I haven’t been following the Sydney WF – not really – but this blog post by Jane Gleeson-White caught my eye and it is a really good read:

Sydney Writers’ Festival 2016: Jonathan Franzen on ‘My Reading Life’ from Dr Dolittle to Kafka, Pynchon and Paula Fox


I’m seeing Franzen next week so am looking forward to that. I had a ticket to see him one wet, cold Friday night a few years ago (2012?) but I was sick, it was at the end of a long week and I couldn’t bear dragging myself out of bed, not even for Jonathan. (People seem to poo poo the JF; I really like him, if not his recent novel Purity.)  But over the years I’ve thought to myself that I should have gone, that it had been a stupid thing to pass up on. And now, here he is, again in my firmament, and I am so there. Anyone else going, let me know and let’s say hi.

Am seeing Hanya Yanigahara Monday night and am happy about that too. Her book was my favourite read of last year, if not the last several. Big words I know but I found it an extraordinary read and it was as much about the experience as anything else.


My daughter has got me on the Gilmore Girls train. I never watched it when it first came out, nor since. It’s something I was aware of but passed me by, or me it, like so many other shows (Sex and the City – I was living OS and caught up later; Beverley Hills 90210 – didn’t really watch, was slightly too old I think; Melrose Place, again think I was overseas. Even Seinfeld I was late to the party with because I was living in Japan when it was on, and again I caught up later.)

Gilmore Girls – ah, I’ve just looked it up. Seems like it was shown on TV 2000 onwards. Well, that explains it. I was neck-deep in single parenthood to a four year old, supporting my mother with health problems, and working. Actually, more like nostril-deep, you know the spot just underneath where if you stand in the water little wavelets can tap the underside of your nose. So that’s probably why there was no lying on the couch, watching this show about a mother who had her daughter at sixteen, and now the girl is sixteen, and they are more like sisters than parent-child, but watching it now, and parent to a 19 year old girl, suddenly a few things make sense. Mothers of my generation – did they watch this show and think: That’s how I want to parent. No authoritative approach with me. I want to be as girlish, silly, irresponsible as my daughter? (Hah, the daughter seems the more grown-up one of the two; shades of Saffy from AbFab.) It’s a really fun show, entertaining, funny and the dialogue by Amy Sherman-Palladino is chockers with pop-culture references (that I get and my daughter doesn’t), fast-paced and clever. But the only thing that doesn’t sit with me is the mother and how she’s more like an older sister, it unsettles me but I have put my curmudgeonly reactions to the side and decided to just commit. Sometimes you just have to compromise a little bit so that you can spend hours on a couch with your child, cause that will all come to an end one day, and when it does, it’ll be me, alone, clutching a tissue and watching Gilmore Girls for old times’ sake.

Amy Sherman-Palladino. A quick google shows she is fond of a hat.