Wednesday 5 August 2020

Coping with Stage 4 lock-down.

I know I'm one of the lucky ones. Stage 4 lock-down was inevitable owing to the soaring rates of Covid-19 here in Melbourne but although I miss seeing friends and family, my income has not been impacted. My daily life has been curtailed but I have enough resources to be productive and creative. My ability to be content relies on seven things: regular conversations with my daughter; reading; writing; taking part in online events (I love Zoom;) streaming films/TV/live theatre events, my solitary walks and my little garden.

The amount of online events, many of them free, is staggering. I've listened to podcasts of author interviews, attended Zoom book launches, taken part in Zoom writing time and formal writing workshops (the downside here being, of course, not getting to chat to other participants.) As a result I've come across many more Australian authors and inevitably have bought their books. My book purchases have been - ah, rather frequent - in the past five months. (On the other hand I've bought only one tank of petrol during the same time - judging by my recent mileage I won't have to visit a petrol station until next year!)

I have been a beta reader for someone's debut novel and hope my feedback was helpful. I have a load of other events earmarked for future listening/viewing.

So what have I been reading? As usual a mix of old and new, authors from many different countries, some bought, some borrowed (I managed a trip to my local library during the brief period it was open) some downloaded. I'm continuing my Australian education so here are my books by Australian authors plus a couple of New Zealanders. Unlike my previous list these are not all set in Australia.  There are more awaiting me on my shelves!

Tabitha Bird: A Lifetime of Impossible Days
Alice Bishop: A Constant Hum
Emily Brewin: Small Blessings.
Liz Byrski: Trip of A Lifetime
Marele Day: Lambs of God
Shirley Hazard: The Transit of Venus
Sally Hepworth: The Family Next Door
Sally Hepworth: The Mother-in-Law
Leah Kaminsky: The Waiting Room
Leah Kaminsky: The Hollow Bones
Maya Linell: Wildflower Ridge
Fiona Lowe: Home Fires
Liane Moriarty: Truly, Madly, Guilty
Liane Moriarty: The Last Anniversary
Kate Morton: The Shifting Fog
Joanna Nell: The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker
Charity Norman: The Secrets of Strangers
Stephanie Parker: Josephine’s Garden
Leah Purcell: The Drover’s Wife
Angela Savage: Mother of Pearl
Graeme Simsion: The Rosie Result
Christos Tsiolkas: Damascus
Pip Williams: The Dictionary for Lost Words
Tara June Winch: The Yield
Charlotte Wood: The Weekend

One book, Kate Morton's The Shifting Fog, seemed rather familiar. I realised I had it read back in UK some years ago under a different title - The House at Riverton.  It was borrowed from my local community library, and fortunately was well worth a second read before returning it.  

There is one more book to mention, a non-fiction, Jess Hill's Stella Prize 2020 winner See What You Made Me Do, an in-depth investigation detailing domestic abuse. Not the happiest of reading, certainly but an important contribution to understanding another type of pandemic which has sadly increased world-wide during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.