We know these are difficult times for many people.
The inflation figures released this week underlined the very real cost-of-living pressures many Australians are facing and the very real need for the Albanese Government's policies to help alleviate those pressures.
But there are of course other reasons why many in our community may also be feeling a bit sombre of late.
The defeat of the Voice, the new and escalating conflict in the Middle East, and - on a more individual level - the loss of one of the finest Australians, Bill Hayden.
These three things - Voice, Middle East, Bill Hayden - are all very different sadnesses.
Each of them in different parts, terrible and troubling, reflecting churn and change, division and disappointment.
And each of them are a moment in a longer story.
Some 65,000 years of continuous culture left out of a constitution not much more than a hundred years old. A time of terror for the innocents of two peoples trying to find a way to live together in one place. And last weekend's passing of a man whose legacy was much more than a political transition between Whitlam and Hawke, it was a policy transformation too.
We've lost a lot - and that's just one month of one year.
Before long we will be reading longer accounts of what we are living today.
Not just because we seek solace or consolation or even escape in books, but because we seek perspective.
Books make sense of the moments that shape our country and its people and our way of life, to see where things fit.
Even in the most troubling times, there is something about the context and contours of books which give us hope.
Good books tell the story of crises and challenges but they also speak to a belief they can be overcome.
Books are a reminder that we are temporary custodians of a much bigger and a much longer story - that the need to know and understand this longer and bigger story will never be satisfied or sated by a pithy tweet or a Google search or a YouTube clip.
It requires the deftness, the care, the detail of something longer and deeper to grasp the wonder and the scale of the story of which we are all a part.
The four absolutely brilliant books that were on the shortlist for Political Book of the Year demonstrate this.
James Curran's Australia's China Odyssey: From Euphoria to Fear is about the projection of power.
Russell Marks' Black Lives, White Law is about the absence of power, about powerlessness.
Nick McKenzie's Crossing the Line is about the protection and preservation of power.
Niki Savva's Bulldozed - which took out this year's prize at the National Press Club on Wednesday - is about the winning and losing and perhaps the wasting of power.
These works all show books aren't just pinning the past to a page.
They're more like Tennyson's arch of experience - through which we look forward, not back.
They aren't just about what happened - but why and what happens next.
They challenge us to see the parallels in our own lives and our own times, to learn, and to draw inspiration from subjects, but also from the authors themselves.
From Nick's courage, from Russell's conscience, from James' clarity, and from Niki's ability to join up the key, often unnoticed, moments that changed the country's course and character.
I don't know how those descriptions of my campaign debate-prep impersonations of Scott Morrison made the final draft of Bulldozed.
But I do have Niki to thank for the people who come up to me in airports and ask me to "do my Morrison"!
Political writing speaks to us because it is about the way we interact with and understand one another, and how we get things done.
All the books that were shortlisted for the Political Book of the Year award show the power of political writing, and why it keeps drawing us back.
Capturing our history, providing us with perspective while looking to what comes next.
- Jim Chalmers is the federal Treasurer.