A Bit of a Week this week…

I thought I’d just do a bit of a journal for this week as it was quite discombobulated. So here we go.

Monday: I attended our shared reading group at Fullers Bookshop. We have one more week to go until we finish My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin. Everyone in the group has been enjoying this Australian classic written by the young Miles Franklin when she was 21 yrs old in 1901.

The National Museum of Australia describes the time the book takes place briefly as follows:

Australia in the 1890s

The 1890s was a decade of turmoil in Australia. It was characterised by depression and strikes and the worst drought since European settlement.

Social attitudes were slowly changing. Women were demanding and receiving better education, although their work prospects were still limited.

In 1894 women won the  right to vote and stand for parliament in South Australia, the first jurisdiction in the world to grant this right.

The year after My Brilliant Career was published women were enfranchised at the federal level too.

Books written by young Australian women were being published with greater frequency. My Brilliant Career is the only one that lingers in the national consciousness.

We are particularly enjoying the humour in the book. We also stop and discuss some of the vocabulary that is not used in our modern times. We have had some good laughs with that.

Our next shared reading group after a short break will be James Joyce’s Dubliners while waiting for a batch of Hard Times by Charles Dickens to come in which we will begin later in the year.

Tuesday: This morning had a friend and I at the Tasmanian Museum and Gallery (TMAG) to attend the launch of a new book detailing the history of Tasmania’s government house by Professor, the Honourable Kate Warner AC and Dave Owen, Official Secretary, Office of the Governor, Government House. The description of the book is as follows:

Government House Tasmania: A Remarkable Story co-authored by Kate Warner and David Owen is being published after many years’ research and writing. The two-volume set has a combined total of nearly six hundred pages printed on luxurious 150 gsm silk stock. The books are case bound and fitted in a burgundy hand-produced slipcase with gold foil embellishment.

Government House Tasmania: A Remarkable Story is lavishly illustrated two volume set with over 500 images, including historical paintings and drawings, maps, plans and early photographs (some never previously published) and a stunning collection of contemporary photographs of the House and Grounds.

As well as being a detailed work of Tasmanian history, the two volumes cover architecture, art, gardening and landscape ideals, pioneering scientific endeavour, colonial administration, vice-regal families and staff, the evolving use of the House and Grounds, royalty and more.  

100% of proceeds from sales of the book are applied towards heritage maintenance of the House and Grounds. Price is $180.00 plus postage & packaging.

The talk was informative and several quite comical anecdotes were shared including a drunk butler that almost upended a royal visit in the past and the two of the authors searching the closets, the attics and other hidden spaces in the home. We enjoyed it very much.

Wednesday: This evening was my book group at Fullers again where we discussed Louise Erdrich’s book The Sentence. It was a good book for book group as many enjoyed this Native American story during the year 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota during the time of Covid beginning and the George Floyd murder. As many people who really loved it we had an equal number of a those who did not like it at all and the middle of the roaders who enjoyed the story but thought the writing was uneven and we had a lengthy discussion about the ghost of the story.

I won’t say much more about it as Mr Penguin is reading the book now. We certainly had a wonderful discussion about it. As for me, I enjoyed it while I was reading it but looking back and hearing from others it is not described as her best work. But as with life, this book interested some and not others.

Thursday- had me home puttering around and doing jobs that needed to be caught up on. Then the rains came that night. And the storm during the night escalated into a morning weather event we’ve not seen for several years. Tasmania is not a big lightning or thunder state for that matter, but by Friday morning we were roaring with it. Starting around 6 or 7 am, we had buckets of rain, wind off the mountain over 100 km per hour (60 miles per hour), hail, sleet, snow in the yard, so much lightning I moved to the back of the house away from the window and cracking, non stop thunder.

Our dog Ollie just barked at it to all go away. Little Peanut wandered around as though nothing was going on wanting her breakfast, the cats hid under the beds and I didn’t see them until mid day.

My friend and I were scheduled to go to Fullers book shop organised Robert Dessaix’s book launch in the city that night. His new book Abracadabra is out now. It is described here if you are interested in seeing a summary. If I decide to read it I’ll post more about it but for the time being this post is getting long and I’ll leave it for now.

In the end we didn’t go as we were both awake in the night quite a bit as the wind and rain was so strong it was hard to sleep. Many of the city streets were flooded and SES personnel were operating. We decided to stay in and stay warm and cozy. So we missed it. You know a storm is bad if I miss a Fullers Event.

So that sums up the weekday events and the weekend has been a time of rest, reading, naps and preparing for another week of upcoming events.

I hope all of you are well and the Penguin and I will say talk to you later.

Little did I know the Penguin had friends over too.

11 thoughts on “A Bit of a Week this week…

  1. We heard about your weather event in Sydney too! Glad you weathered it just fine though 🙂
    I am a fan of Erdrich (based entirely on my love for one book LaRose) so I will manage my expectations a little when I eventually get to The Sentence, to be on the safe side.

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  2. I’ve just bought The Sentence, I think I have to have it read by a set date, I’d better check.
    MF actually wrote My Brilliant Career in her teens (and it shows IMO) but it took a number of years until she was published.
    Any rain at all would be welcome in Perth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is too bad rain cannot be checked out like a library book. Our Miles Franklin group have talked about her publishing this book in her teens. I’m not sure why the museum had the other information. You’re right though about the age of her. Perhaps they were referring to the publishing date and her ate at the time. We think it’s quite remarkable a young person could write this at the age of 17? I think she was? But I do get your meaning. The subject and silliness of her character is typical of a teenage girl (in my humble opinion). We finish the book tonight.

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