Book Review: My Cousin Rachel

My Cousin Rachel

The first book I finished in 2018 was My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, recommended to me by my cousin. This seems fitting, as the main character of the novel, Philip Ashley, is raised by his cousin Ambrose on a property in Cornwall. Cousins for the win! Ambrose travels to Florence where he meets Rachel, they marry, and he falls ill and dies suddenly. Philip suspects Rachel may have been to blame, but when Rachel arrives in England unexpectedly and the two finally meet, Philip is left questioning his opinion of his cousin Rachel. Is she actually as evil as he imagined, or is she a victim of circumstance who has now been left widowed and destitute?

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My 2017 in books

Not only have I neglected to update this blog for almost an entire year (!), but I also didn’t read as much last year as I usually do, only managing to read 30 books/short stories/comic trades in 2017. This fell well short of my goal of reading 40 books over the 12 months, so I am trying again this year. Thanks to a book club I’m a member of, I was able to finally read some books that have been in my ‘to read’ pile for ages, and I also squeezed a little non-fiction in. Here are the books I thought were worth mentioning:

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My reading goals for 2017

ticklist

Each year I set myself a reading goal using Goodreads, and in 2016 it was the first time I didn’t meet my target of reading 40 books for the year. So in 2017 I’m trying again. This, however, is a rather broad long-term reading goal, so I thought I’d break this down into smaller chunks. After recently being introduced to bullet journals, I’m really loving this ‘smaller chunks’ idea and love ticking things off my daily lists. So, I present the list of my… um… reading goal list! Smooth, Mel…

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Book Review: The Boy Behind the Curtain

I find memoir essay collections a bit hit-and-miss after reading a disappointing collection from Jonathan Franzen, one of my favourite authors. So late last year when another favourite author of mine, Tim Winton, released his collection titled The Boy Behind the Curtain I thought I’d meet him half way and borrow the book from the library before deciding whether to add it to my collection or not. My anticipation to read it grew after I heard an interview with him on Books and Arts Daily. I really recommend taking the time to listen to the episode if you’re not sure whether this book is for you or not. So, was this collection a hit or a miss?

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My 2016 in books

This year I aimed to read 40 books, and fell well short of the mark, finishing at 34 books read. The books I’ve read this year can be categorised into three main themes: books read as part of my research; self-published short reads; and ‘big’ fiction. All of these categories have included great and ‘meh’ reads, but here I present the ‘big’ fiction of note I read in 2016 (i.e. not necessarily published in 2016).

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Book Review: The Natural Way of Things

Charlotte Wood has recently won the Stella Prize for her novel The Natural Way of Things, so I thought it was timely that I provide my review of this award winner. I recently saw Charlotte discussing this book at Adelaide Writers’ Week and I immediately put it on hold at my local library as it sounded like something I would very much enjoy.

The general story is about a group of girls who are imprisoned somewhere in the Australian outback because, we quickly discover, they have all been involved in some very public sexual scandal with a powerful man. The conditions the girls are kept in are awful; they are given old fashioned uniforms, their hair is cut, they are forced to work all day, and then they are locked into kennels at the end of the day, filthy and exhausted. Their jailers are two young men – one cruel and one who seems milder – and a woman who seems desperate to fit in with these men.

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Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman’s for many years by proxy. What I mean is, I first heard about him through Wil Wheaton’s blog (who I have adored since I was 12), then enjoyed reading Neil’s blog (she says as if they’re on a first name basis) for some years before I read one of his short stories in a collection he put together and contributed to (the collection is called Stories: All New Tales, for those interested). Then I just kept admiring Neil from afar until his writing in the Miracleman comics. So it’s a bit surprising, really, that it took me this long to read one of Neil’s novels. The Ocean at the End of the Lane sounded like a great story and had received excellent reviews, so I was looking forward to finally reading it.

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