What I’ve been reading

Hey there folks!

We’re 13 days into 2019 and so far my reading is going very well! (It’s a bit too early to have crapped out right?) I thought I’d run you through a few things I have read an enjoyed so far this year (and where I’m using them in my challenges!)

My first really fun read of the year was After the Lights Go Out by Lili Wilkinson. This one was recommended by Amie Kaufman on one of her Instagram stories, and you know how I love me some Aussie YA. This is a great story about Prudence, whose dad is a “prepper” – ie he’s waiting for the apocalypse and he is P R E P A R E D. As the oldest Pru has been taught everything she could possibly need to know to survive the end of times. But when the end of times happen and her father has been caught up in it, Pru knows she needs to look after her younger siblings but can’t find it in her to turn her back on her town (and the new boy who she likes). I really enjoyed this one, and it has a realy hopeful vibe for something which is about the end of times. (Trigger warnings for some abusive parental behaviour). I’m using this as my Aussie spec fic for the Aussies Rule Challenge.

A Really Good Brown Girl is a wonderful book of poetry from Canadian Marilyn Dumont (who is of Cree/Métis descent). It talks about the difficulties of racism, growing up with prejudice and poverty and honouring the self and her ancestors. Dumont’s writing is beautiful, thought provoking and heart breaking. I’m using this for number 4 of the FOLD reading challenge.

My Mother, A Serial Killer I picked up on a whim from the local library as I was passing through, and it’s absolutely fascinating. Hazel Baron suspected her mother was a murderer when she was 9. The morning after her father had come home from hospital and made an accusation to his wife about the young man hanging around the camp, Ted Baron had disappeared. Hazel kept her peace even through the deaths of another two men. When her husband started coming home injured from working with her mother and step father, Hazel went to the police with her suspicions. This is a fascinating story about a woman who sounds like an actual psycopath. I’m using this for the Aussie True Crime prompt for Aussies Rule, and for the book with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads prompt for Read Harder.

You would have to have been living under rock to be an Aussie and not have seen Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton around the traps. I avoided it for a while but then picked it up early this year, and I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed it! It’s a pretty difficult and gritty story about a boy whose parents are drug addicts and then dealers. The book is based on Dalton’s own childhood, and he has mentioned in pieces written about it the admiration he has for his mother and the love he has for his family. It also reads to me like a love letter to Brisbane. Books set here are few and far between, and Dalton has included a lot of detail from the suburbs and a lot of locations I am very familiar with. I don’t know if a reader not from here would find it as evocative. But I loved it (despite the huge cheese factor.) (Trigger warnings for child neglect, domestic violence, gang violence, and violence towards children). I’m using this for the “book by a journalist” prompt for Read Harder.

I finished Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi last night and I’m still processing. What a sucker punch of a book. It’s absolutely brilliant. The being that is Ada is an ogbanje – a being summoned into existence by prayers to the gods. Parts of this book are told by a chorus of voices – the beings occupying the body of “the Ada”. Great trauma causes Asughara and St Vincent to break from from the chorus. Asughara is very dominant and she and Ada negotiate their day to day existance, but Ada just wants the pain to stop. In interviews, Emezi talks about the spirituality of shifting selves and how this is something not really accepted or acknowledged by the wider community and also talks about the process of transition not necessarily to a gender but to ogbanje. This one is going to stick with me for a long time. (Trigger warnings for child abuse, rape, self harm, sucidal ideation and suicide, eating disorders.) I’m using this for the non binary author prompt for Read Harder.

How are you going? What reading gold have you struck so far this year?

Cheers!

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