Monday, March 28, 2011


Does my Head Look Big in This is narrated by Rebecca Macauley. She does a pretty good job but cept the character of Cassandra starts with a cockney accent then goes all BBC World News in the next chapter.

This might be because of an inconsistency in the text. Cassandra describes herself as having a difficult to understand cockney accent - then in the next chapter she says her parents moved in "high society" in England and her father was a banker, following in the footsteps of his father and father's father.

Possibly I'm just full of terrible stereotypes and don't understand how many third generation cockney bankers there are moving in London's high society. But Macauley definitely changed Cassandra's accent. Perhaps this was deliberate to try to match the text and then she just hoped no-one would notice. Well, ha! no such luck, with Penny the Pedant in town.

In general, Macauley's accents are solid, with the exception of the cockney, which is bloody difficult - look at Mary Poppins.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Does my head look big in this?

I currently listening to a book by Randa Abdel-Fattah about Amal, a Melbourne school-girl who decides to wear the hijab full time. The book has the excellant title, Does my Head Look Big in This?

I enjoyed listening to it yesterday as I took up the baking burden and made the weekly muffins.

As usual, once the muffins were in the oven I was off and Googling about the book and author. That's how I discovered the website Photoshop Disasters and this photo. And that's how I lost another hour of my life looking at pointless shit on the internet.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I've just finished Death at Victoria Dock, a Phyrne Fisher mystery. In my last post I mentioned that I find Phyrne Fisher story tapes extremely reliable. An extra bonus with this one was a recorded conversation at the end between Kerry Greenwood (the author) and Stephanie Daniel (the narrator).

Stephanie Daniel's voice in conversation was very different from her voice as narrator. Stephanie also mentioned that she used her "real voice" as the character of the nun. I'd previously assumed that narrators only put on voices for the characters' dialogue, not for the narration bits.

I now realise that Stepahnie would sound a bit weird speaking like this all the time. If I was chatting to her about an every day topic like the price of milk or Ricky Nixon's disgraceful hair and conduct I would quickly get tired of her slow sentences and perfect diction.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Easy Choices

Sometimes choosing story tapes is hard but sometimes it is very easy. In that way, it's not unlike buying fruit.

Whenever I see a Phyrne Fisher mystery by Kerry Greenwood I just borrow it. I don't bother looking at anything else on the shelf.

Phyrne is a super attractive and smart woman who solves mysteries in 1920s Melbourne. These books work very well as story tapes.

Phyrne has a lovely life and it is a delight to hear about her as I go about mine. After a very hard day of fighting crime Phyrne goes home, is greeted by her butler, has a hot bath run for her by her maid, is served chicken soup and a hot toddy by her cook and, thus bodily satisfied, she steelily determines to compose her thoughts and emotions.

And it's not just because she has help. Phyrne Fisher would be able to make herself bodily satisfied and compose her thoughts and emotions in almost any circumstances. Even if she was working in the ham hocks section of a bacon factory, at the end of the day, she would take a deep breath, have a gin and tonic, and put it all behind her.

I personally find this tricky. After a hard day of spreadsheeting, I come home, race around madly to get bodily satisfied but then - can I compose my thoughts and emotions? No. I am still fuming because someone told me Column C had the 2009-10 figures instead of 10-11.

But I find that listening to a Phryne Fisher mystery can, at least temporarily, rest my mind.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I finished Joel and Cat set the Story Straight last night while making a cardamon slice. The book is about a girl and boy who frickin hate each other and have to write a tandem story together for English. Nick Earls writes and narrates Joel, Rebecca Sparrow writes and narrates Cat and the book alternates perspectives each chapter.

Last week I said I was intrigued by the writing process between Nick Earls and Rebecca Sparrow but was holding out on discovering more until I'd heard the whole thing. Well, the moment I finished the final disk I minimised the slice recipe and opened a new browser window, Googling like a mad thing.

Soon, all of my questions were answered with most of them covered by this interview.

To sum up, in real life Earls and Sparrow are not on together and they never frickin hated each other. So the the life cunningly disguised as art ingeniously impersonating life masquerading as art hiding under a flowerpot thing is confined to the tandem story writing, not to the actual plot.

Anyway, this was probably the most enjoyable story tape I've heard all year. Was funny and the authors were very good narrators.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

World Read Aloud Day

Dash it! Wednesday 9 May was World Read Aloud Day and I missed it! I would have totally gotten behind that day.

I have very happy memories of being read to - John Brown Rose and the Midnight Cat by Jenny Wagner is a book whose brilliance is undiminished by repetition. I could listen to it every day. I know, because for a few months when I was three, I did. Now when I read the book I still hear my Dad's voice, particularly on classic lines like, "John Brown tipped it out again."

Nowadays I just have my story tapes. And sometimes people at work read out important news items from The Age website, for example on Sophie Monk's shock engagement (and end of) or Ricky Nixon's disgraceful hair and conduct. Not quite the same.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Getting ahead of myself

While I was working my core on my fit ball (hilarious! that is actually true!) I started listening to Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight, by Nick Earls and Rebecca Sparrow.

The book is dual perspective, with Joel's story written and read by Nick Earls and Cat's story written and read by Rebecca Sparrow. Happily, both authors do a good job as narrators.

The plot involves Joel and Cat writing a tandem story for an English assignment, with each of them taking turns to write a paragraph. This makes me extremely curious about the writing process for the book.

Questions occur: Did Earls and Sparrow use the tandem method to write Joel and Cat? Did they map out the plot beforehand? Did either of them make the other one change bits? Are they on together?

When I read books I am a terrible skipper to the ender. I frequently go to the last page or flick through to see if a character keeps being mentioned. With story tapes you theorhetically can't do that. Except, you sort of can if you Google the book, or look at reviews on Goodreads, or look up the author on Wikipedia etc. Recently I have not been able to resist reading spoiling reviews/interviews/articles of the books I've been listening to.

So I am determined not to impact my experience of Joel and Cat set the Record Straight by reading about it. Dammit, I will form my own opinions of the work, and let the plot unfold at its own pace.

I am finding it hard to resist the temptation to Google. Very hard. Like my core. (That is not true, core is not hard despite agressive once a week fit ball regime.)

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I am growing up and learning new things all the time.

I went to my first babyshower two weeks ago. A lovely afternoon, but there was more smoking than I expected.

Last night I went to my first hens night. It was a great night, but there was more talking about death than I expected.

I'll know for next time.

I'm still listening to Undine by Penni Russon, a book about a girl discovering that she has nautically-inspired magical powers.

I'm enjoying listening to this story more than I expected, because I don't get into much fantasy. Perhaps because whenever I read a book like Undine I can't help thinking that poor Undies might be mentally ill rather than magical. This is clearly a failure of my imagination and I wish I was better at suspending disbelief. I keep telling myself that Harry Potter really did go to Hogwarts - he's not just a lonely boy in a basement who has lost his grip on reality.

At least when I read Liar by Justine Larbalestier, I didn't have any doubts or confusion about what "really" happened. I knew.