Tuesday, 20 April 2010

sobbing like a sooky-la-la

I'm doing well with my quest to read novels only from Australian women this year. I'm discovering authors I hadn't ever thought to read before as well as new ways to choose books.

For instance, I'm currently choosing books from the Children's Book Council of Australia shortlist for Book of the Year. Before getting to this list my favourite was still the first book I read for the year, Sonya Hartnett's The Ghost's Child, although Joan London's The Good Parents had offered worthy competition. I read Hartnett's Butterfly, at Carole's suggestion, and while I enjoyed it, I preferred The Ghost's Child.

But last night I finished Judith Clarke's The Winds of Heaven. It was amazing and left me sobbing like a sooky-la-la. In fact it took ages to read the final chapter because I could hardly see through tears and was glad Bryden had already gone to bed by the time I got up to that bit :)

Usually when I finish something that's had such an effect on me, I tend to put off starting anything else for at least a few days, probably longer. But I'm not sure I can.

When the shortlist was announced, I went and put the ones I wanted to read on hold at the library. Of course I hoped they wouldn't all become available at once, but I have until Thursday to collect two before they're passed on to the next person in the hold queue. And there will be a hold queue. I'm also the next person in the queue for a third book.

Part of me thinks perhaps I should let the library pass one on to the next person and go to the back of the queue, but I'm not sure I'll do this.

I am sure, however, that the next book I'll read will be Penny Tangey's Loving Richard Feynman. As a tragic science geek who has a soft spot of her own for the late Feynman, how could I not?

What are you reading right now, and what made you choose it?


Anna said...

I agree that it's a beautifully written book, but GEEZ I'm sick of the YA books where the girl who has sex is punished with pregnancy/bad marriages/death and the tepid good girl has her bright future ahead of her.

Would like to see both the sluts and the virgins get away with their choices - you know, like actually does happen sometimes.

Tiggy Johnson said...

Thanks Anna. I'm fairly new to focussing my reading on YA books, so I wonder if that might be part of the reason I didn't see it from that point of view so much. Or at least didn't find it annoying.

Also, I think, as I've been thinking a lot lately about many of the issues of raising a daughter. I took more away from it about those aspects: the effects on both girls of their parent's decisions/lack of decisions. I think from early on, when Clementine met Fan, I at least half expected a the kind of outcome we got, as if Fan didn't actually have so many choices.

Anna said...

I seem to get sent them all to review! (Last time I went to visit the Viewpoint office and they asked what would I like to review, I said "Not books about 2 girls in the 50s where one has sex, babies, and dies please.")

And you do expect Fan to meet a sticky end from the start, which is sad in itself, really (and not completely related to the era or geography of the book, I think).

But I'm told if I read Anonymity Jones I will be pleased with the ending of that one :)

Tiggy Johnson said...

Haha. I must agree I'm not sure why Clarke felt the need to set it in the 50s. But I enjoyed the geography, and wonder if that was more about her just wanting people to know about that area? I like placing my stuff in Melbourne.

Anonymity Jones sounds interesting and I hope you enjoy it. You'll have to let me know if it's worth putting on my list once I can read men again :)

Graham Nunn said...

I read The Pigeon by Patrick Suskind on the weekend... sort of a Camus like freakout about a guy who comes eye to eye with a pigeon and experiences an existential crisis. Very cool! And now I am reading Northline by Willy Vlautin, who has been described as the 'Dylan of the dispossesed'. He is also the lead singer and songwriter for American band, Richmond Fontaine.

colour-me-in said...

After reading two books, both by Australian authors Robert Hillman A memoir - A Boy in a green suit and then Susan Johnson - Life in Seven mistakes, which I quite enjoyed, I'm going for a no brainer at the momment by Janet Evanovich Finger Lickein' Fifteen! An absolute shocker, but at least I'm not lying in bed at night thinking about the complexity of families and how they can mold your life or the person who you are!

Tiggy Johnson said...

Sounds great Graham. I wish I could read a whole book in one weekend! Nice way to choose too.

colour-me-in: Haha, YES!!! It can get like that, can't it. I have read a couple of the early ones of Evanovich's and they are so easy to just relax into to enjoy the fun of them. I usually like a bit of crime, but I haven't found room for any this year (yet). A couple of my faves are Robert Crais and Harlan Coben but given my only Aust women limits... I have something from Gabrielle Lord here if I really need some.

sangga said...

hi tiggy - just finished coetzee's 'disgrace'. i was put off by my husband's evaluation that it was 'grim', but i thought it was incredible. the themes were so overlapping, and turning in on each other...he's never dull.

but coetzee is a side-step back into the world of adult fiction - i've been fighting my sons for the chance to read the percy jackson books, by rick riordan. percy's voice is fantastic, esp read aloud, and the books are hilarious :)