If last year, through undertaking the Australian Women Writers Challenge, I became a convert to reading more Australian women authors, then this year it’s like I’ve been confirmed – or even taken my vows. This year I undertook the Miles challenge of reading six books and reviewing four.
In 2015 I read in a more informed way. I was much more up with latest releases – thanks mostly to the AWW website which has connected me to authors, author blogs and reading blogs. In fact, all the books I reviewed for the challenge were published in 2014 or 2015.
The books I reviewed were:
The other new releases I read were:
“One Life: My Mother’s Story”, Kate Grenville’s tender and astute evocation of her late mother’s life. I heard Kate Grenville speak at our local library and was in awe of her; sharp, erudite, considered and warm. It was a privilege to hear her speak about how she went about telling her mother’s story, celebrating her life in as honest and respectful way while also managing to write a wonderfully engaging and honest narrative.
This book is so well written. Bishop gets inside the two main characters, husband and wife, and explores their strengths and flaws tenderly, without judgement, but in doing so exposes the tragedy of their marriage and family. I was so affected by this book I actually had to reimagine the ending so I could be at peace with what happened. I know. It’s fiction! But I couldn’t live with the sadness.
A long short story? Short novella? Either way – engrossing and insightful and beautifully crafted.
Paddy O’Reilly is one of Australia’s best short story writers. The stories are original, unexpected yet familiar. She builds these lean works with such tightness and strength that they take hold and stay with you.
My kid’s book club, Barnaby Book Club, were unanimous in their praise for this book. It is jam-packed with stories, quizzes, fun random weird stuff in the margins like zombie possums and great characters like Danny Best and all of his friends. It is made up of several stories with so much to engage the kids they will most likely read it several times.
The other books I read were:
This is the first book by Lily Brett that I have read and I thought it was masterful – faultless. I liked everything about it – especially the structure and tone.
“Mateship With Birds” By Carrie Tiffany – made me laugh and cry. I could smell the bush while reading this.
“A Short History Of Richard Kline” by Amanda Lohrey.
“The Tall Man: The Death of Doomadgee” by Chloe Hooper – an extraordinarily important book , expertly navigated and crafted.
And I have just snuck in another with a few days before the end of the year - Anna Funder’s “All That I Am”. What. A. Book. So impressed.
When I was a kid I remember thinking of the calendar year as very linear. I imagined a dark blank space of nothingness between December of one year and January of the next. It must have been to do with our wall calendar – the flipping of the pages for each month until the end. Then what? Nothing…until the next calendar was put up. Like falling off the edge of a flat earth I think I thought you could fall off time into some dark nothingness. What must I thought happened there? I don’t know. I just remember a time where I never thought of one year connecting straight to the next. Now I know all too well how years roll on, merge, chase and engulf one another. So, although I have completed my Australian Women Writers challenge for 2015 I am forging straight on to the challenge for 2016 - like a tumble turn at the end of one lap with a strong push off the wall.