Welcome to another year of reading Non-Fiction titles by Australian Women Writers.
Personally, I’ve had a slow start to the year when it comes to reading and reviewing AWW non-fiction titles…and it would seem that this applies to the wider community as well. So far we’ve only had 9 reviews from five reviewers.
Medical titles seem to be our main area of non-fiction interest at the moment with Wellmania: Misadventures in the Search for Wellness (Brigid Delaney), Anaesthesia:The Gift of Oblivion and the Mystery of Consciousness (Kate Cole-Adams and The Best Death: How to Die Well (Sarah Winch) featuring in our reviews.
Indigenous issues were discussed in A Rightful Place: A Road Map to Recognition (edited by Shireen Morris). Jennifer reflects,
We cannot go back, but we can go forward. Together.
As I read this collection of essays, my anger with successive governments increased. We’ve had so many opportunities to engage in meaningful discussion, so many opportunities to identify the issues we need to address, so many opportunities to move forward. Like so many others, I was moved by Paul Keating’s Redfern Address in 1992 and Kevin Rudd’s ‘Sorry’ speech in 2008. But what has been achieved since then?
This collection of essays is recommended reading. How can we continue to ignore this issue?
Another collection of essays to get excited about was Helen Garner’s True Stories: The Collected Short Stories. I’m sure that Jennifer’s review will not be the last word on this extraordinary book published to celebrate Garner’s 75th birthday.
Women’s issues were examined in Not Just Lucky (Jamila Rizvi) while sociology and cultural life were explored in Australian Gypsies: Their Secret History (Mandy Sayer) and Hello Gen Z: Engaging the Generation of Post-Millennials (Claire Madden).
An older title – Joe Cinque’s Consolation by Helen Garner also got another look in by reviewer Angharad @Tinted Edges. She found this difficult book hard to pin down,
The entire time I was reading this book, I kept misremembering the title as “Joe Cinque’s Desolation”. I was looking for the consolation, as I think Helen Garner was as well, and I honestly don’t think in the end either of us found it. I think this is a powerful, insightful and well-researched book (given the circumstances) but I don’t think that it contained any revelations larger than the fact that Australia’s mental health system needs some significant improvement and people need to take threats their friends make seriously.
There have been a number of local awards and shortlists announced in recent times. The 2018 shortlist from the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature features these General Non-Fiction titles (book links will take you to the reviews by our members for each title):
- Quiet City: Walking in West Terrace Cemetery by Carol Lefevre (Wakefield Press)
- Position Doubtful by Kim Mahood (Scribe Publications)
The Australia Book Industry longlist for 2018 features an incredibly diverse range of Australian authors. The AWW Non-Fiction nominees include:
- Anaesthesia: The Gift of Oblivion and the Mystery of Consciousness by Kate Cole-Adams (Text Publishing)
- Being 14 by Madonna King (Hachette)
- First, We Make The Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson (Macmillan Australia)
- Not Just Lucky by Jamila Rizvi (Viking Australia)
It would be remiss of me to not mention the Indie Book Awards shortlists for 2018 (seeing as how I work in an Indie bookshop in Sydney and all)! The full 2018 shortlist can be found here, but the ones of interest to us today are from the Illustrated Non-Fiction Shortlist:
- Maggie’s Recipe For Life by Maggie Beer with Professor Ralph Martins (Simon & Schuster Australia)
- Cornersmith: Salads and Pickles by Alex Elliott-Howery & Sabine Spindler (Murdoch Books)
- Native: Art & Design with Australian Plants by Kate Herd & Jela Ivankovic-Waters (Thames & Hudson Australia)
As you can see there are plenty of interesting and fascinating non-fiction titles out there for us to sink our teeth into. Parenting, gardening, cooking, health, walking tours, true crime, generational change, politics and geography are just some of the topics highlighted this round-up.
What will you be reading this month?
About Bronwyn: I have been a book blogger at Brona’s Books since 2009 and a bookseller (specialising in children’s literature) in Sydney since 2008. Prior to this I was as an Early Childhood teacher for 18 years in country NSW.
I joined the AWW team in 2015 as the History, Memoir, Biography editor. In 2017 I became the General Non-Fiction editor.
I taught myself to read when I was four by memorising my Dr Seuss books. I haven’t stopped reading since.
You can find me on Twitter @bronasbooks and Litsy @Brona.