#read2019: My year in books

In each of the last four years, my goal has been to read 50 books. This blog post summarises aspects of my 2019 reading year. I also tweeted short reviews using the hashtag #read2019.

An assortment of statistics

Out of the 68 books:

  • 48 books with Australian authors
  • 36 books by women
  • 22 fiction books
  • 14 memoirs (broadly interpreted)
  • 7 ‘Little Books on Big Ideas
  • 2 books about teaching or maths (or teaching maths)
  • 6 authors, multiple books (Helen Garner: 2, Jane Harper: 3, Chloe Hooper:2, Favell Parrett: 2, Bruce Pascoe: 2, Terry Pratchett: 3)
  • 1 re-read (‘Everywhere I Look’ (Helen Garner))
  • 7 books aloud (‘Ghosts of the Tsunami’ (Richard Lloyd Parry), ‘Speaking Up’ (Gillian Triggs), ‘Able’ (Dylan Alcott), ‘A Memoir’ (Kerry O’Brien), ‘Born-again Blakfella’ (Jack Charles), ‘Through Ice & Fire’ (Sarah Laverick), ‘Salt’ (Bruce Pascoe’).)

To be honest, I didn’t feel like I read many books this year, perhaps because I read in fits and starts. This year was a mixed bag; I always had multiple books on the go but some were page turners (see below), some were short, and some were duds.

Books I couldn’t put down (in chronological order)

It’s not a ‘Best Of’ list, but fifteen books that I couldn’t put down—nearly all by women, it turns out!

  • Unfettered and Alive, Anne Summers
  • The Arsonist, Chloe Hooper
  • The Dry, Jane Harper
  • The Erratics, Vicki Laveau-Harvie
  • The Gap, Benjamin Gimour
  • How Powerful We Are, Sally Rugg
  • About A Girl, Rebekah Robertson
  • Woman of Substances, Jenny Valentish
  • There Was Still Love, Favel Parrett
  • Through Ice & Fire, Sarah Laverick
  • The Yellow Notebook, Helen Garner
  • Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory, Corey White
  • The Saturday Portraits, Maxine Beneba Clarke
  • The Lost Man, Jane Harper
  • Tin Man, Sarah Winman

Books I couldn’t stop thinking about (in chronological order)

I could not stop thinking about these books for the impact they made on me.

  • Ghosts of the Tsunami, Richard Lloyd Parry
  • The Arsonist, Chloe Hooper
  • Men at Work, Annabel Crabb
  • About a Girl, Rebekah Robertson
  • Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory, Corey White
  • Salt, Bruce Pascoe

Books that surprised me in one way or another (in chronological order)

  • Axiomatic, Maria Tumarkin (Highly original writing.)
  • Leather Soul, Bob Murphy (An AFL book that is so much more.)
  • Through Ice & Fire, Sarah Laverick (Even as a fan of the Aurora Australis, I was surprised at how interesting this ‘memoir’ was.)
  • Tin Man, Sarah Winman (I had no idea what the plot was going to be. It was beautiful.)
  • Salt, Bruce Pascoe (I was surprised by the tenderness of his fiction writing.)

If I had to pick a ‘top five’ (in no particular order)

  • The Arsonist, Chloe Hooper
  • The Erratics, Vicki Laveau-Harvie
  • There Was Still Love, Favel Parrett
  • The Lost Man, Jane Harper
  • About a Girl, Rebekah Robertson

The books (in reverse chronological order)

The short reviews are archived at this link: #read2019.

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