I stated my intentions for the Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading Challenge here – and it’s been exciting to see all manner of people on my twitter feed, RSS reader & GoodReads updates linking to their early reviews of books for this challenge. Yay readers of Australian women writers!
By the way, someone other than me should TOTALLY put together a list of SF & Fantasy (or any genre really) books by female authors available on the Kindle in the Aus/NZ region – to encourage all those “I got a Kindle for Christmas” participants in the challenge. Let me know if you do this, and I will link to you!
I have started out this month well, I think, with three prose books under my belt already (two of which are by Australian women writers) and four books REMOVED from my to read shelf. All this reading all of a sudden may be causing excessive eye watering, but I’m willing to take that on the chin.
Eona by Alison Goodman was an enjoyable read, good old crash and bang fantasy, with the added bonus of some interrogation of gender, Asian characters and some very compelling women at the centre of it all. It suffered for me from my not having read the first book, which I hesitate to mention, because it is entirely my own fault for doing it this way, and there’s (almost) nothing I hate more than seeing someone review my Book 2 and start out with “I didn’t read the first one, so XXXXXX made little sense to me…” because you know, you’re not SUPPOSED to read them out of order. But I did. I’m quite intrigued to go back to Eon/Pearls of Wisdom though, because of the gender bending aspect, and because all the bits I liked most about Eona were basically the emotional ramifications of the book I didn’t read.
Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood is, on the other hand, one of my series staples. I first discovered Greenwood through her mythological women series (I wish I had a copy of her spectacular Medea novel) and then through Phryne Fisher, the Emma Peelesque flapper detective novels set in Melbourne. I recently introduced my Dad to those books, after a decade of assuming he knew about them, and it’s been great fun watching him turn into a total fanboy about them. (He introduced me to Sara Paretsky and Robert Parker in my teens, so it’s delicious to have got my own back with Janet Evanovich and Kerry Greenwood) The added bonus was that he knew exactly what to get me for Christmas…
Anyway, Cooking the Books is none of these, it’s the latest of the very enjoyable Corinna Chapman series, contemporary Melbourne-set whodunnits featuring a sexy, smart woman of size surrounded by a quirky community of misfits living in a replica Roman insula. She’s a baker and utterly obsessed with her craft, which is something I love about protagonists, she has a hot boyfriend who likes her just the way she is, and she has a pleasant, snarky tone which she applies to the world at large. The books have a tendency to slip into moments of preachiness, when the character voice pauses to observe something which feels more like an authorial interruption, but they are brief moments and easily ignored in the face of banter, bread dough and bitchiness. Also, it comes with recipes!
Two down, eight to go!
Tansy’s Australian Women Writer’s 2012 Reading Challenge.
1. Eona by Alison Goodman (fantasy)
2. Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood (contemporary crime)