2019: A year in (book) review.

January
Addicted? by Matt Noffs & Kieran Palmer

Books offered a welcome reprieve from the mighty hospitality summer that raged on through January. Having only just completed a course in community services I remained preoccupied with the psychology surrounding trauma, family violence and addiction issues. These themes were not strangers to the industry I repeatedly found myself returning to.

At some point in 2018 I quietly quit smoking and there is still a part of me that mourns the camaraderie of the shared cigarette. Staring at the world through a phone screen does not offer the equivalent intimacy. This book made me wonder about the many ways, socially sanctioned or not, we seek dopamine.

February
Becoming by Michelle Obama

I spent a week in Yamba with two old friends. What about teaching? Why didn’t we do teaching? I enrolled in a full time masters program online that week. What’s two years?

March
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who’s Been There by Cheryl Strayed

April
Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee

There are so many ways institutions support a system that seeks to silence women’s voices and if you are not interested in understanding how then this book isn’t for you.

‘But I’ve never been/felt/experienced discrimination as a woman!’ is not a good enough excuse to remain ignorant.

May
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

June
The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker

This book talks about the majesty of holding space in very pragmatic terms whether it be a conference, dinner party or work meeting. It also helped me understand my urge to skip small talk to get straight to the good stuff and how to make that happen.

July
No Friend But the Mountain by Behrouz Boochani

This is not enjoyable reading but rather responsible reading for anyone who wishes to know the horror the Australian government inflict on asylum seekers with our mute consent.

August
Dalit by Yashica Dutt

You can read more about our Indian experience here.

September
The Thinking Woman by Julienne van Loon

In September I was tired and this book was a happy refuge to curl up with on the couch.

October
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Friends and acquaintances have offered mixed reviews and they only serve to reinforce my staunch advocacy. I can’t wait to read this book again and I make no apologies for my evangelical outpourings. DM for more, I’m still not sick of talking about it.

November
Vignette by Jane Lopes

Jane Lopes book is a cracking introduction to the world of wine and spirits that is packaged in a thoroughly delightful hardcover edition that chronicles her journey through hospitality as a sommelier.

New plan? Study viticulture and becoming wine maker/sommelier.

December
Damascus by Christos Tsiolkas

It’s hospitality summer once more and we sneak in lunches of oysters and wine or morning swims and iced coffees before the endless march of dinner service, dreaming of February when the last of the holiday makers have returned home.

Special mention to The Weekend by Charlotte Wood which I also read sometime in there and thoroughly enjoyed, especially for its matter-of-fact depiction of female friendship in later life.

Not an expert

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