I have been to the Brisbane Writers Festival and created pretty new tsundoku.
This one lives at my house.
Here’s why bought each one (starting from the bottom).
Jesse Ball, How to Set a Fire and Why: Let’s start with the title. Wow. I saw Jesse Ball a session entitled Lost between the Lines which was about the power of silences and the things unsaid. Jesse did not say much! However, his fellow panellists gushed a little over the voice in his book. In the book shop, I read the first page and agreed. It’s about a girl who lights fires and why!
Mireille Juchau, The World Without Us: Mireille was on the Lost between the Lines panel too. I liked how she spoke about domestic silences. I might not have bought her book except when I picked it up the cover was glittery and gold and I could not resist its shimmer. It’s about a family in crisis and a child who won’t speak.
Claire Coleman, Terra Nullius: I did not see Claire at the festival. However, I read an intriguing review of this book by Lisa Hill at ANZ Lit Lovers which made me think I had no choice. I had to read it. It’s a retelling of colonial history with a twist that I don’t know because that would be a spoiler.
Anosh Irani, The Parcel: The festival was not all about me. I know, it’s hard to believe. My Mr came along too. He heard Anosh speak about this book in a session entitled Writing Taboos. The book is about training a child to be a sex worker.
This pile lives at my daughter’s house (for now) because it is not all about me.
We both went to a session called Morbid Minds … because we wanted to understand why are both like dark scary frights and blood. We still don’t know why. Daughter Dear was excited when she realised one of the authors was Sarah Schmidt who wrote See What I Have Done. It is a book she has been wanting to read. It’s about Lizzie Borden because Lizzie turned up at Sarah’s house and insisted she listen to her. I wouldn’t ignore Lizzie if she was in my bedroom.
Leaving that session Daughter Dear mentioned A Hundred Small Lessons which she had heard about in the same radio interview and has wanted to read. I said it would only be at the festival bookshop if the author was at the festival. She said she might be. She didn’t remember the author’s name.
Turns out she was there. Ashley Hay. Mr has just heard her speak in the session he was at. It’s about a house near where I used to live.
Last of all is another pick of Dear Daughters from the Writing Taboos session. Krissy Kneen, An Uncertain Grace: It’s about sex and synthetic boys.
Some people think writing festivals are for writers. That is what the name would imply. Really, they are for readers. If you are a reader you will discover a power of ideas, and new books and new writers. It is the best weekend outing. I’d go to one every weekend but I might have to remortgage my house to pay for all the books.