Do you have any suggestions?

1 Apr

Reviewing isn’t one of my special skills, but I do like to do it. If nothing else, it sharpens your reading and helps you to see the flaws of your own work.

Added to this is my propensity for entering competitions (I never do win, but that seems not to stop me).

In the continuing spirit of entering every competition open to me (except Miss Universe, I’m not going in that this year – and no, no amount of pressure will convince me otherwise) I’m thinking of entering the ABR reviewing competiton this year.

Only thing is, the book you choose to review must have been published since January 2006. I haven’t read much recent stuff this last year or so. I’ve been reading a lot and a lot, but not so much recent stuff.

So, what’s something you think I could write intelligently about? Fiction or non-fiction.

PS I did think of entering this competition a few years ago so that I could write a review of All Things Bri**t and Beauti**l written about Adelaide by a former citizen of Adelaide. A more superficial and insulting book it has never been my misfortune to read. So there you go. That’s pretty much all I wanted to say about that book anyway.

PPS Please not The Gathering. I did read that, but I do not wish to review it.

PPSS Now that you know I’m going in it, you might want to consider entering – it’s quite good being in competitions with me, because you’ve got a good chance of winning.

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13 Responses to “Do you have any suggestions?”

  1. genevieve April 1, 2008 at 7:11 pm #

    The other thing I have about this competition is that the book be English language, meaning it does not have to be by an Australian, does it.
    So what does one write about The Gathering once everyone else has had their say, I wonder. Perhaps it needs to be the latest of a series of someone’s books, or non-fiction or poetry or summat like that.
    I would hate to have to ring up or email to check the competition requirements – would make me feel right geeky.
    If you want to do Oz lit, The Orphan Gunner was mesmerisingly good. ( ha, I’m in top reviewing voice tonight – terrible adverbs a-plenty.) And I’m just halfway through Addition at the moment – it’s hilarious and very well written.

  2. suse April 1, 2008 at 7:39 pm #

    If it doesn’t have to be by an Aust. author, I will recommend ‘Water for Elephants’ by Sara Gruen (pub. 2006). It’s fast, furious, exciting, and incredibly visual, and it’s the most recent book I’ve read (I read it in two huge gulps while camping at Easter last week) so it’s all I can think of right now. The author also did heaps of research before writing the book which always impresses me.

    Mesmerisingly good.

    Oh. Have you read the new Geraldine Brooks yet? Everyone’s talking about that. Which I guess means lots of people will review it, won’t they, so scrub that idea. Go with the elephant one.

    rambling now …

  3. Helen April 1, 2008 at 8:08 pm #

    I didn’t know about ATB&B so I googled it – why did it seem superficial? Does it make out that child abuse and murder are more prevalent in Adelaide, or seem to tar all Adelaide people with the same brush, or something like that?

    (I’m so glad the festival gigs went well)

  4. Laura April 1, 2008 at 9:54 pm #

    did my comment go in the spam bucket? It had links, so probably.

  5. Laura April 1, 2008 at 9:56 pm #

    Just in case it’s irretrievable, the two suggestions were ‘The Clothes on their Backs’ by Linda Grant, and ‘Can Any Mother Help Me?’ by Jenna Bailey, two really excellent books which you would enjoy.

  6. SQ April 1, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    Even if everybody does review it, People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks is worth considering. It’s a top book, in my opinion.

  7. Helen April 2, 2008 at 6:51 am #

    The lost dog, by Michelle de Kretser. I’m enjoying it hugely at the moment – about a third of the way through.

  8. drew April 2, 2008 at 7:53 am #

    When you’re doing multiple post scripts you keep prepending Ps, not Ss.

    What are you, 12?

    The Gum Thief
    Douglas Coupland

  9. ThirdCat April 2, 2008 at 8:23 am #

    I knew someone would put me right on that, Drew. If I could dot my ‘i’s with smiley faces I would.

  10. ThirdCat April 2, 2008 at 8:53 am #

    Helen, I\\\’ve just been to get my copy of All Things etc etc off the shelf, and find it here complete with all it\\\’s sticky notes. My outrage is obvious. The sticky notes are luminous and colour-coded and everything.

    I think the book could have been excellent. Her basic question is a fascinating one. But for some reason, the complexities are not stated, and it is drawn far too simply as a \\\’on the one hand this, but on the other that\\\’. It relies very heavily on the \\\’Adelaide as civilised arts state, originally founded on Utopian ideals\\\’ versus dark underbelly of serial murders dichotomy without any discussion (or even acknowledgement) of the middle ground where most of live our lives. To make her point, she covers the Sno*wto*n case and then goes out to contrast this with interviews with people like K*m Bon*thon, Pet*r G*ldsw*rthy, Christ*ph*r P*a*son and so on. All fine and interesting people, I\\\’m sure, but in a city of one million people, this leaves out (if you round it up) about one million people, (including nearly everyone I know) living pretty standard lives which are neither depraved nor overflowing with the trappings of civilised life.

    To describe the northern suburbs, she drove from her borrowed house in the leafy greens and spent an afternoon in the shopping centre. I agree that you can get feelings of places very quickly, but I don\\\’t think it was fair to not actually talk to anyone else.

    Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil it is not.

    Jeepers creepers, I was cross when I read that book. Still am it seems.

    There\’s an article in New Matilda which pretty much sums it up for me.

  11. Jennifer April 2, 2008 at 7:42 pm #

    I’d love to read what you think of Half of a Yellow Sun, which I read recently, and I can’t get out of my mind. I’ve read a few blog reviews, and they’ve all loved it. Mind you, I’ve not checked whether its post Jan 2006.

  12. Laura April 2, 2008 at 8:10 pm #

    I also heard something about Helen Garner having a new novel out soon…

  13. Ariel April 6, 2008 at 4:02 pm #

    Hmmm … there is a lot to discuss in the new Garner, but it would be hard to say much that hasn’t been said.

    Joan London’s new book The Good Parents is wonderful, and I think you’d find a lot to say about it – whether you love it (as I did) or not.

    Tom Perotta’s very funny and clever new book The Abstinence Teacher would be fun to dissect.

    And Georgia Blain’s memoir Births, Deaths and Marriages would be a good one – lots to talk about, and I think her writing would appeal to you, or if it didn’t, you’d have an intelligent insight into why.

    Geraldine’s two suggestions are excellent too …

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