Our long, hot, lingering summer has not put off our AWW challenge readers – perhaps you’ve all found a lovely cool spot to relax, read and blog away?
February saw 9 books being reviewed by 10 reviewers. A few like The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper, Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin and Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia edited by Anita Heiss have been featured here previously, so today I will focus on the new-to-the-challenge selections.
Brona reviewed another Stella Prize longlisted book by Fiona Wright – The World was Whole, a collection of personal essays about “about our bodies, how we perceive ourselves, space, environments, nature, food, habits and rituals.”
Jonathan @Me Fail? I Fly! has unearthed another fascinating bio/art critique/photographic essay about the artist Vera Rudner. Katharine Margot Toohey has written Vera Rudner: A Study, a zine-like book. Sections of the book are available online at Quemar’s website (click here). And, if, like Jonathan, “you’re vaguely aware of an ache in your brain where the history of women artists should be stored, I recommend you have a look.”
Wild Asparagus, Wild Strawberries by Barbara Santich is a “charming gastronomic memoir of two years in France” according to Jeannette Delamoir @The Newtown Review of Books. Detailing life and food culture in France in 1977, Jeannette found this to be a “multi-dimensional portrait of a country on the cusp of political and social change.”
The environment and what we can do to make a change was also covered off this month with Louise @A Strong Belief in Wicker’s review of A Zero Waste Life by Anita Vandyke. “Every piece of plastic created since the 1950’s still exists.” If that isn’t enough to get you to read Louise’s review, then Vandyke’s book, to find ways to reduce your plastic usage, I don’t know what will. On the strength of Louise’s post I have now made a trek into the city (on public transport) to buy some shampoo and conditioner bars – that’s 2 plastic bottles off my shopping list!
Cass Moriarty over at her Goodreads page has written a thoughtful review about Lee Kofman’s Imperfect. This memoir cum critique is another example of an evolving style of non-fiction that merges biographical detail with social, political and cultural observations and/or research.
This book will make you rethink your notions of beauty, tolerance, difference and diversity. It discusses Body Surface, shaming, feminism, self-image, celebrity, isolation, love, desire, grief, stigma, coping strategies, transformation, metamorphosis and the fine balance between fragility and resilience.
According to Kim @Reading Matters, Wedderburn: A True Tale of Blood and Dust by Maryrose Cuskelly
is a deeply contemplative and gripping analysis of a small-town murder in Australia written very much in the vein of Helen Garner’s true-crime style….in elegant prose, free from sensation and sentiment, Wedderburn: A True Tale of Blood and Dust takes the reader on an astonishing, often emotional, journey that shows the full sweep of human qualities, both good and bad, and highlights how we all have the potential inside of us to carry out brutal acts for which there is no going back.
Last week the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) announced their 2019 longlists. Several AWW were nominated for the non-fiction books including Leigh Sales – Any Ordinary Day, Clementine Ford – Boys Will Be Boys, Chloe Hooper – The Arsonist and Marcia Langton – Welcome to Country: A Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia for the general non-fiction book of the year.
Illustrated book of the year nominees include A Painted Landscape: Across Australia From Bush to Coast, – Amber Creswell Bell, Family – Hetty McKinnon, Flour and Stone: Baked for Love – Nadine Ingram, Mirka & Georges – Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan, Resident Dog: Incredible Homes and the Dogs That Live There – Nicole England, Special Guest – Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe as well as Stephanie Alexander – The Cook’s Apprentice.
The Small Publishers’ Adult book of the year award also threw up a few non-fiction titles. Blakwork by Alison Whittaker – Magabala (also shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writing Prize), Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia by Anita Heiss – Black Inc and Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean by Joy McCann (NewSouth). The Small Publishers’ Children’s book of the year also gave us with Alfred’s War by Rachel Bin Salleh & Samantha Fry (Magabala).
As you can see by the lack of links for many of these books, we all have plenty of reading and reviewing inspiration ahead of us 🙂
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 moved to the General Non-fiction page and in 2018 I picked up the role of editor of Poetry. You can also find me at The Classics Club as one of the new Gen 2 moderators.
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.
I’ve only read Axiomatic of those you’ve mentioned here, Brona, but I do have Hooper, Wright and Santich on my TBR pile. Just have to find time to read them.
Actually I have read Heiss too, but I’d classify that as History, Memoir, Biography, really, rather than Non-Fiction General.
I’ve just read The World Was Whole, and had the pleasure of listening to Fiona Wright speak about her work and process. It’s a really confronting collection in some ways, but the intensity is counterbalanced with Wright’s honesty and vulnerability. Can’t wait to read The Arsonist, and Any Ordinary Day!