The only thing better than getting books in the mail is getting surprise books in the mail.
Our Bookmail service puts all my years working in bookstores, libraries, literary events, writing organisations and obsessively reading to work finding the ideal books to add to your TBR or that of a loved one.
Each month we curate a selection of books based on a short survey that you (or your gift recipient) fill in and send excellent-quality secondhand books to your door.
Select a one-off delivery, or pick one of our subscription packages.
This service is the perfect way to break out of a reading rut, discover new authors or books, and have a word-nerd use your survey results to introduce you to something a little out of the ordinary.
I write about being a disabled person, artist and parent. It’s rare, though, that I get to work as a disabled producer putting together an event about disability and for the disabiity arts community. In producing Meeting Place I have finally been able to do this.
Meeting Place is Australia’s annual form on arts, culture and accessibility. It is held annually and brings Deaf, disabled and non-disabled artists with disability together with industry leaders in an accessible and supported space, to present, perform, discuss and debate the latest in arts and accessibility.
This year Meeting Place took place as part of Alter State Festival, presented in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne and Arts Access Victoria. I was able to bring together artists and arts workers I have long admired such as Caroline Bowditch, Gayle Kennedy, Elvin Lam, Joshua Pether, Fayen D’Evie, Fiona Tuomy, Kath Duncan, Larissa MacFarlane, Meret Hassanen, Renay Barker-Mulholland, Robert K Champion and Eliza Hull for workshops, panel discussions and performances. I hope it was as enjoyable for the participants and audience as it was for me.
I’m glad to have another opportunity to talk about the unique situation disabled people face as we tackle climate change. I’ll be speaking at this event as part of the Greater Dandenong Sustainability Festival and Libraries After Dark at Springvale Library.
Climate change is happening now, and it affects everyone, including people with disabilities. Join us and several special guests as we discuss this topic and hear your views and thoughts. You will also learn how people with a disability can prepare for and stay comfortable during extreme weather events.
If you’re local I’d love to see you at the Springvale Library in the Springvale Community Hub, but for those not able to make it in person the session will be recorded and available to watch after it has taken place.
I’ve been a lover of books since I could listen to them on my Fisher Price tape deck as a child. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with books, literature and writing in Australia for a long time and I have such deep respect for what it takes to get a book published and into the hands of readers.
Not long ago it came to my attention that some (not all!) op shops get so many donated books that every so often they just clear the shelves and throw all the books into the bin. To say I was horrified is not hyperbole. It’s true that many op shops are clogged with enough Clive Cussler books to build a structural wall, but hidden in these shelves are also amazing books, many written by Australian authors, that have lots of life left in them.
Enter On the Road Books. I’m saving great books that are languishing on op shop shelves and curating the best of these to be sold online and on this cute-as-a-button mobile bookstore.
It is my hope that this venture will find new homes for secondhand books which may otherwise languish unappreciated on op-shop shelves or (horror of all horrors) end up in landfill. None of us have the space to keep all the books we read, no matter how much we love them. Ending up in an op shop is not an indication of a book’s worth and there are so many amazing books available.
With a curated collection of high-quality titles on offer, On the Road Books gives great literature another round of life in readers’ hands.
To celebrate the launch of We’ve Got This – the first major anthology of writing by parents with disabilities – a panel of the book’s contributors will discuss the complexities of parenting from this often overlooked perspective.
In We’ve Got This, twenty-five parents who identify as Deaf, disabled or chronically ill discuss the highs and lows of their parenting journeys. The result is a moving and empowering collection that captures all the joy, anxiety and love that comes with being a disabled parent – and reveals that often, the greatest obstacle is other people’s attitudes.
The anthology’s editor, musician Eliza Hull, will be joined by writer and academic Shakira Hussein, activist and educator Jax Jacki Brown, and speaker and creator of the ABC podcast Look Mum, No Hands Mandy McCracken for an inclusive and expansive discussion about their experiences of parenting while living with disability.
I’m incredibly proud to be included in this anthology published today by Black Inc. which gathers together stories from disabled parents from Australia. My chapter reflects on how my feminism and disability politics have informed my parenting and vice versa. Spoiler alert: they’re impossible to extricate from each other!
Whether you’re a parent, a person with a disability or have a disabled parent or parent-to-be in your life, this collection is a terrific way to learn about the resilience and tenacity of our community.
You can purchase the book at your local independent bookstore or here online.
How does a father who is blind take his child to the park? How is a mother with dwarfism treated when she walks her child down the street? How do Deaf parents know when their baby cries in the night?
When writer and musician Eliza Hull was pregnant with her first child, like most parents-to-be she was a mix of excited and nervous. But as a person with a disability, there were added complexities. She wondered: Will the pregnancy be too hard? Will people judge me? Will I cope with the demands of parenting? More than 15 per cent of Australian households have a parent with a disability, yet their stories are rarely shared, their experiences almost never reflected in parenting literature.
In We’ve Got This, twenty-five parents who identify as Deaf, disabled or chronically ill discuss the highs and lows of their parenting journeys and reveal that the greatest obstacles lie in other people’s attitudes. The result is a moving, revelatory and empowering anthology. As Rebekah Taussig writes, ‘Parenthood can tangle with grief and loss. Disability can include joy and abundance. And goddammit – disabled parents exist.’
Contributors include Jacinta Parsons, Kristy Forbes, Graeme Innes AM, Jessica Smith OAM, Jax Jacki Brown OAM, Nicole Lee, Elly May Barnes, Neangok Chair, Renay Barker-Mulholland, Micheline Lee and Shakira Hussein. We’ve Got This will appeal to readers of Growing Up Disabled in Australia and other titles in the Growing Up series.
‘Full of deep, beautiful, important stories. I’ve learnt so much from this book.’—Clare Bowditch, musician, actress and radio presenter
I’ve got an article up on ABC Everyday about my experience of the pandemic as a disabled parent. I’d love for you to pop over to the site and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt for you.
The supports I and my family have built into our lives to support my disability have proven to be some of the most useful factors in finding our way through these challenging times.
My disability has made me resilient. It has taught me to be flexible, ready to adapt and refocus on any given day depending on what life throws at us.
I know that even on the worst day it’s the little things that will get you through. These skills happen to be exactly what is needed during our current circumstances.
I wanted to reframe the misconception that having a disability means only having a list of deficits. My own experience is that as much as my disability can limit me, it has also given me valuable skills. Some of which I’m drawing on right now.
From fine amnesties, to boosting the prominence of digital offerings, to simply putting books in the post, libraries have drastically changed the way they operate to accommodate the massive social changes imposed by governments during the pandemic, often with heartwarming results.
While some people are facing reduced employment or unemployment right now, this pandemic has meant a significant increase in my work. Under the leadership of my manager, Lisa Dempster, who is quoted in the article, our team have worked hard to shift programming online and think creatively about how to help our community transition to lockdown.
From ensuring people are aware of our already existing digital offerings such as ebooks and audiobooks, to shifting in-person programs like Storytime online (three times per day, five days a week!), to entirely new programs like Caring Calls… it’s been quite a time.
Our staff have had to learn new skills, adapt to constantly changing work priorities and communicate constantly with our community. As soon as we find solutions to suit the current lockdown level and limitations, it all changes again and we readjust what we can do, trying to keep our patrons and their needs at the forefront the whole time.
When so many vulnerable members of our community find themselves even more marginalised by current circumstances, it feels good to be working in a community-orientated organisation that makes a tangible difference in people’s lives. Seeing feedback flood in through social media and our email inbox telling us what a difference it has made for people to feel less alone, or be able to access reading material, or have a familiar face for their kids to see every day during our Storytime videos has made the hard work worthwhile.
It’s worth reminding you that anyone in Victoria is welcome to join Yarra Plenty Regional Library as a digital member, which offers immediate access to our eLibrary. That means instant downloads of ebooks, audiobooks and streaming of films/television. We’ve got a bunch of exciting programs coming up soon, so now is a great time to become a member.
Episode Four is now ready for you to listen to! I felt extra responsibility to get this particular set of recommendations right because our listener, Tania, was looking for crime and thrillers. We all know how many of these I read, so I really wanted to find Tania the perfect books. Fingers crossed she enjoys them.
The YPRL website has all the full list of books we discussed on the podcast and any other information you need about the podcast (including how to submit your own survey for us to use on future episodes!).