Tag Archives: to read shelf

The Shape of 2012 (how it was)

It’s been an odd sort of year, and one in which I have tended to forget to stop and count my successes. I planned for many things in my writing career, few of which came to fruition, and I ended up with a bunch of words written, but nothing (major) new and finished, for the first time in several years.

On the other hand, some massive personal achievements surely help to balance that out. In particular I have seen Raeli grow from being very timid and panicky child into a far more relaxed, confident and brave young person. She has conquered her terror (and I don’t use the word lightly) of cats, managed her even more extreme fear of dogs, as well as getting over the hurdles of learning to swim and to turn somersaults. It’s been a big year!

Jem meanwhile has stopped being the baby (she is a BIG GIRL), and it’s quite extraordinary to see our three-year-old become herself, taking on an at times stroppy but quite original personality. (she can be a thug but she’s cute with it) And boy, can she talk. You may all pause your reading to faint from surprise.

They’re really good at being sisters, which makes me very happy. And we’re only a year away from Jem starting school now which feels… exciting and terrible, all at once. But by gods, it’s going to be cheaper. And those tiny windows of writing time are shrinking and shrinking between then and now. Somehow, she manages to fill every available space, which is what children are best at.

What other milestones did I/we manage to clear this year? Well, there’s that little thing of Galactic Suburbia getting its first Hugo nomination, which was extraordinary, and means that we will always look upon the Best Fancast category with great fondness. Galactic Suburbia also received the Peter McNamara Convenor’s Award for Excellence at the Aurealis Awards this year which was an amazing honour and really made us feel like we have made a mark in the Australian SF community. And of course we produced 23 new episodes, bringing us up to 73. We’ll be soooo close to 100 by the end of next year!

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Book Karma and the Dread To Be Read Shelf

Enid Blyton, Queen of Books

Since Alisa is making book confessions over at her blog, it’s probably time that I made some of my own.

It’s the National Year of Reading here in Australia, and my one big reading challenge to myself is to buy fewer books. Which is quite a confronting thing to talk about publicly, because, well, I do rather spend a lot of my time online convincing other people to buy books, even if only a minority of them turn out to be my own. I am a book pusher. Listeners of Galactic Suburbia know this to be true!

But my teetering To Read bookcase is currently unsustainable, and my quest this year is to bring my book purchases (which are still flying on my pre-children reading abilities) more closely in line with how many books I am capable of reading. So for the National Year of Reading, I’m trying to read the books I ALREADY HAVE.

So my system is that I am only allowed to buy one book for every three that I read, and two of those three have to be from the physical To Read shelf as opposed to, say, my whopping bag of Agatha Christies, or my books for research shelf, or something from my greater library, or actual library books. I first stated these intentions here.

How am I doing, three months in? Not as well as I’d secretly hoped. Accidentally buying a pack of three Agatha Christies in the post office back in January did rather send the system into a tailspin which took some time to recover from.

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The Quest Of The To Read Shelf Of Doom

I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions as such, though I tend to lay out some kind of general, practical plan for my new year. This year’s looking like a bit of a blank slate so far, though, as I have no idea yet which of my projects I’ll be writing, and I’m fairly happy with my current work-life balance.

The only thing in my life that I really need to change is that shelf. The dread To Read Shelf of Doom, the one that I refer to with such exasperation quite regularly on Galactic Suburbia. It’s not just reaching the point of health and safety risk, but it’s actively stressing me out.

It started out as such a nice, organised space, somewhere for me to put, well quite obviously, the books I hadn’t read yet. I set it up not long after we moved here (nearly seven years ago!) and it made me happy.

But flat surfaces. I have a bad, bad relationship with flat surfaces. I put things on them. And then I put things on the things. And somewhere along the way… well, yes.

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Australian Women Writers 2012 National Year of Reading Challenge

Well, of course I signed up. How could I not?

Challenge period: 1 January 2012 – 31 December 2012

Goal: Read and review books written by Australian women writers – hard copies, ebooks and audiobooks, new, borrowed or stumbled upon by book-crossing.

Genre challenges:
Purist: one genre only
Dabbler: more than one genre
Devoted eclectic: as many genres as you can find

Challenge levels:
Stella (read 3 and review at least 2 books)
Miles (read 6 and review at least 3*
Franklin-fantastic (read 10 and review at least 4 books)*
* The higher levels should include at least one substantial length review


I’m going to try for the Franklin-fantastic, since it seems entirely do-able considering that I tend to read 100+ books in a year, and a lot of those would naturally be female Australian authors anyway. My own personal twist on the challenge is that I want the books in question to all be taken off my To Read Shelf – because reducing that is the main thing I want to accomplish with my reading next year. I’m not planning to go with genre restraints but ‘dabbler’ seems the most likely category for me, possibly with a side order of ‘devoted eclectic’.

Eligible Books on my To Read Shelf by Australian Women Writers:

Anonymous, The Bride Stripped Bare (erotica? literary?)
A.A. Bell, Diamond Eyes (SF)
Cath Crowley, Chasing Charlie Duskin (YA)
Marianne De Pierres, Angel Arias (young adult, fantasy, hints of SF)
Melaina Feranda, Thirteen Pearls (young adult)
Cordelia Fine, Delusions of Gender (non-fiction, social science)
Kerry Greenwood, Murder in the Dark (historical, crime)
Narrelle M. Harris, The Opposite of Life (vampire is a genre, right?)
Norma Hemming, Dwellers in Silence: Stories and Plays
Colleen McCullough, Antony and Cleopatra (historical)
Kirstyn McDermott, Madigan Mine (horror)
Melina Marchetta, Finnikin of the Rock (YA, spec fic?)
Catherine Helen Spence, A Week in the Future (science fiction, I believe)
Lili Wilkinson, A Pocketful of Eyes (YA)
Kaaron Warren, Mistification (goodness knows)
Danielle Wood, Rosie Little’s Cautionary Tales for Girls (literary?)

I’m also counting whichever of the Twelve Planets books arrive over the next year! I am expecting titles by Deb Biancotti, Kaaron Warren, Narrelle Harris, Margo Lanagan, and several more. So, woohoo!

[UPDATE] I’m also counting books which arrived in my house before the 31 December (such as Eona by Alison Goodman & Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood] and books that are technically on My To Read shelf even if they were physically somewhere else in the house (I’ve been cleaning up a LOT this week) or overlooked on said shelf, such as Marianne De Pierres’ Sharp books. So there.

To Be Read

Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack

Like Random Alex, I have some very old books in my TBR pile. Cough. On my TBR shelves. For a while there I added a coloured sticky note to books that had been there a year, with a different colour each year, to show how long it had been there, but that just got really depressing, so I stopped. I’ve had a few clear outs of the shelves in the last 12 months, but there are still books that have been there as long as we’ve lived in this house (five years)

A random sample from both ends of the shelf includes:

Sebastian, by Anne Bishop
The Steel Remains, by Richard Morgan
Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Gossip Girl: You’re the One that I Want, by Cecily Von Ziegesar

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