Sunday, June 22, 2014

Halfway Check In

Caspar looking for books at a good bookstore in Melbourne last year

At the beginning of the year I signed up for some reading challenges - four to be precise (oh and the Good Reads Challenge of 50 books for the year - again):

  1. Australian Women Writer's Challenge
  2. Great War Theme Read
  3. Eclectic Reader Challenge
  4. Non-Fiction Reading Challenge

I am on track with my 50 books for the year (I'm 3 books ahead of schedule on that one - phew!)

But how am I faring with the other challenges?  Huh? Huh?

Well for the first challenge - Australian Women Writers - the goal was to read 10 books by Australian women and review six of them.  One could say that I've just about blitzed this one. Looking at my books, I have read ten books by Australian women this year already.  They are as follows:

  1. My Brother but One by T.M. Clark
  2. Moving Among Strangers by Gabrielle Carey
  3. Madeleine: a life of Madeleine St John by Helen Trinca
  4. The Essence of the Thing by Madeleine St John
  5. The Women in Black by Madeleine St John
  6. Surrender by Sonya Hartnett
  7. Innocence Lost: The Last Man Hanged in Queensland by Jacqueline Craigie
  8. Fatal Impact by Kathryn Fox
  9. You're Still Hot to Me by Jean Kittson
  10. Wild Things by Brigid Delaney
Have I reviewed six of them though?  Well possibly not to the standards set down here.

My reviews tend to be perhaps too short and not analytical enough so I need to do some work here.

My great-grandfather and his brother in France during WW1

The second challenge - Great War Theme Read - has fallen by the wayside.  I wanted to read 5 books and have only read the first one.  Testament of Youth is still sitting beside the bed.  I watched the TV series though. Does that count?  No  - I don't think so.  I need to lift my game here and get on with it.

The third challenge - Eclectic Reader Challenge - isn't doing so badly.  There were 12 goals to fill here and I've highlighted the six I've completed, so I'm on track.

  1. Award Winning - The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize 
  2. True Crime (Non Fiction) - Innocence Lost by Jacqueline Craigie
  3. Romantic Comedy 
  4. Alternate History Fiction - I'm going to claim Life after Life by Kate Atkinson for this one
  5. Graphic Novel
  6. Cosy Mystery Fiction
  7. Gothic Fiction
  8. War/Military Fiction - William an Englishman by Cecily Hamilton
  9. Anthology
  10. Medical Thriller Fiction - Fatal Impact by Kathryn Fox 
  11. Travel (Non Fiction)
  12. Published in 2014 - Wild Things by Brigid Delaney

The fourth challenge - Non-Fiction Reading - I was aiming to be a Dilettante reading 1 - 5 books and I think I am pretty much blitzing this one too.
  1. Moving among Strangers by Gabrielle Carey
  2. Madeleine: a Life of Madeleine St John by Helen Trinca
  3. Innocence Lost: The Last Man Hanged in Queensland by Jacqueline Craigie
  4. You're Still Hot to Me by Jean Kittson

And, because I am completely hopeless, I said I would also participate in the Mary Hocking Reading Month because I'd never heard of her and she died this year and my friends in the Virago Group thought a lot of her.  I'm struggling a bit with this one.  I've borrowed three of her books from the library.  I couldn't get into A Particular Place, so I'm going to give The Meeting Place a good go as it's got the most stars on Librarything, although I'm finding it a bit tough too.

So, to re- frame goals for the balance of the year ....
  1. Write those reviews!!
  2. Read four Great War books 
  3. Read one from each of the following genres/groups: Romantic Comedy, Graphic Novel, Cosy Mystery, Gothic Fiction, an Anthology and a Travel book.
  4. Try and finish a Mary Hocking book
How are you going with your goals?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Australian Women Writer's Challenge

Australian Women Writer's Challenge 2014
Ooh - I've found another challenge to enter!  The Australian Women Writer's Challenge.  I've decided to go for the Franklin Level.  My goal will be to read 10 books by Australian women and review 6 of them.

Of the nine books I have already read this year, four have been by Australian women.  Woo hoo!  I think I'm doing okay so far.  Now I just have to write the reviews, yes?

I have read:

The Essence of the Thing by Madeleine St John

The Essence of the Thing by Madeleine St John

Madeleine by Helen Trinca

That was prompted by reading Madeleine by Helen Trinca.

I have also read

Moving Among Strangers by Gabrielle Carey

Moving Among Strangers by Gabrielle Carey 


My Brother-But-One by T.M. Clark

My Brother But One by T.M. Clark

I aim to try and read as many of the books longlisted for The Stella prize as possible.  And I'd like to read the rest of Madeleine St John.

Luckily I have already read:

Burial Rites

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent


Boy, Lost

Boy Lost by Kristina Olsson

Have you read any Australian women authors lately?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Reading Challenges for 2014

Secret Santa gift from the lovely Simon at Stuck-in-a-Book

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all from a stinking hot Brisbane.

How was your Silly Season?

Was it full of books and lots of lovely reading?

I reached my goal of reading 50 books last year for the first time - hoorah!

This year I will try and do the same but mix it up a bit with a few reading challenges.

My first reading challenge is one I've joined on Librarything through the Virago Group.

For that I hope to read the following:

  1. William an Englishman by Cecily Hamilton
 William : an Englishman by Cicely Hamilton

    2.   One of Ours by Willa Cather

One of Ours (Virago Modern Classics) by…

   3.   Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

   4.   Not so quiet by Helen Zenna Smith

Not So Quiet...: Step-Daughters of War by…

   5.   The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West

The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West

I have also signed up for the Eclectic Reader Challenge


I am really looking forward to this as I need to broaden my reading particularly for the work I do in a public library.  These are the books/genres I hope to read:

  1. Award Winning - I'll seek my inspiration from this website and given that I have just discovered Penelope Fitzgerald, I reckon I'll read Offshore for this one.
Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald

2. True Crime (Non Fiction) - well I do have The Gatton Murders by Stephanie Bennett  by my bed or The Baby Farmers by Annie Cossins or Three Crooked Kings by Matt Condon, so I think that's that covered off

Cover - Link opens in a new windowCover - Link opens in a new windowThree crooked kings : Terry Lewis, the rat…

3. Romantic Comedy - I'm a bit non-plussed about this - want to give me a suggestion?  Otherwise I'll be heading for Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

Cover - Link opens in a new window

4. Alternate History Fiction - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke appeals to me

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna…

5. Graphic Novel - I suspect this will be like eating dry All Bran for Me - I'm choosing Watchmen 

Watchmen by Alan Moore

6.  Cosy Mystery Fiction - unless you have a better suggestion (and I am all ears, really I am) I will plump for Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by MC Beaton I suppose.

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.…

7.  Gothic Fiction - I'm ashamed to say that I have never read Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier so that's a definite

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

8.  War/Military Fiction - see my first reading challenge ! ;0

9. Anthology - this is kind of curious.  I looked on Goodreads Listopia and Forever Friends by Shelagh Watkins was top of the list so I guess I'll give it a go!

Forever Friends by Shelagh Watkins

10 Medical Thriller Fiction - hmmm I'd appreciate a bit of advice on this category too otherwise I'll plump for Michael Crichton's Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

11 Travel (Non Fiction) - I feel guilty that I've never read Bill Bryson so I think I'll choose 
A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America…

12 Published in 2014- ummmm well it's only 4 January but I can tell you now it will be one of the ones nominated for the Booker Prize that was published this year.

And just when you thought I was third reading challenge will be the 

I'm aiming low - Dilettante level 1-5 books.  I've got two covered already in my eclectic reader challenge: travel and true crime.  I guess I'd like to read history, biography and genealogy as well.  But perhaps knitting will get a look in too.  Or social media or library stuff.  Lots of room for thought there.

What about you?  What reading challenges are you hoping to achieve this year?