… Once it was said they died for us …

The call of a bugle in the early morning. … The day of the dead began. … We stopped by the war memorial. Slowly the others gathered, from the shanties and from the camp, called by that ancient and haunting bugle-cry, whose sound to me is like the memory of a grief so old that…

Now reading: Journey to Horseshoe Bend, by TGH Strehlow

TGH Strehlow, Journey to Horseshoe Bend (Rigby 1978 reprint) For anyone even remotely interested in the intercultural history and landscape of Central Australia, this small volume is revered as being one of the gospel texts. A ‘true’ story of the struggle between life and death, and of faith, whilst travelling through a landscape whose mythological essence continues…

Now reading: A country in mind, by Saskia Beudel

Saskia Beudel, A country in mind: memoir with landscape (UWAP 2013) Although the cover image (of a bushwalker, large pack on back, standing amongst footprints on sand with, apart from her shadow, no other distinguishing features) and the blurb (about trekking in Central Australia, Tasmania, Ladakh, and the outward journey and the inward journey that…

A review that will sell books

Who said reviews had no power to sell books anymore? Helen Elliot’s review of Cracking the Spine (published by Spineless Wonders) in the recent Weekend Australian will have copies of the book walking off bookshelves if only bookstores stocked small independent publishers. Although Readings have the book on their list, they have no in-store stock…

Now reading: The swan book, by Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright, The swan book (Giramondo 2013) Alexis Wright received the Miles Franklin Award in 2007 for her previous novel Carpentaria. That book I started three or four times, progressing no further than the first 50 pages through the dump and pricklebush. I persisted, and undertook again the perilous journey that unfolded in the gulf…

Now reading: Inland by Gerald Murnane

Gerald Murnane, Inland (Faber and Faber 1989) Gerald Murnane is a literary anachronism. Like the unreliable narrator of this novel, Inland, he rarely ventures from the physical world he knows. ‘I have travelled hardly anywhere in Australia and have never even thought of traveling overseas. I have never been inside an aeroplane. I have never owned…

Cracking the Spine

Spineless Wonders will soon (in July) release an outstanding new book for readers and lovers of writing, Cracking the Spine. I could wax lyrical about why it is so important, why you MUST read it, but better to leave it to the chief literary critic of The Australian, Geordie Williamson: “Cracking the spine is not…

Now reading: The way of the Bodhisattva

Shantideva, The way of the Bodhisattva (Shambhala 1999) One of the great classics of Mahayana Buddhism. In February/March 2000, during a six-week stay in the hills near Dharamsala, India, the little Tibet of northern India and exiled home of the Dalai Lama XIV, I attended the two-week long public teachings given by His Holiness. I…