So far this year I’ve been pretty slack on the AWW front, and indeed in the reading books front at all. I blame it on Ford Madox Ford, who sucked me in with the possibility of Benedict Cumberbatch and made me read four books under the guise of being just one book that was so enormous that almost a month fell into it. And that was my experience reading Parade’s End.
Possibly it’s unfair to blame Ford Madox Ford for Benedict Cumberbatch, but then again we have to blame somebody, right?
In any case, I have officially just finished by first book by an Australian woman writer: Perfections, by Kirstyn McDermott. I’m pretty sure Kirstyn describes this one as a gothic fairytale, or something along those lines. I think I’d go for more of an ‘urban suspense’ line, though if it was in actual bookshops I would hope to see it with more of a Fay Weldon cover than anything with overt genre markers.
Oh, did I mention Fay Weldon? That’s probably because she came to mind while I was reading this novel – something about the realist, cynical tone and themes to do with women’s careers and quiet household despair mixed with sneaky supernatural, magic and horror bits. The tone also reminded me a great deal of Donna Tartt. I really hope Kirstyn reaches the wide audience she deserves with this one.
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Will you be doing the Australian Women Writers Challenge in 2013? I certainly will! I’ve enjoyed the community aspect of the challenge, and the focus on Australian women writers – while I tend to read a majority of women writers anyway, I do have a tendency to stay within certain genre comfort zones, and often to neglect Australian writers over international ones, unless they are very close friends. And while my list for this year’s reading definitely involved a bunch of books by my friends (did I mention how many talented friends I have? A WHOLE BUNCH) I also tried to challenge myself by trying new authors, reading some books that have languished on my To Read Shelf for too long, and in the case of Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens, NOT neglect a certain title that I know is going to be wonderful just because it’s the size of three regular books.
I met my own challenge parameters back in June (the Franklin – 10 books, review at least 6) but have continued to add to the list and was delighted today to count up and realise that I hit 25. Sounds impressive, though considering I read 175 books this year (including graphic novels & audio books), it’s still only a small proportion.
DEFINITELY coming back for more next year, at the same level. We have some great female writers in Australia and they really do miss out on the recognition that is due to them, in general book media.
“Four times as many living Australian male writers than female writers appear on First Tuesday Book Club’s list of Top 50 Aussie reads.”
On a personal note, I really think that the AWW has helped me as a writer, too – I noticed far more reviews going around of the Creature Court trilogy and Love and Romanpunk in 2012 than in previous years, and I think the Challenge has a lot to do with that.
What will you be reading next year? How will you be reading next year? What great books by Australian women can we look forward to next year?
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