Monthly Archives: January 2017

Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar

I read Salt Creek last year and on rereading it I enjoyed it as much as the first time. It was my favourite book in 2016.

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Salt Creek, 1855, is situated at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. Stanton Finch has moved his large family there after his business failed in Adelaide. Fifteen-year-old Hester and her siblings enjoy the company of the few travellers that pass along the nearby stock-route. There is young artist, Charles and the Ngarrindjeri people who they have dispossessed. An Aboriginal boy, Tully, is their friend and over the passing years becomes part of the family.Stanton Finch hopes to restore the family fortunes and the family’s good name. But his ideas fail, leaving him deeper in debt.
Caring for the family falls to young Hester Finch when her mother descends into melancholia and spends time in her bedroom staring into space.
Stanton Finch attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people’s homes and livelihoods…

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The birdman’s wife by Melissa Ashley

The Birdman’s Wife by Australian author Melissa Ashley is a well written and researched book about artist Elizabeth Gould who was the wife of John Gould the famous Victorian ornithologist.

I came across Melissa Ashley’s book when it was one of the books of the month for BCbookclub, an online bookclub, that I belong to. I undid the string and brown wrapping paper that the book was wrapped in and without doubt the book had one of the most beautiful cover’s I’d ever seen. The endpages were just as lovely.

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From the inside cover:

Artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before. But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. The Birdman’s Wife at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man.

Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic life with her roles as wife, lover, helpmate, and mother to an evergrowing brood of children. In a golden age of discovery, her artistry breathed wondrous life into hundreds of exotic new species, including Charles Darwin’s famous Galapagos finches.

In The Birdman’s Wife, the naïve young girl who falls in love with a demanding and ambitious genius comes into her own as a woman, an artist and a bold adventurer who defies convention by embarking on a trailblazing expedition to collect and illustrate Australia’s ‘curious’ birdlife.

In this indelible portrait, an extraordinary woman overshadowed by history steps back into the light where she belongs.

Melissa Ashley: photo Vikki Lambert

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About the Author

Melissa Ashley is a writer, poet, birder and academic who tutors in poetry and creative writing at the University of Queensland. She has published a collection of poems, The Hospital for Dolls, short stories, essays and articles. What started out as research for a PhD dissertation on Elizabeth Gould became a labour of love and her first novel, The Birdman’s Wife. Inspired by her heroine, she studied taxidermy as a volunteer at the Queensland Museum. Melissa lives in Brisbane.

The story lived up to all my expectations and I would highly recommend this book.

This is the second book I have read for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge, 2017.

The AWW challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. The challenge encourages avid readers and book bloggers, male and female, living in or outside Australia, to read and review books by Australian women throughout the year. You don’t have to be a writer to sign up. You can choose to read and review, or read only.

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Have good week, reading, writing (if you are an author) and dreaming.

Elise

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Edgar Alan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and American literature as a whole, and he was one of the country’s earliest practitioners of the short story. Poe is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

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This is the edition (not the same book) that I have on my shelf.

I have a copy of Poe’s Poetical Works. There is no date of publication, nonetheless I guess the volume to be over a hundred years old. It is ornate, decorated elaborately in gilt and maroon. The filigreed panel in the centre of the front cover reads Moxon’s Popular Poets, the series to which the book belongs. The edges are only slightly worn and the gilded page ends still have lustre and the beautiful Victorian binding makes it a fine example of an antique book.  Have you ever come across a book in an opportunity shop that you love? This is my favourite find, ever.

I am enthralled by the poems of Edgar Allan Poe because they sit well with my love of Gothic literature. My copy has illustrations that add to its beauty. While I admire the book for its beauty, and it is in  good condition, it’s the poet’s words that inhabit the book that made me want to bring it home.

Who, once they have read them, can ever forget Annabel Lee, The Raven, Lenore, A Dream within a Dream?

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Good reading, should it be Gothic or any other genre, enjoy!

Elise.

Ref. Introduction, Wiki

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Georgiana Molloy, the mind that shines by Bernice Barry

This is the first book read and my first review for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge, 2017.

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Georgiana Molloy, the mind that shines, is a biography of one of Australia’s first female botanical collectors who to quote the biography: ‘Her life began where England and Scotland meet, near the wide mouth of the Solway Firth . . .’ I lived in the southwest of Western Australia for several years so I know the area where the biography is set and Bernice Barry brings it to life. Georgiana was self-taught and her specimens of indigenous flora from Augusta and Busselton are now held in some of the world’s leading herbarium collections.

It is a well-researched book and obviously a labour of love for the author who is a fine writer.

The book with its lovely cover, exquisite photos of wildflowers throughout, and other images that enhance the narrative is one to read and keep on your bookshelf forever. And the endnotes are a great source of further reading.

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Bernice Barry lives on WA’s southwest coast near the place where Georgiana Molloy arrived in 1830. Bernice has been researching the lives of Georgiana and John Molloy for more than a decade.

I loved this biography and I hope it ends up on every non-fiction and biography shortlist. And wins.

Good reading,

Cheers, Elise

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Persian Gardens: Meanings, Symbolism and Design.

It’s the first day of 2017.  It’s very quiet other than the birds singing an early morning song in the garden.

I am writing about gardens in my WIP so this morning I thought I’d write about Persian Gardens.

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Textures and shapes are important in the overall structual design in Persian Gardens so as to harness the light. Iran’s dry heat makes shade important where  trees and trellises feature as shade and pavilions and walls block the sun.

Persian Violets

Greenhouses, glasshouses

The Persian garden integrates indoors with outdoors through the connection of a  surrounding garden with an inner courtyard. And often architectural elements such as vaulted arches are added between the outer and interior areas to open up the divide between them.

Persian Garden Layout on Carpet

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Culture and identity in a society can be represented in the architecture and the meanings intertwined with it. In this sense, the architecture and design are the interface for transferring meaning and identity to the nation and future generations. Persian gardens have been evolved through the history of Persian Empire in regard to the culture and beliefs of the society. the patterns of design and architecture in Persian gardens and the meanings intertwined with their patterns and significant elements such as water and trees. Persian gardens are not only about geometries and shapes; but also manifest different design elements, each representing a specific symbol and its significance among the society. 

Garden has been defined as ‘the purest of human pleasures and the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man’ (Bacon 1883). According to Hunt, gardens are “concentrated or perfected forms of place-making’ (Hunt 2000). Garden is also perceived as a symbolic site, resulting from the human’s attempts to materialize Eden on the earth (Alon- Mozes 2004). In the Greek text of the Bible, a garden has been expressed as a “paradise”. In Hebrew “Eden” is translated to an unidentified region or country. In Persian literature, the word garden “pardis” derives from the word “paridaiza” which literally means “walled garden“ and it has been summed up as a luminous and perfumed place, populated by a number of angelical and beautiful creatures (Babaie 1997).

 A mystical feeling for flowers and a love of gardens are integral parts of ancient Persian gardens. The Persian garden is a manifestation of supreme values and concepts and is well-known as a bridge connecting the two worlds of matter and meaning.

The philosophical design concept of Persian gardens is believed to be rooted in the four sacred elements of water, wind, fire and soil. The geometrical design of Persian gardens has been reflected in Persian carpets, potteries and visual arts. The other distinctive feature of Persian gardens, which contributes to the introspective characteristics of ancient Persian people, is the wide application of thick brick walls, which surround the entire rectangular plan of the garden. Other traits of Persian gardens include: the application of perpendicular angles and straight lines, ponds and pools to supply the water and highlight the scenic landscape view, simultaneous use of evergreen and deciduous trees, planting of various types of plants and consideration of focal a pavilion known as Kooshk.

I’m so glad I discovered, serendipity definitely,  this very enlightening, well-written, and researched article. If you have an interest in the gardens it’s well worth reading.

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I like to weave a little magic through my stories. Writing a novel is rather like taking a magic carpet ride for who knows where you’ll end up? Most times lately it’s in a garden.

Goodwriting and all the best for 2017,

Cheers, Elise

Reference: Leila Mahmoudi Farahani, Bahareh Motamed and Elmira Jamei.

Deakin University, School of Architecture and Built Environment, 1 Gheringhap St, Geelong; 3220, Australia

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution on License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

ISSN 1865-1542 – http://www.landscapeonline.dehttp://dx.doi.org/10.3097/LO.201646

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