I fume at the patriarchy as I weed, plant and prune, and then, when I put down my trowel and take my headphones off, I fume at my husband.
have eclectic tastes – Lars Mytting’s Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way shares a shelf with Roxanne Gay’s Difficult Women and Gina Cole’s Black Ice Matter – and I’m a sucker for buying Booker Prize winners.
Because I never read the same book twice, summer means it’s time for my annual cull of contemporary fiction, with good reads dispatched to the bach or distributed to fellow readers and boring books discreetly disposed of in the bin. (Life’s too short to inflict bad books on friends.)
While sorting 2017’s gems from the dross, I came to a startling realisation: for the first time in my life, last year I bought many more books than I actually read.
Why? I’ll tell you why. Because I was too busy downloading podcasts. Last year I listened to thousands of hours of intelligent interviews (a decade’s worth of archived Conversations with Richard Fidler from the ABC), smart storytelling (Jonathan Goldstein’s regret-righting Heavyweight, This American Life, fair dinkum Spun Stories from the Northern Territory) and cultural comedy (The Adam Buxton Podcast, Scummy Mummies).
I also developed an appetite for listening to feminist podcasts (Call Your Girlfriend, Popaganda, Girlboss Radio) while gardening. I’m now so woke, I practically have insomnia. I fume at the patriarchy as I weed, plant and prune, and then, when I put down my trowel and take my headphones off, I fume at my husband. Let me tell you, all that principled chatter about gender equality can be a passion killer.
Mind you, so can a Marian Keyes novel.
Determined to finish at least one book at the beach this summer, I bought the best-selling Irish writer’s latest offering, The Break. If escapist puffery was good enough for my grandmother, I figured, then it’s good enough for me.
Except it wasn’t. The Break was such drivel I couldn’t even be bothered to skim-read it to the end, demanding my mother supply a plot synopsis instead.
Spoiler alert: the protagonist’s husband buggers off for six months to find himself, only to shag a pretty young thing, be outed on social media, and get booted out of the marital bed for good.
Quite frankly, his miserable wretch of a wife could have saved herself all that effort and angst by simply listening to a few episodes of the
Dope Queens podcast instead.