I haven’t been able to do the blog post schedule that I like to keep here because I have been visiting my home country, Australia. If you’ve ever lived overseas, you know that visiting home is never quite a relaxing holiday. You spend half your time coordinating when to see people and the other half actually meeting up with people. It has been exhausting and exciting all at once. I have been that busy that I haven’t even gone to the beach yet!
After years of living in Europe, I feel that the Northerners can forget that there are some pretty amazing things happening on the other side of the world and I wanted to share some of that with my readers. I love Australia, and whilst no country is perfect, she comes pretty close in my eyes. I love our multicultural heritage and all the good things that come with it. I love our amazingly strong literary tradition and writers. And if you ask me, you can’t beat the sound of magpies in the morning.
First things first: Australia has some pretty amazing writers. I am always buying books as souvenirs when I travel and visiting home is no different. On this trip I’ve picked up three Aussie books that I cannot wait to read.
Boys Will Be Boys – Clementine Ford
Clementine Ford is one of my favourite feminist authors. Her first book Fight Life a Girl was so important for Australia in the sense that it looked at Australian culture through a feminist lens. Having an Australian feminist talk about feminist issues in Australia gave me such inspiration and also gave voice to a lot of the things I had been feeling about growing up in Australia. Her second book Boys Will Be Boys is going to be, no doubt, another amazing contribution to Australian feminist literature and gender studies. This book focuses on Australian masculinity and the macho culture that often restricts Australian blokes. I also absolutely love the poison green book cover!
Dark Emu – Bruce Pascoe
Bruce Pascoe’s book Dark Emu has the potential to change Australian history and the treatment and understanding of indigenous Australian cultures. He posits the question, “What if we got everything wrong about indigenous culture?” Ask anyone, even non-Australians, about Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders and they will tell you they were nomadic hunter-gathers. Yet Pascoe says the evidence suggests something completely different. Right across Australia, indigenous peoples were using domesticated plants, storing food, and farming. Many people will say that indigenous Australian culture was/is hard to preserve because they were hunter-gatherers and therefore had no ‘real history’ left behind. But what if we asked the question, what did white Europeans suppress, overlook, and devalue?
Choice Words: A collection of writing about abortion – ed. Louise Swinn
I saw this book online and it sparked my interest straight away. Yet, it wasn’t an easy book to get hold of, probably because of the content. This is a collection of essays written by Australian women about their experiences with abortion. In NSW, the state I grew up in, abortion has restricted access and is for the most part, illegal. In Victoria, abortions are allowed before 24 weeks, otherwise two doctors need to agree that there are enough reasons for a later termination. Queensland has had some recent discussions regarding abortions and finally legalised abortion up to 22 weeks. Pro choice is about allowing women to make choices about their lives, bodies, and families. And so many people are misinformed about their countries’ laws surrounding abortion. Extreme pro-life laws and total abortion bans like those in Ireland led to (preventable) deaths like that of Dr. Savita Halappanavar. This collection of writing is not just from women who have had abortions, but also from medical practitioners advocating for better reproductive healthcare for women.
Australians are pretty talented, if you ask me. We produce some incredible art and our street art and mural scene in Victoria is strong! I recently went to Melbourne and Benalla to tour some amazing murals and silo art around city and rural Victoria.
These are just some of the amazing scenes you can find in Victoria. I also love the idea that these murals and in particular, silo art are bringing tourists to sleepy country towns and injecting new life and money into them.
On this trip I have visited four states in Australia: South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. All of them are beautiful and unique in their own way and I have loved visiting friends and exploring these places with them. If you need some motivation to visit Australia, then look no further.
So there you have it. I am loving spending time in Oz and have really enjoyed finding new books and new amazing places to visit. As always, share the reading love.