Book Review – Go Set a Watchman



Last year I set myself a goal to read 52 books. Well – I must admit that I didn’t quite make it. I was pleased with the 32 I had read and reassured myself that it was a reasonable effort for this Baby Boomer, given all that was going on with my health in 2015. My goal is the same this year. 52 books here I come. I am determined to do it this time!

So to my review of Book 32…..

With all the hype surrounding the release of Go Set a Watchman, I had mixed emotions on opening my Christmas present hardback with the deep red cover. Never being one to shy away from a literary challenge, the anticipation got the better of me and I dived right in! But I made one mistake….

I realised that it was many years since I had immersed myself in one of my fave books ever – To Kill a Mockingbird. To complete the experience, I decided to refresh my mind with the original, much lauded tome and yes, yet again it affected me. With a vague mix of excitement and anticipation (read trepidation) I launched into the ‘sequel’.

Things started well and though I did not feel that the follow up book based on Harper Lee’s notes, rang as true as Lee’s original voice, I was soon further disillusioned when a large paragraph, equivalent to almost a page, was pretty much lifted word for word from To Kill a Mockingbird.

Yes, I know that there needed to be some backtracking for those who did not read the original. Yes, I know that some critics claimed that it was acceptable as a new work in its own right. But, for me – the repetition was grating, the voice too thin and some important characters were only alluded to throughout its pages. I was disappointed!

However….the further I got into the book, the more I was appeased. For Scout fans, the precocious child is now a precocious woman, who hasn’t quite found her place in the world. When she revisits the town of her youth, things have changed. Is the South that she knew gone forever? And what does Atticus Finch do to cause her to consider leaving them behind for ever?

The only thing is to pick up a volume and find out.

I rate it 3 out of 5. Worth a look.

PS I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts.




2015 Be Gone. It’s the New Year..




The winds of change have been a constant theme for my family this year… and surprisingly, have not caused the angst that usually accompanies big diversions away from the norm.

I heard today on the local Brisbane News that 100,000 people will be at South bank for New Years Eve. Numbers are down. The terrorism threat level is ‘Probable’.  What does that even mean? These days,  I can’t think of anything worse than being in a crowd of 100,000 tonight. A crowd of 3 will do for me!

This year I have changed considerably. I have let go of a lot of ‘the old me’, (aka ‘the young me’) and sought: solitude over crowds, silence over talking and familiar over strange. I have calmed down and actually not fought or even mourned the loss of my previous life, but reminisced about it often and smiled.

The professional person,  the Audiologist, the Rehab Counsellor, the Psychologist in me has retired. The incessant traveller and adventurer has not been overly bothered by not leaving my own State all year. The parent is enjoying her girls beautiful transformation into a loving, kind,’sort of’ independent woman, slowly amassing skills in housework, cooking and driving.

Funnily enough,  I look at the world on the eve of 2016 and don’t recognise the world I grew up in anymore. People don’t care as much, acquisitiveness and anti-Islamic sentiment are rife and terrorism is a reality, but I feel more empathy for myself and less stress about being me than I ever have. And it’s a good thing.

I am tempted to say that I am wiser, but think I should downgrade the term to more ‘even-handed’. I can understand your position and agree to disagree on issues. If you don’t like it, thats your problem.

So here’s to 2016 – the leap year, the Olympics and my 53rd year of life.

Watch this space for more Baby Boomer tips, fun, insight and book reviews.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 730 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Book Review – Last Words by Michael Koryta


A lot of people may have been in the situation where they found themselves saying the wrong thing to a person, before leaving them; sometimes never to see them again. Whilst Detective Mark Novak’s last words to his wife ring true, they are perhaps the only part of this book that is believable.

Enter the inhabitants of a small Indiana town, a dead girl, a psych case (or two) and a Sheriff who used to date the dead girl’s Mother. Mix in a thug or three and a plot that leads inevitably to it’s expected conclusion and you have what is called a Bestseller (or as I call it, Pulp Fiction). Not my favourite genre.

To give Koryta credit, he does have a swag of “Bestsellers” to his name, but not having read any, I cannott comment as to whether they follow a similar pattern. From the first page to the last, I encountered what I term, ‘an eye roller’ and found it excrutiatingly difficult to finish. Most page turners, I’ll read in under a day. This took me the better part of a week for 440 loooonnnngggg pages. In the end, I found myself becoming a little involved and could even see the appeal of his style of writing. Sort of. Like watching a goldfish swimming around in a small bowl, I could view the Detective’s progress with wonder at how and why he kept going round and round, coming back to the dull town of Garrison for more.

If you’re a fan of the this type of bookish navel-gazing, that can be read without having to invest much emotion or even attention to the plot, then this is the book for you.

No, I am not rushing out to devour his other novels. That’s enough formula fiction for now,