Thursday 30 November 2017

#AusReadingMonth Wrap Up

Well, here we are.
At the end of our fifth #AusReadingMonth...and I feel rather bittersweet about the whole experience.

November turned out to be a real mixed bag of emotions and events that distracted me from all of my fine reading goals.

I feel reluctant to let go of November. November was the month that my wonderful father-in-law was still alive in, although all too briefly. The days without him in our lives, has too quickly become a week, and before we know it, we'll have gone a month without him. In a blink of an eye we'll be saying 'last year' and the space between when he was with us and when we've been without him gets further and further apart.

We still feel the possibility of his presence with us all the time. We have moments when we forget and it feels like it's been nothing more than too long a while since we last spoke on the phone. Because we didn't live in the same city, we can almost pretend that he's busy with stuff and we'll catch up soon. But with each passing day, this sense of his living presence grows less and the space is filled by memories instead. Wonderful, fun, loving memories they are, we're lucky in that, but we'd all rather a hug and a good old chat instead. The sound of his voice is still in my ears, his body gestures and mannerisms are still familiar, it still feels like he exists in a space in this world. Instead there is a Bruce-sized hole in our universe that hurts to contemplate.

But Bruce would want us to carry on and embrace the joyful times in our lives. He was so proud and excited for me about my first photographic exhibition. He would have enjoyed hearing about my niece's first experience at the School's Spectacular. He would have been thrilled to hear about B20's new job and new car this week. He'd have some wise words for B17 who is feeling stressed with his HSC studies. And he would have been thrilled to hear about Mr Books' recent nomination to be President of our local soccer association (the largest in Australia).

I'm now beginning to wonder how on earth I actually managed to read anything at all all this month!

But it takes a lot to put me off books.

I need books to help switch my brain off work and life mode, when I go to bed each night. That never changes, but the type of book does. If I'm not too tired, I enjoy reading non-fiction before bed, but when tired and flat, I need easy, comforting stories - classics, historical fiction, or if I'm really overwhelmed, then junior fiction is the way to go!
Sadly, this meant that Non-Fiction November was a complete and utter fizzer for me this year, although I did enjoy catching up on everyone else's posts. As for my AusBingo Card....well, all those states I had planned to read, disappeared one by one as I reached for comfort read after comfort read.

I may not have completed my personal challenge, but I did read some amazing stories (esp. The Commandant and Sisters) and found myself a new author whose back list I want to explore (Gerald Murnane).
Nancy's review of Into The Heart of Tasmania has me intrigued as well. It has now won the Queensland History Book Award and the Tasmanian Book Prize for this year.

How did you fare?
Was it easy to fit in reading an Aussie book or two, or did you struggle?
Did you find any new books or authors that you've already added to next year's #AusReadingMonth wishlist?

I'd love to hear from you about your month of reading.

Finally, a HUGE thank you one and all, for your enthusiasm and interest once again this year and please accept my HEARTFELT blessings for your kind words and understanding during this oh so difficult time.

If you forgot to link up your #AusReadingMonth review, don't panic! The Linky is below and open for another week. Pop around to visit our other participants to give you some great ideas for what to read next November :-)


  1. Sorry to hear about your loss. Wonderful writing, I really feel how important he was in your life, and how he was part of it. Courage.

  2. Sorry for what you went through this month & your loss. Somehow I didn't manage to squeeze in an Aussie book this month but earlier in the year I read Jane Harper's The Dry, which was a slow good burn of a murder mystery. my review is at I hope to read more Aussie books in 2018.

    1. Save some of them for next November :-)

  3. I know it's been a hard month.

    I liked Cloudstreet pretty well, but I'm nearly halfway through Descant for Gossips and I'm not liking it at all. I'm not sure I will finish.

    1. I'll send out an emergency call to Nancy to see if she can help!!
      I confess that my first (& only) Astley was Descant for Gossips and I only kept going with it because it was about teaching and I was a teacher at the time. I struggled to like any of the characters or engage properly with the writing style. But Nancy has read Astley's bio and has been reading her way through all the books with added insights and lots of love.

      One thing I have wondered about is that most Australian writers embed their stories firmly in the setting. As an Aussie I love how strong their sense of place is - I can smell it, hear it, see it, feel the weather conditions etc, but this must be harder for people overseas to picture.

  4. Oh you added me already, thank you! I am so sorry for your loss, and hope you have had some consolation from the care expressed in this online home of yours. I really enjoyed reading the Ladies and am so glad I managed to join in!


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