Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Fiction It is more than 30 years since I first read this book, yet I still remember the feelings, the location of where and when I read it. Rabbit, Run was quite a revelation to readers in those days. One of the first non-pornographic books to use the F-word, the C-word, and to give detailed descriptions of sex; not just the details, but brought it down to earth, into practical realms. It was not the “swearing” that made Rabbit, Run popular, it was the descriptive passages, the conflict, the foolish actions of the characters that caught our attention. It is not a story of people from Wall St, the FBI, or Harvard. It is a story of ordinary people — just like those who live in your street. You might not like them, but they are real people. The story is set in 1959 in Pennsylvania. The protagonist, “Rabbit” Harry Angstrom, is not particularly likeable, nor is his wife Janice. This is not a story about heroes, but about defective humans. In the first few pages we find Janice, pregnant, sitting at home watching The Mickey Mouse Club, drinking, smoking, with the house in a state of disorder. Their toddler,… Continue reading

50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True

 Of course what is implied is that these beliefs are not true, or at least unproven. And as it happens that’s quite right, he sets about dismantling each of these beliefs. Harrison does this by assembling the facts, the evidence, the basis of the story. Where did it come from? Who said this? What evidence is there for this belief? With some beliefs like flying saucers, he is ready to believe, he does not dispute the possibility, but is waiting for reliable evidence, which he shows does not yet exist. Because something is not understood, that does not mean we should believe in some explanation that has no factual basis, like ancient Greeks thinking Zeus was throwing lightning bolts whenever there was a storm. There are plenty of beliefs to consider. Here’s a list of a dozen. Your Either Born Smart Or You’re Not. Astrology is Scientific A Psychic Read My Mind Atlantis is Down There Somewhere Creationism is True and Evolution is Not Stories of Past Lives Prove Reincarnation is Real Ghosts Are Real and They Live in Haunted Houses UFOs Are Visitors From Other Worlds Area 51 is Where They Keep the Aliens My Religion is the One That… Continue reading

Best Australian books

A_Fortunate_Life

 A FORTUNATE LIFE,  A.B. Facey A Fortunate Life is an autobiography by Albert Facey, published in 1981, nine months before his death. It chronicles his early life in Western Australia, his experiences as a private during the Gallipoli campaign of World War I, and his return to civilian life after the war. It also documents his extraordinary life of hardship, loss, friendship and love. During the initial days of its publication, Albert Facey became a nationwide celebrity. Despite his renowned life, Facey considered his life to be simple and “had no idea what all the fuss was about”. When asked on an interview, where the name of the book originated. He replied, “I called it ‘A Fortunate Life’ because I truly believe that is what I had”. After its great reception it has become a classic piece of Australian literature and is one of Australia’s most beloved books. Since its publication in 1981 it has become a primary account of the Australian experience during World War I. Buy paperback from Penguin books ISBN-13: 978-0140081671   GALLIPOLI,  Alan Moorehead When Turkey unexpectedly sided with Germany in World War I, Winston Churchill, as Sea Lord for the British, conceived a plan: smash… Continue reading

Inside Mystic Lodge

“When I was twelve years old, I almost killed my sister. I sometimes thought it might have been better if I had, instead I turned her into a paraplegic. We were down at the creek, jumping in and out of the water. I told her I would race her to the other side of the creek from the big tree. I pretended to do a running dive, but stopped at the last second; she didn’t. Cheryl dived into the shallow water, the sound of my laughter in her ears, and came up a paraplegic.” Kent Alpine has a debt to repay to his sister. His life’s mission is to find a way to help her walk again. At first he studies medicine, but realising he is not as gifted as other students, he turns to the thing he excels in: psychic healing. He joins a mysterious group working to improve the health of children who have terminal illnesses. In the meantime, his fiancee runs off with a more worldly acquaintance. At Mystic Lodge, he meets interesting people, a self-proclaimed witch, and the leader of the psychic healers, Forrest Atman. But just as they are apparently getting positive results healing the… Continue reading