366 Books – March Update

In spite of my busy busy month I am still enjoying the challenge and not regretting setting it for myself. I think without the challenge I would have read even fewer books in March.

This is my third month of my year long self-challenge to read a book a day – that is 366 books in 366 days, to celebrate the National year of Reading. I must confess that having started strongly in January, and keeping up to target in February, march saw a bit of a slide, and although I’m not yet up to the April report, things are looking a bit grim. When I set myself the challenge I didn’t take into account that I was busily looking for a day job. As it happens I ended up with not one, but two jobs, which I started at the beginning of March, at the same  time as the release of  my new book, Do Not Forget Australia. So in March I started two day jobs, launched and promoted a book (including a 14 day blog tour), attended  two literature festivals and, and did some school visits – all the while trying, but not succeeding, to keep up with my reading targets. But read I did, and finished the following books in March:

61 A Bear and a Tree Stephen Michael King Penguin Picture Book
62 Liar Bird Lisa Walker Harper Collins Adult
63 Hatched Asphyxia Allen & Unwin Children’s
64 Dead, Actually Kaz Delaney Allen & Unwin Young Adult
65 Stella Makes Good Lisa Heidke Allen & Unwin Adult
66 The Quicksand Pony Alison Lester Allen & Unwin Children’s
67 Every Minute in Australia  Yvette Poshoglian Scholastic Children’s Nonfiction
68 Comeback Peter Corris Allen & Unwin Adult
69 Strictly Confidential Roxy Jacenko Allen & Unwin Adult
70 Watermelon on my Plate Paddy Dewan Papyrus Publishing Children’s Poetry
71 Professor Fred Hollows Hazel Edwards New Frontier Children’s Nonfiction
72 The Red Poppy David Hill Scholastic Picture Book
73 Sarah Thornhill Kate Grenville Audio Adult
74 Currawalli Street Christopher Morgan Allen & Unwin Adult
75 Raven Lucas is Missing Christine Harris Scholastic Young Adult
76 Mort Martin Chatterton Random House Children’s
77 The Secret of the Swords Frances Watts Allen & Unwin Children’s
78 The Poison Plot Frances Watts Allen & Unwin Children’s
79 Shy the Platypus Leslie Rees National Library Children’s
80 Sea Hearts Margo Lanagan Allen & Unwin Young Adult
81 Jakes Concert Horror Ken Spillman Fremantle Press Children’s
82 Yippee! Summer Holidays Tjalaminu Mia Fremantle Press Children’s
83 Emu and the Water Tree Gladys Milroy Fremantle Press Children’s
84 All Monkeys Love Bananas Sean E Avery Fremantle Press Picture Book
85 The Festival By The Sea June Loves Allen & Unwin Adult
86 Unnamed Children’s


If you are quick with your sums you’ll see at the end of March I was five books behind target (that is,  my total thus far should have been 91). Not an irredeemable figure, I’m hoping. As things settle into a better pattern with work, writing, family and the rest, I’m hoping I’ll get back into the swing of things and  make up for time (though I must confess April hasn’t started spectacularly either). You might  also note that there quite a few books on the list this month that I  haven’t reviewed. Some are books I’ve sent the way of my fellow reviewer, and some are on my desk awaiting review. And there are a few that I won’t review because they weren’t review copies. Also, just to clarify, the last one on the list ‘unnamed’ did have a title, but I’ve chosen not to reveal it, simply because it relates to some research I’m doing on a confidential project.

In spite of my busy busy month I am still enjoying the challenge and not regretting setting it for myself. I think without the challenge I would have read even fewer books in March.

I’ll be back with another update in a month or so. Wish me luck!


366 Books – First Update

It’s 20 days since I woke up on New Years Day and decided (a little impulsively) to set myself a challenge – to read 366 books this year (you can read my initial post on this here). So I thought it might be time for an update.

So far, I’m right on track – I’ve managed 20 books in 20 days. This is my list so far:

1. Straight Line to My Heart Bill Condon Allen & Unwin Young Adult
2. Only Ever Always Penni Russon Allen & Unwin Young Adult
3. Harry’s War John Heffernan Omnibus Children’s
4. Just Like That Janet Poole Mountain View Self Help
5. Shadrach Meindert Dejong Harper Trophy Children’s
6. Nanberry Jackie French Angus&Robertson Young Adult
7. Extinction 2 Lizzie Wilcock Scholastic Young Adult
8. The Fitlh Licker Cristy Burne Frances Lincoln Children’s
9. Crow Country Kate Constable Allen & Unwin Young Adult
10. Note on the Door Lorraine Marwood Walker Children’s/Poetry
11. The Golden Door Emily Rodda Scholastic Children’s
12. Lily Gets Her Wings Elizabeth Pulford Scholastic Children’s
13. Animal People Charlotte Wood Allen & Unwin Contemporary Adult
14.  Lily Has a Secret Elizabeth Pulford Scholastic Children’s
15. Button Boy Rebecca Young & Sue deGennaro Scholastic Picture Book
16. I Heart You, You Haunt Me Lisa Schroeder Simon Pulse YA Verse Novel
17. Froi of the Exiles Melina Marchetta Penguin Young Adult
18. The Red Bridge Kylie Dunstan Windy Hollow Picture Book
19. Nog and the Land of Noses Bruce Whatley Scholastic Picture Book
20. How Now Brown Frau Merridy Eastman Allen & Unwin NonFiction – Memoir

I am really enjoying keeping track of my reading in this way, and seeing just what the spread is of age groups, genres, formats etc. Of the 20 so far,  18 are Australian, 7 are young adult, 7 are children’s/younger readers, 3 picture books, thee for adults (one fiction, two non fiction). There is one collection of poetry, and one verse novel. Allen & Unwin and Scholastic are well represented in the list of publishers – which is a reflection both of the number of books those two produce and the number they send me to review.  Another interesting statistic is in the gender balance – four books by male authors and sixteen by women. Interesting because there has been no conscious decision there, it’s just how it’s fallen.

So, how do I choose my books. Usually from the top of my review pile (which is actually not a pile but a shelving system in my office. I shelve them in the order I receive them and generally read them in that order. But this year I am trying to read more  books not from my review pile, and have started a little pile of books I want to read for the first time or re-explore. Also, I do occasionally move books up my review pile if I’m simply hanging out to review them or f I need a shorter read. For example, whilst I was ploughing my way through Froi (almost 600 pages), which happened over four days, each day I also read something shorter.

Am I still enjoying the challenge? Yes. No regrets at having set it for myself at all.
Will keep you updated as it expands

Hope you, too, are having fun reading whatever you can during this National Year of Reading.

Oh, BTW – where I’ve reviewed a title in the list above, I have linked to that review!