We are all part of nature

I startled the Nankeen night heron on my morning walk. I recognised it by its cinnamon wings. It flew away into the mangroves on the other side of the river. It was too quick for a photo, but a day or two later I saw it again at dusk.

IMG_2620-night heron

Nankeen night heron – Nycticorax caledonicus.

The night heron is elusive. As it’s name suggests, it’s usually only seen at dusk and dawn. It hides among the mangroves during the day. Spotting it again so soon was a highlight of my evening walk along the Cooks River. Continue reading

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Six degrees of separation – in books

I’ve just stumbled across a blogging meme called 6 degrees of separation. Once a month a book is proposed as the starting point for a chain of six more books – each linked in some way to the one preceding it.

I decided I should seize the opportunity to have a go at this because:

  1. I feel like getting back into blogging and this is a good excuse
  2. This month I’ve actually read the starting book, which will probably not often happen. It’s Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible
  3. It’s a fun way to avoid study (reading about risk assessment!)

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A wife at Gorge River

A Wife On Gorge RiverA Wife On Gorge River by Catherine Stewart

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Catherine Stewart has had an interesting life, but the telling of it is not so interesting. The book conveyed very little of Catherine’s motivations or philosophy – which is surely what you most want to read about, when a person has made the decision to raise a family in such a remote area: in the early 1990s Catherine moved in with her new partner, Robert Long, who was already living in a shack at the mouth of Gorge River in south west New Zealand that is only accessible by air, or a 2 day walk.

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July’s People

July's PeopleJuly’s People by Nadine Gordimer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In July’s People, Nadine Gordimer imagines a violent, chaotic end to South Africa’s apartheid system: all-out war between black and white, with other nations getting involved (like Russia, Cuba, the US), mainly to support their own self-interest. Continue reading

Indigenous reading challenge

My 2015 challenge: the wrap up

On Invasion (Australia) Day 2015, I set myself, and anyone else who cared to participate, the challenge of reading at least 5 books by Indigenous authors within the year.

The motivation I gave for doing this challenge was ‘to better understand the experiences and cultures of the traditional custodians of the land we live on’. Of course books are not the only way to do this. When I was a student in the 1980s I read a lot about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, politics and culture, but since then I’ve continued learning from Indigenous radio and TV programs, and from working with Aboriginal colleagues.

But I do love books — the long read — and I decided it was unacceptable that books by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people so rarely made it onto my bookshelf. Setting the Indigenous Reading Challenge was a way of making sure that they got back onto my to-be-read (TBR) list. Continue reading

Proxima

17983396-proximaImagine my surprise when the last book I read in 2015, hard science fiction about interplanetary colonisation by British author Stephen Baxter, inadvertently slotted itself into the Indigenous Reading Challenge I set myself earlier in the year.

The book – Proxima – is not a perfect fit with the challenge because it is not by an Indigenous author, but one of the main characters is Aboriginal Australian.

– SPOILERS –

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