Saturday, February 10, 2018

"The Narrow Road to the Deep North" by Richard Flanagan

Started reading as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2018. My review will be posted here when I finish the book.

Aussie Author Challenge stats:
Male Author, New to me author, Genre: historical fiction
Started reading: 11th February 2018

“Big little lies” by Liane Moriarty

This book was recommended to me by my Mum and she gave me her copy to read when she finished it. Thanks Mum :-) I had heard several people mention they had really enjoyed Liane Moriarty's books, but had not realised until recently that she is an Australian author, but since I realised that I bumped the book up the priority list and started reading it as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2018. 

After the last few books I have read which have been mostly historical fiction mixed with creative sci-fi, this book was a complete change of genre and pace. It is a murder mystery and probably also considered "chick lit" (not a genre I read a lot of), and so in many ways was a lot lighter than the other books I've read lately. That said however, it does involve bullying, domestic violence and murder, so it's not really that light! It was a page-turner, and I finished it over 4 days despite only having time to read on the bus to/from work or late at night. Liane is very good at capturing all the tiny elements that make characters unique and yet also so readily recognisable. She has done a great job at describing all the gossippy/bitchy nature of some people, as well as the conflict that often exists between the confident external facade of a person and the reality of what that person is going through internally.

I don't know if Pirriwee Public School is meant to be a fictitious place or not, but in my mind it seemed to be set on Sydney's Northern Beaches, and if so, it captured a lot of the sterotypical behaviour, people and lifestyle that would be so familiar to anyone who had spent time living on 'the Peninsula'. 

I wont give away the twists of the murder mystery aspect of the book, but it is gripping and easy to read, with the story told from lots of different characters perspectives, which I really enjoyed. Definitely worth reading.

Started reading: 8th February 2018
Finished: 11th February 2018
My score: 9/10

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

"From the Wreck" by Jane Rawson

I read this book as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2018.  The book was set in South Australia during the 1800s, and the key incident in the book is the 1859 shipwreck of the SS Admella which I believe was a real event in history. I enjoyed the little historical snippets throughout the book giving glimpses of what life in Adelaide during the 1800s was like, and how some of the places described are still so recognisable today e.g. the botanic gardens and the lily pond and the grand buildings on North Terrace.

However, this is not your typical historical novel about a shipwreck -there is also a strong element of science fiction throughout and it is a very unique story. One of the main characters in the book, George Hills, survives the shipwreck, apparently through the help of a female passenger on the ship, Miss Ledwith who turns out to be a shape-shifting alien being rather than a human.  

Many of the sections written from the point of view of the alien reminded me in style to some of Neil Gaimon's writing...seemingly free-flowing, dream-like/nightmarish scenes, not always comprehensible, but dark and creative and strange yet captivating too.

I didn't really love the book, and found some of the characters very superficially described, but I did appreciate the uniqueness of it, and the 'creative writing' feel to it, so I am giving it 7/10.

Started reading this book on my kindle 30/01/2018
Finished: 07/02/2018
My score: 7/10
Aussie Author Challenge stats: Female Author, New to me Author, Genre: Mix of science fiction and historical fiction.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

"Terra Nullius" by Claire G. Coleman

Started reading on: 18th January 2018 as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2018.
This book was recommended to me by the owners of Adelaide's Pop-Up Bookshop. The author is an indigenous Australian from W.A. and has won a "Black & Write" fellowship in 2016.

Wow... the Aussie Author Challenge 2018 is certainly off to a good start, with a 10/10 score from me for a book written by an author who was new to me - Claire G. Coleman. Even if this book had solely been an historical novel based on the invasion of Australia by the British and the horrors of what was done by many 'Settlers' to the 'Native' population, this book would have been powerful and had a strong impact on me. But this book is so much more than that. As it says on the back cover "This is not the Australia of our history. This Terra Nullius is something new, but all too familiar." For the first approx. 120 pages it does indeed feel like you are thrown into the dark history of Australia in the late 1800s-early 1900s, with Native characters being 're-educated' by Settlers in harsh outback religious schools, slaves attempting futile escape attempts from their cruel masters on farms, and being tracked by Troopers who have the upper hand in terms of weaponry and technology but little outback survival skills and who secretly just wish they could get back on a ship to go home to their motherland. However there comes a point where something strikingly unexpected dawns on you as the reader and becomes more apparent as you progress, and this surprising twist really hits home. I want to say so much more as this book is a page-turner while also emotionally hitting home and making you consider our history in a different light and even made me question humanity in some ways. But I can't say more, as I don't want to ruin the surprise at the heart of this book - you just have to read it for yourself. I thoroughly recommend it.

Started reading: 18th January 2018
Finished: 31st January 2018
My score: 10/10
Genre: Historical fiction
Read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2018: Female author & new to me author.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Aussie Author Challenge 2018

I didn't manage to make the time to read as many books as usual in 2017, but am planning on reading more in 2018. I have decided to sign up for the 2018 Aussie Author Challenge - at least at the Wallaroo level, and potentially the Kangaroo level...we will see as the year progresses! I have taken part in the Challenge in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 - it's a great way to discover great books and new authors. If you are interested in joining the Aussie Author Challenge or would just like some recommendations of excellent books written by Australians - head over to the Book Lover's Book Review website where Jo is hosting the Challenge for the 9th year.

"The Power" by Naomi Alderman.

Recommended by the PopUp Bookshop owners for people who enjoyed the Handmaid's Tale book.

Started reading: 10/12/2017
Finished: 17/01/2018
My score:6.5-7/10

I will write my review and upload it soon.

“Dark Emu Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident?” By Bruce Pascoe

I’ve had several people recommend this book to me over the last few years, but also had some trouble tracking down a copy of it. After hearing the author speak at the free Open State festival in October my mind was blown. Fascinated, excited, ashamed at my ignorance, and upset about why this is not common knowledge that we celebrate as a nation. I bought the book at the festival. There’s a good Richard Fiedler interview with Bruce Pascoe you can listen to if you are interested.\\

Started reading: 1st Dec 2017 (approx).
My score/review: