My reading goals for 2017


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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Book Review: Purity

While most people prefer to spend their summer holidays reading something light, I decided to tackle one of the larger books on my ‘to read’ pile: Purity by Jonathan Franzen.

Those familiar with my blog will know it is quite impossible for me to pick only one favourite book. I have my top 4, in no particular order, and then a bunch of other books worthy of being in the top 5 that can chop and change depending on my mood. But if someone was to force me to pick just one book as my favourite, it would be Franzen’s Freedom, so when Purity was released I snapped it up with glee and have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to sink time into it. My week-long trip to Perth seemed like the perfect time to see whether Franzen still holds up for me. A long flight + time to relax = perfect reading conditions.

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My 2015 reading list so far

I have been a Very Bad Blogger so far this year (hence the new theme – time for a blog refresh), but I have been reading like a woman possessed. Earlier this year, due to a bit of a health scare, I decided to defer my studies for 2015 and spend a year just focusing on work and on myself. I’m absolutely intending to complete my current studies and go on to do my PhD, but for now it is me time. It’s been so nice to read simply for pleasure! I’ve taken the opportunity to smash the reading challenge I had set for myself, and so far have read the following:

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