Because I’ve only signed up for one reading challenge this year I feel I have enough time to check out what other participants are reading and saying about their challenge experience which is something I’ve been pretty slack about in my reading challenges in other years. Part of my reason for diligently checking out as many posts as I can is that I challenged myself to dabble in a few genres for the challenge so I’m actively looking for recommendations for non-fiction plus historical, literary and contemporary fiction that I might like. But I’m also just curious to investigate the breadth of writing by Australian women and I thought I’d occasionally share the posts that interest me most over the course of the year.
One of the challenge’s main champions, Shelleyrae from Book’d Out hosted a visit from contemporary fiction author Lisa Heidke who talked about her horror at seeing her first book cover (which she had no control over). It must so painful for an author to know their work is going to be judged by lots of people based on some aspect that the author has had no say in themselves.
At Whispering Gums I found a review of Francesca Rendle-Short’s BITE YOUR TONGUE, a fictionalised memoir from the daughter of a woman who was an anti-smut campaigner. Starting life so unwillingly absorbed in someone else’s agenda always seems to me to be a tough break and it’s interesting to see how this plays out.
Marg from Adventures of an Intrepid Reader wrote a lengthy review of Anna Funder’s ALL THAT I AM, a historical fiction novel set in Germany in 1930’s as Hitler came to power. The book is one that you see everywhere in book stores here and I must have had it in my hands a half-dozen times but I’ve never walked out of the shop with it, despite the accolades it has received. Marg’s review is not ultra negative but it does take a critical look at the book and I think I’m convinced to try something else instead.
Coleen Kwan assured us all that Jessica Rudd’s CAMPAIGN RUBY isn’t full of political backstabbing and I can’t be the only one who breathed a sigh of relief. For overseas readers Jessica Rudd is the daughter of our most recent ex-prime minister and therefore it was not unreasonable to wonder if the tawdry mess that was his deposing got written into the book but apparently not. Even for a politics junkie like me this would not have been interesting as we all lived through it once :)
Maree from Like the World reviewed Favel Parrett’s PAST THE SHALLOWS which is one of the books I was thinking about when I decided to dabble in genres other than my usual crime fiction for this challenge. It’s literary fiction set in Tasmania and is the story of three brothers who live with their embittered father. The book is by a young Australian woman and everyone was talking about the book last year. Maree has made it very tempting saying “it completely immerses you as family secrets unravel and the boys’ lives are revealed with quiet urgency. This is the kind of book you read in one greedy sitting”
This is just the tip of the iceberg of reviews and other discussion posts that have been written in the first weeks of the Australian Women Writers challenge 2012. It’s not too late for you to join in, or if you can’t do that at least head on over to the challenge website and check out some of the other links. You’re bound to find a recommendation for some great writing by Australian women.