Monday, 26 September 2016

Recent reads - spring 2016

Have I mentioned how amazing holidays are because I finally get to read the books I've been meaning to for so long? I'm particularly thrilled because now I'm a third of the way through my holiday reading list, having finished: 2/6 holiday reads! 🎉📚✔️✔️

The current issue of Dumbo Feather magazine is particularly brilliant. All interviewees are change-makers of some sort, including feminist icon Gloria Steinem, who's mission is to make invisible injustices visible ✊; Indigenous advocate and opera singer Deborah Cheetham, who urges Australians to continue actively learning from Indigenous Australians as we are only denying our own richness of lives and understanding of the world by shutting out that part of our histories 🎙; and environmental activist Laurie David, who most famously produced Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' 🌿. Her quote from this film - "Between denial and despair there is action" - really resonated with me, leading me to feel incredibly inspired and empowered to continue pursuing the social justice issues I feel strongly about ✊🎙🌿👊.

I have to admit (in case you've had similar thoughts) that it took me a while to enjoy reading Dumbo Feather 😱. The interviews are presented differently to others, and I found the layout a bit off-putting to begin with (very narrow margins, varying text sizes - don't ask 🙄). But if you're interested, I urge you to persevere, because now I'm loving its conversational style and the fact that it does present all interviewees as ordinary people who have courageously pursued what drives and inspires them. Not to mention what I now consider to be the gorgeous layout of the magazine itself - there's something so satisfyingly indulgent and pleasing with it 😍!

Cate Kennedy's 'Dark Roots' made me re-appreciate the beauty of short stories. For a while now I've avoided reading fictional novels because I haven't felt like I had the time to properly immerse myself in the world of novel-length stories. So instead I've read various collections of non-fiction articles, which I've felt are more achievable but can at times feel burdensome. Short stories could be the antidote to this dilemma, and Kennedy's collection was particularly immersive.

Set in Australia 🇦🇺 , the stories focus on various tipping points in the mostly ordinary lives of everyday people. Kennedy unpacks the seemingly insignificant moments that lead to potentially life-changing outcomes; from a woman queueing at Australian customs who is attempting to smuggle heroin into the country 🛬, to a woman who's lover becomes comatose after asking her to buy black sesame seeds from the shops 🏨. Not all stories are heavily burdensome; with others more lightheartedly exploring the coincidences that sprout up in life 🔮.  But there's certainly a sense of unease that permeates the collection, leaving you contemplating these significant moments and causing you to reexamine similar turning points in your own life. As someone who can go through life wondering 'what if...', these stories particularly resonated me as many of them centred around this very question. And if you're someone who tends to wonder about life's choices in the same way, you'll probably find these stories equally immersive and satisfying.

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