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Foto taget av: Journalist Julia Baird before a graffiti wall in 2019 By Susan Papazian, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Verk av Julia Baird


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What an achievement! Comprehensive. Profound, in the sense of going deep. Connected to dozens of historical themes and events that situate Victoria in place and time. And written with an accessible style that never tires the reader over 800 plus pages. I read it slowly and, to coin a phrase, I couldn’t put it down.
PhilipJHunt | 26 andra recensioner | May 7, 2024 |
“What has fascinated and sustained me over these last few years has been the notion that we have the ability to find, nurture and carry our own inner, living light — a light to ward off the darkness. This is not about burning brightly, but yielding simple phosphorescence — being luminous at temperatures below incandescence, quietly glowing without combusting. Staying alive, remaining upright, even when lashed by doubt.”

Julia Baird is an Australian journalist, broadcaster and author. She hosts The Drum on ABCTV and writes columns for the Sydney Morning Herald and the International New York Times. Her book Phosphorescence is part self-help and part memoir, with some chapters giving advice to her children.

The basis of the book is finding joy in small things and ways to sustain ourselves through tough times. She suggests time spent in nature, ocean swims, savouring things, friendship and faith. All of these things are fairly obvious but possibly this comes as a timely reminder during a pandemic when many are burnt out, isolated and struggling.

People have criticized Baird for being a privileged white woman writing for other privileged white women. My thoughts are that most self-help literature falls into this category, and likely so do many of the readers and reviewers. I don’t see anything wrong with writing about ways to cope in this modern-day concrete jungle, as although the hardships may not compare to those experienced by the two-thirds world, they still do exist and need some negotiating. Many people in affluent places still suffer with mental health issues, grief and loss. To be fair to Baird she also has evidently suffered with her battle with ill health and cancer.

The book is a bit of a mish-mash of self help advice, Baird’s own stories and her take on feminism and the church. One of the later chapters is about faith and religion, which may be too much for some people, but I appreciated the fact that her faith was inclusive, non-judgemental and she tackled the patriarchy within the church head on.

As she says, “First, pay attention. Second, do not underestimate the soothing power of the ordinary. Third, seek awe, and nature, daily. Fourth . . . well, so many things: show kindness; practise grace; eschew vanity; be bold; embrace friends, family, faith and doubt, imperfection and mess; and live deliberately.”

I didn’t find this anything new or remarkable but the writing is beautiful and is possibly a gentle reminder of some important truths. 3.5 stars for me.
… (mer)
mimbza | 9 andra recensioner | Apr 22, 2024 |
I was a bit iffy on this book when I started (there was an element of privilege that I wasn’t sure would be addressed, but then it kind of was…) but I got into it a bit more as it progressed. Bonus points for mentioning Story Factory :)
Amzzz | 9 andra recensioner | Sep 11, 2022 |
A thoughtful reflection on life from a position of near death. How do we go on when everything seems dark? I loved listening to Julia read this - there were parts I might otherwise have sped through.m
oldblack | 9 andra recensioner | Sep 11, 2022 |



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