I have had an unbelievable month. My reading has ebbed and waned as much as it has been my nightly refuge from the madness that has been my days. I have felt in many ways that this challenge has been both too much for me to take on and yet the greatest relief to my mind and the best decision I have made in quite a while. Last month I only read one book. It was a sad time for me, as far as progress goes, and a great break from my commitments, as far as my own personal stress is concerned.
I knew I would have months like April to give me a space to breathe, and to wade through the deep mass of text within two covers of a big book. I knew there were many difficult challenges to work across this year. Thankfully, I have caught up this month and made better progress with my list of challenges.
So what has Jessie been reading lately? And what ‘cute little anecdote’ will I attach to this list?
Books given to me by other people, either on loan or as a gift. I will name discreetly the giver and my relationship to them, as well as what I feel is their best quality.
20: A book written by someone under 30 – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
My mother loaned this for me from my old school in my hometown. The school was fundamental as I spent 12 years of my school-based education years at this institution. I made friendships with people I don’t think I ever had much in common with due to the isolation of the town through this school. The education I received there is a large part of the inspiration for how I consider myself teaching following my graduation from university.
21: A book with non-human characters – Forest by Sonya Hartnett
I was not given this book from Mrs Coombes so much as she recommended it and I found it for my Kindle, much cheaper than importing it from the USA. I met Mrs Coombes during a significantly difficult time. I do not recall spending a large amount of time discussing anything specific with her, and her attention was understandably on a much more important person than myself. It was a hard time that changed many people and somehow we have stayed in contact, thus she was able to recommend the ideal text for me from across the country. Her keen compassion, strength during adversity and ability to discuss her heartache is incredible.
22: A book of short stories – Let’s explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
Mum loaned this to me largely unbeknownst to her. We have both been for some unknown reason drawn to this text and wanting to read it for a long time. Even so, neither of us actually knew what it was about until we got it. Mum is strong, understanding and patient. She knows me well and manages to show me often how the world works in the larger picture, not as I believe it to be (revolving around me). She deals with my good times and bares with me during my bad times.
23: A book more than 100 years old – The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
This book was loaned from the local library of my hometown. The librarian in residence when I was 14 years old convinced me to engage my creativity and follow my passions, encouraging me to write a novel, then helping me learn how to transfer it into a manuscript and submit it to publishing houses for publishing. That woman, who is remaining nameless, was the instigator of the ongoing desire burning within me to be a published writer.
24: A graphic novel – The complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
A male student in a drama unit I engaged in last year loaned me this, in a pile of needed books for my challenge. One of my favourite qualities in a person is their ability to discuss literature, or written texts. My character in the drama production was a close companion of his character, and so we engaged in script preparation during the build up to performance time. During this time the student showed to me he was very capable of holding a strong, deep and opinionated position in a discussion of texts, social issues and general university occurrences.
25: A book that takes place in your hometown – The family farm by Fiona Palmer
I have not revealed too much about my hometown origins, other than the isolated nature of the location itself or the distance of it from the city I now live in, Perth. So when I saw this point in the challenge I had to motivate my parents immediately to help me, I was convinced that I would have difficulty to find this. I was advised by a few friends there were some basic historical documents bound in a book-style pamphlet. I felt this may have been as deep as I could go. Thankfully, although my hometown is typically isolated and largely similar to every other regional country town in Australia in many respects, the one thing that is different is how surprisingly talented the homo sapien produce appears to be. As well as the handful of AFL players the have emerged from my town recently, we have a few internationally renowned artists and some published authors. This text belongs to my incredible mother and was one of a few novels written by local author Fiona Palmer inspired by her family’s farm.
26: A book by an author you’ve never read before – Lupus Q & A: Revised and Updated, 3rd Edition: Everything you need to know by Robert G. Lahita
My friend Fanny works in a bookshop. Every so often she sends me a snapchat of a text she has come across that she thinks I’ll like. Sometimes she asks if I want it and sometimes she just buys it for me. This one was of the latter variety. It is with a heavy heart I think of Fanny these days as she has announced she will be leaving our rat-pack group of renegade crafty tea drinkers and fine diners to relocate to the country of her dreams, England. Early next year, after a good final dose of the Australian summer she will move to London. There was a long two years in which Fanny, Nelly and myself did not speak to each other. The reason was mainly laziness on all our parts, with a little bit of boys and life on the side. When I first went back in to hospital for the Brain Farts she called up Nelly and they were at the foot of my bed almost instantly. Since then, those angels have been regular guests in my life, with support, comfort and entertainment to keep me occupied for days on end. Fanny is one of the most beautiful girls, inside and out, that I have ever met, never judging and never being negative. I’ll miss her.