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Australian Women Writers 2015 Challenge completed

June 12, 2015

As most of you have heard now ad infinitum, I only do one challenge – the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge. As in previous years, I signed up for the top level, Franklin-fantastic, which required me to read 10 books and review at least 6. I have now exceeded this. Although I plan to continue to add to the challenge, as I’ve done in previous years, I do need to write a completion post so I’m doing it now. I have, so far, contributed 12 reviews to the challenge. RawsonWrongTurnTransitHere’s my list in alphabetical order, with the links on the titles being to my reviews:

Only one of these – Cusack’s – is for a classic and only one – Van Neerven’s – is by an indigenous author. I hope to broaden my reading for the challenge in the second half of the year but given the way the year is shaping up, it may not work out quite the way I’d like. My final post for this year’s challenge will tell the tale.

Do any of you do challenges? And if so, what do they add to your reading? I often see challenges that appeal to me, such as those ones to do with working through your TBR, or reading in an area I’d like to explore more, like Japanese literature, but I feel the completion stress would counteract the value so I resist.

31 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2015 11:33 pm

    Congratulations

  2. June 13, 2015 6:44 am

    Congratulations on completing the challenge! And thank you for all the work you do for AWW. I look forward to seeing your next half-year of reading. This year I’m doing the AWW and Aussie Author challenge. The latter insists I read some books by men, so that will force me to go looking. (What a change from how my reading used to be!)

    • June 13, 2015 8:46 am

      Ha ha … Elizabeth. Love the change in your reading patterns. Working with you on the challenge is a real pleasure I must say.

  3. sharkell permalink
    June 13, 2015 7:04 am

    I did tge tbr triple dog dare this year – read only from your tbr pile from Jan to Mar. Then I signed up for an online Auslit course so I was only partially successful in reading from my shelves but I did read 14 books from my shelves. I thought about doing the challenge again from Jul to Sep and may still do that, a worthwhile experience for me.

    • June 13, 2015 9:26 am

      Fourteen books! That’s a great achievement Sharkell. If I do five from my TBR in a year I’m impressed with myself! What Aus Lit course are you doing? That Coursera one? (Did you tell us that already, earlier in the year?)

      • sharkell permalink
        June 13, 2015 9:53 am

        Well, I won’t tell you how many I added to my tbr in the same period :). Yes, it was the Coursera one and I could well have mentioned it to you earlier in the year, it was a highlight for me; highly recommended – run by the University of Western Australia and covered both mainstream and some non-mainstream authors.

        • June 13, 2015 10:16 am

          Thanks Sharkell. Yes, then I think you did, as I recollect having just heard about it from an English blogger who did it. I looked at it and thought it sounded really interesting. Would love to do it but fear not having the time to commit to it properly 😒

        • sharkell permalink
          June 13, 2015 10:39 am

          I think I might have heard about it through that comment on your blog. I’m now on my 4th Coursera course this year – they are wonderful! You can get through the Auslit course with 3-4 hours per week as they provide set pages of the books – you don’t have to read all of the books.

        • June 13, 2015 5:38 pm

          Ah did you? That’s possible, Sharkell. Did you find it ok to just read sections of the books? I still think I’d need to give up something to fit 3-4 hours in, but I’d live to do it.

        • sharkell permalink
          June 13, 2015 5:42 pm

          I did read a couple of the books (Watkin Tench’s 1788 and Richard Flanagan’s Gould’s Book of Fish) but it was fine just reading the excerpts. You can always read the entire texts at a later point in time, and I had already read quite a few in the past.

        • June 13, 2015 8:44 pm

          That makes sense Sharkell. I have read some of them too, and I guess it introduces you to others you might not have heard or or thought of reading. I really will keep it in mind.

  4. Meg permalink
    June 13, 2015 8:32 am

    Congratulations, well done. I do try to read the Miles Franklin nominations, and I have succeeded in that. When the short list for the Man Booker Prize is announced I will try to read them. I do try to read Australian authors, and I do make sure I read a non fiction every month.

    • June 13, 2015 9:29 am

      Thanks Meg. I wish I could read all the MF nominations but other reading always gets in the way. And the Booker too. Well done. I love your plan of reading one non-fiction every month as there’s a lot of good non-fiction writing out there isn’t there.

  5. June 13, 2015 9:14 am

    Mein gott ! – I am astonished that you find time to EAT, Sue ! 🙂
    Complimenti, bella ! 🙂

    • June 13, 2015 9:30 am

      Haha, M-R, many read way more than I do. Perhaps that’s because I always find time for eating!!

  6. annabelsmith permalink
    June 13, 2015 8:05 pm

    Great work Sue. One year I did a books in translation challenge. It was a dismal failure. I didn’t like any of the books I read and it actually completely turned me off translated works! I don’t know if I was just unlucky or if I’m just a terrible bore who only wants to read within my comfort zone 😦

    • June 13, 2015 8:47 pm

      Oh dear Annabel! I haven’t heard many challenges ending like that but I guess it was positive in that you learnt some things you didn’t like, eh?

      • annabelsmith permalink
        June 14, 2015 7:44 pm

        That’s one way to look at it!

        • June 14, 2015 11:21 pm

          Why not! It always pays to be positive, if you can, don’t you think!

  7. June 13, 2015 8:28 pm

    Well done Sue. I read Jessica White’s Entitlement based on your review and quite enjoyed it. Thanks for the tip. John

  8. June 14, 2015 1:26 pm

    This year I did ‘read your TBR pile’ challenge https://janebryonyrawson.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/what-did-i-learn-from-tbr20-spoiler-i-dont-know/ and now I’m reading the books I was sponsored to read for Just Read readathon https://janebryonyrawson.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/another-adventure-in-reading/. When I finish these I’ll read the books of my co-panellists for a few sessions I’m doing at Bendigo Writers Fest. I think I’ve forgotten how to read without structure. It always seems like such a treat when I get to though…

    • June 15, 2015 4:27 pm

      Haha, thanks Jane. Although this is my only challenge, my reading is very structured. Sometimes I wish to be able to be more free-flowing in my reading. Like you, it feels like a real treat. Would it real the same way I wonder if our reading was never structured.

  9. maamej permalink
    June 17, 2015 8:21 am

    Congratulations, quite an achievement for only 6 months into the year. I only discovered reading challenges late last year , although I’d already done a few reviews on my blog. This year I’m doing Kinna’s African Reading Challenge and I also set myself an Indigenous Reading Challenge, which I would love others to join in with. I like challenges because they make me read outside my comfort zone, which is SFF, and also I learn a lot about the world, different perspectives on life, and writing.

    • June 17, 2015 11:01 am

      Thanks maamej. Unfortunately, your comment isn’t linked to your blog so I can’t come check you out. Yes, Kinna’s challenge is one of those that I’d love to do, also Marilyn’s Women of Colour. Setting oneself challenges, like yours, is also a great way to go!

      I agree that challenges can be good for getting you out of your comfort zone. I find membership of book groups also does that. There’s a tension, I find, between broadening one’s reading and reading books we’re really not interested in. Can be a fine balance sometimes, but it pays to be openminded doesn’t it?

      • maamej permalink
        June 17, 2015 6:56 pm

        Oh, that’s odd that it doesn’t link. I will have to look into that, it’s supposed to. My book reviews are here.

        I’m also in a bookclub for the same reasons & you’re definitely right about that tension – sometimes I feel like I’m back in school being forced to read something I have no interest in, but other times I love the books I would never otherwise have read. At least with challenges I have more control over what I read 🙂

  10. June 17, 2015 10:24 pm

    Thanks maamej. I’ll go check. I had that – the not linking happen – a year or so ago. As I recollect it seemed to happen whenever I commented on a blog via my iPad. When I commented on the same blog via my laptop, my blog did link. It was weird and frustrating. I’d fill in all the right fields and it just didn’t link.

  11. June 21, 2015 2:58 am

    Way to go! Something tells me though that this challenge isn’t so very challenging for you 🙂 The only one I do is the RIP (readers imbibing peril) challenge hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings from September 1 – October 31st. Since I am not a horror reader in general it is fun to discover books and stories that are suspenseful and chilling but that don’t give me nightmares. Plus it is a chance to indulge in over-the-top gothic fiction.

    • June 21, 2015 8:21 am

      You’ve found me out Stefanie! No, it’s not a challenge to me. It’s what I like to read anyhow. I do it because I want to support Aussie women writers, as I guess you and other readers have worked out by now!

      I’m torn about doing a “real” challenge – that would move me, not so much out of my comfort zone, but into areas I want to explore more but don’t seem to get to, or that would have practical benefit such as actively reduce my TBR pile – but in my head I know that taking one on would just add another “must” in my life and I have enough of those already. One day, perhaps, when life quietens down??!

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