In 2012 I aimed to complete two separate AWW challenges: read and review 10 science fiction books by Australian Women — a tall order, given the paucity of science fiction by Australian authors generally — and to read as many (OK, originally I think I said 10, but I always knew it would end up being more than that) fantasy/other books by AWW as I could. And I did. I sourced some rather obscure SF books, used the challenge as an excuse to buy even more fantasy books and off I went.
But the fantasy part wasn't exactly a challenge. In almost all cases they were books I would have read anyway. I did discover some new authors through interacting with others doing the challenge, which I might not have heard about otherwise (or not as much), but mostly I read books I expected to read. I probably would not have gotten a Twelve Planets subscription if not for the challenge, but by the time the ebook subscription became available, I was already sold on the series. The main thing I can conclusively say is that without the challenge, I almost certainly would not have become a book blogger and probably would not have read as many books as I did this year.
Instead, I want to set two separate challenges for myself in 2013:
- Read 5 horror books by Australian authors
- Read 10 SF books by Australian authors
The SF part should be obvious: I like SF and I want to promote what little of it comes out of Australia. I already have some books to start with since I didn't get around to reading all the books I sourced for 2012, finding instead some unexpected new releases to make up the numbers.
Allow me to explain the horror part further. When I was compiling my statistics about gender in Australian spec fic publishing (post 1, post 2), I saw that the overwhelming majority of spec fic published in Australia/written by Australians is fantasy. I have already addressed the lack of science fiction, but it is the lack of horror that is most stark. In 2011 only eleven horror books written by Australians were published (according to the Ditmar eligibility list). So few were published that there wasn't even an Aurealis Award given out in the horror category. Looking at the Australian Horror Writers Association's page for the Australian Shadows Award, no award was given out in the novel category for 2011 either. They have a reading list of eligible books for the 2012 award and there are only 7 novels on it so far (incidentally, I've read two of them already: Slights and The Price of Fame and one more is near the top of my TBR).
I don't read much horror, but I'm not against it, it's just not much of it crosses my path. So I want to branch out a bit and read more of it. I already have another two Kaaron Warren books lined up, the aforementioned near the top of my TBR pile book Walking the Shadows by Narrell M Harris (yeah, it just got pushed back into 2013, although I didn't think it was actually "horror" but we'll see), an anthology from Morrigan, Scenes from the Second Storey, assuming I remember to grab it when I'm back home, and we'll see what else the year brings. Five books is a modest goal, and I hope I exceed it, but given it's roughly half the yearly novel output of Australian horror writers, it seems reasonable.
I've made some banners for the purpose, too. If you want to use one or both of them on your blog, feel free, just please link back to here.
I'll be adding them to my side bar with counters once 2013 rolls around.
What reading challenges are you setting yourself for 2013? Will you be participating in the AWW2013? Do you want to join in on one or both of my SF and horror challenges? Let me know in the comments!