As I had mentioned in my last post, despite what can only be described as maddening work pressure, I continue to fight the twin evils of long hours and mental exhaustion with books and more books. It helps when there are events like last month’s Dewey’s Readthon and this month’s AusReadingMonth, hosted by Brona. She hosts this annual event in an effort to increase awareness about Australia and Australian literature and every time when I could participate, I was left with some wonderful impressions of that beautiful country and its amazing people. It’s a great event, and it is kicked off by a series of Q&A which aims to introduce all participants to each other. Therefore, without any further ado, I present the #AusReadingMonth Q&A –
Who are you? And where in the world are you?
I am Cirtnecce, living in New Delhi, India. I like to think my day job is of a Project Leader and the night job and my secretsuper hero avatar of reader/writer. I am also a daughter, a sister, a friend, a slightly difficult leader, a thinker, a traveler!
What are your reading goals for this year’s #AusReadingMonth?
What it is everytime – to get to know the country better and learn a bit more about its history!
p.s. Also perhaps add yet another place to visit, when I do take my long awaited vacation to Australia!
1. Tell us about the Australian books you’ve loved and read so far.
I loved when I read The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough and the novel left me heartbroken, and while I read it so many years ago, it still makes me very sad! I really enjoyed the saucy dressmaker, from The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham. More recently, as a prequel to the AusReadingMonth, I read The Ladies of Missalonghi, again by Colleen McCullough and now all I want to do is visit The Blue Mountains!!
2. When you think of Australia, what are the first five things that pop into your mind?
- Childhood days of collecting small stuffed dolls of Kula Bears; my father worked in the Australian – Indian Development Comission and I reaped the rewards in terms of all kinds of exotic animal collections.
- Again from childhood, I do not remember who the author was, but this gorgeous. absolutely gorgeous coffee table book capturing the wondrous landscape of Australia. From the green valleys to the outbacks, lovely, fairy tale like land which completely absorbed the imagination of a 8 year old!
- Friends – an Indian bestie. now settled in Sydney who was with me through College and grad school, sharing the same sorority house and mess hall and so many lovely memories of coming of age together! Also as I began working for my company, I made loads and loads of friends with my Australian peers, one especially who stands out as a fellow soul sister!
- The rich culture of Aborigines.I remember again, thanks to my father’s work, some of the most beautiful art ever, created by the many aboriginal tribes of the country. Colors and forms which left your swirling and in awe of their brilliance!
- Beer! I do not drink much but I am surrounded by people who do and this seems to come through in all conversations.
3. Have you ever visited Australia? Or thought about it?
What are the pro’s and con’s about travelling to/in Australia for you?
What are/were your impressions?
Thought and planned and one day shall! It’s a gorgeous country that I hope to visit one day and travel coast to coast soaking in its every changing landscape and culture. I am not sure about cons, but I do believe like everywhere else, including my own country (rolling eyes…let’s not even get started on my country, these days!) there is some discrimination that may be happening because of race and that anywhere is not acceptable. But we all are moving forward and I am hoping globally sense shall prevail!
4. If you have been or plan to visit, where will you be heading first?
If you already live in this big, beautiful land, tell us a little about where you are, what you love (or not) about it and where you like to holiday (or would like to visit) in Australia.
I think I am obsessed with The Blue Mountains for now!!! However when I actually make it to Australia, I plan to go exploring the entire country, inch by inch!!
5. Do you have a favourite Australian author/s or book/s? Tell us about him/her/it.
I love both Thomas Keneallyand Mark Zusak, for sharing two very different but important narratives of modern history with us. Narratives that are so very disturbing, but those must be shared, so that we do not make those horrific judgement errors again! Colleen McCullough for bringing Australia alive for all of us with all her beauty and history. Finally I know Gearldine Brooks seems more global in her writing, but I still lover her books and its seems apt, that I pay homage to her Australian roots.
6. Which Aussie books are on your TBR pile/wishlist?
Too many to list, my TBR is place where angles fear to tread!
7. Which book/s do you hope to read for #AusReadingMonth?
I am reading things especially for this event on the fly, but for now I have The Secret River by Kate Granville (LOVING IT!) and I am hoping to read the much acclaimed Cloudstreet by by Tim Winton which has been on my TBR forever!!
8. It came to my attention recently (when I posted a snake photo on Instagram) that our overseas friends view Australia as a land full of big, bad, deadly animals.Can you name five of them?What about five of our cuter more unique creatures?(For the locals, which five animals from each category have you had an up close and personal with)?
I am combining this to 5 animals cute or otherwise –
- Kula Bear (I cannot get away from it! Whats more I recently saw a documentary where with the urbanization Eucalyptus trees are being cut down, depriving these creatures of essential nutrients including water, which I understand these bears do not drink directly but derive it from the leafs of the Eucalyptus plants! Its heartbreaking to say the least!!)
- Kangaroos – Think they are super cute (I know I am weird!)
- Wombats – CUTE, CUTE, CUTE!
- Snakes – Simply because while growing up I heard so many harrowing stories about snakes from my Dad’s Australian colleagues. Totally, NOT cute!
- Sharks …arrgh! I guess that happens when you are surrounded by ocean all round. Again NOT cute!
9. Can you name our current Prime Minister (plus four more from memory)? No googling allowed!
Malcom Turnbull ( Brona, not googling, but he was here in India, a couple of months back, so hard to miss :D)
Julia Gillard – First Woman Prime Minister, hard to miss!
John Howard – His tenure was like never ending!!!!
Malcom Fraser He visited India during his tenure and my Dad and Mum were part of the special invitee list. I believe or as the story goes, Mrs. Fraser really liked the Saree my mum was wearing and she gifted one to Mrs. Fraser, via the High Comissoner before they returned to Australia. Hard to forget this one name then!! lol!
5th – I concede
10. Did you know that Australians have a weird thing for BIG statues of bizarre animals and things?Can you name five of them?
No idea. This I will have to look up!
Here you go! My attempts! Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!