Saturday, April 6, 2019

"The Rosie Result" by Graeme Simsion





After the depressing nature of the previous book that I read (Wimmera - by Mark Brandi), I decided I needed to find a lighter, more enjoyable read for my next book. So I have chosen to download "The Rosie Result" onto my kindle to read next as I loved the first book in this series - The Rosie Project.

Started reading: 7th April 2019
Finished:
My score:
Aussie Author Challenge stats: male author,


"Wimmera" by Mark Brandi


Initially when I started reading this book I was really excited as it reminded me a little of "Jasper Jones" but unfortunately as I read on it didn't live up to the high standard of Craig Silvi's novel. Both focus on teenage boys living in small Australian towns, navigating the experience of growing up, seeing things through a child's eyes then slowly becoming more aware of the darker side of adulthood and that not everything is as it may appear. While (mostly) not explicit, the dark side of this novel was sickening and disturbing, and I found the multiple failures of both the parents and the police/judicial system to protect the innocent kids in this book was depressing. 

Started reading: 31st March 2019
Finished: 3rd April 2019
My score: 4/10
Aussie Author Challenge stats: Male author, new to me author, fiction, crime-fiction.

"Fusion" by Kate Richards



I first heard of this book when Lucy Treloar posted about it recently on Instagram. It is a really unique book - the writing is quite beautiful, sometimes poetic, the central characters are unusual protagonists - adult conjoined twins named Sea and Serene who live in an isolated cabin in rural Victoria. For the beautiful writing and the thought-provoking uniqueness of the characters and the way they spoke/thought/interacted together I would rank this book very highly. However I found both the storyline and ending a little unsatisfying/underwhelming, so in the end I think I would rank it closer to 6.5 - 7 out of 10.

I read this book as part of the Aussie Author Challenge, the author has a medical degree and works part-time in genetics, it is the first time I have read a book by this author, I'm not sure what the genre would be, but I have heard the story described as a "modern Gothic tale" which seems to fit well I think. I'd definitely be interested to read other books by this author in future.

Started reading: 12th March 2019
Finished: 31st March 2019
My score: 7/10

Aussie Author Challenge stats: New to me author, Female author, genre - described as a 'modern Gothic tale'.

Friday, February 15, 2019

"About Grace" by Anthony Doerr



This book was recommended to me recently by a really good friend, Hannah. Then the week after she recommended it to me I found a secondhand copy at the Mockingbird Lounge in Glenelg South and quickly snapped it up. I have previously read "All the light we cannot see" by Anthony Doerr and loved it (I scored it a 10/10), but hadn't realised he had written other books.

Started reading: 11th February 2019
Finished: 11th March 2019
My score:8-9/10 Beautiful writing, sad character and story.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Aussie Author Challenge 2019 - with an Indigenous Australian focus.




I have participated in the Aussie Author Challenge at some level or other since 2013. This year I am participating with an added personal challenge of my own. Two of the books that I read that had the most impact on me in the last year or so were "Dark Emu, Black Seeds" a non-fiction book by Bruce Pascoe about the evidence and history of the oldest human agriculture on earth by Australia's First People, and the novel "Terra Nullius" by Claire G Coleman. Both are by Indigenous Australian authors, and both blew my mind in different ways, and started to help make me aware of how ignorant and unaware I was/am about so many aspects of the amazing culture and people who have been on this land for so many thousands of years and how horrific colonisation was and is in their experience, and how little we understand and appreciate it. So this year I am deliberately seeking out more books by Indigenous Australian authors to help continue learning more from them. So I thought I would combine this personal challenge I have set for myself to broaden my understanding and awareness of Indigenous Australian culture, challenges, discrimination, languages and reconciliation with the Aussie Author Challenge 2019. So I am attempting to read at least 6 books (Wallaroo level) by Indigenous Australian authors and/or focus on topics relevant to our First Nations people in the Aussie Author Challenge 2019.

"Taboo" by Kim Scott



Started reading: 27/01/2019
Finished: 11/02/2019
My score: 8/10

Two of the books that I read that had the most impact on me in the last year or so were "Dark Emu, Black Seeds" a non-fiction book by Bruce Pascoe about the evidence and history of the oldest human agriculture on earth by Australia's First People, and the novel "Terra Nullius" by Claire G Coleman. Both are by Indigenous Australian authors, and both blew my mind in different ways, and started to help make me aware of how ignorant and unaware I was/am about so many aspects of the amazing culture and people who have been on this land for so many thousands of years and how horrific colonisation was and is in their experience, and how little we understand and appreciate it. So this year I am deliberatly seeking out more books by Indigenous Australian authors to help continue learning more from them. I have quite a few lined up to read, but if you have read any that you think I should add to my list, please let me know!






"They cannot take the sky" by multiple authors


A collections of stories written by refugees and asylum seekers imprisoned by Australia over the last 2 decades.. A friend lent me this book, I packed it away when I moved house, and just came across it again this week so at last I am making the time to read it.. As described in the forward by Christos Tsiolkas, 'we read for pleasure and we read for knowledge. And there are some books we read because we must, for in not reading them we are in danger of not understanding our world and our own place in the world." He places it alongside books such as "The Diary of Anne Frank", George Orwell's "1984" and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago".

Started reading: 30/12/2018
Finished:

"Unsheltered" by Barbara Kingsolver



Started reading on my kindle when I was travelling in Dec 2018, maybe 12th Dec 2018.

Finished: 27th January 2019
My score: 8/10

This is the latest novel by Barbara Kingsolver, I usually really like her books, and so far this is a good one too.

This book alternates between two different stories, both set in the same house in Vineland USA, but one story is set in the time of Charles Darwin in the 1800s, where the debate between the established religious belief and the new scientific theory of Evolution was hugely controversial, and the other is set in current times, where despite the author's statement that "among the novel's twenty-first century characters, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental" there are quite obvious references to Trump as "the Bullhorn", a Billionaire running for President that boasts he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and people would still vote for him"....etc.
The underlying theme is to showcase the similarities in the incredulous reaction to evolution in the 1800s and how 'head in the sand' many people were in the face of what we now see as obvious, and the current situation we face with severe effects of global warming on our doorstep and the inaction and denial of it by many of our political leaders. Barbara Kingsolver was a biologist before she became a writer and I'm sure it's one of the reasons I love her books so much, they are great human dramas, well written, but with important underlying messages embedded. This one has climate change and sustainable living and evolution woven throughout, plus a fair measure of equity for women. Science Communication by subtle and powerful means through a novel.

I was only slightly disappointed by the ending or I would have scored it 9-10/10 instead of 8.

“Any ordinary day” by Leigh Sales


Started reading: 28/09/2018
Finished: sometime early Oct 2018.
Score: 10/10
Aussie author, my favourite anchor on the ABC 7:30 report and someone I have a lot of respect for 🙂

“Questions of Travel” by Michelle De Kretser


Started reading: 16 September 2018

I bought this second hand a while ago. It won a Miles Franklin award and sounds like it will be a great book 🙂 I’m only a few pages in so far and I already like the writing style.

"The ones you trust" by Caroline Overington.





Started reading on my kindle: 11/09/2018
I've read other books by this Australian author and they are usually gripping easy page turners that make you think/question society's norms by featuring crimes and issues normally covered with a stmga and can be a little uncomfortable but great reads.

Finished reading: 15 Sept 2018.
My score: 7/10
Easy, page turner with some good twists.

"Prodigal Summer" by Barbara Kingsolver.

 
This is a second-hand book
Started reading: sometime in July/Aug 2018?
Finished: 10th September 2018
My score: 6.5-7/10 


Not as good as the Poisonwood Bible, the Lacuna or the non-fiction 'animal vegitable miracle'. Still an enjoyable book, and I actually started to enjoy it more and warm up to and be interested in the characters towards the end and was disappointed when it ended. It felt like the whole book was leading up to the real story and then just ended before the real story happened. But along the way the insights into the landscapes, history and characters were interesting.

“The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult.


I find Jodi’s books hit and miss, some I love, some I can’t get into and never finish. Mum recommended this one and gave it to me after she read it so it’s probably one of the former

Started reading: 24/06/2018
Finished: 10/07/2018
My score/review: 9/10

“The Wife Drought” by Annabel Crabb


I really like Annabel’s commentary on politics, and love the Chat10Look3 podcast she does with Leigh Sales. 

Started reading: ~18/06/2018
As part of the Aussie Author Challenge.
Finished: 01/01/2019
My score/review: 8/10
Interesting, full of Annabel's characteristic wit and smart observations.

"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver



Started reading: 29th April 2018
Finished: Finished sometime in 2018.
My score: 8/10
Non-fiction book about the author and her family challenging themselves to grow their own food or eat locally grown food for a year. Really interesting.