On Travel

Maybe I was born restless, but I have always loved to travel, taking every opportunity to visit a new city, country or continent. The holidays I took as a child certainly gave me a taste for adventure, though my brother took the same trips and doesn’t care to travel. A lifetime of reading has allowed me to travel to very many places, sometimes stoking a desire to go myself (Jenny Diski’s Skating to Antarctica) and sometimes removing all need (any book set in the Amazon).

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‘Dear Editor’ – the consequences of reader feedback

“Every year, I like (?) to reprint some of the mail I receive from those people who don’t cherish my column as intensely as I might hope,” so writes Jack Knox in his January 5, Times Colonist column ‘Nastygrams to our [beloved] columnist Jack Knox’. The reported messages are pretty strong. Some contain references to his journalism specifically, but many are personal attacks on his looks, personality and politics. An article can draw vitriol from two different sides – for being both too strong a supporter of, and too weak an advocate for, a particular topic (climate change for instance). There are hints towards Jack’s personal safety too, which as a female writer I might be less bullish about sharing in public. Jack’s summation though is this: “I know I’m in a privileged position, for which I remain profoundly grateful.”

Reader feedback is an interesting topic to me.

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Book Club Review – Sing, Unburied, Sing

Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing is a dark, harrowing story lifted by it’s lyricism and strong characters. Our group had all read the novel, and many were deeply affected by it.

It’s set in the deep south of the US, in a fictional present-day Mississippi town that’s scarred by its history of racism, poverty and intergenerational trauma. Driving the narrative is a road trip,  but we’re also taken back through time to visit key moments in the lives of the family at the centre of the novel.

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