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death

the botany of lies

“The past was all around her. She could smell it. It did not feel dead. It felt alive, and as curious about her as she was about it.”

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (Amulet Books, 2016) won the Costa Book Award in 2015. I’ve been impatiently seeking it out since then but my library took their time acquiring it. At last they did and I could devour this fantastical tale.

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words in deep blue

“The past is with me; the present is here. The future is unmapped and changeable. Ours for the imagining: spreading out before us. Sunlight filled, deep blue, and the darkness.”

Cath Crowley’s Words in Deep Blue is a love letter to books and reading, the counterpoint to Graffiti Moon, a love letter to Art. Who wouldn’t love a story set in a second hand bookstore, starring a library of love letters secreted within the pages of beloved books.

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words in deep sorrow

“In my memories, he’s alive, so I can’t make my brain compute the information that I’ll never see him again.”

Reading Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley reminds me of when I read Graffiti Moon. How much I loved it, how much I wanted to be in Melbourne at night, bombing with Cropley. He was living there by that time and a few months later, on his last night, we talked for hours on the phone. That’s what he was doing and I felt like I was by his side. Continue reading “words in deep sorrow”

untimely death

I found Darkwater by Georgia Blain (Random House, 2010) at the library after reading Special. Darkwater is a very different story, but Blain’s writing is exceptional as always. Despite my love for the book, I’m having trouble writing about it. Perhaps due to my cousin and my state of mind around murder, but here goes.

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finding love in the graveyard

“The cemetery was full of dead people. It had always been that way, since long before Magrit had come to live here.”

Magrit by Lee Battersby (Walker Books, 2016) is a creepy delight, with just the right amount of “awful, ugly, terrible.”

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the sky really is everywhere

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

“Put your head under the water, open your eyes and look up at the sun. Your whole world will be filled with sparkles of water light”*

I txtd that to SpiderSam two months before he died, not knowing The Sky is Everywhere, from where I stole these words, would follow my grief so closely, wearing his clothes and all.

Tomorrow the US paperback of Jandy Nelson’s heart wrenching The Sky is Everywhere is released. I read JN’s poignant story last year but my own grief meant only now can I write about this book which helped me so much when SpiderSam died.

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wasted choices

Wasted by Nicola Morgan
Note: this has spoilers.

“Nothing is until it is and until then everything is possible”

Nicola Morgan weaves words into marvels almost too bright to behold. In Wasted she weaves chance, probability, Schrödinger’s cat and Spike the cat into the mix, and I was irresistibly entangled. If you haven’t read Wasted, spoilers are ahead. The story is delectable and spoilers are integral to my ramblings. If you haven’t read Wasted, do so now. It won the Read It or Else category of the Coventry Book Award after all.

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This is Sam

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson I wish your shadow would get up and walk beside me

That’s not quite what Lennie in The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson wrote in her grief for her sister. It’s what I want in my grief for my friend the Grasshopper who died four weeks ago. I don’t understand how the sun continues to rise and set after Sam’s death, like nothing has happened. But when I think of his shadow walking beside me, I remember Sam’s smile and smile with him. Sam Cropley went by many names, but I’ll stick to Sam to lessen confusion.

The Saturday after his 29th birthday Sam and I talked a lot on the phone, him being in Melb and me in Perth. I was the last person he talked to and people have asked me what he said. I’ve found it hard to tell them because by our last convo he hardly said anything. And our previous convos during the day were our usual random inanity that only we cared about – the posters he was putting up, walls, cool things left on the side of the road, trees, ponds, stupid jokes about sticks. I can talk the clouds down from the sky and sometimes my job description was to do that in his ear to stop him going crazy. That day our roles were reversed.

painting stained glass in his last job
painting stained glass in his last job

I now realise it wasn’t the words Sam said that mattered, it was what his phone calls to me on that day said about the person Sam was. He would have done the same for any one he knew, if you’d needed what I needed that day. What he did for me is what made him Sam: a beautiful, generous person who always considered others before himself. As Jack put it

He always looked out for me and he would always make sure that I was happy and comfortable well before himself. A true big brother

My sk8 dog Sheeba died that Saturday 11 December. She had a malignant tumour on her leg and I had her put down. She was only sick for a week and on the day she died Sam phoning me so many times helped me more than anything. He knew how important Sheeba was to me. She was my silver princess, my Holly White, always spinning circles for me. Sam wanted to distract me and catch his contagious happiness, which I did. In between my tears for Sheebie, Sam made me smile more than I thought I could on such a day.

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I’m lost somewhere

The moon is slipping away, slice by silver slice. If I could find her pieces as they fell, I would gather them and make her whole again.

My friend Jill Midolo died last Sunday. She was doing better the Friday before and I took this as meaning she would be fine. After three good and happy days she fell asleep between the pages of an enchanted novel. I’ve been reading Kelly Link and those are her words. MJ and I both read fantasy, although I’m not sure if MJ ever read Kelly Link and she doesn’t really write fantasy, she writes weirdness, the best kind of story. A book MJ and I both loved was Liar by Justine Larbalestier. I borrowed MJ’s copy last year and because I got the cover dirty (trashing books being a talent of mine) I bought her another copy. I now own a book with “Jill 2009” written on the inside cover. I will cherish it more than any signed book I ever own.

Continue reading “I’m lost somewhere”

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