February Rewind

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It’s usually slim-pickings in February – the return to school and uni generally means less reading time but I guess it’s about quality over quantity. Here’s the Feb rewind

2012: Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany – she writes with such simplicity and power. Continue reading

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Reading the Stella Prize Shortlist – Hope Farm by Peggy Frew

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Okay. Clearly I don’t ‘get’ Peggy Frew.

It’s all ticker-tape parades and celebrations on Goodreads for Frew’s second novel, Hope Farm.  And then there’s my two star rating, sitting alongside the glowing four and five-star reviews. Continue reading

Let’s talk (a top ten)

Last week, Katie of Bookish Tendencies wrote a post about attending her first author talk (Lauren Fox talking about Days of Awe, so I’m jealous, obvs). Katie asked fellow bloggers for a few pointers on being “…not such an awkward dork…” at book signing time (her words, not mine). I don’t have any tips but her post did make me think about author talks I’ve been to. And it’s many. Because I’m a bit of an author-event tart (I’ll blame the fact that I have lots of opportunities through events such as the Melbourne Writers Festival and regular author appearances at my local book shop, Readings).

So purely for my own records, I’ve put together a top ten list – five of the best author talks I’ve been to – Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from The Paying Guests to Anna Karenina

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It’s six degrees of separation for books. Created by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith. Check out the rules if you want to play along.

This month the chain begins with The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. It appeared in my round-up of the best books for 2014, as did The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison. Continue reading

Books for Australian states

Last week, Annabel Smith tweeted a link to a fantastic article, The Literary United States: A Map of the Best Book for Every State. It got me thinking about an Australian equivalent.

Strictly speaking, an Australian literary map isn’t quite as crowded (not as many states in comparison to the US). It would be nice to do an Australian one that reflected cities and regional areas but that’s a big project (and for that matter, actually put it on a map…). For the time being, here are my favourite books set in different states.

Victoria: for Melbourne, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. For regional Victoria, Carrie Tiffany captures the Mallee perfectly in Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living.

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everymans-rules-for-scientific-living Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from All the Birds, Singing to The Last Banquet

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It’s time again for my favourite meme. Based on the concept of six degrees of separation, Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith have created #6DEGREES, where bloggers share links between books in six moves. Check out the rules if you want to play along.

We begin with Evie Wyld’s All the Birds, Singing,  this year’s winner of Australia’s most prestigious literary prize, the Miles Franklin. I haven’t read it. Yet. I know, I always read the Miles Franklin winner… Anyway, it doesn’t stop me from participating and my first link is to Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany. Obviously there are birds in both titles, but both books are also Australian prize-winners (Tiffany won the inaugural Stella Prize for Mateship). Continue reading

2014 Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop

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I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.

I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

These words never date as far as I’m concerned (for non-Aussies, it’s an extract from Dorothea Mackellar’s poem, My Country). I particularly love the bits about jewel-seas and far horizons (to prove it, see my last post). And of course, my professional life has been dominated by ‘droughts and flooding rains’ (I worked in catchment management and hydrology for more than a decade).

So when it came to putting together this post for the 2014 Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop, hosted by Shelleyrae at Book’d Out, my immediate thoughts turned to books that really told a story about the Australian landscape. Here are my five favourites: Continue reading

Stella Prize 2013

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The Stella Prize is a major new literary award for Australian women’s writing.

The longlist for the inaugural Stella Prize was announced today. Naturally, I’m cheering for Carrie Tiffany, given she’s an ex-work colleague and a lovely guest at my book group. Have I mentioned that she’s also written an amazing book? Little Hazel is one of my favourite characters. Ever. Continue reading

Top Ten Books I Read In 2012

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Recently, a member of my book group called me a ‘book pusher’. I feigned disbelief – “I don’t push books onto people!” I exclaimed. But I do. I do it all the time. Once I’ve read a really good book, I want everyone around me to share the joy.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new ‘top ten’ challenge is posted – anyone can join in. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I Read in 2012. Or, in other words, the Top Ten Books I’ve Been Pushing on People This Year.

1. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach – my favourite book for the year.

2. Of a Boy by Sonya Hartnett – this book will never leave me.

3. The Forrests by Emily Perkins – unusual and very special.

4. Tigers in Red Weather by Lisa Klaussman – sublime… Where’s the gin? Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Setting the Scene

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new ‘top ten’ challenge is posted – anyone can join in. This week’s topic is ‘Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books’. It made me really think about books that have been memorable because of the setting. Here’s my ecclectic list: Continue reading