Read it if…: Deranged Marriage


Something different for today’s review – a memoir!  Deranged Marriage by Sushi Das is an easy read, and a thought-provoking take on the author’s experience of growing up in Britain as the child of Indian migrants.  It’s also more than a little bit chuckleworthy, particularly in the way it addresses some of the more…colourful…oddities of British, Indian and Australian culture.

A continuing theme of the book is the author’s aversion to accepting an arranged marriage, and how this struggle affected her own choices and the lives of those closest to her.  One of the best (and sneakiest) parts of the book for me was the way Das managed to drop in facts and statistics and questions about arranged marriage around the world as compared to other types of marriage, without dragging the whole piece down into the mire of complicated and important ethical, cultural and legal issues.  Instead, the important questions are asked in the context of the author’s lived experience, allowing the thought to be lodged in the reader’s mind for consideration at a later stage, and the narrative flow to continue largely uninterrupted.



Anyway, this is supposed to be a review for the time-poor, so, READ IT IF:


* you are or have ever been a migrant, or you know someone who has – particularly one moving between cultures with glaring differences

* you have ever wondered why England has classes for its postal system (presumably the first class post gets to eat using the good silver)

* you are, have ever been, or are ever planning to be, a teenager with ideas

*you have even a passing interest in feminism, or cultural issues that involve or affect women

* you have ever wished you could change your name to something (preferably with new and interesting spelling combinations) to reflect your real, though hidden, identity


It’s a big dinky-di, you-beauty-mate two thumbs up from Brucey on this one.

Until next time,


Literar-tees: More shirts for story-lovers


As some of you may know, while I have no personal requirement for clothing, I still get as much joy as the next creature out of browsing the interwebs for items I might like to purchase, had I the means and/or need for them.  For that reason, here are some exquisite bookish tees for your perusing pleasure. Click on the pics for a link to a site where you can purchase.

This first one is a personal favourite, suitable for all of those librarianarchists out there…


Next is a good advertisement for parental guidance in text selection for mini-fleshlings…



Finally, a useful reminder in times of great stress…keep-calm-and-read-on

Until next time,

Shirtless Bruce

Haiku Review: Bear in Underwear…


First haiku of a new year always makes one a little nervous…do I still have the knack? Are my syllable selections enticing enough? Have I chosen the right tome?…Well, at least I don’t have to worry on the last front, for today I am reviewing the quirky and niche-market work of Todd H. Doodler and his Bear in Underwear!  The niche to which I refer is of course animals and their personal preferences regarding the wearing of undergarments, and subsequent decisions about style, colour and pattern choice.  Doodler has written a whole series of picture books exploring this largely ignored, yet highly interesting area of animal behaviour.

The keystone work in this series is, of course, the classic Bear, Do You Wear Underwear?, and it is this text on which my review will be based.



bear in underwear


Ursus seeks undies

pants, knickers, smalls and all things


Other titles in the series include What Colour is Bear’s Underwear?, a rollicking romp through Bear’s knicker selection for a standard seven-day week; Bear in Pink Underwear, chronicling a pants-related disaster occuring after Bear’s tighty-whities go through with a load of coloured washing, and the soon-to-be-released Goodnight Underwear, the title of which is fairly self-explanatory, I feel.

undies colours bear in pink underwear  goodnight undies

Be sure to search out Bear and his underlings in underthings, particularly if there are mini-fleshlings in your dwelling.


Mad Martha

Accolades aplenty: Gargie Awards Round 2…


Happy Gargoyle New Year!!!! Yes, it’s finally arrived! Gargoyle New Year is an exciting time in the shelf-verse, requiring the drinking of fermented stone beverages and the wearing of party hats and the blowing of festive party kazoos and such.  Traditionally in Gargoyle culture, the new year is the perfect time for telling people what you really think of them.  While this tradition was developed with the intention of strengthening bonds of friendship for the coming year, it has nevertheless been the cause of more than a few fatal clawings and bites that later turned septic.  You’ll be pleased to know however, that I intend to engage with this tradition in the spirit in which it was intended by presenting some deserving blogs with that accolade of accolades….the GARGIE!

Official Gargie Award Badge

Official Gargie Award Badge

For those unfamilar with this prestigious award, you can find the origins explained hereSuffice to say, it is an award that honours those bloggers who have provided outstanding services in their particular fields…..and without further ado, the winners of the second round of awards are:

The Other Courtney….for services to those struggling against odd and/or inconvenient adversities!

Bookwitch…..for services to readers, particulary in the area of allowing readers to connect with their favourite authors through the magic of the interview!

The Angry Pear….for services rendered in furthering the cause of pear culture in society!

Bibliophilesisters…for services to the world of young people’s fiction, particularly in the area of making reading cool! (Yes, I know there was no possible way that I could write that sentence without making it sound blatantly uncool….)

and last but not least….

Amelie’s Bookshelf….for services to the promotion of children’s literacy and stay-at-home-parenting, and reading to kids! (But mainly for reviewing interesting children’s books that I mostly haven’t come across yet…)


The requirements for accepting this award are in no way onerous and there is no pressure to do anything with it except bask in a warm glow of love and acceptance from the Gargoyle community….Congratulations!

Until next time




A feast for the eyeballs!


Happy new fleshling year to you all…This is just a quick one for those who are already nostalgic for 2012.  The BookDepository (incidentally my favourite place to buy books) put together an annual composite image of book covers of the 1000 top sellers for that year.  These pictures are enormously entertaining to look at.  Well, I find them enormously entertaining. You may not. Regardless, click on the picture to be taken to this (or rather, last) year’s masterpiece:

2012 top sellers

I’m quite pleased to see that there are quite a few Australian authors represented (a reflection of the awesomosity of Australian authors, or the percentage of Australian customers, I wonder?).  Also happy to see a number of books that have appeared in my musings in there too.  Really, it’s like playing Where’s Wally? (or Waldo, for our North American friends).  Knock yourselves out!


Read it if…: Anna Dressed in Blood


Happy New Year to all of you in Blogtopia! I have decided to start the year with an absolute fire-cracker of a Read-it-if…it’s one I’ve been wanting to read for a while and now, having accomplished this task, I feel I must share my thoughts with you all as it has been a bit of a rollercoaster thrill-ride that may or may not be to your taste.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake is a young adult horror, ghosty, slash and smash, slice and dice adventure.  Essentially, it charts the story of Cas, a young lad who is tasked with dispatching murderous ghosties by virtue of his inheritance of ghostie-slaying powers through his father’s bloodline.  I’ve seen many reviews for this book, some glowing, some not, but the cumulative effect of these did not prepare me for the gory, terrifying and downright compelling nature of this book.  At a number of points I wanted to give this book up because of its graphic and scarifying scenes of gut-splattering horror, but the writing was so good I just had to pick it up again….Having said that, I have also decided to put a little spoiler section in below: “Don’t read it if…”, so that those of a more delicate constitution can make an informed choice before plunging in.


Read it if:

  • you are the type of person who thinks that the “Saw” films should be categorised as light entertainment
  • you think YA romances containing vampires are sooooo 2011…and that no YA romance these days should be without at least one deadish, ghosty type character
  • you can’t wander past a cemetery without donning a pouch of  protective herbs and anointing yourself with a patchouli poultice

DON’T read it if (SPOILER ALERT):

  • you think Finding Nemo should be categorised as horror
  • you don’t like stories where pets come to harm…particularly out of the blue
  • you have even a mild aversion to any of the following: blood, haunted houses, ghosts, witches, magic, voodoo, exploding corpses or patchouli

I can’t say I enjoyed this book – it kept me too tense for that – but I certainly found it a compelling read, and I will therefore reserve the sequel, Girl of Nightmares, at the library when it comes out in paperback.

Until next time…And here’s a hot tip: I hear Bruce may be bestowing a second round of Gargie Awards any day now to usher in the new year! (Keep it under your hat).

Mad Martha