A Few Favourite Australian Authors

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G’day all! Today is Australia Day – a day of which I’m celebrating by drinking French Earl Grey tea and day dreaming of being transported in time to Regency era England. /very. Australian. of. me/

So this post is being published to console the patriotism gods. Whom, I think would prefer me to be outside cooking snags and listening to Aka Daka. Erggh, no.

As this is sort of a book blog, I thought I might note a few of my favorite Australian authors and their books. None of which are set in Australia – sorry patriotism gods!

Jennifer Fallon – world building extraordinaire

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I have read 10 of this lady’s ever growing backlog of books, mainly because Fallon is wonderfully gifted at worldbuilding. From the Hythrun chronicles, a political family drama to The Tide Lords series, a somewhat weird but epic story about gods who love to get up to mischief.

Recommended starting point: Wolfblade (drama, politics, magic, gods).

Garth Nix – teen bookish heart throb

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Garth was one of those go to authors when I was in my teens. The Abhorsen series? Awesome! The Keys to the Kingdom? Fun! The Seventh tower? Cool! (Basically how I described things in my teens). 

Recommended starting point: Sabriel (magic, talking cats, terrifying deathly things).

Kate Forsyth – historical fiction eclair

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I’m kind of addicted to Kate Forsyth, an author who easily pulls out riveting historical dramas out of somewhere. Plus she blends two of my favorite things: fairytales and historical fiction. Rapunzel! The Grimm brothers! Beauty and the Beast! Oh my! She also has some fantasy series under her belt as well – which I definitely will be trying in 2016.

Recommended starting point: Bitter Greens (Rapunzel, a French novelist, witches, nuns).


Hope you enjoyed this post and happy reading!

 

 

 

The Thing Around Your Neck | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I’ve found in the past that I don’t particularly like short story collections. It feels like reaching into a mystery box and hoping for something awesome, only to find some plastic thingamabob that only ends up in the bin. Occasionally you find a gem – but was it really worth it combing through the rest and wasting your time?

And now I feel like a negative Nancy.

But I’ve found it! A short story collection that flowed wonderfully, never failed to entertain, and invoked tears and empathy. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, you’ve done it. And now I understand all the fuss everyone was making about this author.

The Thing Around Your Neck is a short story collection about Nigerian characters and their experiences in and out of Nigeria. There is a power to these stories, grace. And considering my very limited knowledge of the country – it was educating as well.

The writing is simple, to the point and so easy to read. And for me, it was nice little spot of paradise after struggling through Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.

I also enjoyed the range of issues that the collection dealt with: arranged marriage, infidelity, immigration, interracial relationships, sibling rivalry and so on and so forth. These issues were dealt with care and each story was complex and immersive. I felt for the mother who had lost her child, the woman feeling alone and adrift in America, the old professor missing his wife.

Although all stories were wonderful, my particular favorites include The Thing Around Your Neck, The Arrangers of Marriage and The American Embassy.

Overall this was a lovely introduction to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and I look forward to reading more of her works.

I give it 4.5/5*

 

 

My Life on the Road | Gloria Steinem

I’ve had a relatively ‘ok’ reading month so far – three books that I found rather average, one that was a nice re-read, then another that had a really fun, romantic story  and then this… My Life on the Road was a novel that I adored. And the one I really want to talk about.

Backstory: I consider myself a feminist – however I honestly knew zip about Gloria Steinem. I had heard of her in a sort of (oh the name has been mentioned somewhere in the far reaches of my memory but I have no idea why or by who). So when this novel was picked for Emma Watson’s new book club, Our Shared Shelf – I thought it was time to enlighten myself.

And oh my was this a wonderful, interesting novel. Let me outline my feelings in dot points:

  • It flowed wonderfully – despite jumping from one time to another e.g 1970s/ current day, it was constantly comparing experiences and highlighting issues in a way that made sense and illustrated each and every point succinctly and with care. (This probably stems from Gloria’s background as a writer).
  • I LOVED the anecdotes. From a veteran praising Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam war, a priest called Father Egan who got himself in trouble with the church for being concerned with racial and feminist issues and Gloria’s last days with Wilma Mankiller – an Cherokee activist. These anecdotes were beautiful, thoughtful and at times heartbreaking.
  • It was novel about human experiences, how these experiences can shape us and help us grow into the people we are today. This wasn’t really a novel about Steinem and her role as a feminist icon – rather the people who inspired her along the way.
  • It was interesting reading about the feminist movement, about people I had never heard of from different backgrounds. How it wasn’t always perfect and not everyone agreed – but it was important and helped create a ripple effect that still affects us today.
  • I also loved the random facts sprinkled across the novel (so many footnotes!) I definitely did not know that the American Constitution was partly modeled on the Iroquois Confederacy – a native American tribe.

All in all I adored this novel and highly recommend it.

I give it 5/5*

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Books of 2015

Happy new year! I’m hoping you are enjoying it so far – with plenty of reading and culture consuming. Me? I’ve had a lazy start, but I’m trying a few new things: journaling, looking after a cat, trying those famous freakshakes…

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Mhmm, nutella…

But I think you are here for something different? Yes? Books. Books. Books. And the books I enjoyed in 2015.

I read a total of 110 books in 2015, a new best for me and one I will not be beating anytime soon. I read a nice mix – although there were a few too many duds. But I also found a few new favorites, ones that I’ll likely re read over and over again. Now let me show you:

The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

It was nice returning to the kind of books I devoured as a teenager. Epic fantasy. Wonderful worldbuilding. Endearing characters. And a kind of magic I hadn’t encountered before: using metal as a conduit for different types of power.

Voyage of the Basilisk (Lady Trent #3) by Marie Brennan

This series only gets better and better. I love the character of Lady Trent, an adventurer navigating her way through Victorian- inspired society, studying dragons, encountering vastly different cultures and all sorts of mischief. Plus Voyage of the Basilisk was so epic and exhilarating – riding a…? I’ll let you figure out that one.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

I love Felicia Day. She is such a wonderful, funny person who I cannot help but watch all the content she creates. This is no different. This memoir follows her life towards becoming an actor, writer, producer, entrepreneur, internet idol and the list goes on and on and on. It made me laugh, but it also made me cry. And I heartily enjoyed the heck out of it.

The Just City by Jo Walton

It turns out I love fantasy novels about philosophy – especially if they are penned by Jo Walton. This is a wonderful novel about a Greek Goddess creating an ideal city that is governed by the notion of justness. And yet…The city isn’t entirely perfect. Also I freaking loved Socrates in this.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

A female pirate kidnapping a chef to cook her fabulous feasts? Yes please, sign me up! This is a brilliant, fun adventure novel with lovely characters and wonderful conversations over dinner. It made my heart swell with joy and I loved it so much, it was definitely my favorite novel of 2015.

So what were your favorite novels of 2015?