You'll be happy to hear I resisted buying the hot pants with the Australian flag printed across the butt. Trust me, my diet hasn't been so spectacular that anyone would want to see me wearing those! On the other hand, Australia Day does make me feel vaguely patriotic ... though I can do without all the fireworks. Fireworks, in the middle of bushfire season, seriously? Doesn't anyone else think this is a problem?
Fortunately, there is a perfect way to celebrate Australia Day and that is to sign up for the Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading and Reviewing Challenge. The details below are copied from the Australian Women Writers website, which is where you sign up. There is also a lively Goodreads group. So if you're looking for a reading challenge, or simply a readerly gossip, this is a great way to celebrate your Aussie-ness ... even if you don't live in Australia!
Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading and Reviewing Challenge
Keen on romance, fantasy, crime, YA, literary, mainstream women's fiction? Contemporary or historical? Memoir, other nonfiction or poetry?
Whatever your preference, whether you're a fan of one genre or a devoted eclectic, the 2012 Australian Women Writers Book Reading & Reviewing Challenge invites you to a year of encountering the best of Australian women's writing.
Objective: This challenge hopes to help counteract the gender bias in reviewing and social media newsfeeds that has continued throughout 2011. It actively promotes the reading and reviewing of a wide range of contemporary Australian women's writing throughout 2012, the National Year of Reading. (See the page on gender bias for recent discussions; also this page for the rationalebehind the challenge.)
Readers should approach this challenge with a spirit of willingness. There are no failures, just personal goals. Reviews can be long or short, favourable or "this book is not for me". Hopefully, along the way, you'll discover some future classics and perhaps a few surprises among genres we're not familiar with.
Challenge period: 1 January 2012 - 31 December 2012
Goal: Read and review books written by Australian women writers – hard copies, ebooks andaudiobooks, new, borrowed or stumbled upon by book-crossing.
Purist: one genre only
Dabbler: more than one genre
Devoted eclectic: as many genres as you can find
Challenge levels: Some readers have complained that the original challenge levels were too easy, so "casual" and "dedicated" levels have been added here.
Stella (read 3 and review at least 2 books)
Miles (read 6 and review at least 3)*
Franklin-fantastic (read 10 and review at least 4 books)*
* The higher levels should include at least one substantial length review
Some bookbloggers are combining the AWW2012 challenge with other challenges including Bookdout's Eclectic Reading Challenge, Booklover Book Reviews Aussie Author Challenge, and the GoodReads Aussie Readers' group's Aussie Author Challenge with a Twist. Others have set the goal of reading more books written by Australian women than they read in 2011. If you have another idea, please let us know.
Added option: WeLove2Read2. This page gives participants the option of a further challenge which could help redress the genre imbalance of the National Year of Reading's, Love2Read "Our Story" campaign (where only 18 out of the 48 books selected are written by women). Dedicated bookbloggers and reviewers are particularly invited to add this element to their challenge.