#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!

#BookishBloggersUnite – Books I’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 – 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,

#BookishBloggersUnite: Authors I’d Like to Meet

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#Bookishbloggersunite is a regular tag created by a group of avid readers who wanted to write about books together. I’m playing catch up this week – this post is from last week’s round, which was hosted by the ever-delightful Bron. Make sure you check out her blog. Plus you can join in any time – just add your page link to the link up on the hosts’s page.

I’ve been pretty lucky to meet some amazing authors in recent time, but my wishlist of people who I would like to meet is ever growing. I’m a little sad that I haven’t been to an author event yet this year (most of the ones I would like to get to are happening during the week here in Brisbane, which just isn’t feasible given the hours I work.)

Anyhoo, here is a bunch of amazing authors I would love to listen to/fangirl at/ hear how their brains work.

Claire Coleman – author of Terra Nullius. As far as I’m aware, Coleman is the first Aboriginal author to produce sci-fi, which to me is incredibly exciting (and if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you will have seen me being generally excited about this book for a while). She’s recently received a deal for her second book. She’s been doing the rounds of the writing festivals in the southern states, so I’m hoping she’ll make it to the Brisbane festival in September.

Yoon Ha Lee – author of the Machineries of Empire trilogy. I’m waiting with bated breath for the third book in this amazing series (I’ve even pre-ordered it, which isn’t generally a thing I do). I love these books so much, there is so much in them. Raven Stratagem left a huge hole in my heart that I’m hoping book three will sort out. Lee works as a mathematician and is also a trans person (there is some seriously amazing gender bending going on in these books). This article by Lee about being trans and writing trans characters is well worth a read.

Kameron Hurley – author of The Stars are Legion plus a bunch of other stuff. The Stars are Legion is nothing like anything I’ve ever read – warring lesbians in space (there are no male characters) with some serious body horror going on. Her backlist (and anything else she ever writes) is on my TBR. Hurley works in marketing when she isn’t writing books, and I recently discovered that she has a delightfully sweary podcast called Back to Work Hurley.

N.K. Jemisin – author of the Broken Earth trilogy and others. Jemisin has won the Hugo two years running for the first two instalments in this trilogy and has been nominated for the third. Emotionally devastating is the only way I can summarise these books, but their exploration of slavery, diversity, betrayal and the human condition and determination to survive is totally worth it.

I could definitely add more to this list (and you’ll note this is my sci-fi list) – Becky Chambers, Rivers Solomon and Nnedi Okorafor for instance – but I will leave it here.

Which authors would you most like to meet?

Cheers,

#BookishBloggersUnite – My Life in Books Tag

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#BookishBloggersUnite is a group of like-minded bloggers wanted to write about books together. This week I found this cool tag over at Talking Tales by the lovely Amy, who runs our local book store. Make sure you check out her blog! Remember you can join us at any time!

I’m hosting us this week, so feel free to pop in your link at the bottom of this post!

My Life in Books Tag

1. Find a book for each of your initials.

S –

A fictional retelling of the Lizzie Borden murders – this one is on my TBR.

J – Jinangga by Monty Walgar – Walgar’s memoir of his life of hard work and struggle with alcohol addiction from a member of the first generation of Aboriginal Australians who had access to alcohol.

D –

This is the second in the Wayward Children series, this is the second book and follows Jack and Jill on their initial journey through their door.

2. Count your age across your bookshelf.

Hmmm, which shelf? I picked the one that’s best arranged and came up with Autonomous by Annalee Newitz. This book is an amazing exploration of gender and consent, with additional social commentary about big pharma and bonus lady pirates.

3. Pick a book set in your city/country.

The Boundary by Nicole Watson really brings to life the feel of the Brisbane I grew up in. Set in the 80s it explores the tension between politicians at the time and the Aboriginal people.

4. Pick a book that represents a destination you want to travel to.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. I’ve always been fascinated by Iceland and this book really brought the landscape to life. I’ll be happy to go in this century with modern heating conveniences though.

5. Pick a book that’s your favourite colour.

All of the purple, thank you.

6. Which book do you have fondest memories of?

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ll know my fondness for HHGTTG. I first read it when I was 15 (when all my friends were reading Flowers in the Attic) and it completely changed my thinking.

7. Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

Curse you, Joyce! Ulysses was an absolute slog, and I’m not even sure it was worth it.

8. Which book on your TBR will give you the biggest accomplishment when you read it?

Probably The Quiet Violence of Dreams. I picked it up last year but stalled. That sucker is big.

That’s it from me – again feel free to add your post in the link up if you’re playing along.

Cheers!

#BookishBloggersUnite – Best Opening Lines

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This week for Bookish Bloggers Unite we’re talking about best opening lines. This week we’re being hosted by Tina over at TBR, etc so make sure to pay her a visit at her wonderful blog. Remember you can join the fun at any time, just pop your post link into the linky on Tina’s site.

I don’t necessarily pay a lot of attention to opening lines in particular – I’m generally pretty keen to get to what happens after that. An opening line does give you a particular way of approaching a book and can set the tone for the rest of the novel. I confess I had to go searching for opening lines to share with you – I only had one that I remembered, but it turns out that some books that I love do have great openings.

I do’t speak about him much on the blog (as he is a dead white guy) but I do have a deep and abiding love for Douglas Adams. My first opening line is from his Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, my favourite of his books. (The photo is of the copy I bought when I was in my last year of school, which means it’s nearly 30 years old.)

“It can hardly be a co-incidence that no language on Earth has produced the expression ‘as pretty as an airport’.”

I love Adams for his mix of humour and dark social commentary, both of which are abundant in this book.

Next up is Fools by Pat Cadigan, which is one of my all time favourite sci-fi novels. (The photo is my copy purchased in 1994.)

“Everywhere I looked in Davy Jones’ Locker, I saw me, or people who wanted to be me.”

It launches you into the book with the feeling of confusion and WTF-ness if you like, which lasts for the entire acid trip that this book is.

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern has a simple opening line that sucks you in.

“The circus arrives without warning.”

I don’t know about you, but where I live when the circus comes to town it is heralded by some seriously disturbing large inflatable clowns, so a circus that arrives without warning seems intriguing and mysterious.

Last but not least, the opening to book one of the Illuminae Files sets up some high expectations of what’s to come.

“So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.”

Consider me sucked in to the action! (I recently bought the hardcover version of his one, it is a thing of beauty.)

Do you have any favourite first lines? I’d love to hear them!

Cheers!