In recent years I have developed a taste for reading books by Australian authors, thanks primarily to my participation in the Australian Author Challenge.
I’ve always been a Reader, and when young and dependant on the local library for books, novels set in other countries helped to develop my understanding of different cultures and world events. Indeed, in later years my successful Geography studies were a direct result of a childhood spent with my nose in Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan novels and the green fields of Wind In The WIllows by Kenneth Graham.
International fiction is easily accessible at book stores and at libraries. Not so Australian fiction. Book stores – sadly, a dying breed- generally have a dedicated Australiana section, though Libraries do not have a designated area for Aussie authors.
I recently stumbled upon a second hand bookstore in Bundaberg, Queensland, and it was pure joy to see that they had a well signposted area of all manner of books by Australian authors. In alphabetical order too! Who said we were all bogans.
There is something refreshing about reading a book set in Australia with familiar locations, brands, foods, events, and abbreviations. Peter Corris’ Cliff Hardy crime series is based in Sydney and has over the past thirty years chronicled the changes to both landscape and streetscape of my hometown, as well as being sprinkled with newsworthy events and icons. I really find it quite nostalgic to read of pubs and sites I frequented so many years ago.
The Australian Author Challenge has also made me seek out authors who may not be Award Winners nor on the Best Seller List. Just because a book hasn’t been given the cinematic treatment doesn’t mean it’s not a good tale. It doesn’t preclude the authors from telling a good yarn. In fact, the most positive aspect of this Challenge is discovering new authors and dipping my toes into different genres
Justin Sheedy has written two memoirs (about growing up in Australia in the 70’s and 80’s), and more recently a trilogy based on World War 2 and the young Australian men who travelled to the other side of the world to defend the Empire, flying in Halfaxes, Lancasters and Spitfires, against the Germans.
Many Australian authors continue to write stories set in other countries too.Hannah Kent, not yet thirty five, recently released her second novel, The Good People, set in Ireland. Her first effort took us to Iceland of all places.
At my stage of life numbers are meaningless. I read because I enjoy, not because there are quotas to fill. Twelve books a year by different Aussie Authors is no Challenge. It’s a pleasure.
It may be nearly July, but it’s not too late to join me. See http://bookloverbookreviews.com/reading-challenges/aussie-author-challenge-2017