I read Simon’s post earlier this week from Stuck in a Book and he introduced Rick McDonnell who presents on You Tube as Book Tube Spin. I went and had a look and it is a very easy challenge. You pick 20 books from your TBR shelf, list them and on 31 January Rick will announce a number and you have two months to read your book. Two months is quite a while so I thought I’d join. I am already devoting time to my TBR shelf so I thought I would put up four posts this week of five books each that I am choosing for my spin.
11. Wisdom of the Elders by North American authors Peter Knudtson and David Suzuki. This is one of those long term TBR books picked up in 1992 when it was first published. I have handled it so many times shuffling it around but time to read it.
It explores the beliefs about the delicate relationships between humans, nature and the environment held by two traditions commonly thoght to be diametrically opposed: Western science and the age old wisdom of indigenous peoples around the world.
12. The Stranger Artist by Australian author Quentin Sprague. This book is written in gouache, acrylic, blood and tears: the story of the modern frontier, where high art, for a brief, magic time was made from the trust and tension of two worlds (Nicholas Rothwell author)
I really enjoy stories about art and indigenous artists are very interesting to me.
It takes place in the East Kimberly region of australia. An art adviser he finds himself deeply immersed in the world of a group of senior Gija artists. The bonds he forms with renowned painters Paddy Bedfort and Freddy Timms backdrop the establishment of the ground breaking Jirrawun Arts.
13. This next book is a reread that I adored. Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman. I read this book probably in the 1990s and I never forgot it. She wrote three books before she died. She was such an interesting woman. She was a journalist and author who won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 1985. She lived and worked in Baltimore, Maryland.
This is her memoir of when she took a year off to explore Euro[e and rediscover what it was like to be an independent woman again. She left her job, family, friends and routine behind. The result, Without Reservations, became a bestseller and inspired women everywhere to take that leap, if not in reality, at least in their imaginations. She focused on travelling, writing and learning. This is such an enjoyable book.
14. Number 14 is another Text Australian classic. Nino Culotta author of They’re a Weird Mob. Just off the boat from Italy- the north- Nino Culotta is in Sydney. He thought he spoke English but he’s never heard anything like the language these people were speaking. They’re a Weird Mob is a hilarious snapshot of the immigrant experience in Menzies era Australia, by a writer with a brilliant ear for the Australian way with words.
I purchased this book as coming to Australia myself from the USA and working as a speech pathologist for many years I think I can relate to much of his experience.
15. Another Australian woman writer, Liz Byron wrote the travel memoir The Only Way Home, published in 2020. On a warm day in May 2004, the author set off from Cooktown with her two companions, donkeys Grace and Charley, on a self imposed challenge to walk 2500 kms of the Bicentennial National Trail over 9 months. It was a rite of passage to mark leaving 40 years of marriage and embarking on life as a single woman at the age of 61. She foresaw that self-reliance, physical stamina and route finding would be challenges, but she couldn’t have known how the outback environment in Queensland was to test her to the limit.
I love travel writing about lone women doing unusual things. Especially in later life. I know I won’t ever have any of these experiences but I like to vicariously follow others.