Thinking Allowed - Including musings by Daan Spijer.

Book Reviews

October 19, 2016

Don’t Play with DNA

rat_city_cover-200pxRat City
Ree Kimberley
ISBN: 9780995387003
$3.99 (e-book)
Published by Maree Kimberley, 2016

Teens and adults inhabit different realities, ‘created’ from within – they see the world differently and react to it accordingly. These worlds often don’t meet, which makes it hard for adults to understand their teen children and vice versa. When these worlds intersect, there is some possibility of communication but that possibility is often hindered by walls of expectations and preconceptions. The adults have a longer lifetime of experience than the teens and use this to make themselves right. Sometimes it takes an ‘outside’ adult to help parents understand that what their teen child is telling them s/he is experiencing is a valid take on the world. (more…)

From the Kitchen

September 28, 2016

From the Kitchen #191


The Loss of Nuance

What has happened to subtlety? Where has the ability gone to see anything other than black and white? They seem to have disappeared, along with humour. Maybe they’ve all gone on a cruise and will return, refreshed and reinvigorated. (more…)

Book Reviews

September 23, 2016

That Sinking Feeling of Imminent Doom

the_island_will_sink-200pxThe Island Will Sink
Briohny Doyle
ISBN: 9780994606808
299 pp
The Lifted Brow 2016

This book is a disaster and it had me from the beginning to the end. Actually, it is a collection of intertwined disasters: environmental, societal and personal; even a disastrous sinking into banality of the language portrayed, a sinking that we already see happening today in banal public utterances. (more…)

From the Kitchen

September 18, 2016

From the Kitchen #190


Is reality real?

Why are we concerned with what is real and what is not? Reality is what we experience n the world, arguably with our five ‘ordinary’ senses. What about those things we experience outside those senses? Are they real? (more…)

Book Reviews

September 14, 2016

Shining a Light on a Life

Kate Mildenhall
ISBN: 9781863958301
278 pp
Black Inc Books 2016

As writers, we are told to craft our stories with a clear narrative arc, which usually looks like a statistical normal distribution curve. We are also told that in every story something needs to change or the reader needs to be left changed by the story. As a consequence, readers usually expect these elements in the stories they consume. (more…)

From the Kitchen

September 2, 2016

From the Kitchen #189


Unlucky Planet?

There is a planet at the centre of the known universe and, according to the god of at least three of the major religions on that planet, man was given dominion over all the animals and plants. It is a shame that this was not given to woman, to nurture and care for, because man has cared little. (more…)

Book Reviews

September 1, 2016

Classic Farce Hides the Pain

Our_Tiny_Useless_Hearts-200pxOur Tiny, Useless Hearts
Toni Jordan
ISBN: 9781925355451
269 pp
Text Publishing 2016

Other reviewers seem to have focused on the farce aspects of this new novel by Toni Jordan and a classic bedroom farce it is. As a farce, the story is a well-paced romp with frequent and surprising twists and turns.

Many reviewers have labelled the book ‘romantic’. Whether it really is romantic depends very much on what that word means to you. There is little about the story I find romantic. The three couples and one interloper do not fit my idea of romance. They are self-obsessed, self-absorbed, cynical, jaded, tired and unhappy – none of this lends itself to romance in my world. (more…)

Book Reviews

August 22, 2016

Walking the Memory Lane

The_Memory_Code-200pxThe Memory Code
Lynne Kelly
ISBN: 9781760291327
318 pp, including index, chapter notes and photos/illustrations
Allen & Unwin 2016

There are books that have the potential to change lives and this is one such. It is more than that: it starts to return dignity to non-literate peoples; and it puts into fresh perspective the orality of societies that were and still are frequently denigrated.

Lynne Kelly set out to write something quite different for her PhD dissertation: about animal behaviour and indigenous stories. At Stonehenge, she had an epiphany that led to an in-depth examination of non-literate societies. (more…)

From the Kitchen

August 6, 2016

From the Kitchen #188

188-corridor_of_power-450pxUncharted Waters

I have read the Magna Carta (well, a translation), and the Bible (ditto) and parts of the Quran (again, ditto) and, likewise, translations of numerous other texts: the Baghavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, the Book of the Dead and The Divine Pymander.  Interesting reading.  Inspirational. Thought-provoking. (more…)

From the Kitchen

July 31, 2016

From the Kitchen #187


They’ve moved everything again. I mean, how could they, without warning me? I came in this morning and my normal cubicle was gone. Cubicle 8.1. Why 8.1? Don’t know. I used to be in 7, but they ‘upgraded’ me. (more…)