What I'm Reading January 2014

Oh, boy, Melbourne has been dealing out some fickle weather lately, but I’ve been trying to take that into my stride when it comes to finding opportunities to read. Want to sit under a blanket with a book? Sure! Want to stretch out in the hammock under the sun? Sure!

So, to the reading pile. If you recall, I read Vampires in the Lemon Grove last month so I’m on a bit of a Rusell-bender. I’m a third of the way through Swamplandia! and I’m really enjoying it. She’s created such a strange, grungy, alien setting, with characters you care about. I’m reading it concurrently with Big Brother, which might not be such a great idea (I should stop doing that). Lionel Shriver never shies away from tackling difficult themes or subjects, and the same goes for her latest novel: a sister agrees to let her somewhat downtrodden brother come stay with her and her family. It’s been several years since they’ve seen each other and she gets a shock when discovering, upon arrival, that he’s now morbidly obese. I’m not far beyond that point yet, but I foresee family tension ahead as they try to help him. I’ve never managed to finish a novel of Shriver’s yet – but I recently said the same of Joyce Carol Oates before I finished The Accursed, so hopefully I can do a two-for-two effort.

I began reading On Chesil Beach at my cousins’ when I stayed with them for NYWF. I only got halfway through before returning home, and I’ve never read another novel I’ve had to pause where I was as sure in knowing where to pick it up again as this one. All I had to do with this novel was flick through, saying to myself “Now, where did he ejaculate on her again? Oh, here we are. Let’s see how that turned out.” It’s excellently written, and I’m part excited, part anxious as to how it ends.

Last, To the Letter: A Journey through a Vanishing World, is a book about the journey of letters, and letter writing, through history. To quote the blurb it “is a wonderful celebration of letters in every form, and a passionate rallying cry to keep writing”. Hear, hear to that.

What are you reading this month?


Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Trust the Process: 101 Tips on Writing and Creativity