I discovered Kate Morton a little over a year ago, when I read and reviewed her new book The Secret Keeper for Lip Magazine. I instantly fell in love with the author, and was determined to read her back list. For Christmas last year, I got given The Shifting Fog, and have been yet to read it. So it seems only fitting that I begin my 100 Homegrown Reads Challenge with the book.
I haven’t read much of the book yet, but already I’m captivated. A film maker is making a film about a mysterious suicide which occurred in an old English mansion in 1924. In 1999, 98 year-old Grace Bradley is the only person still living who can shed any light on what occurred that night at Riverton Manor. The film maker contacts Grace to ask if she would review the sets to make sure the details are correct, and Grace’s memory sends her back to 1924.
Morton begins the novel with a scene written as though it is part of the film maker’s movie script, and I must admit, it is quite off-putting to open the first page and be confronted by a movie script. I wanted to be immediately drawn into the story, and Morton’s beautiful prose, and starting with the script removed my interest immediately. But once I found the courage to actually start the novel, I didn’t want to put it down. I am especially eager to find out how the mystery of the suicide is resolved, given the brilliant twist Morton injected into the end of The Secret Keeper.
Morton is another Australian writer who chooses to write stories set in other countries, but her inclusion on the list of favourite home grown reads shows that it is not the locality of a novel which necessarily makes a novel Australian, but the nationality of the author who writes the story. And when the writer is as good as Kate Morton is, why would we claim her books are anything but Australian? Looking forward to all the twists and turns I’ll undoubtedly discover in The Shifting Fog!
It’s that time of year again: Get Reading! Australia have released their list of Top 50 Books You Can’t Put Down. Of those on the list this year, I have read only one so far (Burial Rites, Hannah Kent) and two others are loaded onto my e-reader, awaiting their turn to be read (Mateship with Birds, Carrie Tiffany and Questions of Travel, Michelle de Krester). A few other titles are already on my mental hit list. I love this initiative of encouraging people to read, and I especially love that the list includes books from all genres, including picture books.
This year, Get Reading! have taken things further, announcing Australia’s Top 100 Favourite Homegrown Reads, as voted by Australians. Again, this list includes books from all genres, and I was pleased to see that many of my favourites made the cut. There are so many wonderful titles on the list, and of the 100 books, I’ve read 26 of them. Not terrible, but there are definitely some fantastic titles on the list which I’ve overlooked. Some I even have sitting on my bookshelf, yet they keep getting pushed to the back of the queue and somewhere along the line forgotten.
In the spirit of the Get Reading! initiative and in order to acquaint myself with some more Aussie classics, I’m going to start my own Get Reading! challenge and read my way through the 76 books I haven’t yet read. This will include committing to giving Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet a third attempt, despite my resolution to get on with reading books I enjoy. Instead of writing straight reviews of these titles, I will blog about my experience of reading these books as I go. My goal will be to finish reading all 76 books by September next year, when the 2014 Get Reading! initiative is launched.
Join me in the challenge! I would love to hear other readers’ thoughts about the books on the list, and their experiences of reading them.
So what are we waiting for? Shut your laptop screen, disable your WiFi and dive into that book you’ve been meaning to read for ages. My only dilemma is which of the 76 books to read first…