Tag: memoir

A review of Vagabondage by Beth Spencer

Though the poetry is easy to read and instantly accessible, the work operates on several levels. There is the political: the woman dispossessed, unable to afford rising Melbourne property prices (and a later nod to the global financial crisis; there is the spiritual: the idea of letting go of attachments and expectations: “I am a whisper/of butterflies”; and there is the tangible: the poet’s attempts to make a coherent life and create meaning during this period of intransience.

A review of Words Without Music by Philip Glass

There is so much to learn here, not just about Glass, but about ourselves—how to live, how to learn, how to create. Towards the end of the book, Glass talks about his work on his Cocteau Trilogy in which he says, of Cocteau, that he “is teaching about creativity in terms of the power of the artist, which we now understand to be the power of transformation” (378) The same can be said of Words Without Music.

A review of The Twelfth Raven by Doris Brett

One ordinary evening when Doris Brett and her husband Martin went out dancing, the normally super-sharp Martin became confused. After struggling to put sentences together, an ambulance was called, and, in Doris’ own words, “so it begins.” Martin ends up having a massive stroke, suffering extensive damage to the left frontal lobe, which leaves him unable to talk, walk (never mind dance) and eat on his own.

A review of And there was Light by Jacques Lusseyran

Some books should not be read with other books. Or the other book will not compare favorably. Some books remind the reader of why books are read in the first place – because they open the eyes and heart to new worlds that the reader had never dreamed of. Some books remove the cap from our head, and open the top of our skulls. And There was Light is such a book — at least in the first section. But for some, it might be the second section. It depends.

A review of Ninety 9 by Vanessa Berry

There’s a real beauty to this little book, from the attractive matt finish, small, square format that characterises all of the Giramondo shorts, to the Berry’s own hand-drawn illustrations, which give the book a slightly rogue, zine feel. The book is written in light, clear prose, using a confessional first person form, which begins with Berry at the age of eleven. This style invites the reader in immediately, inviting us to share both her family life – including her gifted sister’s music lessons and the tension between Berry and her mother, as well as her secret and later, not so secret yearnings.

A review of Adventures Of A Waterboy by Mike Scott

The ups and downs of Scott’s career have been honestly explored in this book, and the first person narrative is cozy and accessible. For Waterboys fans, Adventures of a Waterboy is a bracing, utterly enjoyable read that will illuminate the many turns and twists of Mike Scott’s life and music. But you don’t need to be a Waterboys fan to enjoy this book.

A review of Wings to Fly: An Asperger Soars by Linda Brooks

There is much wisdom here, but also insight and humour which will help others get through the difficult times. Ultimately, what Wings to Fly shows us is that Aspergers and indeed other positions on the personality spectrum are to be celebrated, even when things are hard and when institutions like schools and workplaces make it harder.