Sunday, November 24, 2013

Aussie Author Challenge 2013 Summary

Yay, I have done it! Completed the Aussie Author Challenge for 2013! In fact I have exceeded the number of Aussie books required by the Challenge and there's still one month to go for 2013 :-) I am really glad I chose to take part in this Challenge, it has encouraged me to read more widely and to choose some books to read that I otherwise might not have even thought of reading, and in doing so I have discovered some wonderful authors and books!

Here's the summary of the books I read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2013:

By Male authors (4 required, 5 books read):
Tim Winton "Dirt Music" (Fiction; Drama)
Peter Goldsworthy "Wish" (Fiction; Science)
Markus Zusak "The Book Thief" (Fiction; Historical fiction)
David Gillespie "Sweet Poison" (Non-Fiction; Nutrition/Science)
Graeme Simsion "The Rosie Project" (Fiction; Comedy/Humour)

By Female authors (4 required, 7 books read):
Caroline Overington "Ghost Child" and "Sisters of Mercy" (Fiction; Crime)
Geraldine Brooks "People of the Book" (Fiction; Historical fiction)
Krissy Nicholson "Tsunami and the single girl" (Non-Fiction; memoir/autobiography)
Hannah Kent "Burial Rites" (Fiction; Historical fiction)
M.L. Stedman "Light between oceans" (Fiction; Historical fiction)
Kate Forsythe "Bitter Greens" (Fiction; Fantasy)

By authors who were new to me (4 required, 9 books read):
Markus Zusak
David Gillespie
Krissy Nicholson
Hannah Kent
Caroline Overington x 2
M.L. Stedman
Graeme Simsion
Kate Forsythe

Ensure at least 2 Non-Fiction books:
"Sweet Poison" by David Gillespie
"Tsunami and the single girl" by Krissy Nicholson

Ensure at least 4 fiction genres are included in your 12 books:
Fiction genre 1 (Crime): 
Caroline Overington "Ghost Child" and "Sisters of Mercy" 

Fiction genre 2 (Historical fiction):
Hannah Kent "Burial Rites"
M.L. Stedman "Light between oceans"
Geraldine Brooks "People of the Book"
Markus Zusak "The Book Thief"

Fiction genre 3 (Comedy/Humour):
Graeme Simsion "The Rosie Project" 

Fiction genre 4 (Drama):
Tim Winton "Dirt Music"

Fiction genre 5 (Science):
Peter Goldsworthy "Wish"

Fiction genre 6 (Fantasy):
Kate Forsythe "Bitter Greens"

Plus some other books by Aussie Authors that I have read this year so far which exceeds the requirements of the Challenge:

Peter Goldsworthy "Everything I knew" (Fiction; Drama)
Sarah Turnbull "All good things" (Non-fiction; memoir/autobiography)


"Burial Rites" by Hannah Kent

Written by an Australian, the Goodreads website describes this book as "A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829". This is the final book that I chose to read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge.

Started reading on my kindle: 3rd November 2013
Finished: 10th November 2013
My score: 8.5/10

This book is bleak in many ways; set in Iceland in the 1800s; dealing with a woman convicted of murdering 2 men; the last woman in Iceland to be executed; and this book is a fictional account (based on a lot of historical knowledge) of this convicted woman's last few months 'imprisoned' on a remote farm. However, I found this to be a great book, almost poetic in some of the descriptions, despite the austere characters and landscape. You end up really feeling for the 'criminal' Agnus, and the book develops into a bit of an inevitable tragedy, reminding me of reading King Lear or Antigone. Very impressive book for such a young and new South Australian author. I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

"Tsunami and the single girl" by Krissy Nicholson

I read this book as part of the Aussie Author Challenge. It's basically a memoir written by an Australian woman in her 30s about her life as an international aid worker for Oxfam combined with her search for "Mr. Right". In many ways I found it to be a book of contrasts, which is probably reflective of the authors life, one minute dealing with humanitarian emergency situations and the next some fairly shallow relationship or party situation. While at times the search for romance and social distractions were a bit annoying and seemed to be at odds with the more serious topics covered in the book, other times it did provide comic relief. It also perhaps makes this book appeal to a wider audience who might not otherwise choose to read a book about humanitarian disasters in Africa or Asia, and gives an insight into the cultures, differences, challenges of these different countries and communities and what is actually involved in aid work in these emergency situations. I had mixed opinions about this book, some aspects I really enjoyed and as I didnt really know much about how all these sorts of aid programs are run and what it must be like to be an aid worker I found this really interesting. However some of the more shallow, immature, selfish side stories often jarred with the professional, hard-working, aid worker stories. While in some ways this made the book more honest and 'real' it also detracted a bit from the overall enjoyment of the book for me personally. I score this book 6/10. That said, the book still inspired me to want to do more, especially for women, who don't have all the wonderful opportunities that we take for granted living in Australian cities, so if this book has a similar effect on other readers then that is a great achievement by the author.

Started reading on my kindle: 26th October 2013
Finished: 3rd November 2013
My score: 6/10