Today was full of Melbourne rain, an introduction to winter. I love these wet, washed days if I have nothing I have to do, as I feel free to curl up indoors on the sofa and be slothful. Growing up in a country town known for its cold weather I feel guilty if there is any hint of sun and I am not maximizing it outdoors; I may still stay inside, but I feel guilty. Cold, rainy days there were no excuses required to stay inside in front of a fire, both as a child and now.
Today’s Fear Factor challenge was to do nothing I did not truly wish to do, and so instead of preparing a thoughtful #blogjune post I have been reading. So today’s post will be a catalogue of books.
Send me what you are reading and why in the comments
In two continuous sittings recently I read Magda Szubanski’s Reckoning. It’s been awhile since a book has captured my social media addicted brain enough to have me read through late into the night. It is noteworthy not only for the quality of her writing, but the interesting ideas that appear, loop and repeat as themes to structure the story. Definitely recommended.
I read it because I heard her speak last Monday and was captured by her focus on communicating honestly with people, without needing to please her audience.
In contrast I am now working my way very slowly through H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Another example of excellent writing, evocative and densely packed, I am drawn to read this one slowly with regular pauses rather than nonstop sittings. The breaks are to allow the content to settle rather than as finding it too heavy. The book is so far (only 5 chapters and 55 pages in) so quintessentially English that I am reminded of other childhood English memories – Swallows and Amazons and Rudyard Kipling’s Stalky & Co.
I am reading this one for my wonderful bookclub, that alternates one month fiction and one month non-fiction. Being in this club has gently lured me back to reading a broad range of books after a break of a few years where my brain would only entertain work papers and chick fiction. The bookclub members continuously put up with me explaining what I didn’t like about the books selected, and then point out that I am the only member who turns up to sessions with notes written as I read.
Next on the list is Stan Grant’s Talking to my country. The first chapter was raw and powerful. It is confronting that for the last two decades I have been reading indigenous voices telling of how Australian society refuses to accept them, and still we keep needing to hear more voices saying this.
I am reading it because I have always found the personal testimonies of First Australians give amazing stories; they seem to offer the depth of verbal oral history even when pinned onto a page. I am also reading it post attending an exhibition of an indigenous artist friend Lisa Bellear held in memorial 10 years after her too early death.
If you are in Melbourne anytime take the chance to visit the Koorie Heritage Centre in Federation Square.