To find your inner female warrior: Women who run with the wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
So, I read this mostly while laying on a beach, with very few other people around, swimming intermittently and generally pondering the fate of my inner wild-wolf. It’s the only way. Drenched in sun (slightly burned), wearing a sarong or just a bikini, and perpetually covered in salt, I certainly felt closer to my inner warrior than I do now that I’ve commenced work. BUT the excellent thing about this book, which I didn’t realise personally at first, is that it’s largely a psychological exploration of the female psyche. It’s only somewhat about discovering your inner Boudicca (which already exists, btw) and more about finding out how to tap into something that as women we all have: the inner nurturer, the warrior, the priestess, the guide. It’s about balancing the many archetypes within us all, rather than pinning down one and getting lost with her. And importantly, it’s about not giving in to childishness that is left over from trauma. It is also about embracing the many women guides we meet in life and learning how to differentiate between who or what is good and what will hurt us. As women, it’s an incredibly poignant read that puts into (mystical) words things we have all felt but at times not understood.
To remember what it is to really live: Dirt Music by Tim Winton
It wouldn’t be the holidays or a holiday at all if I didn’t get to read or re-read some Winton. I won’t re-state all of the things we know about him, but trust me: it’s all there. Cloudstreet was a phenomenon but Dirt Music is maybe my favourite Winton. It’s so adult, so distinctly Australian, and one of the best raw romances I’ve ever read. Excitingly, it somehow captures the sound and feel of folk music in words. This book makes me want to find a small beach shack, learn to play the mandolin, and howl at the setting sun.
To put our place in the world into context, a little: MAUS
I actually read this one, and Ishmael, before the holidays but I can’t not mention them both. MAUS is so powerful. It is a graphic novel by Art Speigelman, in which he recounts the story of his father’s time in Auschwitz-Birkenau. It’s sad, but I found it so engaging as I feel like often our generation are sheltered (by time and privilege) from many of the atrocities of the past. Linking to that sentiment, it’s a goal of mine this year to read more books written by minority voices or hushed voices, so as not to define my world simply by what I’m seeing - while ignoring the rest.
For Climate Change: Ishmael
This book is another one that puts into words ideas that have long been floating around somewhere in the ether. But it also takes you entirely by surprise with incredible thoughts and notions about the re-telling of the human ‘story’. The inscription on the back says “Teacher seeks pupil: must have an earnest desire to save the world”. In Ishmael, rather than finding out how to save the world, we find out how the world was constructed, and then begin to ask questions about how to save it.
Dan and I have also been reading New Philosopher mag, mainly because it seemed important to have something sitting on the coffee table. The best thing about New Philosopher mag is it’s actually super accessible. Easy to read, easy to understand. I thought I would be wading through the nihilistic depths of millennial despair, but no. It discusses very real questions and issues like climate change (!!!!), ethics of space travel, colonisation of animal species. Etcetera. Many good times.