Reading update


As August draws to a close I thought it might be worth checking in on my reading goals for this year. As in previous years, I set myself the goal of reading 52 books this year. One per week always sounds entirely reasonable, but I’ve been shocked to see how short I have fallen from the goal in some years. As I check in on my Goodreads stats for 2014, it tells me I’ve read 46 thus far, and am nine books ahead of schedule. Awesome. I’m pretty sure I got a substantial boost from the large collection of books I managed to devour while on holiday in the UK, and more recently on a trip to Cairns, but I’m still really pleased to that I might finally reach my goal. One of the factors that has definitely helped has been my Kobo, which I can now pop into a bag and take anywhere with hundreds of books at the ready. Previously I’ve had to consider whether I should lug various big or bulky books with me, particularly on holiday, but with the Kobo it is all so much easier.

Of these titles, I’d say my favourite is Ambelin Kwaymullina’s The Tribe series, which blew me away for its technical prowess in structure and character story arcs, and in impeccable world building and beautiful use of mythology. I also found a beautiful collection of short stories that finally offered Josephine Rowe’s Tarcutta Wake and my classic favourite Peter Carey’s The Fat Man in History some competition for my favourite collection of Australian short stories. I only just finished Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil, so I’ll see if its stories haunt me over the coming months the way Rowe’s did, but I think it is safe to say they are some of the finest examples of what short story collections can and should do.

Of my 46 books 32 were written by women, 12 were by Australian authors (this is much lower than it would usually be thanks to my ‘reading books about the UK or by UK authors while in the UK’ challenge) of which only two were men (sorry lads (not sorry)). Only 7 were non-fiction and 8 were young adult. I noticed my reading had lacked writers of colour, and thanks to some generous advice was able to put together an enviable selection of books by authors from diverse cultures and backgrounds, some of which I’ve already managed to read. I’m looking forward to adding more in as the year progresses.

All in all, the reading year is going well. Melbourne Writers’ Festival draws to a close today, so I’m looking forward to some of the excellent books I’ve added to my reading pile after seeing authors speak at various events. Any recommendations for me?

The Noobz


I’m proud as punch to have a short contribution included in this collection by if: book Australia and Editia, The Noobz. Focussing on expermients in reading and writing, it’s a short and sweet collection featuring wonderful writers such as Romy Ash, Ronnie Scott and Benjamin Law. Not bad company to find yourself in. The ebook is only $9.99 which is great value. You can read more on the Editia website, but here is a taste of what to expect…

Change your tools for storytelling, change your routine, learn a new form, engage with parts of the wider industry you have never had to previously. See what happens and report back. This was the challenge taken up by contributors to The N00bz: New adventures in literature.”

Building Community


Last year I had the pleasure of being included in The Emerging Writer, produced by the Emerging Writers’ Festival as a compendium of advice and thoughts about the business of being a writer. I wrote a chapter on community; what that means, how you can find or build your own, why you should bother. It was nice to see my chapter crop up again, in this case being quoted by Justin Heazlewood in his book Funemployed. The book is a rumination on what life is like for artists and writers in Australia. It’s rather strange to see your words in someone else’s book, especially when re-reading them confirms for you that you’re on the right track. Somehow seeing those words again made me remember how glad I am to have my writing community around me.