Monday, January 27, 2014

Bookish Quotes: The school library

When I listened to this passage from Breath by Tim Winton, I was reminded of my own adventures in the school library, although I never found a boyfriend there (my lack of success with men started early!). For me, the stories I read taught me about the lives of people in times gone by. I remember devouring as many Jean Plaidy novels I could, learning all about queens of England. How about you? What do you remember learning about from the books in your school library?

The quote comes from pages 77-79.

I did my share of whining when the new school year began, but in truth I didn't really mind going back. There was no more swell that summer, no opportunity to test myself any further, and the days began to hang heavy. Within a week of the term commencing, I rediscovered the aisles and recesses of the Angelus school library. There was nothing like it in Sawyer and the only other collection of books I'd seen was out at Sando's. During my first year of high school I'd turned to reading as a kind of refuge, but that second year it became a pleasure in its own right.

I started with Jack London because I recognized the name from Sando's shelves. After I saw Gregory Peck gimping across the poop deck on telly I tried Moby Dick, though I can't say I got far. I found books on Mawson and Shackleton and Scott. I read accounts of Amundsen's race south against the English and the ruthlessness that made all the difference. I tried to imagine the Norwegian eating the very dogs that hauled him to the Pole - something harsh and bracing about the idea appealed to me. I read about British commandos, the French Resistance, about the specialized task of bomb disposal. I found Cousteau and then mariner-authors who recreated the voyages of the ancients in craft of leather and bamboo. I read about Houdini and men who had themselves shot from cannons or tipped in barrels over Niagara Falls. I fed on lives that were not at all ordinary, about men who in normal domestic circumstances might be viewed as strange, reckless, unbalanced. When I failed to get more than sixteen pages into the Seven Pillars of Wisdom I thought the failure was mine.

It was there in the stacks that I met the girl who decided without consultation that I was her boyfriend. She was a farm girl from further out east and she boarded at the dreaded hostel. Like me, she came to the library to escape, but she was already bookish. Her name was Queenie. She was handsome and wheat-haired, with the slightly intimidating shoulders of a competitive swimmer, and there was plenty about her to like, yet I suspect I only really liked her because she liked me first. Although I did very little to encourage such baffling interest, I somehow got used to it, and even came to expect it. She slagged off my books of manly derring-do while I razzed her for her taste in stories about crippled girls overcoming cruel odds with the aid of improbably gifted animals.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Salon: 2014 Reading Resolutions

I realised last night that if I was going to still post my reading resolutions for this year in the first month of the year, I really needed to get a move on and write this post today! It is Australia Day here though, so I have plans involving a beach and a barbecue so I had best get on with it!

I have been thinking about what my goals are going to be for this year and I did have quite a few that I was contemplating. Most years, they are pretty similar. Read more Aussie authors, read some of the books I own, read a classic etc, but I think I am gooing to keep it pretty simple this year.

I set my Goodreads reading goal at 200 books for the year but I already know I am not going to make that goal. Goodreads is very helpfully telling me that I am already 7 books behind target and it isn't even the end of January yet! A couple of years ago I read 290, last year was 220 but as I mentioned in my wrap up for last year, I can quite clearly see a drop in my reading which corresponds with starting to drive to work rather than catching the train (and possibly with playing stupid Facebook games too!) I think 150 is a more realistic target, but even that might be stretching it a bit!

In terms of the challenges that I am participating in, at this stage it is the Australian Women Writer's Challenge and the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. Last year I made the HF challenge for myself by saying that I am only counting Australian authors for it, but I don't think I will restrict myself in that way this year. I have a hard enough writing reviews for any books I read let alone placing additional restrictions on myself!  I am planning to participate in Carl's challenges as usual (although I have managed to completely miss the Sci-Fi Experience already), and I am contemplating an audiobook challenge but I think that will be about it!

See, keeping it really simple this year!

Have you set your reading resolutions for this year? Do you have lots of goals or just a couple?

Currently Reading

Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett and listening to Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Up Next

Jack of Fables

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Weekend Cooking: Honey Chicken with Stir Fried Greens

Remember last week when I said that I had two easy every day meals that I wanted to post on my blog but that I couldn't remember what the second one was! Finally, two days later I remembered what it was, and then I kicked myself a little because this is a recipe that I have cooked numerous times since I found it! It is definitely a new favourite in my house.

The title of the recipe is a little misleading really because on the Taste website where I found the recipe it is called Honey Chicken with Stir Fried Greens, but the char siu sauce is a much more dominant flavour than the honey which is fortunate for me because I don't really like honey.

To be honest, I haven't really cooked it exactly as it appears here. I tend not to do the stir fried greens but rather steam some broccoli and serve that with the rice and chicken. I also tend to cook it in the oven rather than grill it or barbecue it. I am thinking that I might try to make it with some pork next time as the flavours should still work well together with that. In the notes it suggests that you could also do it with fish, but I am not sure that the flavour wouldn't overwhelm the fish. Maybe I will try it someday.

Honey Chicken with Stir Fried Greens

60ml (1/4 cup) char siu sauce
2 tbs honey
1 tbs kecap manis
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1kg small chicken thigh fillets, fat trimmed
Olive oil spray
1 bunch gai lan (Chinese broccoli), trimmed, cut into thirds crossways
2 tsp water
Steamed rice, to serve
Fresh coriander sprigs, to serve

1. Combine the char siu sauce, honey, kecap manis, sugar, sesame oil and garlic in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinate. Preheat grill on high. Line a baking tray with foil. Lightly spray with olive oil. Transfer the chicken to the tray. Cook under grill for 3-4 minutes each side or until cooked through and caramelised.

2. Meanwhile, preheat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Spray with olive oil. Stir-fry the gai lan for 1 minute. Add water. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes or until gai lan is bright green and tender crisp.
3 Divide rice among serving bowls. Top with chicken, gai lan and coriander.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Library Loot: January 21 to 27

Not much loot to share this week! In fact, it is a bit of an odd loot really. There are two CDs, which is not that odd but then there is a book which is one that I just listened to on audio so I am not going to actually read it!

Here's what I got

Breath by Tim Winton - I actually listened to this book over the last week or so but I needed to borrow it so that I can find a quote from it. It is too hard to transcribe a long quote from the audio! Basically, I will be finding the quote and then returning both versions to the library pretty much straight away.

Tribute by John Newman - When it comes to music I am a bit all over the place. I am a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll and at the moment I am a LOT dance music. I love the song Love Me Again and I am seriously tempted to try and get it as my ring day.

Home by Rudimental - I really like the song Free off of this album but  now I take a closer look at the song list I notice that there are several John Newman collaborations on this one too!

Linda has Mr Linky this week so head to her blog to share your library loot links.

Here's Love Me Again


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Weekend Cooking: Spanish Tuna Pasta Bake

I mentioned in my Weekend Cooking post a couple of weeks ago that I had a couple of new recipes that we had eaten quite a few times that were quick and easy to make. Unfortunately, I think I need to have some more brain food because I cannot for the life of me remember what the second recipe was. That means that it is even more important for me to save it here now before I forget this one too!

I have really enjoyed having this one as it is a way to eat some fishy food (which my son generally won't eat), it is a nice alternative to a creamy style tuna mornay, and the mixture of the parmesan and mozzarella on top is soooo delicious! It is an added bonus that it reheats pretty well too

The only thing is that I don't include the olives because I don't really like them that much, and I sometimes mix some chilli through too.

Spanish Tuna Pasta Bake

250g dried large pasta shells
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium brown onion, halved, thinly sliced
1 large red capsicum, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
2 x 185g cans tuna in oil, drained, flaked
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Lightly grease an 8 cup-capacity baking dish. Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet directions, until tender. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and capsicum. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion has softened. Add garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.

3. Add tomato. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Add pasta, olive and tuna. Toss to combine. Season with pepper. Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Top with mozzarella and parmesan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden. Serve.

Easy, relatively quick and tasty!

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Library Loot: January 15 to 21

Well now. This is a bit weird.

For the first time in years I am participating in Library Loot but I am not co-hosting. I wanted to say thanks to Linda from Silly Little Mischief who volunteered when we said that we were looking for a new co-host.

Also a bit weird....I have been a bad library patron. Not only have I not been borrowing any books I was also being slack in returning them so I have had numerous books overdue and got a big fine to boot, but I think I will be back on track now.

Here's the loot I got this week:

Merle's Country Show Baking by Merle Parrish - Somewhere in this house, but I don't know precisely where, I have Merle's first cookbook (which I reviewed a couple of years ago).  I liked lots of the recipes that were in her original book so I am looking forward to spending some time looking through this cookbook too.

Bellagrand by Paullina Simons - Whilst I was a bit disappointed by Children of Liberty, I still consider myself to be a Paullina Simons fan so there was no doubt I would read this book which follows on from Children.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith - Reloot.

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel - I listened to the audiobook of Wolf Hall at the end of last year and loved it. Unfortunately my library didn't have the audio of this follow up book so I will just have to read it!

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews - I was chatting with some people about audiobooks on Twitter the other day, and the narrator of this series was recommended. My library has the audio of books later in the series but my compulsive need to read in order means that I need to start by reading this one.

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta - I listened to the first book in this series but this is another one where the library doesn't have the second book on audio so I will have to read this one too. It is a much thicker book than I expected it to be!

Breathe by Tim Winton - I have only ever read one Tim Winton book and I wasn't all that fussed by it so I thought it was time to read another and see if this one works for me a bit better. This is one that I am going to listen to on audio. I have been without an audiobook for a few days and I can't tell you what a relief it is to have another one to listen too.

Native by OneRepublic - I love that you can borrow CDs from our library, and have several on request at the moment.

Head over to Claire's blog to share your Library Loot link.

Here's a song from the album

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekend Cooking: What Katie Ate: recipes and other bits and bobs by Katie Quinn Davies

When it comes to cookbooks is there anything better than sitting down and looking through a gorgeous book with great production values including a style that has obviously been thought through to the last detail and gorgeous photos of food? If, like me, you enjoy spending time flicking through such a book then What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davie might just be a book for you. I have included a photo of a page below to give you a small idea of the production values of the book.

As an object, this is a gorgeous cookbook. You can feel the quality of the paper, there is a lovely black and white striped ribbon as a bookmark (I am a sucker for any book with a ribbon bookmark in it), the old style font and the photos come together beautifully. Katie Quinn Davies background was as a graphic designer in her native Ireland. She moved to Australlia and eventually decided that she wanted a career change. After a few false starts she decided to combine her skills as a designer with her love of food. She started a blog and in due course this book was born.

In answer to the question that I asked at the beginning of the post, the answer is yes, there is something better, and that is looking through a gorgeous looking cookbook that you will actually be able to cook multiple recipes from, and this is where I suspect this book falls down a little.

You can tell from the way that she talks about food that Katie Quinn Davies loves food, but she loves more exotic flavours than I would nornally serve up on a day to day basis. I also don't necessarily think that the recipes included are great for weeknight cooking. There is one recipe that she specifically said was a good weekday meal but when I looked at the instructions, it said that the cooking time was about an hour and a half. If I had to come home from work, do food prep and then wait for something to cook for that long I am pretty sure that I would probably faint from hunger and there would be an uproar from the other person who lives in my house.

Having said that, I did actually find a number of recipes that I would potentially like to try at some point, or at least I would if I didn't have to return the book to the library. Some of those include:

Chorizo and potato salad with rocket and manchego shavings
Parmesan cookies with roasted tomato and pesto
Mini pork, apple and pistachio sausage rolls
Shepherd's pie with roasted garlic and cheesy mash topping
Lemon chicken with herbed rice
Mick's pork and red wine lasagne
Sticky chicken with sesame and chilli
Barbecued sweetcorn with chilli, mint and lime butter
Easy chocolate cake**

**Although it doesn't look anywhere near as easy as my normal chocolate cake recipe which I have posted before.

I thought I would share a recipe from the book today. Over the last few months we have been cooking Bill Granger's lemon stuffed roast chicken and loving it. That is basically a chicken stuffed with a whole lemon and a bunch of herbs, which means that the chicken stays really moist. Because lemon seems to be my flavour of the moment, I was immediately attracted to the recipe for Roast Chicken with Lemon Cream Gravy, which seems like a next step compared to the chicken we have been cooking. I might try it next time I have guests over for dinner....maybe.

Roast Chicken with Lemon Cream Gravy

Serves 4

1.5kg free range chicken (organic if possible)
3 large knobs of butter, at room temperature
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 lemons, cut in halfs or quarters
2 pieces preserved lemon
3 bulbs garlic, 1 separated into cloves, 2 cut in half lengthways
4 sprigs rosemary
Olive or vegetable oil , for drizzling
2 cups (500ml chicken stock
1 cup (250ml) cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced (add approx 20C for non fan-forced)

Place the chicken on a clean worktop and, using your hands, gently loosen the skin from the breast, creating a gap between the skin and meat.

Take 2 large knobs of softened butter and gently push it between the skin and meat, rubbing it into the meat. Take the remaining butter and massage it all over the chicken skin. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and transfer to a large frameproof roasting tin.

Place four lemon halves or quarters into the cavity, along with the preserved lemon, half the unpeeled garlic cloves and one or two sprigs of rosemary. Scatter the remaining lemon halves or quarters, unpeeled garlic cloves and the halved garlic bulbs around the bird and toss the leaves from the remaining rosemary sprigs all over the bird. Season again with salt and pepper and drizzle with a good glug of olive or vegetable oil.

Transfer the roasting tin to the oven and roast for 30 minutes, then, using a pair of tongs, squeeze the juice from the roasted lemons in the tin all over the chicken. Roast for a further 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked (to test this, pierce the thigh part with a skewer and press the juices out onto a spoon: if they are clear, the chicken is ready). Remove from the oven, then transfer the chicken to a serving platter, loosely cover with foil and leave it to rest for 10 minutes while you make the gravy.

Place the roasting tin on the stovetop over low heat, add the chicken stock and bring to a low simmer. Using a balloon whisk, incorporate the roasting juices into the stock, scraping up all the bits stuck to the bottom of the tin as you go (these will add loads of great flavour to your gravy). Stirring constantly, add the cream and lemon juice, then season to taste with salt and pepper. If you like a smooth, silky gravy, pass it through a fine sieve, then serve piping hot poured over the carved chicken.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Thornwood House by Anna Romer

When Audrey Kepler's former partner, and father of her daughter Bronwyn, dies suddenly she is very surprised to find that he has left her a property in Queensland called Thornwood House.  It is where Tony grew up, but he never spoke about his childhood years in the house and he most certainly never spoke of his family.

When Audrey and Bronwyn travel from the home in Melbourne, it is purely with the intention of seeing the house so that they would be able to decide to sell the house and then continue with their lives in Melbourne.

It doesn't take long before they both feel the attraction of living in a big rambling Queenslander style home, and the decision is made that rather than sell the house, they would make the move permanent.

Audrey, in particular, is drawn to the history of the house and to the history of Tony's family, which isn't a happy one. At the end of WWII, Tony's grandfather Samuel was accused of murdering his grandmother, Aylish. They had been young lovers, who had been torn apart by war, by circumstance, and seemingly by other people's interferences. Ostracised by the town, Samuel lived a pretty solitary life but Audrey come to believe that maybe he had been treated badly.

That was not the only unfortunate death to hit Thornwood and the family, and soon Audrey finds herself searching for the truth of all of them. But can she find the truth without putting her life, or the life of her daughter, at risk.

The story unwinds through three time frames. The first, and most prominent, is the current day storyline of a young woman trying to make a new life for herself and her daughter, both of whom are working through the grieving process.

The second storyline is that of Samuel and Aylish, the doomed lovers, which plays out against the spectre of World War II and it's immediate aftermath. This story is predominantly told through a series of letters.

The third story comes from the 1980s and focuses on the tragedies that caused Tony to leave his home in the first place, and why he would never speak of his early life. This particular storyline is told mainly through the pages of a journal but also through the memories held by the people that were left behind, who are slowly becoming friends with Audrey and Bronwyn.

 I felt that the author made interesting choices with her secondary characters. Just when you thought that a character was one thing, they would turn out to have a back story that completely changed the way that you thought of them.

I also enjoyed the relationship that developed with Danny, the local vet, who also happens to be deaf. I completely understood why Audrey struggled with the idea of moving on even though she had been by herself for so long. I will probably freak out the first time I am kissed again because it has been so long for me. I should put a disclaimer on that to say if it ever happens really!

My only minor qualm with the book was in relation to the bad guy. I can't really go too much into detail without sharing fairly big spoilers, but I did find myself wondering about the motivation, and the physicality and whether the latter in particular would be possible, or more precisely, likely.

Before I read the book, I had seen it compared to other Australian authors like Kate Morton and Kimberley Freeman, and the comparison is relevant. There is that same gothicky feel that is so common to Morton's books, although I would tend to say that this might be a bit darker than some of Kate Morton's books and definitely darker than Kimberley Freeman's books. There is the dual story line, the connection to the past through various artifacts and a kind of spiritual link to the past so if you like any or all of those factors then this could be a book for you.. 

Where Romer really stands out is in her ability to describe the landscape without overwhelming the reader. For example, there is a section where one character is explaining carnivorous plants to  Bronwyn, and I found myself thinking that it shouldn't have been anywhere near as fascinating as it was!

This was an excellent debut novel and I will be looking forward to reading Anna Romer's next book with great interest.

Rating 4.5/5 


When Audrey Kepler inherits an abandoned homestead in rural Queensland, she jumps at the chance to escape her loveless existence in the city and make a fresh start. 

In a dusty back room of the old house, she discovers the crumbling photo of a handsome World War Two medic - Samuel Riordan, the homestead's former occupant - and soon finds herself becoming obsessed with him. 

But as Audrey digs deeper into Samuel's story, she discovers he was accused of bashing to death a young woman on his return from the war in 1946. When she learns about other unexplained deaths in recent years - one of them a young woman with injuries echoing those of the first victim - she begins to suspect that the killer is still very much alive. 

And now Audrey, thanks to her need to uncover the past, has provided him with good reason to want to kill again

Monday, January 06, 2014

Bookish Quotes: On Fear and Myths

For my first bookish quote for this year I thought I would share a quote from The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman which I read towards the end of last year.

I took a book and went out into the garden.

It was a warm spring day, and sunny, and I climbed up a rope ladder to the lowest branch of the big beech tree, sat on it, and read my book. I was not scared of anything, when I read my book: I was far away, in ancient Egypt, learning about Hathor, and how she had stalked Egypt in the form of a lioness, and she had killed so many people that the sands of Egypt turned red, and how they had only defeated her by mixing beer and honey and sleeping draughts, and dying this concoction red, so she thought it was blood, and she drank it, and fell asleep. Ra, the father of the gods, made her the goddess of love after that, so the wounds she had inflicted on people would now only be wounds of the heart.

I wondered why the gods had done that. Why hadn't they just killed her, when they had the chance?

I liked myths. They weren't adult stories and they weren't children's stories. They were better than that. They just were.

Adult stories never made sense, and they were so slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, Masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood. Why didn't adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and smugglers and dangerous fairies?
Good question!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Sunday Salon: 2013 in review

Before I get started on my review of 2013, I have a major oversight to rectify. Last week when I listed my favourite reads for the year I neglected to include one of my absolute favourite reads for the year, and it was even one that I wrote a big review for as well! That book was:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I was the same age as the protagonists in this novel so most of the cultural references were very familiar. As fantastic as that was, it was really the strength of the writing, the development of the relationship between two people who don't quite fit into their world and the emotions that the author invoked that really made this book work for me in a big way.

Okay, now that I have that out of the way, and before I start doing the analysis for the whole year, here are the books that I read in December. For me this is a really, really small reading month which kind of follows a downward trend for the whole year

Love a Little Sideways  by Shannon Stacey 4/5
Fables Vol 12: The Dark Ages  by Bill Willingham 4/5
A Divided Inheritance by Deborah Swift 3/5
The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi 4/5
The Night Before Christmas by Kelly Hunter 3/5
What the Bride Didn't Know by Kelly Hunter 4/5
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman by 4
The Girl in the Yellow Vest by Loretta Hill 4/5
The Kissing Season by Rachael Johns  3.5/5
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel 4.5/5 (audiobook)
The highlight of the month was Wolf Hall. I bought it when it first came out but then I heard such mixed reports about it. I never quite got around to reading it when someone said that the audio was awesome and it was! I highly recommend the audio version if you haven't read the book yet, or if you want to revisit it!

In terms of challenges, the Kelly Hunter books, The Girl in the Yellow vest and The Kissing Season were all by Australian women authors so round out my participation in the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2013. I will be participating in the challenge again this year.

So let's get stuck into some stats.

After my record breaking year in 2012 where I read 291 books, this year was comparatively low given that I ended up reading 219 books in total. Whilst some of these books were shorter than others, there were also some monster books in there including the first three Game of Thrones books plus Les Miserables so there is more than 4000 pages just in those books! All up, I read 67242 pages. Obviously this is a big drop from last year. Of these, 77 authors were new to me.

I mentioned before that my reading has decreased and you can quite clearly see that reduction when you look at the total month by month. My best month was February when I read 30 books and the worst December where I only read 10.

There is probably one major factor that has caused this reduction. Back in May I started driving to work. Initially it was only going to be for a few days, and then only certain days of the week but the reality is that I have probably only caught the train maybe half a dozen times since then. Given that the train is basically 45 minutes of reading time each way that is more than 7 hours a week in reading time lost. It makes a difference.

What I have been doing whilst I have been doing the drive to and from work is listening to audio books. Last year I listened to just two audiobooks, although one of those was a big one, but this year it was more than 20. This does take into consideration the fact that I listened to Richard Armitage narrate Venetia by Georgette Heyer at least three times, On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta twice, and The Piper's Son, also by Melina Marchetta, three times too. What can I say? They were all very good aural experiences!

The other thing in terms of formats is that I am actually now pretty close to reading equal amounts of ebooks and paper books.

So, I have talked about the number of books read and the formats I read them in, so lets have a look at the graphical representation of the grades of the books that I read. Overall, it was a pretty good year. As usual, my go to grade is 4/5 but there was a pleasing number of grades higher than that.

One of the things that I look at each year is the gender balance of my reading. My natural tendency is definitely towards female authors and this year was no different. I am not sure whether I should be bothered by the fact that only 14% of my reading is by male authors or just let it go!

My genre reading stayed pretty consistent with previous years. Romance tends to dominate with general fiction, historical fiction and YA tend to dominate. Within romance, contemporary titles continue to dominate my reading, followed by historical fiction. My paranormal romance reading has dropped right down with only one title in this category. This is a distinct change from a few years ago.

A few other little stats.

My participation in the Australian Women Writers Challenge continues to influence my reading in a big way. This year, 66 of the books I read were by Australian authors, with the vast majority of those being by female authors. It is hard to believe that it is only a couple of years since I was happy to just read 10 books by Aussie authors!

This year I reread 9 books. As mentioned some of this was listening to a couple of audio books more than once.

Every year one of the goals that I include for the year is to read more of the books that I already owned as at the beginning of the year. This year I managed 11 books which is a lot less than I actually acquired, but nothing new there.

Next week I will talk about my reading resolutions for 2014 including the challenges that I will be participating in!

Currently reading

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, For Your Eyes Only by Sandra Antonelli and listening to Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.

Up Next

Delicious by Nicky Pellegrino


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