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Who am I?

I’m a reader, filmgoer, concertgoer living downunder – in the bush capital. I have been blogging since May 2009. My on-line booklife began in the mid-1990s when I joined several internet bookgroups, but this blog is now my prime on-line book presence. I am also a member of two face-to-face reading groups (one of which is a Jane Austen group). I like writing – not fiction but just putting thoughts on paper (or screen as the case may be) – which is why I decided to give blogging a go. It felt a bit self-indulgent. I wondered who on earth would want to read what I wrote, but realised that no-one else needed to read my blog.  So, I went ahead and indulged myself.

Also, I believe it is important to keep up with modern communication technologies as we get older. One day it may be hard to get out and about. Electronic communications will be my way into the world. I don’t want to be left behind…

More gums (Brittle Gum)

More gums (Brittle Gum)

My main focus is book reviews but I occasionally stray into other areas of literature and even further into other topics of cultural interest (to me) such as music and film. I’m hoping that maintaining this blog will help keep dementia at bay – not only through the actual brain effort used to write it but by helping me remember what I thought in the past. Next time someone asks me “What did you think of The slap?”, I’ll be able to answer (at least, I will after I have a quick squizz at my blog post!)

I am also on the team behind the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge, with responsibility for the Literary and Classics areas. If you’re interested in writing by Aussie women, past and present, and in a wide range of forms and genres, Do check us out.

POSTSCRIPT: My first post, which explains my name, is now well lost in the mists of time. If you’d like to know where my name comes from, click here. Sorry, if that wasn’t very exciting, but there it is!

To contact me, please email me at wg1775[at]gmail[dot]com …

74 Comments leave one →
  1. Louise permalink
    June 7, 2009 13:20

    I thought you’d take to the blogging world. Glad it didn’t take very long

    • whisperinggums permalink*
      June 7, 2009 15:46

      I still feel a bit odd about it but on the other hand I’m enjoying it!

  2. residentjudge permalink
    June 13, 2009 15:48

    Hello there! Only just realized that you had a blog! Why didn’t I come here sooner?

  3. whisperinggums permalink*
    June 13, 2009 15:58

    Hi Resident Judge! I’ve made a couple of comments on your blog recently (at least I think I have) but I suspected you didn’t know who I was! I decided to leave a more definite trail to flush you out. Of course, I could have just told you! I’ve only been doing this one for about 5 weeks, after starting a blogger one for my f2f group late last year. That was becoming a bit one-sided so I decided to branch out on my own. It’s sort of fun…isn’t it?!?

  4. July 14, 2009 16:57

    HI there – thanks for commenting on my blog.

    the birthday was my 60th. Now I’ve said it I’ll lose all my younger readers I expect! Who want to read the thoughts of a non-Twitterer, non-Facebooker, non-most-things-cool?

    Peter Carey and Kate Grenville! See, I have read some Australian writers after all. Both are excellent of course.

    I’ve added you to my blogroll – you have an interesting blog and I particularly liked the post on H Murakami (a favourite author of mine)

    • whisperinggums permalink*
      July 14, 2009 20:29

      Thanks Tom (for response and adding me to your blogroll)…that’s the age I guessed and is the one I’m not far off. Will tell you when I get there. Peter Carey and Kate Grenville are good starts but you might like to look a bit further afield. My favourite writer no. 2 post is Elizabeth Jolley. She’s worth checking out AND she does originally hail from the mother country!! Glad you liked the Murakami post. I do like him too. Will pop you into my Google Reader list so I can keep a better eye on you.

  5. April 1, 2010 10:21

    ah here you are… thanks for visiting Arukiyomi. I presume the spreadsheet brought you… if not, hurry back….

  6. April 19, 2010 21:13

    I feel so young.

    I saw your comment over at mine, you’re right, our reasons for blogging are very similar – though ironically I’d forgotten my post until you commented on it…

    Murakami eh? I’ll have to have a look at that.

    • April 19, 2010 21:32

      LOL it’s funny how things like that get lost in the mists of time … but at least having the blog means you can always remind yourself again of things you’ve said and thought, eh?

  7. May 18, 2010 18:52

    Hands up for the same and/or similar motivation! And congrats on a great blog: more power to you.
    Those gum trees on your masthead pic look a little like olive trees; but are gorgeous anyway (and I love trees: no accident that my house was surrounded by dense woodland stretching away up and over the hills as far as the eyes could see). Do your whispering gums have galahs on their branches?
    Amitiés from France from non-whingeing (well, OK, not much …) Pom.

    • May 18, 2010 23:21

      Thanks Minnie … like minds eh? I can see what you mean by olive trees – from that shot there is a similarity in the shape and colour of the leaves isn’t there. Of course, if you saw the whole image they’d be nothing alike since these trees are 20+ metres high! Some of our whispering (and non whispering) gums have galahs on them, but not these particular ones. Now, how do you know galahs?

      France must be starting to look really gorgeous now.

    • May 18, 2010 23:23

      Oh, and Minnie, I forgot to say that the little pic of the brittle gum on this page is on the hill overlooking our house – about a 20 minute walk away. It’s a lovely little spot.

  8. May 19, 2010 01:12

    OOh, fab – huge fan of trees, so had to research your gum trees. And, of course, you’re right: they aren’t anything like olive trees. What a lovely sight they must be from your place.
    Yes, France is looking glorious – or at least this part of it is, with the soft fruit season underway and citrus fruits burgeoning (esp. near Menton, which regards itself as World Capital of The Lemon, hem hem – no false modesty around here! Inevitably, Menton holds an annual festival to celebrate this).
    Galahs? Ah, the splendid ‘Seb’ referred to on my blog was Australian (Queenslander). He introduced me to no end of new and interesting words, phrases and expressions ;-). Although I am – naturally – aware that a ‘galah’ is in fact a kind of parrot.

  9. May 29, 2010 23:05

    My dear friend, whisperinggums, I like to know your name unless you have purposely hidden it. I like to respond to your comments by calling your name and make sure that I address you properly. Would you please share? :))) Thank you.

    • May 30, 2010 00:05

      Hi Farnoosh. When I set up this blog I was rather self-conscious about it and so I set up my user name to be the same as the blog name. Over time I have become less shy though I plan to stick with the wg name as my formal posting/commenting name. However, my name has gradually come out and I did tell Kim at Reading Matters that she could use my name when she introduced me a couple of weeks ago through her blog. All this is a longwinded way of saying that my name is Sue, and you are most welcome to use that if you prefer!! Thankyou for asking.

      • May 31, 2010 23:20

        Hi dear wonderful Sue, you answer my question so kindly. It is exactly what I wanted to know and now I know for sure that you don’t mind me referring to you as whisperringgums (very interesting choice! :)) – so I will reserve Sue for rare occasions. I simply like to refer to my readers by name and wanted to be sure I had not missed yours somewhere. Thank you for sharing your name and your reason here with me. I shall follow your request diligently. All the best!

  10. June 1, 2010 07:44

    Thanks Farnoosh … glad you made sense of all that – I am glad we have met each other, cyberly … now, I must go do my morning yoga!

  11. caz permalink
    June 18, 2010 12:42

    Hi Sue, Although not a frequenter of blogs I have been on a search
    and found some of the posts very interesting…More of a reader than
    a writer I wonder if anyone may be interested in 18 Elizabeth Jolley
    books I have, 12 of which are signed. She was such a fabulous writer
    but not terribly in vogue at the moment.

  12. August 16, 2010 13:51

    Thanks for stopping by Ripple Effects. I’m glad to find a fellow blogger who loves books, movies, music, writing, discussing about current culture, and trying to stay afloat in the technological torrents of today. That you’re a Janeite from downunder means even more. Looks like we have lots in common 🙂

    • August 16, 2010 17:54

      Thanks Arti. Yes, I noticed that, like me, you don’t do books only. It’s fun having a bit of breadth. I’ll keep in touch!

  13. August 31, 2010 11:28

    Hi there, I’m a recent follower of your blog and I like what I’ve been reading so I’m giving you the One Lovely Blog Award!

    Happy reading 🙂

  14. November 6, 2010 23:07

    Not having much exposure to gum trees, I must admit that my first thought upon seeing “whisperinggums” was along the lines of “bad dentures”. (But that was before I knew you were it’s author, he hastily adds)

    What a treasure here! An exuberant chronicle of a life steeped in reading.

    I’ll be back!

    • November 7, 2010 09:14

      Why thanks Phil … but trust you to think dentures! You did give me a laugh though. Still, someone did find my blog once by searching for “cheesy gums”, looking for some dental condition, so you’re not totally erroneous in your thinking.

  15. cultureschlock permalink
    November 12, 2010 10:06

    Hi Whispering Gums:

    Loved your Hong Kong tourism post! I fully embrace the tourist label and thought you might get a kick out of our tribute to funny vacation photo-ops…..



    • November 12, 2010 22:36

      Thanks Darren … will check those out when I get home. I am travelling yet again.

  16. January 9, 2011 20:46

    I also blog for the pleasure of writing. I used to write as part of my job and didn’t realise how much I missed organising my thoughts this way after I had to take early retirement on health grounds until it became apparent that I wasn’t really organising my thoughts at all! I’m not as far into the process as you but I hope we both continue for a long time to come.

    • January 10, 2011 15:39

      Nice to meet you Annie … I’ve had a look at your blog and it looks like we’ll have things in common. I’ve just returned from some days away and so need to get back on top of things, but I’ll visit you properly soon…

  17. Kath (My Funny Little Life) permalink
    April 2, 2011 09:54

    Hi! 🙂 I just came here via Hannah’s blog, and I like very much what you’ve written about writing! 😉 I love when people have their own minds, and I’m looking forward to reading what you’re going to write in your corner of the cyberspace. 🙂

    • April 2, 2011 12:49

      Why thanks Kath … and welcome. I’m not the storyteller Hannah is … but I have fun writing about what I read (mostly).

  18. June 26, 2011 02:43

    came across your blog via Hop-Frog. I just adapted that story into a modern audio drama. Very dark. Coming soon is a lovely gothic comic story called The Haunted Author, by Marcus Clarke – Australian author, i believe. Any chance i can talk you into giving a listen at some point? Show is 19 Nocturne Boulevard.

    • June 26, 2011 02:54

      Yes, he is. I’d love to have a listen … just comment here when it’s ready and I’ll listen. (Am flat chat at present but will then listen to some others, including the Poe).

  19. January 27, 2012 17:40

    Glad you’re following the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. We’re about to begin a whole set of interviews with the winner this year Shehan Karunatilaka.


  20. February 15, 2012 02:35

    I like your blog! What Australian literature would you recommend to someone who hasn’t read much, and has never been to Australia? All I’ve read so far is A Town Like Alice and True History of the Kelly Gang – what would you suggest next?

    • February 15, 2012 04:53

      Why thanks Angellibrarian, and welcome. They are two interesting and very different books you have read. It’s hard to know where to start but here are some ideas: My brilliant career by Miles Franklin, Coudstreet by Tim Winton, Voss by Patrick White, The harp in the south by Ruth Park, That deadman dance by Kim Scott, Fly away Peter by David Malouf, The secret river by Kate Grenville. You could also check under Australian literature in my tag cloud for Aussie books I’ve reviewed in the last 2-3 years. Or look under Miles Franklin Award in Wikipedia.

  21. Eastend permalink
    September 3, 2012 07:03

    Hello there, I think this is a wonderful blog. I would love it if you were able to help me track down a book, or if readers have any suggestions?

    It is a novel, which certainly hoped to be a “state of the nation” book by a male Australian author and set in modern Australia – I am almost certain it was published in the 1990s or the early 2000s. The UK edition had a sepia coloured image of people jumping into a river \ swimming. On the surface the plot outlined on the back cover sounded rather like something from Elliot Perlman, but it wasn’t him. It was a realist theme, set in modern Australia, and following the fortunes of a group of people. I would dearly love it if anyone could come up with the title or an author. Many thanks for reading 🙂

    • September 3, 2012 09:02

      Hi Eastend … Thanks and welcome. This sounds like Cloud Street by Tim Winton. It was published I think in 1992 and is often spoken of as a contender for the Great Australian Novel. Check the Wikipedia entry. (I’m on flakey connection here so fear losing this if I go searching to paste the link.) Let me know whether you think this is it or not.

  22. Channin Dallas, TX USA permalink
    September 27, 2012 06:54

    Hi. I am not really a blog reader but after stumbling onto your blog, I may become one. I like your writing style and very much enjoyed your blog about “Red Dog”. Anyway just wanted to say thanks!

    • November 14, 2012 16:15

      Thanks Channin … I thought I’d replied to this but clearly not. Glad you enjoyed my post on Red Dog.

  23. Jong permalink
    November 14, 2012 15:46

    Dear Blog Author

    The National Library of Australia is interested in contacting the author of this blog with regard to its possible inclusion within PANDORA: Australia’s Web Archive. We were unable to locate any contact details onsite and are requesting that if you are interested in your blog being archived that you contact us at: and we will send you an official permission request form.

    You can see more details on the Archive at the link below.


    PANDORA team

  24. Libby Porter permalink
    July 23, 2013 22:38

    Hi, Thanks for the comment about my poem Stabat Mater. It was written after a woman told me she had lost her only child at sixteen and a half. Cheers, Libby Porter

    • July 23, 2013 22:50

      Ah Libby, thankyou for that … it explains the title! Congratulations on being shortlisted from such a large field.

  25. February 19, 2015 14:23

    I came over to see what your like but I saw you rite to big for me. It makes me feel small like Lennie. I now my place real good. I think I’ll stay in my place. But your place is very nice to.

    • February 19, 2015 16:10

      Thanks for popping by Outlier Babe. I think it’s just that we write differently about different things. Neither of us is smaller or bigger than the other.

      • February 19, 2015 17:06

        See? I am a big gronup but felt small. You might be a big or a small one but rite big, and you think big, to, like George. 🙂

  26. February 23, 2015 09:30

    I’ve just discovered your blog via the Gold Coast Book Coasters’ blog. Shall look forward to reading 🙂

  27. February 26, 2015 22:21

    I was going a bit of Googgling on Asian Australian literature and somehow stumbled upon your blog. I love it, great reviews on Australian books and I hope to check back again soon. Glad to have come across a fellow Aussie blogger 🙂

    • February 26, 2015 23:20

      Thanks Mabel … funny how we stumble across blogs like that. Glad you like my blog. I’ll check out yours too.

  28. sylviemarieheroux permalink
    March 7, 2015 04:30

    Hi Sue, as I have gotten more and more interested in Australian literature from reading your blog and working day to day with my Australian colleague, I’ve notice that Coursera was running on short MOOC on Australian lit, just starting this month. It’s put together by a prof at the U. of WA. Quite interesting so far! And I will keep reading you too.

    • March 7, 2015 08:39

      Oh that’s great Sylvie. I know another blogger who was planning to do that. I looked at the course and it looked fascinating. I was tempted myself because you can always learn something new. I’d love to hear more of your thoughts about it as the course continues.

  29. Kevyna Gardner permalink
    April 23, 2015 08:37

    Hi Sue. stumbled on your blog when reading reviews of ‘The narrow road to the deep north’ – a book which i would like to discuss with my reading group, since I found it both deeply profound and soap opera-ish. You sound like a woman after my own heart and I wish I’d found you sooner. I live in rural SA and look forward to your blogs. Cheers for now..

    • April 23, 2015 08:45

      How lovely of you to pop by to introduce yourself and tell me how you found me. So glad you enjoy my blog – please do add your comments to anything that interests you. I agree that Narrow Road had its soap-operish and elements but I still loved it. I think we can see it as one of those big baggy 19th century novels. Think of the soap operas in Dickens!

  30. Chris permalink
    May 8, 2015 05:20

    Hi Sue, I have a quick question about your blog. Could you please email me when you get a chance? Thanks!

    • May 8, 2015 16:23

      Hi Chris, I have supplied an email address on my WHO AM I page. You are welcome to email me at that address with your question. Cheers.

  31. September 15, 2015 23:49

    Hi Sue,
    Did you know Pandora has selected three of your blogs to archive?

    • September 16, 2015 18:25

      Thanks Debbie …Yes, I did know. It’s a thrill. I do have a little Pandora icon in my sidebar noting that mine is a Pandora blog.

  32. Deepika Ramesh permalink
    February 25, 2016 05:29

    Ah, I finally to get to know your name. Thank you, Sue. 🙂 If I ever make a trip Australia, I will surely want to meet you. 🙂 If you come to India, please let me know.

  33. March 16, 2016 09:40

    Hi Sue – I left you a private message on Instagram the other day, not sure if you’ve seen it? Regards, Julie Proudfoot.

    • March 16, 2016 11:03

      Hi Julie – no, I didn’t see it. Not sure how I missed that except that I’m not an expert instagram user so didn’t perhaps understand what Instagram was telling me! I’ve found it now and responded!

      • March 16, 2016 14:45

        Thanks Sue! I usually miss the private messages on Instagram until someone draws my attention to it – I think it’s in a spot that we don’t pay any attention to.

  34. August 10, 2018 22:21

    Thank you for commenting on my blog. It is so nice to learn a little about you and your family.

  35. m barry permalink
    January 15, 2019 19:03

    Is there a reason we do not know your name? I am new to reading blogs

    • January 15, 2019 19:07

      I just prefer to use a pseudonym as some bloggers do, but you can call me Sue too! Started off as a caution thing really, this being the net.

  36. March 24, 2020 16:12

    Hi Whispering Gums, could you please contact Magabala Books, to provide your current postal address, so we may send to you, review copies of certain titles.many thanks 🙂


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