My reading rate has decreased recently, mostly due to my exhaustion. Snuggling up under my doona to watch a TV show has felt more appealing than picking up a book most nights after work. And I’ve typically been going to bed quite early, meaning there’s not as much chance to both watch a TV show and read a book. A further drain on the time I have to read has come in the form of my deepening yoga practice. But if more yoga means slightly less reading, I’m going with it – the yoga is so important. The two books I did make it through in June were both excellent, so both are featured below.
Fake by Stephanie Wood
This book is many things – a cautionary tale about the perils of online dating, a work of investigative journalism, a love story and a deeply personal memoir. It is well written, easy to read and well worth delving into. There was a wonderful interview with Wood last year on my favourite podcast, ABC RN’s Conversations, if you’re interested in hearing her story before potentially reading the book.
Talkin’ Up to the White Woman by Aileen Moreton-Robinson
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, we’ve decided at book club to read some of the amazing literature written by Australia’s First Nations authors. For June, the book was Australia Day by Stan Grant, something I read in September last year (refer to my September Favourites). For July, the book is Aileen Moreton-Robinson’s Talkin’ Up to the White Woman, a book about the whiteness of Australian feminism and its effects on First Nations women.
This is not an easy read, being quite academic in its approach (in fact, I read excerpts of it at university) and challenging. However, it is vital reading for any Australian woman who identifies as feminist. The thread running through the book is the following statement:
The middle-class subject position white woman remains invisible, unmarked and unnamed.
And its challenge to Australian feminism and feminists is this:
If Indigenous women’s interests are to be accorded some priority, white feminists will need to relinquish some power.
Race in America pt 1: George Yancy and Race in America pt 2: Lewis Gordon from ABC RN’s The Philosopher’s Zone are two really important half hours to listen to. Yancy and Gordon are both African American Professors of Philosophy whose thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement are really important to listen to.
After the death of George Floyd from ABC RN’s The Minefield is another good one to listen to. It features Paul C Taylor, another African Amercian Professor of Philosophy, who is also a Professor of African American studies.
Over the month of June, I rewatched all three seasons of this show. It was exactly the right sort of viewing material for an exhausted person – each episode really sucks you in with its intrigue, but you know it will all be resolved by the end of the 50-something minutes. It’s predictable viewing without being boring.
Back for a third season, the premise of this TV show is to take five high profile Australians and give them a taste of homelessness. They spend a few nights sleeping on the streets, alone and then with a buddy experiencing homelessness; experience life in crisis accommodation; and finally spend time in boarding houses. The experience changes all of them, as it always does. I just wish more people could be put through the experience, especially those who judge people experiencing homelessness harshly. The lessons resonate strongly with me as someone who volunteered with people experiencing homelessness over several years.
I know Kishi Bashi was my music favourite last month, but he was the artist I played again and again in June. I’ve particularly been enjoying the song Statues in a Gallery. It’s a great one to play if I’m struggling to get out of bed in the cold, dark Hobart winter mornings!
I’ve mentioned a few times over the past few months that I have been doing a lot more yoga than I’ve ever done before. In June, the trend continued to deepen as I committed to (and stuck to) practicing at least four times each week – Tuesday nights, Thursday nights (digital class), Saturdays and Sundays. I don’t stick to this structure religiously. After a 9km hike last Saturday I gave yoga a miss that day, but after a Wednesday at work where I came home with a sore shoulder I decide to practice to stretch myself out. As I said, the structure is a guide not gospel, but I do find it useful having this guide.
That 9km hike I just mentioned was definitely a highlight for June. I’m part of a group of women here in Tassie who go on hiking and other outdoors adventures together. The 9km hike was on Mt Wellington, taking in the beautiful Organ Pipes (pictured). Not only was the scenery beautiful, the company was pretty good too! I did another walk with the group a couple of weeks before this one on the Cornelian Bay track which was similarly enjoyable.
Other highlights were celebrating my housemate’s Birthday with a dinner at her favourite Japanese restaurant surrounded by her friends and celebrating a new friend’s 30th Birthday at a pizza place in the city where I enjoyed myself despite knowing no one except the Birthday girl herself (take that anxiety).
Love, hope and peace from Emma.