I love a good crime drama, be it based on reality or totally fictitious. There’s just something so compelling about this genre and, done properly, it can be a wonderful human case study as well as an unforgettable story. Mostly I find myself watching these shows in just a matter of days, something the ability to binge whole seasons on Netflix makes possible. These next six shows are ridiculously easy to get totally hooked on and impossible to stop thinking about, so save them for a rainy day when you’ve got time to get cosy and watch all day. Read More
It’s 1965 in a tight-knit working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and Ruth Malone–a single mother who works long hours as a cocktail waitress–wakes to discover her two small children, Frankie Jr. and Cindy, have gone missing. Later that day, Cindy’s body is found in a derelict lot a half mile from her home, strangled. Ten days later, Frankie Jr.’s decomposing body is found. Immediately, all fingers point to Ruth.
Little Deaths was one of the random library picks which have become a rare occurrence since I started blogging. The cover caught my eye and the 1960s setting for a strange murder mystery had me itching to know more. Ruth’s story hooked me in, but it wasn’t until I finished and learned it was based on a real case that it really started to play on my mind. Read More
Watching a West End show in London was on my travel bucket list. But once I saw one, I was hooked and with some cheap tickets I spent almost every night in the capital sitting in a theatre. It was absolutely brilliant. Although some of the shows have or will soon finish their West End run, I wanted to share my views on these delightful experiences.
If you’re headed to London and there’s a specific show you want to watch, like say Book of Mormon, you’ll need to book a ticket. There are over 40 theatres in the West End, so there’s literally something for everyone – be it a musical or play. There are short runs for some shows, which last a couple of months, or ones like Wicked!, Phantom of the Opera, Lion King, or Les Miserables which run continuously. You can book online before you get to London, but if you can’t decide or you’re happy to take a bit of a lucky dip, you can visit the TKTS booth in Leicester Square. You can get half price tickets for the day you visit and the following two days from a heap of shows (except the really big new ones).
One of my favourite things about travelling, anywhere, is finding new bookshops. Of course, the UK proved a treasure trove of gorgeous little indie stores and huge emporiums. I packed as lightly as I could to allow for maximum book space on my home journey, but still only justified buying about seven books (restrained, I thought). I spent so many hours browsing through beautiful shelves, I wanted to share my favourites from around Britain (even those I left without a new book in hand). Sadly, I didn’t think to take photos at every store but there’s always room to improve on the next trip.Read More
If you’re thinking, ‘Jess, who?’ then I’m glad that there was something about ‘Everywoman’ and ‘truth’ that caught your eye. Or you might already know me as that gobby MP who has a tendency to shout about the stuff I care about. Because I’m a woman with a cause, I have been called a feminazi witch, a murderer and threatened with rape. The internet attracts a classy crowd. So, speaking the truth isn’t always easy but I believe it’s worth it. And I want you to believe it too. The truth can be empowering, the truth can lead to greater equality, and the world would be incredibly boring if we let all of those people who allegedly know everything, say everything. By demanding to be heard, by dealing with our imposter syndrome, by being cheerleaders, doers not sayers, creating our own networks and by daring to believe that we can make a difference, we can. We’re women and we’re kick-ass. And that’s the truth.
Being Australian, I’m not overly familiar with British politicians, except for a few who make international headlines. So I hadn’t even heard Jess Phillips’ name until I listened to her speak with Emma Gannon on one of my favourite podcasts Ctrl Alt Delete. I felt inspired, empowered and ready for action. Of course, Everywoman was then something I had to read. It took me a good six or seven months to even find a copy, but once I did I devoured it. Read More
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life. Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover – working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he’d never witnessed them first-hand. He can try and tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom mustn’t do is fall in love. How to Stop Time is a wild and bittersweet story about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change and about the lifetimes it can take to really learn how to live.
I believe books come along at just the right time. I bought How to Stop Time from the gorgeous Blackwell’s Books in Oxford and read it as I journeyed around the UK on my very first trip overseas. I think most Australians can relate to the overwhelming history which hits you in even the most mundane settings across the Britain and Europe. It was only as I was wandering the streets of Oxford, Edinburgh, London and York that I realised Australia’s colonised past really is but a drop in the ocean of history. This awe and wonder at my own tiny space in the world was the perfect compliment to How to Stop Time’s poignant exploration of the human condition. Read More
Anyone who follows me on social media knows I’m addicted to podcasts. I’ve shared some of my favourites on here before and even started my own. But overwhelmingly, I’m listening to chatty podcasts. The last serial one I binged was, appropriately, the first season of Serial. In many ways, the hype around Dirty John was similar to Serial, which brought podcasts to a whole new mainstream audience. I can’t remember where I first saw Dirty John, but suddenly it was everywhere. And every other podcast addict was talking about it.Read More
On a global scale, it feels like the world is sliding into despair. But personally, 2017 has been a year of incredible opportunity for me, of love, adventure and ultimately joy. This year I’ve really come to believe that certain things are meant to be. There have been too many wonderful things happen for me not to believe that. Read More
Seventeen-year-old Adelaide is sick of being expected to succeed on other people’s terms. She knows she just has to stick it out at school for one more year and then she’ll be free. Instead, she runs away from her fancy boarding school back to her sleepy hometown to read and dream. But there are no free rides. When Addie’s grandad gets her a job at the local historical society, she soon finds out that it’s dusty and dull, just like her new life. Things change when she starts hanging out with Jarrod, a boy who seems full of possibilities. But it turns out he’s as stuck as she is. And Addie realises that when you want something in life, you’ve actually got to do something about it. A heartfelt tale about love, friendship and finding your own way.
Sweet and hopeful, Untidy Towns is an unassuming little novel which snuck onto my shelves and into my heart. It arrived in the cutest little package from the publisher, but I knew nothing about it and hadn’t seen it anywhere so I put it aside. I was snowed under with university, then overseas, and moving house as soon as I was back in the country. It wasn’t until speaking to Margot McGovern for Better Words that I decided to pick it up after her raving review. I wish I’d opened this gorgeous little package earlier because Untidy Towns was a book I wholly underestimated. Read More
From breakout stand-up comedian Iliza Shlesinger comes a subversively funny collection of essays and observations on a confident woman’s approach to friendship, singlehood, and relationships. ‘Girl Logic’ is Iliza’s term for the way women obsess over details and situations that men don’t necessarily even notice. She describes is as a characteristically female way of thinking that appears to be contradictory and circuitous but is actually a complicated and highly evolved way of looking at the world. When confronted with critical decisions about dating, sex, work, even getting dressed in the morning, Iliza argues that women will by nature consider every repercussion of every option before making a move toward what they really want. And that kind of holistic thinking can actually give women an advantage in what is still a male world. In Iliza’s own words: “Understanding Girl Logic is a way of embracing both our aspirations and our contradictions. GL is the desire to be strong and vulnerable. It’s wanting to be curvy, but rail thin at the same time. It’s striving to kick ass in a man’s world while still being loved by the women around you. This book is also for me, because apparently expounding on a stage for two hours a night wasn’t enough. (Trust me, if I could start a cult I would, but I hate the idea of deliberately dying in a group.)”
My first introduction to Iliza was her comedy special Confirmed Kills. I’d not long been dating my partner and he suggested I watched this comedian he loved. To be honest, I think I was too focused on gauging his reactions to her jokes, especially the ones with a feminist bent, to really take the show in. Basically all I remember was party goblins and designated search claw. But I was intrigued (by both the boy and Iliza). We’ve now watched it and Freezing Hot countless times and I knew he was a keeper when he pre-ordered Iliza’s debut book as a surprise. (Okay, I’d already decided he was pretty darn good before that, but you get my drift). He was delighted when I finished Girl Logic and declared it one of my all-time favourite books. Big statement, I know. It’s pretty special though. Read More