20 to go!!
Dreadnought was so good! I really enjoyed it – it gave me all the feels. I’ll put up a full review in the next couple of weeks.
This baby is next.
Anita Heiss is a well known Wiradjuri author. She and a number of others are currently warming up for their Swim for the Reef challenge to raise money for the Environmental Defenders Office of Qld. (Our stupid government keeps wanting to build things like ‘mega ports’ outside the world heritage area of the Great Barrier Reef which could be incredibly damaging.) You can find out more (and donate if you wish) here.
This also ticks boxes for my Litsy A to Z, Reading Around the World and AWW challenges.
I ventured outside to take this shot – and nearly melted. It’s 32 (C) and 90% humidity out there! I’m very grateful for air conditioning.
How is your challenge travelling?
Adam is an academic, living in Malaysia and trying to scrape together a living. His family is still in Syria, and he can only watch news reports and wait desperately for news from home, hoping they are okay. He is poorly paid despite the work he does and the hours he puts in, but his really hasn’t much choice – without the money he sends to his family they will have even less access to food, water, medicine.
An Ishmael of Syria is both a wonderful character portrait, and gruelling, haunting, powerful account of the tragedies in Syria. Adam’s father taught him that to think that life is or should be ‘fair’ is a childish notion. Adam is staunchly against the mindset of victimhood, which is, understandably, a recurring theme throughout the book. He is continually confronted with racism – towards others by his peers as well as towards himself by other groups – and he opposes this at every opportunity. He also opposes the stupidity and hypocrisy that is spouted by his Syrian friends in their support of the president. Despite his own strident voice against racism, Adam feels unsupported by Malay society; that being Syrian marks him as someone distasteful, and as someone who can be treated badly as his choices are very limited. As he agrees to the worst job offer he has ever heard, Adam is aware that he is breaching his own code of ethics and worries that he has entered a state of learned victimhood. But he knows he will do anything to help his family.
While this is written as a novel, Adam’s voice feels incredibly personal and authentic. It feels more like a personal recount than a novel. The despair, anger and heartbreak is utterly raw. It put me in mind a little of Scholastique Mukasonga’s Cockroaches, which is a memoir of her escape from Rwanda prior to the genocide and the pain of waiting to find out what had happened to her family.
Read this book immediately.
4 out of 5.
2016 was a great bookish year for me, and I hope 2017 will be just as good, if not better.
I have a few challenges I will be undertaking in 2017 that I would love to tell you about:
- The Goodreads Challenge – doesn’t everyone do this? I’ve set my goal at 150 – I would rather revise it up than be stressed about it being too high.
- Litsy A – Z Challenge – This was devised by the delightful @BookishMarginlia on Litsy. I’ve posted my list for this one previously, but you can find it here. The idea is to read a book representative of every letter in the alphabet, using title, author or a combination of both. My list is by title and I’ve added an extra level of difficulty by using a ‘diverse’ book for every title in this challenge. Which leads me to the next challenge…
- Diverse Reading Challenge – Naz from Read Diverse Books has laid down a challenge for bloggers to read and review more diverse books and authors. You will be awarded a badge according to your level of participation. Check out the #ReadDiverse2017 tag on Twitter. (My goal is to hit 30 if not more – diverse books are awesome!)
- Australian Women Writers Challenge – This Challenge is to read and review more Aussie women writers. I’ve pledged to read 30 and review 4, though I’m hoping for more than that.
- Reading Around the World Challenge – I’m kick starting my project to read a book from every country in the world. This will take me longer than 12 months (a lot longer!) but I’ve tried to work books from this Challenge into some of the others. You can check out the planning page here and I’ll be updating it over the next few days mainly so I can keep track of books that I have ordered. I’ve found abebooks.com really helpful for this challenge. It’s great to locate second hand or even new books that are hard to find or completely overpriced on amazon or the other usual sites.
- Less of a challenge and more of a thing: Bex from An Armchair by the Sea is hosting a Discworld reread through her blog. I’m going to be hosting the Watch during the month of May!
So there you go. These should keep me pretty busy. Notably absent is the Bookriot Read Harder Challenge, but I feel that, like last year, I will be able to complete most of it by participating in these challenges.
What challenges are you participating in during 2017?
So while I’m talking about fabulous things on Litsy, this Challenge has been floating around. There are a number of takes on it but I’ve gone A to Z by title only. I’m also pretty jazzed as this is an entirely diverse list.
- An Ishmael of Syria – Asaad Alomohammad
- Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms – Dr Anita Heiss
- The Cypress Tree – Kamin Mohammadi
- Dust – Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
- Every Secret Thing – Marie Munkara
- Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence – Doris Pilkington
- The Girl with 7 Names – Hyeonseo Lee
- Honor – Elif Shafak
- The Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri
- Jinangga – Monty Walgar
- The Kadaitcha Sung – Sam Watson
- Left to Tell – Immaculee Ilibagiza
- The Museum of Abandoned Secrets – Oksana Zabuzhko
- Not Quite Men, No Longer Boys – K.C. Laughton
- Oreo – Fran Ross
- The People of Forever Are Not Afraid – Shani Boianju
- Quiet Violence of Dreams – K Sello Duiker
- Rainy Season – Nnanaziri Ihejirika
- The Spider King’s Daughter – Chibundu Onuzo
- Twisted – Jessica Zafra
- Under the Udala Trees – Chinelo Okparanta
- The Vegetarian – Han Kang
- We Need New Names – NoViolet Bulawayo
- Xala – Ousmane Sembene
- You Can’t Touch My Hair – Phoebe Robinson
- Zubaida’s Window – Iqbal Al-Qazwini
Join me with an A to Z list of your own! Let me know what you think you’ll include!!