Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. Hello Europe (and Australia)! It’s Eurovision time. I was up at the crack-of for the first semi this morning. Lots of thoughts but my picks from round one (in order) –

  • Albania – for it’s 90s vibe
  • Ireland – hear the crowd roar at a certain bit
  • Finland – a good song and a lucky-ticket wheel!
  • Czech Republic – Fresh Prince meets 80s-Sportsgirl-prep
  • Bulgaria – can’t argue with the lyrics… Also, doesn’t this have a pleasing Goldfrapp feel?

Thought Switzerland would have made it through for their stand-up/ stand-on drumming work alone. I know everyone is loving Cyprus but really, Eurovision is not for Beyoncé-wannabees. And if we are voting on pure Eurovision-ness alone, Israel is the winner. Continue reading

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The Stella Prize 2018 – longlist predictions

With just hours before the Stella Prize 2018 longlist is announced, I thought I’d take a stab at what I think will appear.

Apparently the judges had to work through more than 170 entries (look at that ace pic below!). Unlike the judges, I’ve only read a handful of eligible books but I’m aware of a bunch that keep crossing my radar. On that rather flimsy basis, I’m predicting the longlist*.

Continue reading

The long and the short of it…

If previous longlists are anything to go by, you’d have to say that short story collections get a fair crack at the Stella Prize. And because I’m going to have a go at predicting the Stella longlist this year, I figured I should read as many eligible books as I can before making a call –

Pulse Points by Jennifer Down Continue reading

My Best Books for 2017

As I did last year, I’m paying less attention to four and five star ratings and more attention to the books that are still speaking to me. Continue reading

Reading Challenges 2017

Sure, I might squeeze in another couple of books before midnight on December 31, 2017 but I think I can safely draw a line under the reading challenges for the year.

I participated in five challenges this year – finished three; one is ongoing (I made a solid start); and I failed one – not miserably but I didn’t complete the target number of books. Continue reading

Our Magic Hour by Jennifer Down

There’s grief-lit aplenty at the moment. Honestly, you can’t scan a bookshelf without YA novels about parents or best friends dying; memoirs about cancer battles; suicide stories; and generally just loss, loss and more loss. But if you only read one bit of grief-lit this year, make it Our Magic Hour by Jennifer Down.

Audrey, Katy and Adam have been friends since high school—a shared history of inside jokes, sneaky cigarettes, ‘D&Ms’ and looking out for each other –

Katy’s family ate dinner together every single night. Her parents umpired at weekend netball matches, took orange quarters for the girls in their pleated skirts. Audrey’s parents destroyed each other.

Now in their twenties, they juggle the pressures of adulthood – relationships, work, their families. When Katy takes her own life (within the first few pages), Audrey and Adam are left to deal with their grief. The story explores the ripple-effect of Katy’s death rather than the reasons why she took her own life. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. The Melbourne Writers Festival 2017 program was launched this week. I’m excited about Heather Rose, Jennifer Down, Christine Kenneally, Tracy Chevalier and Maxine Beneba Clarke. Also: Grenville, Tsiolkas, Laguna, Krien, Joosten. It’s going to be a busy ten days. Continue reading

20 Books of Summer (except that it’s winter)

Cathy at 746 Books is hosting the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge again this year. I’m joining in, with a particular effort to read from my stacks of hard copies. The challenge is straightforward – read twenty books between June 1st and September 3rd. Continue reading