I’m excited to be participating in Book Blogger Appreciation Week, thank you so much to all the wonderful women at estellasociety.com for bringing back this wonderful week. I wasn’t around to participate in the previous years, but I am so excited to be involved this time.
The challenge has been put to us to select five books that represent you as a person or your interests/lifestyle. This was a HARD task, but these are the books that I went with.
It’s hard to select a book that represents you, but so much of what makes me is my family and friends. I identify with Joe Pickett’s family, they remind me so much of what I had growing up. A father who was loving but had a time consuming and job – with strange and variable hours. A mother who would lay down her life for her children. And my sister and I are the two girls in this book – we fought tooth and nail but when it came down to it, always had each others’ backs. Our relationship has matured and become stronger with time, and I love seeing the same happen with the girls in the Joe Pickett series.
Tracks by Robyn Davidson resonated with me. I grey up in the “Outback” although we usually just call it a rural area. I was raised on red soil and harsh hot summers. The beach was a form of salvation for me, that you could just step into the water and be cool. I grew up during drought where there was hardly any rain and everything was dry, we were on strict water restrictions so our showers were very quick affairs. We had a pool, which was a luxury, but we were not allowed to fill it with water. Tracks is the only book I have ever read that captured the feeling of dry from my early childhood. That it ends when Robyn ends up at a beach, her goal? Poetic.
It would be remiss of me to write an introduction without the book that directed my career path and led to my greatest hobby. All Quiet on the Western Front was one of the first “serious” books I read, and I loved it. It led to me pursuing history and English at university, and then adding on an education degree so that I could share my love of books like All Quiet with students. I’ve gone on to read so many other books about war (and quite a few I have liked more than All Quiet), but this one firmly has a place in shaping who I am as a person.
Men and Women of Australia is a book I never would have read if it wasn’t for my blog. It was one of my first netgalley reads, and I was excited to read some of the speeches from Australian history. It became much more than that – so many of these speeches remind me of the corresponding time from my life. John Howard’s speech reminds me of my dad’s hero worship for the Prime Minister. The apology to the Aboriginal People of Australia for the genocide of their people (not that any Aussie politician will ever call it genocide) and how little it did, but how needed it was. Gillard’s misogyny speech, which we quoted in university classes “I will not be lectured by you…”. I loved Cosgrove’s speech, and watched his unflinching address to his own armed forces with awe.
Hard Landing is on this list for yet another family reason, but this one very bittersweet. This is the first book in the Spider Shepherd series, which is my favourite book series of all time. I read it when I was 15, on holiday in a wine region. I was on a romantic long weekend away – with my dad. He had booked it for my mum a few months before, and then she passed away unexpectedly. He decided that we should still go. Up to that point, I had been somewhat upset but not really connecting with what had happened. Dad let me choose any book from the newsagent for the trip, and I chose Hard Landing. I had read one of Leather’s other books (after I had been forbidden to do so by mum) and he was the only author I recognised on the shelf. I remember vividly that on the second day of our trip tragedy struck for the main character – his wife was killed in a car accident, while he was away for work. It struck such a cord with me, my own mum had just died, while my father was out of town. What really got me was the pain that the character was feeling and the indecision – it made me feel so bad for my dad (and also for myself) that I spent the next few hours bawling my eyes out. My dad was taken aback, his daughter having a melt down over a book. It actually taught me that it is okay to be sad when bad things happen, just like it is okay to be happy when good things happen. I’m certainly not crying right now. (okay, maybe a little).
Okay, so… sorry for that little mini essay about my feelings about Hard Landing, but these five books do describe my life and journey pretty well. Thank you again to our lovely hosts for doing all this work. If you want to participate in #BBAW, please get involved!