My parents home is a library

I thought I would take some photos to demonstrate the quantity of books in my parents house.  All of them, I would expect, are read.  They aren’t for show, or nostalgia – well I’m sure some stay from a nostalgic point of view, such as the ones on antiques, surfing and teaching physical education.

These shelves have started to be sorted into authors – Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Leon Uris, Jonathan Patterson, Jonathan Kellermann, Janet Evanovich. There’s a shelf or two of CDs, but they’re never used anymore, of course!
The other side of the fire place in the formal living room which has doubled as my bedroom. Lonely Planets, Harry POtter, Richard North Patterson, Deighton, Bryon, Robert Ludlum, John Le Carre, Sue GRafton, Robert Harris
Glass fronted bookcase – the bottom half isn’t filled with books, so that’s… something?

And that completes the previous formal living room/part time my bedroom.

Now for the casual living area at the back of the house:

Colour coded – so yes, hard to find things. This was colour coded when this add on room was built. The bottom left quadrant is DVDs

My brother’s bedroom… and also at times the formal dining room.  We have a house that’s very adaptable!

Three of these bookshelves hang out in my brother’s bedroom
Wooden bookcase two – some of my brother’s political reading
Third wooden bookcase, and a hodge podge of left over books

Now into the casual dining area, off the kitchen.

Around the doorway, from the casual dining area off the kitchen
At the back of the casual living room, between the kitchen. There are books everywhere

And for the smallest room in the house, the study, which… also had a previous life as a (tiny) bedroom for my brother.

Study, right hand side. And I recent corralled all the French dictionaries for my imminent daily reading of a French novel
Study book case on the left
Third study bookcase, which was formerly a window to the informal living area (now). Another French dictionary tucked in there

Interestingly, there’s two bedrooms with no bookcases or shelves.  And our three bathrooms are spartan of books… well as far as a permanent place for books!

Can you see from the first three photos why I have felt a little… cluttered?  I’ll be moving into my parent’s bedroom whilst they’re away, and I’ll relish the wart on walls, and blank wardrobe doors 🙂

How does you home compare for this quantity of books, and shelves?

Book inventory

I love blogging! I drafted this post, and then I thought, ‘it’s a little disjointed’, ‘why this book isn’t with that book?’.  So after completely reorganising my books, hopefully now they are stored in a way that makes sense to you – it certainly makes more sense to me!  Oh and I decluttered two books that I wasn’t entirely proud to have listed :p

Firstly, books are largely hidden in my home, after spending a time in a room with a wall lined in books. I just find the visual too cluttery. So here’s what’s on show in my home:

Beside the radio

Radio - with CD players and a retro tape deck!
Radio – with CD players and a retro tape deck!

In the same shelves, above the radio

Ring binders
All my paper filing is in these two binders

And on the bed ledge

These are the ‘plan to read’ books.

These books have been there for at least 1 year.  Maybe they'll never get read?
These books have been there for at least 1 year. Maybe they’ll never get read?
  1. Israel is Real, Rich Cohen
  2. Each peach pear plum
  3. An intelligent life
  4. Holocaust sites of Europe

And here’s what’s hidden behind closed doors


Some French novels, and some texts.  Even a 'how to get a job in 12 steps'
Some French novels, and some texts. Even a ‘how to get a job in 12 steps’

French Books (in French or about France)

  1. 12 steps to find a job
  2. The game master (Le maitre du jeu)
  3. Objectif Paris
  4. If it is a man (Si C’est un homme)
  5. Bonjour Tristess
  6. Bonjour tristesse
  7. Improve your French
Books that don't fit the other categories!
Books that don’t fit the other categories!


  1. Poland <- a gift from a Polish friend when I studied in France
  2. The Bronze Horseman <- from an Aussie friend who visited Russia.  I read Paulina Simons ‘The Bronze Horseman’ and so I asked for the original poetry.  But I can’t read cryllic!

Other books

  1. Honeymoon with my brother – Franz Wiesner
  2. The Christmas Mystery – Jostein Garder
  3. Plan B – L.R. Brown <- all about alternative ways in life.  Like no flush toliets, and Chinese meat consumption and global warming

The Back Row

To the left, there's mainly holocaust books, to the right there's spirituality/mental health
To the left, there’s mainly holocaust books, to the right there’s spirituality/mental health
The book end to the back row - all holocaust themed
The book end to the back row – all holocaust themed

Holocaust Books

  1. The holocaust odyssey of Daniel Bennahmias, Sonderkommando
  2. Night, E. Wiesel
  3. Eyewitness Aushwitz, F. Muller
  4. Among the righteous, R. Satloff
  5. Ester and Ruzya – Masha Gessen, Masha Gessen
  6. The Seamstress – a memoir of survival, S. T. Bernstein, L.L. Thornton & M. Berstein Samuels
To the left, there's mainly holocaust books, to the right there's spirituality/mental health
To the left, there’s mainly holocaust books, to the right there’s spirituality/mental health

Holocaust Books

  1. Parrallel Lines
  2. Hiding Edith
  3. Mosaic
  4. The Messanger
  5. Auschwitz, Auschwitz, How can I forget you
  6. Human Smoke
  7. Safe Passage – Ida Cook
  8. American Heroine in the French Resistance

Spirituality/Mental health

  1. Mister God, this is Anna
  2. Affluenza
  3. Growing to Maturity
  4. Finding happiness
  5. The mindful way through depression
  6. The invitation

Linen/pantry closet

The top left hand shelf on my pantry/linen closet hybrid holds all these binders and books.  There's 3 travel journals, two stamp collecting binders and all sorts of university and floristry course notes
The top left hand shelf on my pantry/linen closet hybrid holds all these binders and books. There’s 3 travel journals, two stamp collecting binders and all sorts of university and floristry course notes
  1. Striped book – Inspirations book from 2006
  2. Spiral bound black book – more inspirations
  3. Photo album from high school
  4. Blue display book (empty)
  5. First travel journal from 2006
  6. Second travel journal from 2006
  7. Third travel journal from 2007 onwards
  8. Plastic case of brochures for future employers etc
  9. Binder of bank statements from France – 2006 onwards
  10. Empty binder
  11. Stamp collection (Australian)
  12. Stamp collection (foreign)
  13. Binder of floristry assignments and remaining notes
These are the more readily used books, living in the linen closet too
These are the more readily used books, living in the linen closet too
  1. Tax envelope for this year’s receipts
  2. Receipts of clothing spending, electrical items, scooter related costs
  3. Writing paper and envelopes
  4. Lists book
  5. Atlas
  6. The Sweet Poison Quit plan
  7. Humourous check list
  8. Journal from 2011-12 (with lists to move house etc)
  9. Emergency

There you go, I think that’s about all of the permanent resident books in my house. There’s a constant cycle of library books, of course.  I pretty much won’t buy a published book now days – between the library, my mother’s house (which feels like a library) and my uncle owning a book store, I have an endless source, it would seem!  I will only buy 2nd hand books when I am heading overseas, and leave them there.  How do you think I did?  Minimal?

No book review this week :(


Sadly, I just never got ‘into’ Broken by Laura Hillenbrand.  It’s a pretty good sign I’m not that into a book when it doesn’t migrate to my handbag to be toted around ‘just in case’ I have time to read.

Ah I didn't notice the butterfly til I uploaded this image! source:
Ah I didn’t notice the butterfly til I uploaded this image!

So on Sunday I decided to call it a forfeit, and start on the other library book I had on hand Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah.  I’m not quite halfway through it (and I’ve been reading it, in conjunction with catching up on my daily bible reading, which can be a little heavy and slow going).  I think it speaks for itself that I’m so far along already, but I’m not at the review stage (yet).  It’s certainly a cold, heavy tale of loss at the moment, and whilst I might hazard a guess of where it’s going, I can’t be sure.  I hate to ‘ruin’ a story by guessing it for myself, I’m happier just to go along for the ride.

Hopefully, next week I’ll be back with a proper review.    Here’s what’s on my reading list, should you be interested:

Non fiction

1. The power of habit : why we do what we do, and how to change / Charles Duhigg

2. The paradox of choice : why more is less / Barry Schwartz.

3. Make the bread, buy the butter : what you should and shouldn’t cook from scratch : over 120 recipes for the best homemade foods / Jennifer Reese.

4. I quit sugar : your complete 8-week detox program and cookbook / Sarah Wilson.

5. The Happiness Project : or, why i spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read aristotle, and generally have more fun / Gretchen Rubin.

6. Eugenia : a true story of adversity, tragedy, crime and courage / Mark Tedeschi.

7. Young House Love / Sherry and John Petersik *not currently at my library :(*

8. Zero Waste Home / Bea Johnson *awaiting it to get to the library*

Bestsellers/blockbusters (or novels!)

1. An instance of the fingerpost / Pears, Iain.

2. Perfume : the story of a murderer / Patrick Süskind ; translated by John E. Woods.

3. A game of thrones. / George R. R. Martin

Taking recommendations for novels, as all the books on my list at the library seem to be super popular – namely the non fiction ones.


Book Review: Leon and Louise


My mother, bless her heart, sent this book (Leon and Louise) to me from France where she was living last year.  She knows I love a good book about the war, and so this one suited.  Oh, and whilst the book is set in France, and my mother was in France, it is, in fact, in English!

The story centers around two young lovers – who coincidentally meet at the beginning of the war.  Leon is sent to a far off town to be the Morse code expert (which he is not… but picks up quickly with lots of practice on the job, and some magazines!), Louise cycles past him and is absolutely mesmerizing.  The book moves between ‘then’ and ‘now’, and times in between, and it’s clear that despite the early chemistry of Leon and Louise (and the book’s title), that they are not in fact together.  It was an enjoyable book, and like most books, makes me think about ‘what if’ I was one of the characters.  What if the love of my life disappeared without a trace?  Would I keep looking? Would I move on? (Would I continue to be sure they were in fact the love of my life?).  I’m not usually into romance, and I suppose this is what this book is simply about, but it does delve into the dynamics of family and war and separation  and I truly do find that fascinating and inspiring.

Nest us – The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey – I’m well into it, but probably another week til a review is better (less taxing on the memory – it was a while since early Feb when I read Leon and Louise!)

Book Review: The Wind Up Bird Chronicle

It’s not often that I don’t get to ‘chose’ my books, but this book was a gift from one of my neighbours, saying it was their favourite book .  All this, cause I left them some brownies! I was shocked that I received a book in return! (Thanks Poppy and Dean – so generous of you!)  In any case, I decided to work from the unread pile before returning to the library.


At around 600 pages, it was a long book, and often I wasn’t sure where it was headed, but was happy to continue along just a little longer.  It’s a translation from Japanese, and it’s set in the late 70s.  The clues were references to cassettes, and home telephones! The main character, Toru, has lost his job, and is a house husband.  He seems to settle into the routine of being at home as his wife, Kumiko,  unexpectedly leaves him.  Rather than this event being dramatic, it’s more a slow puzzling unraveling of his life.  Prior to her departure, their cat had gone missing.  Toru is asked by his wife to see someone about the cat – Malta Kano. Once Malto and her sister Creta, are introduced to the story deviates into the bizarre.  There’s supernatural elements in this tale, but I never really resolved why or how they come to be.

Essentially, Toru never stops looking for his wife, and along the way meets people who share their story and life, such as a retired army general who witnessed someone being skinned alive (there is a whole chapter about this episode!).  Toru meets a woman who, as the story unravels, finds that her father shares some of his quirky physical peculiarities.  There’s also a  young neighbour who has stopped attending high school, and is slowly discovering her womanhood. Lastly, Toru is pursued by his wife’s brother (whom neither of them liked, and were both estranged from) who indicates that Toru should sign divorce papers.  He flatly refuses to without speaking to his wife.

The book is eerie. It never really rises above the sorrow and sense of lose and longing Toru is experiencing for his wife, who he cannot track down, and refuses to believe wants a divorce.  The final chapters of the book draw everything to a close – both the real and the super natural, but I couldn’t help feeling a sense of disappointment.  That’s not to say I didn’t like the book – it certainly took me on a journey and was engrossing as it did so.

Goals Update – February

There’s three days left (of my ‘weeks’ system) but it is technically the end of the month today so…


$20k target by 22 Dec: I moved money onto the mortgage this month, so my $20k target took a hit. However, over the year, I should be able to reach this goal by the slight reduction in weekly payments on my mortgage!

End of Jan: $14,249

End of Feb: $12,130


Generosity target – 55% (or 89% if adjusted) achieved

of at least $100 per week (weeks Mon thu Sun – and based on when things were withdrawn from my accounts):
week 1 (28/1 onwards) – $120: $100 to MS Colour Run to get a friend to her target.  I wished I’d registered and done the run too…! + $20 church (2 hours)
week 2 – nothing 🙁 other than $25 to church
week 3 – nothing beyond the $20 to church
week 4 – as above…
week 5 – $20 to church and $20 to a friend (4+ hours)

It seems like money has gotten away from me this month, I was feeling it on the third week.  When I analyse this week’s spending, it doesn’t really add up why.  Although I did buy myself an external HDD so I could return one I’ve borrowed, and consolidate files on discs and an old HDD.  That was $100, which I would have otherwise have had ‘surplus’ for charity.  I also bought three months credit in one go, rather than month by month, so that’s a higher ‘cost’ to take out this week than usual.

With my charitable donations, I’m behind $275. However last month I was ahead $220, so if I average it out, I’m doing ok.  Difference of $55.


Cook at home twice a week – 90% achieved

week 1 (28/1 onwards) –

At BF’s – can’t recall what we had (Mon),
Birthday roast at parents (Wed)
ghnocci with oven dried little tomatoes (Thu),
Leftovers? (Fri),
Cousin’s 18th (Sat),
Pub nachos after polo (Sun)

week 2 –

I usually cook Mondays, but I can’ t recall.
Chicken Soup (Tue),
Ravioli with roast eggplant at friend’s house (Wed),
Garlic bread (Thu),
Fancy b’day dinner at Quay (Fri),
Party food (Mexican) (Sat)
Nachos at pub (Sun)

Dessert at Quay: Jersey cream, salted caramel, ethereal sheets
Dessert at Quay: Jersey cream, salted caramel, ethereal sheets

week 3 –
Roast vegies (Mon),
Tacos made by BF (Tue),
Bro’s B’day dinner at parents (Wed),
No dinner – feeling ill (Thu),
B’day dinner out (Fri),
Cheese souffle, beans and sweat potato (Sat),
Lamb roast and vegies at parents (Sun)

week 4 –
Chicken tagine with quinoa (Mon)
Spaghetti (and macaroni) puttanesca (Tue)
Cauliflower based pizza – YUMMO!(Wed)
Tacos at boyfriends (Thu)
Thai out with uni friends (Fri)
Pizza out with visiting school friend (Sat)
Roast chicken at parents (Sun)

Woot! Good week.

week 5 –
Rice salad and poached ginger and soy chicken (mon)
Calamari risotto (Tue)
Dinner at parents (Wed)

The book that started it
The book that started it all

Sugar – 98% achieved since Lent started.

Well it was the birthday week in the first week, so there were a lot of cookies consumed! And some homemade cheesecake by me.  And some ‘tries’ of the bf’s icecream.

As of Lent (13/2/13), these are my infractions:

Thu 14th – shared lemonade with b/f  at movies.  I think I’ll ‘loophole’ drinks otherwise it’ll be a very dry month!  However My mocha will become a Cap.  Also had a few lemonade sips on Sun 16th after a really tough water polo game (no substitutions – I’m too old to play a whole 24 minute game!).  Also ate a dessert my friend made – Mango-misu.  No added sugar, but the soaked biscuits would have come with.  I also had an energy drink, laden with sugar – but I’ll claim ‘loophole’! x 3 (seems they are becoming prevalent, as I realise coffee is causing me pain)

Train for polo – 60% success

week 1 – no training due to public holiday Monday, trained Feb 4th (though then was off sick for the rest of the week!) and Feb 11th and Feb 18th.  This last week, I skipped, after 10 hours working on Sunday I didn’t want to be tired all week (with training making another late night). In the end, I still had a late night…  I could possibly go to the alternate training tonight, but I’m already finding things I’d rather be doing :s


– 2 films a month – 100% achieved

Saw The Impossible technically in January but in the week that I’m counting as Feb for whatever reason.  This is an inexact science!  For Valentine’s day, I saw Silver Linings Playbook – very unsure why it’s been so successful!

– 2 books a month – 100% achieved


Started the month with Leon and Louise , by A. Capus.  Finished it soon after due to being bed bound with a cold.  Next moved to the gift from a neighbour I think called The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami.  I shall write reviews if anyone is interested.



– Certification – 100% achieved

Well, there’s much uncertainty  but nonetheless, we had a meeting here, and a few days later I worked on another career ‘episode’ report.  I think I’ve done 5 now of the 16 (mind you, they’ll need ‘polishing’).  So I just need to keep chipping away at this, and hopefully I’ll get more done.  Reporting it here is certainly helping me.

To make this goal measurable I’m now going to set myself the task of two episodes a month.  With that in mind, I should be done around July! Yay – seems so easy now.