Wednesday, 11 January 2012

What Books Did You Get for Christmas?

With Christmas and New Year now fading into memory I thought it time to brag about what books I got for Christmas. It's one of my favourite things to post about on the blog and I hope you'll share what you received with me as well. I admit to doing pretty well in the book department this year, receiving five amazing books as gifts, some of which I've already polished off.

Let's start with Christopher Paolini's Inheritance. I received this book from my sister as an early Christmas gift and had devoured it within 7 days. It's a massive book, but I was eager to read the last instalment in the Inheritance saga so applied myself with more gusto than usual. I definitely enjoyed it and was pleased that the author went with the bittersweet ending rather than the crowd pleaser. As a whole, the series was a good read, but not one I think I'd ever find myself re-reading. It's definitely more suited to the young adult reader and like most books of its' kind tends to get too bogged down in the details for my liking. I'm no longer surprised by how the thickness of each consecutive instalment in a fantasy series increases exponentially, but I am finding the practice more and more tedious. Maybe I'm just becoming too picky in my old age!!

My sister also gave me a copy of King Brown Country: The Betrayal of Papunya. I read this straight after Inheritance and had it completed within 3 days. King Brown Country is, in my opinion, a must read for all Australians. Written by journalist Russell Skelton, it documents the fate of Papunya, an Aboriginal settlement right in the heart of Australia. For those unfamiliar with the settlement, it's the birthplace of the 70s Aboriginal art movement as well as well-known Aboriginal musicians such as the Warumpi Band. By focusing on the rise and fall of this tiny settlement, Skelton shines a light on the plight of Aboriginal people in general. It's a tragic tale of injustice, incompetence, betrayal, abuse, misery, and the consistent failure of Government over decades. Parts of this book really left their mark on me, and though most are content to stick their head in the sand when it comes to indigenous issues, I'm certainly not one of them. The book had a profound impact on me and when I couple it with my experience of reading Tall Man by Chloe Hooper last year, it has given me the impetus to make myself more aware of the Aboriginal cause in general.

After finishing King Brown Country I moved onto another Christmas gift, The Omnivore's Dilemna (by Michael Pollan). I've wanted this book for ages after hearing parts of it read aloud on ABC Radio National and was excited when I received it from my mum. The Omnivore's Dilemna is a non-fiction book that looks at the food we eat in what is now a predominantly fast food world. I've only just started it so I can't give you a review yet, but I promise one in the near future. The other two books I received that now sit awaiting my indulgence are Among the Islands by Tim Flannery and 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. The Murakami book in particular is quite daunting....it's enormous!!

Now it's your turn to brag. I'd love to hear what booky treasures you found under the Christmas tree, so comment away.