What I’ve been reading

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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/M├ętis 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!

#BookishBloggersUnite – 2019 Reading Goals

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Hello folks! I’m hosting our first #BookishBloggersUnite post for the year. Bookish Bloggers Unite is a tag developed by a group of bookish friends who wanted to blog about books together. You can join in at any time – just let us know and add your link to the comments.

It’s time to talk about our reading goals for 2019!

I was planning on paring back my challenges and goals this year, but that hasn’t really happened. Here’s a run down:

Goodreads Challenge – set at 150. Very achievable but set a bit on the low side so I feel comfortable to read bigger books.

Read Harder Challenge – put together by the delightful Rachel Manwill from Book Riot, this is always a good way for me to stretch my reading diversity, and this year is no exception.

Aussies Rule Challenge – We’ve talked about this – you know what it’s all about.

FOLD Challenge – This one was brought to my attention by a Canadian Book Riot Insider. The FOLD stands for “Festival of Literary Diversity”. You can find the blog here.

Dymocks52Challenge – Dymocks is an Aussie bookseller challenging people to read 52 books in 2019 and there are prizes and stuff so I’m playing along.

Some more general goals:

  • Read more Aussies – even though I was really trying Aussies only ended up being about 20% of my reading total from 2018
  • Also read more Canadians and NZers – the UK and US book market doesn’t need any help from me – I really want to read more people who aren’t getting the support of a massive publishing industry
  • Read more Authors of Colour – my AOC rate was a 47% for 2018 – I want it over 50% this year
  • Read more LGBTQIA2S authors – my LGBTQIA2S rep in my reading was pretty woeful last year. I want to get that up to at least 20%

And that’s me!

What are your bookish goals for 2019?

Cheers,

The Aussies Rule 2019 Reading Challenge

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I really enjoyed my Aussies Rule Challenge this year, and I know there were a few people playing along. So I’ve decided to keep it going for 2019! Also there will be prizes!

Here are the prompts:

  1. An Aussie book about politics or social science
  2. An Aussie play
  3. Some Aussie speculative fiction
  4. Some Aussie true crime that doesn’t focus on violence against women
  5. A book by an ATSI (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) person
  6. A book by a Miles Franklin winner
  7. A book by a winner of the Black and Write! Prize
  8. A winner of the Australian/Vogel literary award
  9. A book short listed for the Prime Ministers Literary Awards
  10. A book about an immigration or refugee experience
  11. New Zealanders also rule – a book by an Maori author
  12. A memoir by an ATSI person published in the last 10 years
  13. A book about ATSI history
  14. A book from Dr Anita Heiss’ Black Book Challenge
  15. An Aussie graphic novel
  16. A book by an Aussie LGBTQ+ author
  17. An Aussie book recommended by an Aussie author
  18. An Aussie book recommended by an Aussie booktuber, bookstagrammer or blogger
  19. A debut YA book
  20. An Aussie book you loved as a child or that is highly recommended for children.
  21. An Aussie book recommended or promoted by your local book store
  22. An Aussie book about feminism and/or gender
  23. A book by a new to you Aussie author
  24. A book by or about a disabled Aussie.
  • Prizes!
  • There will be prizes for the first to finish the challenge, and the person who finishes with the highest points.
  • Points? What points?
  • This year we’re going to use a point system to add more fun.
  • If you read a book for a prompt that is by someone who is:
    • LGBTQ+
      An Author of Colour
      Differently abled/neuro diverse
  • you will get an extra ‘point’, unless that specification is made in the question.
  • So, for example, if I read a book by Jen Wilde (who identifies as queer and neuro diverse) for the LGBTQ+ question, you get an extra point. If you read one of Jen Wilde’s books for the debut YA question, you get 2 extra points.
  • Sound like fun?
  • Excellent, time to start planning! I’ll be posting suggestions here. Let me know if you are confused to have questions.
  • Happy New Year!