Thursday, 14 November 2013

Another tracking post - Honor Harrington series

You'll remember my "Skating School" tracking post from some time back.

Having returned to reading David Weber's Honor Harrington books (now at 13 (or 14 depending how you count it) main books, six anthologies, and eight (or seven) spin-offs in three series for a total of 27 titles - I think), I realised  at the beginning of At All Costs (book 11 in the regular series) that events were being referenced that I hadn't read about and clearly was expected to know more about.  Making my way to the ever-helpful Honorverse Wiki, I found a table of the current books and short stories in reading order, which I have, in part, reproduced below the fold.  This helped me work out that I should have branched off to the two spin-off series' before attempting At All Costs.  I've been looking forward to reaching those two series, so it's not like it's a hardship.

(Book titles are in italics, short stories are in plain type with the title of the anthology in the next column.)

I'm now thinking there may need to be some more posts on Honor and the odd way in which I love the books but can totally see the problems in them as well.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Wednesday Reads/Where I am up to Wednesday

Recently, during the local "International Film Festival", we went to see - among others - a film called "The Summit", about the death of eight mountaineers on the ascent and descent of K2, the second-highest mountain in the world.  You may see the influence of this movie in the following.

I've just finished reading:
Three books that I am planning to post reviews for...
Life after Death - Beck Weathers - bio of one of the 1996 Everest clients.
High: Stories of Survival from Everest and K2, Clint Willis, ed - an anthology of narratives.
Savage Summit: the life and death of the first women of K2, by Jennifer Jackson - an absolutely fabulous narrative of the lives and climbs of the first five women who summitted K2, all of whom have now died.

I'm currently reading:
Into Thin Air by John Krakauer - the supposedly quintessential narrative of the 1996 Everest season.

K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain by Ed Viesturs and David Roberts - a history of a number of the most dramatic climbing seasons on K2.

Unpolished Gem, by Alice Pung - I've been listening to this at the gym, and now thinking I really must conclude it by getting out my paper copy.  So close to done.

After Elizabeth: The Rise of James of Scotland and the Struggle for the Throne of England by Leanda de Lisel - put aside because of my sudden mountaineering obsession.

The Bible.  Seriously, I've got about 50 pages of Revelation to go.

Next I plan to read - It's September, and I've read very few of the books comprising my 30 2013 challenge books.  So that's what I really need to get to.  These books include:

Gaysia, by Benjamin Law
The God Box, by Alex Sanchez
Dead Aid, by Dambisa Moyo
Manhattan Dreaming, by Anita Heiss
The Boundary, by Nicole Watson

I really need to turn my mind to these books.  And yet I really am captivated by all these dratted mountaineering books.

I also have, sitting next to me on the sofa right at this moment, Sheer Will: The Inspiring Life and Climbs of Michael Groom, by Michael Groom.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Review: Mouseton Abbey

Mouseton Abbey
Mouseton Abbey by Nick Page

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is absolutely gorgeous. Between the obvious links to a television show that shall remain nameless, the delightful knitted mice, and the writing, which made me giggle on every page, it's absolutely priceless.

I do rather wish that knitting patterns for the mice were included, but I rather hope that I will be able to work out how to crochet them eventually. :-)

Meanwhile, I strongly hope that there will be more Mouseton Abbey books on the way.

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Saturday, 6 July 2013

Skating School - for my reference

It's proving harder than it should to work out the reading order of these.  Fantastic fiction has the books listed, but not entirely in reading order. Goodreads doesn't even list them as a series (I'll fix that at some point).  But my colleague, our YA librarian, thought to check Amazon, and they did have the reading order.  Thank you, YA librarian!!

Skating School - by Linda Chapman
  1. White Skate Wishes (2009) - read
  2. Scarlet Skate Magic (2009) read
  3. Violet Skate Friends (2009) - read
  4. Pink Skate Party (2009) - read
  5. Blue Skate Dreams (2010) - read
  6. Silver Skate Surprise (2010) - read
2nd generation stories
  1. Sapphire Skate Fun (2010) - read
  2. Amber Skate Star (2010) - arrived
  3. Emerald Skate Promise (2010)
  4. Ruby Skate Secrets (2010)
  5. Diamond Skate Forever (2010)
  6. Topaz Skate Sparkle (2010)

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Where I am up to Wednesday

It's Wednesday again!  There have been many Wednesdays since the last time I wrote.  But this is where I'm up to:

I've just finished reading:
I finished The Follies of the King by Jean Plaidy in the last couple of days.  It's the Edward II installment of the Plantagenet saga, and I found myself with far more sympathy for Isabella than I expected.  And far less for Edward. Obviously there's some authorial bias at work, and I've got the Alison Weir "She-Wolf of France" (or is that about Eleanor?  Or Margaret of Anjou?)  on eBook.  Once I recharge my Kobo.  I'm definitely looking forward to the next one, although I won't get to that for a little while.

I finally finished Pray for me in Santiago while I was in Adelaide, and I still need to write a proper review of that one.  

I'm currently reading:
The Red Queen, by Philippa Gregory, which jumped up the to-read list when @sawcat pointed out that it was about Margaret Beaufort and not Margaret of Anjou as I'd assumed it was.  Watching the TV adaption of The White Queen I was absolutely captivated by Margaret Beaufort.  And I'm thoroughly enjoying reading the book.  

Still working on Alice Pung's Unpolished Gem, somewhat on hiatus because of a) the changeover of libraries resulting in not actually having access to the audio book version and b) my gym being in the middle of renovations.  I listen to my audiobooks while I'm at the gym.

Also still working very slowly on Mark Bowen's Guests of the Ayatollah, and Noel Tovey's Little Black Bastard.

Next I plan to read:
Rebecca Lim's Exile, which has been sitting there in waiting for a while; a few more Linda Chapman Skating School books (which I have on reserve through Swift, now that my library is a member of Swift); and Manhattan Dreaming, by Anita Heiss, because I really should have read it by now.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Review: The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It took me a while to get into this, but once I did, *what* a ride!

Ashala Wolf is in Detention Centre 3, watched over by her betrayer, Connor, and interrogated by the Chief Administrator Neville Rose. They want her to give up her family, her Tribe - the group of Illegals, the possessors of rare abilities, who live together in the Firstwood, protected by a Pact they have made with the Saurs who live on the grassy plains between the Firstwood and 'civilisation'.

This is utterly brilliant dystopian spec fic. There's just enough world building to get me wanting so much more about this post-Reckoning world. The novel is structured in three almost-perfect acts, and despite being marketed as part of a series, works absolutely as a stand-alone book.

People have been raving about this book since the ARCs became available, and they're absolutely right to rave. The ideas that run through this book are twisty and fabulous: you can see Kwaymullina's view of the world and the way it has evolved in this 300-years-from-now future. And I have to assume that she knew exactly what she was doing naming the Chief Administrator "Neville Rose". It was that fact that made my gut churn all the way through the first third of this book. That fact that made the interrogation that much worse than if he'd been named, say, Gary. It has *such* a profound effect and surely anyone with an ounce of understanding of WA history would have the same reaction. It's not just me, right?

I am so looking forward to there being another book set in this world. I want to know so much more about it, and the people in it. But in the unlikely event that that doesn't happen, I will still have had *this* book, and that is a really important thing.

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Monday, 17 June 2013

Review: The White Queen

The White Queen
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I hadn't written a review of this, and then, all unbenownst to me, there's a TV adaptation started in the UK this past weekend. So, having seen episode one of the adaptation, I'm writing a review of the whole book (and wondering whether there are plans for the adaptation of other books in the series.)

Important point to understand #1 - I am not a Richardian.

Important point to understand #2 - Neither am I anti-Richardian. (I blame Buckingham, although I'm not sure who he was working for.)

Ditto #3 - Despite #s 1 and 2, I really rather enjoyed Sharon Penman's "The Sunne in Splendor".

Ditto #4 - I really can enjoy books even though they aren't all that historically accurate or faithful. I will roll my eyes at the problems while still enjoying the narrative/characters/whatever.

Given the historical use of 'witchcraft' as a stick with which to beat intelligent, assertive women, I don't really like that Gregory decided to make the allegations true. Once I was past that and into the story, I appreciated the ways it contributed, and yet the inner feminist still isn't okay with it. The Perkin Warbeck story also irks me, and yet again: once I was back into it... as always Gregory gets the narrative pull just right. It may have taken a few tries to get going (but that was mostly due to not wanting to read books by non-Australian white women (see challenges)) but once in, I was *in*.

Unfortunately, right now my mind is rather taken up by episode one of the TV adaptation.

What I know is that while certain elements of the book annoyed me, and/or took historical positions that I have issues with, I still really enjoyed reading it.

More later, perhaps. Possibly after having watched episode two.

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Review: Miles off Course, by Sulari Gentill

Miles Off Course (Rowland Sinclair #03)Miles Off Course by Sulari Gentill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More fan mail for Sulari! Also, I am recommending the series to even more people than last time.

I loved the cameos! I had my suspicions about one of the less obvious ones, and it turned out I was right. And the couple of mentions of Norman Lindsay... Well, I was brought up with a healthy respect for Lindsay that survived the movie Sirens! And I love the thought of Lindsay sending Rowly a difficult model - and Rowly replying in kind.

And Wilfred is more adorable than ever. I don't know how anyone would cope with the real version (or Rowly and Kate with the fictional one) but as an occasional companion in fiction (and a pleasant foil to Rowly) Wil really is a winner. (Here I must admit I'm contemplating personal fic from Kate's point of view. Sinclair, not Leigh.)

All in all, a fabulous addition to the series. And next book we're in 1933 Germany! What... fun?

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PS:   Oh! And I totally failed to note my appreciation of Harry Simpson, both Rowly and Wil's unswerving loyalty to him, and the fact that he never, ever spoke in dialect. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sulari.  

Monday, 10 June 2013

[Review] Trisha: As I Am, by Trisha Goddard

Trisha: As I AmTrisha: As I Am by Trisha Goddard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There's a moment, late in the book, where Goddard says to her readers that there's no reason to explain the format of her UK tv show, because if you've picked up this book you'll know all about it. She really is writing for a British audience, and her comment merely confirms what I'd sensed earlier on.

But I picked up this book because I remembered Goddard from Play School and from Everybody. It was listed under 'Australian authors' on the Bolinda Borrow Box ebook app, and I'm counting it as such for AWW, because it's an extra, not one of the listed books. (I really must get on with reading those listed books, actually). I know Goddard grew up in the UK, and moved back to the UK, but she lived and worked in Australia for 15 to 20 years, and those were years when I watched her on Australian television, and although that's not a great reason for counting her as Australian, it's good enough for me right now.

I chose this book on a whim, but I'm really glad that I read it. It was difficult to read: because of what Goddard went through, because of the way she was treated by others, because of the difficulty of reading something so open and honest, especially where mental health is concerned. But not surprisingly, the things that make the book difficult to read are also the things that are most important about the story. The racism she experienced in Australia (have we really moved on at all since?) the stress she suffered and her ways of dealing (and not dealing) with it, and the consequences of that; it really is a narrative written for her UK audience, but even without that context, I valued the book and learned a lot from it.

It's the subject matter rather than the writing style that makes this difficult to read. The style itself tends towards the breezy, and there often seems to be a surface shallowness. But I think the breeziness belies a great deal of hurt for Goddard, and that skimming over the surface is the only way that the story was going to be told.

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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Review: The Glory Garage: Growing Up Lebanese Muslim In Australia

The Glory Garage: Growing Up Lebanese Muslim In Australia
The Glory Garage: Growing Up Lebanese Muslim In Australia by Nadia Jamal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This goes into my mental pile of books all Australian girls should read. Unless they're Lebanese Muslim, because they probably know all this stuff already. But Anglo, European, Indigenous, Asian, African, American... the rest of us should definitely read this book.

It's an easy read, but also a mostly-gentle window (can a window be gentle?) into the lives of young Lebanese women in Australia.

I thought I remembered hearing about this book on Radio National one morning, back when I listened to Radio National in the mornings. But that was in 2002 or so, and the book wasn't released until 2005. So I must have been wrong.

Still. Very glad that I've read it (finally). My current dilemma is that I want to add it to my partner's classroom library, but I don't want to risk losing it, because I want to have it in the future.

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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Where I am up to Wednesday

I've recently finished...
Born to Rule, which I've reviewed, and The Declaration by Gemma Malley, which I've been wanting to read ever since it was published but only just got to this week because a kid at the library could not believe that The Declaration (which we have in the original pink hardcover) was part of the same series as The Resistance (in green and black) and The Legacy (purple and silver with a poppy).  And I've finished the first book of the series in a little over twenty-four hours.

I abandoned Laurie Graham's A Humble Companion.  Just couldn't get into it - the prose wasn't engaging, the narrative boring and plodding.  There's just not enough time.

I'm currently reading...
Pray for Me in Santiago.  Still going.  Not even at Leon yet, while my friend who actually walked from Leon to Santiago has completed her walk and is back home again.

The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus, by Amy Jill Levine.  This book is for book club - our meeting is next week.  It's yet another one of those problematic, annoying books that talk about a church I don't recognise at all.

Next I plan to read...
The Desmond Tutu I mentioned last time; God is not a Christian, and the second in Gemma Malley's Declaration series, The Resistance.  I also really want to get back into Kwaymullina's Ashala Wolf, a far darker dystopia than Malley's, at least for me.

Review: Born To Rule

Born To Rule
Born To Rule by Julia P. Gelardi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I began reading this book in 2010, but had to return it to the library when I no longer worked close enough to that library to borrow it. Recently I was able to borrow it once again. And I've finally finished it.

The author has an annoying habit of referring far too frequently to horrible things that will happen in the future. It's probably supposed to keep you interested, but I *was* interested already, and it just irked me.

That aside, the story was definitely interesting. I knew nothing of either Maud, Marie or Sophie when I began reading: a great deal about Alix of Russia, and a little about Victoria Eugenia of Spain due to a biography of her mother, Beatrice, that I read some years ago. I had no idea that the first Queen of the restored monarchy of Norway was British (I rather wonder what my very American-Norwegian mother will think when I point that fact out.) It was a fascinating link to that Beatrice book I read a while ago, as well as to the Spanish Civil War book I'm in the middle of. It is absoluetly history of the elites, but it's interesting stuff. It's sometimes hard for us antipodeans to quite grasp how inter-related the European royals are, and this certainly proved *that*. I'm glad I finally re-borrowed and finished this book.

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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Where I'm up to Wednesday

This time I will post on a Wednesday (because that's what scheduled posts are for!)

I've recently finished...
Tony Kevin's Walking the Camino: A Modern Pilgrimage to Santiago.  I really need to write up my review of this.

Magda Goebbels by Anja Klabunde, for which I've actually written and posted a review!  Yay me!

I'm currently reading...
Pray for Me in Santiago by Theresa Burkhardt-Felder.  Tony Kevin walked the Via de la Plata, while Burkhardt-Felder walked the more popular Camino Frances.  I currently have a friend walking the Camino Frances from Leon, and I'm looking forward to my reading catching up with her.

Born to Rule: Granddaughters of Victoria, Queens of Europe, by Julia P Gelardi.  I got a third of the way through this one a few years ago, but was back at the High Country Library a few weeks ago and borrowed this one out to try to finish it.

Next I plan to read...

Another HCLC loan, and one I definitely want to get to next, is God is not a Christian, a collection of essays by Desmond Tutu.

Also on the pile is another pilgrimage book - The Comfort of Water by Maya Ward - and a Laurie Graham historical, A Suitable Companion.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Review: Magda Goebbels

Magda Goebbels
Magda Goebbels by Anja Klabunde

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This biography of Magda Goebbels follows her from the age of about five to her death in the last days of the European Theatre of WWII, although the bulk of the book focuses on her life until the beginning of the War. It traces Frau Goebbels' life through her relationships with men - her stepfather, father, first boyfriend, first husband, and then Goebbels, her second husband - and to a lesser extent her eldest stepson, eldest son, and her probable lover.

This was a fascinating book. I'd previously had no idea about Magda Goebbels' Jewish connections - in fact, when I picked up the book I thought it sounded utterly ludicrous.

I don't agree with all Klabunde's conclusions about Frau Goebbels, and the framing of pretty much her whole life through men irked me. The other thing I found frustrating was the rapidity with which the narrative passed through the war years. I'm sure there was more that could have been said, even given the lack of sources due to the deaths of most of the main players. I also would have loved some information about her eldest son Harald's life post-war, and further proof that women like Emmy Goering (of whom I'd never heard) lived "unmolested" in West Germany post war despite her equally direct association with the Reich. In fact, my main point of difference with Klabunde is that she seems so certain that no harm would have come to the children of Magda and Joseph Goebbels had they not been killed by their parents in the bunker at the end of the war. I'm not nearly so confident.

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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Review: Beyond the Ladies' Lounge: Australian Women Publicans

Beyond the Ladies' Lounge: Australian Women Publicans
Beyond the Ladies' Lounge: Australian Women Publicans by Clare Wright

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some books, you can just tell they're a thesis turned into publishable form. That's not a criticism (especially not coming from me), it's just that published theses read differently to popular history. And it just makes me wonder (a little) how this got into our library collection. Because it's on an odd topic and it's not by a big publisher.

But anyway: I'm really glad I stumbled across this book. It's a history (thematic rather than narrative) of women publicans, particularly in Victoria. Wright traces the history of Australia and women publicans through legislation, social acceptance, literary portrayal, and political influence. I've got some literary theory issues with that particular chapter, and it's fairly clear that Clare Wright's feminism is not my feminism, but all the same, it's an interesting and thoroughly readable book that challenges some of the suppositions around the history of pubs in Australia.

That said, I'd now love to read a history of the Ladies Lounge and the place of women in Australia's drinking culture. Anyone know a good one?

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Wednesday Reads's still Wednesday in the USA, so it counts, right?

What I'm reading now:

Still on The Glory Garage.  It's really not the book I expected and yet it's kind of totally the book I expected.  I know, right?

Also Master Race: The Lebensborn experiment in Nazi Germany which arrived in Stock Rotation at work the other day, and I've almost finished A Rogue's Proposal properly, instead of just by skimming.

What I've just finished reading:

War of Honor, number 10 in the Honor Harrington series.  I've got to get David Weber credit for a book with "War" in the title where the actual war only starts in the last 100 pages.  Of 700-odd.  It was good, although I hope Giancola comes to a messy end.

I finished The Bastard King by Jean Plaidy less than an hour ago.  My GF asked me last night what book I was reading, and when I told her the title she asked "which one?"  (As in, which bastard King was it about.)  My response - "The actual one.  William the Conquerer."  "Oh," she said.  "You meant an actual bastard."  In Plaidy's usual style it's not particularly dramatic, simply a fairly straightforward narrative with flesh and bones given to the hsitory books.  I still find William and Matilda's purported style of relationship (specifically, the beatings) horrifying and I really hope that it's all a nasty anti-Norman rumour.  But I suspect there's a grain of truth in there somewhere.

Not sure when I'll get on to the next in the trilogy, The Lion of Justice, but I'll buy it from Kobo at some stage.

What I'm reading next:

Walking the Camino.  What?  I've said that twice already and still haven't started it?

Also, it's book club next week and I need to read for that.  Only I can't remember the title of the book.  I'll add it to this post when I get home.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Wednesday Reads (6/2/13)

WednesdayReads is a regular meme that seems to be taking over Dreamwidth.  As I've been rather remiss with Top Ten Tuesdays of late (you'll notice that I'm even posting a Wednesday meme on a Friday), you'll have to put up with WednesdayReads again this week.

What I'm reading now
The Glory Garage: Growing Up Lebanese Muslim in Australia - this is one of my AWW reads for the year.  It's proving frustrating in some ways, because a lot of it feels like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs.

Also: A Rogues Proposal by Stephanie Laurens and War of Honor by David Weber. (I totally just wrote David Warner.  How's that for Sci-Fi slips?)  I've picked both of these back up, needing fluff and nonsense right now.

What I've just finished reading:
Beyond the Ladies' Lounge: Australian Women Publicans by Clare Wright.  I really need to review this one for AWW, even though it's not on my lists, because it's interesting.

Also The Blockade Breakers, about the Berlin Airlift.  Completely fabulous.

What I'm reading next:
Still planning on it being Walking the Camino.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Wednesday Reading Meme

So it's Thursday, so I've completely missed Top Ten Tuesday for this week.  So, instead, the Wednesday Reading Meme, which seems to have taken over certain other parts of the webs in which I spend my time.

What I'm reading
- "Take this Bread" by Sara Miles.  This month's book for our church book club, I need to have it read by Tuesday, while also working on two assignments, one of which is due by midnight Monday.  I'm through the first 100 pages, and finding it fascinating, challenging, difficult and wonderful.

I've just finished reading
Somehow I've ended up back in a Stephanie Laurens mood.  In the last week I've read Scandal's Bride and In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster, and to be perfectly honest this morning I basically skimmed through A Rogue's Proposal. Not that it counts as "reading".  Anyway.  I'm in a Laurens mood and as much as these books are shelved in my Goodreads account as "trashy trashy romance" I still love them.  To the point that  I was really REALLY annoyed to find that although a bunch of Laurens books are currently on sale in e-form, all the titles on sale are those I've read.

What I'm reading next
Next cab off the rank is definitely Tony Kevin's Walking the Camino: A modern pilgrimage to Santiago.  Kevin isn't religious, and I think it's going to be an interesting read.  I'm hoping to follow it up with seeing Emilio Estevez' film The Way.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Review: Skating School (Series) by Linda Chapman

White Skate Wishes (Skating School)White Skate Wishes by Linda Chapman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sometimes you come across a book and as silly as it seems, you just need to read it. And a magical skating fairy boarding school book? Is totally that sort of book for me.

Emily loves to ice skate, but her parents are not well off, and if she's lucky, she can skate once during each school holidays. During the current school holidays, there simply won't be either the time or the money. But while out in the yard, pretending to skate, Emily is carried off to the Magic Land of Ice and Winter, and Madame Letsworth's Magic Ice-Skating Academy. No time will pass in the real world while Emily and a number of other human girls are at the Academy, and no one will miss them. But they will have time to practice their skating, learn how to cross-country ski, and take on various challenges, the winner of each challenge being given a beautiful new pair of skates.

I love ice skating, but most of my chances to try it were when I was in the US over winter, which was not entirely as much as I would have liked. And so I found so very much to enjoy in these books. (Also, it's a boarding school story. With elves and fairies and ice dragons.)

I came across these books by mistake, when they were returned my my library instead of the one to which they belong. Now I'm determined to read the rest of the series, just to find out what happens to Emily and her friends - and of course, to discover who is named the Ice Princess at the end of their six-week stay in the Magic Land, and what the special task is that the Ice Princess will be required to carry out.

These are series books, aimed squarely at girls, but there's nothing objectionable here. Girls are encouraged to be active, to be intelligent and to love the out of doors. (And I love the description of just how "difficult" cross-country skiing is - as someone who loves x-c skiing and used to compete in it.

It's not White Boots, but then, nothing is. It's not even The Ice Mountain (another favourite). But it's a gorgeous series about skating, and I'm looking forward to reading more.

Scarlet Skate Magic (Skating School) Scarlet Skate Magic

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 15 January 2013

This week's "official" topic is "Top Ten Debuts I'm looking forward to".  I don't pay nearly the amount of attention to new books that having such a top ten would require, and so I'm going to pick up an earlier topic:

Top Ten Books I Read in 2012
(In alphabetical order by author)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays - 7 Jan 2013

Sandra at Fresh Ink Books began following me on Twitter, so I started reading her blog.  And from her, I was linked to Top Ten Tuesdays at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013

1.  Get *my* book published.  This involves a lot of work on my part.  I absolutely acknowledge that I have been driving my editor mad with my lack of work.
2.  Goodreads Challenge 2013
3.  Australian Women Writers 2013
4.  Global Women of Colour challenge
5.  Rainbow Reads
6.  The rest of the books on my To Read in 2013 shelf
7.  Clear down my On Hiatus shelf
8.  Blog regularly here at Heidi Reads (hoping that Top Ten Tuesdays will help me.)
9.  Maintaining diversity in my reading
10.  Complete reading the Bible (without deutero-canonicals) from beginning to end.

Reading Diversity - Divers thoughts

Back in 2008, the particular corner of the interwebs that I inhabited exploded.  It exploded over issues of diversity in television and fandom, and that was when 50books_poc started.  And ever since then, I've been far more aware of what I'm reading, and the authorship of what I'm reading.  And as horrible as 50books_poc eventually became, it's been incredibly important to the way that I read.


Here I sit at the end of 2012, noticing how UN-diverse my reading has actually been.  Despite my supposed attempts at diverse reading, when I finally get around to posting my relevant statistics, you'll see that I didn't really succeed.

In 2013 I want things to be different.  I want to make sure that my reading is diverse, isn't just meant to be so.  I never have much of an issue making sure I read female authors over male: as far back as I can remember I've read more women than men.  But reading even close to equal numbers of non/other-than-white authors to white authors, and something around 20% queer authors to straight is something I'd like to be able to say I'd done at the end of this year.  I don't know that I'll manage it (although between my Rainbow Reads challenge, plus intentionally choosing at least a couple of queer authors for the other challenges, I should be okay for 20% for the year if not more) but I want to try.

Monday, 7 January 2013

2013 Rainbow Reads

The third (fourth if you count the overall Goodreads challenge) and final challenge I'm "signing up" for is one of my own devising.  As I will be noting in an as yet unfinished post that is part of the chain of unready posts, I want my focus in 2013 to be on diversity in my reading.  Within my AWW reading in 2012, although I thought I was aiming for diversity, I ended up defaulting to a predominantly straight, white selection of writers.  Between this challenge and the Global Women of Colo(u)r Challenge I'll be keeping a focus on non-white writers - plus my AWW reads this year are also predominantly non-white.

2013 Rainbow Reads

"Rainbow" can refer to a lot of things.  Diversity, queerness, a mix of colours, the promise by God to Noah after the great flood.  My Rainbow Reads are ten books by LGBTQQI writers "of colour".  In other words, not white, not Anglo-European authors who identify in some way as "not straight".  Admittedly, my non-straight authors mostly identify as either lesbian or gay.  I don't know of any trans authors at the moment, and the bi authors who are on my to-read list are white.  Plus, in order to make the challenge do-able, I need to be able to source all the books I chose, so I needed to keep to books I either own or have library access to.  (I'm taking a gamble on the Ihimaera, but my library is about to join a large consortium, which will make sourcing books by non-white, non-straight authors easier than it is now.  In fact, that's the only one on this list that isn't already in my collection, and I almost bought it when we were in Sydney a couple months ago.)  This list is equally balanced in terms of gender identification, and I might add that I found it more difficult to find titles by men than women for this challenge.

My Rainbow Reads (in alphabetical order by author) are:

1.  Her Sister's Eye, by Vivienne Cleven - Indigenous Australian
2.  Nights in the Garden of Spain, by Witi Ihimaera - Maori
3.  Gaysia, by Benjamin Law - Chinese Australian
4.  Huntress, by Malinda Lo - Chinese American
5.  Talking Black: Lesbians of African and Asian Descent Speak Out, edited by Valerie Mason-John - Black British women
6.  The God Box, by Alex Sanchez - Latino American
7.  Little Black Bastard: A Story of Survival, by Noel Tovey - Indigenous Australian
8.  The Same River Twice, by Alice Walker - African American
9.  Miracle's Boys, by Jacqueline Woodson - African American
10.  Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Human Rights, by Kenji Yoshino - Japanese American

Posts in waiting...

I'm in one of those situations where I have a half-finished post that relies for context on a post I haven't even started yet.  Except that there's a whole chain of them, starting with my AWW wrap up/stats, then my 2012 wrap up/stats post, then my subsequent post on my goals for reading in 2013, and then a summary post about my reading challenges (although that last one is the one most likely to get dropped).

Part of the problem is putting together the stats.  The other problem is wanting to finish just three more reviews (so that I can link to them from the wrap up posts) before I do my AWW post.

All of which, of course, I could be doing instead of writing this post to explain why all the other posts haven't yet turned up.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Review: Love You Two

Love You Two
Love You Two by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It would be 3 1/2 stars if Goodreads had half stars. Just saying.

Although I knew of this book from the collection at the High School where I used to work, but it wasn't until two American friends began talking about it as a book that dealt with polyamory and queer relationships that I got more interested. (I'd thought it also went into trans, but was wrong about that.)

Pina is a teenage girl growing up in Adelaide. Her Italian-Australian family is familiar to me from Melina Marchetta's first book (by which I don't mean it's the same family, but the structure and the overwhelmingness of community that I've never had in real life is recognisable between the two books.) There are firm ideas about what is right and what is wrong. But on the day the book starts, Pina discovers that her mother has been doing something "wrong" for many many years.

I found Pina difficult to deal with as a narrator and as a character: she was judgmental in a way that put me off. I was a pretty sheltered teenager, but I don't remember being as... straight-laced as she seems to be. I don't know: I suppose my point is, this book gets into some pretty deep stuff, but a lot of the treatment of said deepness was just a bit - shallow.

I wanted to love this book but it all began to feel a little too much show-your-research for me. As the various characters and situations were revealed, it just felt a little contrived. (Also throwing me out of the story was someone from Shepparton describing himself as Murri. I know you accept people's own identifications, but Shep is in the heart of "Koori" country - Murri is way further north.)

Again, I think my problem was I wanted to love this book more than I did love it.

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Another 2013 challenge - Global Women of Colo(u)r

M D Brady is running a Global Women of Colo(u)r challenge for 2013, and I'm in the process of signing up.  I've signed up for the "Structured" challenge, which involves:

reading (and reviewing) ten books by Global Women of Color, six of them from six different continents or regions.
Although eight out of my ten planned reads for the Australian Women Writers Challenge would also count for the GWC challenge, I'd like to avoid overlap if I can.  So far my one difficulty in covering regions is finding an author from continental South American (as distinct from the Carribean, which is counted as part of South America for the purposes of the challenge).

In any event, this is my tentative list (alphabetically by author):

1.  Where the Streets had a Name, by Abdel-Fattah - Palestinian/Australian (Middle East/Australia)
2.  That Thing Around Your Neck, by Adiche - Nigeria (Africa)
3.  The Pirate's Daughter, by Cezair-Thompson - Jamaica (South America)
4.  The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, by Erdrich - Ojibwe (North America)
5.  Lovers in the Age of Indifference, by Guo - China (Asia)
6.  The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, by Kwaymullina - Palyku (Australia)
7.  Small Island, by Levy - Jamaica/Black British (UK)
8.  Dead Aid, by Moyo - Zambia (Africa)
9.  Her Father's Daughter, by Pung - Cambodian/Australian (Asia/Australia)
10.  The World Unseen, by Sarif - South Africa/India (Africa/Asia/Global)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Review: Team Human

Team Human
Team Human by Justine Larbalestier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Somehow I've deleted two initial versions of this review without meaning to. Anyway:

Loved it. Loved, loved, loved.

Mel is an awesome character (Kit is even more awesome). I love that Larbalestier and Rees Brennan have made sure that there is non-preachy, incidental inclusion of queer and non-white characters. I don't love the universe quite as much as I love the Blue Bloods-verse, but it's a fascinating concept, and the book plays with so VERY many of the tropes of Vampire fiction it's wonderful.

I would love there to be another book set in New Whitby, to see other aspects of the Shade, and to find out how things are going with Kit and Mel. And Cathy and Anna and even with Francis, I suppose.

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