It’s all fiction books this month, I think because work has been quite intense so I’ve been drawn to books which are something of an escape from the real world, books I can dive into with gusto and lose myself in.
Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese
I read my first Wagamese book last month and raved about it in my February Favourites post. Medicine Walk was just as fantastic. Wagamese’s writing is masterful – heartfelt prose dripping simultaneously with the aching sadness and dazzling beauty of life. In essence, this is the story of a young man’s troubled relationship with his father and their journey to understand each other before it’s too late. I know Wagamese’s books are not the easiest things to find in Australia but they are worth seeking out.
Floundering by Romy Ash
This book reminded me of Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe and Tony Birch’s Blood. All three are books about the resilience of children and solidarity of siblings in the face of parental neglect. Floundering is at once beautiful (thanks to the prose), disturbing (thanks to the behaviour of adults) and heart-warming (thanks to the behaviour of children). This is my favourite type of fiction – the gritty, realist novel which shows humans at both their worst and best.
Lizard by Banana Yoshimoto
I’m a bit beyond the eight ball when it comes to Japanese literature. While it has been popular for many years, I think this was the first example thereof I had read. Lizard was another recommendation from my lovely housemate who raved about Yoshimoto’s writing style. There is indeed something distinctive about the short stories in this book. The writing is at once spare and full. Spare in terms of words, full in terms of meaning and affect. These are short stories so they are yummy little morsels you can snack on when you need a break from reality.
The Heights – back for a second season, season two of this classy soap opera is almost as good as season one. I say almost because while the writing and acting is as good as ever, there has been a change of actor for one of the main characters and the substitution is not particularly convincing. This is not a comment on the new actor, it’s just that the old actor was quite distinctive looking and fit the character he played so well that the change has been quite jarring. After four episodes with the new actor, it’s still bugging me. However, I love this show so much that I’m persevering.
You Can’t Ask That – perhaps the most perfect idea for a TV show, You Can’t Ask That is back for season five. So far, there have been episodes with firefighters, nudists and people who’ve killed someone. All have been just as insightful as previous seasons’ episodes. Everyone should be watching this show.
I don’t normally have a film favourite, but The Australian Dream, which I wrote a whole post about, was the most affecting and important film I have seen in quite some time, perhaps ever. It’s no longer available to stream on iview, but keep an eye out for further screenings and make the most of them because it is such an important film.
- This anxious life: Dr Mark Cross from ABC RN’s Conversations – Dr Mark Cross is the psychiatrist who starred on the ABC TV show Changing Minds (screened a few years ago now) which followed patients in the Mental Health Unit of Campbelltown Hospital. What you don’t learn in the show about patients with complex mental health conditions is that Dr Cross himself has spent years suffering from anxiety himself. He’s such a wonderful person and this is a delightfully touching interview.
- Jackie French and the Valley from ABC RN’s Conversations – Jackie French is an iconic Australian author who just happens to be dyslexic and to live on what sounds like the most amazing property in the Araluen Valley in NSW which is a haven for her, her partner and lots of wildlife. This is the story of fire in her valley – the way it has impacted the landscape, the wildlife, her and her partner, and their community.
I’ve been doing a whole suite of self-care actions over the past few weeks which I wrote about in a separate post Staying Sane In Insane Times. Take a look if you’re interested or need a refresher.
My lovely housemate (not the one I mentioned earlier) baked some decadent gluten free chocolate brownies last weekend which were absolutely delicious.
A couple of weeks ago it was the brownie baking housemate’s Birthday. The whole celebration weekend was lovely. On the Saturday, I baked my favourite gluten free apple and almond cake which we enjoyed that evening while having the most beautiful chat about how all three of us are currently feeling the happiest we’ve ever felt!
Then on the Sunday morning, the book recommending housemate made us a scrumptious pancake breakfast. Toppings included banana, blueberry compote, maple syrup, strawberry jam, tahini and lemon. They were extremely good and the conversation and company was excellent too!
Sorry this is a few days after the end of March. Sitting down to blog (ie sitting down at my computer) doesn’t exactly appeal after sitting at a computer all day at work, so I left this post until the weekend! This is probably the new normal.
Love, hope and peace from Emma.