Are you getting sick of memes and lists? If so, just ignore this post and come back when the silly season is over because it seems that we book bloggers can’t help ourselves at this time of year. Today’s meme is a bingo asking us to name books we’ve read this year that meet categories on a bingo card – and it’s a big one with TWENTY-FIVE categories. I got the card from Lisa (ANZLitLovers).
Like most bloggers I have not read to the bingo card, but have tried, after the event, to squish my reading into the card. There are, therefore, a couple of fudges, which I hope you’ll accept. But if you don’t, what are you going to do? Unsubscribe? I hope not!
A book with more than 500 pages: As it turns out I didn’t read one that was more than 500 pages though I read at least three that were between 450 and 500 pages, so I’m choosing the Australian one of those three, Sara Dowse’s As the lonely fly (my review), about Jewish migration, big dreams and the Jewish state in Israel.
A forgotten classic: Mena Calthorpe’s The dyehouse (my review), which was (re)published by Text. They thought it was so special they made in their 100th book in their Classics series. If you haven’t read it, consider doing so, particularly if you like social realist novels about the lives of workers.
A book that became a movie: I have a few of those in my reading this year – and they are mostly classics. The one I’m choosing is Graham Greene’s Travels with my aunt (my review) which, unlike the ones I didn’t choose, I haven’t seen!! I did however read it!
A book published this year: I’ve read several new releases this year, mostly review copies. I’m choosing Stephen Orr’s Datsunland (my review) because I do like a collection of short stories, and I’ve read a few good’uns this year. I’ll be reviewing my third Orr book, his newest release, within the next few months.
A book with a number in the title: This proved strangely difficult this year, but luckily one book I read had numbers in its subtitle, Susan Varga’s moving poetry collection, Rupture: Poems 2012-2015 (my review). I do hope this isn’t a fudge – the numbers are on the title page even if not on the cover!
A book written by an author under thirty: Normally this would be hard, but history tells me that Louise Mack was 26 when her book The world is round (my review) was published in 1896. This book was nearly my “forgotten classic” until I needed something here!
A book with non-human characters: I was initially challenged by this one, until I remembered Rebekah Clarkson’s interconnected short story collection Barking dogs (my review) in which Jasper the barking dog recurs a few times, eventually providing the catalyst for a devastating action.
A funny book: I don’t read a lot of funny-haha books, but many of the books I read make me laugh. Take Hartmann Wallis’ Who said what exactly (my review), for example. If my review doesn’t enable you to see the humour, try reading Robin Wallace-Crabbe’s comment.
A book by a female author: Now this is a hard one – not! I have an embarrassment of riches here, so I’m going to go with one of the doyennes of the Australian literary scene, Carmel Bird and her clever Family skeleton (my review).
A book with a mystery: Well, let’s choose an actual mystery book here, albeit a literary one in which the mystery is really not the main point. I’m talking about Emily Maguire’s An isolated incident (my review).
A book with a one-word title: I have a few options here, but I’ll go with the one I used in a recent Six Degrees post, Ian McEwan’s Nutshell (my review). Such an intriguing book with an unusual choice of narrator.
A book of short stories: As a short story enthusiast I have a few options here too, so am choosing the last one I reviewed, Stephanie Buckle’s Habits of silence (my review). It’s a (lovely) debut collection, so I’d like to give it this extra shout-out.
A free square: So many to choose from, but I’ll nominate the book that I waited months to read until my reading group did it, Kim Mahood’s thoughtful memoir, Position doubtful (my review), about being Australian and relating to this land that belonged to someone else first.
A book set on a different continent: I read several books set in different parts of the world, but, quite coincidentally, two of them were set partly or completely in Vietnam. I’m choosing the one set completely there, Hoa Pham’s Lady of the realm (my review).
A book of non-fiction: Again, so many to choose from, but Stan Grant’s Talking to my country (my review) works as a sort-of companion to Position doubtful, in that it’s by a descendant of one of those original owners. He firmly but generously talks about what it has meant for his people to have been so summarily displaced by us!
The first book by a favourite author: Most of you know who my favourite author is (though I have a few really) – Jane Austen. I’m fudging here, because her first book to be published was Sense and sensibility, but the first sold to a publisher (who then didn’t publish it) was Northanger Abbey (my posts). I just so happen to have re-read it this year (200 years after its eventual posthumous publication).
A book you heard about online: Like most readers, I hear about many books online, but one I know I FIRST heard about online is Karenlee Thompson’s book of short fiction, Flame tip (my review), which was inspired by Tasmania’s bushfire of 1967.
A best-selling book: Hmmm, I don’t tend to read best-sellers, but I think Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko (my review) is such in the USA, where it was named one of the New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2017.
A book based on a true story: My choice here is one of my top reads of the year, Heather Rose’s The Museum of Modern Love (my review). Such a stimulating excursion into ideas about art, love and home.
A book at the bottom of my TBR pile: Now which TBR pile do they mean? And what does bottom mean? I have no idea but one of my TBR reads this year was a wonderful collection of short stories given to me by Daughter Gums in 2014, Circus (my review), by Canadian writer Claire Battershill.
A book your friend loves: This is easy. My dear American friend gave me Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The sympathizer (my review) because she loved it. I did too.
A book that scares you: When I think of this category, I don’t think mystery or horror genre, but books with ideas that scare me. I’ve several to choose from, but I’ll go with Anosh Irani’s The parcel (my review) for its devastating evocation of how cruelly people can treat others, and how intolerant people can be of difference.
A book that is more than ten years old: Again I have a few of these, but some have already appeared in this list, so I’ll go with Jane Fletcher Gienesse’s Passionate nomad: The life of Freya Stark (my review) which was first published in 1999.
The second book in a series: I almost never read series, and certainly haven’t read anything in a series this year so FAIL. I can’t complete the Bingo card!
A book with a blue cover: Woo-hoo, this category enables me to include one of the two books I read this year by Ali Cobby Eckermann, her memoir Too afraid to cry (my review).
So there you have it … a long post. Did you make it to the end? I can’t expect you to complete the bingo card in the comments, but how about choosing one category to highlight a book you’ve read this year that you think deserves a shout-out?