As part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2012, each month I will be inviting an active challenge participant to guest post here at Booklover Book Reviews.
Last month Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader joined us and now in May I welcome guest blogger Psych Babbler from Over Cups of Coffee. An Aussie by choice rather than birth, Psych Babbler has been a great supporter of Aussie authors through her participation in the Aussie Author Challenge.
Tell us a bit about yourself Psych Babbler and the types of books you feature on your blog, Over Cups of Coffee:
I have been in Australia for almost 8 years now and am a full-fledged Aussie. I joke that I was always meant to be Australian but just born in the wrong country (India)! My blog is predominantly a personal blog so it does contain more than book reviews. However, reading being a passion of mine, does feature heavily on the blog.
I read a variety of books but most are fiction with the odd non-fiction in there. Having been an avid reader since a very young age, I was into Enid Blyton and the usual Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys and the rest. My reading habits have changed since coming to Australia — possibly due to maturity as well as trying something different. I moved on from reading only mysteries and thrillers and John Grisham to literary fiction and I guess a genre you could call ‘drama-cum-social issues’ appeals to me a lot (They are still under the literature section in bookstores!). I do enjoy works by Aussie authors (to whom I have been privy to only in the last 7 years again) as well as some Indian authors (Rohinton Mistry being my favourite) and American and English authors and these reviews feature on my blog. I am still a sucker for good young adult/fantasy work (Harry Potter!) and the occasional mystery and psychological thriller when I want a break from the emotionally draining stuff.
What are the last 5 books by Australian authors you have read/reviewed?
- Murder in Devon by Maggi Andersen
- Matilda is Missing by Caroline Overington
- Ghost Child by Caroline Overington
- I Came To Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington
- Trip of a Lifetime by Liz Byrski
Which Australian author do you think deserves broader recognition and why?
Given that I only encountered Aussie authors since coming here, I have probably not even covered half of them! I have read Tim Winton and Craig Silvey (from the popular ones) and some others as part of my book club. I recently discovered Caroline Overington when the title of one of her books caught my eye in the library.
I found her three novels (fiction) to be a disturbing yet accurate depiction of some parts of society and the systems set up to supposedly help them. I found out that she used to be a journalist for social issues and it’s no wonder her knowledge about it is so close to home. Given that I work in the mental health field, I see in real life what she has covered in her three novels often. I think she really deserves a lot more recognition and more people should read her books. To some it may seem unbelievable but trust me, just because we have not experienced it first hand doesn’t mean this sort of stuff does not go on. All I can say to other readers of Aussie authors is please do read her books!
The Aussie Author Challenge Soapbox is at your disposal…
I definitely agree with Tony when he said that books here in Australia are too expensive and like him, I have resorted to borrowing books or buying them online. When you are an avid reader, as much as you want to help out bookstores, you also have to draw a line somewhere.
Apart from this, I noticed a disturbing trend in bookstores. Where just anyone can become an ‘author’. I don’t claim to have read these books but seriously, when you see a book called “It’s a Shore thing” by someone who looks like they have a below average IQ in the best sellers section, you have to think that something somewhere is seriously wrong (And yes, I am being very judgemental here and am happy to be proven wrong).
How is it that reality TV stars or actors become ‘published authors’? I’m sure there are those who can write and act but when you do see some of them on TV like the one I mentioned before (I can’t remember her name) or the ex-wife of Peter Andre, you know all you are getting is trash. I think it’s especially sad because you have so many other hardworking authors struggling to find publishers when someone else with their 15 minutes of fame can go ahead and write something and get published not because they have something intelligent to say but just because they might sell thanks to their previous ‘popularity’. I guess you could say the same about sports stars (even though I do own some autobiographies of Aussie cricketers). Nowadays there are some who will come out with an autobiography in the middle of their career and to me it’s just a bit too self-indulgent. Again, I find myself thinking there must be an ordinary person somewhere who has done extraordinary things and compiled a memoir but just hasn’t had the chance to be published due to lack of connections or not being known.
I understand this seems quite judgemental and me assuming a lot, but if best sellers are going to be about make-up and fashion or just plain trash, then it’s just a sad reflection of the society we live in.
It’s been a pleasure to have you join us today Psych Babbler!
I wholeheartedly agree with you on your soapbox topic – it is a crying shame that so many truly gifted people’s work never gets the exposure it deserves.
When looking for your next Aussie read, take the time to check out Over Cups of Coffee.