Due to finishing my first novel and taking up a new role as a publisher with Serenity Press, I’ve been reading more than I’ve reviewed this year. I no longer request many books from publishers, although I haven’t run out of advance copies yet. And I haven’t consistently updated Goodreads or my Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016 links.
Having said that, I did complete the AWW2016 challenge, but all I can say is that I read a lot of books by Australian Women Writers. And reviewed more than six, meaning I met the Franklin level. You can sign up for the 2017 challenge here – I have!
My Goodreads stats show that I completed my challenge of reading 90 books in 2016, registering 98 in total, but I would suggest it’s at least half as many again. I’d love to resolve that my record keeping will be better in 2017 but I don’t want to make any promises I can’t keep!
So which books lingered in my memory? Which ones did I love?
1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book as visceral and challenging before. I’d been warned by friends to expect tears, to want to throw the book against the wall (because it’s confronting), to need time out. They were right. This book has outstripped any other I remember reading in years, in terms of feeling like I’d been punched in the heart.
2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Exquisite language and imagery – a captivating book I wish I’d thought of writing. Not reviewed – just absorbed.
3. The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith
Dominic Smith’s writing created a vivid, enduring image through words, proving that if imagery is strong enough, no real images are needed. The story and its execution are extraordinary.
4. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta
Brilliant, thoughtful and thought-provoking. Podcast review here.
5. Neopolitan novels (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, The Story of a Lost Child, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay) by Elena Ferrante
I loved this series by Elena Ferrante – I put off reading it because everyone else was, but once I succumbed, I was hooked. Ferrante has a gift for drawing out the complexities of human relationships. Not reviewed, but enjoyed.
6. The Words in my Hands by Guinevere Glasford
Fresh and deftly written, The Words in my Hand is a subtle and quiet character-driven novel that beautifully evokes time and place, as well as character.
7. The Florentine Bridge by Vanessa Carnevale
Emotive, romantic and tender. A combination of art, Tuscan life and
#ladolcevita made this a win for me! Not reviewed yet.
8. Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Anita Heiss
History shown through the gentle, softening eyes of love – another thoughtful and thought-provoking read that lingered.
9. That Devil’s Madness by Dominique Wilson
That Devil’s Madness simmers with emotional tension from start to finish and paints a multi-layered portrait of conflict: idealism versus duty, friendship versus loyalty, war and peace, tradition versus progression, male roles versus female roles.
10. Writing the Dream
Shameless plug for the book I spent about eight months working on – it’s a must-read for anyone who is or wants to be a writer. After editing this book and preparing it for publication, I felt like I knew these writers so well and I thank them for sharing the gifts of their stories here. Check out Goodreads reviews here.
Which ones of these have you read? Are there any on this list that you would like to read now?
For more of Monique Mulligan’s writing on books, check out Write Note Reviews
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- The Lebs (Michael Mohammed Ahmad) – book review
- The Sisters’ Song by Louise Allan – book review
- Plane Tree Drive by Lynette Washington – book review
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television