Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On the bookshelf
As luck would have it, my husband's two oldest and closest friends have both married (one is technically not married) very stylish, interesting and fun girls. We share a lot of interests, one being our homes.... and another being the radical measures we have most recently undertaken to ward off the signs of age, but that's a whole other story.
In preparation for their visit I have 'rejigged' our sideboard, which is just beside the dining room table. I've taken off the colour and installed silver, white and glass objects.

I was also tidying my bookshelf and thought I'd share some of my favourite non-fiction titles. As you can probably see I haven't bought a book in a while, apart from Fancy Nancy, etc. I used to read all the time, but I haven't finished a book since we moved into our house! Not kidding. I've been reading Love in the time of cholera for over a year and have completely lost interest in it now. 
Ok, in no particular order, they are...

The Life Swap by Nancy Weber
This copy is from 1974. I don't think it is in print anymore. I bought this one second hand on Amazon. It's about two women who swapped lives in the early 1970s. This isn't a watered down version that you might see on reality tv these days. These women swapped everything; houses, jobs, husbands/boyfriends, diets, medications, toothbrushes, clothes, friends, everything, everything.
They ended up becoming very resentful of each other. It's a very intense read! If you ever come across a copy give it a go, although it's quite difficult to read, definately not sugar-coated.

Affluenza: When too much is never enough by Clive Hamilton & Richard Denniss
This book is about Australia's wicked habits of over-consumption, over-whelming personal debt, and over work to pay for it all. It's not a Debbie Downer, it's just very, very interesting.
The triumph of the airheads: and the retreat from commonsense by Shelley Gare
To quote her blurb on the back:
'We live in an upside-down world where celebrity matters more than substance; correct spelling is considered less important than knowing how to do PowerPoint; bright maths and science students go into investment banking so they can make truckloads ofmoney; and small girls seriously regard a trashy hotel heiress as a role model. '
If you've ever wondered why Madonna adopting another kid makes the 6pm news, you'll like this book.
Body and Soul by Anita Roddick
I read this book in my early 20s and couldn't put it down, it was so inspirational. Sadly Anita is not with us anymore, but in the book she talks about ethics and business, not really deliberately, she was just talking about the rise and rise of The Body Shop chain.

Eat the rich by P.J. O'Rourke
This book is a little in the same vein as Airheads. The first lines in the first chapter read:
'I had one fundamental question about economics: Why do some places prosper and thrive while others just suck? It's not a matter of brains. No part of the earth (with the possible exception of Brentwood) is dumber than Beverly Hills, and the residents are wading in gravy. In Russia, meanwhile, where chess is a spectator sport, they're boiling stones for soup. .....Natural resources aren't the answer. Africa has diamonds, gold, uranium, you name it. Scandinavia has little and is frozen besides. Maybe culture is the key, but wealthy regions such as the local mall are famous for lacking it.'
The Mayne inheritance by Rosamond Siemon
I used to work for the Brisbane Arcade, and I read this book when it first came out. The Arcade was the site of the Mayne house.  Most people in Brisbane have probably already read the sordid tale of 'murder and mystery'. Very interesting.

Inside the Lifestyles of the Rich & Tasteful by Andrew West
Are you picking a theme yet? This book is published by Pluto Press which put out lots of interesting titles. Have a look at their website.
The Rich and the Tasteful are two different tribes in Australia. One is pursuing money and the other culture. It's a very funny book.

Throwim Way Leg by Tim Flannery
Throwim Way Leg is pidgin for going on an adventure. Tim Flannery wrote this book yonks ago and I happened to read it because at the time I had a mild obsession with Irian Jaya, which is now called West Papua.
Tim Flannery has since been named Australian of the Year.

That's it. I'm feeling the urge to read again (something that is not on a screen), which could only be good!


  1. Thank you for posting about these books. You and my husband have very similar tastes in reading material...well, maybe apart from the Anita Roddick and Life Swap!I'm always looking for suitable gifts for him and will put a few of these on my list. I'll have a look at his bedside table and let you know a few of his collection if you like. x

  2. The Mayne inheritance is hands down one of the best never see Kangaroo point quite the same again ha or when you drive past their house where the Wesley hospital is at look up at those windows and can just feel the past can't you. cheers Katherine

  3. Thanks Beth, I'd be interested. He's probably more up to date than me.

  4. Very interesting reading list.
    Will be looking into it further.

  5. I'm hijacking your comments section today.
    Just had a quick look through some of husband's bedside collection and you might be interested in these:-
    nudge -improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness. Thaler & Sunstein
    The end of overeating. David A. Kessler
    Bad Science. Ben Goldacre
    Shopped. Joanna Blythman
    The paradox of choice. Barry Shwartz
    He's also read the Freakonomics books and enjoyed those, sorry don't know the authors.
    Happy reading.

    P.S. I really enjoyed The Mayne Inheritance, and just like Katherine have to keep staring at the house every time I go past on the city cat.

  6. Thanks for all those. I particularly like the sound of Shopped and The Paradox of Choice.