The urge to disconnect with TV and get into a good book overwhelmed me recently, but I surprised myself when I managed to read three biography based books in just over a week. The first, titled, My 90 Year Journey, is the memoirs of Margaret Muirhead, who I have had the pleasure of knowing for only 25 years of her life, as she has a holiday house in Gracetown. They say everyone has at least one book in them, but I don’t reckon many of us have one quite as good as this one. Margaret digs just far enough into personal family issues without causing anxiety for existing members, but at the same time is very frank about her own childhood and the later roles in life that she struggled to come to grips with. In the early years, she was more known for her ‘role’ as the wife of Chief Justice Jim Muirhead, but as her life evolves, Margaret makes her own mark on the world and it is both uplifting and motivating to share this with her. Her goal as a grandmother, was not to be ‘an old woman who needs to be listened to………… simply because “she’s still there…..” The eleven years she spent in Darwin is especially interesting, so if you like real stories about real people, this one is a must. I finished it in one day.
The second book, Outback Wrangler, was mainly focused on northern Australia, with crocodiles, snakes, station mustering, fishing, chopper flying being the dominant themes. Whilst Matt Wright may not like being compared to Steve Irwin, he almost fits the bill except Matt is a bit rougher around the edges. Certainly never one destined to hold an office job, Matt’s school days and early upbringing were particularly harrowing. Somehow his toughness and determination to succeed brought him into a world of high octane outdoor work, which he has thrived on, culminating in the National Geographic Outback Wrangler series. Nothing too deep in this book, just plenty of adrenaline action and a good read all the same.
The last book of my trilogy, ‘When Breathe Becomes Air’, was written by neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, with his wife Lucy finalising the transcript after he succumbed to lung cancer. This is an extraordinary man telling an extraordinary story. A writer of note, this book delves quite deeply into the meaning of life and death. Paul draws on famous philosophers and even his medical experiences to get his message across, though he appears to be constantly yearning to work out just what that message is. While sharing intimate details of his brain surgery operations and the impact on patients, family and friends, then having to deal with it all from the other side, after being diagnosed with cancer himself, one cannot help but be drawn into reflecting on what our own message is for life. As the New York Times reviewed, ‘A great indelible book….I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option’. If you have lost a loved one, then this will be a tough read for you and I am prepared to admit to being brought to tears, reflecting on the demise of my own mum and dad, when I finished it late one night.
To answer to last week’s question, the position location for a standard non GPS enabled 406 EPIRB is regarded as a 3-5km radius. This week’s question is, “What does the Rotary ‘Sail For Life’ program deliver?”
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