There has been a slightly long absence from writing over the previous several weeks – a much longer absence than I had anticipated. This delay has therefore led to a stockpile of upcoming reviews, projects and other articles. It is my intention to elaborate what I – hopefully sooner rather than later – will have upcoming over the coming month.
If you’re not aware, I have set an ambitious goal of reading 51 books this year – roughly one per week. Over the previous months, I have not been reading as much as I would like, or, keeping up with my reading schedule of one per week. Therefore, I have put my writing aside to keep up with my reading.
I have recently plunged straight into Edward St Aubyn’s highly autobiographical novels that explore the extremes of family cruelty and social snobbery, commonly known as the ‘Patrick Melrose Novels’. Never Mind, Bad News, and Some Hope are all read, leaving Mother’s Milk and At Last left to read. Before devouring these novels, I also read Lost for Words, another St Aubyn novel. Lost for Words was an outstanding satire about literature prizes – most notably the Man Booker Prize.
Ironically, what I didn’t notice until after I read Lost for Words was that I – after a month or so – had finally read The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. The Luminaries was the 2013 Man Booker Prize winner. This combination will no doubt produce a good review – hopefully.
Throughout my overwhelming consumption of literature, I have also embarked on some historical research to produce my first historical article for the Tattooed Critic blog. This article’s ambition is to combine the local history of Penrith, Castlereagh, Windsor and Richmond, with family history, and within the larger Colonial history of New South Wales.
Research for this article originated after a coincidental radio news report of a local cemetery. Sparking an interest, I went for an afternoon trip to the Castlereagh Cemetery – recently reopened after another case of vandalism. The Nineteenth century cemetery was surprisingly full of history, both local and colonial. Visiting the cemetery in the afternoon, where the setting sun glistened through tall eucalypt trees, both inside and outside the cemetery accentuated the beautiful Georgian headstones, bringing to life some horrid events in Australia’s history.
I’ve studied Australian history, and have written an honours thesis on Australian History; however, some of the remaining graves of people who lived through some of the toughest times bring a new perspective to particular events. For example, Stephen Smith, whose grave no longer remains, survived the notorious Second Fleet, arriving in the Colony of New South Wales in 1790 on the transport ship Surprize. 42 people died on passage from England and 121 landed at Sydney Cove “ill”.
Within the 0.8-hectare cemetery, the pioneers of Castlereagh, Penrith, Windsor and Richmond, combining a vast mix of convict transports, pioneering families such as the McHenry family, the Fraser family, and the Cartwright family, are buried together. Somewhat philosophically, within the dilapidated and morbidly desecrated ground, a person can appreciate that there is a special equality in death.
Soon I will be five novels behind the ‘ghost’ pace I should be reading at. Once I have caught up, or even jumped in front of the ghost, I can share some exciting articles with my readers. Hopefully I will be able to share these stories with you sooner rather than later.