The King and the Kingfisher: Top 10 Reads of 2016

Top 10 Reads of 2016

  1. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club – Genevieve Valentine

  2. Fake Geek Girl – Tansy Rayner Roberts

  3. Le Morte d’Arthur – Sir Thomas Malory

  4. Check, Please! – Ngozi Ukazu

  5. Love and Romanpunk – Tansy Rayner Roberts

  6. The Wife Drought – Annabel Crabb

  7. Heir of Sea and Fire – Patricia A. McKillip

  8. Tam Lin – Pamela Dean

  9. Swordspoint – Ellen Kushner

  10. The Grass Crown – Colleen McCullough

I almost wrote ‘Top 10 Reads of 2017’, so that tells you how prepared I am to write this post. I haven’t reviewed as much this year – partially because I was reading more non-fiction as research for Ladies of Legend, but partially because some of my favourite stories to come out of this year weren’t in traditional formats. Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Fake Geek Girl was originally published in Review of Australian Volume 14, Issue 4 and is also available as an ebook, but I heard it on the podcast Sheep Might Fly and just adored everything about it. Magical university, alternate universe geek culture, a quirky band, sneaky mythology references, what is not to love? You can listen to it here. If you sign up to Tansy’s newsletter you can also get a free copy of the ebook, which I DID, and I love.

Check, Please!, meanwhile, is a web comic about sport. Usually I am drawn to neither of those things, but wow is this story a delight. It’s about hockey-playing, pie-baking college vlogger Eric Bittle, and it’s warm, fluffy and immensely lovable.

Most surprising of my favourites from 2016, though, is Le Morte d’Arthur, which I read as research and thus didn’t review. I started out immensely exasperated with it and finished as an emotional wreck. Also, with passionate feelings about a great many characters I had no firm opinion on either way before, particularly Guinevere. Insult Guinevere at your peril.

It’s been a…very strange year. The world stage has become a very ugly place indeed, yet so many wonderful things have happened in the small bubble of my day-to-day life that I cannot help but feel optimistic. My niece was born this year. I saw what I think might possibly be the most beautiful place in the world. The longest fiction I’ve ever had accepted for publication is going to be a book in February next year and I started writing a novel that I’m kind of in love with right now. And while it’s true I do not feel at all ready for 2017, it’s going to be here in about four hours. So the only thing to do is jump in anyway.

Happy New Year! Let’s do amazing things with it.


Review – The Wife Drought

The Wife Drought – Annabel Crabb

Ebury Press, 2014

How do you have it all? By not doing it all. Where many studies examine the workplace and the home as separate spheres, Annabel Crabb looks at the points where they connect – and in many cases, painfully collide. From examining the advantages of having a stay-at-home spouse, to historical precedents in enforcing there be one, to the modern shake-up of gender roles that still somehow raises eyebrows, this book tries to pinpoint exactly what it means to have a ‘wife’, and what it means to manage without one.

I don’t read much non-fiction, let alone non-fiction containing half as many statistics as The Wife Drought, but Annabel Crabb’s breezy, wry style makes this book immensely readable. She turns questions of gender roles around to look at them from all angles and makes some truly fantastic points (how I opened that blurb is one of them and she is so right). You don’t realise how ingrained some of your assumptions are until they are gently poked into the open. Crabb also hosts the ABC’s political cooking show Kitchen Cabinet.