Back in December 2011, I decided to undertake the 2012 Australian Women Writers’ Reading Challenge.
I’d decided to take on the “Franklin Fantastic” level of the challenge, which means reading 10 books and reviewing at least 4 of them.
I didn’t complete the challenge successfully – reading only 6 novels, and posting 4 reviews. I intended to do more reviews, and definitely finish ten Oz women’s writers’ books. I still have a densely-packed To Read list (populated with AWW as well as others). Time hasn’t quite run out for 2012, but I doubt that I’ll be reading four novels between now and New Year’s Eve because:
2. Funstering with kiddies.
3. Playing with kids’ presents.
The books I ended up reading for the 2012 AWW Challenge:
- Sulari Gentill’s A Few Right Thinking Men (reviewed)
- Meredith Shayne’s Equilibrium
- Felicity Young’s A Dissection of Murder (reviewed)
- Gabrielle Wang’s The Lion Drummer (reviewed)
- Tara Moss’ Spider Goddess
- Kirsty Eagar’s Saltwater Vampires (reviewed)
I was happy with the range of authors I covered, many of whom I read for the first time: Gentill, Shayne, Young, and Eagar.
I was a bit disappointed with Moss’ book, having read all of her novels so far. It was readable, but felt a bit rushed and predictable. Her last Mak book, Assassin, was on my list for the challenge but I never got around to it. After reading Spider Goddess, I wanted to leave a bit of room between the novels, but now I’m not sure if I’ll go back.
I definitely want to read all of Gentill’s novels (she’s so prolific!), and am looking forward to Young’s next Dody McCleland book. Young has written several contemporary crime fiction books so I may be driven to check out that back-list while waiting for more in the new series.
For 2013, I’m hoping to read quite a few books written by various tweeting writers I follow. I’m also drawn to many YA series that I see when I’m at the library with the kids, but haven’t yet committed to any.
One of the things I was glad to have put together as part of 2012’s AWW reading challenge was the post on AWW’s of diverse cultural heritage. It didn’t pretend any comprehensiveness, and drew mostly on Asian Australian authors. I had planned a companion post on Asian Australian male writers but never got around to typing it up. Then I was disturbed by the binaristic gender allocations involved. So I dropped it.
The majority of the books I’ve read by Asian Australian authors are literary in nature, and are texts I examined as part of critical academic work. It’s a vastly different way to experience and remember a book. In retrospect, it’s not a good way to learn to like books; well, not for me, anyway.
I’m keen to find more genre authors, and have just discovered Sydney-based romance writer, Coleen Kwan.
Also, while doing research for this post, I was following up on Queenie Chan‘s work and found this event: Women Manga Artists (AGNSW), which involves Queenie and the fabulous Rebecca Suter (USyd). Looks great. If you’re in Sydney, check it out!
Finally, back to the 2012 AWW reading challenge, big shout-out and many thanks to Elizabeth Lhuede for her great leadership on the project this year. It must have been a helluva lot of work, and I hope she knows that it’s appreciated.
I’m still contemplating whether to commit to the 2013 AWW challenge. It was a lot of fun taking part this year, not least of which was talking with fellow participants on Twitter and via our respective blogs. I’ll mull it over through the Christmas + New Year holidays.
1 January 2013 – ETA:
I will be signing up to the AWW 2013 challenge. At the same level (Franklin). Sign-up post to come!