Australian Women Writers Challenge discussion

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Archived Participants 2013 > Pauline - Franklin - 2013

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Happy New Year! If reading these books is as much fun as buying them was it's going to be a great year! I bought my ten in one serendipitous secondhand splurge. I went for recent books by writers I'd mostly not read before. This year I'll be reading Malla Nunn, Nikki Gemmell, Louise Limerick, Caroline Overington, Kate Llewellyn, Amy Witting, Kate Veitch, Alison Booth, Simone Lazaroo, and Mandy Sayer. For starters.


message 2: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Well done Pauline:)


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you. Not yet the first week over and I've already picked up a couple of non fiction books to add to the list, by Maxine McKew and Susanna de Vries. This challenge has really made me aware of the number of great Australian women writers out there.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

My first review, of A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn is done. Hooray!


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

My second review, of Maxine McKew's book, Tales from the Political Trenches, is here.


message 6: by Pauline (new)

Pauline (mspauline) Sorry for the mix-up yesterday. I'm back up and running and reviews are located here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/....


message 7: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Glad you're back Pauline:)


message 8: by Pauline (last edited Feb 16, 2013 03:40PM) (new)

Pauline (mspauline) Well ten reviews are now done and the whole experience has been extremely interesting.

I did wonder, I think you have to, what the purpose of my reviews was. In the end I decided that my objective was to try to help other people better appreciate books that I enjoyed, without spoiling them by taking away that element of surprised delight, of discovery, that is so essential to my own enjoyment. Some of my reviews succeeded in this better than others. During the process I read something by Ben Etherington on Sydney Review of Books that suggested to me that reviews should perhaps be a little more critical and I did try but it made me feel quite awkward and seemed like hubris having never myself written a book or (sadly) taken any English literature subjects at uni at all.


I also wrangled internally over the question of the dreaded star ratings. I tried to be truthful with my stars, to convey how much I personally enjoyed a book. My star ratings probably won’t be of much use to anyone else because they are personal. The dilemma of course is that stars are aggregated and averaged and come to stand as a judgement on the universal merit of a work. I felt most uncomfortable when I followed up Louise Limerick with Amy Witting. I gave Limerick five stars because I loved her book. I enjoyed reading it. At the time I read it, it gave me five stars worth of pleasure. I gave Witting four stars because although it stimulated me intellectually I didn’t actually love reading it quite so much. If I was trying to prove my intellectual credentials perhaps the ratings would have been reversed, but I’m not, so they’re not.


Of the books I picked up secondhand at the start of the year, I've only read four. It appears I'm not the kind of person that can limit their reading to a preordained list. I grab something at the library or get on a run with a particular author and want to keep going!


So, after all that, in no particular order, the reviews are:


Louise Limerick: Lucinda’s Whirlwind
Malla Nunn: A Beautiful Place to Die
Maxine McKew: Tales from the Political Trenches
Miles Franklin: My Brilliant Career
Miles Franklin: My Career Goes Bung
Amy Witting: Maria’s War
Merridy Eastman: There’s a Bear in there (and he wants Swedish)
Merridy Eastman: Ridiculous Expectations
Merridy Eastman: How Now Brown Frau
Caroline Overington: Matilda Is Missing


message 9: by Sue (new)

Sue (susieq777) Well, I stand in awe of your industriousness, Pauline. Ten already! I haven't even *started* reviewing yet! :)


message 10: by Denise (new)

Denise | 17 comments Very well done, Pauline! I agree that reviews are so subjective. Often I give more stars to a book just because I like it or it affects me emotionally than some that are bestsellers or prizewinners. I especially like your review of Lucinda's Whirlwind.


message 11: by Pauline (new)

Pauline (mspauline) Thank you. I expect I'll slow down a bit now as I'm heading back to work early in March. But now I'm over the worst of my internet exposure anxiety, I'll probably continue on with goodreads. Now, I just have to enter my reviews into the official list (or do I? Not too sure).


message 12: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Yes you need to enter them into the official list Pauline, or they don't count:) You've done brilliantly, so well done!


message 13: by Pauline (new)

Pauline (mspauline) Thanks Brenda! Will get onto that now. (Have been sidetracked trying to choose my favourite review from last year for the book giveaway!)


message 14: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Haha! Yes, I did that too:)


message 15: by Dale (new)

Dale Harcombe | 39 comments Pauline wrote: "Well ten reviews are now done and the whole experience has been extremely interesting.
I did wonder, I think you have to, what the purpose of my reviews was. In the end I decided that my objective..."


I can't see how you can help but star a book according to how much you liked it. That's what I tend to do. I have read and reviewed four of mine. My blog will direct people to the reviews of them http://orangedale.livejournal.com/991...


message 16: by Pauline (new)

Pauline (mspauline) Thanks Dale. Perhaps I am just overthinking the whole rating problem: let the stars fall where they may!


message 17: by Dale (new)

Dale Harcombe | 39 comments Sounds good to me Pauline.I've occasionally gone back and revised on or two after thinking about it more but I agree you can overthink it.


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