008. Natalie Port[beach]man Black Swans

Last weekend to celebrate W[estern] A[ustralia] Day, my favourite hockey people and I dressed up as the Natalie Port[beach]man Black Swans, which informed my choice for this week’s “Friday #the1001project” movie. I also read about four of Aesop’s fables, but don’t worry, I can predict that tomorrow will be the wind-up post for that one finally.

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June 9, 2017

BOOK: Complete Fables, by Aesop

Tomorrow, I promise. Seriously, because it’s already “tomorrow” and I’ve finished it.

MOVIE: Black Swan (2010)

“See also: ‘Mental illness in film'”
Wikipedia

“Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller-horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Mark Heyman, Andrew Heinz and John McLaughlin, and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis and Winona Ryder. The plot revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet by a prestigious New York City company. The production requires a ballerina to play the innocent and fragile White Swan, for which the committed dancer Nina (Portman) is a perfect fit, as well as the dark and sensual Black Swan, which are qualities better embodies by the new arrival Lily (Kunis). Nina is overwhelmed by a feeling of immense pressure when she finds herself competing for the part, causing her to lose her tenuous grip on reality and descend into a living nightmare.” Thanks Wikipedia for a more concise synopsis than I am capable of currently.

Black Swan has always been a movie that, considering my … concerns … with anxiety during the past few years, has seemed like a bad idea to watch, basically. Despite my infatuation with Mila Kunis, and my appreciation of Natalie Portman in movies that don’t include Star Wars, no attraction has counteracted my fear of the subsequent mental breakdown. But lately I’ve even been able to watch Freaks and Geeks without a panic attack, so I’m obviously growing as a person.

That’s not to say I had an uninteresting response to the film as this morning I woke up ready to kick life’s ass and didn’t even eat any carbs today. Emotionally I think Portman’s Portrayal of Nina struck a chord with me, the first person to admit that I am meek and timid in regards to self-confidence. You cannot be a boss-ass-bitch if you are concerned with being in control 100% of the time and even though that’s not entirely the point of this movie, it’s my personal moral for the week. Also: be hot and crazy and you’ll get everything you want, basically.

Cinematically, I thought this movie was well done. I grimaced in several places and that’s how you know a psychological thriller-horror movie is horribly thrilling, I guess. I once saw Red Shoes in a small hotel room in Kalbarri, and Black Swan recalled similar aesthetic and thematic motifs and, similarly, communicates the leads’ anxiety well. Aronofsky used camera angles and movement to simulate the movie’s rhythm of dance, and the striking colour palette well represented the shifts from naivety to proactivity on the protagonist’s part. And it’s pedantic, but the use of phonetic similarities in Nina/Lily – much like Odette/Odile – make the word-nerd in me happy.

Overall I really enjoyed Black Swan, wasn’t freaked out at all and woke up this morning ready to achieve anything. Let’s hope the similarities between myself and Nina end there.

x Casey

006. Remember Cedric Diggory

As we reach the end of this first week of the “media diet”, and following several days of scarcity, yesterday I finally found some content I wanted to discuss. But first a quick note on productivity since the inception of this idea.

Since beginning this project last Thursday I have been the most productive I have been since February where #the1001project is concerned. Finishing one book, one movie and a tv season doesn’t seem like much, but I’ve been overcommitting to life outside my house for a while now, and it’s time I took it easy and went back to the project I enjoy most of all. That said, I have also been branching out with podcasts and music this week too, an endeavour that provides me with insight and entertainment respectively. I’ve also been enjoying the NHL playoffs, though I’m yet to see my first catfishing.

But without further ado, here’s what I listened to and read yesterday:

June 7, 2017

PODCAST: Gilmore Guys: Lauren Graham

Gilmore Guys is finally over. I remember listening to my first episodes while entering data about botanical specimens at Maia and being instantly impressed and inspired. For the past two years this has been my answer when anyone asks how I can type long strings of letters and numbers so efficiently and enjoyably, and to have passed the end of the series is a little surreal. Through their genuine humour, backdoor knowledge of improvisation, film, television and theatre, and their demonstrable work ethic in a notoriously difficult and inauspicious industry, Kevin and Demi have taught me not only technical concepts, optimism and perseverance, but also that entertainment can be made from… pretty much anything.

In this final episode of Gilmore Guys, the boys “gab” with Lauren Graham who is also an exceptional inspiration. While the final episode would have been great as a return to roots farewell to the series, it feels as though full circle has been achieved. It wasn’t classic Gilmore Guys, but Graham’s harmonies for “Where You Lead” were on point.

BOOK: Complete Fables, by Aesop

I’m nearly finished with this, I swear.

TV SERIES: Parenthood

Parenthood, S01E01

After listening to the final episode of Gilmore Guys, I was left wanting more Lauren Graham, and since Mae Whitman and Dax Shepard are also in that show, and I had heard great things – not to mention, it’s helpfully a #the1001project show – I decided to watch Parenthood. I have only watched the pilot at this point, but my thoughts are thus:

  • This is a sweet show and I like Lauren Graham’s character even though I can foresee future frustration with that branch of the family.
  • I’m interested to see these variations on the nuclear family – kind of like Modern Family but with a more serious base.
  • I just know I’m going to spend a lot of time in tears because of this show.

So I’m looking forward to continuing! Although I’ve also picked up The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt as my dinner show because I’ve decided that I need to focus on new media to a greater extent or this cycle of missing out will just continue forever.

PODCAST: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text – Being a Stranger: Diagon Alley (Book 1, Chapter 5)

This podcast episode, more than anything else I’ve read or watched or listened to, has been the most influential media I’ve exposed myself to over the past week.

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a podcast created by Vanessa Zoltan, Casper ter Kuile & Ariana Nedelman with the intention of reading the Harry Potter series as though it were a sacred text, reading the books “not just as novels, but as instructive and inspirational texts that will teach us about our own lives”.

I initially encountered Harry Potter and the Sacred Text several months ago when one of my best “internet” friends Kelly suggested it to our “Old HP Pals” Facebook group. I listened to the first few episodes available at the time and while vaguely interested, I never remembered to catch up when further episodes were released. Now, one year after it began, the podcast is almost finished with book three but I decided to pick up where I left off and listen to episode five where Vanessa and Casper read “Diagon Alley” through the lens of “being a stranger”.

In the opening minutes of this episode, Casper reveals that they had recorded the audio just days before the attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Following this, he explains that while many would turn to prayer in times like these, for many listeners that may not be an option. Instead Vanessa repeats Dumbledore’s speech from the end of Goblet of Fire as a call to reflection and an alternative for those who felt more comfortable with a different option.

Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by JK Rowling

While I have seen internet jokes in the past about Harry Potter as religion, or gospel and even particular reference to the series as a sacred text for certain people, I have always considered that too far a line to cross for even my most adored stories. But as someone who has always considered herself to be, if not spiritual herself, then at least empathetic to any belief in which all are equal and deserving of kindness, there are of course lessons within Harry Potter that speak to that part of me.

While I don’t consider Harry Potter to be a spiritual text, the literary analysis and religious critique, as well as the general lessons of kindness, blessing and thoughtfulness that Vanessa and Casper share through this podcast have been refining the way I understand religion and spirituality, something I had dismissed long ago as not for me.

While I’m not saying Harry Potter is my bible – I feel like that’s a strange precedent – I do appreciate the intent to see positive instruction in obscure places, and encourage anyone to listen to this podcast for an alternative take on structured religion.

x Casey

001. Casey Causley Media Diet

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Indiana Jones: I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go along.

– Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Each year Steven Soderbergh, producer of movies such as the Oceans series and Magic Mike, publishes a list in January of all the media he consumed in the last 365 days, a concept that has become referred to as his “media diet”. As someone who enjoys not only consuming but creating content, I’ve become interested in knowing what my media diet would be. In addition to that I’m also interested in keeping track for reasons of productivity tracking, mood insight and particularly having a record of #the1001project media, particularly during times when it becomes difficult to create comprehensive reviews of all 4000+ items, and that doesn’t even include the non-related content.

So I present to you from now on, daily posts about the books, movies, television, podcast and live performances I experience.


June 2nd, 2017

Podcast: Gilmore Guys Present Bunhead Bros 116 ft. Jason Mantzoukas

This is where the inspiration for the Causley media diet came from as I liked the idea of a stimulus for daily creative/reflective writing for a year. It also has the benefit of being a written history of the productivity of #the1001project over time as well as the opportunity to highlight certain experiences and their connection to media – for example, as I’m going through an emotionally turbulent period at the moment, I end up watching more The Big Bang Theory than normal.

In terms of this podcast, it’s my go-to work podcast, particularly the Gilmore Guys era as the content is based on a show I’ve experienced so often that I can follow the discussion. The entertainment value, including the report between Kevin, Demi and their guests has in the past has been a source of inspiration considering their particular involvement in a side of media and performance that I really enjoy. The only podcast I’ve found to be more stimulating has been, of course, Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show.

Side Note: This media diet project is also probably the most efficient way for me to keep track of quotes I want to collect too. My Twitter bio doesn’t claim me as the “Queen of Reference Humour” for nothing.

Movie: Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark – the original Hannah Montana.

After growing up without exposure to most movies, including Star Wars and Indiana Jones, catching up on Harrison Ford as an adult is a magical experience I do not underestimate, and Raiders is the perfect escapist movie after a taxing week. Adventure, humour, and that perfect venn diagram of “adventurous” but “nerd” that’s like some kind of me kryptonite.

Speaking seriously though, Raiders is among the genre of movies I have trouble critically analyzing for blog posts such as these. It’s fun, funny and the Nazi’s lose. Add to that Harrison Ford’s haircut and Indy’s badass attitude and you have a crowd pleaser. To match with my emotional state this week, it was the ideal escape from stress and anxiety and I gave it a five out of five on RT. It’s not exactly thought provoking apart from the “girl wears inappropriate clothes while defeating bad guys, but not actually defeating them, just making an effort to defeat them while Indiana Jones is really the one who saves the day” trope. Early 1980’s special effects were on point too, and now I really want an Indy inspired costume to lurk at zoos in. A e s t h e t i c.

Side note: Doctor Jones, Jones, calling Doctor Jones.

x Casey

 

#the1001project – On Anxiety & Falling for Sydney on Day 1

The 1001 Project is my ongoing venture to finish items from various 1001 Before You Die lists. For other blog posts you can click here, or for a better description you can click here.

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First: A Prelude to Adventure

I used to love airports. There’s a great sense of anticipation, waiting in an airport, either knowing where you’re going, or not having a plan but considering your options, knowing there’s somewhere new or exciting just hours away, and you can go anywhere you want to if you set your mind to it. I was always someone who arrived at airports hours early to soak up the anticipation of a holiday or the buzz of adventure. I’ve travelled solo enough times to be completely comfortable waiting for a journey alone in a room packed with people coming and going, and never had I found anything to be anxious about with travel.

Until three years ago.

Four years ago I was experiencing anxiety in its most desperate and nervous state. It’s not the time to explain why, although it’s never really the time to explain why, but all roads lead somewhere and mine resulted in abandoning my sister on a flight to my grandmother’s funeral in 2013 because I was overwhelmed and claustrophobic. Until May 2016, I hadn’t flown in three years.

I wasn’t anxious about the funeral, I had never been claustrophobic before and with parents who lived on opposite sides of the country to each other, I was a perfectly seasoned traveller – I’d been flying alone with my sister since the age of six. But anxiety is anxiety and it manifested itself as a panic attack during boarding where I left my – granted, she is as well, or perhaps more well travelled – teenage sister to go on alone.

The process of overcoming these problems has taken years, but step by step and slowly but surely, the unconscious side-effects of this situation have been dealt with in time, until the final and most difficult was set for last – flying for fun. But as of December 2016, I can finally say that, with the aid of one or more anti-anxiety tools for backup, I can fly again.


Therefore: Sydney

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I had a blast.

Have you ever been to a new city before and straight away just “yep, this is my vibe” and all of a sudden things fall into place and you know you’re somewhere that’s for you. That was Sydney. Now, I will always love Perth and as I’ve said countless times before, I will always return to the SWAFR, it’s my home. But Sydney was just perfect. Maybe only needing to survive two days was the key, but I have a sneaking suspicion that that’s not it.

Sydney is also the second best Australian locality for #the1001project so here’s a run-down of my 56 hours of constant adventure.

Day One: ANZACs, Heights & So Much Walking

The first key to travel is understanding timezones, and though I crossed state lines five times in ten days during my holiday, I’m happy to report that I avoided jet lag completely. That first day though, waking up at 4:30am “my” time was not easy.

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Day One started with an early train to Hyde Park. Now I had travelled to Sydney once before, as a beret-wearing, book-loving thirteen year old – there are no photos of this phase, thankfully – and I have specific memories of grumpily heading to Hyde Park with my parents and my copy of the Goblet Of Fire in tow. In some ways my travel habits have not changed – if where we’re going is of no concern to the 1001 Project and does not have a museum of natural history or a petting zoo, then please leave me in my hotel room so I can read and watch Gilmore Girls. More importantly though, in many ways it has changed, and Hyde Park was the first tangible proof that I was no longer that inside kid.

While the Park itself is not on any of the relevant lists, there are two nearby attractions which are: The ANZAC War Memorial & The Hyde Park Barracks. Side note, there is also a museum of natural history, but unfortunately I didn’t have the time.

The photo above is a relatively terrible representation of the War Memorial, but a cute photo of me, and though the fellow I asked to be my Instagram husband for the moment had “just returned from an overseas trip where he became adept at portrait  photography” he did a remarkably poor job with a real photo – it’s in portrait orientation and anyone who follows me on Instagram knows that isn’t how I roll so this’ll do for now.

The ANZAC Memorial however, is fantastic. I’ll soon post a YouTube video of the days I spent in Sydney and if you haven’t been to the ANZAC Memorial in Sydney, please consider watching it because the artistic symbolism throughout the monument is wonderful, and it’s too difficult to portray in either text or photography. One item of particular note however, is the incorporation of nurses into the list of commemorated casualties of the collective war effort. They are memorialised among the important groups which also include the army, air force and navy leaders. To me this gesture to the underrepresented women, over 2000 of whom served overseas during the Great War is significant and in my experience, one of a kind.

As an Australian, the ANZACs are kinda like our gladiators. Not in a glorified or overall sense, but we each have connections to a family member who was involved in World War I, and though far from exalting war in its many forms, the commemoration of the ANZACs is fuelled by a certain sense of pride and respect. Seeing this memorial for all of the soldiers and nurses who lost their lives was a sobering and pensive experience, which I’m glad I was able to experience in the relative silence and contemplation of the memorial.

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As of December 2016, the ANZAC War Memorial is actually receiving an upgrade. Though the initial building commemorates all 120,000 casualties from New South Wales, these men and women are represented by stars on the roof of the building. The upgrade will instead present soil samples from each suburb as a token of memory. In addition it will also expand the memorial and incorporate rooms with an emphasis on education and support.

Please click here for more information or donations!

Stop number two for the day was the Hyde Park Barracks, and where the Memorial made me pensive and reflective of our past, the memory of Australia being formed by convicts has always been humorous to me. I think there’s something telling in the fact that our entire society was based on a group of people who stole bread or killed people, and I’m not sure exactly what it is, but it’s definitely great that we are all related to people who were the scum of England.

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It’s really hard to take something seriously when you know there were probably people who were stuck there because they stole an apple, and your mum always taught you that eating grapes while you’re in Coles is fine.

To be honest, after the ANZAC War Memorial, the Hyde Park Barracks was a little less special. I’ve grown up with Fremantle Prison, so the Barracks seemed too similar to be particularly interesting, and it’s difficult to discuss properly an experience that isn’t new or educational. The stand-out parts of the exhibition were comedic ones, which I vlogged about and you can see in the video part of this blog post.

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As for the rest of this blog post, I have suddenly discovered that while exhaustive and detailed, 1300 words is entirely ridiculous, so I am going to split the rest of the information in further blog posts – including the much more interesting topics of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and of course the Hunger Games exhibit, but honestly, that’s just good writing, making you come back a second time…

x Casey

Glee-son Two: Road to Nationals

This is the first of a new kind of blog post, where I recap the most reason tv series I’ve watched from 1001 TV Series to Watch Before You Die. As such, it’s still in the works and will likely fit into the YouTube schedule when I start that in a couple of weeks. 

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Glee on IMDB
2009-2015
Comedy/Drama/Musical – 44 minute episodes – TV-PG
Created By: Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy
Starring: Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester), Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester) Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel) & Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams)


I remember being eighteen and hearing about a new television show with “Wendla” from Spring Awakening in it, knowing that it would be about a group of singing, dancing teenagers and being absolutely ecstatic. I also remember being 19 and specifically using my three hour uni break on a Thursday to sleep while torrenting the newest Glee episode, then watching the episode in snippets throughout the day. The combination of determination and what I thought were the absolute cutest outfits, made Rachel Berry and Glee my number one favourite show for its first three seasons.

A lot has changed in seven years however. I mean, these days my favourite show features a bubbly, loving brunette with bangs and optimism to spare, who has trouble with boys and likes to sing… a lot. Hmm, so maybe things aren’t that different, actually.

Glee has always been one of those shows, hated by a large percentage of the population, for its portrayal of high school dorky performers as well as “lessons” in every episode, from the dangers of teen drinking, the realities of teen pregnancy, and both the mundane and hyperbolised intricacies of teenage life. It’s soap opera style of incestuous relationship cycling, coupled with the idealised display of talent and competition makes it the perfect show for only a single, persistent demographic: teenage middle to high school girls.

But coming back to it five years later after not watching from season four onward… I don’t hate Glee.

I’m going to receive criticism from the fold, who will say “Casey, you run a podcast about New Girl, and you take a lot of selfies of you eating donuts”, and while you may be correct about my biases, I have several solid arguments for why Glee still remains high on the list of shows discussed by teenage girls on Tumblr blogs around the globe.

Glee‘s appeal to the aforementioned middle school girls is more than just Darren Criss dressed in a private school uniform, it appeals to the need for validation in a world where you’re constantly made to feel ordinary: because “being part of something special makes you special”. Glee‘s messages of acceptance are trite and overused, but the display and recognition of talent, even in various degrees or types can be a lifeboat in the constant reality of cut-throat competition among peers in high school. As a teenage girl you’re constantly being convinced to fit in while being required to have something that makes you stand out and for this, Glee is more than bubblegum television for young girls, in some places it is a strong reminder to dream big and stay true to what you believe in yourself.

But the show is also actually, genuinely funny in places.

While those places may be surrounded one hundred fold by lines that make me grimace and cringe, it’s tough to doubt that Jane Lynch is the comedic backbone of the show and Naya Rivera as Santana “[making out with another girl] is not cheating because the plumbing’s different” Lopez and Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel with his perfect physical comedy moments give the show at least a good punch or two per episode.

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So I have to admit that 90% of the appeal for me is half the poppy upbeat bangers that aren’t really bangers but actually cheer me up and the similarities I see between myself and Rachel Berry. But if you’re a teenager who’s trying to navigate the tricky world of middle school and trying to figure yourself out, I have to stand by my assessment that I think Glee  might be for you.

Stay tuned for a more season-particular review of Glee Season 3 within the next couple of weeks.

Top Travel: Western Australia

This list and any other Top Travel lists are in conjunction with my side venture The 1001 Project and are not only ongoing, but extensive. This page will be continuously updated as I visit more of the top travel destinations in WA.

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Bluff Knoll
Mt Barker, Western Australia
1001 Natural Wonders & 1001 Walks

With stunning 360 degree views of the Stirling Ranges from its summit, Bluff Knoll is the highest peak within the Southwestern Australian Floristic Region. During the months of August to October, thousands of wildflowers in bloom make this the leading destination for botany enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

With a vertical height of 1095m, the third tallest mountain in Western Australia, the 3.1km return trip with a hiking classification of 4 (moderately difficult), requires approximately 3 to 4 hours return, but experienced hikers or fitness freaks can complete the trek in under 120 minutes.

While September is the ideal season to visit Bluff Knoll for wildflowers, any time between May and October is suitable, weather permitting. Climate can change instantaneously, and during winter it is uncommon, but not unheard of to experience frost and even snowfall during particularly cold days. Take adequate water and sun protective equipment at all times, but consider taking wet or cold weather gear even if it might seem gratuitous.

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Torndirrup Peninsula
Albany, Western Australia
1001 Natural Wonders

Located approximately 30 minutes drive from Albany central, Torndirrup National Park is one of several protected nature reserves in the town’s vicinity, and one of two specified as Natural Wonders. With several picturesque options, there are a range of attractions to visit within the park.

The Peninsula itself is the most frequently visited, featuring both the Gap and Natural Bridge formations. No exertion is necessary, with a large open car park after a short drive, however as of December 2015, restoration activities were occurring at Natural Bridge and access was prohibited.

If you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, Cable Beach (pictured above) is my personal favourite, requiring some dirt track driving, rock walking that can be dangerous in wet weather and descent of a wooden staircase. The “beach” is non-accessible by foot without steep climbs, and high wind or water pressure can produce large, dangerous swell, so please use your own discretion and judgement when visiting.

Torndirrup also features several steep and exhaustive trails including Isthmus Hill (10km, 6-8 hour return trip) and Peak Head (4.3km, 2 hour return trip with some rock climbing), as well as short trips to the Stony Hill car park and Heritage Trail (500m, 20 minute walk) and as I would highly recommend, the Salmon Holes (300m, 10 minute walk).

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Two Peoples Bay National Park
Albany, Western Australia
1001 Natural Wonders

Little Beach (pictured above) at Two Peoples Bay National Park is so far the most convincing argument yet against my prevailing dislike of beaches. Located 35km east of Albany, this spot is one of the more convenient secrets of the Albany area, and yet secluded enough to remain relatively unknown.

As with other national parks in the area, Two Peoples Bay features several options depending on the level or type of activity. For bush-walkers and flora/fauna enthusiasts, the Heritage Trail, a 4.6km Moderately Difficult hike takes you on a 2 hour return loop through woodland with strategic lookouts along the path to view the sheltered bay. For fishermen and swimmers, the Bay itself has open shallow water perfect for frolicking, or swimming with small children and a boat ramp allowing access by open water to Little Beach.

Little Beach itself is the headline act for Two Peoples Bay. With deep, clear water for 50-100m and clean white sand, surrounded by dense natural flora (unfortunately pictured above post-burning in December 2015) and granite rock, this is a perfect, secluded location for a summer swim, with the only downfall being the unfortunately low temperatures in Albany year-round. The area is large, with plenty of room, affording everyone the luxury of desolation even if you’re sharing the beach with several other groups.

Introducing: The Roosevelt Readers Club

The Roosevelt Readers Club was created as a component of The 1001 Project, and is therefore the junction between loving reading and the outdoors, just as Teddy Roosevelt himself was a fan of both. We meet once a month to discuss a book from the list of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, and we pick a new location in Perth to do so and eat food.

This month, just as a rookie would do, the book I chose was The Children’s Book by AS Byatt and we visited Aliment in West Leederville.


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The Novel: The Children’s Book, by AS Byatt

A spellbinding novel, at once sweeping and intimate, from the Booker Prize–winning author of Possession, that spans the Victorian era through the World War I years, and centres around a famous children’s book author and the passions, betrayals, and secrets that tear apart the people she loves.

When Olive Wellwood’s oldest son discovers a runaway named Philip sketching in the basement of the new Victoria and Albert Museum—a talented working-class boy who could be a character out of one of Olive’s magical tales—she takes him into the storybook world of her family and friends.

But the joyful bacchanals Olive hosts at her rambling country house—and the separate, private books she writes for each of her seven children—conceal more treachery and darkness than Philip has ever imagined. As these lives—of adults and children alike—unfold, lies are revealed, hearts are broken, and the damaging truth about the Wellwoods slowly emerges. But their personal struggles, their hidden desires, will soon be eclipsed by far greater forces, as the tides turn across Europe and a golden era comes to an end.

x Goodreads

At a substantial 617 pages, The Children’s Book was a mistake to choose for a book club. After initially planning to meet three weeks ago, our meetup date was changed twice to accommodate the length and difficulty of the novel. Even then only one attendee had read the entire book, and I still had 60 pages to go. It’s not the easiest novel to digest either – with large blocks of historical context and almost as many characters as Game of Thrones, it’s not an ideal choice if you’re interested in light reading and many of the book club members were feeling the struggle by the opening scenes.

That said, in my opinion (because I run this blog and the book club), the novel is wonderful. It’s clearly a novel about artists, by an artist. With heady descriptions, thoroughly researched background and literary allusions, it’s a very difficult but rewarding read that unlike many novels succeeds in absorbing you completely in the story. It’s not fluffy, and many of the themes are confronting – sexual coercion, incest, suicide and mental illness to name a few – which is unsettling, but the story is immersive and kept me constantly interested and invested.

Don’t take my word for it though: while several members of the group agreed it was difficult to continue after Part I, those who continued reading expressed the same sentiments about characters and descriptive text, and most agreed to needing to know how the story ended.


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The Cafe: Aliment Cafe, West Leederville

Aliment Cafe on Instagram
Cafe
Location: 170 Railway Parade, West Leederville
Cuisine: Cafe; Breakfast Bar; Locally Produced Beverages
Price Range: $18 – $30

Having extra people with you to try a cafe is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand you can steal Clinton’s brownie stuffed pancakes to photograph (see above), but on the other hand Clinton has brownie stuffed pancakes when you chose the mushroom hash because yesterday you sugar crashed after an Iced Chocolate, but now you have food envy.

Aliment is a small but cosy restaurant along the main street in West Leederville, that was made pleasantly quite by roadworks along Railway Parade. With a wide range of foods and local artisan beverages, the only things missing were options for vegans, which was a condition for my choice when consulting The Urban List, and was therefore a little disappointing.

Option I Chose: Mushroom Hash with Eggs Benedict and Spinach – a hearty and tasty vegetarian option.
Notable Alternative: The Brownie Filled Pancakes special! Pictured above, this sweet treat breakfast was coveted by the whole table.


The Club: A Success

“One of the better outcomes of The 1001 Project” is quite a statement as this project has brought me nothing but joy and positive experiences, but this first meeting of the Roosevelt Readers Group was better than most. What was going to be a discussion of the book, devolved into a few hours spent discussing reading, literature and life in general with a really great bunch of people, and something I’m really looking forward to continuing in future.

However, we continue to welcome new members! If you’d like to be part of a group that loves reading, meeting new people and trying new food places in Perth, send us a message on Facebook or email the1001project@gmail.com!

x Casey