Saturday, 29 August 2015

Nothing Literary But Had Fun with Cameras, Bob & WWII

Yes, I know I am behind with a post. It is way overdue.  I haven't read much that I thought anyone would be interested in though a couple of books stood out. They were both non-fiction and I enjoyed them.

First things first though.  I signed up with the Hobart Photographic Society. Wow! Are these people good.  I did photography classes ages ago in the 1970's but of course that was simply SLR.  Now it is SLR DSL. Not only do I need to learn the workings of my Canon 700D SLR but then there is the software.  Photoshop is silly to purchase for the amateur photographer unless you want to remortgage the house.

So I am using Photoshop Elements 13. It is a very good program and I have been taking You Tube lessons for the past two weeks.  Fortunately the lessons range from simple to complex and then I need to practise what I learn.  I am really interested in learning composite photography because then the Penguin can visit some of the locations of the books I read.

The two books I have read are A Streetcat Named Bob by James Bowen.  Non fiction- James is a down and out drug addicted, homeless, street musician going nowhere fast.
Then Bob, a lovely ginger cat shows up on his doorstep. Emaciated and sick.  They develop a wonderful relationship and sometimes this cat is so smart I had to check to see if he was really, well, real.

The story takes place in 2007. Now suddenly it has erupted online everywhere and the film is currently being produced. I googled it all and found they are still together.

James has turned his life around, thanks to Bob and amidst all the hype and glam it really is quite a remarkable story.  There are some tense moments when Bob disappears into the crowds of London street scenes but all ends well. I don't think I am giving anything away about the book because you would have to live in a cave to not know this story lately.  I admit though, I did read the last few pages to make sure Bob was alive before I started this book. I do that with all animal books. Don't want any nasty surprises.  World War II stories are okay with planes being bombed out of the air but don't hurt the homeless cat in London.

Speaking of World War II the more significant book I can heartily recommend is Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand. This was the choice of my Facebook Class of 68, Grand Ledge Michigan book for September discussion.
Lauren also wrote the true story of Seabiscuit.  I have not read that book but certainly know who Seabiscuit was.

Unbroken is the true story of Louis Zamparini and his immigrant Italian family in the USA. The time period is the first half of 20th century America.  Louis was the son in the family and was really nothing but trouble. But he had incredible experiences, those experiences that would kill most of us but he survived.

It started with his school days and stories of his thieving in the town he lived in were quite entertaining. Then he becomes an Olympic runner. Yes, just like that. From a chubby couch potato to Olympic fame. The first Olympics he was destined for were cancelled as it was 1940 and Europe was at war. No Olympics to be held in Germany that year.  He does compete in the following games after the war.

The majority of the book focuses on his days in the Pacific as a pilot during the war. There are lots of facts and figures about flights during the war and I admit I was very surprised at how many pilots and crew died because the American planes they were flying were as dangerous as the war itself.

Just when you think nothing more can happen to this guy it gets worse. Much worse.  I don't like war stories and I would not have read this book except for the group that picked it. It is very blokey.  It is very true.  It is an awesome tale and I mean that word for the definition it really is.

It is well written most of the time, the story moves right along and I felt like I was with him through all of his experiences. It really is an incredible book and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good war tale or a tale about inspirational, motivating people. This really is my least favourite genre and I loved it.

So.... I have been on the streets of London playing guitar with a cat, preparing for photographic challenges and flying over and in the Pacific Ocean over the past few weeks. Is it any wonder I haven't had time to catch up on these blog posts?

Good news to come though.... The Tasmania Reader and Writers festival is in two weeks and I have signed up for 5 events. I will happily share them with you and I am looking forward to it. There are authors coming from all over Australia and overseas.  It is my first festival to do with writing and it is going to be fun. So stay tuned. I will try to get photos too.

Anybody else in a war over the past two weeks???


  1. I must be living in a cave because I hadn't heard about Bob until I read your post. I'm always threatening to leave society and live in a cave, so maybe I've managed to do that without actually finding a suitable cave. Now I must read about Bob. Thank you for making sure he didn't die in the book. I've lost so many pets over the years and I do not want to lose animal friends in books, fictional or non.

    1. I hadn't heard of him a couple of weeks ago but now everywhere I turn I see stories about him. Funny how that happens. A cave does sound good at times. As long as it has wifi. 😊

  2. photography can really keep one busy; my wife loves it; but it can be pretty expensive if you go into the complicated stuff. don't read animal books much; i've been too shell shocked in the past by unfeeling authors; books written before 1950 are usually okay, but even then one must be circumspect. i think it all started with
    bambi when i was a toddler...

  3. Photography can be expensive but I just have to walk up close to everything bc lens cost so much. 😊I think Walt Disney has a lot to answer for. The first movie of my life at age 5 was Bambi. Completely traumatized. Then came Old Yeller. That almost put me in the mental ward.So I hardly ever read animal stories either. Must be a whole generation of us out there that feel that way.🐶


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