News from The Arthur Holt Library

News from The Arthur Holt Library

There have been many highlights as we slowly make our way towards a ‘new normal’, but none have been quite as high as the return of books@breakfast, the Arthur Holt Library’s series of bi-annual author talks. As wonderful as it has been to welcome students back into the library, it was particularly special to see them return with their friends and family in tow to revel in the kinds of shared experiences that only books can offer us.

This term’s author was Lech Blaine, whose memoir ‘Car Crash’ details a head-on collision that took place when he was just 17 years old, killing three of his friends, leaving two in comas and from which he escaped physically unscathed. What follows is a thoughtful exploration of the nature of survivor’s guilt and of all the ways in which Australian men have typically sought to deny and suppress their feelings.

The book might be focussed on overcoming loss, but in his discussions with MC Sunil Badami he spoke about the healing power of relationships and the importance of reaching out in times of need. For Lech, developing those kinds of relationships has helped him to come to terms with his experience, helped pull him out of depression and given him an outlet for all of the contradictory feelings that continue to trouble him.

Writing the book was undoubtedly a pivotal part of his recovery, but Lech aligns it closely with the necessity of forming relationships. “The remarkable thing about writing is that you can have a conversation with someone that you would never have a conversation with in real life… you cannot achieve that level of intimacy with another human being that you don’t know in real life.”

We couldn’t agree more! If there’s a single reason why books@breakfast occupies such a special place in the collective heart of the library, it is precisely that… the ability of books to bring us closer together.

“When I think about how I understand my role as a citizen, setting aside being president… the most important stuff I’ve learned, I think I’ve learned from novels.” – Barack Obama

Lech Blaine in conversation with Sunil Badami
Students, parents and staff enjoying a light breakfast
The Arthur Holt Library team with Lech Blaine and Sunil Badami

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