Proving that I don’t actually care about my never-really-shrinking-TBR-list is this list of new releases that are on my radar for 2020.
There’s nothing new on my list (other bloggers have posted curated lists of 2020 releases and there are loads of comprehensive lists floating around, such as SMH) – I’m posting it simply to have a record of books to follow-up during the year.
The current thinking in social work circles is that there are better long-term outcomes for children left with their family in an unstable home, than those removed and placed in foster care. This was in the back of my mind as I read comedian Corey White’s recently published memoir, The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory.
The details White shares of his childhood made me sick with fear from the first page. His father adored him but belted his wife and daughters. His mother, a drug addict, would disappear for days at a time. White was sexually abused by a ‘friend’ of the family, and as a young child he was violent toward his mother and sisters.
I drink in my father’s anger, see how it makes him glow and other people cower, and I repeat it. I punch my mother in the stomach and call her a stupid slut.Continue reading →
Fairly sure I said something about not reading much about the Holocaust in the last decade or so because I overdid it in the eighties and nineties… Anyway, seems that went out the window when I read The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman and The Toy Maker by Liam Pieper, one after the other.
The books are similar in many ways – both tell the story of an Australian man living in the present alongside the story of a Holocaust survivor; both are set in the ‘Canada’ barracks at Auschwitz–Birkenau and examine the role of the Sonderkommando; both have themes of good versus evil, penance, and the measure of crime; both show that there are lessons in history.
“History can provide comfort in difficult or even turbulent and traumatic times. It shows us what our species has been through before and that we survived. It can help to know we’ve made it through more than one dark age. And history is vitally important because perhaps as much as, if not more than biology, the past owns us and however much we think we can, we cannot escape it. If you only knew how close you are to people who seem so far from you… it would astonish you.” (Perlman)
It’s Top Ten Tuesday time and the topic this week is ‘Ten Books Every X Should Read’. In my case, the X is for memoir fans.
The first five are those type of memoirs that are so horrifying that you have to keep checking whether they are not, in actual fact, fiction. The next bunch are not misery-memoirs at all – quite the opposite – they made me laugh. Continue reading →
Is there are special sub-section in the misery-memoir genre for stories told with self-deprecating humour? I think there is and Rosie Waterland’s The Anti Cool Girl is the latest addition.
Like Augusten Burroughs’ Running with Scissors and Liam Pieper’s The Feel Good Hit of the Year, Waterland takes you through her childhood, one filled with addict parents, overdoses, stints in rehab with her mother, butchers’ knife attacks, eating disorders, alcohol abuse, bullying, abusive foster parents, suicide attempts and periods of homelessness. And she’s only 28. Continue reading →
Liam Pieper’s memoir has the crazy of Scissors and the drugs of Tweak, all within the context of suburban Melbourne during the eighties. Pieper was raised by his bohemian parents whose day most often included smoking pot.
“The wisdom of the time was that weed was a harmless alternative to alcohol. Joints were passed around like Carlos Castaneda novels. People took acid to expand their minds. At least, they said that’s why they did it. I’ve always fond that hippies take acid to make other hippies interesting.”Continue reading →