The Secret History was horrendous. Probably 20 years ago I read it. It was one of those books you couldn’t put down lightly. You had to hurl it with great force.

Just a bunch of self-entitled tossers. I thought someone should come in and kill the lot of them.


I was very disappointed with it. When I started reading it I thought that maybe, just maybe, it might be a book that didn’t have a murder at its centre. But in the end, after getting through all the other guff, it was just another story about a psychopathic murderer.

I’m sick of them.


Not sure I’d go so far as labeling it “horrendous” but I’m in general agreement on the merits of “Secret History”.

However Rachel Cusk’s more recent crimeless trilogy fascinated me, a writer who takes no prisoners, and I highly recommend that neither of you read her.

Benjamin Black’s “Holy Orders” was a damn good read, hardly surprising because it’s the acclaimed author John Banville’s alias when he writes crime fiction but he also now seems to be more comfortable with the genre.

I tried hard to like Mary Renault’s iconic “The King Must Die” but it bored me to tears. I did finish it but God knows why.


I enjoyed Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch


How much detail does he go into


On what ?


His methamphetimine storage and distribution enterprise.


I just read through the entire thread and found I’ve bagged the absolute suitcase of The Secret History 4 or 5 times.

Onto another Oz crime thriller with Sarah Bailey’s The Dark Lake, another police procedural where the female homicide detective is investigating the murder of a school contemporary, somewhere 4 hours by road from Sydney.


Port Fairy gets more than a mention in quite a good recent book about the Stoccos and their life on the run.

Not very nice people at all, and definitely weird. Father and son shared a bed but both denied any hanky panky.


Took me a while to work out you were talking about the Stoccos there.

Having met my fair share of people from Port Fairy I thought hang on they are nice people, definitely weird but nice.


I haven’t met too many of the weird ones, but the area used to have a big reputation for producing weed, I gather. There’s an opiate factory on the highway into town, but most of the people I know from there, have left or been shafted. Indians bought it from Glaxo a couple of years back.


People were known to blot out the “R” in the big ‘Welcome to Portland’ sign coming into town.

Back on books, I’ve dropped right off Jeffery Deaver after his last couple. He just seems to be going through the motions with a lot of unnecessary filler and unexceptional plots.


The cost of housing has changed it a fair bit recently. But going back and maybe due to the influence of the Folk Festival it has allways had a bit of reputation as being a little bit left of centre, friendly to muso’s and hippies. It’s no Daylesford but it’s way less conservative and staid as Hamilton and Warrnambool.


It’s a good 50% more expensive than the Bool. You won’t find much close to the town centre under $500K.

My new next door neighbours reckon they’ll be spending a mill on the build. They took out 90 truckloads of rocks and levelled the entire block…retaining walls at the back are at least a metre to 1200mm.


I’ll have to check on the Stoccos, but most of the older denizens that I know are up in warmer climes until mid-September.


It is a good read about his history and coaching philosophy.

Doesn’t go into great detail about the saga, but there is a chapter on it, and he strongly refutes drugs. It is worth reading


Just finished The Dark Lake, a debut crime novel by Sarah Bailey set four hours from Sydney. It’s just the sort @Shelton10 hates, where the detective’s private life dominates the novel.

Gemma Woodstock is a 29-yo detective sergeant in Smithson (fictional town) who starts to investigate the murder of a teacher at the local high school, a woman who was a contemporary of Gemma at school, and whose life overlapped considerably and tragically.

It’s pretty hard going, most of the book, but I finished it. I’ll consider reading the follow-up at some point, but now just started April in Paris 1921 by Tess Lunney, about an Australian girl who returns to London and Paris after working as a nurse (or an ambulance driver) on the Western Front. She gets involved with spying. Right at the start.


Just finished Jennifer Egan’s “Manhattan Beach” and to be honest I’m not sure what to make of it. It’s an engaging, impressively researched saga of a likeable heroine making her way largely alone in a man’s world, namely the deep sea diving ports of WW2 America. Throw in some organised crime and the mystery of a missing father and there’s more than enough to keep you “turning the pages”. Which is where I strike a snag. I didn’t think I was signing up for a page turner, a linear tale with plenty of cliff hangar moments which ties up all the loose ends and provides safe conventional plot development(I mean are we really meant to be surprised when it turns out the prodigal dad isn’t dead), I thought I was in for another literary ride from the ambitiously quirky author of the Pulitzer winning “A Visit From the Goon Squad” and the startling “Look at Me”.
I’m sure it’s sold well and she clearly can match it with the best seller top guns but I do hope it’s a one off. She’s just too original to waste her talent on airplane novels, albeit high quality ones.


I finished Tess Lunney’s April in Paris 1921. Bit predictable and shallow, using the well-known foreigners in Paris themes.

Now on Dervla McTiernan’s The Rúin, about deaths in Galway. About halfway through…pretty good so far. Author emigrated from Ireland to WA.


Well I’ve been back to an old favourite, Auntie Mame, by Patrick Dennis whose real name was Edward Everett Tanner III. I read it first as a teenager, and it made me laugh out loud then and it made me laugh out loud this time, which must be about the 5th time I’ve read it. I’d like to know more about the author, who obviously knew enough about how seriously rich Bohemian New Yorkers lived to write about them convincingly, while he wrote from the point of view of an interested and witty observer, and who later in his life worked as butler to Ray Kroc, who had no idea of his literary career. Auntie Mame was at No 1 on the New York Times best seller list for nearly two years and was a successful film (with Jane Russell as Mame) and even more successful musical.

The film was terrible, by the way, and Jane Russell didn’t get anywhere near the character. I never saw the musical but the title song is great.

It’s not great literature. But it is funny. Very.