#BookishBloggersUnite – Comfort Reads

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Hi folks, welcome to your weekly edition of Bookish Bloggers Unite, a tag that was started by a group of friends wanting to blog about books together. This week is all about comfort reads, and we’re being hosted by the lovely Kimmy over at Pingwings. Make sure you check out her blog! Remember you can join in at any time by adding your link to the host’s post.

Sometimes when the world is a dumpster fire and life seems tough, pushing through a new book can be more than you can manage, especially if you try to read challenging material on the regular. There are times you need to let your brain relax into the familiar, comfortable and beloved reads that get you know will get you through. Here are mine:

Becky Chambers, where were you all my life? I love The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet so much. The characters are all unique and have depth, it’s queer, there are great aliens and different cultures and it always makes me laugh. (The audio is brilliant as well.)

Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series are another familiar spot for me to lay my reading head. There are so many of them, you can dip in and out without getting bored. I love his humour and social commentary. My favourite though are the books about the Night Watch characters. Vimes and his crew always welcome me back into their stories.

The last one is a little embarrassing, but here we go.

This is my battered copy of Swann’s Way that dates back to the late 90s. I’m really sorry, but I just love Proust. I am a classics nerd, and originally read it (off my own bat, not for an assignment) when I was studying a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit. It took me a year to read all of In Search of Lost Time and I was hooked. I love the language and the way he weaves the story. This is the ultimate comfort read for me – I even have a digital copy on my iPad for easy access.

What books do you turn to when you need a bookish hug?

Cheers!

#BookishBloggersUnite – Influential Childhood Books

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Welcome to another edition of Bookish Bloggers Unite. The #bookishbloggersunite tag came about when a bunch of likeminded friends wanted to talk about books together. This week we’re talking about influential childhood books, and we’re being hosted by the wonderful Katy over at The Bookish Cronk.

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t able to read. I also don’t really remember any favourite picture books from my childhood. There is one series that loomed large for me.

I had every Trixie Belden book and I read them obsessively over and over from the age of about 7. I was already a tomboy, now I just needed a club and adventures – none of which really materialised. I even managed to convince my parents to get me some Bob-White quails (so cute!) Trixie was great – she was strong, independent and wouldn’t take any crap. As much as I loved these books, I haven’t tried to reread them as an adult as I’m worried about how they would hold up. I don’t remember a single character who wasn’t white.

As I got a bit older and entered high school, I discovered another series of mystery novels – Arthur Upfield’s “Bony” Books.

I don’t need to reread these as an adult – what I can remember has me cringing for real. Plot summary for those of you not familiar with these gems. Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (aka Bony) is “half” Aboriginal and works on police cases in the outback. He is subjected to racism until the people he is dealing with realise he’s a police Inspector. The final nail went into the coffin of these books for me when a movie was put together in the early 90s with a white actor “blacking up” to play the lead. No, no, no. It is also a sad indictment on my education that I learned way more about Aboriginal culture from these books than anything else in the formal curriculum. (Not saying that was accurate or appropriate, merely noting the meagre offerings.) Shame on you, Queensland Education.

Of course the holy grail of my childhood reading was this.

Adams taught me about language, pacing, comedy and social commentary. I still love this book so much (and I also still have a digital watch.)

What books shaped you growing up? You can join in by adding your link to Katy’s blog post.

Cheers!

Australian Black History Month TBR

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should note that this post may contain the names and images of deceased persons.

Welcome to July, which is Black History Month here in Australia. I have a bunch of books on my TBR this month that I’m really excited to get to. I’m looking forward to the #24in48 Readathon on the weekend of July 21 – 22 to help me get through this stack. (Don’t forget to sign up for the Readathon! There are prizes and everything!)

Before I get to the books there are a couple of things I would suggest you do if you’re not familiar with the Australian Black History Month. This year is the 10th anniversary and the focus is on amazing Aboriginal women.

  • Check out the Blak History Month official site which has resources and information.
  • Check out your local council website to find out what is going on locally and go get involved! If you’re in Brisbane, you can find more information here.
  • Follow @IndigenousX on Twitter. Founded by Luke Pearson, the IndigenousX twitter handle is run by a different and amazing member of the Aboriginal community each week. This week Ngarra Murray has the wheel, and is posting about remarkable Aboriginal women.
  • Please consider signing this petition – VicRoads is due to desecrate the site of the Djapwurrung Birthing Trees and cut them down. If you are close by, please also consider adding your voice to the protests.

Okay, let’s get down to business. Here is my main stack.

The Kadaitcha Sung was gifted to me by a friend in the US as it’s basically impossible to find here. I’ve seen the words “confronting” and “aggressive” used in reviews. One of the things the white majority seems to expect from Aboriginal people is a lack of aggression and anger when talking about the atrocities of the past, which seems completely unreasonable.

Up From the Mission is a collection of essays from Noel Pearson, lawyer and activist.

Taboo by Kim Scott has been on my TBR since it came out. It is currently shortlisted for the Miles Franklin.

Tracker by Alexis Wright won this year’s Stella Prize. It’s chunky and I expect this is where my readathon hours will go.

I’m also hoping to devour as much of this stack as I can.

I also have Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book on audio for my commute.

This is a great opportunity to get stuck into your Aussies Rule Challenge reading goals. We’re halfway through the year – how are you doing?

Do you have reading goals for Black History Month? Let me know!

Cheers,

#BookishBloggersUnite – Books Iā€™m excited about – 2018 part 2

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This week our #BookishBloggersUnite tag is devoted to titles that are on our
TBR for the second half of 2018. Bookish Bloggers Unite came about when a group or bookish friends wanted to write about books together. This week our host is the delightful Bookish Bron so make sure you check out her post. Remember you can join in at any time by submitting your blog post through the linky on the host’s page.

So, what books am I excited about that I plan to read in the second half of this year. This is difficult because:

  1. Dammit, don’t make me pick! I get excited about a lot of stuff;
  2. As a mood reader, who knows what I will actually read during the rest of the year? My reading plans tend to be pretty flexible, and by flexible I’m talking about one of those super supple gymnasts that can turn themselves into a pretzel.

Here is a list of the books that i have the best of intentions to read this year and that I’m really stoked about.

(Note: I’m going to be posting really soon about my intended reads for July, which is Black History Month in the Great Land of Aus. As such I won’t talk about any of those titles now, even though I’m really jazzed about them, to save on doubling up.)

You must have been hiding under a rock if you haven’t heard of this one. Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel has had some awesome press. (She is totally worth a follow on Instagram as well.)

Eurovision meets Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? Yes please!

I’m very much looking forward to the sequel for All Systems Red. Murderbot is a delight.

A bunch of retelling of Asian myths and legends by Asian authors, this book is also getting some great reviews.

I also love a good Shakespeare retelling. This is the latest addition to the Hogarth Shakespeare series, and who better to have a go at Macbeth than creepy, murdery Jo Nesbo. (As in his writing is creepy and murdery.)

The events surrounding this book’s publication and the sudden capture of the culprit shortly thereafter put this on my TBR. This copy was gifted to me by one of my delightful Book Riot Insiders friends, and I am keen!

Okay, I know I should have read this one already, but the reading gods and goddesses have not been smiling on me over the last couple of weeks. So I’ll still totally stoked for my brain to be functioning enough for me to read this one.

What books are you excited about for the second half of the year? Are any of these on your list?

Cheers,

#Bookishbloggersunite – Midyear Reading in Review

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#BookishBloggersUnite began as a group of bookish friends who wanted to write about books together. This is a catch up post from last week (because my last week has been a little crap) and the lovely Jade over at Bindros Bookshelf was our host. Make sure you check out her stunning blog.

1. Number of books read

I tend to set my Goodreads Reading Challenge at 150, although I have smashed that total the last couple of years. I want to make sure I give myself the freedom to be reading longer books that may take more time, and I do feel like I’ve read a lot more books over 400 pages this year than I have in previous years. That being said, my total is currently sitting at 114 for the year, meaning that 200 for the year should be attainable.

2. Tracking my Books

Goodreads is a tried and true method for me. I did make up a manual journal to track pages, diversity and so forth, but it’s been a good couple of months since I’ve made any entries in that. (I don’t use a spreadsheet because a look at those suckers all day at work.)

3. Reading Challenges

Hmm excellent question!

Read Harder – I have 6 left, all ones I’m struggling with.

The Reading Women Challenge – I have 8 to go, again ones I’m struggling with.

The Aussies Rule Challenge – I have 12 to go. (Next month is Black History month here, so I’m planning to smash out a few then!)

4. Favourite Books So Far

My top 10 in no particular order:

In Carpenteria, Alexis Wright beautifully shows the frustrations and anger of A original people trying to live with whites in a small remote community.

John Boyne will break your heart over and over with this story of a gay Irishman born just after WW2 and his life’s journey.

Kameron Hurley creates a unique world with a diverse cast of characters and a seriously flawed main character.

Really interesting perspective on the history of the USA from an Indigenous viewpoint. This book taught me some horrifying stuff.

Do I need to say anything more about this one? Coming to the US in September, Tor has listed it as one of their most anticipated reads for that month.

I’ve mentioned Azar’s Book previously as well. Her writing is beautiful.

I love Alice Oseman’s writing and the way her characters jump off the page.

The third in this series has just come out. Fox captures both the sweltering heat of Cairns and the despair of a man with nothing left to lose. I’m looking forward to catching up on this series.

I’ve mentioned this one before as well. E.K Johnston is great and this alternate future story is pretty awesome.

I finished Dread Nation yesterday and it’s just so good. Jane is a kick-arse heroine and I love her grit. Also lots of social commentary about what slavery, freedom and racism look like, with bonus zombies.

How is your year of reading going so far?

Cheers,

#BookishBloggersUnite – Pride Month TBR

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Hi everyone, welcome to the latest #booksihbloggersunite post. Bookish Bloggers Unite was a tag created by a group of bookish friends who wanted to talk about books together.

This month is Pride month in the US (I’m not sure if there’s a specific Pride month here in Australia? In my home town of Brisbane there’s a Pride Festival in September, and the Sydney Mardi Gras tends to happen in February or March? Year round queer celebrations suit me just fine).

This week we’re going to talk about our LGBTQIA+ (or QUILTBAG – I’ve seen this starting to appear around the place) TBRs for the month of June.

So far I have nailed

I’m not sure if I can put into words why I love Kameron Hurley’s writing so much. Nothing is off limits, she wants to push all the boundaries and she’s happy to write characters who aren’t great people but who you end up liking anyway.

I’m currently listening to

I’m enjoying it TBR looks like this:

Revenant Gun is the final in the Machineries of Empire series by Yoon Ha Lee. I desperately love the first two books, and I’m waiting impatiently for my copy of this to turn up.

Foz Meadows’ name has been on my list for a little while, but I realised in the last week that not only is she queer, but she is a Brissie local! (She also just won the Nora K Hemming award for short fiction for her story Coral Bones!)

This one I picked up at my local library – it’s a story set in the US about a gay son born to conservative Nigerian parents, which looks totally heartbreaking.

I recently read Brown Girl in the Ring so Nalo Hopkinson is on my list of people I need to red immediately. This one I’ve picked up on audio (only option from the Aussie audible site – come on guys!)

What’s on your list for this month? Do you have any recommendations?

Also remember you can join in at any time! Just pop your link in the linky thing šŸ™‚

Cheers!

#BookishBloggersUnite – A Book for all Seasons

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#Bookishbloggersunite is a tag created by a bunch of bookish friends who wanted to talk and write about books together. This week’s post is hosted by the sensational Sarah over at Reviews and Readathons. Make sure you drop by to check out her blog. Also you can join up at any time – just share your link at the link up on the host’s page.

This week we’re talking about books for all seasons. Here in Brisbane it finally feels like winter might happen (I spotted someone on the street in a beanie and gloves last week, a sure indication that the morning’s temp had dropped below 17 degrees Celsius – Brisbanites are notorious wusses when it comes to the “cold”)

Here are some seasonal recommendations for you:

Summer:

The Waves by Virginia Woolf is my favourite beach read. Her lyrical prose magically captures the rhythm of the waves, and having them in the background while reading this made the experience of this book an incredible one.

Autumn:

We don’t really have an autumn here – the colours of the trees don’t change or anything. Autumn is more being aware that you can go back outside again without the sun melting you into a little puddle.

Although it’s set in the Canadian summer That Inexplicable Victorian Thing has more of a fun “it’s no longer summer and you can do fun things outside” feel to me.

Winter:

One of the great things about living in a sub tropical climate is that most of our winter days are very similar to summer days in places like the UK and Europe, so I don’t mind too much reading about people freezing their arses off and reminding myself about how good I have it. The terrible cold is like a character in Burial Rites, making itself known and felt, like a wolf at the door.

Spring:

Again, Spring isn’t really a thing that happens here. I’m always sad when my jasmine flowers in August as I know the heat isn’t far away, and by the time the jacarandas are flowing in November, the summer heat is already extending it’s tentacles.

Picnic at Hanging Rock is a fun spring read – girls in stiff dresses climbing through the bush and disappearing? All the fun times!

Do you have any favourite seasonal reads?

Cheers,