Otherland | Maria Tumarkin #UnderstandingUkraine

It is on the train from Russia to Ukraine that the moment I have been waiting for finally comes, and Billie refuses to use the toilet, point-blank. Maria Tumarkin is an Australian writer of memoirs and cultural histories. Her books and essays tend to include oodles of fascinating things about the nature of memory, change … Continue reading Otherland | Maria Tumarkin #UnderstandingUkraine

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century | Barbara Tuchman #USAnon-fiction

The genesis of this book was a desire to find out what were the effects on society of the most lethal disaster of recorded history - that is to say, of the Black Death of 1348-50, which killed an estimated one third of the population living between India and Iceland. A number of times throughout … Continue reading A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century | Barbara Tuchman #USAnon-fiction

Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future | Svetlana Alexievich #ReadtheNobels

I don't know what to tell you about. Death or love? Or is it the same thing. What should I tell you about?... Prologue: A Lone Human Voice I'm so very glad I read Chernobyl Prayer. I really appreciate the type of history Svetlana Alexievich has captured in her books. It's oral history, or more … Continue reading Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future | Svetlana Alexievich #ReadtheNobels

No Document | Anwen Crawford #AWWnon-fiction

No Document is an elegy for a friendship and artistic partnership cut short by death. The memory of this collaboration becomes a model for how we might relate to others in sympathy, solidarity and rebellion. At once intimate and expansive, Anwen Crawford’s book-length essay explores loss in many forms: disappeared artworks, effaced histories, abandoned futures. Written … Continue reading No Document | Anwen Crawford #AWWnon-fiction

Leaping Into Waterfalls | Bernadette Brennan #AWWbiography

Gillian Mears often likened herself to a Clarence Valley butcherbird, a creature filled with beautiful song who could also peck out the eyes of fledglings. I have put off writing this book response for weeks now. Reading Leaping Into Waterfalls: The Enigmatic Gillian Mears by Bernadette Brennan was such a tremendous example of how to … Continue reading Leaping Into Waterfalls | Bernadette Brennan #AWWbiography

Summer Diary: The Herbogowan | Rumer Godden #ReadingWeek2021

'When the lotus comes it is time to go.' That is what we say in Kashmir. My copy of Coromandel Sea Change (Pan Macmillan 2013) includes a short non-fiction piece at the back called Summer Diary: The Herbogowan. It is undated. The only information provided is to be found on the title page, stating that … Continue reading Summer Diary: The Herbogowan | Rumer Godden #ReadingWeek2021

Friends & Rivals | Brenda Niall #AWWbiography

'All over the country, brooding on squatters' verandahs, or mooning in selectors' huts,' so A. G. Stephens wrote in the Bulletin in 1901, 'there are scattered here and there hundreds of lively, dreamy Australian girls whose queer uncomprehended ambitions are the despair of the household. They yearn, they aspire for they know not what...' I … Continue reading Friends & Rivals | Brenda Niall #AWWbiography

Myself When Young | Henry Handel Richardson #AWWautobiography

It has never been my way to say much about my private life. Autobiographies are by their nature completely different beasts to biographies. In a biography, the researcher is keen to unearth the 'real' person, to dig deep into archives, letters, journals and other people's memories. Mostly this is done respectfully to honour the subject's … Continue reading Myself When Young | Henry Handel Richardson #AWWautobiography

Eve Langley and The Pea Pickers | Helen Vines #AWWbiography

Eve Langley (1904 -1974) is an enigmatic figure in Australian literary history. One of the (many) reasons why Eve Langley is considered enigmatic is her writing. There was a LOT of it, but was it fiction or was it autobiographical? And how is it possible to tell the difference when the author deliberately leads you … Continue reading Eve Langley and The Pea Pickers | Helen Vines #AWWbiography

The Countess From Kirribilli | Joyce Morgan #AWWbiography

April 1939: The wisteria was heavy with blossoms; the roses scrambled around the windows of the old French farmhouse. Joyce Morgan's biography of Elizabeth von Armin, The Countess From Kirribilli, is an utter delight from start to finish. I could just leave that thought there and be done with this post. But, of course, I … Continue reading The Countess From Kirribilli | Joyce Morgan #AWWbiography

Secrets of Women’s Healthy Ageing | Cassandra Szoeke #AWWnonfiction

The women at the heart of this story come from all walks of life. In 1990 a study of 2000 Australian women, aged between 45 to 55, was undertaken to provide a 'wide-frame snapshot of women's health in this phase of life (menopausal transition)'. It was designed to last for five years. One of the … Continue reading Secrets of Women’s Healthy Ageing | Cassandra Szoeke #AWWnonfiction