2017: My mid-year book report

We are now in the last week of July and life has become unbelievably full with the relaxed, undulating pace from earlier in the year all but gone. The great news is that I’m still squeezing reading into every nook and cranny that I can, so much so that I am already on the cusp of hitting my book target for the year…in July.  So I figured now was a good time for a mid-year review of this year’s literary adventures.

In January I set myself the target of reading sixty books in 2017…well by the end of June I had read fifty. I’m pleased to report that I have finished everything I’ve read, so there hasn’t yet been a book tainted with the ignominy of a Gidday 1-star rating. And I’ve only had three 2-star ratings (this is essentially a nod to finishing something that I’ve dragged myself through so slightly better than a 1-star). If you are any good at maths, you’ll have worked out by now that I have read 47 enjoyable-or-better books this year – that’s 94% and a cracking strike rate!

At the literary-love end of the scale, I have awarded Gidday 5-star ratings to eleven books so far.

2017 HY 5-star montage

These have been across a mix of genres and include returns to some of my favourite writers. Australia is represented twice in this list with Liane Moriarty’s un-put-down-able Big Little Lies (now a HBO series) and Matthew Reilly’s addictive thriller, The Great Zoo of China. I’ve embarked on #2’s in two trilogies with the gripping dystopian tale Insurgent from Veronica Roth’s Divergent series and the poignant split-time novel, Sepulchre, in Kate Mosse’s Languedoc trilogy. And while I enjoyed Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard when it was released a few years back, Black Water, set in the hills of Bali, absolutely blew me away.

I’ve also loved discovering new authors. The exploration of friendship in Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life and Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay left me feeling incredibly moved while Robin Sloan had me turning pages voraciously to unravel the mysteries of Mr Penumbra and his 24-hour bookstore.

Non-fiction made its debut amongst the 5-star reads this year. I attended the launch of Deborah Rowland’s Still Moving [free book disclaimer here] and really enjoyed exploring her insights into leadership and change. Mark Stevenson’s talk at the howto: academy about people doing things differently was fascinating and prompted me to buy the book. And I loved Peter Frankopan’s new history of the silk roads – it even yielded a family connection.

So the first half of the year has been fabulously bookish, my attendance at the V&A Museum‘s bi-monthly book group continues and June’s Emerald Street Literary Festival was again a highlight of the year so far. In fact, July has yielded two more 5-star reads neither of which I would have chosen had it not been for these events. I got a free copy of Morgan McCarthy’s The House of Birds at the Emerald Street Literary Festival and Maria Duenas’ The Seamstress is our next V&A Book Group read.

july17 5star montage

With the back half of the year off to an impressive start, I’m hoping the months ahead yield lots of lush literary adventures. In the meantime, that brings me to the end of my first half-year highlights so I hope that you’ve found something that inspires you to bury your nose in a book. If not, there are another twenty-two 4-star and fourteen 3-star reviews available on Goodreads or Amazon if you want to fossick about further for something I’ve read/reviewed that might take your fancy.

Remember, in the words of Lemony Snicket “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” (Horseradish).

As far as I’m concerned that’s an excellent mantra to live by.

Happy reading!

ps…and don’t forget there are only six sleeps to go peeps – I wonder what amazing books I will discover once I’m 48?


Five Greatest Warriors…It’s Finally Arrived!

Quite some time ago now, I told you about this amazing Australian author, Matthew Reilly, and what cracking good reads his books are, so much so that when I heard his next book in the Jack West series was coming out, I was inspired to read the first two, Seven Ancient Wonders and Six Sacred Stones, again.

The day has finally come…the day I have been waiting all those long months for…

My ‘Five Greatest Warriors’ has arrived!

(Actually twice but that’s a long story for another blog…)

So bye for now…will check back in when the last noble deed is done and the world is safe from Armageddon… 

A Cracking Good Read…

I love to read…anything and everything…and even as a little girl, I never went anywhere without a book tucked under my arm. (My Facebook WeRead library is on my blog page so you can see what I’ve been reading, would like to read and some of my favourites…if you’re interested, that is). But I digress – the point of all this is that I have decided to re-read a couple of books by one of my all-time favourite authors, Matthew Reilly.

Matthew is an Australian who has written a number of fast-paced action novels (Ice Station, Temple, Contest, Scarecrow to name a few) but the series I have loved best is the Jack West series: Seven Ancient Wonders, Six Sacred Stones and then Five Greatest Warriors which is due for release in Oct 09…with such a long wait for an impatient soul like myself, to help bide the time until this latest book is released, I have embarked on the Seven Ancient Wonders again. And what a book!

The first time I read this, I could not put it down (and finished it at about 3am) and as I curled up on the couch yesterday afternoon, I could feel the same thrill grip me as I joined Jack, Lily and the rest of the team on their hunt for the world’s greatest monuments and the ‘treasure’ within. I love the way the action is combined with history and archaelogy and the suggestion of ‘meaning’ behind things like the Pyramids at Giza and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, even though its fiction, just adds to my love of the story.

You’ll be pleased to know that I did put it down last night (because J wanted to sleep so – lights out!) and I have just over half left to read…then it will be the Six Sacred Stones and then…a really long wait until October. Matthew, if you’re reading this, are you sure you couldn’t advance me a copy? Please??