I know April’s not quite over yet, but I don’t think I’ll be finishing another book between now and Tuesday, so this seems like an opportune time to see where the dust has settled this month.
Aussie April has been happening this month thanks to booktubers Jaclyn and Doris, and I’ve not only enjoyed taking part in my own effort to read more Aussies, but it’s also given me immense satisfaction to see so many people WHO AREN’T AUSTRALIAN talking about Aussie books. Thank you so much Jaclyn and Doris for making this a thing.
Here are the four books I nominated as my reads for Aussie April and some quick reviews of them.
This book was nothing like I expected it to be, and yet I still enjoyed it. George-Allen looks at the way women support and hold each other up in a variety of spaces in ways that I hadn’t really thought about before – make up vlogging, different types of sports such as dance and weight lifting, midwives, nuns and just how radical some of these spaces can be.
If I Tell You by Alicia Tuckerman is heart breaking for so many reasons. Alex lives in a small town, she knows that she should love the boy who shows all the signs of loving her, but she doesn’t. She’s gay and can’t imagine how to tell her friends and family. This is only made worse when a new family with an openly gay daughter moves into town and the townsfolk show just how small minded they are – and Alex falls head over heels. This is a wonderful coming out story with a hopeful ending. Make sure you have the tissues ready though.
A Long Way from No Go is the memoir of Tjanara Goreng Goreng and you had better keep the tissues out for this one. Goreng Goreng tells of diffficult life, including her sexual abuse by predators within the Catholic Church (she was involved in having one of the first priests imprisoned for this). She talks frankly about the racism she endured from school through to her work in Canberra and the things that happened leading up the the “children overboard” scandal of the Howard era and some of the events that lead to the Northern Territory “Intervention.” (This is a good article looking back at the events leading up to the Intervention if you want a bit more context.) I would love for every Aussie to read this powerful book.
I had heard a lot about The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper before I picked it up, and it did not disappoint. I made the mistake of picking it up at 8.30 on Friday night, and I didn’t put it down until I finished it at 1 the next morning. The Arsonist deals with the evidence, questioning and court case for the man convicted of starting the Black Saturday bush fires in 2009, which claimed the lived of 173 people (as well a millions of animals). Hooper’s writing is meticulous. She tackles the story from the points of view of the police (the witness statements are heartbreaking) the counsel for the accused and then in the court room itself. This book was long listed for the Stella Prize this year – and I can now agree with sentiments expressed by many others – I’m not sure how it didn’t make it to the short list.
Other Aussie books I’ve read in April!
Here’s a list of other Aussie books I’ve read this month, with a quick description and a star rating:
- The Wife Drought by Annabel Crab. If you aren’t a straight white cis guy, you probably know most of the facts in here, but boy did it make my blood boil seeing some of the actual stats. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre (ed Jane Lyndon, Lyndall Ryan) A series of essays about the awful massacre at Myall Creek and it’s importance as being the first massacre of Aboriginal people where whites were punished by law. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Bewitched and Bedevilled: Women Write the Gillard Years (ed Samantha Trenoweth) a series of essays examining the outrageous sexism piled on our first female PM. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Girl Running, Boy Falling by Kate Gordon. A really heart felt YA with difficult topics of suicide and grief ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- The Third Witch by Jackie French. A Macbeth retelling from the point of view of the youngest “witch” who was actually Lady Macbeth’s chambermaid, put up to the deed by her mistress to give her husband some gumption. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Bluebottle by Belinda Castles. A family that has to tiptoe around it’s father, another family with a daughter missing, lots of beach atmosphere. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Dyschronia by Jennifer Mills. Sam’s migraines start when she is a preteen and also seem to come with precognition. The writing style for this one is pretty unique! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Into the Night by Sarah Bailey. Detective Gemma Woodstock has recently moved to Melbourne from her small country town and is caught up in the murder of a celebrity. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
- A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews. Another really intense YA story with themes of child abuse and violence, and a hopeful ending. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
And there we have it!
How was your Aussie April? Did you discover any books or authors that you wouldn’t have stumbled across ordinarily?