Tag Archives: reading

2017 Reading Challenge

I must admit that I’ve never found reading to be a challenge. But for the last couple of years I’ve seen others posting about the Australian Women Writers Challenge, and in the spirit of connecting with other readers, and also perhaps being a little more conscious about who and what I’m reading, I’ve taken the plunge and signed up.

There are four levels of the Challenge to choose from:

  • Stella: read 4 – if reviewing, review at least 3
  • Miles: read 6 – if reviewing, review at least 4
  • Franklin: read 10 – if reviewing, review at least 6
  • Create your own challenge: nominate your own goal

But happily there is a caveat – you don’t actually have to review if you don’t want to. So I’ll be reading and sharing little snippets as I go (most likely via Twitter and Facebook) but I won’t be reviewing as such. For as much as I love talking about books, as an Australian writer myself I just don’t feel comfortable reviewing others.

I initially signed up for Franklin, but am not sure what I was thinking as I’m almost there already. A better challenge for me is to step outside my comfort zone a bit, which tends to be contemporary literary fiction, and I’d also love to get back to reading more poetry.

So I’ve gone ahead and created my own challenge, and here it is:

  • 10 poetry collections
  • 5 speculative fiction
  • 5 ‘classics’ (from the AWW Challenge website: “books that might once have been popular but which have now fallen out of favour.”)
  • 3 romance (I never read this; it’s a huge and possibly snobby blindspot for me. I’m going to give it a whirl)
  • 3 non-fiction (again, not a genre I read much)
  • 3 short-fiction collections
  • 50 total (with the remainder being my much-loved lit-fic and probably a healthy dash of YA & children’s in there, too.)


I will also be running my very own writing challenge, which will be to write 3 books by an Australian woman author, being me. My progress at the moment is slow but steady. I don’t have a fancy logo for this challenge. I could probably make one but that would be procrastinating, and we all know where that leads and it is not to the writing of books.

On the Shelf

Writing is not on the menu for me at the moment. With teaching and marking and copyediting and any number of other little jobs all demanding attention nownownow, I don’t have the time or the headspace that writing requires. I can potter on smaller projects, like picture books, but it’s busy work mostly; it’s tiny gestures towards writing so I can tell myself it’s okay, that I’m still doing it – look, see? But the truth is that I can’t really make any creative progress until I move the other piles, and to some extent, myself, out of the way.

So in the meantime, I’m reading. All sorts of things. Here’s a snapshot from the last few weeks:


It’s kind of all over the place, really, but I guess in some ways it’s a snapshot of me. There are kids’ books in there partly because I write for kids and partly because I have a new nephew and partly because I like to keep up with what my daughter is reading. There’s poetry in there because I am, or have been, a poet, and somewhere in the midst of all the skateboards and the exploding hoses and the difficult, demanding ducks, that side of me has slipped quietly away. And I need to have it back. The adult books are mostly recommendations from friends – thanks to Julia Lawrinson for The Vintner’s Luck, which I finally got around to after only five years. And Art & Fear is there because, well, you know.