Summer time is a great time to travel, even if it’s only in your mind. The Read Harder Challenge Task #8 is “an #ownvoices book set in Oceania” and can help you to explore a part of the world that many of us will never get to visit in real life. I have tried to find a few books that were not already on DBRL’s list for this task.
“The Things She’s Seen” by Ambelin Kwaymullina is a young adult novel about the ghost of a young Aboriginal girl. She reaches out to her grieving father, who is a detective, to help him heal and also to help him solve a mystery. This is a slim book with just under 200 pages, but it is not lacking in depth. There are several layers to the story, and it contains elements of magical realism. Kwaymullina comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. She is not only a novelist but also an illustrator and a law professor.
“Too Afraid to Cry: Memoir of a Stolen Childhood” by Ali Cobby Eckermann is her recounting of her experience being separated from her indigenous family to be adopted by a German Lutheran family. She details the trauma and abuse that was built into the system and her eventual efforts to reunite with her birth family. She tells her story using lyrical verse and sparse prose. She won the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize for this book.
“Beauty is a Wound” by Eka Kurniawan promises to have it all — history, satire, family tragedy, legend, humor and romance! I wasn’t sure if Indonesia was considered part of Oceania or not but since one of the books on Book Riot’s list is from Indonesia, I feel safe in adding this one. This book also contains a dose of magical realism beginning with the very first line. “One afternoon on a weekend in May, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years …”
If you need more resources for any of the Read Harder Challenges, you can check here. And the next Read Harder Check-In will be Thursday, July 18, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Friends Room of the Columbia Public Library. I hope to see you there!