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Monthly Cultural Round Up: December

Before starting, for 2012 you might want to consider the Australian Women Writers Challenge – reading and reviewing books by Australian women. I will have to try hard to work it into my roster of reading.


Trading In Danger Elizabeth Moon In an attempt to shake up my science fiction reading I decided to randomly choose a book by a female author with a woman as its central character from the roster at Book Depository. So I choose this one. From now on, I will stick to recommendations and not go for random. This was a very ordinary book, on pretty much every level. The future it imagined was pretty pedestrian – it is hard to imagine barges still in a future which does inter-stellar travel, but there you go. It was also not well realised or depicted, and many of the details just weren’t clear. I wasn’t sure whether this was because the universe had featured in other books, but as this was supposed to be the beginning of  series, it seemed still to lack something. And the plot and characterisations were just dull. And predictable. And while it tried to make some kind of feminist statement about the central character, it was very confused. I do not think it is at all likely I will bother to read further books of the series.


Puss in Boots One of the entertaining characters from Shrek gets his own back story. Overall, Puss In Boots is pleasantly entertaining and reasonably engaging, without hitting any of the heights of the best of animated children’s films – like the first two Shreks. We learn about Puss’ youth and his code of honour and then there is this whole segue into Jack and the Beanstalk territory, and it is relatively well rendered and paced and the small boys enjoyed it, but ultimately relatively forgettable.


The Hour Well cast and beautifully acted, this was a very enjoyable television experience. Romola Garai and Dominic West are a fabulous and sexy couple and were really well supported by a fantastic cast. While the parts of story about Cold War intrigue and the tension between the media and the political establishment are interesting, I particularly loved it the depiction of the relationship between Hector and Bel, and her position as a woman with a career in the mid 1950s. I thought the way this was developed and characterised was really well done, and not over-stated. In all, I am not sure whether the intrigue spy-story completely worked, but I didn’t think that detracted overly from the enjoyment of the whole. Well worth watching.

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