Reading the news
Want to delve deeper into the events and issues that are dominating news media this month? We recommend the following books, both non-fiction and fiction, for those wanting to gain extra insight and understanding into current affairs.
Working in medicine during a pandemic
The Care Factor by Ailsa Wild
When Covid-19 began to spread across the world in 2020, Simone Sheridan volunteered to retrain to work in Melbourne’s intensive care wards. And as she prepared to go back to ICU and case numbers began climbing, Sim started talking to her friend Ailsa. Through the exhaustion, the confusion, the many tears and the surprising moments of hilarity, Sim kept talking. And Ailsa started writing. The result is a deeply human account of what the pandemic has really meant, not just for Sim and her fellow health professionals, but also for their patients, their families and friends, and the many who faced life in lockdown.
Thinking about the Federal Budget
Reset by Ross Garnaut
In Reset, renowned economist Ross Garnaut shows how the COVID-19 crisis offers Australia the opportunity to reset its economy and build a successful future - and why the old approaches will not work. Garnaut develops the idea of a renewable superpower, he calls for a basic income and he explores what the ‘decoupling’ of China and America will mean for Australia. As we strive to overcome the coronavirus challenge, we need new, practical ideas to restore Australia. This book has them.
Disenchanted with the Golden Globes
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
Interior Chinatown is a playful and daring novel that satirises Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes. Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: he’s merely Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son. Yet every day he enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy - the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that’s what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more.
Being a woman in Parliament
Sex, Lies and Question Time by Kate Ellis
Seventy-seven years after the first woman entered Australian parliament, female politicians are still the minority. They cop scrutiny over their appearance, their sex lives, their parenting and their portfolios in a way few of their male colleagues do. Alongside her own experiences from fifteen years in parliament, Kate Ellis reveals a fascinating picture of women across Australian politics, exploring issues like sexism, motherhood, appearances, social media and, of course, sex. Sex, Lies and Question Time is a powerful call to demand more of our leaders and our institutions. The stakes are high, and the standards should be too.
Violence against women
Fury by Kathryn Heyman
At the age of twenty, after a traumatic sexual assault trial, Kathryn Heyman ran away and became a deckhand on a fishing trawler in the Timor Sea. Coming from a family of poverty and violence, she had no real role models, no example of how to create or live a decent life. But she was a reader. She understood story, and the power of words to name the world. This was to become her salvation. After one wild season on board the Ocean Thief, Heyman was transformed. Finally, she could name the abuses she thought had broken her, could see ‘all that she had been blind to, simply to survive’. Fury is a memoir of courage and determination, of fighting back and finding joy.
The dark side of elite gymnastics
Break The Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli
This fiercely told YA novel examines the world of young gymnasts pushing their bodies to the limits, and the power of uniting as women to speak out. The only thing seventeen-year-old Audrey Lee dreams about is swinging her way to Olympic glory. Every spasm and ache will be worth it once she has that gold medal around her neck. But none of her training prepares her for her coach being led away in handcuffs, accused by a fellow gymnast of the unthinkable. No one knows what, or who to believe and Audrey’s teammates go into meltdown. Audrey must hope that in the end, belief in herself and what’s left of her team, will be enough for gold.
Experiencing a feeling of general doom
Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer
‘Jane Smith’ is a wary security consultant who mistrusts all her colleagues, has disabled her smart-fridge, and keeps an emergency ‘go-bag’ in her gym locker even though she isn’t entirely sure why. So when she is handed the key to a storage unit holding only a taxidermied hummingbird and a cryptic note, she surprises herself by trying to trace this mysterious object to its source. Jane’s obsessive search places her in danger; and her lack of control is mirrored in the increasing instability of the world around her. Set against a very near-future backdrop of severe global warming events, pandemics, predatory government actions and an intrusive security state, Hummingbird Salamander is tense, uncompromising and cathartic.