Skip to content

Posts from the ‘non-fiction’ Category

23
Jun

#Non-fiction The Coddling of the American Mind

  • Author: G. Lukianhoff, J. Haidt
  • Ttile: The Coddling of the American Mind
  • Published: 2018  (352 pg)
  • Trivia: 2018 shortlist National Book Critics Circle Award for non-fiction
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly reading plan
  • #TBR 2019   5/43

 

Introduction:

  1. This is a book for anyone who is confused by
  2. what is happening on college campuses today,
  3. ….or is concerned about the growing inability of
  4. Americans to live, work, and cooperate across party lines.

 

Topics:

  1. Rising political polarization (harassment by off campus right wing groups)
  2. Rise of teen depression and anxiety (especially women)
  3. Helicopter parenting (overprotective)
  4. Decline of free play (now…play is alone with computers, gaming)
  5. Rise of campus bureaucracy (eliminate courses from syllabus to avoid complaints)
  6. Rising passion for justice after major national events (campus politically engaged)

 

Conclusion:

  1. This book details some problems of progress (list of topics).
  2. I was very impressed by
  3. Part 3: How did we Get Here?
  4. Just because we feel offended does not automatically
  5. mean the other person is an aggressor/bad person.
  6. While reading this chapter I kept in mind the
  7. political climate in USA.
  8. I know the presidential campaigns 2020 will probably
  9. be very nasty…now I know what to look for!
  10. #MustRead

 

USA:

  1. Regardless of political persuasion,
  2. Americans today are deeply susceptible to a renunciation of reason
  3. …and celebration of ignorance.  (ouch!)
  4. They know what they know without reading,
  5. …discussing or engaging those who might disagree with them.

 

TRUMP BASE

  1. They reject calm logic, eager to embrace the
  2. alternative news that supports their prejudices.
  3. SVP: Read: Strangers in Their Own Land (A. Hochschild)
  4. Americans must relearn how to engage civilly with one another,
  5. something hard to do with a bullying president as a role model.

 

SAD BUT TRUE…

  1. Gone are the days of moving speeches and well referenced debate.
  2. We have no Vidal and Buckley exchanges.
  3. Where are the Adlai Stevenson’s, the Dirkesens’s and Kennedy’s.
  4. A few hundred characters  (tweet) or a
  5. ten second sound bite is what we get…
  6. shutting down the other side
  7. instead … of defeating with logic and reason.

 

TRENDS

  1. American politics is driven LESS by hope
  2. and more by the untruth of “US vs THEM”.
  3. THEY must be stopped at all costs.

 

CONGRESS:

  1. Norms for civility and bipartisanship
  2. between the two parties (Rep-Dem)
  3. …have nearly disappeared.

 

VOTERS:

  1. Years before this stark polarization
  2. voters rushed to the polls to choose
  3. their favorite candidate of their beloved political party.
  4. Today….it is the hostility towards the OUT party that
  5. make people more inclined to vote.
  6. In other words….
  7. Americans are motivated to get off their couches
  8. and get involved in political action
  9. not by LOVE for their party’s candidate
  10. but by HATRED for the other party’s candidate.

 

2010s

  1. Via Twitter and Facebook voters
  2. …encase themselves in an echo chamber.
  3. Filter bubbles are search engines
  4. …and You Tube algorithms
  5. designed to give you more
  6. …of what you seemed be interested in.
  7. This leads conservatives and liberals
  8. into disconnected ‘moral network’ backed up by
  9. contradictory informational worlds.

 

ISOLATION

  1. Physical and electronic isolation
  2. …from people we disagree with
  3. allows the forces of…
  4. bias
  5. group think
  6. tribalism
  7. …to push us further apart.

 

 

Political Map 1960 – Presidential race JFK vs Nixon

 

Prognose of political map 2020

 

 

17
Jun

#Non-fiction biography James Tiptree jr.

 

Conclusion:

  1. Literary tastes were changing in the 1960s.
  2. Women were searching for new books
  3. …they were tired of romances, doctors and stories about horses.
  4. Fantasy and SF introduced some very talented writers.
  5. James Tiptree Jr. was born…nom de plume Alice Sheldon.
  6. Tiptree  burst onto the science fiction scene
  7. ….in the 1970s with a series of hard-edged, provocative short stories.
  8. Tiptree was hailed as a brilliant masculine writer.
  9. Ms Sheldon kept her JT persona very secret:
  10. no photo’s, no public appearances and
  11. most confusing was “his” strong
  12. feminist slant in his tales.
  13. For example The Women Men Don’t See.
  14. Women characters felt so alienated and powerless in society they
  15. choose to board a space ship with aliens rather than remain on earth!
  16. Strong point: This fascinating biography by Julie Phillips
  17. was ten years in the making.
  18. Julie Phillips takes us behind the scenes to learn the
  19. of the privileged yet troubled life of Alice Sheldon.
  20. With this information Sheldon’s short stories take on a new cachet.
  21. This book is considered one of the best biographies about a SF writer.

 

 

15
Jun

#Non-fiction Stamped From the Beginning

 

Introduction:

  1. Stamped From the Beginning is a magnificent book!
  2. Winner National Book Award 2016 for Non-fiction.
  3. Part 1 on is 1600s…get through it because in
  4. Part 2 with the introduction of Jefferson the book starts to sparkle!
  5. Part 3 Abolitionists…again get through is because
  6. Part 4 will take you from W.E. Du Bois up to Obama…riveting!

 

Conclusion:

  1. If you’ve never read anything about racism in USA…
  2. ..this probably would  be the best place to start!
  3. The book is a #MustRead for
  4. …anyone interested in understanding
  5. contemporary issues in America.
  6. Ibram X. Kendi is stunningly clear and straightforward.
  7. The book reads much like a conversation….
  8. from from pre-colonial times to the present
  9. …from the slave trade boat to Obama.

 

  1. This is an excellent book that all Americans should read.
  2. …especially in the light of the
  3. …approaching presidential election 2020.
  4. It is a long book….requires some commitment.
  5. I learned that the tactics may have changed but the goal
  6. …has remained depressingly the same:
  7. Do not let them vote!”
  8. “…If you can find a way to stop them,
  9. ….stop them!” (black Americans)
  10. This resulted in  2000 Bush winning Florida by 537 votes
  11. …and being  elected president!
  12. This book certainly has made me reflect
  13. …on and rethink my own views about race.
  14. I wonder what will happen in elections 2020 to prevent
  15. …black Americans voicing their choice.

 

Last thoughts:

  1. This is a very informative and educational  read.
  2. This book should be on every high-school reading list!
  3. It is interesting to compare and
  4. note the similarities of racism in 19th and 20th C
  5. …that continue to exist  even in the 21st century.

 

  • Interview with Ibram X. Kendi
  • …..explaining the title of the book

11
Jun

#Non-fiction Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

 

Conclusion:

Ch 1-16 Exposition…

  1. Childhood, slave work, escape
  2. from Maryland  to the North, New York.
  3. Douglass was a renowned orator.
  4. He spent years on speaking tours
  5. in US and Europe against slavery.


Ch 17- 21  the book begins to sparkle…

  1. Douglass asks the question
  2. we are still asking…more than 150 years later:
  3. Why deprive the right to vote for black Americans?
  4. …what is the world afraid of?

 

Douglass meets Lincoln in the White House.

  1. Lincoln – the emancipator
  2. the elegant restraint of a statesman
  3. …spoke with an eye on legality and public opinion
  4. Douglass – the national evangelist
  5. …with the fiery tones of a prophet.

 

Ch 22 – 31 Reconstruction….

  1. Douglass made no distinction between
  2. Andrew Johnson’s white supremacy and slavery itself…
  3. ….as long as Johnson controlled
  4. reconstruction the war was not over.
  5. Douglass speaking about President Andrew Johnson is an
  6. “…unmitigated calamity and a
  7. disgrace the country must stagger under.”
  8. Frederick Douglass was a
  9. frightening black man with brains
  10. …President Andrew Johnson’s basic nightmare!

 

Last thoughts:

  1. This is the best way to learn history…read biography.
  2. We read that progress has been made
  3. …but still America is polarized on the color line.
  4. The routine suppression of black voters
  5. is far-reaching and  has devastating consequences.
  6. We cannot be silent about it.

 

Best quote….and worth thinking about

  1. There is NO negro problem.
  2. The problem is whether the American people have
  3. honesty enough, loyalty enough, patriotism enough
  4. to  live up to their Constitution.

 

5
Jun

#Non-fiction Conclusion: The Mueller Report

 

  1. I may be very quiet for a while because I’m…
  2. Taking a break from my reading about plays and theatre.
  3. I may live in Netherlands but I still keep a close eye on US politics.
  4. We all should read this book The Mueller Report
  5. …and ask ourselves…..how in heavens name did Trump
  6. ….become the most powerful leader of the free world.
  7. Is there a democrat candidate who can stop him!
  8. #USA election November 3 2020.
  9. I’ll be up all night watching the results!

 

Update: 04.06.2019

  1. Reading the introduction by the Washington Post is like
  2. going down memory lane! Names that have drifted off the
  3. TV news: Quarles, McCabe, Comey, Sessions, retired Gen Flynn.
  4. I finally have learned what the Steele Dossier is!
  5. Well, after reading how many fake
  6. …Twitter and FB accounts were
  7. created to promote Trump’s campaign
  8. ...I’ll never believe a tweet again!
  9. Finished: volume 1 very detailed back round 2015-2018
  10. Not a fluid read….I had to force myself to keep paying attention

 

Update: 05.06.2019

  1. Trump has monopolized the TV during his #USStateVisit to UK this week.
  2. Seemed the right time to start the long awaited The Mueller Report.
  3. Volume 1  contains many  details about  the
  4. GRU  = Russian military intelligence agency
  5. sending spearphishing emails.
  6. The GRU wanted to gain access to email accounts of
  7. Clinton Campaign advisors and employees of the DNC (Dem Nat Convention)
  8. It also highlighted the role of Wikileaks during Trump’s campaign.
  9. Strong points vol 1:
  10. Book reminds me
  11. I should read the NEWS about POTUS more carefully.
  12. Trump is on a mission.
  13. Book makes me
  14. …that I should be more aware of Jared Kushner (son-in-law)
  15. #TheDealmaker
  16. He does not say much on camera
  17. …but he is always circling around the president.

Update: …starting volume 2 today.
  1. Reading pages and pages of Trump demanding that
  2. Comey ‘lift the cloud’ of the Russian investigation.
  3. Trumps insists Comey make  clear
  4. that Trump is NOT under investigation.
  5. Comey refused.
  6. May 9 2017: Trump fires the FBI director Comey
  7. …but he can not fire the FBI.
  8. The investigation continued…..
  9. To quote Shakespeare:
  10. “The lady (…in this case Trump) 
  11. …doth protest too much, methinks…”

 

Conclusion:

  1. Vol 2 indicates the Trump has a pattern of trying to
  2. influence people  in his entourage when they are involved
  3. in criminal investigations by Congress.
  4. I found this quote by James Comey
  5. …in 01.05.2019 Opinion, New York Times
  6. “Accomplished people lacking inner strength
  7. can’t resist the compromises
  8. …necessary to survive this president.”
  9. Flynn, Cohen, Manafort….
  10. There are numerous tweets Trump
  11. sends to his loyal advisors under investigation:
  12. “the boss loves you”,”hang in there”
  13. “thanks for what you do”, ” stay strong”
  14. “a brave man” for refusing to “break” ( Manafort)
  15. But once the person decides to cooperate with the
  16. government (Cohen give congressional testimony 2019)
  17. ….he is suddenly a RAT.
  18. What will happen now?
  19. I agree with Robert Mueller:

 

18
May

#AWW2019 Lesley Williams

  • Author:  Lesley and Tammy Williams
  • Title: Not Just Black and White
  • Published: 2015
  • Genre: indigenous issues non-fiction
  • Trivia: 2016 Queensland Premier’s Award work of State Significance
  • Trivia  2014 David Unaipon Award Winner
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #AWW2019
  • @AusWomenWriters

 

Quickscan:

  1. This is a writing collaboration between
  2. mother (Lesley) and daughter (Tammy).
  3. Lesley Williams was forced to leave the
  4. Cherbourg Aboriginal Settlement
  5. …at a young age to work as a domestic servant.
  6. Lesley never saw her wages.
  7. They were kept ‘safe’ by the government.
  8. This book relates her nine-year journey for answers:
  9. where is all that money she earned?
  10. Lesley confronts the government
  11. …in a judicial wrestling match!

 

Conclusion:

  1. Mrs Williams describes her youth
  2. while giving the reader a clear mental image
  3. of the backdrop Cherbourg settlement.
  4. It was difficult to read about her life
  5. under  cruel Protection Act that uprooted
  6. thousands of Aboriginal people.
  7. because of her strong character and vision
  8. she was able overcome many hardships.

 

  1. There were several messages in the book that
  2. resonated to me:
  3. Williams feels a strong sense of Aboriginal community. (safety network)
  4. Williams struggles to fight injustice (racial, financial)
  5. Williams reminds all people who suffer racism…

 

  1. Best quote:
  2. “There are two ways to fight racism:
  3. — fight with your fists
  4. — fight with your talents and achievements”
  5. Nothing hurts a racist more
  6. …when they see you achieving

 

Last thoughts

  1. Good literature unnerves you…..
  2. …or takes you somewhere to consider things
  3. ….things that you might not have considered
  4. thinking about before.
  5. This book took me into the Cherbourg Settlement.
  6. It showed me the strength of family…
  7. that remained unbroken for Lesley Williams.
  8. It has only been in the last generations
  9. …that Aboriginal writers have been published.
  10. They now are  able to tell their stories, their truths.
  11. #ReadDiversity

 

17
May

#NSW Premier’s 2019 Special Award B. Boochani

  • Author: B. Boochani
  • Title: No Friend But The Moutains
  • Published: 2018
  • Genre: non-fiction
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #NSWPLA
  • @MacmillianAus
  • @Picadorbooks
  • Trivia:
  • A special award of $10,000 was made to
  • Manus Island refugee Behrooz Boochani
  • for his book No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison.
  • Boochani’s book was ineligible for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards
  • which require authors to be Australian citizens.
  • Trivia:
  • The book won the top prize at the
  • Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in January 2019.
  • This year was an exception made to the eligibility requirements.

 

Introduction:

  1. Prison literature is always a difficult read.
  2. For instance the Pulitzer Prize Winner History 2017
  3. Blood in the Water  by H. Thompson (worth your reading time!)
  4. But it is necessary to know the disturbing truths
  5. ….that are not always in the news.
  6. Boochani’s book was not a pleasure to read.
  7. I persevered to force myself out of my comfort zone.
  8. My review is in fragments.
  9. I could not add any commentary to this
  10. confrontational book.
  11. According to PEN International
  12. “Manus Island has become notorious for its
  13. …ill-treatment of detainees where violence,
  14. sexual abuse and self-harm are reportedly common.
  15. No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison
  16. is an autobiographical account
  17. …of Boochani’s  perilous journey
  18. from Indonesia to Christmas Island and thence to Manus.
  19. He  tells of what life is like for the detained men.
  20. #LiteratureDoesHavePower

 

Conclusion:

0-25%:
The trip to Manus (ch 1-4)
Boochani enters Manus Prison (ch 5-6)

25% – 60%:

  1. Once a concept is mentioned
  2. it is repeated over and over
  3. …again for several paragraphs:
  4. stench of hairy man’s breath (ch 7)
  5. smell of putrid soil
  6. fans
  7. mosquitos
  8. rooms
  9. pissing
  10. filthy toilets
  11. distress caused by saying ‘hi’
  12. bellowing of profanities
  13. prison becomes hive of killer bees
  14. prisoners become wolves…threat to everyone else
  15. Generator (cuts off water and electricity)
  16. ….manipulates minds

 

Queuing for food (ch 8)

  1. everything is micromanaged and mechanical
  2. meat is like pieces of car tyre
  3. guards like shepherds guiding a herd of sheep
  4. Nicknames: the Cow…first one entering dining area
  5. starvation has a smell…
  6. officers and cooks work 2 week shifts
  7. …then leave the island to be replaced
  8. answer to all the prisoners question:
  9. …”The Boss has given orders.”
  10. queue in the telephone room

 

Father’s Day…men struggle for the telephone (ch 9)

  1. …this leads to bruises and bodily harm.
  2. power of biceps can determine many situations
  3. distributing cakes….devoured right off the cardboard
  4. …mayhem but Boochiani does not move.
  5. …he knows “I am an animal that has already lost the game.”

 

60-100%

  1. I am a child of war. (ch 10)
  2. Boochani describes the guards crushing a unruly prisoner.
  3. This chapter reminds me of a mind becoming unhinged.

 

It’s hard to discern a genuine smile…  (ch 11)

  1. Toothache…terrible pain…worse treatment!
  2. Self-harm in the prison becomes a cultural practice.
  3. When prisonor spills his blood he appears to enter into ecstasy.
  4. It is a moment emitting the scent of death.
  5. According to Boochani every prisoner must
  6. …look out for the prisoner standing next to him.
  7. The most important thing is they must challenge the
  8. Kyriarchal System of the prison.
  9. …Kyriarchy is a system that creates webs of privilege and exclusion.

 

Revolt in Mike Prison…August 2014. (ch 12)

  1. Death of Reza…the gentle giant.

 

Last thoughts:

  1. Despite winning the prestigious
  2. New South Wales Special Literary Award 2019
  3. with a prize worth $10.000 dollars
  4. Boochani may not leave Manus Island
  5. …and his future is unknown.

 

19
Apr

#NSW Premier’s Award shortlist Billy Griffiths (NF)

 

 

 

Awards:

 

Quickscan:

  1. Deep Time Dreaming is  a history of Australia
  2. …told in stones and bones.
  3. Griffiths highlights in several anecdotal chapters
  4. ….about many illustrative archeologists (male and female)
  5. the basic conflict in this discipline:
  6. How to view the past?
  7. critical deep time perspective vs  the past as a living heritage.
  8. This is a complex question of ownership and belonging.
  9. Strong point: The book reveals in a conversational tone
  10. …easy to read for a novice like me…
  11. the slow slow shift  to deep time dreaming.

 

Title:

  1. What is Deep Time Dreaming?
  2. The term was coined by B. Spencer and F. Gillen (Introduction)
  3. It is NOT to dig in search of treasure.
  4. It is to seek, understand a place from fragments
  5. …that have survived for thousands of years.
  6. It is an act of wonder.

 

Conclusion:

  1. I decided to read this book and listen to the audio. (11 hr 27 min)
  2. Listen to a sample of the book!
  3. Strong point: narrator Tom Griffiths is a delight to listen to!
  4. At times I was swept away by deep and profound
  5. sacredness of the Aboriginal people’s cultural life.
  6. Archeologist R.A. Gould published information/images that he promised
  7. ….would not be shared in his book Yiwara (1969)
  8. The author was on a  Aboriginal ‘hit-list’ for his betrayal.

 

  1. At another time I  read about the Franklin River dispute in Tasmania
  2. The Franklin  was ‘not just a river
  3. …it has the epitome of a lost forest.
  4. The photo by Peter Dombrovskis
  5. …  was the poster image during the
  6. explosive ecological and political debacle. (read chapter 9)
  7. The photo is impressive.
  8. …and takes me halfway across the world in
  9. my thoughts.

Morning Mist Rock Island Bend

 

Last thoughts:

  1. This book taught me more about Australia
  2. …and the rise of Aboriginal awareness by the nation,
  3. …it’s dedicated team of archeologists starting in 1950s
  4. with John Mulvaney than any other non-fiction I’ve read.
  5. I would highly recommend reading and listening to this book.
  6. With the help of Wikipedia (biographical info about archeologists)
  7. …and Google images this book is a magic carpet to
  8. …ancient Australia!
  9. I’ve read ALL the non-fictions shortlisted books
  10. …with the exception of The Erratics (not available in Netherlands).
  11. Deep Time Dreaming is MY CHOICE 
  12. as winner of  the non-fiction
  13. Douglas Stewart Prize ( NSW Literary Awards 2019)

 

 

 

14
Apr

#AWW 2019 Ashleigh Young

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Bones

  1. This would not have been my choice to start an essay collection.
  2. Topic was not a good hook...not funny or emotional
  3. …just a bit strange.

 

Witches

  1. Story took me back to the carefree summer days on a beach.
  2. I can’t remember the last time
  3. …I jumped into the ocean….how sad is that?

 

The Te Kūiti Underground

  1. Absolutely enchanting…author’s memories of her father.
  2. “…he became in my eyes more and more eccentric,
  3. …and I became  more narrow-minded.”

 

Postie

  1. Just a story that leaves the reader
  2. with a message from an eccentric French postman:
  3. “ …how wonderful it is if we just keep going
  4. …a simple stumbling block…can change
  5. the entire story of out lives and deaths.”
  6. #SmileOnMyFace

 

On Any Walk

  1. Once I start a walk…I never turn back.
  2. I just remember how far I’ve come
  3. .How much distance would be wasted
  4. …if I turn back?
  5. Once I’m home …the coffee tastes so special!
  6. Ashleigh Young will…
  7. #NeverGiveUp

 

Big Red

  1. I’m speechless….
  2. We are introduced tp author’s family
  3. …mom, dad and 2 brothers.
  4. Ashleigh Young is an amazing talent
  5. …..one of the BEST essays.

 

Window Seat

  1. We’ve all been there
  2. …on a plane with a talkative passenger next to us.
  3. Only this passenger….could she be and angel?
  4. #Spooky

 

Black Dog Book

  1. What you possess…you loose.
  2. Happy family dog story….but sometimes 
  3. Mom has to make the difficult decision
  4. …and call the vet.
  5. #HardToSayGoodbye

 

Katherine Would Approve

  1. Anecdotes about the period when
  2. Ashleigh Young was director of 
  3. Katherine Mansfield Birthplace House
  4. …in Wellington, New Zealand.
  5. #Job

 

Wolfman

  1. What to do when a harmless comment stings?
  2. #ThinkBeforeYouSpeak

 

Can You Tolerate This?

  1. After reading this essay I had to close my Kindle
  2. take off my glasses and close my eyes.
  3. #PowerfulWriting
  4. …one of the BEST essays

 

Seas of Trees

  1. Eye-opener about a disturbing
  2. …social trend in Japan: hikikomori.
  3. Creative young people becoming modern-day hermits.
  4. #PTSS

 

Bikram’s Knee

  1. If you are determined to find a way back to strength
  2. nothing is unfix-able.
  3. This is a very, very personal essay about Ashleigh’s
  4. Struggle to accept the awkwardness of her body.
  5. She keeps waiting on the  gym bench, elbows on her knees
  6. head in her hand
  7. .…waiting for transformation.
  8. #Yoga #Running
  9. .one of the BEST essays.

 

Unveiling

  1. The author visits a Maori ritual
  2. …unveiling a headstone of a family member.
  3. She will write a story to
  4. accompany the photographs her friend is taking.

 

On Breathing

  1. So funny about a simple decision
  2. ,,,author decides to breath noisily
  3. …when she feels puffed 
  4. during a taxing bike ride.
  5. #Quirky

 

On Going Away

  1. Insightful look at relationships…
  2. Going away and then coming back together
  3. …this surge of
  4. anger and relief is toxic.
  5. Solution:  compress it into one moment
  6. …like stepping into a manhole.
  7. A sharp, pure accident with a beginning and an end.
  8. #Insightful

 

Anemone

  1. Heartwrenching…to try to reach into the past
  2. and hold on to some one…
  3. …to try and stop time.
  4. #Depression

 

Lark

  1. Heartwarming observations and anecdotes
  2. about a woman who decides
  3. …to write a book  about her life.
  4. The story is clearly referring to
  5. Ashleigh Young’s mother.
  6. #Hysterical
  7. ...one of the BEST essays.

 

 

Last thoughts:

  1. Extremely well-written set of essays
  2. …in quiet, elegant joy-to-read prose.
  3. External circumstances
  4. …family, job, body shape or where you live..
  5. cannot determine your happiness.
  6. Ashleigh Young shows us
  7. happiness depends on what we are given.
  8. This a book  best read ‘slowly’…
  9. I was not ready to say goodbye…
  10. ..to Ashleigh Young’s beautiful writing.
  11. I’m anxiously waiting for her next book!
  12. #MustRead

.

13
Apr

#AWW 2019 Fiona Wright

 

Introduction:

  1. Wright examines her own anorexia and the significance of hunger.
  2. She  writes frankly and movingly about a
  3. …difficult and very personal subject.
  4. She provides insights into her reading,
  5. travels and her interactions with others.
  6. In several essays Wright relates
  7. …her experience to that of characters.
  8. In novels  there are characters who starve themselves:
  9. For Love Alone by Christina Stead,
  10. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton and
  11. The Bluebird Cafe by Carmel Bird.

 

In Colombo    …malnutrition, she misses it

  1. First sentence: I’ll always remember the
  2. …particular intensity that malnutrition brings on,
  3. …I know that I miss it still.
  4. Reaction:  Hunger keeps the author separate from
  5. the rituals of society not only in Colombo.
  6. 70% impressions of the writer’s apprenticeship at a newspaper
  7. ….30% about her illness.

 

In Hospital   …sickest

  1. First Sentence: At my sickest, a lover once folded a
  2. blanket over my shoulderblade before curling against my back to sleep.
  3. Reaction: Hunger is a mediator, it stands between the author and the world. Hunger is addictive. Hunger is support, it is scaffolding. Hunger became my safest state.
  4. 100%….very powerful, personal and disturbing.

 

In Berlin     …interesting facts

  1. First sentence: I felt smaller in Berlin than I ever had before;
  2. the Northern Germans are, by and large, a big-boned people,
  3. …the shanks of their legs are particularly impressive.
  4. Reaction:  The author visits a labour camp, Sachsenhausen.
  5. The body never forgets starvation. 
  6. Sad…the author bought food to give her
  7. …pantry shelves an appearance of normality.
  8. “I didn’t choose my hunger. That no one ever does.”
  9. Wright describes returning to a family she
  10. …lived with during her studies 10 years ago.
  11. She had been well then.
  12. She did not know what lay ahead.

 

In Miniature  …presenting a paradox

  1. First sentence: It seems a strange place to start writing about the miniature,
  2. but I want to begin on the internet, because I found there,
  3. for a time, a thing I could hardly have conceived would have existed,
  4. a community of illness, specifically for the kinds of illnesses that
  5. …we often keep silent and hidden within ourselves.
  6. Reaction: Breathtakingly  beautiful…how Fiona Wright sees her
  7. …fascination with miniature reflected in her illness.
  8. This essay was poetic!

 

In Increments   …sickness personified “gnawing”

  1. I’ll never know the point where my physical illness
  2. ..gave way to something different,
  3. something more complex, but more and more I think
  4. …now that hunger was always with me, always
  5. …gnawing away somewhere in me, and my illness
  6. …just allowed this hunger to assert itself in the only
  7. …way that could possibly have been acceptable to me.

 

In Books I    …analogy in books

  1. The year that I first became ill, when my physical condition first developed,
  2. …was the first year that I studied Australian Literature.

 

In Books II    …analogy in books

  1. There are books I have had with me in
  2. …hospital waiting rooms that I can never re-read without re-reading, too,
  3. …the traces that they carry of the spaces that I took them into.

 

In Group  ….mother vs daughter

  1. There are some conversation that you shouldn’t have with your mother,
  2. especially if you are a poet, and especially if you are a
  3. …poet four months into you third stint of group therapy.

 

In Passing   …sad news

  1. I received the news digitally, in a text
  2. …from my old housemate, Kat.

 

In Hindsight  …looking back

 

  1. I resisted, for a long time, reading any anorexia memoirs,
  2. …even though I’d been reading about
  3. ..the condition in fiction and textbooks.

 

Conclusion:

  1. The cover of Fiona Wright’s book keeps catching my eye.
  2. What kind of story is behind those eyes.
  3. Fiona Wright (born 1983) is an Australian poet and critic.
  4. Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays in Hunger (2015)
  5. is a collection of ten essays that detail the author’s
  6. own experience with anorexia.
  7. The longest essay is ‘In Group’
  8. the shortest is ‘In Passing’.
  9. The best?  I loved them all.
  10. I wrote down a few words about the first few essays.
  11. Each one  draws me in with the first sentence.
  12. After reading one essay
  13. ….I have to get up and do something else
  14. …I must let my thoughts settle.
  15. Fiona Wright has shared her life
  16. stripped bare and gray as sheet-iron.
  17. The more Fiona thinks about her body
  18. the more she knows it is no longer her own.
  19. Her body tries to fold up at the first sign of danger
  20. …as if disappearing into a shell.
  21. #MustRead