Thursday, December 13, 2012

10 Australian Books to read before you die.

Its amazing how much having a shower and washing and drying your hair can take  a toll on one's energy reserves.
Was planning to head off to the post office before going for the CAT scan but am having a little rest , and was watching the last Tuesday Book CLub on ABC.
For those of you off the Island you probably can't get this so thought I would share it.

Of the 10 there was one I agreed with Marieke Hardy should not be on it, one I have not read or intend to, a surprise at no. 2 (didn't realise so many people loved it like I did) and as the list advanced no surprise for 1st.
So enough of the Spoilers here is the list and my personal opinions.

 10. Picnic at Hanging Rock Joan Lindsay. All agreed the movie added to its popularity, but it was a good book and the non ending kept it a mystery

9. The Secret River   Kate Grenville  A bold move, telling a story of white settlers in Australia that we should use to learn how we could better  do something.

8.The Slap  Christos Tsiolkas   Traces the shattering repercussions of a single event, an adult slapping a child not his own, upon a group of family and friends. I neither read it nor watched the TV series, somehow found the whole plot too divided in opinions.

7.The Magic Pudding Norman Lindsay Read it when I was 10 or 11. We have an original (or early anyway) copy  I remember I loved it but not read it since so might get it out!

6. Jasper Jones Craig Silvey We did this one for Book club and I hated it ! I agree with Marieke Why is it on the list? But come to your own assessment

5.The Power of One Bryce Courtney I am sure he knew before his death last month that this was a success!!! I loved this when it came out and have read it again and seen the movie. The best of his books I think  followed closely by The Potato Factory.

4.The Harp in the South   Ruth Park  What author would not want to have a book never been out of print since published in 1948!! I loved it and the follow up novels Poor Man's Orange etc The TV series was fantastic as well. The varied criticism of her book was interesting. Writing about poor people she must be a communist. Writing about poor people she must be a capitalist, making money on their plight, but what she did do was have the local council say there were no slums in Surrey Hills Sydney and they started cleaning it up!!

3. A Fortunate Life Albert Facey What a find was this when someone recommended it to me years ago. A great story (non fiction) of a life unbelievably unfortunate, but his character made him see the positive in things that made him feel fortunate!

2. The Book Thief  Marcus Zusak. Number 3 on the US Young Adult list since it was published! can't remember where I heard about it but was it great!! This was the surprise. Didn't realise how many people know it.

And no surprise for first

1. Cloud Street Tim Winton. For anyone who doesn't know it, it chronicles the lives of two working class Australian families who come to live together at One Cloud Street, in a suburb of Perth, over a period of twenty years, 1943 - 1963. It was the recipient of a Miles Franklin Award in 1992. 
When I was sick last October I went to Andrew and Lynne's and watched the 4 part series (done on pay TV to many peoples horror) that  they recorded for me. Watched it in a day A marathon!! but fantastically done 

there is a list of 100 actually all developed from viewers lists
I would add to that, because I liked them not necessarily literary merit -
My Brother Jack  George Johnston
The Dressmaker Rosalie Ham
Come in Spinner Dymphna Cusack
Unreliable Memoirs Clive James
Journey to the Stone Country Alex Miller
Precious Bodily Fluids A Larrikins Memoir. Charles Waterstreet

Maybe you have your favourites?

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