Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

I didn’t need much convincing about the importance of feeling ‘wonder and awe’ when I started reading Julia Baird’s part-memoir-part-essay-collection, Phosphorescence. The book begins with Baird’s experience of ocean swimming. I know the feelings she describes. I know those feelings from the sea. I know those feelings every time I look up at the clouds. I know those feelings when I gaze at the muddy sweep of the Yarra.

Something happens when you dive into a world where clocks don’t tick and inboxes don’t ping. As your arms circle, swing and pull along the edge of a vast ocean, your mind wanders, and you open yourself to awe, to the experience of seeing something astonishing, unfathomable or greater than yourself. Continue reading

The Details by Tegan Bennett Daylight

I think Tegan Bennett Daylight added the subtitle ‘Reading, Love and Death’ to her memoir/essay collection, The Details, just so that I’d buy it. Obviously I did. Immediately. What’s better than reading about reading, love and death? Nothing!

And this book delivered. Continue reading

Sample Saturday – three very different memoirs

Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye. Continue reading

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Know My Name by Chanel Miller is almost impossible to review. It’s the same problem I always have when reviewing memoirs – who am I to comment on a person’s story? And Chanel Miller’s story – brutal, powerful and incredibly insightful – is one that I’m particularly wary about commenting on, because she has had more than enough scrutiny. And yet, she wrote this book. A book that invites thought and demands discussion. Continue reading

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

I used to go to gym with a woman whose family owned a funeral home. I asked her a million questions about it. That wasn’t me being weird, everyone asked her questions.  I think we have a natural curiosity about the process of death. Oddly, another member of my gym group managed a brothel. We asked her a million questions as well. Clearly we were a very nosey group!

Anyway, take what you will from my anecdote – it was the only introduction I could come up with for Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, Fun Home. Continue reading

Three very different memoirs

One Hundred Years of Dirt by Rick Morton, Wham! George & Me by Andrew Ridgeley, and The Fixed Stars by Molly Wizenberg are wildly different books. In fact, the only thing that unites them is that they are all shelved under ‘memoir’.

Morton reflects on his traumatic childhood and the definition of ‘poverty’ in Australia; Ridgely also recalls his childhood, however his included a stable home, music lessons, and his friendship with a school mate who would eventually be known as George Michael; and Wizenberg focuses on the disintegration of her marriage after she realises that her sexuality is ‘fluid’. Continue reading

Sample Saturday – grief memoirs suggested by Higgins

Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye.

In her memoir, The Girls, Chloe Higgins references a number of grief memoirs. Some were familiar to me, others not. Continue reading