Sewing has really displaced my other hobby: reading. Usually by June, I have read almost as many books as there are weeks, but this year, I have only finished 12. Half of those were read while I was on holiday, far away from my sewing machine!
I have been participating in the Australian Women Writers Challenge. But I got off to a bad start: Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria. While reading this, I knew it to be well written, a good book and one worthy of reading. But I found myself unable, and unwilling, to read it. Six months on, I’m not entirely sure why; although I do recall knowing that I ‘got’ the message and the theme, but I wasn’t ‘feeling’ it. Unusually for me, I felt guilty reading other books while Carpentaria sat beside my bed, a postcard shaming me with how little progress I had made. Also unusual for me was this degree of guilt. I normally have no qualms giving up on a book that fails to grab me. There are too many books, and I have too little time for such qualms of conscience. But one thing Carpentaria had done was instil this strange sense of disloyalty when I tried to contemplate what other book to read instead of it.
Eventually, I made the decision that I was going to cease reading Carpentaria. This happened some time in March, and I was free to read again.
Of the 12 books I have read thus far, four were written by men (one of whom is Australian). I have only read one book by a woman who is not also an Australian, but she might be honorary: Jane Higgins of New Zealand! (Not sure what Jane, or New Zealanders will think of that statement…)
I read The Bridge, and I hope it is the beginning of a series, as not only was it excellently written, it contained an interesting world that I would like to explore more.
The standout read, so far, is Hsu Ming Teo’s Behind the Moon. I have read Hsu Ming Teo before, and loved her writing. On Goodreads, I said:
Excellent. Beautifully written, very engrossing and all the characters nuanced and well drawn. And I loved the interwoven snippets of The Tale of Kieu.
I also thoroughly enjoyed Addition by Toni Jordan, and Leanne Hall’s Shyness series, which was me delving into YA literature.
Mid year assessment: I’m on track with the numbers, less so with the Diversity angle and the Mixed genres angle. Must try harder. Just as soon as I finish sewing …