Monday Musings on Australian Literature: A challenge or two

Since this week’s Monday Musings falls on Christmas Eve I’m departing a little from the intention of this series. In fact, today’s post is not about Australian literature at all – though you can make it so if you’d like! Instead, I’m going to suggest a couple of literary challenges that you might like to wrap your heads around – individually or collectively – over the holiday season. Just for fun. Here goes …

Help Books

(Courtesy OCAL, via

The Novel Sentence Game

This is best played with a defined number of titles – such as your top ten of the year, or the last ten or so books you read with your reading group, or a literary prize shortlist, or some other set you’d like to come up with. My reading group has played this a couple of times at our end-of-year Christmas do, using the books we’d read that year. It goes like this: Write a single sentence using all the titles of the set of books you define. The winner – if you want to go that far – is the one who manages to make a comprehensible sentence with as few additional words as possible. It can be fun, but is definitely a challenge – so much so that the rebel members of our group made up new rules to suit themselves! Anything goes as long as you have fun …

Haiku Review

This game was inspired by the book that came out a few years ago – One hundred great books in haiku. The idea, if you haven’t worked out already, is to write a review (or simply summarise the plot) of a book in haiku form. A haiku, as most of you know I expect, is essentially a three line poem comprising 5-7-5 syllables.

Here, for example, is the haiku I wrote on Lloyd JonesMr Pip:

Matilda reads Pip
And has great expectations.
Life has other plans.

5-word Review

Even harder, perhaps, is this challenge inspired (a few years ago) by the Australian television show, the First Tuesday Book Club. The challenge is self-evident. Here is one from their website back in 2008 for Louis de Berniere’s Birds without wings: “Despite the title, it soars”.

I can think of other challenges, such as writing a drabble review or trying a lipogram, but this’ll do for now … However, if you have some literary challenges to share, I, and I’m sure others here, would love to hear them.

Meanwhile, I have cooking and gift-wrapping to do. Christmas waits for no women. Before I go, though, I’d like to wish all those who stop by here a very merry Christmas. May you all receive many wonderful books to read and the time to read them …

16 thoughts on “Monday Musings on Australian Literature: A challenge or two

    • Thanks John … I appreciate your encouragement. All the best to you too. Did you hear Peter Carey on Books and Arts Daily today? I heard bits and was intrigued … will try to listen to it again.

  1. Very good – I must have a go with developing some sentences based on book titles! I hope you have a good Christmas and much enjoyable reading in the New Year.

  2. Dear WG, Merry Christmas to you and yours and thank you I have really enjoyed reading the blog, learning about new authors to savour and generally having my thoughts shuffled about. Good luck with all in 2013 and I look forward to lots more talk of a literary nature. Catherine

  3. How about a poem from book titles I read this year?

    A Room With a View.
    The Garden of Evening Mists,
    The Hour of the Star,
    A More Perfect Heaven.

    The Wild Girls,
    The Age of Miracles.
    The Song of the Lark,
    The Long Earth,
    World Enough.

  4. Pingback: Book Review | ‘A Partisan’s Daughter’ Louis De Bernieres « Wordly Obsessions

  5. Pingback: Best Last Lines in Literature? Here’s my Top 5… « Wordly Obsessions

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