Lee Kofman's memoir is about her search for freedom and autonomy while being married is a fascinating read. What began as a personal journey of love and marriage became a book whereby Kofman interviews people who have engaged in relationships that don't follow the traditional monogamous model.
I loved this book for many reasons-the honest and heartfelt writing, and the fact that it made me think about relationships and the longevity of marriages. While Kofman's journey ultimately ends with a happy ending, she realises that the marriage she was in did not fulfill her needs and leaves, only to find love and a traditional monogamous marriage, it was the stories of her interview subjects that provided much food for thought.
Kofman undertook a lot of research about polyamorous communities and other non-traditional relationships and I learnt a lot from this book. One of the things I was struck by is the honesty of some of her interview subjects about the tumultuous lives they experience as they engage in different partnership models. How their relationship is constantly changing and evolving, and that there is the acknowledgement of the pain and pleasure that this results in.
Being in a long term relationship, whether it is monogamous or open, there will be pleasure and pain, what I was struck by is that the open relationships might be more honest in expecting this to happen, whereas with monogamy we're sold the model of happily ever after and are then shocked that there is an after that might not be so happy.
This was a beautifully written memoir that transcends the confessional and does what great creative fiction should do, uses the personal in order to tell a universal story and give the reader pleasure, and a moment of reflection on their own lives.
This is a memoir of two sisters who are separated during the Balkan war, and ultimately through their stories it is about their family and a city under siege.
On the day the conflict starts twelve-year-old Hana and her older sister are placed on a bus by the eldest sister, Atka, as there are only two seats left. The expectation is that they will only be away for a few days, but Sarajevo is under siege for 3 years. In that time the family is torn apart, the city experiences unbearable hardship while the world looks away.
This memoir is particularly poignant as my husband's family is from Sarajevo and I was reading their experiences echoed in Atka and Hanna's writing.
Ultimately this is a book about a family triumphing despite the hardships it faces, and a city that is not broken.
This is the second book I've read by Louise Rennison and her funny series about Georgia Nicolson and her adventures in adolescent dating.
It’s a fun read written in a diary format and Georgia has her own vocabulary that adds a special flavour to the book, for example Boy Entrancers are False Eyelashes and Nunga-nungas are bosoms.
There are lots of laugh out loud moments and I can relate so much to Georgia's awkwardness and poor decision making when it comes to the opposite sex.
On the 28th January 2014 I walked into the classroom for the first time as an English and Humanities high school teacher. My first year as a teacher was one of the hardest years of my life, and yet the one that has shaped me the most.
I’ve been wanting to write about my experiences for a while, but have needed time and space to be able to really process it. Finally today I had a breakthrough when I realised there are 30 lessons that I have learnt as a teacher that I wanted to share.
1. When you're angry the quieter you make your voice, the more your students will fear you.
2. If your voice is going up in volume, walk away and deal with it tomorrow.
3. Don’t let the 10% of kids that are naughty get 90% of your attention.
4. Forty per cent of your behaviour management will be dealt with by your classroom layout, 30% can be corrected by a seating plan, 10% is in using mime gestures, and the rest by getting a good night’s sleep.
5. Even if you’re not a Maths teacher, you will need to learn percentage formulas for reports.
6. Apparently you can go to a happy place during meetings. I am yet to find it.
7. You will need a daily energy crutch. Make sure you are well stocked.
8. Only other teachers will find your work stories interesting.
9. Imagine hiking a mountain with bricks strapped to your feet. This is the equivalent of the exertion that a teacher experiences during report writing.
10. You will get sick—a lot. Eventually the viruses will leave you alone for fresh blood.
11. A school is like an organism.
12. Be careful when you use the term ‘my kids’ outside of a school because no one else will understand what you mean.
13. School holidays are not holidays. They are time to plan lessons and recover from the 60 hour weeks you have put in before that.
14. Do not smile in term 1. The sterner you are in term 1, the easier your year will be.
15. You will remember more than you forget, but you will always forget something.
16. Let the sentence ‘I need to vent’ be your saviour.
17. Find out who the school gossip is and only tell them good things about yourself and others.
18. Always remember that your desk is in an open plan office and learn to speak in a whisper.
19. Know that when you speak in a whisper you will attract company.
20. Students do not understand sarcasm.
21. Offer recalcitrant students a choice. For example: “I am going to walk away now and when I return I want you to have moved tables.”
22. Everyone knows what makes a good teacher, and those who aren’t teachers themselves are most vocal about it.
23. You do not know everything and your students know this. The sooner that you confess this fact, the better your classroom will be.
24. Even though every day is exactly the same, you will not have exactly the same day.
25. You might have the opportunity to teach the exact same lesson to another class, but you will have a completely different experience.
26. If you have bad handwriting, use PowerPoint for all your lessons.
27. Even if you are feeling indecisive, act decisively.
28. You will utilise Newspeak on a day-to-day basis outside of the classroom.
29. Being in the classroom is the easiest job in the world—the hard work begins when you leave it.
30. Being a teacher is the best job I’ve ever had and the one I am most proud of. I know I am doing something important, because my students are important.
I am an author, reader and teacher.
Sign up and receive a free short story Suicide Watch from my book The Cuckoo's Song featuring some of my previously published and prize-winning stories. Suicide Watch features Sabiha, my protagonist from The Good Daughter, from a scene cut from the novel.