Posted on 18th July, 2014 by
Mostly I find books mooching around the shop after sessions at bookshops or literary festivals, often with a book lover next to me urging, â€˜You HAVE to read this. Itâ€™s fabulous! Oh look, thereâ€™s a new Shaun Tan. Stunning!â€™ And it always is.
But in the last few weeks, two books have arrived via my email, neither from major publishers, but the work of the authors themselves. And they are lovely, the kind of book where I wish my grandson was next to my desk so I could share them with him. (Actually I wish this often â€“ and not just when I have books to share.)
The first was Nanna's Boot Camp by Vicki Griffin, and I love it. Nanna â€“ who I suspect is based on a very real Nanna indeed, is indigenous, and her â€˜boot campâ€™ is not the â€˜sweat and 500 push upsâ€™ kind you expect. The book is is gentle and warm and lovable and a delight.
The other arrived yesterday and it is about wombats. Let us be frank about this â€“ I am biased about wombats. If a book is accurate and the writer obviously adores wombats I will think it is fabulous. (If the author has only met a deceased wombat on the side of the freeway once ten years ago and gets even the most obvious things wrong, then make snarky comments to Bryan while he reads the astronomy picture of the day text and makes agreeing noises with me.)
Emma Homes wrote Saving Wombats having stayed with friends who were caring for an orphaned wombat who had just reached the now-Iâ€™ll-destroy-your-shoe-laces stage of rehabilitation. And she has also researched the subject of mange in wombats carefully â€“ this chapter book is about a young person concerned about the devastation mange can cause both individual wombats and the species as a whole.
So I am very, very biased indeed. But also grateful that the winds of e-mail landed two books on my desk that I probably would never have found in bookshops.