How wonderful it is to have the luxury of time during the traditional Australian summer holidays. I finished work on December 21st and because I am employed at a school, work does not resume until after Australia Day in late January.
Five weeks to catch my breath, spend quality time with friends and family, enjoy Christmas and New Year festivities, clean the house, go to the beach, watch international tennis and cricket live and on TV, go to the movies and READ! Very close to heaven I feel….
Lots of interesting articles in the newspaper and in magazines I don’t normally venture near, being so time poor.
For example, I borrowed a copy of ‘Good Reading’ September 2012 and found an interesting bunch of articles of variable quality but thought provoking nonetheless.
First up (1) was a short article about a thriller by LA Larkin set in Antarctica. Although not particularly interested in reading the book, I was delighted by the closing two paragraphs of the article…Antarctica is not only the coldest, highest, windiest and driest continent but it also has no national government or police force and no judicial system. It is managed by the Antarctic Treaty, to which Australia and New Zealand are signatories. This agreement stipulates that there should be no mining for minerals, no testing of nuclear weapons and no military action. Scientific research is shared among nations and it is a place of peace. Sounds like Utopia? It is, and long may it last. It seems that other visitors agree. Andrew Denton sums it up well:
‘If Antarctica were music it would be Mozart. Art, and it would be Michelangelo. literature, and it would be Shakespeare. And yet it is something even greater; the only place on earth that is still as it should be. May we never tame it.
I couldn’t agree more with both Andrew Denton and the article.
Next up was a brief article(2) about the recycling of books from a Gold Coast library. It is reassuring to read about a thoughtful way of keeping books in circulation and of volunteering in such a constructive manner, with benefits to all concerned.
‘The Arty Emperor’ (3) was of interest as I has enjoyed the exhibition ‘Napoleon:Revolution to Empire’ at the NGV during 2012. It was fascinating to re-visit the fact of links between France and Australia via flora & fauna collected by Josephine…not sure I agree with her transportation of kangaroos and black swans etc to Chateau de Malmaison but I applaud her interest in the wider world.
I had not heard of the ‘Why vs Why’ series of books. After initially thinking the arguments presented for and against the idea of increasing Australia’s population were a bit simplistic or self fulfilling rather than persuasive, I warmed to the report(4) after reading further articles via the wonderful tool of Google! Australia is desperately in need of leadership and deeper policy making than is presented to us at the moment and the publication of more complex discussions which need to be had about our future can only enrich the culture of decision making in every corner of our continent.
Finally, the article (5) about a monastry in WA was incredible to hear about. Fancy there being a library of international renown over an hour NE of Perth in the tiny community of New Norcia! Housing close to 100,00 articles such as illuminations from the 15th century, a Hebrew manuscript written in 1734 and many day to day documents which form part of the history of this farming region, the Benedictine monks are caretakers of a ‘unique collection that reflects a culture of devotion and faith as well as the desire for new knowledge and ideas’.
We need more of this life philosphy everywhere!