Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
One of my housemates has kindly provided me with a selection of a few of her favourite books. This was one of them. Author Wagamese is a member of the First Nations of Canada, so this book complemented the deep dive I’ve been doing into First Nations Australian writing really well. It’s a slim book but it tracks a substantial chunk of the protagonist’s life from growing up with his family to life in a residential school to a troubled adulthood and finally an ending of sorts. The protagonist’s life is painful, but the writing is a pleasure to read – highly evocative with every word and phrase adding value to the story. My housemate has now given me two more Wagamese books which I am thoroughly looking forward to diving into!
Headscarves and Hymens by Mona Eltahawy
Loaned to me by my other housemate, this was a really interesting look at gender politics from a writer who is fierce, frank and a pleasure to read. Lots of food for thought in this book.
The Long Hitch Home: Tasmania to London on a thumb and a prayer by Jamie Maslin
I purchased this book from the author at Hobart’s famous Salamanca Market. It was a great read. As the title suggests, this is the story of Maslin’s adventure hitch hiking from Hobart all the way to London. What I loved about Maslin’s travel writing is that he pays close attention to the historical, political and social contexts of the countries through which he travels. Consequently, you learn lots while having fun, because alongside the serious stuff is his account of the adventure itself which includes lots of colourful characters and some close shaves.
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture by various (edited by Roxane Gay)
Wow, yet more fierce and frank writing from a plethora of amazing women and men. As the title suggests, this is not en easy read, it’s about sexual harassment and violence, but it is such an important contribution to popular discourse as it highlights just how many different and perfectly acceptable ways there are to express and cope with a trauma which is all too common. There were a lot of gems in this anthology, but a single line which stuck with me was this: “A good therapist knows you have to live in the house while you remodel” (& The Truth Is, I Have No Story by Claire Schwartz).
Rima is one amazing woman. Multi-talented, fierce and also really funny. Such a pleasure to listen to this interview.
I have been taking myself off on an adventure each weekend since starting work. Whether it’s trying a new cafe, hiking for hours or both, these weekend adventures have been a great way to hit the reset button after a week at work.
After my first week of work I kept it simple and went to Hamlet cafe, a social enterprise which employs and trains up people who have struggled to find employment for various reasons. I had their falafel bowl, the highlight of which was the freshly made flatbread warm from the pan and sprinkled with whole spices – delicious.
After my second week of work I headed off on a hike along the Waterworks Track, which skirts around two reservoirs which used to supply Hobart’s water, then up the Pipeline Track which is built on the old pipes which brought water down to the reservoirs from up kunanyi/Mt Wellington. I made it all the way up to Fern Tree, seeing lots of Bennett’s wallabies and pademelons along the way.
After my third week of work I tried out a cafe called Bury Me Standing which both my housemates had raved about. It was extremely good – their bagels (that’s their thing) are delicious and I say that as someone who is often unconvinced by bagels.
I also went for a big hike that weekend, driving just beyond where I’d got to the previous week and climbing the rest of the way up to the peak of kunanyi/Mt Wellington. It was hard work but the views were spectacular! I really enjoyed the route I took to get back down. Instead of a clearly made path, you had to follow the arrows and make your own path across the rocky landscape. I got be a child and squelch through mud and puddles in my hiking boots which I thoroughly enjoyed!
Finally, after my fourth week of work, I headed off to Kingston Beach to hike along the cliffs and stick my legs in the water while I still could. I lay on the sand and read my book, saw lots of cute dogs, and ate an ice cream to top off the beach day.
All of this without ever driving for more than 20 minutes and often not driving at all! Nature in all its forms – alpine, coastal, forested – is so accessible here.
Pretty hard to pick a favourite event in a month where SO much has happened. I started work, something I am thoroughly enjoying, and have been on lots of amazing adventures as described above.
I have to say it was pretty special when in my third week of work my manager told me that the amount of work I was doing and number of projects I was involved in was “not normal” – in other words, she was blown away by everything I was already doing. I’ve had a bunch of positive feedback from her and other members of my team which has been really lovely, although not really an “event” as such.
Love, hope and peace from Emma.