your precarious pile

Gosh, I love crime fiction. Reading it and talking about it and telling customers which crime book is my favourite and finding out what authors are doing with it. (Are they putting another woman in a box? No? Oh, thank god for that.) Recently I’ve read The Girl Who Wasn’t There by Ferdinand von Schirach which I probably should write a review for but it spent the first half being just too frustratingly clever for the sake of trying to be clever, then had some very interesting twists by the end. I’ve also read Walter Kirn’s Blood Will Out but it left me feeling a bit flat, as well—the cover insisted that it was the new In Cold Blood and Amy Tan (whose One Hundred Secret Senses is just beautiful) marvelled at it, which probably raised my expectations to unrealistic levels. Anyway, I’m now at the time of year when I don’t have any reviews I have to write for work, and I usually spend December having a break of sorts from crime books, lest I learn some devious way to murder all the customers who are mean to me in the lead-up to Christmas. This doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t post anything, mostly because I enjoy the sound of my own typing too much and will inevitably read some crime anyway because it is far too tempting, but in the meantime, I have the following books on the precarious reading pile next to the couch:

Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (I have started this and it is completely wonderful, and, when I thought about it, possibly the only African book I’ve read not written by a British man who plays the tuba)

The Book of Strange New Things, Michel Faber (This is Very Thick and, let’s face it, I am too, so I may not get around to reading it, but the actual tactile experience of the cover could convince me)

Nona & Me, Clare Atkins (an Australian young adult book about a white girl growing up in an Indigenous community. I’m also part of a young adult book club, because I like to have a vaguely broad range of knowledge at work, and also who needs spare time after all, and I’m hoping to convince everyone to read this next.)

The Wife Drought, Annabel Crabb (I’ve read the first two essays and have been very annoyingly interrupting C as he tries to get things done, reading out all the interesting-slash-depressing statistics and then the hilarious bits too)

Springtime, Michelle De Kretser (a beautiful gold and black novella, I finished this in one afternoon in the sunshine after work, in the springtime no less. It’s a ghost story, the tale of Frances working out her place in Sydney, and in her partner’s life, all the while encountering a ghostly figure in outdated clothes and her dog, as Frances walks her own dog through her new streets. It is excellent and unnerving and lovely visually.)

So there you have it—my current reading list, ever-changing as it is. Do you have any non-crime books on your own precarious pile? Do you ever give yourself a break from crime? I sometimes need a breather if I’ve read something particularly violent, like Robert Gott’s The Holiday Murders which made me afraid to pick up just about anything for a while there. This time, I still feel fondly towards the genre but am giving myself some self-imposed time off so I don’t burn out on it and can spend a luxurious January reading in the front yard on the picnic rug with an ice cream. Well, this probably translates to: sitting awkwardly on the couch fitting in chapters around a kid who doesn’t believe in personal space or naps, but a woman can dream.

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3 thoughts on “your precarious pile

  1. I loved loved loved Americanah! So great. I am a bit in love with Tony Birch’s stories about growing up in 1960s Fitzroy (Shadowboxing in particular, but all his books are divine) – they’re short, sharp and perfect. I was completely knocked out by Favel Parrett’s new book too, although other people I’ve pressed it on have been less enthused. Sonya Hartnett’s Golden Boys is creepy and affecting – you’ll blitz through it as well.

    • I really need to read some Tony Birch! All of my colleagues love him (he also taught a handful of them, and comes into work a lot and is very lovely.) A coworker of mine who I agree with frequently is a huge fan of Favel Parrett so I should pick up that as well – though I’m probably not going to go for Sonya Hartnett’s book after being alarmed by one of hers when I was much younger (and reading the last page of “Of a Boy” without reading the rest first and putting it down in horror.) (Neither of those things are really Hartnett’s fault, and I’ve also met her in person too and she was quite nice as well.)

      • I went to his session at MWF this year and was deeply impressed by Birch – he’s amazing. I’m looking forward to Crabb’s book (although it’s 20+ holds deep at the library, so it’ll be a while) and loved de Krester’s last, so will have to grab the novella at some point over summer.

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