Happy Australia Day + Giveaway!

Australia DayThe celebration of Australia Day is upon us; a time for relaxation, enjoying the sunshine and to hopefully scoff as many lammies as possible without getting judgement from those around us. To be honest, I am a little over the sunshine. We’ve had scorching heat here the past few weeks, the plants are dying, the grass is dying, and while I know I will upset a few people who had beach plans today, I’m enjoying the overcast morning right now. I had all these ideas in my head about what to post about this year but none of them felt right. In the end, I’ve decided to go all out and offer up this post in three parts: a poem, a shout out, and a giveaway.

The Poem

I want to share with you one of my favourite poems about Australia. It’s one that makes me feel all warm inside and one that I think will bring out the Aussie pride in all of us (in the good, non-violent, non-racist way). I first heard of this poem in 2006 when I caught a segment on Sunrise celebrating the 10th anniversary. I hunted down the poem immediately and printed a copy to put up on my desk. It’s been 11 years and it remains in its place, there for all to see alongside my favourite Jack Prelutsky poem.

The poem is by Rupert McCall as is called Green and Gold Malaria. Those more read in poetry or are a bit older than me may remember it. It was published in 1996 and is a quirky poem that celebrates Aussie pride and the great things about our nation and culture. As much as I like to think it is just a poem, some part of me gets emotional reading it and while it is a bit out of date it still makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

Green and Gold Malaria
by Rupert McCall

The day would soon arrive when I could not ignore the rash.
I was obviously ill and so I called on Doctor Nash.
This standard consultation would adjudicate my fate.
I walked into his surgery and gave it to him straight:
`Doc, I wonder if you might explain this allergy of mine,
I get these pins and needles running up and down my spine.
From there, across my body, I will suddenly extend –
My neck will feel a shiver and the hairs will stand on end.
And then there is the symptom that only a man can fear –
A choking in the throat, and the crying of a tear.’
Well, the Doctor scratched his melon with a rather worried look.
His furrowed brow suggested that the news to come was crook.
`What is it Doc?’ I motioned. `Have I got a rare disease?
I’m man enough to cop it sweet, so give it to me, please.’
`I’m not too sure,’ he answered, in a puzzled kind of way.
`You’ve got some kind of fever, but it’s hard for me to say.
When is it that you feel this most peculiar condition?’
I thought for just a moment, then I gave him my position:
`I get it when I’m standing in an Anzac Day parade,
And I get it when the anthem of our native land is played,
And I get it when Meninga makes a Kiwi-crunching run,
And when Border grits his teeth to score a really gutsy ton.
I got it back in ’91 when Farr-Jones held the Cup,
And I got it when Japan was stormed by Better Loosen Up.
I get it when Banjo takes me down the Snowy River,
And Matilda sends me waltzing with a billy-boiling shiver.
It hit me hard when Sydney was awarded the Games,
And I get it when I see our farmers fighting for their names.
It flattened me when Bertrand raised the boxing kangaroo,
And when Perkins smashed the record, well, the rashes were true blue.
So tell me, Doc,’ I questioned. `Am I really gonna die?’
He broke into a smile before he looked me in the eye.
As he fumbled with his stethoscope and pushed it out of reach,
He wiped away a tear and then he gave me this stirring speech:
`From the beaches here in Queensland to the sweeping shores of Broome,
On the Harbour banks of Sydney where the waratah’s in bloom.
From Uluru at sunset to the Mighty Tasman Sea,
In the Adelaide cathedrals, at the roaring MCG.
From the Great Australian Blight up to the Gulf of Carpentaria,
The medical profession call it “green and gold malaria”.
But forget about the text books, son, the truth I shouldn’t hide.
The rash that you’ve contracted here is “good old Aussie pride”.
I’m afraid that you were born with it and one thing is for sure –
You’ll die with it, young man, because there isn’t and cure.’

The Shoutout

I know this post is already long with the poem, but as a little extra bonus this year I’m also sharing some of my favourite Aussie book bloggers. In past years there has been an Aussie Blog Hop to unite the Aussie blogging world and to celebrate each other, and while this isn’t the case this year, I still wanted to share with you some of my favourite Aussie bloggers right now to spread the love. If you have a favourite Aussie blogger let me know in the comments, I follow so many blogs but I can always follow more!

The Loony Literate

I found Emily when I sent out a call a few years ago for new blogs to follow and Emily shot up her hand. Since then I have been an avid follower on all the platforms and I love getting her posts in my inbox and following her on Twitter and Instagram.

Reasons to follow Emily:

  • Her blog posts are fun and informative; she posts reviews, discussions, and has variety in what she writes about
  • Her bookstagram is mind blowingly amazing and she includes pictures in her reviews so there’s that to enjoy as well
  • Her blog design is gorgeous
  • Her cats are adorable
  • She is writing a retelling of Alice in Wonderland and judging by the snippets she shares on Twitter, it is amazing and I want to read it right now
  • Is the @AusYABlog mod which is also awesome

Twitter | Instagram | Website

The Never Ending Book Shelf

I’ll admit, I may be 101% biased about this because Jess is my best friend, however, I also am objective enough to realise that she is also an amazing blogger. Jess started her blog around the same time I did and in that time she has done some amazing things because of it.

Reasons to follow Jess:

  • She reads widely and covers a lot of genres in her reviews
  • Her reviews are thorough, thoughtful, a balance of emotion and reasoning about what worked and what didn’t
  • She has great blog features and keeps coming up with new and wonderful ideas to celebrate books and share things book related
  • Her passion about books is incredible and her support of Aussie authors knows no bounds.
  • Her bookstagram pictures are also beautiful and very stylish and creative

Twitter | Instagram | Website

Paper Fury

I can’t recall exactly how I found Cait, but I’d say it was probably through a YA Twitter chat of some kind, or in the replies to another person I follow on Twitter. Either way, very good decision.

Reasons to follow Cait:

  • Her reviews and posts are so creative, she writes mini reviews, themed reviews, and has posts about writing and reading and all kinds of cool things
  • I like the layout of her reviews as well, it’s different than what I’m used to but it totally works
  • Her Bookstagram is incredible
  • She has a writing meme called Beautiful People which is so cool where writers can interview their own characters

Twitter | Instagram | Website

I could go on but I won’t, check out my sidebar which has more great blogs. I may need to do a whole post about this because there are some great blogs out there and if I keep going I’ll never stop.

The Giveaway

At last, the end is near. I will make this short and sweet. I am giving ONE lucky person the chance to win a book of their choice by some of my favourite Aussie authors.

aus-giveaway

To enter: Leave a comment on this blog about something Australian you love – your favourite author, favourite blogger, favourite past time, food, tv show, anything!

This is open to Australian residents only.

Entries close 11:59pm 2nd February, 2017

 

 

 

 

Happy Australia Day!

Australia DayAustralia Day has arrived! The sun is trying to shine, rain has stayed away, and we can all have a day off, eat lamingtons, and celebrate Australia.

After blog-hopping around so many amazing blogs for the Australia Day Giveaway I’ve become inspired about all things Aussie. Today’s post is going to be about things I love about Australia. Not just the Tim Tams or the weather, but the little things like our laid back approach to things, our animals, and even just the fact that we have a language all of our own that is nearly impossible to understand by anyone else. Of course one must realise this isn’t 1970s anymore and while a few things remain, we don’t all walk around sounding like Alf Stewart, Mick Dundee, or say half the things on those ‘Understanding Aussie Slang’ cheat cards. I know this is a slightly unconventional list of favourite Aussie things than just listing things like Tim Tam Slams or Home and Away, but I think it’s nice to remember we are actually more than just the stereotypes we may seem to be, but on the other hand we are also sometimes exactly like that so it’s hard to win!

The first thing is Vegemite. I love vegemite. I know it sounds so stereotypical but I do love it. I once made an awesome vegemite and red wine gravy, it was so delicious. I have also been asked whether I would like some toast with my vegemite because I apparently put too much on. I do draw the line at vegemite chocolate because that’s a big no no.

Another stereotypical answer is the landscape. I love the harbour, I love the outback, but I love the bush more. I love the trees and the different shades of green. It isn’t fluoro green or dark shades of green, it’s like a pale green, bits of brown, bits of yellow. It’s beautiful.

I love that people are scared of our animals despite the fact we haven’t got any bears, lions, tigers, or massive constricting snakes. We have tiny spiders and snakes that stay out of your way 99% of the time unless you are in the middle of nowhere where they all live under the toilet seat.

I love the fact we have an unspoken rule about convincing foreigners to believe things about our country. Not just drop bears (they of course are real and very dangerous), but trying to convince them with a straight face we say certain phrases, or do certain things. Even not just making things up, I love seeing people freak out over actual Aussie animals like the Cassowary or the Numbat. Or see them trying to work out what a servo is, an arvo is, or what a u-ey is and why we’re chucking it. It’s wonderful innocent fun.

I love our summer Christmases, I cannot imagine any other way that sitting in the sun with Christmas music playing (as odd as it is to sing about snow in 35 degree heat). Ham and prawns and pressies, it’s fantastic.

I love our food, and I love that it’s so different than anywhere else. We have lamingtons and fairy bread, Fantails and Ice Vo-vos, Milo and Malteasers. How could we have gone on as a country without having that to spur us on? I also love you can’t talk about most of these things without getting strange looks from other people like you are saying a bunch of gibberish words.

I also love that we have this culture and common understanding practically ingrained in us. We understand when someone says ‘Not happy, Jan’, or ‘Look at moi’. We know the Happy Little Vegemite song practically from birth, as well as the Aeroplane Jelly song and Louie the Fly despite the fact they probably haven’t been on TV in years. We know about the Boxing Day arguments over whether to watch the cricket or the sailing. We can finish the line ‘Have you ever, ever felt like this’, and we had a favourite Play School window. It’s amazing how much shared knowledge and experience we actually have, it’s awesome.

So that’s my list! My strange collections of things I love about being an Aussie and wouldn’t give up for the world. I know everyone has different things they love, are any the same? Totally different? Whatever you love about Australia Day I hope you’re having a fantastic time celebrating wherever you are and however you are choosing to enjoy it. I myself am going to have my second lamington of the day (no doubt not my last) before having a sausage sandwich and supervise the making of ANZAC bikkies. I think that’s as Australian as I will get today luckily.

I hope the sun keeps shining on all your merriments and that in between the barbeque and backyard cricket games you get to read something spectacular, or maybe even pop over to enter a giveaway or two on the blog-hop *wink wink*.

Australia Day Blog Hop Giveaway 2016!

2016australiaday-bloghop

Australia DayCrack open a stubbie, grab a lammie, and pass around the Tim Tams, Australia Day is approaching once more. The time of year where we all become slightly more Australian than usual, celebrate this amazing country, and fill ourselves up with BBQ’d meats such as lamb, snags, or some other variety.

Along with the usual festivities, I’m also participating for the first time in the Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by Shellyrae at Book’d Out. This is a wonderful event that helps to celebrate not only Aussie bloggers but Aussie authors as well.  I wanted to join last year but lacked the confidence to dive in, this year I’m sticking my toes in and joining in on the fun. I’ve been a watcher for a while on other people’s blogs but one of my goals this year is to participate more on other blogs so this is a great start.

If you would like to visit other participants in the blog hop you can check out the list on Book’d Out. There are a range of giveaways running for a bunch of great prizes and you get a chance to discover or maybe even rediscover some awesome Aussie blogs and bloggers. And you never know, you may win some amazing prizes while you’re there!

Giveaway

On to the giveaway! Because it’s Australia Day it’s only right to give away a book by an Aussie, and an Aussie gal at that. I am offering up a paperback copy of Saving Francesca by the delightful Melina Marchetta. This is open to Australian residents only.

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Francesca battles her mother, Mia, constantly over what’s best for her. All Francesca wants is her old friends and her old school, but instead Mia sends her to St. Sebastian’s, an all-boys’ school that has just opened its doors to girls. Now Francesca’s surrounded by hundreds of boys, with only a few other girls for company. All of them weirdos, or worse.

Then one day, Mia is too depressed to get out of bed. One day turns into months, and as her family begins to fall apart, Francesca realises that without her mother’s high spirits, she hardly knows who she is. But she doesn’t yet realise that she’s more like Mia than she thinks. With a little unlikely help from St. Sebastian’s, she just might be able to save her family, her friends, and – especially- herself.

ENTRIES CLOSED

To enter: Comment on this post with your favourite Aussie author or book and why you love them/it so much. It’s that simple!

Entries close at midnight AEDT on Wednesday 27th January and the winners will be announced within 7 days via email and on the blog.

Good luck!

Weekly Wrap Up

This week on the blog

 

Book Bingo

 

Unrelenting Nightmare by Stan Yocum

 ★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

 

Happy Australia Day!

Happy Australia Day!

Australia DayAh Australia Day. That annual time of year to celebrate what makes Australia great, to enjoy the long weekend with friends and family, and to cringe at people who feel the need to wear the Australian flag as a cape. The beaches, parks, and backyards around the country are filled with people enjoying themselves and having barbeques, and there are people with temporary flag tattoos on their cheeks, shoulders, and other body parts, while others wear a range of flag-themed clothing like thongs, shorts, and hats.

Google has given us a great Australian Google Doodle for the occasion as per usual and Twitter trends are filled with all things Australian whether it is #youknowyouareaustralianwhen or the slightly cynical #FiveWordsToRuinAustraliaDay. But most of the messages about Australia Day are positive but every year there is something that puts a damper on the day in the news (this year is no exception). But mostly people like to celebrate what makes being an Australian whether it is tags like the #youknowyouareaustralianwhen one on Twitter, or those cringe-worthy and mostly incorrect lists articles that talk about how to know you are Australian. These are often widely stereotypical and wrong, for starters it’s not shrimp, its prawn, and no one drinks Fosters, but they can be fun and people mean well.

Personally I enjoy Australia Day, even if I am not doing anything special to celebrate. This year my Australia Day is not that different from previous years, though we are currently experiencing a mozzie plague which may put a damper on any outdoor activities, the threat of Ross River Fever will do that, and the fact that today is a little bit rainy, but interestingly not actually cold, because that’s the magic of our summer weather. (Oh, the humidity!). I love seeing people enjoying themselves though and highlighting what makes our country great, and even if all I end up doing today is scrolling through a Twitter tag, eating a lammie, or just relaxing at home, it is still a pretty wonderful Australia Day.

But away from the threat of disease, no plans, and poor weather onto more delightful topics, this of course being books, more importantly Aussie books! If you can’t talk about Aussie books and authors on Australia day when can you? Recently Booktopia has been on a mission to find Australia’s favourite authors. After multiple rounds and numerous eliminations, they have released the final ten in their search for the Top Ten Australia Authors as voted by you guys. From the beginning each round has been filled with so many great Aussie authors and while it was sad when some favourites were cut in each round, with the top ten released I can see why these great authors made the final cut. With names such as John Marsden, Mem Fox, Liane Moriarty, Kerry Greenwood, and Matthew Reilly it reminds you that Australia really does produce some amazingly talented authors. You can check out the full list on Booktopia’s website where you can also check out the great range of books each of these authors has, you never know, you may find a new favourite Aussie author!

So that’s all from me, I hope you are all having a wonderful Australia Day whether you are celebrating with a lammie, an ANZAC bikkie, a BBQ, or all three combined, behave yourselves, have fun, and read something spectacular.

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