Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 in review

It’s New Year’s Eve and the traditional time for me to reflect on my year of reading and make some observations.

This year I’m reflecting from the comfort of a day bed on the balcony of the most amazing room at the most incredibly beautiful resort in Fiji. Poor me!

Some observations of my reading this year:

I only read 25 books – very disappointing

13 of them were written by Australian authors – very pleasing

My favourite book, by far, was written by a friend!

I hardly read any non-fiction at all this year – most unlike me

Here’s my top 5 for the year…

5. Book 17 – High Sobriety

4. Book18 – The Night Circus

3. Book 23 – Blackbirds

2. Book 2 – The Laughing Clowns

and …

1. Book 21 – Wooing the Echo

My book reading plan for 2014 is to read more YA fiction and keep updating my book room at work, to read more consistently for pleasure by actually scheduling reading time into my day, and to buy books as gifts as much as humanly possibly all year.

Wherever you are and whatever your own reading plans, Bula from my little piece of Fijian paradise. I wish you a happy new year and hope that 2014 takes you on as many book adventures as possible.

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Book 25 – The Birdwatcher

“The Birdwatcher” by William McInnes (2013)

The front cover of this book declares McInnes “a born storyteller” and I can hardly argue. It would be best to describe my treatment of this book as ‘devoured’. I had barely started it, on Christmas Eve, and then a four hour flight to paradise on Boxing Day saw it done.

This novel is quiet and circumspect, and almost disappointing in its simplicity. It offers a straightforward message – to be still – to savour the moments handed to you, whether they are a few seconds or a few minutes long, and let yourself think. I guess, overall, this is a book about letting yourself be you, about welcoming the quirks and the foibles and being comfortable with them.

As with all of the stories I really enjoy, this is a book about characters for whom I cared. It is a perfect holiday read and I highly recommend it.

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Book 24 – Ship Kings

“Ship Kings” by Andrew McGahan (2012)

I love buying books because they look yummy. This hard cover YA book has so much visual appeal. The blurb sounded promising too, so I bought it.

One year later…

I seriously fail at reading things straight after I buy them. Eventually, the cover caught my eye again, sitting on my WTBR shelf. And as soon as I snuggled in to bed and started reading this book I was immediately transformed to my childhood. Now, I don’t want you to think that McGahan’s writing is old-fashioned, or necessarily the same as Enid Blyton really, but… whoa… it was just like I was a kid snuggled up and reading The Magic Faraway Tree. There is just something about the phraseology and the imagery. This book captivated me from the first page.

Our protagonist, Dow, is from the highlands, in timber cutting country. But he feels a deep calling to the sea. Soon enough, fate sends him close to his dream. This is book one of a four book series. It tells the story of Dow’s move from his family home to a sea port where no one is his friend and his life is in peril. But somehow you just know he will end up drawn in to the world of the mighty ship kings.

If you are a teacher, buy this book for year 7. It will work for boys and girls of any reading level. Reading it aloud would be a delight. If you are a parent, buy this book for your child. It is lovely. If you are a grown up, have no shame, buy it for yourself. And like most good YA books these days, check out the website www.shipkings.com.au for great book trailers and so much more.

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