The choices I have made for this summer are available from the Avoca Hill Bookstore, which recently opened in South Yarra and most good bookstores. I have listed them randomly, not in any order of preference.
Some are available in Kindle format, although personally I still enjoy the tactile qualities of holding a book in my hands, rather than a piece of technology.
As I spend most of my days writing and publishing online, I also enjoy the break and falling back on the traditions so important to my own life’s journey.
Goodness, what a wonderful array there is to choose from this Xmas.
As a tribute to the late trend setting politician Gough Whitlam you may like to pick up a copy of The Wit of Whitlam, published by Melbourne University Press.
It’s appropriately a ‘self-proclaimed international treasure’ from Gough Whitlam who never shied away from a pun, a put-down or a witticism’ proclaiming “I never said I was immortal, merely eternal.”
It works well alongside Gough Whitlam: The Definitive Biography – a Two Volume Box Set, which contains the definitive biography of the man himself.
It was written by the author of other major political biographies Jenny Hocking, a Research Professor and ARC Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) Fellow at the National Centre for Australian Studies.
For those who enjoy the ideas of conquering the final frontier of space there is Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight by Jay Barbree with a forweword by fellow astronaut John Glenn.
Neil Armstrong has long been admired for his modest demeanour, despite being an American modern hero and history’s most famous space traveller.
Armstrong said of his friend and author “Barbree is history’s most experienced space journalist”.
Together they have made a new history of experience, one that took 20 years in the planning.
They discuss everything from the years of World War II until the definitive space journey that meant Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the Sea of Tranquility on the moon.
This is sure to become a firm favourite, especially for all young men who like to dream.
Harlow and Sage (and Indiana) is a ‘true story about best friends’…three dogs who have taken the facebook and instagram world by storm.
Talk about cute, cheeky and captivating charm, and you are introduced to Harlow the Weimaraner, and his mate Sage, who has now passed on, and the dutiful daschund Indiana.
Brittni Vega started posting images of her pets Online in March 2013
The images are important to the story about the bonding amount a trio of pooches that will resonate long with dog lovers all around the world.
“Now we are obsessed” The Huffington Post
Rock on and read more
365 Days of Wonder: Mr Browne’s Book of Precepts by R.J. Palacio is a companion to his New York Times bestselling novel – Wonder.
Mr Browne has compiled 365 principles to live by and he shares them here with the world.
This is a gem for young readers (suggested age range 8 – 12 years and grade levels 3 – 7).
The text is drawn from popular songs, from fortune cookies, from children’s book and Egyptian tombstones.
It highlights and celebrates our humanity and the power of our choices.
In the Australian outback on Wooleen Station David Pollock and Frances Jones are a young couple with a visionary approach to investing in each other, the natural environment and the property’s future sustainability.
They are ‘nursing’ and nurturing the land, which had been decimated by over grazing and the breakdown of natural eco systems over the last 100 years.
They are putting in place one of the most ambitious land rehabilitation experiments in Australia.
The story became a feature for the ABC’s television program Australian Story.
This happened for the first time in 2012, and again in November, 2014 when the television team checked on their progress.
They wanted to see how David and Frances have been surmounting the challenges this quarter of a million acre cattle property was facing.
This is a story demonstrating how two Australians are holding hope and love high.
These two brave people are ‘playing a leading role in preserving and sustaining the unique ecology of the region.
David and Frances have been masterminding a ‘radical venture’ that will see them ‘return the rangelands to good health by de-stocking the property and replicating original natural ecosystems’.
The couple are currently battling a drought, and every little bit of rain helps.
In November they posted on the Wooleen Station facebook site that they had ‘15.4mmls in our gauge!
Enough for us to get our rain jackets out and celebrate’
Keeping the ‘wolf from the door’ is achieved by taking in paying guests offering guests a wonderful way to experience life in the Australian outback.
They are offering a true Aussie experience in a place that is at the centre of the ‘heart and soul of Australia’s’ country life.
Listed by the National Trust of Australia (W.A.), the five star heritage homestead is an oasis.
Why here we are again, it’s hard to believe this is the last Fashion Elixir for 2014.
Usually I will wax lyrical about all the fabulous trinkets I covet and what may be waiting under my Christmas tree.
After the events that unfolded in Sydney, Australia on Monday the 15th of December 2014, I must be honest and say I would feel very shallow to prattle on about designer goods. I felt strongly that I should share my feelings instead.
It was a very stressful 17 hours for Sydneysiders, with the very sad situation that unfolded at the Lindt cafe in Sydney’s CBD.
When we should have all been taking …
Xmas Presents to Pine For…the last in our series, is all about your wellbeing. Watch a show or join an organisation, dancing is good for us all. From ballroom to stage however you imagine it, dancing is good for the soul.
Enjoy an afternoon tea themed dance, join a flash mob or throw off a Celtic jig or enjoy a Latin step or two, there are many ways for you to learn how to dance as if no one is watching.
GIFT Dance Lessons Individual or Group . Hot and happening, check out Australia wide listings Society of Australian Dance Teachers | Dance Sport Australia | Latin Dance Australia, Sydney | Hot and Happening at Brisbane K & L Dance – Latin Dance Lessons & Parties | Join a Zouk Flash Mob
If you decide to tap in tune you will meet new people and make new friends who share your passion for tripping the light fantastic. GIFT Tickets to Dance Events – Australian Dancing Society | AusDance.
If you live in Victoria you can GIFT classes at Rhythm Tap Melbourne who know tap, love tap, and share a passion for passing it on.
GIFT Tickets to Shows on Stage – Strictly Ballroom Musical – starts Melbourne 14th January. It has brought the tango, sashay and bogo pogo back onto the stage thanks to the original creative team behind the classic 1992 film, including director and co-writer Baz Luhrmann, set and costume designer Catherine Martin, choreographer John “Cha Cha” O’Connell and co-writer Craig Pearce
GIFT Tickets to Classical ballet | Australian Ballet | Queensland Ballet |West Australian Ballet | Sydney Dance Company GIFT Glamour, Glitter Shoes and Dazzling Accessories BLOCH Australia | Dance Direct |
Carolyn McDowall's suggested books to read for 2014 Xmas festive summer season has a very different range of subjects to inspire, captivate, charm and challenge
David & Frances are fighting to save the environment at Wooleen Station, inviting you to assist by staying in their heritage homestead or signing their petition
Joining hands across the world, keeping the message of Xmas alive and hopes high, must be a priority after the Sydney Siege and Pakistan slaughter of innocents
The bronze Meroë Head of Augustus, which was excavated by Professor John Garstang (1876-1956) in the Sudan in 1910, has gone on display at The British Museum
Watch a show or join an organisation, dancing is good for us all and from ballroom to stage, whether you watch or want to dance, its heartily good for the soul