Is it really spring already? I’m not sure Melbourne is certain it is. Pretty sure it’s still winter at the moment with these blast of chilly days.
But it is great weather for curling up with a book, and I’m sure the sun and slightly warmer days will present themselves soon enough (then I’ll be complaining about it being too hot). Anyways, with the end of winter, came the Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) where I spent the last two weekends, well not the full first weekend since I was recovering from gastro. But I did spent a considerable amount of time listening to panels and a considerable amount of money purchasing books.
This was my first visit to the MWF and it didn’t disappoint. Federation Square is a great venue with lots of great spaces and food and drink locations. Also conveniently close to Flinders Street Station.
Here’s what I’ll be reading this spring:
Neon Pilgrim by Lisa Dempster (I’ve actually already finished this one – I read it in two days!)
Not Just Lucky by Jamila Rizvi
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan (this was the new one this year, but I haven’t read his previous two novels above so they’re on the list)
Sunlight and Seaweed by Tim Flannery
I, Migrant by Sami Shah
Flight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford
Wish You Were Here by Sheridan Jobbins
Depends what You Mean by Extremist by John Safran
Fighting Hislam by Susan Carland
The Good Girl Stripped Bare by Tracey Spicer
Colombiano by Rusty Young (sadly, not at the Writers Festival).
Surprisingly a large number of non-figure this year, which is unusual for me, but there were some really strong authors this year and I can’t wait to dive in.
This weekend I’ll be up in sunny Brisbane spending time with my partner, seeing my new little faux-nephew, and attending the Brisbane Writers Festival.
I won’t lie, this book was a bit of a struggle. And by struggle I mean it took me about three months to get through it. It’s an amazing topic, but I found the main character’s voice fragmented, distracted and quite annoying. But this is a result of her the deep trauma you discover as the story unfolds.
The story is an important one. And considering this book won The Man Booker Prize, I think others would disagree with my review.
Current day is set in the 1990s and flashes back to the family’s home in the 1970s, Rosemary tells a fragmented story of her twin sister, Fern, who is a chimpanzee. Rosemary and Fern were raised together and then separated at the age of five – Fern is never to be seen again. As a result, the family is divided.
What I found most fascinating about this novel was this story is based on a series of events that actually occurred in real life – there really were scientists and psychologists putting chimps into homes and seeing how they developed amongst humans. Sadly, what the story demonstrates is that the animal is left in some in between world of never being quite human and never being able to function amongst others of it’s own kind.
The book is a confronting and distressing read – but excellent. I don’t want to say I wouldn’t recommend it… however I probably wouldn’t go back and reread the book.
By far one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while. All of Me by Kim Noble is the true story of a woman who was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) – a condition where she shares her body with multiple personalities. These personalities share no memory of each other and are each completely individual humans with their own memories, lives, jobs and, sometimes in her past, their own apartments.
‘The more clearly one sees this world, the more one is obliged to pretend it does not exist.’
A beautifully written book set in provincial France during the ’60s about a relationship between an American Yale dropout and a young French girl. Salter’s writing is short, sharp and illuminating with it’s descriptions. Unlike other older novels, this book isn’t flowery in it’s wording, which is refreshing.
“In America, killers pump themselves up on rap, but in Secondigliano they go off to kill with love songs in their ears.”
This is a really interesting book about the Camorra (or The System) —the Neapolitan mafia. Written by Roberto Saviano, a journalist and Naples native, he describes seeing his first murder at the age of fourteen.
“In Mongolia, when a dog dies, he is buried high in the hills so people cannot walk on his grave. The dog’s master whispers into the dog’s ear his wishes that the dog will return as a man in his next life. Then his tail is cut off and put beneath his head, and a piece of meat or fat is placed in his mouth to sustain his soul on its journey; before he is reincarnated, the dog’s soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high desert plains for as long as it would like.
This book was given to each of us at work about six months ago by our director. Given we recently went through a 20 per cent staff cut, I’m guessing she might have been trying to give us all a heads up.
If you’ve never read Bill Bryson, you really need to. I first picked up his ‘Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe’ in 2002, right about the time I was planning my own Europe trip. Since then I’ve weaved in and out of his works, never coming away disappointed; he’s a very entertaining writer. A very easy read and hard to put down kind of writer.