Once upon a time I was a big reader, voracious even. A couple of books a week was a slow week.
Since returning to Canberra 10 years ago, though, there just hasn't been the brainspace for reading much.
Mid 2012 I joined Goodreads and attempted reading through a couple of lists of the best Australian and New Zealand fiction. It didn't "take" as well I had hoped in that I didn't build a new habit of reading regularly, but I did read and I discovered some truly enjoyable new-to-me authors.
My renewed desire to read also coincided with the development of the Stella Prize and an unprecedented level of public misogyny in our literary, political and social world. I read the Australian Women Writers Challenge blog and cheered Carrie Tiffany when she won the inaugural Stella Prize with Mateship with Birds.
So this year I am taking a very small plunge and taking up the AWW Challenge at Stella level, to encourage me to read and to support Australian women writers.
I commit to reading 4 Australian Women Authors this year. I will not be reviewing them. I reckon this is do-able. Of the 10 books read in 2013, 6 were by Australian women so perhaps not much of a challenge, but this is not about setting myself up to fail, it is about ensuring that good things are done. So 4 is my minimum goal.
Of course I am not starting well. My first book for 2014 is Booker Prize winner The Luminaries, by New Zealand author, Eleanor Catton.