What I’m Reading April 2014

What I'm Reading April 2014

Beginning with Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson. If you’ve read Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, you’ll be back in familiar territory as Winterson talks about her troubled formative years with her adopted parents. This book also tells of her search – and discovery – of  her birth mother. Beautiful writing, as always, and Winterson is never afraid to take a long, honest look at herself and her actions. That’s brave.

I picked up a collection of Rilke’s Poems (not the book pictured, but close enough to give an example), because he is one of those poets who is spoken of with almost universal respect, if not adoration, and – to my embarrassment – I realised I hadn’t read of his work. So I wanted to turn that situation around, especially his ‘Letters to a Young Poet’.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris was next and I admit to a weird moment when I sat down to read it. Flicking through, I saw I’d read a number of these essays before, like my favourite ‘Laugh, Kookaburra’,  in The New Yorker. And then, in regards to some of the others, thinking of his fictionalised stories, they didn’t feel like satire… more like downright mean. The one thing I’ve always liked about Sedaris, and it is a talent, is his ability to balance humour with incisive commentary. That was missing in some of these pieces. But it is Sedaris, so there are laugh out loud parts too.

by blood we live

Okay, here we are, at the two books I’m particularly excited about. By Blood We Live is Glen Duncan’s latest novel, and the third in his ‘The Last Werewolf’ trilogy. I’m already a third of the way through and I just got it. There are some authors I sit down with – even if it’s not their best work – and you just exhale and go “ahhh… this is going to be a fun ride”. Duncan is smart and funny, a sexy combo.

Last, I present The Weird, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. At over 1,000 pages, it is a monster, and its table of contents reads like a damn canon of speculative writers from over the generations. I’m currently reading George RR Martin’s ‘Sandkings’, which won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for Novelette in 1979. Very good.

Heads up: Booktopia (disclaimer: I’m an affiliate) have a free shipping offer that ends at midnight tonight (Monday 28th of April). If you use the promotion code MOTHER you will receive free shipping on your order. This offer is only available to Australian shipping addresses. If you are overseas and want to ship to an Australian address then you can use this promotional code too.

Just in time for Mother’s Day!

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Karen Andrews is the creator of Karen Andrews. This is one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country and is a two-time finalist in the Best Australian Blogs competition. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Is an exercise junkie (when she finds the time).


  1. Anthony says

    Hi Karen

    We must have similar tastes. I enjoy Sedaris too. V. interesting line at times though between being ‘bitchy’ and funny. I don’t personally mind a bit of either. Think what makes it harder sometimes is that they are supposedly ‘true’ accounts. If it were fiction it would be considered simply a strong voice.

    I have The Weird on my reading shelves too. Looks like an amazing compendium. Love to know your thoughts. I’d imagine that when I get to it, I’d sample a few stories at a time over the course of a year or two or three.

    I still have to read the sequel to The Last Werewolf, so you’re well ahead of me but I loved it. So, once again, looking forward to your thoughts.

    Thanks for this. It’s wonderful seeing what people are reading.

    • says

      I’m glad you like it Anthony, thank you :) I agree, we ARE very similar. I’m going on holidays next week, am looking forward to really getting stuck into The Weird then :)

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