This year, like the last, has thrown up many things that have taken time away from reading, but I seem to have found more solace in books than ever before. Perhaps that’s attributable to what I’ve chosen to read; perhaps it’s also that I instinctively turn to books when the world around me makes no sense. I’m grateful to all the authors who have allowed me to travel vicariously and who have reminded me that one of the greatest gifts of reading is a fostering of compassion.
A few stats:
- Books read: 26 (excluding the many read for research)
- Women authors: 19
- Australian authors: 21
- Western Australian authors: 15
- Indigenous authors: 2 (obvious room for improvement)
- Debut novels: 7
- Genres: 18 fiction, 3 non-fiction, 1 hybrid, 1 poetry, 2 YA, 1 junior fiction
I’m never good at choosing one favourite anything, but I will admit to feeling bereft on finishing Donald Stuart’s Shuggie Bain, winner of the 2020 Booker Prize, and it took me ages to recover from it. And Robyn Mundy’s Cold Coast took my breath away—literary historical fiction at its finest. One of the highlights of the year, for me, was the chance to interview Robyn live at Beaufort Street Books in November, her fleeting visit to Perth just squeezing in before the borders between WA and Tasmania closed.
This year I introduced a new series of author interviews, Talking (new) fiction, and featured six new novels that I loved, and loved delving into:
- Josephine Taylor, Eye of a Rook (Fremantle Press)
- Susan Midalia, Everyday Madness (Fremantle Press)
- Michael Burrows, Where the Line Breaks (Fremantle Press)
- Zoe Deleuil, The Night Village (Fremantle Press)
- Robyn Mundy, Cold Coast (Ultimo Press)
- John Hughes, The Dogs (Upswell Publishing)
Huge thanks to Jo, Susan, Michael, Zoe, Robyn and John for their time, their goodwill and their thoughtful, often thought-provoking responses.
Next year’s interview list is already in preparation, and the first post ready to go. I’m looking forward to spending time with some exciting new works.
But for now, thanks to you for reading and for all your valued comments. I hope reading has brought you much to think about in 2021, along with an abundance of joy.