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

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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

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Can’t Believe I Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original and weekly meme created by The Broke And The Bookish in 2010 but has since moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in 2018.

Topic:  Books I Can’t Believe I Read

I am taking this as both a positive and negative. I am praising myself for reading things long been on my TBR, like LONG time, and for trying new things, but also lamenting that I read some pretty terrible books and can’t believe I had to sit through such nonsense. Granted, this may have turned into a small rant about bad books.

Every Dead Thing by John Connolly

I am not usually into the crime/mystery genre but I love a good thriller, and Connolly’s paranormal aspect can get a bit gory, but I’ve loved his other work and I took the chance. I did enjoy it, and now I just have to catch up on the other dozen or more books in the series!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I had wanted to read this since it came out but the years passed by and it never happened. I finally got around to reading this and the rest of the series and I loved them. It also meant I could watch the movies which were also pretty brilliant.

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

I was so surprised that the entirety of the famous film takes place within the first 13 pages. Then the rest of the novel becomes a strange story about what happens after. From a gripping beginning the rest becomes boring, and it definitely has a boring classic tag attached to it in my mind now.

My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

This revered classic also had high hopes for me. This was book by the author that has an award named after her so it should be a great read. And yet, it was an incredibly boring book with a whiny character you couldn’t really have any compassion for. It has such promise in parts but doesn’t deliver. It didn’t end fast enough.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

I hated this book so much. I disliked Greg with a passion. He is a terrible character who does terrible things with almost no consequences or remorse. I cannot fathom how this became so popular. I have read some fantastic kids books similar to this that do it so much better with much better characters as role models.

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

The blurb of the book made this sound very interesting, I wanted to read it for months. When I finally got the chance I hated it. I pushed through but it was an effort. I was disappointed because people had praised it and I had wanted to read it myself for such a long time. Turns out I didn’t need to be so eager.

The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

I am commending myself for finishing this book when it not only bored me to tears but also grossed me out. I am learning to stay away from the award winning books because so often they are a disappointment. I can’t believe I got through it because it was such a frustrating thing to experience.

 

Mr Stink by David Walliams

Published: October 2009
Goodreads badgePublisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Pages: 267
Format: Book
Genre: Junior Fiction
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

“Mr Stink stank. He also stunk. And if it was correct English to say he stinked, then he stinked as well…”

It all starts when Chloe makes friends with Mr Stink, the local tramp. Yes, he smells a bit. But when it looks like he might be driven out of town, Chloe decides to hide him in the garden shed.

Now Chloe’s got to make sure no one finds out her secret. And speaking of secrets, there just might be more to Mr Stink than meets the eye… or the nose.

I think I liked this. I did and then I didn’t then I did again. It had moments of being sweet but then it would go silly again and then weird, then it would circle back to being sweet. At best I think it was a peculiar story, one that certainly left me with a lot of questions. At the core of it Mr Stink is a homeless Mary Poppins. He comes into the lives of the Crumb family and makes it a bit better.

At the start we are introduced to poor Chloe Crumb, living in her sister’s shadow, bullied by her as well as the kids at school, and she is never good enough for her mother. We are also told about Mr Stink, the man who smells so incredibly terrible who sits on a bench all day long with his dog.

I liked the characters Walliams has created. Mrs Crumb has a touch of Hyacinth Bucket in her, while poor suffering Mr Crumb has to put up with her. Chloe’s sister Annabelle is the snobby, bratty little sister who is spoiled and adored by her mother, and seeing her be cruel to Chloe was a bit heartbreaking. There were some jokes around Annabelle I liked; especially the ones about how full Annabelle’s schedule is trying to fit in all her extracurricular activities. I also liked the camaraderie between Chloe and her dad, their small actions of defiance against her mother’s demands.

One character I never fully understood was Mr Stink. Once you get to the core of his story it is quite serious for a children’s book, Walliams goes from silly jokes, to serious moments then back to silly jokes. The seriousness came out of nowhere and I was very surprised. It didn’t feel like it had a place in this light-hearted story, but Walliams throws these moments in there a lot as it goes on, making you think there is going to be a more heartfelt direction, and there is, to his credit, but it never lasts as long and is still surrounded by these obscure and silly jokes.

Another thing that confused me was the changes in Mr Stink’s personality. Sometimes he seems like a normal homeless person, bit eccentric ok, but normal enough. But then other times he seems delusional about what year it is or how money works. It distracted from the story and interrupts your sense of trying to work out who Mr Stink is as a character. He seems to be two people without actually meaning to be, especially after you understand his personal story.

I listened to this as an audio book and Walliams narrated it with the help of Matt Lucus. They both did a great job, the story translated well to audio well and with the pair of them doing a variety of voices it was a fun listen. It had the humour that kids books have with jokes about being dirty and doing gross stuff, but it also had a little bit of heart in it as well. It is sweet but it is weird, and felt like it could have been a bit more than what it was, but that might be asking a bit much of a children’s book that was just meant to be a bit funny with a fun story.

 

You can purchase Mr Stink via the following

Book Depository | QBD

Booktopia | Wordery

Fishpond | A&R Bookworld

Book Sale Bargains

What better way to celebrate Australia Day than going to a book sale? Especially one you have to drive 45 minutes to get to in order to snag some free books. One of the Newcastle Libraries were giving away their discarded stock so naturally I was there when doors opened to grab up a bundle of books I certainly don’t have room for and yet inevitably needed to have because of reasons.

It was the typical book sale madness, people crowding at unopened doors because…not sure why. To get in first? To get in a few seconds before anyone else? It’s always the same, at every sale. After the doors did open and people rushed on in, I did the rounds. One thing I like about good book sales is they have things in happy categories. And with library book sales there’s different ones. Instead of breaking things into biographies, sport, cooking etc, everything is in the non fiction pile, and all large print is in the large print pile, and therefore can quickly ignore two sections and focus on the fiction, YA, and children’s. I didn’t get any children’s books this time, being a library sale discarded children books aren’t generally going to be the popular or well known ones. But I did manage to score some great YA books which I was surprised to find in there. I get excited about finding great books in book sales, but then I get sad that it was being discarded because it’s such a great book.

Despite the mini madness happening with boxes and books and people everywhere, I managed to get in and out within 30 minutes, and managed to score 14 books in the process. I am quite excited by what I got, a lot I haven’t read before and have wanted to read for ages so while I have no room to put them anywhere, I am glad I have them and can’t wait to read them.

The latest additions to my collection:

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Spark by Rachael Craw

The ZigZag Effect by Lili Wilkinson

Time and Time Again by Ben Elton

Educating Simon by Robin Reardon

The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Burning Soul by John Connolly

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allysse Near

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