reading september 2018

Not that it was planned in any way, but the theme of the month appears to be non-fiction/memoir. I began with Get Up Mum by Justin Heazlewood, an account of his experience as a 12-year-old, finishing primary school while also taking care of his mother during chronic periods of her mental illness. His writing is warm, compassionate, tender and is utterly recognisable for those of us early GenY-ers who grew up on a diet of television. At one stage of the book, Heazlewood describes the sadness he felt whenever the Rage end credits music came on because that meant the show was over and I thought to myself I used to feel the same way, too.

Peppered throughout the text are diary snippets and illustrations drawn by Heazlewood at the time and their addition makes the text even more poignant. The below book trailer features many of these.

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine is a collection of prose poems which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in America after becoming the first book in the prize’s history to be a finalist in both the poetry and criticism categories. Her writing about Serena Williams is important given the events of the 2018 Wimbledon women’s final. I recommend the book for that section alone, and the rest is searingly powerful as well.

Staying by Jessie Cole is an exquisite memoir about excruciating events – the deaths of her half-sister and, later, father and the very real imperilment these placed on her family. For a story so laden with sadness, it’s a testament to her skills that she retains as clear-eyed as she is, unafraid to honestly analyse herself and her relationship with others.

Finally, there was Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee, an important book about, as the blurb states, “[her] journey through the Australian legal system; first as the daughter of a policeman, then as a law student, and finally as a judge’s associate in both metropolitan and regional Queensland–where justice can look very different, especially for women.”

I finished feeling very happy for Lee’s success in her case, but also depressed about the goings on in our courtrooms, every day, across the country, and how hard it can be for complainants to receive justice (if they do at all). I was left with admiration and astonishment for people who continue to work within the system to help others. I know I couldn’t do it. Here’s Bri talking about how the book came together.

 

What are you reading this month?

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Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Trust the Process: 101 Tips on Writing and Creativity