Longlists and Shortlists

‘Tis the season for book award longlists and shortlists!

I’ve decided to use this season to pull together which books I’ve read from the various lists and which ones I hope to read. However, the main reason for embarking on this list-making is to ‘force’ me to tidy up the relevant books posts from last year (i.e. posts from the Brona’s Books Blogger era that now have formatting issues in WordPress).

The 2021 Stella Prize longlist:
  • Fathoms: the world in the whale by Rebecca Giggs (Scribe Publications) – some of the best narrative non-fiction that I’ve read in a while.
  • Revenge: Murder in Three Parts by S.L. Lim (Transit Lounge) – having the word murder in the title was enough to keep me away from this one.
  • The Animals in That Country by Laura Jean McKay ((Scribe Publications) – I’ve been enjoying this one more and more as time goes by. It gets under your skin.
  • Witness by Louise Milligan (Hachette Australia) – Hachette calls this book a “call for change. Milligan exposes the devastating reality of the Australian legal system where truth is never guaranteed and, for victims, justice is often elusive. And even when they get justice, the process is so bruising, they wish they had never tried.” very worthy but just not sure I can go there right now.
  • Metal Fish, Falling Snow by Cath Moore (Text Publishing) – I enjoy YA novels every now and again, as a palate cleanser, if you like, between heavier books. But not always sure about their place on a literary longlist.
  • The Wandering by Intan Paramaditha (Penguin Random House) – don’t know much about this one…yet
  • Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Mirandi Riwoe (University of Queensland Press) – really enjoyed this & hope it gets shortlisted too
  • Blueberries by Ellena Savage (Text Publishing) – too angst-ridden for my taste
  • Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson (Hachette Australia) – too wordy for my taste
  • Smart Ovens for Lonely People by Elizabeth Tan (Brio Books) – keen to try this book of short stories – sounds quirky
  • A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu (Allen & Unwin) – maybe/maybe not
  • The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld (Penguin Random House) – didn’t like All the Birds Singing, so probably won’t go here either
The 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist:
  • Because of You by Dawn French
  • Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
  • Consent by Annabel Lyon
  • Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters – possibly
  • Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan – maybe/maybe not
  • How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
  • Luster by Raven Leilani – nope
  • No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
  • Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon – sounds very intriguing. Will source a copy ASAP
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – on my TBR pile
  • Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
  • Summer by Ali Smith – maybe one day, when I’ve read the first three
  • The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi – possible
  • Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller
Walter Scott Prize 2021 Longlist:
  • Hinton by Mark Blacklock (Granta) – looks a bit like too much maths – first chapter a bit too dry for my taste
  • The Tolstoy Estate by Steven Conte (HarperCollins Australia) – on my TBR pile
  • The Year Without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd (Two Roads) – never got into this one – gave up – DNF
  • A Room Made Of Leaves by Kate Grenville (Canongate UK, Text Publishing Australia) – nope – DNF
  • Mr Beethoven by Paul Griffiths (Henningham Family Press) – maybe/maybe not
  • Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah (Bloomsbury) – looks a bit heavy for my tastes right now
  • A Treacherous Country by K M Kruimink (Allen & Unwin Australia) – possibly
  • The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (4th Estate) – to be read in May
  • Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (Headline) – another DNF
  • Islands Of Mercy by Rose Tremain (Chatto & Windus) – tempting
  • The Dictionary Of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Affirm Press Australia, Chatto & Windus UK) – I enjoyed it but don’t think it’s shortlist worthy
Indie Book Awards Shortlists:
  • All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Australia) – beautiful cover
  • The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan (Knopf Australia)
  • Mammoth by Chris Flynn (University of Queensland Press) – great cover
  • Honeybee by Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin)
  • Phosphorescence by Julia Baird (Fourth Estate Australia) – part way through this, finding it a bit of a hard slog to be honest
  • The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku (Macmillan Australia) – dipped into this one lunch time. Light and positive and full of hope
  • People of the River by Grace Karskens (Allen & Unwin) – on my TBR pile
  • Truganini by Cassandra Pybus (Allen & Unwin) – I’d like to see this win some awards
Debut Fiction:
  • The Bluffs by Kyle Perry (Michael Joseph Australia) – nope I don’t do crime fiction
  • Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson (Hachette Australia)
  • A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Affirm Press)
Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) 2021 Longlist:

Literary Fiction Book of the Year:

  • A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing Jessie Tu (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
  • A Room Made of Leaves Kate Grenville (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)
  • All Our Shimmering Skies Trent Dalton (HarperCollins Publishers, Fourth Estate)
  • Honeybee Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
  • Infinite Splendours Sofie Laguna (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin) – too grim for me
  • Song of the Crocodile Nardi Simpson (Hachette Australia Pty Ltd, Hachette Australia)
  • Sorrow and Bliss Meg Mason (HarperCollins Publishers, Fourth Estate) – maybe
  • The Last Migration Charlotte McConaghy (Penguin Random House, Hamish Hamilton)

General Fiction Book of the Year:

  • The Bluffs by Kyle Perry (Penguin Random House, Michael Joseph)
  • The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Affirm Press, Affirm Press)
  • The Godmothers by Monica McInerney (Penguin Random House, Michael Joseph) – not for me
  • The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers)
  • The Morbids by Ewa Ramsey (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin) – maybe
  • The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall (Simon & Schuster Australia, Simon & Schuster Australia) – meh
  • The Survivors by Jane Harper (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia) – nope
  • Trust by Chris Hammer (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin) – not for me

Biography Book of the Year:

  • A Bigger Picture by Malcolm Turnbull (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Books) – read and enjoyed by Mr Books
  • A Repurposed Life by Ronni Kahn with Jessica Chapnik Kahn (Allen & Unwin, Murdoch Books) – maybe
  • Boy on Fire: The Young Nick Cave by Mark Mordue (HarperCollins Publishers, Fourth Estate) – don’t usually read bio’s about musicians
  • Fourteen by Shannon Molloy (Simon & Schuster Australia, Simon & Schuster Australia)
  • Paul Kelly by Stuart Coupe (Hachette Australia Pty Ltd, Hachette Australia) – another musician bio
  • Soar: A Life Freed by Dance by David McAllister with Amanda Dunn (Thames & Hudson Australia , Thames & Hudson Australia) – and another (except a dancer this time)
  • The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
  • Truganini by Cassandra Pybus (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

General Non-Fiction Book of the Year:

  • Fire Country by Victor Steffensen (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Travel) – on my TBR pile
  • My Tidda, My Sister by Marlee Silva; Illustrated by Rachael Sarra (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Travel)
  • One Day I’ll Remember This: Diaries 1987–1995 by Helen Garner (Text Publishing, Text Publishing) – nope, I’m done with Garner’s diaries.
  • Phosphorescence: On awe, wonder and things that sustain you when the world goes dark by Julia Baird (HarperCollins Publishers, Fourth Estate) – on my TBR pile, struggling with it.
  • The Golden Maze: A biography of Prague by Richard Fidler (HarperCollins Publishers, ABC Books) – DNF
  • The Space Between by Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald (Penguin Random House, Viking)
  • Un-cook Yourself: A Ratbag’s Rules for Life by Nat’s What I Reckon (Penguin Random House, Ebury Australia) – I cooked one of Nat’s recipes because I also believe that a bolognaise tastes better with some milk or cream added to the sauce.
  • Women and Leadership by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Penguin Random House, Vintage Australia) – maybe

CBCA Notables 2021:

An almost ridiculously long longlist where it will be easier to mention the handful of books I have read (and reviewed).

In the OLDER READERS section I have read The End of the World is Bigger Than Love by Davina Bell and Loner by Georgina Young.

In the YOUNGER READERS section I have read The Secret Library of Hummingbird House by Julianne Negri and The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst by Jaclyn Moriarty. I never got around to reviewing book three of Moriarty’s Kingdoms and Empires series, but I do love what she has done with this fantasy story for 10+ readers. Each book can be read as a standalone within the world she has created, even though a number of the characters do reappear at different times. They are satisfying and complete stories set within the same world, although in different time periods.

I’ve read 14 of the 20 EARLY CHILDHOOD books, the stand out being Respect by Aunty Fay Muir & Sue Lawson, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy. I meant to go back a write a fuller response, but for now, all I have are my notes on Goodreads.

I’ve read 16 of the 25 PICTURE BOOKS OF THE YEAR and the stand out contender for me is Bob Graham with his delightful story about Ellie’s Dragon.

Sadly this year I have not read any of the Eve Pownall Non-Fiction longlist, although I am curious to see what Marie Coote has done with Azaria: A True History.

Dublin Literary Prize:

This year, the longlist is a more manageable size, than of old. My TBR pile contains The Cat and the City, The Eighth Life, The Glass Hotel and Apeirogon.

I’ve read The White Girl, The Vanishing Half, Girl, Woman, Other and The Yield.

Keen to read 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in This Strange World and Lost Children Archive in particular.

A long post, I know.

If you stuck it all the way through, I thank you.

This was more of a housekeeping post for me and if you click on any of the links to older reviews, you should now go to a nice, clean, tidy page with appropriate line spacing and all the images intact.

Please make a case for any of the books I’ve dismissed, if you think I’m missing out on something amazing. And hopefully, you will find at least one new-to-you title to tempt you when next you’re browsing in a bookshop!

11 thoughts on “Longlists and Shortlists

  1. Out of all your lists, I’ve read one – Smart Ovens for Lonely People, which I recommend; I own one other, All Our Shimmering Skies (audiobook), which I’ll read/review in the next couple of months; and I like one title, A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing – know nothing about the book. And if I was on a desert island with only one book and it was by Jane Harper or Malcolm Turnbull, then I’d probably read nothing at all.


    1. Mr Books is a bit of a political and news junky and will read widely, all sides of the story. Thankfully, he only fills me in with brief summaries, to help me sell a book at work 🙂


  2. What I enjoyed about this was that you shared your impressions about why you might/might not want to read this or that title. You reproduce the kind of thoughts I have about books too, based on impressions I’ve got from blurbs, press releases and reviews from here and there.
    It’s a good reminder that what we read is * our choice*. Bombarded with marketing and other people’s opinions about what we “should read” we remain entitled nevertheless to make decisions as we see fit, regardless of hype, worthiness, flavour-of-the-month, other people’s agendas or anything else.
    Cheers, Lisa


    1. Thank you for making my approach sound well thought through and part of a bigger scheme to buck the marketing hype 🙂

      One of the advantages with getting older, is that I no longer feel I should read a book because it’s worthy, award-winning or is something that everybody else is reading. I just want to read what I like. I do have to read new releases for work, but I can still pick and choose which new releases. And if I’m not enjoying the book, I simply stop reading.

      The older I get, the less I can do grim books featuring physical abuse of any kind or graphic fighting or murder scenes. Many award winning and Stella longlist books seem to fall into this category lately. The news is full of enough of all that, I don’t need to read it in my leisure time as well.


  3. I’m reading Exciting Times at the moment and am quite enjoying it. It’s fun and sharp. I do tend to like the books on the Dublin Literary Prize list – it always has interesting choices.


    1. It’s certainly the longlist I’m most excited about so far. That might change as the shortlists start coming through though, of course, but even the Walter Scott Prize has left me feeling a bit ‘meh’ this year, and historical fiction is my favourite genre.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. From the Dublin prize list Nickle Boys was amazing (I’m on a committee that nominates for Dublin and that was our book). I also loved The Glass House but I like pretty much everything by Emily St. John Mandel.

    Liked by 1 person

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