This month I’ve managed to read 14 books, with two of those being 1,000 page books! I also spent one weekend giving judges talks for the Children’s Book Council judging I did, and only read comics on the plane trips. All of Hawkeye, if you’re interested. As well as Guardians of the Galaxy, Magneto, and Farscape.
Yoko’s Diary, edited by Paul Ham and translated by Debbie Edwards is a book shortlisted in a part of the CBCA judging I wasn’t part of, so we’ve received copies to do our judges talks, but I wasn’t actually part of the judging committee. Which I think means I can say personally I loved it. It’s the actual diary of a girl who was 12/13 in 1945 during the war, then the journal abruptly stops on the 5th August, as the nuclear bomb took out Hiroshima, where she was working to clear rubble very close to where the bomb hit. The book also contains recounts of people who knew her, and was put together by her brother. It’s a very humbling book, and very interesting to see what life was like in Japan, during that time, from her eyes.
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson was a re-read I’ve been meaning to do since February, in order to read Words of Radiance. I finally got there! Just as enjoyable as the first read-through. It’s interesting to note which parts remained in my memory, and which I had totally forgotten all together. Then and now, I wish there were more sections devoted to Shallan and Jasnah who I find the most interesting. Though I do also like the others, Kaladin and Adolin. Dalinar is interesting, too, sure, but his parts are a little slow. I do love the last scene of him and the king, though.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is probably my least favourite of Rowell’s books, unfortunately. I like that it was realistic though – it felt realistic. Not everything is a happy love story all the way through, and not everything ends how we’d like it. It’s just so sad to see people in these situations, and it’s harder to enjoy the story and characters when everything’s just so hopeless. The writing in this is fantastic. I just prefer her other books over this – but I still highly recommend everyone read it.
2012 edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Ben Payne – Each story within this anthology is reviewed one by one in this entry here, but in summary this is a very strong anthology that deals with what the near future holds (as this was published in 2008), and it’s one to come back to in another ten years or so to see how accurate some of them are.
I’ve loved Jackie French’s work since I was in primary school. She’s an Australian author who writes mostly Australian historical fiction (though some set elsewhere as well), and she’s just such a damn good writer that her book for children remain utterly readable no matter how old you get. This book is set at the very start of Australia during the first waves of convicts being dumped on the shores, and it presents an extraordinary view of what life was like them from multiple points of view – how beautiful but also how terrible and hard it all was, what it was like from the point of view of an Indigenous person, from that of a well-off doctor (one of the most highly respected people of that time), and that of a convict-turned-house servant.
So I went on a Jackie French binge. I’ve missed several of her books as I got older, and this one’s fairly old. It deals with time-travel, something Jackie French uses quite often in her work, and shows what a farm is like in the ‘now’, and also how that same spot was in very early Australian times. This is a very simple book aimed at younger readers, but it’s still a lovely read.
Magic Spells edited by Paula Guran is an anthology I’ve reviewed here, story by story. These are all reprints but I found I’d only read a handful of them before so I enjoyed it. The common theme ran strong, and they were careful in their settings and plots so there wasn’t an overabundance of all the same kind of thing.
Walking the Boundaries by Jackie French let me down somewhat, due to a pretty poor editing mistake where two exact same sentences were used early on in the book, and then again on page 142. Other than that it was a captivating tale that again used time-travel somewhat, with strong Indigenous awareness and a love for remote Australia, in both the past and the present. Being from farm-folk myself, this story ran strong for me.
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson is a book that took me a damn long time to read for some reason, even though I loved every darn bit about it. There was so much more of Shallan in this book which pleased me, even if other plot points broke my heart. The world and the magic system only get bigger and brighter in this addition to the series, and the very last chapter? SUCH a reveal and yet now I must curse Sanderson because I have no idea how I’m going to wait until the third book.
Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig is a fun book, a very quick read I managed in an afternoon. The characters are bright and easily identifiable – not quite stereotypical (especially Alice), but presented in such a way that you feel you instantly know them. The plot is a little simple and not quite likely, but it ends in a realistic way which is enough. This is simply a fun tale, and if that’s all you’re looking for, you’ll enjoy this novel as much as I did. Reviewed here.
Guardian by Jo Anderton is third in the Veiled Worlds trilogy, but this book is written as a stand-alone and it’s perfectly readable if jumping into the series at this point. I’ve also reviewed the book here, and it comes out very, very soon!
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes is my genre book of the month – a classic novel in May. I almost ran out of time! A book I’ve been meaning to read but putting off… only to kick myself when I finally read it, because it was utterly fantastic. Loved every page, though it was so tragic.
Sabriel by Garth Nix is another book I’ve owned for over ten years, but never got around to reading. Another fantastic book I’m kicking myself for not having read earlier! The fourth in this series is coming out this year, which is why I’ve finally made effort to read. It helped that book-buddy-Bethwyn joined me in a re-read (for her) and we flailed about it as we went, updating each other to what chapter we were at. It helps we read at pretty much the same speed. On to book two!
Macbeth and Son by Jackie French is one of her better pieces of work, smoothly blending the true tale of Macbeth with that of a boy in rural modern-day Australia. There are many angles to this piece, and it’s an easy read to knock over in an afternoon.
For those of the Hugo voting persuasion, the packet was just released on the 28th May. I may include what I read for that here, though a lot of it shall be shorter pieces (novellas, short stories, etc) so I’ll have to think up a summary as this was just going to be for longer pieces of work.
I’ve put the kindle-ready pieces onto my old mostly-retired kindle (not counting things I’ve already read) and there’s 44 items to read. Gosh. And still seven things I should really return to the library. And half a dozen to review. And then Aurealis judging starts in June. I need more time!
But for now… I’m going to go read a few more comics.
Books I’ll be reading next include Lirael (The Old Kingdom/Abhorsen, #2) by Garth Nix, Thief’s Magic (Millenium’s Rule, #1) by Trudi Canavan, and The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Volume 2 edited by Gordon Van Gelder.