Extreme Reading Competition Buzz

Warning, this post may contain humour.

There are many types of competition in the world. In fact thousands of competitions exist in the world. From sport to just about anything you care to name can be made into a challenge involving a ball, a bat, a horse, a swimming pool, eating, drinking, singing, running, dancing, driving, outer space, and let’s not forget the longest, the highest, the bravest, the most foolhardy things to outdo anyone who has tried before.

Of course, more and more now, competing involves a chat show panel or video camera following near-naked people running around the jungle working up a sweat for the ratings and a big pay cheque. Celebrity shows, quiz shows, unreality television, cooking, antiques, and growing gardens. From local country fairs to big city boardrooms, they all love a good competition. Supermarkets and used car dealers love a bit of sales competition and are currently discussing book sponsorship—I wish!

Disco toads dance the night away

Schools thrive on competition; I think many children are born competitive, it starts with their siblings and works toward world domination. Queenslanders have several forms of competition (gambling casinos, Golden Casket Lottery, Scratch-its, leagues clubs) and one unique game requiring ugly cane toads which jump around when a bucket is lifted off them. (See photo) The first toad to leave the circle or careen through the crowd is the winner. Ugh! Cane toads are an imported noxious pest, destroying habitat and native wildlife. I would like to see a competition to have them eradicated from Australia.

Hey, jumping into a subject which would be impossible to turn into a spectator sport—BOOK READING!

Hang on, isn’t that what Goodreads reviewers do? Yeah, but not with a live studio audience. Maybe this is feasible. “Now,” whispers the show host, “here we have Angela Augustus reading a chapter from a special edition of The Animals in That Country by Laura Jean McKay.” Not classical literature so reader-viewers (or RVs) won’t lose points. “Hands on buzzers”.

Adult Content. Australian native animals not include with book © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2021

Announcer One: “Watch Angela turn the last page, slowly turning the page, right she’s done it! The audience goes wild and everyone at home clambers online to secure a copy of The Animals in That Country an immersive adult experience with subtle undertones and high drama.”

Announcer Two: “Next up, viewers, we have Angus Augustus, Angela’s twin brother. He is quick, too quick and the audience miss his speed reading, lips barely moving. They admire his patent page-flick technique and the flourish when he shoots the book into its alphabetical place on the bookshelf.”

Book reader Angus is studied by thousands of wannabe speed readers around the country. But what about comprehension? Sports players have to speak into the microphone to explain How they did it/Why they did it/What it felt like when they did it. So put Angus on the pro circuit, tentatively dubbed Real Reading Australia 2030, thanking his mother and first grade teacher. He waves battered copies of Blinky Bill, Possum Magic or even the contentious Wombat Stew, then moves onto Bluey, Animalia and Ranger’s Apprentice enthralling thousands of children across Australia—again, I wish.

The ground swell back to paper books would archive digital copies, screens would go unlit, there would be reading time in every home after dinner. Renegades would read Jasper Fforde far into the night despite work next day. It would not be unusual to see readers sitting for hours engrossed in a p-book instead of an e-book without a café latte or muffin in sight.

A book engrosses a person, it takes all your attention no flashy adverts therefore it is advisable to slowly build up to bigger, thicker, weighty classics. It can be done! Librarians offer recommendations for a good Book Gym where staff talk you through a workout to suit your particular genre. Believe me, people are keen and waiting to read. The first-release promo videos astonished me with reader focus and intensity. I love reading Australian crime novels but cannot discussed top Aussie authors due to Brook Paige TV Clause—another wish.

I myself have entered the genuine Irish William Trevor Challenge reading “Love and Summer” please check out my book review here:

My advice is to create a comfortable environment and read up on your chosen author’s booklist before enrolling in the proposed *Real Reading Australia 2030. The genres for this thrilling competition can go either way—traditional or modern—but paper format rules. Polish your *specs dear reader!

Gretchen Bernet-Ward
© Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2023

* Aussie for reading glasses

* This opinion piece is as fictional as the stories I read
(but maybe it’s possible)
GBW Australia

‘Trophy’ Poem

Long forgotten heroes … or maybe not …


1st place


The first time I’ve won a


In my entire life

And you weren’t there.

I was so excited

My body


I never expected to win anything

At all


When I told you, I got

“Good job”

You encourage me to do this



Anything you could do

To make me join you in it

And then

I got


But not

Your joy

Poem by Alice Julia Miller
October 2013

Poetry Clipart 09 Gretchen Bernet-Ward


“Skateboarding is more exciting than regular sports, more fun than going to the gym, cheaper than therapy, quicker than walking, more real than anything else” or you can make them into a chair.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

XXI Commonwealth Games – Gold Coast

Find out interesting things like events, history, medal tally, for the Commonwealth Games . . .

First, browsing through my Australian Stamp Bulletin, I saw that commemorative issue postage stamps will coincide with the start of XXI Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.  The Games sporting competitions commence 4 April 2018 and continue over 12 days until closing ceremony 15 April 2018.

I am more into literature than sporting pursuits but it’s going to be quite an event!  It appears that the blue surfing koala mascot Borobi (which means ‘koala’ in the indigenous language) is on postcards but not included on the stamps so I’ve added him further down the page.

Commonwealth Games Stamp Issue 2018 01 (1)

Game on!  This is the second time Queensland has hosted The Games.  The 1982 Commonwealth Games were held in Brisbane City from 30 September to 9 October 1982 and I actually attended.  Below, I have written a little bit of Games history to bore you with facts and figures.

A brief history of the Commonwealth Games

In 1891, John Astley Cooper first wrote about a sporting competition that would bring together members of the British Empire, but it wasn’t until 1911, at the coronation of King George V, that an ‘Inter-Empire Championships’ was held.  This event included teams from Australasia, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Commonwealth Games Gold Coast 2018 Logo

The first official Commonwealth Games (called the British Empire Games) were held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada.  Four hundred athletes from 11 countries competed in 59 events across 6 Core sports.  The Core sports have increased: athletics, boxing, lawn bowls, rowing, hockey, badminton, squash, weightlifting, rugby, aquatics (swimming and diving) and wrestling.  In the past women only competed in swimming events.  That’s all changed and now there’s something for everyone.  Gold Coast 21st Commonwealth Games will include 18 events.

In addition to the 10 Core sports there will be:

  • Basketball
  • Beach volleyball
  • Cycling (road, mountain bike and track)
  • Gymnastics (rhythmic and artistic)
  • Para power lifting
  • Shooting
  • Table tennis
  • Triathlon

Commonwealth Games Stats Graphics Medals

Since 1930, the Games have taken place every four years, except in 1942 and 1946 (due to World War II), and had a few name changes.  Although there are 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, 71 teams participate in the Commonwealth Games, as a number of dependent territories compete under their own flags.  The four Home Nations of the United Kingdom—England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland—also send separate teams.

Australia is the overall champion of the Commonwealth, having won 2218 medals in total, 852 in Gold.  England is second with 2008 and Canada is third with 1473.
(See below for new figures 2018)

Commonwealth Games Australia Map

The 2018 host city – Gold Coast

The host city for the 2018 Commonwealth Games is Gold Coast, Queensland, located just north of the Queensland/New South Wales border, and about 66 kilometres south of Brisbane.  The Gold Coast is a coastal city on the Pacific Ocean with a population of around 640,000 people.  It is the sixth-largest city in Australia (the largest non-capital city) and the second largest in Queensland (after Brisbane).

The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s major tourist destinations with its sunny sub-tropical climate, beautiful surfing beaches, theme parks and rainforest hinterland.  More than 10 million people visit the Gold Coast every year, including around one million international visitors.  It is also a film production hub with movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Thor: Ragnarok being filmed there.

The official XXI Commonwealth Games stamps have yet to be issued but, in the meantime, collectors may be interested in visiting superb WordPress stamp blogger The Snail Mail:

Here’s Borobi and souvenir merchandise https://shop.gc2018.com/collections/mascot-1

Original 50cent coin from XII Commonwealth Games 1982 Brisbane Australia.

Commonwealth Games Stats 2018
XXI Commonwealth Games Medal Tally 2018

Gretchen Bernet-Ward