Bruce’s Lucky Dip: Unlikely Pursuits for your Weekend…


imageIt’s time once again for a Book Depository Lucky Dip! For those uninitiated folk, this consists of me typing an enticing search term into the Book Depository’s engine, and then hand-selecting the finest results for your viewing pleasure.

Given that in Australia it is currently the peak of the summer/school holiday boredom season, and parents are seeking more elaborate ways to escape from their hyperactive and ever-present offspring, I have selected the search term “Things to Do”.  Parents, you can thank me after you have successfully adopted some of these new avenues to personal growth.

For those wondering what to do with that extra whalebone they’ve got lying around the craft room:

corset building

The Basics of Corset Building: A Handbook for Beginners (Linda Sparks)

For those who like to spend quality reading time in the bathroom:

52 things to do while you poo

52 Things to Do While You Poo (Hugh Jassburn) …if that is his real name….

For the disenfranchised Twentysomething set:

retirement park trailer home

Things to Do in a Retirement Home Trailer Park…When You’re 29 and Unemployed (Aneurin Wright)

For the God-botherer looking for a shortcut to paradise:

anxious christians

Good News for the Anxious Christian: 10 Practical Things You Don’t Have to Do (Phillip Cary)

For those too busy to pursue leisure activities in the prime of their working life:

to do when you're dead

100 Things to Do When You’re Dead (Rob Bailey)

And my personal favourite,

For those who live in locations with plummeting land values, or conveniently located adjacent to a museum of military history:

tank spotters guide

Tank Spotter’s Guide (Marcus Cowper/Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

This is my personal favourite not so much because it is a guide to spotting tanks (that may proliferate in one’s local neighbourhood one presumes) although that is reason enough.  What I love most about this title is the fact that it is compiled by the Church of Latter-Day Saints.  Now, to members of the CoJCoLDS, there may be some bleeding obvious reason why tank spotting is a reasonable and expected leisure pursuit, but as I do not count myself amongst this membership, the authorship of this book seems bizarre at the least, and therein lies its worthiness as pick of the bunch for this foray into Lucky Dipping.

Other contributions are most welcome, if any of you are aware of a not-to-be-missed title relating to “things to do”.

Until next time,



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Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Feature Travel



Today I’m indulging in one of my rare forays into communal blog posting, by participating in The Broke and the Bookish’s very popular (and discussion-inducing) TTT feature.  This week’s topic is…


I’ve divided my picks into categories for ease of perusal…


possum magicThe quintessential travel guide to Australia for foodies and animal lovers alike!

are we there yet

Another award winning Australian picture book – this one features a family’s journey around the continent, with fantastic illustrations and great bite-size information about well-known (and not so well known!) Australian landmarks.

oh the places youll go

With brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose! Just watch your step so you don’t end up in a slump.


magician's nephew

Ah, the first (and my favourite) instalment in the Chronicles of Narnia, this tome has travel by magic ring, out-of-control-hansom-cab and flying horse…what more could one ask for?


I came upon this book unexpectedly in the time before blogging and it has now become one of my absolute favourite books in the Narnian theme – that is, travel to another world through some sort of household orifice…in this case through the attic of a terraced house.  I’m not a die-hard fan of Garry Kilworth by any means, but this is a deeply engaging read that is perfect for independent readers in the pre-teen/early teen age bracket.


Another unexpected favourite of mine – this one springs the travel theme on the reader about two thirds through the book.  I won’t say where or how the travel occurs because it was a great surprise to me when I first read it…but it’s unexpected, to say the least.  Incidentally the book deals with a teenage girl’s time in a psychiatric facility dealing with her suspected involvement in the disappearance of a classmate. Oh, and she’s also a sinaesthete.


This modern fantasy tale sucked me back into reading many years ago after a reasonable period in which I had neither the energy nor the inclination to pick up a book.  Also the start of a great trilogy, it features cross country ski travel, enchanted paper plane travel, long-time-in-a-leaky-boat travel, wading-into-Death travel and the added accompaniment of quick-let’s-get-out-of-here, running-away-from-shuffling-hordes travel.


mrs queen

Imagine if you will, the Queen (yes, old ER herself!), wrapping up in a hoodie and taking off on the train.  Delightful, charming and oh-so-British.

call of the weird

I love Louis. And this book sees him travelling all around the US in search of those who practice…alternative lifestyles…of one sort or another.


Ten people travel to an inaccessible island at the behest of a mysterious stranger. Nope, nothing could possibly go wrong.

Feel free to let me know what you think – and what I’ve missed!

Until next time,


Decisions, decisions: 2013 Reader’s Challenge Prep…


Afternoon all.  No doubt some of you are still sleeping off some recent gut-busting feast-related behaviour, so I thought I would make this a fairly gently post out of respect for your continuing processes of digestion.  To that end, I thought I would float my current ideas for responding to Beth Fish’s “What’s In A Name” Reading Challenge.  Given that the challenge only has six categories, and given that I am perfectly capable of reading at least 25 times that number of books in a year (probably), I have decided that I will attack this challenge twice.

But why, Bruce, why?  What benefit could there be in submitting yourself to the same challenge twice? Well frankly, I’m glad you asked.  And I’m touched by your concern….thank you dear reader!  I have decided to respond to this challenge with a regular, run-of-the-mill, list of books that meet the requirements…..and then repeat this feat with books by or about Agatha Christie!! Brilliant! Long-time readers of this blog will be aware of my Christie fandom, and this seemed like a perfect excuse…ahem….opportunity to get some more Christies under the belt.

So here are my choices (at present) for each category, for my Christie Listie, and my Christie-less List.

Category 1: A book with Up or Down (or its equivalent) in the title

death in the cloudsblue jay










Category 2: A book with something you might find in your kitchen in the title











Category 3: A book with a party or celebration in the title


murder is announcedjanuary first

I should probably point out that while there are other Christie titles that more obviously fit this category, such as Halloween Party and After the Funeral, I have already read them.  So I had to be a bit obscure instead (insert evil laugh here).

Category 4: A book with fire or its equivalent in the title



smoke and mirrors











Category 5: A book with an emotion in the title

sad cypresshopeless maine










Annoyingly, Sad Cypress seems to be the only Christie title with an emotion in the title I can find.  If anyone can find another, please feel free to let me know – I like to have options!

Category 6: A book with lost or found or its equivalent in the title

missing daysarchived










I’m being a bit cheeky in this category too: see, if something is archived, it is to allow it to be FOUND easily and prevent it from being LOST…..

Well, if anyone has any suggestions or feedback about these lists feel free to chime in.  They aren’t set in stone (heheee, geddit? Gargoyle? Set in stone? Ahh, I crack myself up…..heheeeeeee! geddit? Stone? Crack Up?  Ah, excuse me while I wipe the tears of mirth from my eyes….)

Until next time,