Do you keep getting told (like it was a good thing) to “get out of your comfort zone”, or is that just happening to me? Personally, I have taken a month of Sundays and a good few decades to create said comfort zones, especially the bookish one. But lately there has been pressure from all sides to break the mould. Here’s how it is shaping up in the reading department:
In a Reader’s Challenge involving my library team, I drew the least wanted slip of paper out of the hat: Westerns. That is correct – those novels with horses (not a fan), booted men with flinty eyes, Indians all painted up and looking war-like, tavern ladies and sweet wholesome wives. Nothing there for me then. But I have to know more, I have to read at least one a month. I closed my eyes and picked one at random: Sorrel Moon by Cotton Smith who is a Spur Award Winning Author. The book is in memory of Chief Swift Eagle – say no more. There is a man blinded by a wild horse, an outlaw posing as a man of God who goes by the name of Glory Van Camp (!!!!), a tough bar wench, a strong wife and a Chinaman – but no Indians. Actually Cotton Smith writes well and has a lot of fun with naming things. I think I got lucky here – it could have been much worse.
Next up is a book that a good friend swore I would love. “It’s about the rewilding of wolves in England” she added … and your point is? I wanted to say. That’s the problem with friends recommending books that they have loved – it calls into question not only their reading tastes, but also (if you are in a downward turning mood) the very friendship itself. But we escaped calamity with this recommendation and I am going to pay it forward to you. Because strewth, The Wolf Border is a mighty fine book by Sarah Hall. It’s really out of my comfort zone – not so interested in wolves, nor socio-political themes for that matter, but it turns out to be a multi-layered, intelligent, gripping story in which the parallel threads of wolf rehabilitation and personal development are played out in moody Cumbrian England. We interviewed Sarah in 2008.
Finally, it is festival time. Auckland Writers Festival 2016 is upon us and there is no better place to mess with a comfort zone than at a festival, where everything that is presented is good to brilliant, the authors are there to inspire, and you feel like a newly charged version of your tired old reading self.
So, bring on the random choices and the serendipitous finds, and ta-ta for now to my reading comfort zone.
6.15am: the parade begins from the RSA building on Armagh Street
6.30am: the service begins centred around the memorial cenotaph
7.15am: the service concludes with wreath-laying
Organised by the Canterbury Branch of the Malayan Veterans Association in conjunction with the Christchurch Branch of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RSA) and Christchurch City Council. Mayor Lianne Dalziel will lay a wreath on behalf of the citizens of Christchurch.
Linwood Community Arts Centre (corner Worcester and Stanmore Road). Anzac Exhibition 2016 Monday 11 April – up to and including Anzac Day. A multi-media participatory experience on the theme, “We honour, we remember, we reflect”. Photographs, artworks, installations, talks, readings, poetry and prose, printed and audiovisual material.
Last Sunday night I was at Alice’s Cinema watching Hunt for the Wilderpeople, while Saturday night I was at home watching Country Calendar! The sublime to the ridiculous you might think, but both in their own ways were a delight. I agree with the reviews (including our own) that Hunt For the Wilderpeople is a wonderful romp, lots of laughs and a salute to the great outdoors and the people who make it their own.
Country Calendar does this without the car chases, but features many interesting and varied people who work on the land. Frank Torley, the man behind the voice of many an episode, was featured on Saturday and seeing him on his own piece of land and hearing his story was made all the more poignant by the fact that he has recently died.
If you like a bit of a good yarn you can wallow in the Country Calendar DVDs, read biographies of the varied people who have worked the land over the years, or listen to some good old country music. You could even have a go at creating your very own outdoor experience in your own back yard.