Buried in books

I’m on holidays! Up in Byron Bay, where the rain is falling thick and fast in a way that leaves us Melbournians open-mouthed at the wonder of it all. It’s still warm and humid, so we can wear thong (flip-flops) so who cares about getting a little wet?

I’ve been relishing this break from thesis writing. I’ve been reading obsessively, and can happily recommend these books:

  • DogBoy by Eva Hornung. This was the first book I read on this holiday. Couldn’t put it down. It’s sad though, heart-breakingly sad, and it sat heavily in my head for a long time after. I went back to re-read certain sections (hoping to make it easier on myself, to no avail). The writing is beautiful. Just thinking about this book now, a couple of days after finishing it, I am again taken back into that world.
  • Things We Didn’t See Coming, by Steven Amsterdam. This one was also compelling. Lots of gaps that never quite get filled in. Such assured writing – he never lets go of you as a reader.  “It’s quite a ride,” was my first comment, when someone asked how I’d liked it. Fascinating, alarming, and compelling as you long for him to make more sense of things for you. A vision of an amoral, apocalyptic near-future that is quite imaginable. Last night at dinner those of us who have read the book wondered aloud how different it might have felt to have read it during the last months of Howard’s reign. Are we a littl more optimistic now? Or simply a bit worn down from the frustrations of the Howard era? Anyway, it was an intriguing thing to ponder. Striking cover art too.
  • Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brookes. Oh, I loved this one too. I loved the heroine, and I loved the evocative, rich writing that created a whole village and community for me. Strange twist at the end took me by surprise, and the desperation and exhaustion of the community as they battle the Great Plague is palpable.

Right now, I have just got started on Linda Jaivin’s new book, A Most Immoral Woman. Jaivin has a cheeky, flirtatious, disarming way of writing, that balances out the pompousity of her main character Morrison (a man, not the most immoral woman of the title). I haven’t read any of her other books, but heard her speak about this novel (and read from it) a week or so ago on Radio National’s The Book Show.

Apart from the reading on this holiday, I have plans to go to yoga classes (have been to two already), and maybe, maybe…. do a surfing course. I’ve always thought surfing looked like the most amazing past-time. Devotees get a kind of glazed, evangelical look in their eyes, and they are so committed that I figure it must be a pretty addictive experience. I’m keen to find out for myself what joys it contains.

Next week, back to work. Four days of workshops at ArtPlay. And the thesis is coming along, coming along. I’m up to my conclusions now, so taking a bit of time this week to re-read everything I’ve written and ponder what my resulting conclusions might actually be.

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