Winter Readathon update

A big thank you to everyone who’s supported me so far on my Winter Readathon to raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

I’m well over halfway to reaching my personal goal of $500, and the team as a whole is only $411 short of its $5,000 goal.

The Readathon finishes at the end of July, so it’s not too late to donate to this excellent cause.

Books I’ve finished reading:

The Swan Book, by Alexis Wright (my review here)

Poor Folk, by Theodore Dostoevsky

The Death of Bees, by Lisa O’Donnell

Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists, by Jane Rawson (my review on Goodreads)

Hadji Murad, by Leo Tolstoy (my review here)

The Carpet People, by Terry Pratchett

I’ve also been nominated to read:

Wild Cat Falling, by Mudrooroo

Heat and Light by Ellen van Neerven

Today I’ve officially run out of books because I’m waiting for the last two to arrive at the library and won’t get them till Tuesday at the earliest.

Help me out — nominate a book for me to read!

If you’d like to make a donation you can do it here and the list of books I’d like to read is here, although you can nominate something else if you prefer.


Black Swans

20150529_085842‘A wild black swan in a cage

Puts all of heaven in a rage’

— Robert Adamson, ‘After William Blake’, quoted in The Swan Book

A few months ago I suggested to my book club that we read The Swan Book, by Indigenous author Alexis Wright. My suggestion didn’t fly. Two people (there were five of us) admitted they’d been unable to finish Carpentaria, another of Wright’s novels. They didn’t really explain why, they just looked a little embarrassed. But as soon as I picked up The Swan Book myself, I understood. It’s a challenging read.

Challenging, but so worth it. Continue reading

Winter readathon

22654549 So after two weeks of umming & aahing, I’ve decided to join a readathon that’s raising money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation this month.

The umming & aaahing was because I’m busy, and I felt anxious about having to read even more books than I usually squeeze in between work and family and the rest of life’s business and pleasures. I worried that people would want me to read books that I don’t want to read, or that I wouldn’t raise enough money.

imagesThen I figured, well, the point of any kind of ‘thon’, whether it be a running or cake-baking or reading ‘thon, is to take risks and stretch yourself beyond your usual limits for a good cause.

Indigenous literacy is an excellent cause, as Anita Heiss makes clear in this blog post, where she talks about how reading benefits her every day. Her post shows that reading is just a normal everyday skill that everyone should have.

23209924 The Indigenous Literacy Foundation, for which Heiss is a Lifetime Ambassador, “aims to raise literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous children living in remote and isolated regions.”

Since they were established in 2004 the Foundation has supplied 120,000 books to 230 remote communities. What a great achievement. And it can only get better from here, right?

15730If you agree with me that this is a charity worth supporting, will you dob me in to read a book  … or several?

It works like this: you go to my readathon page and make a donation. For every donation made, I will read a book. You can choose the book, or leave me to my own devices. For donations of $40 or more I will also review the book, although I can’t promise that will happen within the readathon timeframe – it finishes 31 July.

23661154Hint: Books pictured are on my to-be-read list, but you can nominate any book, it doesn’t have to be one of them. Suggestions, especially by Indigenous authors, are welcome. Although remember – the shorter the book, the more I can read.

Soooo …. Ready, set, GO!




Who fears death

who-fears-deathIt’s not a question. ‘Who fears death’ is the meaning of the name of the main character, Onyesonwu, in this African fantasy novel by US-Nigerian author Nnedi Okorafor. Onyesonwu knows what her death will be, but goes willingly towards it in the belief that it will free people from conflict and slavery. Oh, sorry, that was a SPOILER. More follow.

Continue reading

Monday music: Your life on Mars

Would you take a one-way trip to Mars? You could, you know. Do you think it might start out something like this?

The Dutch commercial enterprise Mars One aim to have the first batch of four people (2 men, 2 women) landing on Mars within a decade — although apparently the details of how they’re getting them there are still a bit sketchy. This leads me to suspect that the main reason it’s a one way trip is because they haven’t yet figured out how to get people safely back to earth. Or perhaps that’s just because returning to earth is not as exciting as the grand vision of colonising space. Continue reading

Crime fantasy mixes it up

riversQuite by chance, last year, I read several books in a row that featured mixed race protagonists. I didn’t read any of them because of this; in every case I only found out after I started reading them.

I see this coincidence as a promising indication that the diversity of western societies is at last getting represented in imaginative fiction. More stories are being told, more realities mirrored, more complexities explored.

[Warning: spoiler] Continue reading

Books for healing

Paul Kidby’s interpretation of Death from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.

On Sunday I redistributed some more of my brother Mark’s books. I’d taken what I wanted, his beneficiaries (i.e. long time friday night drinks mates) took a car-load of the ones they wanted, and on Sunday a couple of my friends went through what was left and went home happy with assorted histories, whodunnits and the complete works of Shakespeare in one volume.

There’s still several boxes left. This may take a while.

Among those I’d reserved for myself were his collection of the complete works of Terry Pratchett, and the almost complete works of Dianna Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. I felt very selfish keeping them back but to my relief it seemed that his mates weren’t into Fantasy anyway. Continue reading