Oh, summer.

Jan 29, 2016

And here we are. 2016. I’m a little late, in truth, in getting to the year because I have been hiding out at the beach with my family for three whole weeks. Three weeks of river and sea and sand and campfires and reading books in the hammock and NO phones and NO internet and NO manuscript.


So much bliss.

But now we’re back. And I have been hiding away again, in the local library this time, going through the copyedit on the book, and relishing that fresh, ‘start of the year’ feeling which has me exhilarated at the alarming drop in the word count as I cut and slash. It’s nearly there.

It spurred me on, to come back and see Skylarking mentioned in some lists of ‘What to Read in 2016’; in the Age, and in Arts Hub, and in another Age article about YA. That feels wonderful. And terrifying, but I’m focusing on the wonderful at the minute.

Those weeks at the beach gave me time to read. What a treat! I finally read:

Sally Piper – Grace’s Table. A wonderful character, great structure and beautiful take on friendship and ageing and family, amongst other things. Was so good to finally read Sally’s book after learning so much from her about the writing of it, and writing in general, at our shared week at Varuna last year.

Charlotte WoodThe Natural Way of Things. Everything they say is true. Magnificent. Must-read.

Debra Adelaide – The Women’s Pages. Interesting concept, complex character. I think Adelaide is a wonderful writer. Satisfying.

Hanya Yanagihara – A Little Life. Devoured this. Had to scribble some of the passages down in my journal for their beauty. Wept. Big read – totally worth it.

Maya Linden, Christie Nieman, Maggie Scott, Natalie Kon-Yu and Miriam Sved – Just Between Us: Australian writers tell the truth about female friendship. Wow. Lots of the stories here rang true and lots didn’t – so many stories about terrible friendship break ups which I have been fortunate enough not to have had. But made me think lots about friendship and women and how we play it, and how important it is. Still thinking. And so very grateful for the women in my life.

James Bradley – CladeHarrowing look at the not too distant future through the story of one family. Terrifying and beautiful at times and somehow hopeful.

What was on your summer read list? And should I add those titles to mine?



Sally Piper" alt="Sally Piper">

Sally Piper

Three weeks at the beach with family and no ms edits – what bliss! And thank you for your kind words about “Grace’s Table” – I’m relieved the story didn’t disappoint! And on the strength of your comments about “Just Between Us..” I’m definitely getting a copy – sounds like a it would be a great research book for my current project. As for my summer reading list…some absolute treasures, mainly non-fiction at the moment about walking, nature and the wilderness, to include Rebecca Solnit (masterful writer), Robyn Davidson, Adam Ford, Robert Macfarlane, Thoreau, Walden and currently reading “The Lost Art of Walking” by Geoff Nicholson. I’m in pedestrianism heaven! Two gorgeous fiction titles I’ve recently read that have stuck (as with you) is Charlotte Wood’s “The Natural Way of Things” but also Joan London’s “The Golden Age”. Both beautifully honest and raw books, written in a style to aspire to.

January 31, 2016 at 6:30 am
    Kate Mildenhall" alt="Kate Mildenhall">

    Kate Mildenhall

    Yes, Sally! Recalling some of our conversations at Varuna about your current project – there would be lots in ‘Just Between Us’ to sink your teeth into!

    Your reading list on walking had me thinking about Kelly Gardiner’s ‘walking’ list for her current project, which you might be interested in checking out… http://kellygardiner.com/2016/01/27/lately-ive-been-20/

    And yes, I also loved ‘The Golden Age’ and then went back and read London’s ‘The Good Parents’. She is pretty extraordinary.

    Thanks for your comments and look forward to hearing more of your project soon!


    February 1, 2016 at 10:49 am

Kate’s first book, SKYLARKING was published in Australia by Black Inc. in 2016 and in the UK by Legend Press in 2017. Her second THE MOTHER FAULT is published in Australia by Simon & Schuster in 2020 and in the UK by Harper Collins UK in 2021. Kate’s third novel, THE HUMMINGBIRD EFFECT was published in Australia by Simon & Schuster in August 2023.

Stay in touch with Kate via her newsletter, The Bowerbird.