It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! We asked some of our favourite writers what they’re looking forward to reading over the holidays.
I’m hoping to tackle some of my towering TBR pile over the Christmas break—ideally while laying in the sun at the beach or flopped on the lounge room couch with a cuppa. The book at the very top of the pile is Stone Girl which is the debut novel by Melbourne author Eleni Hale. Stone Girl promises to be a raw and gritty YA novel about a teenage girl who is made a ward of the state. I’m all about confronting and confessional writing, so I can’t wait to dive in. I’m also planning to delve into a couple of local authors’ debuts: Ridgeview Station by the very witty farmer-turned-rural fiction author Michael Trant and the much-praised Dustfall by Michelle Johnston. It’s going to be a summer of debut novels for me!
Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes
I will be reading ገድለ ቅዱስ ላሊበላ or The Acts of Lalibela, an Amharic book narrating the story of King Lalibela, a 12th-century Ethiopian king who devoted his life to carving churches out of mountains. The original book was written 700 years ago in Geez. The book is deeply poetic in style, and helps me feel connected to my birthplace when living so far away.
A book I’m really looking forward to reading is Transcription by Kate Atkinson. I still have vivid recollections of reading her multi-award winning novel Life After Life, and in Transcription, she’s once again writing historical fiction, but this time the main character is a female spy. Atkinson’s writing does the seemingly impossible; it blends the fast pace of a plot-driven novel with the gorgeous prose of the literary. Plus it seems like she can write in any genre. Here’s hoping Santa gets the hint and brings me a copy this year.
This summer I hope to get stuck into Kim Scott’s Benang and Doris Lessing’s The Children of Violence series: reading these books is long overdue, and I’m looking forward to it! I also plan to dip into short story collections by Melanie Cheng, Julie Koh and Tony Birch.
As man with two kids, writing three books concurrently, I’m destined to be somewhat selective in my reading over this summer period. My challenge has been to find something special to read once the in-laws descend, and can help with parenting duties. Thankfully, Amanda Curtin’s latest book, ‘Kathleen O’Connor of Paris’ has arrived just in time for Christmas, and it’s the five golden rings of my 2018 literary calendar. I can’t wait to dive in, and again fall in love with Amanda’s writing.
During the season of goodwill, I’ll be summoning my inner Grinch to read Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House. As families gather and bond, I’ll contemplate a nation divided. I currently have an unhealthy obsession with this subject and have written three – count them, three! – short stories set on the day Australians learnt that Donald Trump was the President-elect. When I feel in the mood for lighter fare I’ll dip into France Gall’s memoir The Despair of Monkeys and Other Trifles. Gall was a French pop sensation who rocketed to international fame after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965. This, too, may have its dark side as Gall was a protégé of louche singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. I suspect there may be a trace of #metoo in her story.
I’m four stories deep into Laura Elvery’s short fiction collection Trick of the Light (UQP, 2018). These are such marvellous and alive stories because of the precision of detail Elvery invests in each character and scene. I particularly relish Elvery’s knack for describing workers and workplaces, from the kitchenhand watching ‘chips twist in the golden oil’ of a deep fryer, to the scrambling marketing and PR team behind a company which peddles ‘Dahlia FruiTango Nut Balls and Dahlia MissBliss No-Choco-Choco Smoothies’.
This year has been so busy that my TBR pile is threatening to topple and crush me—but what a way to go! I’m hoping to use the relative quiet of the Christmas break to bathe myself in The Sister’s Song written by a fantastic WA author and good friend, Louise Allan. This is a book I brought months ago that has been hovering near the top of my TBR for far too long and I cannot wait to sit by the river and devour it!
Has this list inspired some of your own holiday reading? Tell us, what’s on your holiday reading list?