Shelfies, with Peter Goers

Last night, I had an interview with Peter Goers, on ABC Radio 8.91 for his raadio segment called Shelfies, on Evenings.

This is the information I received from the producer about the program: The segment Shelfies, is centred on a list of pieces of literature which have influenced the guest over their lives – or books you just love. Peter will no doubt touch on the many hats you wear through your hard work and activism, but the gist of the segment is understanding the books that you like.

A DAI member heard me on radio last night, and sent me a message to say well done. She asked me how I rememered about the books I’ve read… see the screenshot!!!!

Thanks to it being on radio, I was able to cheat!! The radio interview is currently available online herego to 2:31:52 if you want to hear it.

My taste in books (and music) is very diverse and unusual. Whilst I love the Russian poet, Pushkin, and many other poets and literature, I also love the Phantom comics and Footrot Flats!

As a young person, I read 5-6 books per week, ranging from the necessary schoolbooks, to crime, love stories and autobiographies or biographies. In saying that, most of the fiction I read, is set in historical settings. 

Anyway, this is my cheat sheet!!!

The Man Who Planted Trees, is a fable about what one person can do to restore the earth, by Jean Giono. The hero of this story spent his life planting one hundred acorns a day in the south of France, which resulted in a total transformation of the landscape-from one devoid of life, to one filled with the scent of flowers, birds, and fresh water. It has also been made into a wonderful animated movie.

Hence, my continuing love to read stories – fact or fiction – that are about how anyone can change the world they live in. It is what I try to do, for people with dementia globally, and have also done for people bereaved through suicide. 

Jonathon Livingstone Seagull, By Richard Bach and Russell Munson, is another of my favourites. It is a story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules… people who do not want to follow the flock, even if it means being ostracised, defamed or bullied, as I have been.  It is about flying higher and faster than we ever dreamed.

The book with Dr Martin Luther King Jrs speech, I have a dream, which he made in 1963, brings his inspiring message of freedom, equality, and peace to all of us.

Since being diagnosed with dementia, his words on ‘otherness’ resonate strongly with me, as dementia is the only illness I have ever had where I have experienced otherness, stigma and significant discrimination. In fact, there have been times I have felt like a non-human.  It is one of the most powerful and memorable speeches America’s history, and I believe it changed the world. 

This speech and this man’s role as an accidental activism inspires me to keep going. I read it often! It resonates with my own life –my activism is accidental, as if I am being pushed from an invisible source. It keeps me going on those days I want to give up.

Man’s search for meaning, by Viktor Frankl. is another well read – and listened to favourite. This incredible book is Frankl’s riveting account of his time in the Nazi concentration camps, and his insightful exploration of our will to find meaning in spite of the most dreadful adversity.

In it, there is a conviction that the main human drive is not pleasure, but rather the pursuit of what we find meaningful. 

Angeles Ashes, by Frank McCourt, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir of his childhood in Limerick, Ireland.  It is a wonderful memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, had no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, almost never worked, and when he did, he used his wages for alcohol.

I found it an extremely gut-wrenching read, but one I was unable to put down…

Frank’s brother, Malachy McCourt, also wrote his memoir, A Monk Swimming, which tells the same families story, but from a totally different perspective! I bought it as soon as it came out, but it took me years to read it, as Angeles Ashes had made me cry so much. In contrast to Angeles ashes, it is funny, and absolutely highlights the evidence that siblings in families mostly have very different experiences as children!

Teacher Man, also by Frank McCourt, about how his thirty-year teaching career shaped his second career as a writer. If you have ever been a teacher, or a student, it will resonate! It made me laugh out loud, often. His audacious and spirited prose features his cheeky wit and compelling honesty. He records the trials, triumphs and surprises he faced in the classroom. Read it… I guarantee you will love it!

Another laugh out loud book and memoir is by Australian actor and auhtor William McInnes, A Man’s Got to Have a Hobby, for all of us who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. I first read it when on a plane, and laughed so much, and so loudly, I had to put it away. Seriously, it is that funny, and truly poignant, and beautiful.

Harpo speaks, by Harpo Marx, is an hilarious read, and a beautiful autobiography, and despite only a year and a half of schooling, Harpo’s story is the best of all of the Marx Brothers. It is a funny, affectionate and unpretentious autobiography, and perhaps the best story in this book is about him and a golf course!

What the hell happened to my Brain?, is a book by myself!!! I often have to re-read sections of this book, as I am unable to recall a lot of what I wrote… it may or may not be good read!!! (we ran out of tiem for me to talk about this).

I am addicted to reading books, and could talk about them for hours… and even though I have a significant and increasing reading disability now, it is still worth the effort.


5 thoughts on “Shelfies, with Peter Goers

  1. Well done Kate. I haven’t listened to the recording yet, but will do. However I am in total admiration, as I have trouble remembering the name of the book that I am currently reading never mind that of those I have enjoyed in the past, with the exception of those that I read as a child, which surprisingly enough I remember in great detail


    • It’s easy to know the names of my favourites, as they are in a pile which I regularly access! Most others I’d have no idea of now. And interestingly, I don’t recall many things from my childhood, relatives and books included. Kx


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