The 2019 Stella Prize Longlist

I was at a school information night tonight, surreptitiously looking at Twitter for the announcement of the 2019 Stella Prize longlist.

And as the books were announced I had to focus on VCE assessment and ‘good study habits’ rather than sending congratulations messages to lovely authors (go Jenny, you little ripper!); hitting my library’s online reservation system; and marking books on Goodreads… I’m home now and I’m ready to start reading. Continue reading

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The Stella Prize 2019 – longlist predictions

The Stella Prize 2019 longlist will be announced tonight.

The longlist is made up of twelve books, usually a mix of fiction and non-fiction, memoirs and short stories (all must have been published in 2018). Continue reading

The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper

On February 7, 2009 – a day that would become known as Black Saturday – bushfires burned vast areas of Victoria (my home state).  Extreme heat, high winds, low humidity, and severe drought combined to create the worst bushfire conditions in Australia’s recorded history (the heat from the fires was equivalent to 500 atomic bombs exploding).

Black Saturday resulted in Australia’s highest ever loss of life from a bush-fire event. Across Victoria, 173 people died; more than one million animals (pets, wildlife and stock) perished; over 2,000 houses and 3,500 structures were completely destroyed; and whole towns were razed (Kinglake, Marysville, Narbethong, Strathewen, and Flowerdale). The total area burnt was approximately half a million square kilomentres – to put that in perspective, the size of Spain.

The trauma can’t be measured.

Some of the fires were deliberately lit and the man responsible for starting the Central Gippsland fires is the topic of Chloe Hooper’s enthralling book, The Arsonist. Hooper gives a detailed account of the fires, the arson investigation, the arrest of a socially vulnerable man who had not previously been known to police, and his trial. Continue reading

The Bookshop at Queenscliff

Last year, Jo at the Book Skeptic visited a new-to-her bookshop each month. I very much enjoyed these posts (and the vicarious book-buying!). While I doubt that I will have twelve new-to-me bookshops to profile this year, I’m following Jo’s lead and will share the treasures I come across.

The first is The Bookshop at Queenscliff. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from The Slap to Me and You

It’s time for #6Degrees and truly, it’s easy to play (no rules, just bookish fun) – join in!

This month we begin with The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. What can I say about this book except that if you want to start a heated debate at a dinner party, mention it! Continue reading

Reading in the danger zone

kenny-loggins

Do you start singing a certain Kenny Loggins hit when you hear the words ‘comfort zone’? I do. Even though comfort and danger are pretty much opposites… Anyhoo, my comfort zone is contemporary literature. I don’t stray often but there have been some notable (and excellent) exceptions in the last year or so –

Speculative Fiction Continue reading

2014 Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop

australiadaybloghop2014

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

Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012

top-ten-new-to-me-authors

Well, finally a list that can’t possibly contain any John Irving (but see what I did there, slipped the name in… Are you thinking about Owen Meany now?!).

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 Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012.

1. Chad Harbach – The Art of Fielding took Harbach ten years to write. I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait a decade for his next book.

2. Emily Perkins – New Zealand born Perkins thrilled me with her exquisite saga, The Forrests.

3. Laura Dave – for sharp chick-lit. Continue reading