What We’ve Been Reading: August 0 Comments

What We’ve Been Reading: August



At the moment I’m reading the latest issue of Verge, a creative writing anthology edited by Monash University students (disclosure: I’m in it). The collection contains many short, sharp and downright beautiful stories and poems—a must-read for those wanting to snack on what some of Australia’s talented emerging writers have to offer. A particular piece that blew me away was Peter Dawncy’s story ‘Black Saturday’. Oh, and that’s not to mention poetry by Emmie Rae and Holly Childs. The winning submissions for the 2014 Monash Undergraduate Prize for Creative Writing can also be found between Verge‘s pages—what’s not to love?”



Naturally the only solution to being foreveralone is to dedicate some quality time to Love Stories. My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead is about as heart wrenching as you’d expect from a title like that, and Jeffrey Eugenides has done a good job of collating strong stories together in a way that never lets the theme get repetitive. That’s the main risk with a collection like this, that by the end of it you never want to hear about love again. Considering though that he’s drawing from a few centuries of literature (Chekov to Alice Munro) it’s good to see the breadth of emotion as well as the variety of writers. Love stories, for Eugenides, can be inspired by and written on “disappointment, on unequal births, on dysfunctional families and matrimonial boredom” all of which hit home much more than a ‘star-cross’d lovers’ type thing. There are some stories here that will appeal more than others, but for my taste it’s the contemporary ones that are the most complex and effective.



Susan Sontag’s Illness as a Metaphor was recommended to me at the best time it could possibly come into my life. In my current battles against chronic pain/ fatigue/ insomnia/ depression/ what-have-you-next, Sontag’s essay exploring chronic illnesses has been a good paper weapon to have on my side, reminding me that the blame of my illnesses does not lie with me, but with external factors I cannot control. I’ve also been religiously reading Arabelle Sicardi’s blogs (here and here)  as well as many of their articles I can find littered amongst Teen Vogue and Rookie. They’re a year older than me and have already accomplished more than I probably ever will. I suppose that happens if you grow up in New York. I ache with jealousy when I read their blog sometimes, but it’s also been a fantastic motivator to push myself to the heights of my ambitions. Every morning I open up my laptop and see what new achievement Arabelle has achieved while I’ve been asleep, and stir it in with my coffee. Then I try to go out and do something they would be proud of.


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