Aug 04

August TBR List

My August TBR pile, now with added dog.

My August TBR pile, now with added dog.

Prompted by the #wintercomfortbookchallenge, I took a photo of my July TBR pile. It was a ridiculously ambitious pile of books that I aimed to read during the month of July. Not surprisingly, I didn’t read them all, but I did find that gathering a box full of books from the various piles scattered around my home did help to focus my reading efforts and I read more books as a result.

I’ve decided to put together a monthly TBR List update, listing books I’ve read during the previous month and books I’m hoping to read during the current month.

Read in July
Afterlight – Rebecca Lim
Freedom Ride – Sue Lawson
Risk – Fleur Ferris
Becoming Kirrali Lewis – Jane Harrison
A Week Without Tuesday (A Tuesday Macgillycuddy Adventure #2) – Angelica Banks
Thirst – Lizzie Wilcock
Tashi (Tashi #1) – Anna Fienberg
Splosh for the Billabong – Ros Moriarty & Balarinji
My Name is Lizzie Flynn – Claire Saxby & Lizzy Newcomb
Alpha – Isabelle Arsenault
Flight – Nadia Wheatley & Armin Greder
Just the Way We Are – Jessica Shirvington
Shine: A Story About Saying Goodbye – Trace Balla
Tiz and Ott’s Big Draw – Marzo Bridget
Where are My Books? – Debbie Ridpath Ohi
The Lost Girl – Ambelin Kwaymullina & Leanne Tobin
Newspaper Hats – Phil Cummings & Owen Swan
On the Train – Carron Brown & bee Johnson
Bob the Railway Dog – Corinne Fenton & Andrew McLean
How the Sun Got to Coco’s House – Bob Graham
The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: A Little Bonsai with a Big Story – Sandra Moore
One Word from Sophia – Jim Averbeck & Yasmeen Ismail
What Do You Do With An Idea? – Kobi Yamada & Mae Besom
Rosie Revere, Engineer – Andrea Beaty & David Roberts
Time for Bed, Daddy – Dave Hackett
Inside this Book (are three books) – Barney Saltzberg
Footpath Flowers – Jon Arno Lawson
Platypus – Sue Whiting & Mark Jackson
Seasons of Love – Janet Parsons & Claire Richards
My First Puppy – Lisa Chimes & Tina Burke
My First Kitten – Lisa Chimes & Tina Burke
The Red Feather – Ben Kitchin & Owen Swan
Too Busy Sleeping – Zanni Louise & Anna Pignataro
Hop Up! Wriggle Over! – Elizabeth Honey
Puddles are for Jumping – Kylie Dunstan
Summer Rain – Ros Moriarty & Balarinji
Kookoo Kookaburra – Gregg Dreise
Mate and Me – Jennifer Loakes & Belinda Elliott
Small and BIG – Karen Collum & Ben Wood
How Long is a Piece of String – Madeleine Meyer

August TBR List

PICTURE BOOKS (0/6)
Silly Squid – Janeen Brian & Cheryll Johns
Float – Daniel Miyares
The Toast Tree – Corina Martin & Fern Martins
Georgina and Dad the Dragon – Katrien Pickles & Lauren Merrick
The Boy who loved the Moon by Rino Alaimo
Book by David Miles and Natalie Hoopes

JUNIOR FICTION (0/11)
One Rule for Jack – Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina (ill. Craig Smith)
Wolves of the Witchwood (The Impossible Quest #2) – Kate Forsyth
Zombified – C M Gray
Penelope Perfect: Very Private List for Camp Success – Chrissie Perry
The Cat with the Coloured Tail – Gillian Mears (ill. Dinalie Dabarera)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E L Konigsburg
Mystery & Mayhem (Alana Oakley #1) – Poppy Inkwell
Clementine Rose and the Movie Magic (Clementine Rose #9) – Jacqueline Harvey
Kizmet and the Case of the Tassie Tiger – Frank Woodley
Kizmet and the Case of the Smashed Violin – Frank Woodley
Nonsense! Said the Tortoise – Margaret J Baker

MIDDLE FICTION (0/9)
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage – Sydney Padua
Kerenza: A New Australian – Rosanne Hawke
Voyage of the Moon Child (Empire of the Waves #1) – Christopher Richardson
Ophelia: Queen of Denmark – Jackie French
The Grimstones Collection – Asphyxia
The Forgotten Sisters (Princess Academy) – Shannon Hale
The Peony Lantern – Frances Watts
Sister Heart – Sally Morgan
Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars – Martine Murray

YOUNG ADULT FICTION (0/13)
Off the Page – Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer
Frankie and Joely – Nova Weetman
Green Valentine – Lili Wilkinson
Stray (Spark Trilogy #2) – Rachael Craw
Fearless (Hidden #3) – Marianne Curley
The Truth About Alice – Jennifer Mathieu
The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness
Weightless – Sarah Bannan
In the Skin of a Monster – Kathryn Barker
The Foretelling of Georgie Spider (The Tribe #3) – Ambelin Kwaymullina
Stay with Me – Maureen McCarthy
Cloudwish – Fiona Wood
The Guy, The Girl, The Artist and his Ex – Gabrielle Williams

GENERAL FICTION (0/1)
The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett

NON-FICTION (0/8)
Animal Architects – Daniel Nassar & Julio Antonia Blasco
Alice’s Food A – Z – Alice Zaslavsky
The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made – Fiona Katauskas
Backyard Bees – Doug Purdie
From India with Love – Latika Bourke
Numbers are Forever – Liz Strachan
Very Good Lives – J K Rowling
Remembered by Heart – Various (foreword by Sally Morgan)

Books read 1 August: 0/48
Books read 30 August: TBA

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Aug 02

Explaining the Sadness

Source of quote unknown

Source of quote unknown

I feel sad – sometimes with an overwhelming intensity, sometimes only vaguely, but the sadness is always, always there. The sadness slows me down, like a brake ensuring that moving forward takes more effort than it should.

The situation that underpins my sadness is one that I feel helpless to change. Wonderful friends who are aware of what I’m dealing with offer advice on how to resolve the issue and I can see the truth in much of what they say. There is a way to alter the situation so that it doesn’t impact me quite so directly.

While I understand their perspective, I also know that at the moment I am unable to bridge the distance between where I am and the place where that solution is possible. There are barriers I feel ill-equipped to overcome, so I try to find something positive in where I am, some way to bring something good out of the situation.

The sadness makes me move more slowly. It forces me to take time out, to leave gaps in my days where I can decompress and rally my resources for the next charge forward. In this world where everything moves forward at a breakneck speed, those moments are precious.

It’s in those moments that I look around me and notice others; those who need an encouraging word, a friend to talk to, someone to connect with. They give me perspective and help me remember that while my sadness is real and challenging, it is not overwhelming or unbearable.

Some friends question the time I spend volunteering, suggesting that my priority should be taking care of myself including finding a way to build a steady income. Once again there is truth in what they say and there is no denying that a reliable income would be welcomed and beneficial, if only to validate in my own mind the value of my skills and knowledge. I spend at least 30-40 hours a week volunteering in various ways, mostly focused on books for children and teens, literacy projects and organisations, and promoting Australian authors and illustrators. I am passionate about connecting children of all ages with books and fostering a love of reading, writing and storytelling.

What my friends perhaps don’t understand is that volunteering in this way provides some balance to the sadness, offering an emotional counterweight of sorts. I derive pleasure from helping others, from promoting people and organisations that I see achieving wonderful things, and from simply talking with others who love words and stories and understand their appeal. My involvement with the world of children’s publishing has helped me find my tribe, which is a wonderful thing and something I treasure.

Of course, the sadness can all too easily transition into depression if left unchecked. I get angry and resentful and start to feel overwhelmed. I get annoyed that the sadness is so relentless and the only way to resolve it seems so far beyond my reach. I find it harder to focus on supporting and encouraging others. I focus more on my many failings rather than building on my strengths and I find myself believing what I do is inadequate and pointless, that I need to be more energetic, more knowledgeable and more influential if I truly want to achieve anything meaningful.

I’m getting better at noticing the warning signs when this happens. I’ve learned to say ‘no’ and to pull back from relationships and activities that drain my reserves. It’s also important to mention that the sadness doesn’t preclude moments of happiness, joy, excitement, and enthusiasm. There is so much about my life that I love and I am grateful, daily, for my many blessings. Happiness and sadness can, and do, co-exist.

I feel self-indulgent sharing this, but these are the words that have been fighting to come out and they have been creating a mental roadblock that I haven’t been able to clear any other way. This isn’t a cry for attention, a criticism of others, or a way of avoiding taking responsibility for my actions and decisions. This situation is what it is. It’s my truth.

So I’m sorry if sometimes I seem vague or disorganised or move too slowly. Like most people, I’m dealing with challenges you may not be aware of and bear scars you can’t see. Sometimes, as quoted above, it’s easier to smile than explain the sadness. But perhaps the sadness does need to be explained sometimes and maybe now this explanation has been made, the creative words will flow more easily and I’ll be able to move forward.

Joanne Fedler shared this quote from Michael Leunig’s The Prayer Tree today and it seemed so in line with what I wanted to say that I’ll share it here as well. For anyone who is also coming to terms with your own unavoidable sadness, I hope that you will be able to find the ‘healing twilight’ referred to below.

Nature requires that we form a relationship between our joy and our despair, that they not remain divided or hidden from one another. For these are the feelings which must cross-pollinate and inform each other in order that the soul be enlivened and strong. It is the soul, after all, which bears the burden of our experience….

Nature requires that we be soulful and therefore requires a dimension within us where darkness and light may meet and know each other…

Mornings and evenings: … times of graceful light whereby the heart may envisage its poetry and describe for us what it sees… but how do we find the mornings and evenings within?… How do we enter this healing twilight?

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Jul 03

Books Writers Read with Amra Pajalic

Author Interview
Author: Amra Pajalic (Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Amra PajalicI am very pleased to welcome Amra Pajalic to Reading Upside Down. I first started chatting with Amra after reading Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia, a book she co-edited with Demet Divaroren. I have been encouraged by Amra’s passion for education, writing and promoting greater cultural awareness.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I just finished reading ‘… And that’s when it fell off in my hand.’ by Louise Rennison which is a really funny series about Georgia Nicolson and her adventures in adolescent dating. It’s a fun read written in a diary format and Georgia has her own vocabulary that adds a special flavour to the book, for example Boy Entrancers are False Eyelashes and Nunga-nungas are bosoms.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
I very much enjoy reading books featuring young adult characters and my favourite genre is crime fiction. I’m also writing a memoir at the moment so I’m reading a lot of memoirs.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
The two books that I love to re-read are The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Both are sweeping stories that feature complex female characters.

Where do you read most often? Why?
I read on the couch while domestic life moves on around me. This way I’m still available to my daughter, even though she knows that when Mum reads she’s in another world.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
I loved Anne of Green Gables when I was young and wrote quotes from the books into my diary. I’ve got the whole series and am waiting for my daughter to get old enough so we can re-read them together.

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
A bit of everything. There are certain authors that are on my must read list and as soon as they have something out I get it. I very much get sucked in by a cover and have to read a book because of the mood it evokes. I usually don’t like to know too much about the book and avoid reading blurbs. I pay attention to reviews, but usually skim a bit so I don’t get too much information. I very much pay attention to recommendations by friends and when I see a positive comment by them I follow up on the book.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
I would put my novel The Good Daughter as this book is very close to my heart. It began as a reflection of my adolescence and accidentally grew into a fictional young adult novel. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta because whenever I think about it, I get teary.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
I’m currently working on a memoir about being parented by my mother who suffers from Bi Polar.

coming of age

Amra Pajalic is an Australian author whose first novel, The Good Daughter (Text Publishing, 2009), won the 2009 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Civic Choice Award, and was a finalist in the 2009 Melbourne Prize for Literature Best Writing Award. She is also the co-editor of the Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia (Allen & Unwin, 2014) anthology. Visit Amra’s website for the latest information about her books, writing projects and author events. You can also find Amra on Facebook and Twitter (@AmraPajalic).

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Jul 01

July TBR List

I stumbled across the #wintercomfortbookchallenge on Instagram Challenge tonight, shared by Megan Daley (@childrensbooksdaily) and organised by @lovesickreader, @thereaderdragon and @talkbookishtome. It’s a book-related daily photo challenge, so I’m hoping to take part as a way of sharing more of the books I’m reading via Instagram. (You can follow me on Instagram at @readupsidedown)

The photo prompt for July 1 is ‘July TBR’. The most challenging part of this is fitting all of the books I need to read into one photo. I managed it (just), but the titles aren’t necessarily very clear, especially for the picture books, so I thought I’d share a book list here. I’m hoping to check back in at the end of the month to see how many I’ve actually read. I think I’ll be happy to get through 50% of the 54 books listed below. I’ll change the colour of the book titles as I read them and I’ll add in links to reviews (either here or at Kids’ Book Review) as they are published.

I know there will also be new books added during the month. For example, I’m hoping to buy a copy of Fleur Ferris’ new release Risk tomorrow and I’m sure that I’ll receive review copies for KBR that I won’t be able to resist adding to the pile.

As it stands today, this is my July TBR pile:

PICTURE BOOKS (23/24)
Mate and Me – Jennifer Loakes and Belinda Elliott
My Name is Lizzie Flynn – Claire Saxby and Lizzy Newcomb
How Long is a Piece of String – Madeleine Meyer
Small and BIG – Karen Collum and Ben Wood
Just the Way we Are – Jessica Shirvington and Claire Robertson
Flight – Nadia Wheatley and Armin Greder
Puddles are for Jumping – Kylie Dunstan
How the Sun Got to Coco’s House – Bob Graham
Bob the Railway Dog – Corrine Fenton and Andrew McLean
Carpet – Madeline Meyer
Time for Bed, Daddy – Dave Hackett
Shine – Trace Balla
Silly Squid! – Janeen Brian and Cheryll Johns
Inside This Book (are three books) by Barney Salzberg
On the Train – Carron Brown and Bee Johnson
Summer Rain – Ros Moriarty and Balarinji
Splosh for the Billabong – Ros Moriarty and Balarinji
Tiz and Ott’s Big Draw – Bridget Marzo
Kookoo Kookaburra – Gregg Dreise
The Lost Girl – Amberlin Kwaymullina and Leanne Tobin
Newspaper Hats – Phil Cummings and Owen Swan
The Red Feather – Ben Kitchin and Owen Swan
Platypus – Sue Whiting and Mark Jackson
Where are my Books? – Susan Ridpath Ohi

JUNIOR FICTION (1/9)
Peter’s Railway: The Great Train Robbery – Christopher Vine
One Rule for Jack – Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina (illustrated by Craig Smith)
Samurai vs Ninja: The Race for the Shogun’s Treasure – Nick Falk (illustrated by Tony Flowers)
Clementine Rose and the Movie Magic – Jacqueline Harvey
The Impossible Quest #2: Wolves of the Witchwood – Kate Forsyth
The Grimstones Collection – Asphyxia
Tashi – Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg (illustrated by Kim Gamble)
Alana Oakley: Mystery and Mayhem – Poppy Inkwell
Zombiefied – C M Gray

MIDDLE FICTION (1/5)
A New Australian: Kerenza – Rosanne Hawke
Ophelia, Queen of Denmark – Jackie French
A Week Without Tuesday (A Tuesday Macgillycuddy Adventure #2)  by Angelica Banks
Zarkora #1 – Nicholas and Alison Lochel
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage – Sydney Padua

YOUNG ADULT FICTION (0/9)
Fearless – Marianne Curley
What If – Rebecca Donovan
Weightless – Saran Bannan
Green Valentine – Lili Wilkinson
Frankie and Joely – Nova Weetman
Off the Page – Jodi Picoult, Samantha van Leer
The Truth About Alice – Jennifer Mathieu
Freedom Ride – Sue Lawson
Afterlight – Rebecca Lim

NON-FICTION (0/7)
Alice’s Food A-Z – Alice Zaslavsky
Animal Architects – Daniel Nassar and Julio Antonio Blasco
Backyard Bees – Doug Purdie
Palestine Speaks – Cate Malek and Mateo Hoke (eds)
Numbers are Forever – Liz Strachan
From India with Love – Latika Bourke
Remembered by Heart – Various, foreword by Sally Morgan

 

Books read 1 July: 0/54

Books read 31 July: 25/54 + 5 extras

Risk – Fleur Ferris
Thirst – Lizzie Wilcock
Seasons of Love – Janet Parsons and Claire Richards
My First Puppy – Lisa Chimes and Tina Burke
My First Kitten – Lisa Chimes and Tina Burke
&nbsp

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Jun 26

Books Writers Read with Demet Divaroren

Author Interview
Author: Demet Divaroren (Website, Blog, Goodreads)

Demet DivarorenI am very pleased to welcome Demet Divaroren to Reading Upside Down. I first started chatting with Demet after reading Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia, a book she co-edited with Amra Pajalic, and I have been inspired by her positive attitude and wonderful perspective on culture and creativity.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I recently finished The Fisherman by Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma, a beautiful, rich, haunting tale of love, brotherhood, madness and magic. Its visceral, vivid language haunts me still.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
I read character driven books from any genre that captures my heart and imagination.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for a dose of magic and wisdom. When I first read it ten years ago, it helped me believe in my dream to become a writer and unlocked the self-belief I needed to get there.

Where do you read most often? Why?
I have taken over a bench in my kitchen that was once a dining area. It has multicoloured cushions and a windowsill for my coffee cup. I share the space with our breadbox. It’s the ideal place…It gets sun and it’s close to food!

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
Willy the Wimp taught me that it was okay to be my shy, nerdy self.

When the Wind Changed scared the crap out of me and I use to try real hard not to frown. Still trying :)

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
I’ve been burned too many times to trust a cover and/or blurb. If there’s a book I want to read I download a sample on ibooks on my phone and read an excerpt. I hardly ever buy/borrow a book without reading a sample.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
I’d put my co-edited anthology Coming of Age: Growing up Muslim in Australia with Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap. Both capture the diversity of the Australian and human experience.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
My current work in progress is a contemporary young adult novel titled The Lost Boys set in working class Melbourne. It is written from alternating points of view and follows the struggles, clashes and connections of seven residents of Hope Street. It delves beyond stereotypes to explore themes of intergenerational violence, cross-cultural friendships, class and multiculturalism.

coming of age

Demet Divaroren is a Turkish-born Australian author of fiction and non-fiction. Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia (Allen & Unwin, 2014), an anthology she co-edited with author Amra Pajalic, has been shortlisted in the 2015 CBCA Children’s Book of the Year Awards. Her first novel, Orayt?, was shortlisted for the Australian Vogel Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Visit Demet’s website for more information about her books, writing workshops and other writing projects. 

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Jun 12

Books Writers Read with Anne Gracie

Author interview
Author: Anne Gracie (Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Anne GracieI am very pleased to welcome Anne Gracie to Reading Upside Down. I have only discovered Anne’s books recently, but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her regency romance novels and I’m delighted that she was willing to answer my Books Writers Read questions.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I’m always reading. Currently I have the following on the bedside table: Patricia Briggs Raven’s Strike (fantasy), Mary Jo Putney Not Always a Saint (historical romance-ARC) and Elly Griffiths The Ghost Fields (crime)

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
I read a range of genres, but I always go back to romance, both contemporary and historical romance. I love it because it’s such a positive, people-centred, hopeful genre — no matter how dark it gets, you know you’re always going to be delivered back into the light.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
I have a lot of “comfort-reads” and I can never pick just one, because it depends on the mood I’m in. But I always return to two particular authors — Georgette Heyer and Eva Ibbotson. They both sweep me away to other times and places, they make me laugh, sometimes weep a little, and I always finish their books with a big happy sigh. It’s a bit like re-setting my world positivity clock.

Where do you read most often? Why?
In or on the bed. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always preferred to read lying down. When I was a kid I’d lie on the floor, or on the sand at the beach, or in winter in front of the fire in the lounge room. Usually with a dog sprawled beside me. It hasn’t changed much since then. <g>

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
Again, I have lots. In my writing room, my computer faces a wall of books that contains several shelves of my favourite books from childhood, many of which I’ve bought from second-hand bookstores, because we moved a lot and local libraries fed my need for books. I look on them much as I look on old friends. From my beloved AA Milnes, and various Enid Blytons, to various animal books (Finn the Woldfhound, The Silver Brumby, Wild Brother) to books like Kim (Kipling), Henry Treece’s dark historicals, Noel Streatfield, Rumer Godden’s “doll” series, to the fun of Robyn Klein, Margaret Mahy, and of course I started reading Heyer when I was eleven.

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
All of the above. I order books on line so there’s always a good supply of my favourite authors waiting, and I choose from the selection according to mood. I will always read a book that friends have recommended, but sometimes if there’s buzz about a new book or writer, I’ll investigate.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
I would probably have a slow melt-down trying to choose, and would put off the job for so long I’d hope people would forget to ask me again. <g>

Put a gun to my head and force me and I’d probably grab a copy of The Perfect Rake (mine) and Venetia (Heyer) because Venetia is probably my favourite Heyer and Perfect Rake is a lot of readers’ favourite book of mine. Why? Usually the things put in capsules are “worthy” but dull, so it would be nice to find something that was fun.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
I’m writing The Summer Bride, the last in a four book Regency-era historical romance series. Each book has focused on one of four “sisters” — sisters of the heart, rather than blood relations— who at the start of the series were in desperate straits. This book is about Daisy, the odd one out of the sisters. A Cockney foundling with an unsightly limp, born in the gutter and raised in a brothel (where she worked as a servant) she has no aspirations to become “a lady” and certainly not to get married. Instead she’s all fired up to become the most fashionable dressmaker in London — she has a real talent for creating flattering, sexy and elegant clothes. Daisy is earthy, gutsy, stubborn and vulnerable and I love her to bits.

 

The Spring Bride

 

Anne Gracie is an Australian author of historical romance. Her books include The Merridew Sisters series and The Devil Riders series. Her most recent novel, The Spring Bride (published by Penguin), is the third book in The Chance Sisters series. Visit Anne’s website and Facebook page for more information about her books and author events. You can also chat with Anne on Twitter (@AnneGracie).

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Jun 11

8 Ways to Support Your Favourite Authors

8 Ways to Support Your Favourite AuthorsWriting is a bizarre occupation.

It can involve spending a ridiculous number of hours wrestling words into submission, gently crafting the perfect turn of phrase or shaping whole new worlds from thin air. It can involve visiting amazing locations to soak up the atmosphere and find inspiration or spending hours researching a topic or idea that fascinates the author. That’s the fun bit.

It can also involve hours in front of a computer screen editing, re-writing, deleting, and re-writing again. The hours of research aren’t always fascinating. Sometimes they result from the need to track down an obscure fact or detail that is vital to the plot of the story, only to have that entire chapter removed because it is no longer needed when the story takes a different path. That’s not so much fun.

Being a writer also involves a large investment of time in promoting books including but not limited to establishing and maintaining an online presence via social media, blogging, writing guest posts, giving interviews, running workshops, visiting schools and generally trying to keep your name and books prominent in the minds of booksellers, librarians and the reading public. This needs to be done in such a way that you don’t over promote yourself or become too pushy. It’s a fine line to walk.

The support of readers is vital to the ongoing success of writers. If you have an author whose books you particularly enjoy, there are a variety of things you can do to encourage them and promote their work. Your support could keep them going when the ‘not so much fun’ list seems unbearably long.

1. Buy Books

Okay. It seems a little obvious, but it’s true. If you like the work of a particular author, buy their books. Buy books for yourself. Buy books as gifts for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Buy books to celebrate the arrival of a new baby, wish someone a speedy recovery from an illness or to simply let someone know you care. If you want to really get some bang for your book buying buck, buy books from your local independent bookseller.

2. Borrow Books

Does your local library stock books by your favourite author? Most libraries have a system in place so that you can request books that aren’t already part of their collection. You can also let your children’s school librarian know if you come across a book that you think is particularly useful or relevant to topics that are covered in the classroom. You can always donate a copy of the book if you are particularly keen to make sure that the library has a copy available (see point 1).

3. Write Reviews

You can rate and review books on Goodreads, a social media site that acts as a hub of bookish information and networking. Authors can easily share widgets on their websites and blogs with highlights from their Goodreads reviews, so comments shared here are particularly useful.

Most online bookstores have a facility to rate and review books. Genuine reviews from readers can play a significant role in encouraging others to purchase books online. Comments and reviews can also boost the profile of a particular title, moving it closer to the top of search results so that it features more prominently on websites.

It’s worth noting that reviews really only work if you are being genuine. Don’t rave about a book you only feel lukewarm about at best. Don’t write reviews that gush unnecessarily and, if you need to point out aspects of a story that you didn’t particularly like, remember that the story was written by someone who will quite possibly read your review. Be sensitive to their feelings as the creator of the work – discuss the issues, don’t attack the writer.

4. Talk About Books

If you’ve just read a book you loved, let people know. Simple.

If you’re looking for a more involved conversation, consider joining (or starting) a bookclub or check the list of events at your local library to see if they have a book discussion group.

5. Be Active on Social Media

Many authors now have a presence online, including websites, blogs, Facebook pages and accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. They use these platforms to share information about their latest books, events, workshops and projects.
Like, retweet, bookmark, pin, regram and share their updates and links to help promote their work. You can share links to reviews and articles about their work that you think share useful insights or information.

You can also use your own social media networks to chat about books. There are some great Twitter-based book discussion groups, numerous Facebook groups related to books and reading, and once again Goodreads offers a range of ways you can interact with other people who love chatting about books.

It’s not about spamming your network or going overboard. Just include books in the general mix of topics you chat about online. Consider taking a photo of whatever book you’re reading and sharing it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook as a quick and easy way of starting a conversation. If you have a YouTube channel, you could share a video review of your favourite books.

6. Take Part in Reading Challenges

There are numerous reading challenges hosted by blogs and websites to encourage people to diversify their reading habits, to promote particular genres, or to simply help people network with like-minded readers. Google ‘2015 reading challenges for adults’ (adjust year as appropriate) and you should find a selection of blogs and websites to get you started or check out this list of Book Riot’s 2015 Reading Challenge Round-Up.

You can find a list of the reading challenges I’m taking part in here.

7. Chat with your Favourite Author Online

Many authors have a website, Facebook page and/or Twitter account. This makes it possible for readers to connect with their favourite writers easily to offer encouragement, let them know you’re reading their work or to simply say ‘Hello!’

From children’s picture books through to young adult and adult fiction, there are authors writing for most ages and genres present on social media and many of them are happy to indulge in bookish conversations with readers.

8. Read. Lots.

Another obvious point, but a valid one nonetheless. If you want to support writers, read. Encourage your kids to read. Ask librarians and friends for recommendations and chat with the staff at your local bookshop. Buy books, read books and recommend books. I like to think that every time I pick up a book and open the covers, an inspiration fairy lands on the shoulder of another author and whispers words of wit, wisdom, whimsy or wonder in their ear to spark another amazing story.

 

If you have more tips for supporting and encouraging writers, I’d love for you to share in a comment. I’m also happy to chat about books anytime and you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.

If you’re a writer as well as a reader, you might also enjoy this article by Walter Mason at The Writers’ Bloc: Good Literary Citizenship – Why Helping Other Writers Ultimately Benefits You

 

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Jun 05

Books Writers Read with Trinity Doyle

Author Interview
Author: Trinity Doyle (Website, Blog, Twitter)
Trinity Doyle - credit Farrah Allan

Credit: Farrah Allan

I am very pleased to welcome Trinity Doyle to Reading Upside Down. I met Trinity late last year at a local CBCA meeting. Since then we have caught up for coffee and chatted about books several times. Trinity’s debut novel, Pieces of Sky, has just catapulted onto the local YA scene and I’m delighted that her wonderful book has been so well received.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I just finished Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, which was completely gorgeous.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
Definitely contemporary YA. I love the stories that come from everyday life, they add value to our own experiences and provide a very accessible sense of belonging. That’s why diversity in YA is so important—everyone deserves to find pieces of themselves in a story, especially young people.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
This year I’ve reread more than ever: The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, Hunting and Gathering by Anna Galvada, the first three Raven Cycle books by Maggie Stiefvater and growing up I reread Looking for Alibrandi countless times.

Where do you read most often? Why?
Probably in bed because that’s where it’s quiet and I feel I have the time.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
I read The Doll Hospital by James Duffy when I was 7 or 8 and I was obsessed with it. I always wished my dolls were secretly alive…which seemed way less creepy then.

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
If it’s Australian and YA there’s a good chance it’s on the TBR pile. I have my fave authors who I follow and crave new books by and if my friends are raving about something I’ll probably give it a go.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
Well, I’ve only written one book haha so Pieces of Sky from me and I’d pick Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar because reading that had so much influence on my writing I think the books would be very good friends.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
Pieces of Sky is about Lucy Taylor, a 15-year-old competitive swimmer who lives in a tiny coastal town. When her older brother drowns in a surfing accident she struggles to get back in the water. It deals with grief, family and identity, with some first love thrown in because I love kissing books.

Pieces of Sky_cvr.indd

Trinity Doyle is an Australian author of YA fiction. Her debut novel, Pieces of Sky, has recently been published by Allen & Unwin to a very positive response from readers and reviewers. Visit Trinity’s website and blog to find out more about her writing and you can also find Trinity on Twitter (@trinja) and Instagram.

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May 22

Books Writers Read with Nicole Hayes

Author Interview
Author: Nicole Hayes (Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Nicole HayesI am very pleased to welcome Nicole to Reading Upside Down. Nicole is an exciting new voice in Australian YA fiction whose books explore some very contemporary and relevant topics for teens (and, dare I say it, adults).

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I‘m reading the manuscript of Melanie Benjamin’s new novel, out next year, called Swans of Fifth Avenue. It’s fabulous! Glamorous, scandalous and rich with the sort of unforgettable characters Melanie is famous for. Plus it features Truman Capote! What’s not to love?

I’m also reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which is both hilarious and insightful – much like Tina Fey herself, I imagine.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
Not really. I have genres I don’t generally read, and genres I tend to gravitate towards, but even then there are so many exceptions. There is a pattern of contemporary social realism and fiction in my reading, whether in YA novels or non-YA, but then, when I think about my favourite novels – The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, or Beloved by Toni Morrison, for example, or what I’m reading right now – none of them fit that category! Truth is, I love great stories and memorable characters – give them to me in any form, any location, and whatever genre, and I’ll go with it. Happily.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
Yes. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It’s both grim and heartbreaking, yet, I would argue, it’s quite beautiful. It is the almost perfect book. There’s not a word out of place, or a sentence that hasn’t earned its spot. It’s a tough read because of the bleak, unforgiving landscape, and yet, in the end, it’s a love story between a man and his son. The cleanest, purest expression of love. It never fails to move me, often for days after rereading it.

Where do you read most often? Why?
In bed, though less and less lately because I struggle to stay awake when I do. I have a brand new “reading chair” I bought primarily to force myself to read more, and more often. I’ll let you know if it works.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
I have two that, for years and years, I read and reread more times than I can count: Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World, and Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. I should re-read them now to see if they still resonate in the same way. I’m going to bet they do because they both feature such memorable characters – characters I can picture in my mind, even today.

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
Um, yes? All of the above? Usually via recommendation, but so often I find myself at a bookshop, my memory failing me, and the scrupulously noted list of recommendations and “must reads” somewhere useful, like my kitchen bench, or my bedside table. So I scan the shelves for a cover that strikes me, or a name I recognise. Or both. I read a lot of YA because, frankly, I’m rarely disappointed when I do. Particularly Australian YA, which is producing some of the best writing out there. That’s my fallback – when in doubt, pick Aussie YA. You won’t be disappointed.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
You’re asking me to choose a favourite child! So I’ll start with the easy one. The other novel I’d pick would be The Road, because it’s a favourite and because it’s a cautionary tale for the future – although by the time the capsule is opened, it might be too late anyway. Still. It’s a beautiful piece of writing.

Of my novels, I’m going to (reluctantly) pick The Whole of My World, not because I prefer it to One True Thing, but because it’s the first of its kind – that is, a footy novel written by a woman, featuring a female footy fan – which, I imagine, is the sort of thing we should include in time capsules.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
My newly released novel,ONE TRUE THING is about sixteen year old Frankie Mulvaney-Webb who’s forced to deal with the fallout of her politician mother’s very public scandal. Frankie is a budding rockstar who hates politics, despite – or maybe because of – her Mum’s job. She’s more worried about the pending audition for her band which she and her best friend, Kessie, started that year. Except suddenly Kessie’s gone AWOL, and there’s a very cute, aspiring journalist, Jake, asking a lot of questions Frankie doesn’t want to answer. Or know how to. There’s also an asthmatic little brother Frankie feels she has to protect, and an overbearing grandmother who knows far more about what’s going on than she’ll let on. And the publication of scandalous photographs that threaten to tear her family apart.

one true thing

Nicole Hayes is an Australian author of young adult fiction. Her books include The Whole of my World, published in 2013, and the recently released One True Thing, both published by Random House. You can find out more about Nicole on her website and Facebook page and you can chat with her on Twitter (@nichmelbourne).

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May 01

Books Writers Read with Ellie Marney

Author Interview
Author: Ellie Marney (Website, Blog, Twitter, Goodreads)

ellie marneyI am very pleased to welcome Ellie Marney to Reading Upside Down. Ellie is the author of the Every series, a trilogy of YA romantic thriller crime novels.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
Searching for Women Who Drink Whiskey – by Miranda Kennedy

It’s a non-fiction book about a foreign journalist living in India, and the women she encountered while living there. It’s research for the new book I’m writing, which features an Anglo-Punjabi girl as one of the leads. I’m trying to get as much info about Indian women’s lives – especially the expectations and roles placed on them – for this book as I can! Women Who Drink Whiskey is written from an outsider’s perspective, but it still has many snippets of usefulness.

Non-fiction is certainly not my usual category. I dabble in non-fiction, but the vast bulk of my reading is from YA, and I often dip into adult fiction. My last adult fiction book was The Ash Burner by Kari Gislason, and I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin in YA.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
YA is most definitely my fave category, but as far as genre goes, I’m a bit mixed – I prefer spec fic or crime, but I’m always happy to check out good contemporary, and if there’s a dash of romance in there I won’t complain. I’ve been reading science fiction and speculative fiction since I was a kid. I think good sf and specific, like all good literature, examines what it means to be human. And for me, crime is about ethics – what is good and evil? What makes people make the choices that they do? I find those questions, addressed in an oblique way with great characterisation and plotting, really fascinating.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
Dozens of books could go on my re-read pile! I sometimes go back to the Harry Potter books, for a comfort read. I also pick up the Tomorrow series by John Marsden, and The Curseworkers series by Holly Black, or anything by Melina Marchetta, to see how the real pros do it. I often re-read Stephen King’s and Helen Garner’s stories. The book I keep returning to, though, is The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris – that’s a hugely underrated and beautifully written book, even if the subject matter is kind of gross.

Where do you read most often? Why?
I love to lie on the couch with a cup of tea and read – if I could do that all day I’d be in heaven.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
I love The Outsiders by Susie Hinton. That book makes me feel like I’m thirteen again. I also have fond memories of reading the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov (I got that one from my dad), and the crime classics by Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. One series I’ve brought with me through the years is The Belgariad by David Eddings (I’m still wondering if someone will make Pawn of Prophecy into a movie one day).

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
Mainly recs from friends or online – nothing beats word of mouth. But I’ll also take notice of an interesting premise in the blurb, or a great cover.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
I guess I’d put in Every Breath, my first novel – it has a lot of meaning for me. And a book by someone else… Oh that’s hard! How about a feminist classic? The Wanderground by Sally M Gearhart. I love that book, and I’d like to know how women are faring 100 years from now…

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
Sure! I just released the final book in the Every series, Every Move, and it felt great to finish the series. I felt like I lived through Rachel Watts and James Mycroft growing up, and although writing the final book was hard, and a bit heartbreaking, it was satisfying to end their story.

Since late last year, when I knew the series was wrapping up, I’ve been working on a new YA book, tentatively titled No Limits, set in the Mallee area, featuring a secondary character I cribbed from the Every series, Harris Derwent. Harris is a great character – I had to work really hard to make sure he didn’t scene-steal too much in Every Move, because he has such a strong personality! – and in this new book I could let him off the leash. I also had to write a gutsy new female character who could match him, so Amita Blunt was born… Right now I’m deep in the thick of drug rings and undercover police work in Mildura, with a hefty dose of romance – like I said, I don’t mind a bit of romance.

every move

 

Ellie Marney is an Australian author of YA Fiction. Books in her Every series published by Allen & Unwin – Every Breath, Every Word and Every Move – have received enthusiastic reviews from readers. You can find out more about Ellie at her website and you can chat with her on Twitter (@elliemarney) and Instagram (@elliemarney).

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