September is done which means it’s time for another round up of what I read last month. I managed nine books, with old treasures being a recurrent theme here. Here’s what I read.
Books for Children
- Farmer Schulz’s Ducks, by Colin Thiele & Mary Milton (Walter McVitty, 1986). Look at this stunning cover! The inside is just as lovely. I love Colin Thiele, and was delighted to pick up this first edition hard cover from a local second hand booksale.
- Please Mrs Butler, verses by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Fritz Wegner (Puffin Books, 1983). Another treasure from the booksale. Ahlberg’s verse is funny, clever and sometimes poignant.
- Staying Alive in Year 5 , by John Marsden (Piper Books, 1989). Another from the booksale. You can see what a real treasure trove it was! A fun, but also touching story, about the excitement of a teacher with seemingly magical abilities.
- How Does Santa Go Down the Chimney? by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen (Walker Books, 2023). Not from the booksale – this one came in the mail as a review copy from the publisher. And how glad I was. I LOVE Christmas books, and I love the illustration work of Jon Klassen. Funny text, funny illustrations, sure to be a favourite with my grandies and with you.
- Raging Robots and Unruly Uncles , by Margaret Mahy (Puffin, 1981). Yes, you guessed it, another from the booksale. I thought from the title this might be a collection of short stories but is indeed a junior novel about the children of two twin uncles – one who is as saintly as can be, and the other who is wicked and villainous. A whimsical read that I really enjoyed.
- The Aboriginal Children’s History of Australia, Written & Illustrated by Australia’s Aboriginal Children (Rigby, 1977) . Another second hand book, though not from the local sale, but tracked down and bought online after I saw a reference to it somewhere. I wanted to see what how first nations children who were at school when I was a child saw Australia and its history. Well worthwhile reading and contemplating.
Books for Adults
- Yellowface, by Rebecca F. Kuang (The Borough Press, 2023). A critique/satire/exploration of the publishing industry through a dark drama. June Hayward, the viewpoint character and struggling author, steals the unpublished manuscript of the far more successful Athena Liu when the latter dies suddenly. When June rewrites the manuscript it is snapped up by a major publisher – and her career takes off. Except that she is accused both of cultural appropriation and of stealing the manuscript – and events start to spiral out of her control. It feels kind of meta to even review this book, as it is largely played out through social media from reviewers, readers and others, but I both enjoyed the read and found myself thinking about the issues it explores.
- Mao Tsetung Poems (Foreign Languages Press, 1976). An interesting find at the booksale – a first edition of the poems of Chairman Mao .
- Rottnest Island Sketchbook, drawings by Paul Rigby, text by Kirwan Ward (Rigby, 1969). Another second hand book – though I bought this one online. Doing a little research on the history of Rottnest (more appropriately named Wadjemup, as that is the traditional name) and while this only a brief overview, it still makes for interesting reading, in spite of its oversight of both the pre-colonial history and some of the terrible history during its time as a penal settlement.
That brings my total for the year to date to 87 books. Far fewer than last year, but the goal this year has been to read more for pleasure, and less for getting through them. I think I’m managing that.
What have you been reading? I’d love to hear.