were parts of the book that I couldn’t relate to; Sarah’s life is (of course) quiet different to my own and she has done things I would never even dream of doing; from bungee jumping to taking off on week long hikes alone and living in a deserted shed in the woods for six months. Just reading about that stuff made me feel anxious. Nope, that’s not for me, because of course the control freak in me would never allow anything like that to happen! But there was so much in this book, and in Sarah, that I could relate to. I found myself nodding along furiously to parts wanting to yell “oh my god yes, this!”

By the time that hubby got home from running some errands I had flagged a whole bunch of pages that I wanted to read to him, which he lovingly let me do over lunch (bless him). There’s a part in the book where Sarah talks about how our loved ones can help us when we are feeling anxious or mid panic attack…

“Just be there when we wobble. Just stay. and be entirely certain and solid about doing so, even in the very convincing face of pushback and the frantic wobbliness from us. Your patience and calmness will exist in such stark contrast to our funk that we’ll start to feel silly and return to Earth. Our anxiety does pass.”  Umm yes! I’m lucky that my hubby is actually pretty good at doing this. It’s why he’s the one I always want nearby when I’m feeling anxious. He’s great at staying solid and bring me back down to earth.

And this; “don’t confuse our need to control our environment with our need to control you”. Yep, we anxious folks are control freaks but it’s not that we want to control other people, we’re just doing our best to try and control everything else to prevent (gasp) the worst from ever happening. (Of course deep down we know that’s actually impossible, because if we could control that we’d be God!)

And I giggled out loud at the trueness of this one; “Never in the history of calming down has anyone calmed down from someone telling them to calm down”. In fact, it does the exact opposite…thankfully my husband learned this a long time ago!

There were so many other random and weird things that popped up throughout the book that I have always thought to be a ‘Sarah thing’ (me that is, not Sarah Wilson) but now wonder if it’s actually an anxious person thing. Like the fact that I just cannot relax at a day spa but I totally love those cheap and nasty, walk in and walk out, Thai massage places. The best! And why I sometimes like to sleep upside down in bed; putting my head where my feet usually are and vice versa (a trick I introduced to hubby years ago and he now also loves to try when either of us are having trouble sleeping). Or why I’m so bad at making decisions; Sarah explains this so perfectly in her book but I won’t delve into that here, it’s a little complex and I don’t want to give o away.

If you suffer from anxiety I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy of this book. Allow yourself to get swept away into the amazing, raw, yet ever  wonderful world of Sarah Wilsons mind. You might just find some comfort in it.

 

 

 

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Book Reviews- October

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It’s been all about non fiction books for me this month. Here’s what I’ve been reading…

Gut, The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Under-Rated Organ: Giulia Enders

Giulia Enders is a German writer and scientist who has been studying the human gut for years. In this book Giulia explains in simple and often humorous ways, the inner workings of the gut and how it affects so many aspects of our health. I found this book really interesting, in particular the relationship between gut health and things like anxiety and depression; it’s definitely opened my eyes to some things. If you’re into learning more about how your body works and how to manage your health in more natural ways then this is a must read!

On Writing– Stephen King

I’ll admit upfront that I’m not a Stephen King fan, as in I’ve don’t think I’ve ever read one of his books or watched any of the movies. But I certainly respect him as a creative mind and even more so since reading this book. It is part memoir and part instructions on writing; and the two blend perfectly together. Because I didn’t know much about him, it was interesting to read Stephens life story and he has some really great, practical advice on writing. I also love how he is straight to the point and just tells it like it is. Every writer or aspiring writer will find pieces of gold in the book, I’m sure of it.

Bird by Bird– Anne Lamont

This one has been on my ‘must read’ list for a long time after having it recommended to me by so many people. Similar to On Writing, Bird by Bird is a must read for any writer, no matter what level you’re at. It has so many great tips on how to get started, how to overcome obstacles, where to find ideas, how to get those ideas out of your head and more. Anne shares her own experiences on writing and publishing openly and honestly which was a nice reminder that it doesn’t come easy to anyone; all writers have to do they hard work.

Cabin Porn– Zach Klein

This book is based on the tumblr website Cabin Porn which is a collection of beautiful images of cabins submitted by people from all over the world. The book contains two hundred of these images as well as ten ‘behind the scenes’ stories about the people who built the cabins. It makes a gorgeous coffee table book and flipping through it makes me want to runaway and build a cabin in the woods.

What have you been reading this month? Any of these books tickle your fancy?

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Book Reviews- September

Book reviews september, www.saradipity.com.auI’ve been reading a lot lately, making a concerted effort to pick a book instead of the phone. I’ve been reading at night and first thing in the morning instead of watching TV. If my son will allow it some days I even manage to squeeze in some reading in the late afternoon. I’ve been making my way through a list of books I’ve been wanting to read for some time, picking up a few at the library each week. Here’s some quick reviews of what I’ve read this month:

Craft for the Soul: Written by one of my all time fav bloggers, Pip Lincolne, this is one of the sweetest books getting around. It’s filled with little bits of inspiration, activities and prompts to get you thinking and creating. The book also includes ten step-by-step crafty projects. This is the perfect book to buy your bestie or keep on your bedside table when your feeling a little blue.

Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It: This book was published to celebrate ten years since the release of the original ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. If you were a fan of that book then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one too. The book is a collection of short stories from readers who were inspired to make a real life change after reading ‘Eat, Pray Love’. Some of the changes were big, some were small yet still significant realisations. It was a quick and easy read and whilst I don’t think there was anything particularly groundbreaking about it was a good little hit of inspiration which I still enjoyed.

The Paper House: There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding this debut novel by Anna Spargo Ryan so I was a little worried I’d be disappointed. I wasn’t. This book had me with the very first line; “My heart fell out on a spring morning – the kind that rose coolly in the east and set brightly in the west.” Anna’s writing is just so beautiful, she describes the indescribable in the most poetic way. The Paper House is told from the point of view of Heather, a woman who is struggling with the  sudden loss of her unborn baby. The book delves into some pretty big issues; Heather’s story becomes intertwined with that of her mothers, a woman who battled her own demons in the form of a serious mental illness. I just couldn’t put this book down; particularly towards the end when it went to a place I didn’t think it would; it had me captivated. I can’t say too much without ruining the story but if you haven’t already done so you should really read this book, it’s one of those stories that just stays with you.

The Anxiety Book: Written by Aussie journalist Elisa Black, this book is a ‘true story of phobias, flashbacks and freak-outs and how Elisa got her ‘inner calm back’. I wouldn’t describe this as a self help book although I certainly did find it helpful. Rather than telling us what anxiety is, why we have it and how to control it, Elisa simple tells her own story. And she tells its with great honesty. I could relate to a lot of what Elisa had to say, and had many ‘a-ha’ moments throughout the book. So many times it was like she reached into my body, pulled out my thoughts and feelings and put them into words. The biggest thing I took away from this book was that I am not alone and I am not crazy! If you suffer from anxiety I highly recommend you read this book. If you don’t suffer from anxiety but know someone who does then I still highly recommend you read it; it might just help you to understand

The Anti Cool Girl: Rosie Waterland is an Australian writer best known for her hilarious recaps of The Bachelor on the Mamamia Website (you can check them out here). If you’re a fan of Rosie’s writing then you will absolutely love this memoir. She does not shy away from anything, letting you in on all of the sordid details of her upbringing, with chapter titles like ‘Your mum will be a sex worker, and you’ll have no idea’, ‘You will get caught masturbating while watching rugrats’ and ‘Your friends will find a dead body in the bush and it will be your dad’. Rosie’s writing is totally in you face, if I’m honest at some points I squirmed; felt a bit uncomfortable. Rosie’s story is actually really sad and tragic but she has a way of poking fun at everything; I guess it’s the reason she survived and has become the success she is today.

What have you been reading lately? Have you read any of these? Any books you can recommend that I should read next?

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Top Reads on the Net- Fast Five Friday

For Fast Five Friday I’m sharing with you five awesome things I’ve read on the internet this week:

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After carrying out this little experiment in tracking how much I use my phone on a daily basis, this post really resonated with me. I think the Japanese people are really on to something here! Doing just one thing at a time…I so need to start doing that.

And on that same topic, I loved this post by Pip on the art of slowing down.

I’m loving the Conversations with Carlo series on Veggie Mama. You can read part two here. I’m hoping there will be many more conversations with Carlo to come. Can’t you just picture him?

If you’re a blogger you probably heard all about a certain post written by a “former mommy blogger” that basically told all other mummy bloggers out there to just give the whole thing up immediately. I’m not going to link to that post here because frankly I thought it was just plain nasty but what I will link to is a fantastic reply by Kelly Exteter in which she gave us all 10 reason’s we should keep right on mommy blogging.

My sister recently introduced me to Little Eco Footprints. This amazing family built a gorgeous tiny home out of shipping container. Their vision is inspiring; It’s simple living to the max!

Have you read anything awesome or interesting on the net this week? Do share!

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Reading Lately

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I really enjoy reading and have been making more time to do it lately, even if it’s only a few pages before bedtime. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop: Set in 1963 this is the fictional story of Charlotte and Henry,  a married couple who move from their home in England to the other side of the world; Australia. Charlotte struggles with settling in her new home, with being a mother and the daily repetition it brings. I can’t go too much into it without giving the ending away but I have to say this book left me which a great feeling of unease. Sometimes I could relate to Charlotte but other times she seemed so foreign to me that I just couldn’t connect. Either way, the book was very well written and kept me interested until the end.

The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon: If you’ve  never read a Paige Toon book I can sum them up for you in two words ‘chick lit’ and I don’t mind a bit of chick lit every now and then. The Sun in Her Eyes is told from the point of view of Amber, a woman in her early thirties who has left her husband behind in London to come to Australia and help care for her Father after he suffered a recent stroke. An old flame is rekindled leaving Amber questioning her marriage and her future. It’s an easy read, has a few little twists and overall I enjoyed it as a book I didn’t have to think too hard about.

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan: I loved this one! I actually read the whole thing in one day because I literally couldn’t put it down. The blurb grabbed me from the beginning: ‘To everyone who knows her now Zoe Maisey- child genius, musical sensation- is perfect. Yet several years ago Zoe caused the death of three teenagers. She served her time, and now she’s free. Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life. By midnight, her mother is dead.’ This book has lots of little twists and turns and has you guessing until the end.

What have you been reading lately? Any good book recommendations?

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Top 5 Teen Fiction for Adults- Fast Five Friday

Fast Frive Friday 3, www.sarahdipity.com.auWelcome to Fast Five Friday where I bring you my top five of something every Friday.

Confession; I love teen fiction books. Loved them when I was a teenager and still love them now. Here’s my top five teen fiction books that you should try reading (if you haven’t already) and if you’re a parent of a teenager why not get them reading too?

Tomorrow When the War Began series by John Marsden: This is my all time favourite book series. My sister, Mum and I all read this series growing up and I have since reread it a few times. I also really love that it’s by an Aussie author.

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta: We studied this book in high school and I loved it. I also reread it when I was older and watched the movie which I think was a great portrayal of the book.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I enjoyed the books and when the movies came out Hubby also enjoyed watching them with me.

The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer: I’m pretty sure the whole world has heard about this series. I didn’t exactly love the movies but I did enjoy the books. Yes, the whole story is pretty far fetched and corny but sometimes it’s nice to just switch off your brain and read something like that

Anything by John Green: We’re talking The Fault in our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns and more. John Green’s books are usually a quick and easy read but with a bit of depth.

Do you enjoy reading teen fiction? Have you read any of these books?

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