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Posts from the ‘NonFicNov 2019’ Category

7
Dec

#AWW 2019 Nine Lives: Women Writers

  • Author:  Susan Sheridan
  • Title: Nine Lives: Postwar Women Writers Making Their Mark
  • Published: 2011
  • Genre: non-fiction
  • Rating: A
  • Trivia:  This book has been sitting on my TBR for two years!
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #AWW2019   @AusWomenWriters

 

NOTE:

  1. Trying to get back to books with
  2. …’one’ very good eye after cataract surgery
  3. …the the other eye ready for correction in 2 weeks.
  4. #NeedCoffee

 

Introduction:

  1. Why did I wait so long to read this wonderful book?
  2. I think the  bland bookcover did not catch my eye.
  3. Ms Sheridan should have used thumbnail photos of te
  4. …talented Australian writers she was about  to introduce to this reader!

 

  1. This books contains
  2. nine condensed, compact biographies of Australian Women writers
  3. Sheridan highlights a generation of women writers
  4. overlooked in the Australian contemporary literary scene.
  5. These women writers who were born between 1915-1930:
  6. Judith Wright
    Thea Astley
    Dorothy Hewett
    Rosemary Dobson
    Dorothy Aucherlonie Green
    Gwen Harwood
    Jessica Anderson
    Amy Witting
    Elizabeth Jolley

 

  1. All had children...
  2. J. Wright and D. Green were the sole support of their families.
  3. The nine women were versatile writers
  4. poet, playwright, novelist, short stories,
  5. non-fiction (autobiography), literary critic and editor.
  6. T. Astely won Miles Franklin Award 4x, Jessica Anderson 2x and E. Jolley 1x.
  7. All shared a sense of urgency…
  8. their vocation, their ‘need’ to be a writer
  9. that would not let them rest.

 

 

  1. Judith Wright – was an important name in the emerging postwar literature.
  2. She was one of the few Australian poets to achieve international recognition.
  3. Ms Wright is the author of of several collections of poetry,
  4. including The Moving Image, Woman to
  5. Man, The Gateway, The Two Fires, Birds,
  6. The Other Half, Magpies, Shadow, Hunting Snake, among others.
  7. Her work is noted for a keen focus on the Australian environment.

 

 

  1. Thea Astley –  I am a huge fan of this writer.
  2. I did learn more tidbits of info about this woman.
  3. Critics were not always kind to Thea Astely.
  4. The ending of  The Slow Natives
  5. …was  “…too sentimental and melodramatic.
  6. I didn’t think so!
  7. Even Patrick White was harsh.
  8. Criticism should be like rain
  9. …gentle enough to nourish growth without
  10. …destroying the roots.
  11. White’s  fault finding ended their friendship.
  12. Thea Astley won Miles Franklin Award four times!

 

  1. Dorothy Hewett – After reading Ms Hewett’s short biography in this book the
  2. only thing that suited this woman is the song: Born to be Wild  !!
  3. Once I read about the tumultuous life of Dorothy Hewett I knew
  4. I had to read her books.
  5. I ordered Baker’s Dozen ( 13 short stories)…
  6. …cannot wait to read it!

 

 

  1. Rosemary Dobson – She was fully established as a poet by the age of 35.
  2. She published 14 collections of poems.
  3. The Judges of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 1996
  4. described her significance as follows:
  5. “The level of originality and strength of
  6. Rosemary’s poetry cannot be underestimated…”

 

  1. Dorothy Auchterlonie Green –  She saw herself primarily as a scholar.
  2. Ms Green felt overworked and
  3. under-recognized, trapped by circumstances of her life and unsure of her capacity as a poet.
  4. She won widespread admiration for her poetry, literary scholarship
  5. her reviews and social criticism and inspirational teaching.

 

  1. Gwen Harwood – She was sick of the way poetry
  2. editors (Meanjin) treated her…no accepting her work.
  3. Ms Harwoon created several nom de plume: Geyer , Lehmann and Stone.
  4. Geyer and Lehmann were regularly invited to meet editors for lunch next time they were in Sydney
  5. or Melbourne. Geyer was evern invited to read at the Adelaide Festival.
  6. ….he respectively declined.
  7.  Awards

 

  1. Jessica Anderson – She was in a male-dominated and
  2. Anglocentric publishing world.
  3. How did she survive?
  4. She cultivated the qualities of character and
  5. strategies of survival necessary to
  6. sustain enough belief in herself to go on writing.
  7. She won the Miles Franklin Award twice…1978 and 1980.

  1. Amy Witting – For many years Amy Witting was invisible in the literary world.
  2. She won the Patrick White Award 1993
  3. for writers who have not received adequate recognition.
  4. I am waiting for her book of short stories to arrive…Marriages
  5. …I’m sure Amy Witting will have much to tell about this institution!

 

  1. Elizabeth Jolley – In a single year she received 39 rejection slips
  2. …yet she persisted.
  3. She won Miles Franklin Award 1986.

27
Nov

#AUSReadingMonth 2019 Clementine Ford

 

Introduction: 

  1. I read Sue’s excellent post @ Whispering Gums
  2. about a disussion that took place during the
  3. Sydney Writers Festival 2019.
  4. Boys to Men: The masculinity crisis
  5. Panel: Clementine Ford, Adam Liaw, Janice Petersen (Convenor).
  6. I knew I had to read Ford’s book.
  7. Please take the time  to read Sue’s summation of the
  8. panel discussion....it will enrich your reading of
  9. Boys Will Be Boys as only the author herself can do!

 

 Ms Ford highlights what is meant as…..

  1. Fog of  toxic masculinity
  2. ….no inside voice,
  3. preferring to roar wherever they go
  4. boisterous, barrelling through the world
  5. …with an admiral lack of restraint.
  6. They (men)  have each other’s back
  7. close ranks against anyone else who threatens them.
  8. Boys are currently conditioned to be
  9. entitled, domineering, sexist, privileged.

 

Title:

  1. Boys Will Be Boys
  2. Ms Ford uses this common sentiment that is bandied about
  3. without thought and expose just how damaging it is for everyone
  4. ….including boys.

 

Notes:

  1. Gender INEQUALITY  is first learned at home
  2. Filtered down through pop culture
  3. A launching pad into even more damaging practices later.

 

Ch 1 – It’s a Boy –> gender stereotyping

  1. People frequently assign  sex based on
  2. arbitrary indicators (color of clothes (pink/blue),
  3. messages on t-shirts (“brave & strong” –“happy & peace”),
  4. toys (dolls vs active toys, trucks, cars etc).

 

Ch 2 – A Woman’s Place –> domestic dynamics

  1. Ponder this:
  2. “…women who choose to live romantically with men are acting against
  3. their own economic interest.”

 

  1. Ch 3 – Girls on Film –> female roles in films 
  2. Ch 4 – Not All Men –>   “..stop making me (men) feel bad.”
  3. Ch 5 – We Know What Boys Are Like –> teach men healthy intimacy
  4. Ch 6 – Mass Debate –>  Alt-right phenomenon Milos  Yiannopoulos
  5. Ch 7 – The Manosphere –> most bone-chilling chapter
  6. Ch 8 – Your Honor, I Object –> the heart of the MRA agenda (Men’s Rights Activists)
  7. Ch 9 – The King of the Hill –> power and privileged white men
  8. Ch 10 – It’s Just a Joke –> Why do comics make rape a side-splitting topic?
  9. Ch 11 – Asking For It –> Jane Doe vs players Ulster rugby team… but she consented!
  10. Ch 12 – Witch Hunt –>  #MeToo…list of shame!
  11. Epilogue –  ….a letter to her toddler son….it is a thing of beauty and love to read!

 

Conclusion:

  1. This book  may seem like small comfort
  2. finally confronting the  problem of toxic masculinity
  3. that we see playing out in the
  4. workplace, home, schools, governments.
  5. But in a time like this, when it’s hard to understand how
  6. our culture became so “toxic”  with
  7. male dominance, power, privilege, misogyny
  8. reading is probably the best possible option to try to
  9. think about how society has gotten where we are now
  10. …and how we can and should change it.
  11. #EyeOpener
  12. #MustRead
  13. The book left me drained
  14. ….so much to process.

 

Last Thoughts:

  1. I’ve tried to read more poetry this year
  2. …and once in a  while a ‘flash’ of recognition
  3. goes off in my mind.
  4. NSW Literary Award 2019 for poetry was won by
  5. Kate Lilley, daughter of the famous poet, feminist Dorothy Hewett.
  6. Her book of poems TILT  (autobiographical and
  7. some confessional poems) will touch your heart.
  8. Unknown to me was Kate Lilley’s back round and her immersion
  9. in the Bohemian life of her parents in 1970s.
  10. She was abused by friends of parents
  11. ….male entitled predators.
  12. Lilley has suffered for years trying to put her life together
  13. after living with a mother whose motto was:
  14.  …guess what?
  15. Boys Will Be Boys”.
22
Nov

#AUSReadingMonth 2019 The Thinking Woman

 

Conclusion:

 

Julienne Van Loon engages with the work of
six leading contemporary thinkers and writers
Rosi Braidotti (ch 6, Friendship),
Nancy Holmstrom, Siri Hustvedt,
Laura Kipnis (ch 1, Love),
Julia Kristeva and Marina Warner.

 

Chapters 1 and 6 stand out for me…most captivating.
Other readers may find ch 3-5 also fascinating.

 

It is buoyant, intelligent and very satisfying book
as it delivers a solid dose of thought about
love, work, wonder, fear, friendship and play.

 

Ms Van Loon reveals we are in this together
…but we are not one in the same.

 

Rosi Braidotti’s inspiration was Spinoza.
I found this the most interesting part of the book.

 

Trust in our shared intimacy with and knowledge of
the world and our lived experience of it.

 

Ms Van loon does share her intimate experiences….
#Bravo

17
Nov

#AUSReadingMonth 2019 An Unconventional Wife

 

Hook: introduction 

  1. Ms Hoban explains what drew
  2. …her to write about Julia Sorell Arnold
  3. It was very personal  text that
  4. …made this reader eager to continue reading!
  5. I had to find out if Tom Arnold could
  6. …tame the high spirited Julia Sorell
  7. ..the the ruling belle of Hobart of Tasmania
  8. ..into the Victorian ideal of a wife?

 

Conflict:  Tom vs Julia …and religion

  1. In the world that Julia and Tom inhabited
  2. religion was never simply about belief.
  3. It was about position. economic stability and place in society.
  4. This was true for Tom and Julia…and their children.

 

Tom’s weak point:

  1. He had a tyrannical understanding of marriage.
  2. He turned the blowtorch onto Julia.
  3. He blamed her for all that had happened to them.

 

Julia’s  strong point:

  1. For a woman….marriage was a destiny,
  2. …nothing more, nothing less.
  3. But Julia would be…
  4. a revolutionary wife.
  5. not go where Tom took her
  6. not believe what he believed
  7. not do as he asked.

 

Conclusion:

  1. This is a magnificent biography!
  2. Mary Hoban just swept me away to Tasmania and
  3. …then on to Brussels, England and Ireland.
  4. I was so engrossed in the story I had no time to take notes!
  5. Julia felt like a very modern woman…in a Victorian world:
  6. She was fiercely independent.
  7. Tom radiates toxic masculinity in every chapter.
  8. As in many marriages…partners hope to change each other’s behavior.
  9. We read in this book the collision course
  10. that Tom and Julia were destined to follow.
  11. Tom’s wife must in all things submit to him.
  12. Julia cannot give up her own soul.
  13. Their relationship becomes a battle to the death.
  14. Julia refused to adhere to the ideal of a Victorian woman.
  15. She refused to be silent.
  16. #Excellent biography!

 

Last Thoughts:  (feedback to @bronasbooks)

  1. I rarely get ‘swept’ away with a biography but
  2. my heart just went out to Julia Sorell Arnold!
  3. Mary Hoban writes with a flair that touches on a novel….
  4. it is a well-crafted, beautifully rendered meditation on
  5. abandonment (Julia – mother)
  6. marriage (opposites attract)
  7. religion (Catholic and Protestant….sharing the same bed!)
  8. grief, (loss beloved father; children [stillborn, sickness])
  9. the ‘can’t live with you…but can’t live without you’
  10. ….type relationship between Julia and Arnold.
  11. It seem distance does make the heart grow fonder
  12. …and not to mention 9 children!
  13. I could go on and on
  14. ….but I hope this book is on your TBR
  15. great read during Xmas holidays!

 

 

12
Nov

#AUSReadingMonth Dr. Space Junk vs The Universe

 

Introduction:

  1. The 52-year-old space archaeologist at
  2. …Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia,
  3. is living her childhood dream.
  4. She is weighing up spacecraft,
  5. landing sites and debris flying around Earth and
  6. deciding if a relic should be preserved or
  7. …simply remain  junk based on its cultural and heritage value.

 

Core message:

  1. Ms Gorman wants to take a physical journey through the solar system and
  2. ….a conceptual journey into human interactions with space.

 

Notes:

  1. This is not a book to read in bed
  2. …the first 2 chapters…I kept falling asleep.
  3. Not the most interesting subjects…

 

  1. Project Moonwatch…citizens watching for  satellites with binoculars/telescopes
  2. Ham radio amateurs ….citizens listening to space-age sounds in  sheds and backyards
  3. Attempted space probes by Soviet Union (1961-1984) to reach Venus…Venera landers
  4. Musk’s red sports car jettisoned into space…..not interested
  5. Food to commemorate space ….the intangible heritage of the Space Age? …not interested
  6. Culinary legacy of the Cold War: Sputnik cocktail,
  7. …olive with toothpicks = Sputnik…not interested.
  8. TV and space: My Favorite Martian, I Dream of Jeannie...not interested
  9. Companies who will launch you ashes inside a spacecraft into low orbit....not interested
  10. and the book goes on, and on, and on like this ad nauseam

 

Conclusion:

  1. Book was like a dog’s breakfast….a failed culinary effort.
  2. It felt confused, slapdash, unfocused, rambling and prolific repetition.
  3. I started the book with high hopes
  4. …but with each chapter I struggled to
  5. get through the next few pages.
  6. All that was left was to skim and look away.
  7. Dr Space Junk vs The Universe?
  8. It was a junk heap of words.
  9. #Bah
  10. …….a dull book which even drink can’t enliven much.