What I Have Been Reading Lately (or Coming Book Reviews)

I’ve committed myself to participating in the Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading and Reviewing Challenge, at the Miles level, as a Dabbler. Meaning, I need to read at least six books by written Australian women this year, and review at least three, from any genre. That seems almost too easy now, given I’ve decided to include some children’s books in the list but the truth is that I struggle with reading books lately, unless I can read them on my iPhone, when I am nursing my toddler in the night (and even that doesn’t happen so often any more).

On my list so far are:

I am Jack by Susanne Gervey illustrated by Cathy WilcoxI Am Jack, a  really excellent book by Susanne Gervay, perfect for Liam’s age (which is nine). I enjoyed reading it to him, and while some of the humour didn’t do much for me, apparently Gervay has an in into a nine-year-old boy’s head, because Liam was frequently in fits of laughter.  This and it also tackles the difficult subject of bullying in school, and without being preachy.

One Magic Square – Grow Your Own Food on One Square Metre, by Lolo Houbein, I haven’t actually read yet, although I’ve flicked through it a bit. It’s not really a read-all-the-way through kind of book anyway, but I do plan to do just that, in order to do a proper review for this challenge. Though I’ll probably post that over at Sustainable Suburbia.

I’m re-reading Cocaine Blues, by Kerry Greenwood, which is the first of the Phyrne Fisher novels, because I watched the first episode in the ABC mystery series on the weekend and I didn’t remember half the story. Which of course made me wonder how much was actually from that first book, and how much might have been changed for the series, or taken from other books. Or, did I not actually read Cocaine Blues at all? (My mother and I have been reading this series for some time, but she started before me, and has most of the books at her house, so seemed possible I’d missed it. We didn’t read them in order.)

I thought I might review the first book in Emily Rodda’s new Three Doors series, The Golden Door, which Liam recently borrowed from the library. But he’s engrossed in the Rowan of Rin books at the moment, having borrowed a 5 in 1 book from the school library, so The Golden Door has taken a back seat. Seriously though, he loves all the Emily Rodda books, but I haven’t read any of them yet, which is why I thought maybe I could read this new series with him. We’re busy reading The Hobbit in our night time reading sessions at the moment though.

I’m sure I had some other children’s books in mind too, but I can’t think of them at the moment. We have some wonderful picture books by Australian women writers (Pamela Allen comes to mind of course, or Jackie French’s Diary of a Wombat, or Hello Baby by Jenni Overend, or Riley and the Dancing Lion by Canberra writer Tanya McCartney), but for the purpose of this challenge I figure I should read something new. I think re-reading Cocaine Blues is okay because I can’t quite remember it, but I know all those books almost off by heart. Although there are certainly some Pamela Allen books we haven’t read yet.

But what I have actually been reading lately is The Great Disruption, by (Australian writer) Paul Gilding, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, which I just loved. I haven’t read any of Kingsolver’s novels, but I will now. But, she’s not Australian, so although I probably will post of review of her book, it won’t count towards my Australian Women Writer’s Challenge. And of course I’m reading The Hobbit to Liam, and read numerous picture and occasional chapter books to Mikaela and Eliane, every day.

What are you reading at the moment? Anything by an Australian writer?