AusReadingMonth has three ways to share your love of Australian literature – celebration, anticipation and promotion. You can combine all three in one post or spread them out over three separate posts.
Celebration is all about what you’ve read this year.
Simply list, collage and/or discuss the Australian books you’ve read since last AusReading Month.
- Tell us who you are and where you are in the world.
- What were your favourites Australian books or authors this past year?
- Did you favour a certain genre or author this year?
- Which ones do you recommend?
Firstly, for those of you new to Brona’s Books, I am a Sydney-based blogger now into my 12th year of blogging. My favourite genres are historical fiction and the classics. I enjoy reading memoirs, nature books and history texts. Some of my all-time favourite Australian books include the Edith trilogy by Frank Moorhouse, The Fortunes of Richard Mahony by Henry Handel Richardson, Dirt Music by Tim Winton and The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough.
When I sat down to prepare this post about my Australian reads over the past 12 months, I was rather disappointed to say the least.
Only nine fiction books, seven non-fiction and a handful of kids’ titles. That’s it!
Given I’ve read about 62 books this year (not counting the kids’ books, which takes me to about 90) plus several short stories since the beginning of the year, I’m just not sure how on earth I only managed to read 16 Australian books?
The good news is I have four more Australian books waiting to be reviewed in November, and I’m halfway through four more.
- Gentlemen at Gyang Gyang | Miles Franklin (Brent of Bin Bin) (first published in 1956 and set in the Monaro region of NSW. G@GG is a sweet rural romance)
- The Dictionary of Lost Words | Pip Williams (a story about the women who helped to create the OED)
- A Testament of Character | Sulari Gentill (book 10 in the utterly delightful Rowland Sinclair series set in 1930’s Sydney, although this one took us from Singapore to the east coast of America)
- The White Girl | Tony Birch (set in 1960’s rural Australia, highlighting the lives of an Aboriginal grandmother and her granddaughter)
- The Rain Heron | Robbie Arnott (eco-dystopian probably set in Tasmania, beautifully imagery)
- The Good Turn | Dervla McTiernan (an Irish writer now living in WA. This is her third crime novel set in Galway)
- The Cardboard Crown | Martin Boyd (published in 1952, part memoir, part fiction about a creative Melbourne based family who pine for Mother England)
- Cherry Beach | Laura McPhee-Browne (a Melbourne based writer who has written an angsty young adult story about two friends who decide to move to Canada after they finish school)
- The Dyehouse | Mena Calthorpe (published in 1961, a fascinating, absorbing story about working and living conditions in Inner West, Sydney. Very evocative and highly recommended)
Three of my fiction reads were classics, two were historical fiction, one was contemporary, one eco-dystopian and two were crime fiction.
I really enjoyed all three classics, although The Dyehouse stands out from the crowd.
I loved The Rain Heron, although the ending didn’t quite live up the beginning. The White Girl was also an engrossing story and created a great discussion with my book group.
The stand out non-fiction reads were Fathoms and Truganini.
- 7 Steps to get Your Child Reading | Louise Park (a guide for parents to help their kids love reading)
- Truganini | Cassandra Pybus (a tragic story about the ‘last’ Aboriginal person in Tasmania)
- Fathoms | Rebecca Giggs (a WA based author writing about what she learnt about whales after witnessing a beaching event at her local beach)
- 488 Rules For Life | Kitty Flanagan (a funny take on how many rules we need to live our lives)
- Ten Doors Down | Robert Tickner (a touching adoption memoir)
- Sand Talk | Tyson Yunkaporta (an Indigenous perspective on what we need to protect and save our world)
- The Feel Good Guide to Menopause | Nicola Gates (an up-to-date book on what we now know about menopause – still not much, but getting better)
If you would like to understand what it was like to live in Australia post WWII, then try The White Girl or The Dyehouse.
To get a sense of our how colonialism has affected our Indigenous population, then Truganini is the book for you.
If you want to read the future of Australian literature then Robbie Arnott is your man with The Rain Heron (but also try his earlier book, Flames).
As for cosy crime, you cannot go past Sulari Gentill’s series. You should start at the beginning though to enjoy each and every one in order.