Seasons Greetings, Everyone!

It’s ticked over to Christmas here in Australia and the day is looking to be hot and lazy.

As the Christmas lunch is being prepared and the presents await to be opened I hope all of your celebrations whatever they may be are wonderful!

My plans include eating cheese, drinking wine, listening to carols about snow and cold weather, and eating more cheese.

I hope your Christmas Day is filled with all things jolly and I encourage everyone if they can, to sneak off and read a book in a quiet corner.

Staunch Book Prize

I discovered something truly wonderful the other day. There is a new book prize which I think is long overdue and one I think readers will celebrate. Staunch Book Prize is in its inaugural year and its aim is to award the prize to the author of a thriller where no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered.

Based in England and founded by writer Bridget Lawless, the prize aims to reward writers who tell a thrilling story without resorting to well-worn clichés, “particularly female characters who are sexually assaulted (however ‘necessary to the plot’), or done away with (however ingeniously).”

When I heard about this I cheered because so often these women in these books are treated so poorly, and while there is argument for storytelling, more often than not the treatment of these women have nothing to do with the storyline, or these characters offer nothing more than playing victim to the often male lead allowing him to be clever and solving the case.

The Staunch Book prize is here to make space for the books that don’t include violence towards women as part of their narrative. As the website states:

While women in the real world are fighting sexual abuse and violence, being disbelieved when they report rape or assault, or being murdered because they’re women, the casual and endless depiction of women as victims or prey sits uneasily alongside their fight. While real rape survivors struggle to be heard and counted, fictional rape victims take the stage – usually as two-dimensional characters – in stories that celebrate the cunning (often, charming sexiness/astonishing brutality) of serial rapists and the dogged brilliance of detectives.

The judges include Bridget Lawless, actor, writer and comedian Doon Mackichon, and literary agent Piers Blofeld. The shortlist is to be announced 1st November and hopefully this list will be a great starting point for readers who are looking for entertaining books with thrilling plots and captivating characters, without resorting to the same old stories. The winner will be announced 26th November, a day chosen to honour the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

For further details check out the website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Bookish Things I Plan to Do in NYC

Image result for nyc skyline silhouette pixabay

New York City is the prime place for all book things. It is the place for publishing houses, famous authors, amazing inspirations. There are also a myriad of fun literary things to do whether it is seeing Shakespeare in the Park, or visiting the houses and watering holes of famous authors and poets. I am going on holiday in a few weeks time and one of my destinations in New York City. There are many wonderful things to see in New York City but there are a particular group of book related things that I am itching to visit.

NYC Library

This may be a nice, fancy library that is a great place to visit on its own, but I am going for another reason: I need to see the original Winnie the Pooh toys.

Image result for nyc library

I have wanted to see them ever since I found out they were there and I never thought I would get the chance to see them in person. When I realised in amongst all my other NYC planning that I could actually go and see them I was beyond excited. I may be more excited about this than some of the other things on my trip list. The other reasons of course are the majestic lions that guard the front, and all the wonderful book inside.

The Strand

Image result for the strand bookshop logoI first read about this wonderful shop in Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares and I knew I needed to go one day. Turns out that day is now coming so of course that is on my To Do list. I doubt I’ll meet any Dash’s while I am there, though you never know. The Strand boasts 18 miles of books (approx 29km), and while I know buying books is dangerous at home, it’s probably even more dangerous when you have luggage restrictions but surely I’ll need one memento?

Forbidden Planet

While this is technically a comic book shop, I am counting this. It is also right next to The Strand so it’s obviously meant to be. I only found about this place recently, but I am intrigued to see what it is like. It doesn’t just sell comics, it also sells merch and clothes so it should be a well worth the trip.

Visit Alice

Image result for alice statue central parkThe Alice in Wonderland Statue is something I am eager to see in Central Park. I missed out on Oscar Wilde in Dublin so I am going to make an effort to track this one down and add it to my collection of literary statues alongside my Paddington and Peter Pan ones.

 

Are there any great book related NYC things that you have always wanted to do or have done? Are they any that you think I should do while I am there? Let me know in the comments!

Australia’s Favourite Authors 2018

Australia’s Favourite Authors of 2018 have been announced as Booktopia’s yearly hunt for Australia’s favourite author has come to an end. After weeks of voting and round after round knocking out some big names in Australian literature, the final results are in. The usual suspects made the cut but there were a few surprises, both who was left out and who was included. Of course, I wasn’t super surprised at who made it to the number one spot, but the rest of the top ten was quite interesting. I was pleased to see John Marsden in the top ten, I was worried he would end up further up the list but that isn’t the case. I also loved seeing some children’s authors in there like Anh Do and Andy Griffiths, give Morrissey, Winton, and Courtney some competition.

As a side note, I love how the results were laid out this year. There is a short author bio and the books of each author are included too. I’ve listed the Top Ten below but the full list of 50 authors can be found on Booktopia’s website.

 

Top Ten Authors

1. Mathew Reilly

2. Liane Moriarty

3. Mem Fox

4. Anh Do

5. Tim Winton

6. Bryce Courtney

7. John Marsden

8. Monica McInerney

9. Andy Griffiths

10. Di Morrissey

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

You may know Hank Green from his YouTube channel Vlogbrothers which he runs with his brother John Green; or from their podcast Dear Hank and John where they offer up dubious advice. Or you may know Hank from one of the numerous other projects he has created including Project For Awesome, SciShow, or Crash Course. You may not know however, that Hank has written a book.

I have to say, I am so excited for this book. I’m in a very weird “I Don’t Actually Know Hank, But I’m Still Very Proud Of Him” moment. I have been watching the Vlogbrothers videos for years and I have heard Hank mention before that he was working on a book and I am so, so excited that it’s finally here!

The book, entitled An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, was announced in September last year, but preorders have just begun which make it that much more real. It is a story about a girl called April May (which is the best name), an art student from New York City who finds herself at the centre of an international mystery. Hank tweeted about it saying, “It’s about a group of friends who accidentally become the most important people in the world. Or, at least, they would like you to think it was an accident.” It is also about dealing with fame and being an internet celebrity, something Hank knows a lot about. You can preorder from only a few places right now, no doubt some Australian stores will have the chance at preorder as it gets closer to the release date.

What I love about this is it’s an actual fictional novel by a YouTube star, not a memoir or some other book that isn’t all that interesting. Hank is a great reader as well and I always love hearing his recommendations. Many of his YouTube videos have been him discussing books or giving us a tour of his bookshelves. I’ve added Hyperion by Dan Simmons to my TBR list based purely on his enthusiasm in a couple of his videos (where he is so YOUNG !!).

There is no cover design just yet, but hopefully, it’s coming soon. The book is due to be published 25 September 2018.

You can find more information about the book at the following

Hank’s website

Hank’s YouTube video

Wikipedia page

New York Times

LA Times

Vulture

You can preorder An Absolutely Remarkable Thing via the following

Amazon.comBarnes & Noble | iTunes

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