Avalanche by Julia Leigh

There’s all sorts of reasons why I don’t feel I’m in a position to comment on Julia Leigh’s Avalanche, an account of her experience with IVF. However, Leigh makes a statement early in her memoir that made me pause and think –

“In the public imagination – as I perceive it – there’s a qualified sympathy for IVF patients, not unlike that shown to smokers who get lung cancer. Unspoken: ‘You signed up for it, so what do you expect…?'”

“Qualified sympathy” – it’s an interesting phrase. Have I ever been guilty of qualified sympathy? Probably, although certainly not in relation to someone’s desire to have a baby. It’s these kind of gritty bits that lodged as I was reading Avalanche. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

halo

01. After a long cloud-spotting drought, I finally logged something new – a 22° Halo. It’s an optical phenomena distinguished by the reddish tinge at the inner edge of the halo. Note: no retinas were harmed in the taking of this photo – I just aimed the camera in the general direction and hoped for the best. Continue reading

The Stella Prize 2017 Longlist

stella-prize-longlist-2017

I’ve been glued to Twitter all evening, busting to hear the Stella Prize 2017 longlist announcement. It’s here, so now I can relax (and start reading and predicting) – Continue reading

Reading Challenges 2016

reading-challenges-round-up-2016

Every year I vaguely think about dropping reading challenges and instead becoming a truly free-range reader. But then I find myself signing up (mostly because I like a list and I like a reason to look through lists).

I participated in five reading challenges this year and completed all of them – granted, three were of the ‘free-range’ variety. Continue reading

Stella Prize 2016 – my predictions

stella-prize-2016-shortlist

Why even write this post given that I’ve been carrying on about Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things since day dot? I think it will win the 2016 Stella Prize tonight (actually, in about two hours).

The Natural Way of Things has it all – it’s relevant; it’s current; it makes you think very hard about things that are hard to think about; the sense of place is exquisite; and Wood writes with such sparing beauty that some sentences left me breathless. But the real strength is in its lasting impression – there are many elements of this book that will stay with me: rabbits, fungi, hair removal, dolls and those bloody gift bags…. The gift bags were Wood’s masterstroke. Continue reading

Reading the Stella Prize Shortlist – Small Acts of Disappearance by Fiona Wright

Small-Acts-of-Disappearance-Fiona-Wright

I finished Fiona Wright’s collection of essays, Small Acts of Disappearance, a week ago. I enjoyed it while I was reading it. Actually, ‘enjoyed’ is not the right word when you’re reading about someone’s experience with anorexia… Rather, I was interested and engaged. But now, a few days out, the guts of Wright’s message evades me. What parts of her story have lingered? Continue reading