Winter Reading

There is nothing better than snuggling up on a chilly evening either in bed or in front of the fire in dressing gown and slippers and settling in for a good read. So here’s a couple of books you may be interested in reading.

Some years ago I attended a Freefall Writing Workshop in Byron Bay.  It was run by a Canadian woman Barbara Turner-Vesselago.  We attendees were a great mix of people, in that some of us had never given ourselves permission to really get into a mode of writing that allowed the words to come pouring out onto the page and others were more familiar with the written word.

the-lost-child For one woman, who since has become a dear friend, it was the beginning of what was to become her first novel. Suzanne McCourt’s The Lost Child was published a few months back.  It is a searingly bittersweet story about Sylvie who from the age of five, struggles to make sense of her life in a small fishing village on the southern coast of Australia.  Filled with humour, alongside intensely sad and tragic moments, Sylvie’s resilience and incredible spirit keeps you turning the pages as you follow the highs and lows of her complex childhood. Believe me, the story will stay with you long after you have read the last page.

After the passing of Maya Angelou I find myself once again engrossed in her autobiographical ” I know why the Caged Bird sings”  Maya’s story as a southern black child in the USA, is certainly thought provoking, especially to those of us living in such a different part of the world.  Confronting racism, abandonment, loneliness, sexual abuse and violence this little girl becomes an incredibly strong young woman in her own right.  Her life from the age of 3 to 16 as outlined in this book certainly paved the way for Maya becoming the amazing, confident, graceful woman many of us came to know and adore through her writings and poetry. A great read.

Then there is another book that I bought recently whilst in Sydney.  finding-meI found a bookstore with a cafe as I was wandering through Darlinghurst, when I came across the book by Michelle Knight called Finding Me.  A friend had mentioned this book a few weeks before, so I purchased it and had it half finished before I left!  The next day whilst basking in brilliant sunlight and birdsong in the Botanical Gardens in Sydney, I finished it. Wow!  Another book that stayed with me for days after I read the last page.  Michelle was the first girl kidnapped and held prisoner in the Cleveland, Ohio kidnappings.  It is not a book I would normally read, I have to admit, however I must say it was well written ( the author was Michelle Burford). Enough detail to really allow the reader to understand the inhumane treatment and conditions Michelle went through.  If you read this book, I dare you to take the life you live for granted afterward.  Can you imagine not cleaning your teeth or having a shower for over 12 months? How she survived is beyond comprehension. It was her little boy, who she was going to meet up with the day she was taken, that kept her will to live uppermost in her heart and mind.  She is an amazing, exceptional young woman. She is one whose message of forgiveness, may leave you astonished, but what a powerful ending to such a heinous experience.

9-11-and-the-art-of-happinessLastly, I saw an interview of Simon Kennedy, an Australian,  who had written a book about the loss of his mother in the aircraft that hit the Pentagon on 9/11.  Again, I would not normally read a book that rehashes the events of that awful day in history.  However, there was something (integrity, sincerity) that touched me in that interview which prompted me to purchase the book.  It is called 9/11 and the Art of Happiness.  I found many subtle and profound messages in this book.  I love that the author made no attempt to hide any of his off-hand ways of dealing with his grief and the impact on those closest to him. His unique perspective of 9/11 is certainly food for thought.

His most powerful message is forgiveness. I love that with consideration and humour Simon never jumped on the hate and fear bandwagon. Well worth reading this one.

Let me know what you think about these books.

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