Thursday, 25 April 2013

Reading as an Act of Rememberance

Today was ANZAC day here in Australia (and in New Zealand) and I thought I would share with you all what that means to me.  Seeing as the way I make sense of the world is through reading, I'm going to do this by talking a little bit about some of my favourite war stories and poems.

1.  The Tomorrow Series by John Marsden

We're never told who is invading Australia or why, but if it happens for real, I want Ellie and Homer and crew on my side.  Barring that terrible movie, these stories were an important part of my childhood reading experience.  They draw on that same ANZAC spirit that I've been taught about since primary school- mateship, resourcefulness, bravery.  I look forward to the day when I no longer have a to-read pile that takes up more than four shelves, because I'll finally get to revisit books like these.

2. Gallipoli by Jack Bennett

This one has a movie too, but it's a much better movie version.  I can distinctly remember reading this one in a Starbucks in Japan.

3. The Paperbark Shoe by Goldie Goldbloom

The main characters in this book are asked to host some Italian prisoners of war, with interesting consequences.  This is one book I wish I could read for the first time all over again.

4. Straightshooter by TAG Hungerford

A collection of stories- the second section is called Knockabout in a Slouch Hat and recounts in what has become reknowned as typical Aussie fashion the experiences of its main character in wartime Singapore and Malaya.  Hungerford's writing helped translate the war experience for a lot of Australians.


It's not the world's most comprehensive list, considering, and there have been other books which have piqued my interest in the stories of ANZACs.  I can recall the queue to get Soldier Boy out of my school's library being so long that I doubt I ever even got to read it, and there were others that I got from the library and have since forgotten the name but not the themes.  One thing that endures however is a deep understanding and respect for the people who serve this country in international conflict.  Lest we forget.

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