Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Most Recent (Adult) Reads

My reading this year has been scattered hit and miss eclectic. Yes let's go with eclectic.

I tend to go through pretty regular fiction/ non-fictions cycles.  

I'll be all about non-fiction for a few months.  Then I get burnt out and I need a good fiction fix.  

I could pretty much read fiction forever.  But inevitably something wonderful/terrible happens that stops me in my tracks. A book so absorbing, potent and compelling that it ruins me.  For days after I will wander around in a bit of a book hangover, a state of semi-grief in which I am at once so thrilled by what I have just read, so devastated by the fact of it's end and so utterly isolated from those around me that I am a shell of my former self.

A good book can make it impossible to want to read anything else for a week or so.  

But a great book? A great book can leave me with the feeling that I may never read fiction again.  So incredible was the reading experience I just had that no other could surpass it.  

This in itself is a fiction of course because I will always return to reading.  But sometimes the lingering fog of characters past means that I just cannot face another novel.  Like it would amount to some sort of betrayal.  

This is when I return to non-fiction and so the cycle begins again.

I haven't had that sort of amazing fiction experience for a while.  And in fact my non-fiction experience has been a bit haphazard as well.  So perhaps the better description for my reading this year is not eclectic, but rather clunky.

The book that best sums up my pot-holed bibliography so far for 2014 is this one,

In many respects I loved this book.  I am a fan of Greer and her writing and seek out her essays and comments on many things (the size of Julia Gillards arse not being among them).  

This book, which is a protracted love letter to the Australian rainforest, indeed all rainforest is at times scorchingly written.  And it certainly got under my skin, got me thinking and stayed with me.  

But I can't deny, it stayed with me longer than was actually welcome.  It is so very dense, so filled with Latin botanical names that I would literally go cross-eyed trying to read the thing.  

Some nights I would only get through a handful of pages, and often only on the promise of poetic description of the flora or fauna, or witty recounting of conversations between Greer and her sister.  Often I was willing myself on to the end of a chapter, or declaring "No more!" as I turned out the light.  Only to go back to it again and again.  

But once I started skipping pages, then a chapter (or two) I knew the end was nigh.

Ultimately I couldn't finish it.  This left me feeling guilty and sort of defeated - I hate not finishing books.  I always think I'm only a few pages from reading the bit that is going to make it all come together, make it all make sense, make me understand why all those other people are raving about it.  But with this one I felt I got out of it as much as I was going to get.  It was just too much like hard work when reading right now needs to be easy and light.  So the perfect antidote for hefty non-fiction?  

This book is a sexy, intelligent, witty, irreverent, smart, funny, bullshit-free zone.  And it's fast.  So it's pretty much like Catherine Deveny on the page.  And I Could. Not. Put. It. Down.  Page turner is an understatement. This book had me hiding from my kids behind cupboard doors and lying about having to run errands so I could get five minutes alone with it.  

It's about marriage, love, fidelity, growing up, settling down, running away, sticking around, friendship and being honest with yourself.  Catherine Deveny reckons she wrote this because it's the book she wanted to read.  I reckon this is the book I'd love to write, or something like it.  It's not dense.  It's not difficult.  And it's not dull.  Whatever. It's good.  Read it.  Especially if you grew up in Melbourne in the 90's.  But even if you didn't. Just read it.

I loved a lot of things about this book, but the thing I love most about my copy is the title page....

Me too, Dev, me too.

The next book on my bedside table is The Luminaries by Elenanor Catton.  But to be honest it's so huge, I'm totally intimidated by it.  I know that shouldn't put me off.  I'm not usually scared of thick books - normally I love the idea of them, because you can really get lost in their length.  But I don't know, I'm at a stage of my life where my reading needs to be easy and fun, otherwise it just becomes another thing on my To Do list, as opposed to a genuine pleasure.

So I'll let you know if I tackle The Luminaries any time soon.  But to be honest I think  I see The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn in my very near future.

This post is part of a link up about hosted by Karen at Leaf and Petal, if you'd like to join in she'd love that, we all would so just pop over here and link in.

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I bought The Happiness Show with my own coin from the author herself. White Beech & The Luminaries were gifts from friends (non-author-publishing-type friends) who paid for them too, so far as I know. I have linked the titles to an independent Australian bookseller. I have no commercial affiliation with this site. All images are my own. Cheers.

What are you reading? Are you loving it?

Listen to The Beatles Paperback Writer

Images via One Small Life


  1. I love your eclectic mix - and only have this to day about great writing - it shouldn't feel like work to read! It can be "literary" (what a wanker's term) and still easy to read.

    1. Yup. I get so little time to read now it has to be easy. That doesn't mean dumb, but rather engaging and not too dense. Deveny's book is a good example of this. And Khaled Hosseini is another author who writes beautifully, but is also a joy (not a chore) to read. x

  2. Thanks for the recommendations Kate - as a result I have jotted down "The Happiness Show" as it sounds right up my alley. I adore reading...I just finished "Love In the Outback" by Deb Hunt which was great. I enjoyed Gone Girl - am sure you'll enjoy it. Favourite book of recent years was "One Day" by David Nicholls. Kate Atkinson is great too.

    1. Oh, I loved One Day - if you liked that you'll like The Happiness Show I reckon. Really looking forward to Gone Girl! x

  3. Thanks for joining the linky Kate! I also suffer from book hangover/semi-grief with characters which seem to haunt me for days. I often have to go back and re-read a scene just to prove it was as powerful as I think it was. The Happiness Show sounds like something I would like. And The Luminaries is sitting on my bedside table, untouched and intimidating. I got it for Christmas but I keep thinking my hand is gonna cramp up while I am reading it as it's soo thick. Must get to it x

    1. That's so funny about The Luminaries - perhaps they should've published it as a periodical. I just had a moment when Ing mentioned One Day above - there is a scene from that book playing back in my mind even though I read it at least three years ago. Great writing! And thank-you for the linky opportunity. What fun! x

  4. I am exactly the same when I finish a book, especially where I have been right there with the characters and story line. I can go days lamenting the end, sort of in a daze. I love the mix of books you have there. A really good mix it is too. And I agree, reading should not be laborious. Ever.

    1. Thanks Sarah, yeah it's a bit of a contrast these too, but if you don't want laborious it's The Happiness Show all the way. White Beech was fascinating, but it it was definitely hard work (for me). x