Tag: books


From Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit:

“Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty there is room to act. … It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.”

This reminds me of a quote by Mr Rogers that I love:

“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”

And, also from Hope in the Dark:

“Most of us would say, if asked, that we live in a capitalist society, but vast amounts of how we live our everyday lives – our interactions with and commitments to family lives, friendships, avocations, membership in social, spiritual, and political organisations – are in essence noncapitalist or even anticapitalist, full of things we do for free, out of love, and on principle.

“In a way, capitalism is an ongoing disaster anticapitalism alleviates, like a mother cleaning up after her child’s messes (or, to extend the analogy, sometimes disciplining that child to clean up after itself, through legislation or protest, or preventing some of the messes in the first place … ). Activists often speak as though the solutions we need have not yet been launched or invented, as though we are starting from scratch, when often the real goal is to amplify the power and reach of existing alternatives. What we dream of is already present in the world.”

Books & TV & Money


I’ve kept well to my reading challenge this year. All on the Kindle app, sometimes reading on tablet, sometimes iPhone, sometimes laptop. A couple of great books:


Lincoln in the BardoLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

This book’s a bit of a challenge, but not like Infinite Jest. I knew nothing about it going in, and a few pages in, perplexed, I quickly read an intro to the book – OK, it’s about ghosts, OK, it’s about Abraham Lincoln, OK, sure! – then I sat back for the ride. I found it very beautiful, sad, and stunningly written/put-together.




The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson

This one is an easy read, and very light-hearted, but I really enjoyed it. I didn’t read anything about it beforehand, which added to the fun of finding out what the heck was going on! I don’t want to give anything away… give it a whirl. I didn’t know where it was going, right up to the very end.





I’m so bad at watching TV shows. It’s like I just don’t care enough. I can browse Netflix and watch 10 minutes of this or that, then go off and do something else (like watch random YouTube videos, or read blogs). But! A few people had recommended Abstract, and after a few weeks of putting it off, I finally watched the first episode and it was a JOY. (It’s a documentary series on designers.) I usually find documentaries a bit boring, but in this one, it’s like they’ve collaborated with every designer in every episode and got their input on how to tell the stories!

Here’s the trailer for it:



My brother’s gonna face-palm if he reads this, but: I’ve been reading a book about money called The Barefoot Investor. My brother gave me this book about 100 years ago. No kidding. I’m sorry, TJ! The last thing I wanted to think about all-those-years-ago was being sensible with money and buying property and stuff. And my dad was telling me to knuckle down and save up a property deposit too, while meanwhile I just wanted to have fun (and I was terrified of being locked into a job that I hated –> just to get a high wage –> to pay a mortgage that I was stuck with!).

Anyway, 101 years later: I’m reading the book. Turns out, my sister (coincidence!) is reading it too.

The book Is super easy to read – just like the author’s sitting next to you, talking to you.

I’m partway into the book, and so far:

  1. Bank recommendation – I was already banking with the recommended bank (ING), and already had the multiple bank account setup that’s recommended. Done!
  2. Superannuation recommendation – I checked my provider (Virgin Super) against the recommendation and my provider seems to be fine. (Although I have realised that my provider offers a lower admin charge for maternity leave, so I’m wondering if I can belatedly apply for that?! Will have to call them.) But my partner’s super, yikes! Even though he’s with an industry super fund (which are supposed to have lower fees and do better investments), the fees are awfully high. So we’re looking into changing that.
  3. Health insurance recommendation – Oh dear. I checked what we’re paying against the recommendation and we’re paying too much. I did a quick Google, found this article, Australian Medical Association reveal the best and worst of health funds, got a couple of quotes, and I’m changing to a different provider (from Medibank Private to Frank).

We’ll save about $1400/year on the health insurance switch, but we need to ask for income protection insurance on the superannuation, so our newfound savings might be going towards that. Or to fine wining and dining and island holidays and massages? Depends how much the income protection is!

So that’s only 32% into the book. I’ll keep you posted.


Time / Books


I’m carving out more time for myself. One evening per week to work on my side project with a friend. One morning per week to be alone, out and about in the world, taking a workshop, or writing and thinking, or reading a book, or spending some time people-watching. (I missed people watching!) And one morning per week where my two-year-old goes to “occasional care” for three hours, while my baby has a nap, so I have an extra two hours then too. (Two mornings off! Oh my.)

I love love love love being the guardian and teacher and best friend of my two little kids, but I am definitely finding that having a spot of time away from them allows me to miss them and appreciate and love them even more – and to feel even more lucky and grateful to be around them everyday – and gives me more perspective and resilience to face whatever’s about to happen next. (Like the baby screech-crying from 4.30am until 7am this morning.)

So, time. There are four areas I want to work on this year with my precious, beautiful time.


    1. Projects – I have a side-project going on, so I’m happy with the progress on this one. It’s taking a long time, because I can only meet up with my project-friend once a week, but we’re getting there. We’ve designed half of the first product, designed the logo, and we’re putting together a MVP trial for 3 customers to get initial feedback and see if our idea is 👍 or 👎.


    1. Me Time – The two things I wanna do are writing and reading. (And for once, I’m doing better with reading than writing!) Also I love learning, so I’m always looking for little workshops and online classes and what-not.


    1. Dream Home – This is my worst area. I suck at anything to do with houses. Interiors, exteriors, all of it. We’ve saved a bit of money to just redo the kitchen sink and cupboards and put in a dishwasher (our house is old and those cupboards are falling apart), and I so much don’t enjoy that sort of task that I keep deferring it.


    1. Love – This is a continuation of my 2016 theme Beautiful Living, but renamed. I think I’m doing pretty well with my generosity, thoughtfulness, expressing my joy de vivre, and not being an under-buyer.





There are so many books that I want to read. The past 10 years (at least!) I’ve “wanted to read more books,” but have only ended up paying lip-service to that goal each year.

It’s so hard to maintain personal non-essential daily tasks when there are kids around – no kidding, I’ve tried to be super organised with my family and not forget things and not be late to things, and a pay-off is that I don’t get to shower everyday, and I swear I brush my hair once a week, if I’m lucky. Yup. I just can’t fit those things in too, while keeping everything else going smoothly. And you would think, brushing hair takes, like, two minutes, who doesn’t have time for that? But it all adds up. A bunch of tiny trade-offs are happening everywhere.

I digress! – books. Right. Well, I never thought I’d say this, but I’m enjoying reading books on the Kindle app. I thought I only liked paper books, with their paper-weight and individual character. I liked how different book designs and font faces gave different personalities to each book, and I liked how, if I was in chapter 12 and I wanted to go back to that description of that haunted house in chapter 3, I could easily find my way there, because I vaguely remembered the visual layout of chapter 3, and vaguely, the thickness of the read pages in my left hand at that point.

It took a while. But I’ve been finding it easier to actually read books with the Kindle app. I get a moment of free time here, a moment there. Using my phone or laptop, I can jump in and read a couple more pages, and I can read in the dark. I don’t have to remember to take a paperback with me.

Recently read:


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

This was an easy read, and interesting (as with everything, always, don’t read anything about it first!), but the characters didn’t quite click for me. I think some easy-to-read books potentially make great material for screenplays – I can imagine that in adding some other people’s takes on it, to life.



Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

I might have hated it 5, 10, 15 years ago, but this book popped up at the perfect time in my life. (One question I’ve had since my first baby was born: How on earth does anyone cope with anything bad ever happening to their baby. And that’s one of the many things this book talks about.) I loved it.



Books Enjoyed

I didn’t read enough books this year, and I want to change that next year (I am putting book-reading as the second item on my schedule every day) – but! however! – out of the books I did read, there were some real doozies. And the awards go to…

Read more