My name is Kylie Maslen. book-plate is an ongoing account of what I've been reading and what I've been eating, through personal essays that combine literary criticism and recipes.
book-plate began as a place to talk about books. I have always wanted to start or join a book club, where my friends would gather in my living room with food, wine and books. We’d share opinions, tell stories and swap books. In reality, my often frenetic and unpredictable work hours have always stopped this from happening. So in January 2014 I started book-plate as a way of talking about what I’ve been reading, as well as my other favourite hobby, what I’ve been eating.
This is not intended to be a recipe blog. Where possible, I will link to a recipe or provide details of where the recipe came from, but I don’t post full recipes. This is the simple, every day fare I cook at home, making the most of seasonal fruits and vegetables and keeping things fresh and easy to prepare. I try to buy food from markets or independent grocers, and dream of one day having more space than my tiny balcony in which to grow my own.
Neither is book-plate meant to be a place of formal literary criticism. The reviews on book-plate are my way of talking about what I’ve been reading and what I find interesting. I primarily read contemporary literary fiction, with the occasional memoir or essay collection, and as such these are the focus of the books on this site. book-plate was created in part as a way of encouraging myself to diversify what I was reading. In 2014 I made a decision to read more books written by women, in order to rectify an imbalance on my bookshelves. In 2015 I am focussing on books written by Australian women, or works in translation, in order to again extend my reading.
Though I occasionally receive advanced copies of books from publishers, I do so as a reviewer, not as an inherent act of promotion for the book or it’s author. I would never write about a book on this site that I wouldn’t be happy to spend the money on purchasing myself, and indeed most of the books reviewed on this site are purchased with my own hard-earned money from independently owned bookshops, run by friendly booksellers who live and breathe books.
Since launching in January 2014, book-plate has built a broad international readership, with forty percent of readers in January 2015 coming from across twenty-six countries. book-plate also boasts a strong and loyal local following, and I have spoken about book-plate at the Emerging Writers' Festival, National Young Writers' Festival and the Digital Writers' Festival.
I have a particular interest in reading, reviewing and promoting contemporary literary fiction by Australian women, as well as work by authors in translation. I want to see more diverse bookshelves in Australian bookstores, and I feel that the best way to support that is to preach my own message. If you are a publisher of such works, or have a title that you think would sit well on this bookshelf, please get in touch.