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Today’s ABC article about the new Primary IVF clinic, open in Melbourne from today, is a little problematic.

Not the broad subject of the article itself: Primary IVF has been operating in Sydney since 2014, has opened from today in Melbourne. It bulk bills and, personally, I think that’s great.

But the tone of the first part of the article, referring to concerns that women might not get the best treatment – with the inference that only those who can pay full freight for private treatment – smells a little off to me. (more…)

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Black silhouette of an apparently female figure in a top hat on a green background (with some faint writing in the top and bottom thirds), with the words in white: 2015 Australian Women Writers Challenge

I have completed the 2015 Australian Women Writers Challenge!

This post is to record how I went compared to my challenge criteria, and to give a very short overview of each book.

First, the books. They were:

(more…)

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Want free books? Check out Shellyrae’s post at Book’d Out explaining the 2015 Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop and offering up two books herself.

Non-Australian residents are eligible for many of the giveaways.

Entries close midnight Tuesday 27 February AEST – better get hopping!

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Black silhouette of an apparently female figure in a top hat on a green background (with some faint writing in the top and bottom thirds), with the words in white: 2015 Australian Women Writers Challenge

As per my last post, I will be participating in the 2015 Australian Women Writers Challenge this year.

Anita Heiss’s Black Book Challenge has been of great assistance in finding books by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander authors (via Mindy at Hoyden About Town).

Here are the 10 books I’m planning to read. Except for Eileen Chong’s Peony, they are all at my local library, and now on reserve, although if any don’t come through in time I might have to substitute alternatives: (more…)

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Black silhouette of an apparently female figure in a top hat on a green background (with some faint writing in the top and bottom thirds), with the words in white: 2015 Australian Women Writers Challenge

Way back in 2012 I participated in the inaugural Australian Women Writers Challenge.

After a couple of years off, I have decided to get back into it.

In summary, person can sign up to read a specified number of books within the year, and to write a (smaller) specified number of reviews. There are different levels of the challenge, and you can add other aspects to your own challenge to make it more personally challenging.

The levels have changed a little – I am going for the Franklin again, which is still 10 books, but now 6 reviews (rather than the 4 in 2012).

And here are my additional challenges: (more…)

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Black-on-white silhouette of an apparently female figure in a top hat, with the words in white: 2012 Australian Women Writers Challenge (and the url australianwomenwriters.com at the bottom)

I have completed the 2012 Australian Women Writers Challenge!

This post is to record how I went compared to my challenge criteria, and to give a very short overview of each book.

First, the books. They were:

(more…)

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Black-on-white silhouette of an apparently female figure in a top hat, with the words in white: 2012 Australian Women Writers Challenge (and the url australianwomenwriters.com at the bottom)
Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb from Goodreads

This is an original take on a classic story – how a child of immigrants moves between two cultures. In place of piety and predictability, however, Unpolished Gem offers a vivid and ironic sense of both worlds. It combines the story of Pung’s life growing up in suburban Footscray with the inherited stories of the women in her family – stories of madness, survival and heartbreak. Original and brave, this is a girl’s own story that introduces an unforgettable voice and captures the experience of Asian immigrants to Australia.

My review

First, a bit of background to my reading of this book. I grew up in a part of Sydney where there were many people of Asian descent. Those who were my age had often either been born in Australia to parents who were recent immigrants, or had come to Australia as children. Many of my friends were of Asian descent, from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. I tended to see the similarities between my friends and me – they were, after all, my friends – and I often did not understand why they reacted to certain things so differently, especially in relation to their interactions and relationships with their families.

In the years since high school, I have grown to understand much more. Unpolished Gem allowed me to take another leap in my understanding of some of my friends. At the very least, this means that if Ms Pung is writing for the wider Australian audience, to give them an insight into the life of a certain section of the Australian community, she has nailed it. (I am quite curious to know if she has nailed the audience within the section of the Australian community she is writing about.)

Ms Pung’s writing is impeccable. (more…)

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