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Monday musings on Australian literature: Some Aussie lit links

December 22, 2015

Well, folks, I’ve been back in Sydney over the last four days working on my aunt’s house. With that, and with Christmas looming, I’ve not have much time to think about Monday Musings for this week – or, more to the point, to spend time researching and writing it. I did have an idea, but that will have to wait.

So, instead, I’m just going to share a few interesting links that you may like to check out in any spare moments you have:

  • 25 Aussie books by Australian women to read right now (published in The Guardian online, and written by Melbourne’s independent bookstore, Readings): This is a useful list, organised into categories like “If you like novels that transport you into the past…” and “If you prefer your fiction with some fantastical elements…”. The list includes the book I’ll be reviewing next, Eleanor Limprecht’s Long Bay; the book that I mentioned last week as being the most frequently picked best Aussie read this year, Charlotte Wood’s The natural way of things; one of the most reviewed books this year in my section of the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge, Robyn Cadwallader’s The anchoress; and two wonderful sounding short story collections, Abigail Ulman’s Hot little hands and Tegan Bennett Daylight’s Six bedrooms. All this says to me that it’s a list well worth checking out!
  • Your summer reading guide for 2015 (from some RN, that is ABC Radio National, presenters): Last year I wrote a post on picks from RN presenters, picking out just the Aussie books. This year I’m just giving you the link, and you’ll have to pick out the Aussie ones yourselves – but you can look at the non-Aussie selections too, while you are at it! The Aussie picks include two memoirs that interest me, writer Gerald Murnane’s Something for the pain, which I hope to get to in the next month, and comedian Magda Szubanski’s Reckoning, which is garnering a lot of positive vibes.
  • How Australian dystopian young adult fiction differs from its US counterparts was written in August this year, but I came across it when I was looking for links about Australian cli-fi in honour of the Paris Climate Change Conference. However, I’ve talked about cli-fi before, and so when I came across this article I thought I’d share it instead of looking further. I’m not an expert in this area at all – in YA fiction, I mean – and so I won’t say whether the conclusions drawn by writer, Diana Hodge, are valid or not, but I found her argument that Australian YA dystopian fiction resorts to “magical” abilities and a return to nature for resolution while American books are more likely to look to technical skills and knowledge in their protagonists rather interesting. I’d love to know what readers versed in YA dystopian fiction think.
  • Susan Wyndham, the Sydney Morning Herald’s literary editor, wrote about Aussie literary trends also back in August. She briefly looked at trends in Australian fiction through 2014 and into 2015, and identified issues like domestic violence and child abuse, and dystopias, as featuring in recent Australian literature. This makes sense given our society’s current preoccupations. But there are other issues too – like religious (in)tolerance, the plight of refugees and asylum-seekers, and racism? Are many books exploring these? I can think of a couple, but not many. What about you?  (The rest of this pretty brief article is worth a read too.)

And there, I’m afraid, I’ll leave it … hope it’s been of some interest to you!

This is, of course, the last Monday Musings before Christmas. I do hope you all have an excellent holiday season, that you receive some exciting books, if you celebrate Christmas, and/or that you are able to make lots of wonderful time to read whatever books you have. Next week, I will do some annual reviews. Watch this space, if you are interested!

22 Comments leave one →
  1. ian darling permalink
    December 22, 2015 1:37 am

    Will do! Thanks for all the great posts in 2015 about Australian literature. It has been a treat following some of it up. Looking forward to your review of the year. Have a good Christmas.

    • December 22, 2015 2:00 am

      Thanks muchly Ian. It’s been a real pleasure having you here, commenting from your own experience and perspective, adding to mine. Hope your 2016 is a happy, healthy one but will hopefully “see” you before then.

  2. December 22, 2015 2:09 am

    Especially interested in the Shirley Barrett. Have you seen Walk the Talk?

    • December 22, 2015 10:33 am

      No, Guy. I really haven’t followed Shirley Barrett. Not intentionally. But it would be interesting to see her novel, I agree.

      • December 22, 2015 10:57 am

        I wish she made more films. …

        • December 22, 2015 4:54 pm

          And I need to see more of what she’s made. I’ve only seen South Solitary I think, which I liked – who doesn’t like remote lighthouse films! – but wouldn’t rave over it.

  3. December 22, 2015 3:05 am

    Thankyou WG, the best thing about on line articles is that I can read them at work (not driving! Unloading). And thankyou for a very interesting, indeed thought provoking year.

    • December 22, 2015 10:34 am

      Thanks Bill. No, not driving I hope. And thanks for being here. I look forward to more conversations in 2016.

  4. December 22, 2015 5:47 am

    Thanks for all your great posts, Madame Gums. Have a great Christmas (glad to know you’re in Sydney) and may 2016 shine ever brightly upon you.

    • December 22, 2015 10:35 am

      Thanks Sara – back in Canberra last night! But will be in Sydney a couple more times at least. My it was hot on Saturday – not the best for cleaning out a house, filling a skip etc. All the best to you too. I hope you manage to have a warm, loving Christmas with people you love.

  5. ablay1 permalink
    December 22, 2015 6:56 am

    Thank you for your interesting posts and for keeping us informed about all things literary. Have a great holiday season!

    • December 22, 2015 10:36 am

      Thanks Anna. I enjoy doing these posts. Never thought when I started them that I’d manage to keep them going so long. Some are “lite” I know, but I hope the variety makes them worth following. Enjoy your holiday season too.

  6. December 22, 2015 8:57 am

    Sorry you’ve been too busy to do the posts you were planning, but I did enjoy these links. I’d seen the RN list but not the other two links. Merry Christmas to all in the Gums household, I hope you have some lovely celebrations, have a glass or two, and receive many great books to carry you through into next year.

    • December 22, 2015 4:57 pm

      And to you too Louise. BTW I have already had my special glass of the season – a 2004 Veuve Cliquot Grande Dame to celebrate Jane Austen’s 240th birthday. Twas pretty nice!

  7. December 22, 2015 11:08 am

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Sue. Enjoy the break, and I look forward to more Monday musings next year! 🎄

    • December 22, 2015 4:59 pm

      Thanks Louise – you too. I’ve enjoyed our communications this year, and look forward to more in 2016. Hope you have a great family time.

  8. December 22, 2015 11:59 pm

    Merry Christmas, Sue! I hope the new year brings you lots of great reads. John.

  9. December 23, 2015 2:22 am

    Some good links to investigate!

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. Thank you for another lovely year of books and thoughtful posts. I always enjoy visiting 🙂 I hope Santa leaves you some book-shaped presents! I look forward to your end-of-year reviews!

    • December 23, 2015 8:09 am

      I see one under the tree right now! And I’m expecting at least a couple of others Stefanie. I’ll send the wish straight back to you and Bookman. Enjoy your break too. I look forward to reading all about it.

  10. December 24, 2015 12:28 pm

    Merry Christmas WG – I enjoy ALL your posts, regardless of whether you think they are ‘lite’ or not. Always interesting, so from me many thanks. Long may your blog (and you!) prosper!

    • December 24, 2015 1:45 pm

      Thanks so much MST! It was a real treat meeting you this year. I look forward to following the progress of your book. Meanwhile, I hope you and yours have a great Christmas and New Year.

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