Category Archives: Reading

An interesting time to launch a book

Who could have known, back in December when I started the immune-suppressant Ocrevus treatment for my MS, that a pandemic was brewing? I’ve been feeling particularly exposed and even asked people at my March book launch (more on that later) to refrain from the usually obligatory hugs at the occasion. But now, a month later, I have the results from my latest blood test. My white cells are ‘completely within normal range’, said my GP (she of The Joke fame). Great! So I’m not immune depleted after all! But hang on—the Ocrevus isn’t working? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Continue reading An interesting time to launch a book

Fuelling the fire

Thanks for your kind enquiries—my initial Ocrevus infusions are done, and nothing to report, no adverse reactions. As for any benefits, I won’t know until March.

But something new—our neighbour’s bees have been descending en masse onto our birdbath, the shallow one. It must be the only accessible water source within range. They mostly cluster around the water’s edge, but some intrepid ones skim the surface, and some dip right in. We scoop them out if we notice them in time.

Continue reading Fuelling the fire

More bite-sized reviews

Firstly, Less by Andrew Sean Greer. Arthur Less is a middle-aged, second-tier novelist and has been ignoring literary invitations—the kind of invitations that second-tier novelists receive, like literary panel positions, writer-in-residencies, interviewing slots at literary festivals, all in far-flung locations. But when his young lover, Freddie, out of patience with Less’s reluctance to commit, announces he’s getting married to someone else, Less needs to be out of San Francisco—even better, out of the country—for the wedding. Continue reading More bite-sized reviews

To: Tim Winton. Re: Island Home

island-homeTim, I live in Yuin country on the East coast. The black and white communities here keep to themselves, in the main, and my contact with the locals is fleeting and superficial—a nod exchanged with the group who drink at a picnic table beside the carpark in Bega; a closer yet single-themed half hour a week I used to spend with kids in the literacy program at the school.

My strongest awakening, till now, was reading Kate Grenville’s The Secret River then stepping outside into an altered light, wondering for the first time what bloody events of dispossession may have occurred on my own half acre.

Continue reading To: Tim Winton. Re: Island Home

An open letter to author Sara Baume

BOOKS_Baume_05_web-ex_COVER_July-AugDear Sara Baume,

When I heard about Spill Simmer Falter Wither I thought, lovely, a book I’ll enjoy, then lend to all my dog-loving friends.

It’s not a long book. I finished it, breathed for a while, and went to scratch the heads of my own two dogs—both reprobates. The larger one has gained notoriety as the local chook killer and must now be kept on the lead at all times when off the property. Lucky it was only chooks, I guess. The other one, a terrier of some sort, once returned exhilarated from a run in the bush, snout and bib drenched in blood. We had to rinse him off at the tap in the cemetery before we could walk him back through the village.

Continue reading An open letter to author Sara Baume