I've moved blogs

I've moved to a better platform. I'm now over on Wordpress and am having a lovely time over there. Come along and join me over at my new blog, Meg Dunley, Writer. Editor.

Writing skills matter for everyone

This post was originally posted on Meg Dunley:

If you ever doubted the importance of good writing, it’s worth having a look at what the good folks over at Grammarly have found out about how good writing skills could improve your income and career opportunities.
Grammarly conducted a writing and career-focused study recently where over 400 freelancers were surveyed. They wanted to determine what impact writing skills have on a person’s career opportunities. The results were published the results in the infographic below.

The goal of Grammarly is to raise awareness of the importance of good writing. As we all know, good writing is not only foundational to good communication, but it can also unlock knowledge, job opportunities, and access to education.
By publishing this helpful infographic, Grammarly is donating $10 in my name to Reading is Fundamental, a charity that promotes literacy.
I've moved. 
To a nice sleek version of myself. 
I hope you like it.  

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler - Book Review

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

This was a sad story of Pearl Tull and her family. Her husband walked out of her, leaving her with three children. The story is around their lives as they move through their adult lives and how their childhood affected them. It is a story of dysfunction, love, betrayal, anger and hope. It is the first of Anne Tyler's books for me to read and I will be reading more.

Toyo by Lily Chan - Book Review

Toyo by Lily Chan

This is a beautifully written story of Lily's grandmother. Lily Chan has written this story of a woman who was caught between worlds of war and races in such a beautiful way. She swirls around with poetic language and style in a way that we are taken into the dance of Toyo's life. There are many unexpected moments throughout. While telling the story of Toyo, Lily also tells us a story of the history of the Chinese Japanese people and the difficulties that they faced. We are also given an insight into lives during the war, the rebuilding of lives afterward and then an insight into immigration.

When and How to Write Short Stories and What They Are by Morris Lurie - Book Review

This is not a 'how-to' book, however, for anyone wanting to write short stories, it is a great little book to push you on. Morris talks about the things that do work and also what doesn't work. With only 63 pages, it is easy to make your way through it...and learn a few things along the way.

Looking for Alaska by John Green - Book Review

Looking for Alaska

This is a great book of John Green's. It is his first book and he has developed a wonderful character in Miles. Miles is a 16 yr old who doesn't have friends and is obsessed with famous peoples last words. He convinces his parents that he should go to boarding school in a hope to reinvent himself. There he is finds friendship with Chip his roommate, aka 'the Colonel', a guy called Takumi and their best friend, Alaska. He falls deeply in love with Alaska who is wild, beautiful, mysterious, moody and most of all unattainable. 

These new friends take Miles (or Pudge as the Colonel calls him) on a wild ride and challenge him in every way. It is a book about firsts and lasts; first kiss, first drink, first cigarette, first friends, first prank and last words.The book is structured in Before and After with the pivotal moment of the book happening in the middle (which I won't say as I don't want to give it away).

I was drawn into this really well written (I would love my first book to be this well developed) story of a very observant and sensitive kid.  I really enjoyed going along on the journey with Miles as he is pulled apart and puts himself back together. 

Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany - Book Review

Mateship With Birds by Carrie Tiffany

This is a beautifully written story of mateship and birds - with both words having the double meaning. Carrie is lyrical and poetic in her writing and I found this lovely and easy to read. It is no surprise that it the Stella Prize winner and NSW Premiers Literary Awards winner as well as being shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Both main characters, Betty and Harry, come across as fairly stereotypical rural people who are very pragmatic and don't have a great deal if space for emotion. The family of kookaburras and their story is woven through the story and whilst it was beautiful writing (poetry). On first read I found it a little distracting, but the second read I really enjoyed the connection between the two. The relationship between Harry and Michael were touching as Harry tried to be a father to Michael. 

It is a slow story but one of beautiful writing. I think it is one I will think about again and again.

Drylands by Thea Astley - Book Review

Drylands: A Book for the World's Last Reader

On second read I found Drylands just as enjoyable as the first time. Thea is a wonderful author who can take us into people's ordinary lives in washed up towns and show us a little bit of ourselves. Drylands is set in a falling apart town with falling apart people.

It is a collection of short stories that are strung together. Janet Deakin is central to the novel. She is writing a book for the 'last reader' to fill in the loneliness of the hot evenings in the lonely town of Dryalnds.  The town is dying because of the changing of the weather patterns. The characters have bleak lives and are pretty unlikeable. We as the reader are influenced by Janet's views of the town and townsfolk.

For anyone living in a town, this may resonate with them or send a shiver up their spine. It is depressing and exhilarating at the same time.

It is well worth the read.

Holiday reading

I was asked a couple of weeks ago about what would be good holiday reading from my bookshelf. I had a look through and picked out my favourites. 

What are yours?