Good Reading : July 2011
GOOD READING JULY 2011 17 BOOK CLUBS Imust spend a small fortune each year buying raffle tickets for one charity or another and on stamps posting off completed crosswords and entries for magazine competitions -- all to no avail. Until now -- yay! This is the last time my friends will ever hear me moan about how I never win anything, as something very exciting happened to me recently. I entered a competition in gr to win copies of Julietta Jameson's book Me, Myself and Lord Byron and also the opportunity to meet Julietta in person. All I had to do was answer a simple question, and write in about my book group.This was easy -- I set up the group four years ago and we have 10 members and meet regularly. We are called The Gully Gloopers, because after a drunken meeting one night a member announced that she 'loved book gloop' and our little group was immediately christened. What an exciting day it was when Mr Postie delivered this little bundle to my door. 1 At first you may be tempted to think that Me, Myself and Lord Byron is in the vein of Eat, Pray, Love. Poles apart, let me tell you. EPL is more along the lines of a preachy, self-help book, whereas MMLB allows and encourages you to explore your relationships while the author writes candidly and honestly about her own. Having now met Julietta in the flesh -- and what a welcome addition she was to Gloopers -- I know that the book is very much written in her voice and is honest, open and insightful concerning both Lord Byron and herself. The two threads seamlessly run alongside each other, presenting very different but equally interesting storylines. I learnt more about Lord Byron reading MMLB than I ever did during those boring literature lectures at uni! Julietta is clearly a poetry fan (something I cannot honestly say I have a passion for) and Lord Byron, in particular, rocks her boat -- as seen here by her well-used copy of his works. 2 The woman has some stamina to have sat and tackled this monster of a book! Me, Myself and Lord Byron tells the true story of Julietta, who decides to follow Lord Byron's footsteps as he travelled and lived in Italy and Greece. She visits his haunts and tells the reader of the scandalous life he led, while also telling us about her family history. 'I was sitting ... listening to a woman share a story of her childhood misery when a box, marked "Do Not Disturb", packed away in a dark recess of my subconscious, came into view and sprang open.' Even though the book is sad in parts and you clearly see her pain, it's also delightfully funny and charming. I love this description of the look she -- or rather her shoes -- is given when she walks into an Italian shoe shop: 'The salesgirl looked down at my feet (Rockports with a Mary Jane look with a sport shoe sole) with such a violent tilt of her head and shocked expression you would think I had killed two cats, split them down the middle, shoved my feet into their gizzards and sauntered into the shop so shod.' Remind me never to go into an Italian shoe shop in my Converses or Havaianas! MMLB isn't a travel book as you know it, but I have to admit to being partial to any form of travel writing and especially when I read about the yummy delights the authors find. Julietta is no exception and enjoys a sweet treat as much as the next person. Just as well that we tend to hold our Gloopers meetings at a local chocolate shop, where the owner offers a tray crammed full of handmade chocolates from which we can choose a complimentary one to go with our coffees. 3 'Five minutes from my apartment was Nobile Pasticceria.Their marmalata, a flaky, buttery croissant, filled with mar malade, was pure genius. And then there was the gelateria Leonardo; it should have been criminalised ... Their fragola, strawberry, caused delirium, popping with fr uit and the sweetness of summer.They also did a yoghurt and honey that would have knocked my socks off were I wearing any!' But summer was the last thing on our minds as we eagerly gave Julietta our books for signing 4 , in front of a war m, toasty fire that the chocolate shop owner had lit for us. He very kindly kept the shop open past closing time, just for us. Oh, the joys and benefits of having a celebrity come to our humble book group! Rhian Jessop, Upper Ferntree Gully Vic Read more at my blog: www.readinginthebath.wordpress.com Me, Myself and Lord Byron by Julietta Jameson is published by Pier 9, rrp $34.99 1 3 2 4 YOU REALLY CAN WIN Think you’re the kind of person who never wins anything? So did RHIAN JESSOP, gr reader and book club coordinator, until one day when her luck changed.