Friday 27th May 2022

My First “What’s on My Bookshelf?” Post. 26/2022.

My First “What’s on My Bookshelf?” Post. 26/2022.

I’ve been seeing post from various blogging friends for some time now, for this link up “What’s On Your Bookshelf?” and for a few reasons I have not joined in. Those reasons included “time” and “energy to blog” because I have slowed down my blogging pace and output, and the fact that I got caught up in the myth (mine) that listening to books was not part of this challenge. IT IS…and so here I am.

Thanks to Jo, Deb, Sue and Donna who host this.

What Am I Reading/Listening To Lately?

What a shock. Denyse Reads Fiction.

The good news is I am reading actual books…which for some time I just could not. The Mother by Jane Caro got me going and kept me going and now, I have been fiction  (yes, fiction!) book browsing. Its theme, whilst modern and topical,  is a very dark one. About men, coercive control and psychological bullying/harrasment/threats. I can’t write much more without giving too much away. It started slowly and built up in content and with details I found of interest as they were places known to me…and then, it got into the main reason for its content. Hearing Jane speak about it and how she came about the characters and so on, was very interesting too.

From Audible. So yes I can listen to fiction too.

It started slowly for me but I have become engrossed in it…and found it’s coming out on Apple as a series: Pachinko is the second novel by Harlem-based author and journalist Min Jin Lee. Published in 2017, Pachinko is an epic historical fiction novel following a Korean family that immigrates to Japan. I believe Barack Obama is a fan of this work. I have not yet finished yesterday.  Very long but keeping me interested.

I Read To Learn & Understand More About Me…and Others. 

In between times, on Audible, I am listening to this: The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. Everyone who has lived needs to know more about how their life has affected them…truly great research and very good in its sharing. It is for both professionals and “us”.

“Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Such experiences inevitably leave traces on minds, emotions, and even on biology. Sadly, trauma sufferers frequently pass on their stress to their partners and children.”

Another very very long one, and we also bought the book. Much head-nodding in some places and understanding so much more about effects of trauma. It’s not a very recent publication but it is incredibly relevant and many who work in the field call it one of the ‘musts’. Finished now too. Excellent.  Did you know “trauma” affects more people in the U.S.A. annually than death by shooting  and car accidents. Fact at time of author’s writing.


Interestingly, this next book could have had many examples of post war trauma examples but “back then” men (and women maybe) were not encouraged to share or to admit to the fears of the fighting and the outcomes. In our family, I have an uncle who went missing AWOL. And he did time in a military prison ….’for not wanting to be part of the war effort’.


I’m listening to Peter Fitzsimon’s massive tome Kokoda …Peter does not know how to write short books..mind you he can do a weekly column…A few years back B and I went to a local talk by Peter, who grew up on the Central Coast and he is the ultimate story teller. Very amusing. Lots of competition at home for a word in, being married to Lisa Wilkinson and now their daughter Billie is an editor of an on-line news service.

I am doing this story in sections as I sit and do some art. I thought I knew about where Australians took part in the wars but was very sketchy about the New Guinea part of the war, despite having an uncle and father in law who served there. It is a very long listen and his researchers are hard workers. The personal stories are priceless and paint a picture of a long- ago Australia.

Time to consider these two books, and the ramifications in the lead up to A.N.Z.A.C. Day.

A.N.Z.A.C. Day 2021. I went at dawn to watch the sun rise.

Comfort Books.

Here’s a couple.

Pema Chodron’s Comfortable with Uncertainty. This small but incredibly wise and in some ways hard-to-understand tome, is wisdom learned, and shared…over and over and over again. Because we need to reflect. I first started reading these small chapters a night well over 5 years ago before my cancer diagnosis. I had confusion at times with the messages because they seemed so tough. I have, however, in the ensuing 5+ years learned so much more about acceptance and what is suffering…that now when I read or dip into a chapter, I far more likely to smile. And nod. It’s beside my bed.

Tara Brach is a favourite teacher of mine from the world of meditation and learning about ‘life’ as it is. She has an amazing way in which she shares her faults and failings (like us all) and then making it a teaching moment. Tara has, via her books and CDs and podcasts and now on Calm as a Meditation teacher, been a consistent and loving presence in my life. Her latest book here, Trusting the Gold is a dip in and out of one of comfort. Love it too.

The one on the bottom is new and not yet finished. If I do a second post for On My Bookshelf I will write about it there. Very interesting by Indira Naidoo it’s called The Space Between the Stars,  and in some ways has been likened Julia Baird’s Phosphoresence. I found Julia’s book overly challenging  to handle for me personally because of my thoughts I have about privilege…’nuff said..but the cancer part of her book hit home.

Loving a Book on Audible Means:

I buy the actual copy.

I also have to love the narrator’s voice.

I prefer the voice to be the author…as it works for the content.

In two cases I offer this: Trent Dalton is a great narrator of his recent publication Love Stories. However, his first fiction book, Boy Swallows Universe required a range of male voices and the actor who narrated it was, for me PERFECT. Then, massive disappointment for me with All Our Shimmering Skies. I found the content hard and some of it was overly lengthy but the narrator’s voice..female, spoiled it so much, I couldn’t wait for it to end.

Peter Fitzsimon’s book, narrated  by Lewis Fitz-Gerald is wonderful as he is an Aussie actor of a similar vintage to Peter.

I love Dr Kathryn Mannix’s books and may write more about them next time. However, the first one is only partially narrated by her and I didn’t realise fully until I read/listened to the next. Her personal warmth and experience added much more to the book’s topic and I love her for that.

I also listen to books again on Audible. I like that I have the ability to do that.

I also used to listen on my longer car trips to and from Sydney but now that most of my appointments are no longer needed, I play them in small episodes as I drive around locally, and at times, in bed.

So for my first post and linking up, I think I have done well!

Thank you to the bloggers who follow this link up too.







  1. You’ve done very well Denyse and I’ve read a few of the books you mentioned. I agree the reader on Audible has to be good and usually the author is best, it can really make a difference to how much I enjoy a book. Kokoda is a gruelling book and having been there and walked some of the Kokoda Track it is all very emotional and mentally challenging which I wasn’t prepared for!

    Thanks for joining us and welcome aboard for What’s on Your Bookshelf – hopefully you’ll join us agin on May 20.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks Deb, for your kind words. Oh I have thought of you and Grant and the others who have trekked Kokoda. And I am in awe of the courage and fortitude. I will, over time, probably listen to the one from France and the WW1 times because that is where my paternal grandfather was a medic of sorts. I think he drove an ambulance.

      The next one is just before the election…and how good it will be when that is over, what ever it brings!

      I shall see how I go. As you know getting into learning about us as humans is my love.


  2. Yay to you linking up! I find it easier to read non fiction on Audible – it’s the author’s voice for me and as I love listening to Peter Fitzsimon I can’t understand why I haven’t “read” any of his books yet. Kokoda could be on my list. What is already on my list is Indira Naidoo’s – the premise sounds interesting (and I adore the title).

    • Thanks Jo, it was your encouragement that listening is still reading that got me here.

      I found listening to Pachinko was excellent as I could remember the many asian names from the voice and intonation rather that look at the spelling.

      Peter Fitz does not narrate his books!! He is too busy writing them maybe.

      I will likely do one of the battles of France books next…after a break.

      His latest is about the building of the Opera House and that would be of interest to me as I remember Sydney before it started!!

      Indira’s book is gentle and then tough. Really quite unusual but I am learning a LOT about nature and she makes me see trees and all very differently.

      Take care,


  3. I am also that person that sometimes has to get the hard copy after loving a book on audible. What’s that about?
    I have heard good things about The Mother so keen to read that next. #Whatsonmybookshelf

    • It was probably listening to Augusten Burroughs book you recommended a long while back that made me buy a copy of the actual book because I wanted to find the quotes that resonated. That’s my reason.

      The Mother is very good but I took a bit of time to warm to it. I loved the contemporary Sydney and other scenes. The topic is a tough one.

      I have Jane at the top of my voting list for the NSW Senate. Jane Caro For Reason party.

      Take care,


  4. Hi, Denyse – Thank you so much for linking up with us. Sending you a warm welcome aboard!
    You are absolutely correct – any kind of books or genres (fiction, nonfiction, travel, cookbooks, audible, etc. etc,) are very welcomed here. I’ve recently read some work by Pema Chodron and agree that she has much wisdome to share. I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to get a copy of Trent Dalton’s love stories — I will keep on trying.
    Wishing you an awesome weekend.

    • Thanks so much Donna, I just had to dive in really! Yes the water/welcome is warm.

      Strange about Trent’s book not being available. I often order via BookDepository in UK (Its now owned by Amazon..sigh) but got Love Stories locally. He’d be chuffed to know you are keen to read it!

      Pema takes some listening to/reading but she helped me through very tough emotional health times in 2015-2016 as I was learning about mindfulness and I know she is as human as the rest of us.

      I already have some books to consider for the next link up!!

      Take care,


  5. You have been super busy, reading, Denyse. I didn’t even know I had Audible until I looked at my Citi bill. Voila, there it was. I canceled it since I haven’t used it. Hope you have a great week! 🙂

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you Marsha, I really am enjoying this right now…the actual reading and the listening as well.

      I have had an up and down time using Audible but it is proving worthwhile for me now as I have 2-3 titles on the go which I can listen to in the car, whilst doing art and later at night rather than mindless scrolling!

      Enjoy your week ahead too.


  6. Hi Denyse, thank you for sharing your interesting list of books. I love discovering new books and genres. Whilst I find reading fiction the most relaxing I do like to learn about history and true human stories and experiences. The Kokoda book sounds very interesting so I will be adding that one to my long book wish list.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Janine.

      Books are so versatile for their ways of helping us soothe, laugh, ponder, learn and share…so much to them.

      I admit it gets a bit more expensive having paid for the monthly sub for an Audible book and then deciding I “need” the hard copy too. Still, there are far more expensive hobbies I could pursue and don’t!

      I have a wish list which is a long list of “perhaps” I will buy via Audible too.

      I finished Kokoda and its left quite a memory for me, particularly on the eve of A.N.Z.A.C. Day 2022.

      Thanks for commenting!


  7. Hi Denyse, Welcome! and lovely you could join us for What’s On Your Bookshelf? I have downloaded The Mother which is on my TBR list. I started using Audible in the car driving to and from Brisbane to keep on top of our Bookclub’s study of the Bronte Sisters works. I enjoy Audible but I do think a huge part is the narrator. I’m currently reading Persuasion and Greta Scacchi is the narrator. She is doing a brilliant job. I hope you can join us again next month. x

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Audible is so good for in the car…as long as it’s just you…for me anyway. I am glad you are finding it helpful Sue to keep up with your BookClub that way. It does so depend on the narrator and I have returned books because of that reason alone. I imagine Greta Scacchi would be wonderful voice to listen to. Thanks for the warm welcome. Lovely to join in, finally!

      Take care,


  8. Lots of interesting reads there.

  9. The Body Keeps the Score looks interesting. Your point about how previous generations didn’t talk about their war trauma is so true. They didn’t talk about other trauma either, which means there’s a generation or more of us who don’t want to live that way but also don’t know how to talk about or even acknowledge the impact of trauma. Most if not all of us are walking wounded in some way.

    Your comment about preferring the author as narrator for audiobooks is interesting. I’m the opposite. In most cases, I prefer a good professional narrator. I’ve gotten spoiled by the greats–Jim Dale, Davina Porter–and don’t have much patience for amateur narrators.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog and commenting, Janet. I see you have author credentials too. I found some narrators are under whelming, being the author or not, so I do tend to listen to a sample. Some of the actors who do narration are very clever and recent ones for Australian books have been spot on.

      I hope to do more work understanding trauma and more now along the way of my life as it is now, as I am someone who never wants to stop learning!

      Warm wishes,


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