Admin, Fiction

The Mid-Semester Silence – Part the First

So as per, the semester is well back in (I’m marking, I’m writing lectures, I’m generally making other poor life choices) and so my non-academic writing has fallen by the wayside. I feel guilty for not maintaining a regular writing pattern, I know it would be good for me, but I also struggle to find the time/space/energy once semester kicks in. I’m hardly alone in this, so I think I do just need to exercise a little more discipline. So here I am. Being disciplined. And writing an unfinished blog about unfinished books.

Continue reading “The Mid-Semester Silence – Part the First”

Fiction, Life Writing

Reflection: The Book of Dirt by Bram Presser

On Friday I walked underneath a blazing sun with 60 thousand other people to stand in solidarity with Aboriginal people and Torres Straight Islanders. We gathered in Naarm on Wirundjuri and Boon Wurrung land, under the banners of Constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, the abolition of national holidays that are invested in narratives of white supremacy, and calling for a treaty to be negotiated in relation to the stolen land on which we work, walk, live, and love. We mourned the violences enacted against a 60 thousand year old culture. As I’m writing this, I’m sat in a pub, surrounded by old men while Baker Boy plays over the speakers, and there is an absolute joy that I derive from hearing Danzel Baker singing in Yolngu Matha. The resilience of humans to keep culture alive through art, stories and music is, for me, central to what it is to assert subjectivity (self in relation to power) in the face of oppression and dehumanisation. It is a bitter irony that International Holocaust Remembrance Day falls on 27th January, the very day after the Australian national celebration of the events that resulted in Australia’s genocide against First Nations people. News papers can’t seem to decide between proclamations of “Never Forget, Never Again” and “Just Get Over It.” The dissonance is painful.

Continue reading “Reflection: The Book of Dirt by Bram Presser”

Fiction

Reflection: We Who Are About To… by Joanna Russ

TW: mention of socially mandated reproduction/rape.

I was wandering thorugh The Book Grocer when I came across this volume. Having loved The Female Man, And Chaos Died, and How To Supress Women’s Writing, I was delighted to come across the novella, We Who Are About To…. I was fresh from the Ethics/Utopias/Dystopias conference (I think that event might shape a bit of my reading this year) and I’m always here for a bright, kitsch cover.

Continue reading “Reflection: We Who Are About To… by Joanna Russ”

Fiction

Review: The End of Days – Jenny Erpenbeck

From where she sat today, she cast a critical glance at the peace-loving girl she had once been. She had understood even then that there was a difference between the blood that flowed during a revolution and the blood that was spilled in a war. She also knew that all wars are not created equal. (122)

The End of Days is a thoughtful and evocative read that traces the many and potential lives of one woman over the course of the twentieth century. It is a book that asks readers to think about the ways in which their relationships with other people—family, friends, strangers—can shape their lives.  Continue reading “Review: The End of Days – Jenny Erpenbeck”

Fiction

Reading Resolutions

I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions. I figure if I am going to exercise it shoud be a thing I want do to, not just a thing I need to do by x date. The thing that I want to do more of in 2018 is read experimental fiction. After a semester teaching Carter, and speaking at a conference on Ethics in Utopias and Dystopias, I’m inspired to pick up more experimental fiction. This is probably also aided by reading Eimar McBride‘s A Girl is a Half Formed Thing (a cute boy recommended it to me and I’m as superficial as the next person and wanted to impress him. That encounter didn’t go past the first date, but I did end up with this New Year’s Resolution and a subscription to Salvage Quarterly, so I’m calling it a win.) Continue reading “Reading Resolutions”