#AWW2019 “Australia is alive with the long history of the Indigenous people, our culture and our presence.” // Book Review: “Welcome to Country” by Marcia Langton

Title: Welcome to Country:
Author: Professor Marcia Langton
Genre: Non-fiction/travel guide
Target audience: Adult
Date Read:
05/12/19 – 27/12/19
Rating:
(chosen to give rating)

Review:

This book made me want to go travelling! Welcome To Country is an Australian travel-guide with a focus on the cultural heritage of Indigenous Australians.

It opens with chapters about Indigenous history and culture, and how colonisation caused so much dispossession, loss of culture, and outright genocide.

There are also sections on Indigneous notions of kinship and ceremony, and other cultural aspects. As the book is written as a travel guide, none of this goes into huge amounts of depth, but it is enough for a primer, which is what the average reader is likely to be looking for.

After this, the book is divided into chapters on each state and territory, and these are further divided into sections on festivals, sporting events, places, galleries, music and other tourist attractions run by Indigenous Australians.

I will admit that I didn’t read this section in the greatest of detail, and mostly skimmed over information related to  travelling to  each place (the font changed and was a lot smaller for this information, and once I started skimming that, I found the whole reading experience a lot better).  But I did pay attention to the names of places and tours, and I wanted to visit so many and give them my support. The Northern Territory and Western Australia are the two longest chapters and the ACT and Torres Strait Islands chapters are the smallest, but they all contain valuable information.

This is such a fantastic resource that should have existed long before 2018! I’ll definitely be consulting it again when I am planning to travel this great land.


This review is part of my 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.

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#AWW2018 // Book Review: “Ruby Moonlight by” by Ali Cobby Eckermann

Title: Ruby Moonlight
Author:
  Ali Cobby Eckermann
Genre: Historical fiction/verse
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 30/10/18
Rating:

Review:

Every time I read a book of poetry, I start my review with “so I don’t read a lot of poetry…” and I want to give that disclaimer again. Going by the other reviews of this book, people who read poetry regularly liked it a lot more than I do, so their reviews probably have more standing than mine. But I still wanted to express my thoughts.

For a start, at 70 pages, this is a very short book, and the poems rarely take up the whole page. I found it hard to truly connect to the characters as there wasn’t a huge amount of detail. I would have liked to see more of Ruby’s interaction with the spirit that was watching over her, and more of a development of the relationship between Ruby and Jack. There were also sections where I wasn’t entirely sure whose side I was supposed to be on, or how I should feel, and I was left feeling conflicted and unsatisfied.

And… well, this is possibly the controversial bit. It didn’t feel like poetry? It just felt like the author had written sentences and then added random line breaks. Like I said, I don’t read a lot of it, but I always felt there should be a bit more to it than that. I tried reading parts out loud to try to grasp the flow but even then I didn’t really get it. Maybe I just don’t get it overall?


This review is part of my 2018 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.

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#AWW2018 // Book Review: “Terra Nullius” by Claire G. Coleman

Title: Terra Nullius
Author:
Claire G. Coleman
Genre: SF (Dystopia)
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 22/09/18 – 29/10/18
Rating:
★★★

Review:

I have to start this review by saying if Terra Nullius gets recommended to you as a particular type of book, and you read the first few chapters and think “This is not what I was told it would be”, just keep going. About a third of the way through, there is a shift in the storytelling, and after that, everything changes, even though nothing has actually changed. If that makes sense.

It’s hard to say too much without giving away vital spoilers, but I will try.

This story is told from multiple perspectives.  At first, they are disparate, but as the story goes on, they begin to converge until the majority of characters are present at the climax.

The characters are all very well constructed. I sympathised with some, questioned others and outright hated a few more. And the thing is, people like these characters have existed, and continue to exist. This might be science-fiction, but it is relevant to Australia’s history, and its future. The social commentary is always underlying, never exactly outright, but it is clear the comment Coleman is making on our past and future.

The writing style may feel a little dry to some, but I thought it worked for  the story being told. At first I was a little worried it will be “literary” than I usually like (in quotes because I am always iffy about that word to describe a particular writing style but I never know what to replace it with) but once I got into it, that didn’t bother me.


This review is part of my 2018 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.

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#aww2017 #BeatTheBacklist Book Review: “Walpiri Women’s Voices: Our Lives, Our History” edited by Petronella Vaarzon-Morel

Title: Walpiri Women’s Voicess: Our LIves, Our History
Author: compiled by Janet Nakamarra Long and Georgina Napangardi and edited by Petronella Vaarzon-Morel
Genre: Non-fiction/oral history
Date Read: 31/03/2017 – 07/04/2017
Rating: unrated

Review:

I’ve never left a book unrated when I’ve reviewed it before, but it was really hard to know what to rate this one. That mostly comes from the fact that this is not a book as such, but transcripts of oral history interviews done with women members of the Walpiri people from the Northern Territory.

The interviews cover the community’s relationship to the land in the time before white people settled the area, through to white settlement and a little of the present day (the book was published in 1995).

While I appreciated the content, it was slow-going. I think this was due to the format; the recordings were done in Walpiri language, and what I was reading was essentially a direct translation with no embellishment. As someone who much prefers fiction to non-fiction in general, I did find this difficult to get through, but I think that is more a matter of personal preference. Still, this is an important record and I’m glad that this information was recorded while it was still possible.


(This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017. Click here for more information).

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