Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts


1. Stella Prize 2015 longlist announced today. I’ve read four of them (Hartnett, Pung, Garner and Laguna) and have a couple of others in my very-near-reading-future.

2. I’d like to see Hartnett win.

3. But can’t believe Favel Parrett’s When the Night Comes didn’t make the longlist. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from We Need to Talk About Kevin to Little Known Facts


It’s time again for my favourite meme. Based on the concept of six degrees of separation, Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith have created #6DEGREES, where bloggers share links between books in six moves. Check out the rules if you want to play along.

This month, we begin with Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin. I could talk endlessly about this book – it left an indelible impression on me and although I read it when it was first published in 2006, hardly a month goes by without thinking about it. But I haven’t reread it – I’m not sure I could cope. Similarily, Sonya Hartnett’s Of a Boy is a book that will never be far from my mind – devastating, crushing and one that I’m unlikely to reread because: too stressful. Continue reading

Top Ten Books for 2013

top ten books 2013

It’s that time of year (the last reading day of 2013) where I pick my favourite and bests. The first nine are in no particular order: Continue reading

You can choose your friends but… – a top ten list of books about families

Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina opens with this –

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

And aren’t readers glad that Tolstoy is correct because such families make for great stories.

This week’s top ten, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is favourite books in a particular setting – I’ve chosen families as my theme (and also cleverly managed to put Tolstoy and Sister Sledge in the same post. I know, brilliant)..

So, play that funky beat and browse this list of the best books about families dealing with their share of unhappiness – Continue reading

Top 10 Books I’ve Read So Far This Year


By this point last year, I’d read The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. Had I not read another good book for the remainder of the year, I would have been satisfied that 2012 had been a ‘good reading year’. In fact, 2012 got even better when I read Lisa Klaussman’s Tigers in Red Weather.

But 2013 is another story.

When I saw this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic – best books read so far this year – the first thing I thought was ‘This year, I haven’t found ‘the one’.’ I’ve read some great books (as the list below demonstrates) but I haven’t found the one book that I press onto everyone I meet.Yet.

So this list of excellent books comes with qualifiers – I loved all of these novels but I’m not necessarily recommending them to ALL THE PEOPLE (although The Rosie Project comes darn close). Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – My Autumn TBR List


I almost feel ill when I think about my TBR stack. It’s towering. And it just keeps getting bigger. It’s a good/bad ill feeling – kind of like what I call ‘airport stomach’ – that special nervous excitement you get when you’re about to jet off on a holiday but have to get up very, very early to be at the airport on time. Maybe I need a new kind of ill called ‘TBR stack fever’ – identified by a feeling of overwhelming anticipation.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is ‘Books On My Spring 2013 TBR list’ – it’s supposed to be autumn in Melbourne. You wouldn’t know it. It’s only rained three times this year and we’ve had weeks of 30+ degrees. It’s hard to think about bunkering down with serious books when it’s sweltering (I tend to read more seriously when it’s cold and read more trash in summer – tell me that’s normal!). Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – There’s a new book out by…

buy all the books meme

When John Irving released In One Person last year it received mixed advance reviews. I read them all but they didn’t stop me from pouncing on In One Person as soon as I was able. And I didn’t really like it which was disappointing because I’d waited for it for so long. But it didn’t matter because Irving is without question my favourite contemporary author and, if he suddenly began publishing his books on the back of boxes of Cheerios, then I’d be an overnight Cheerios eater.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is ‘Authors On My Auto-Buy List’. It’s not just Irving –

1. John Irving – goes without saying! Continue reading

‘Little Known Facts’ by Christine Sneed

Slick, fast-paced and with that ‘I-know-it’s-sleazy-but-I-can’t-stop-watching’ element of Entourage, Little Known Facts, the debut novel by Christine Sneed is a brilliant read.

It’s the story of Hollywood movie star, Ren Ivins, and is told from the perspective of the various people around him from his children (Will and Anna) and ex-wives to the kid who looks after props on the set of one of his films. In many ways, Ren is exactly like you would expect –

“‘I’m an ass man and a tits man. Why should I have to choose between the two?’ Indeed. The usual laws of supply and demand do not apply to movie stars.” Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Debut Fiction 2013


What’s on my radar for 2013? I must admit I haven’t been scouting for news of debut authors although a few books due for release in the next few months have caught my eye.

I imagine that for debut authors it’s all about having a fabulous publisher and publicist. In a market crowded with people trying to get a break, why do some books (written by authors no one has ever heard of) attract attention? The Art of Fielding and Tigers in Red Weather are recent examples that come to mind.

The girls over at The Broke and the Bookish are asking bloggers which debuts they’re looking forward to this year. I’ve gone for quality not quantity with this list (*ahem* my excuse for not coming up with ten!). Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – New Release Fiction for 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new ‘top ten’ challenge is posted – anyone can join in. This week’s topic is the Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for 2013 .

It seems almost obscene to be ‘looking forward’ to new releases when my TBR stack is towering… But here goes.

1. The new Bridget Jones novel by Helen Fielding – I can’t wait to see what Bridget is up to now. Continue reading