March reading list and a Becoming A Fiction Writer update

“Hisashiburi,” as they say in Japan, “long time no see!” Let’s start with my reading list for the month just gone … during March I managed to read just four books:

  1. Blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris of Chocolat fame, though it’s best not to think about that, because the two books couldn’t be more different – yet are both excellent. Blueeyedboy is kind of a mystery/thriller told through online fan-fiction and blog-style entries. Bizarre but excellent.
  2. Wonders of a Godless Worldby Andrew McGahan, one of my favourite Aussie writers. Every book he writes seems totally different, and this was no exception; a vaguely fantasy-style story that’s hard to explain yet a beautiful read. Perhaps my favourite of his?
  3. Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta, a re-read of this YA book I read at least a decade ago, after seeing Melina Marchetta speak at the Perth Writers Festival (ooh, just Wikipedia-ed her and discovered we share the same birthday!). Excellent novel. Vivid and honest about the life of an Aussie-born teenage daughter of immigrants in Sydney, and it says a lot about Australia and our way of life here, both good and bad. With a suitable dose of teenage angst!
  4. Baby Steps: A Bloke’s-Eye View of IVF by Jason Davis – creative non-fiction, which you may recall I decided to put on this list; a fluffy account of a slightly more important subject, but interesting to see a man’s perspective.

It’s pretty close but I think I have to say that Looking for Alibrandi wins my book of the month title – as a piece of Young Adult fiction it’s pretty much perfect, I think, and the different (highly relevant) themes it raises about growing up in Australia are not only interesting but also pretty important. I’m going back now to read the rest of Melina Marchetta’s novels, because everything she said at the Perth Writers Festival just made me want to run out of the room to get her books to read (fortunately I stayed put and heard more interesting stuff!).

So, what about your fiction writing, Amanda, I hear you ask? After such a procrastination-free start to the year, my little tagline up there (One girl, one dream … and a whole lot of procrastination) has come true again. Hmm, probably I should change it! I haven’t even been happy with the Becoming A Fiction Writer website and if you’re reading this via RSS you should know that I’ve gone back to a really basic WordPress template while I think about how to redesign it (no need to click through to look!).

Without wanting to sound like a broken record, there are a few issues, the most significant one of which is time – although I met Natasha Lester at the Perth Writers Festival who is now a published author and wrote her novel (and the next one) with small children. She did say, though, that she was a real stickler for routine and wrote whenever the kids were asleep, something I also tend to do but I then write stuff that I “have to” write to pay the mortgage. Procrastination, minor illness, disorganisation, distraction, and so on and so forth, these are the other things that are stopping me. I’ll get there, I’m sure, I just need to work myself round to a smart routine and some super-high motivation and then I’ll be writing again. Stay tuned!

Oh, and if anyone has a fantastic idea for the kind of template that would just fit my blog perfectly, do tell me.

Amanda Kendle


  1. I don’t have a fantastic idea, necessarily, but I do love the freshness and simplicity of this one!

    That YA book sounds pretty good, thanks for the recco! And I’m always impressed with authors who can take the strange written mediums of our time (chats, blogs, etc.) and incorporate them into stories.

  2. Thanks Kristan, yes it’s a good in-between template at least!

    Do hunt down Melina Marchetta’s stuff, she’s great and by the sounds of it actually available in the US (unlike many Aussie authors), it’ll be interesting to hear what you think about it as it’s definitely got a very Australian slant to it.

  3. *Only* four books? I think you’re doing pretty damn well actually. I’ve been trying to get through as many of our festival writers as I can – just finished ‘Madigan Mine’ by Kirstyn McDermott who is on our speculative fiction panel. Looking forward to having time to read a good trashy novel once it’s all over (although I did find myself reading the first couple of chapters of Pride and Prejudice the other night ’cause I needed something comforting). Good luck with your fiction writing 🙂

  4. Thanks Meredith! Yes it’s great having a festival to guide your reading – I always love it when the Perth Writers Festival programme comes out – I hop straight online and reserve all the books at my library (because I’m too poor to run and buy them – sorry authors!).

  5. The fact that you read FOUR books in ONE month astounds me. My jaw is on the floor. Seriously, how do you do it???? Even before I had Jacob I couldn’t have read that many books, and I am ashamed to say that since he arrived I haven’t read one single book that wasn’t a baby self-help book of some sort (and even then I just search out the important bits!). I have a few books piled up that I would love to get around to reading. Maybe I need to stop riding my bike and baking hot cross buns in my spare time 😉

  6. Ha ha Magda your last sentence sums it up completely. While you’re busy making delicious meals and training for all those superwoman events, I’ve got my head stuck in a book. Your version is probably healthier! I do cook dinner with a book in one hand quite often, I must admit. It has never fallen in the saucepan yet 🙂

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