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View Poll Results: Bookpossum Vote • October 2013, Multiple Choice
Eucalyptus by Murray Bail 5 35.71%
Lantana Lane by Eleanor Dark 5 35.71%
Death of a River Guide by Richard Flanagan 5 35.71%
All That I Am by Anna Funder 6 42.86%
The Secret River by Kate Grenville 9 64.29%
Remembering Babylon by David Malouf 6 42.86%
Timepieces by Drusilla Modjeska 2 14.29%
Cloudstreet by Tim Winton 5 35.71%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 14. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-04-2013, 01:13 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Hamlet53 View Post
Patrick White a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature? Well that puts something by him on my TBR list.
Yes, Patrick White has a huge reputation in literary circles. He's not on my list because both my mother and sister read him and found him to be positively excruciating. As I share quite a few reading preferences with them, that was enough for me to sideline him for the moment.

I can't quite understand why Colleen McCollough is on any fabulous Australian author list, but as I haven't read her, I'll just nod and look the other way.

Hal Porter, for those who don't know, wrote an intricately detailed auto-biography (the book on the list). He was known to have said that if you lock yourself away in a room by yourself eventually you'll be able to recall all events in your life from your birth onwards. Apparently, his autobiography is the result of such an exercise. I've heard it's very good if you like that sort of thing, but it just didn't interest me enough conceptually to give it a go.

By the way, for those that like mystery books, Peter Temple (also listed) is a very well-regarded literary mystery writer in Australia. I've got a couple of his books on my TBR list but haven't got to either yet, but The Broken Shore would probably be the best book to start with.

I'm loving this Australian theme. It allows me to write a bit about books I haven't read yet.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:49 AM   #32
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Yes I agree, some of the books on those lists aren't ones I would put there, but then I think they were "most popular" rather than necessarily books that were what we would call literature, though some certainly are.

But then sometimes it's good just to read a bit of light stuff as long as it's reasonably well written.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:17 AM   #33
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One of my favourite writers is Australian. I really enjoyed Markus Zusak's The Messenger and The Book Thief. I've read three of Sara Douglass's books as well and Robert Hughes Barcelona. I think that's is for Australia for me. Three authors, six books. Definitely space for a few more writers and books there. Considering they are an English-speaking Commonwealth nation.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:07 PM   #34
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I'm looking forward to re-reading The Secret River, I enjoyed it immensely last time so hopefully it will be even better second time around!
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:22 PM   #35
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Ooooh, I see The Secret River is ready to pick up at the library. Now, if I hadn't just started a 520 page thickly-worded behemoth.
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:21 PM   #36
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at least for those in the UK it is possible to buy the bundle for around £0.70 more:
http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-S...oo3aCo1wbA&r=4
It includes Searching for the secret river
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Old 10-04-2013, 06:28 PM   #37
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That's good news for the UK based people. I was going to recommend Searching for the Secret River for reading after you have read the novel, especially if you are at all interested in family history research. I found it fascinating.

Like Stephjk, I am looking forward to rereading The Secret River after a space of some years. It impressed me very much when I read it after it first came out.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:49 PM   #38
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at least for those in the UK it is possible to buy the bundle for around £0.70 more:
http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-S...oo3aCo1wbA&r=4
It includes Searching for the secret river
That's a great deal! They are about $9 each in the US. I couldn't find a bundle. My library only has the audiobook.
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Old 10-05-2013, 11:07 AM   #39
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I've added all four of the books I voted for to my TBR list; thanks to Bookpossum for her intriguing selections.

I'm trying to think of Aussie writers I've read and I have read several novels by Patrick White (picked the Penguin editions off a remainder table years ago) and have no desire to return to him! Of the list of ten-before-you-die books I've read only two: The Book Thief and Picnic at Hanging Rock.

I've read books by Thomas Kenneally and Robert Hughes and Peter Carey and for those of us who've read/are reading Sleepwalkers, there's another Australian. I notice we've all avoided naming Neville Shute. Oh, and Miles Franklin and Mrs. Aeneas Gunn.

For those who like picture books, Mem Fox's books are delightful.

I admit, not a very creditable list! Thanks again to Bookpossum. Perhaps others will do us a similar favor?

Last edited by issybird; 10-05-2013 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 10-05-2013, 01:16 PM   #40
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You've actually done much better than I have issybird. Of that list of 50 must reads, I own quite a few of the books but haven't read them (or I've only watched the move). The only books I've actually read are For the Term of His Natural Life and Year of Wonders.

The latter I probably wouldn't have put on an awesome Aussie top 50, but the former I would have.

I may have to reassess next year's reading plans to make sure I inject more Aussie goodness into it. I've already got Christos Tsiolkas in there, but I think I need to do a bit better. Hmmmm, I can feel a new challenge coming on.
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Old 10-05-2013, 06:32 PM   #41
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You've actually done much better than I have issybird. Of that list of 50 must reads, I own quite a few of the books but haven't read them (or I've only watched the move). The only books I've actually read are For the Term of His Natural Life and Year of Wonders.

The latter I probably wouldn't have put on an awesome Aussie top 50, but the former I would have.

I may have to reassess next year's reading plans to make sure I inject more Aussie goodness into it. I've already got Christos Tsiolkas in there, but I think I need to do a bit better. Hmmmm, I can feel a new challenge coming on.
Oopsie, your mention of Year of Wonders made me recall that I neglected to mention some Australian memoirists, including Geraldine Brooks. I haven't read her novels, but I've read Foreign Correspondence and also Jill Ker Conway's Road from Coorain. I regret the oversight mostly because it was a gross injustice to the wonderful memoirs of Clive James, which I recommend highly.

I'm thinking about next year's challenges, too; I've mostly failed abysmally at this year's goals.
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Old 10-05-2013, 06:32 PM   #42
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I have read 'American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America, 1998' by Robert Hughes and this is excellent.
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:24 PM   #43
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I'm delighted to have sparked so much interest! Now I just hope you all enjoy the final choice.

issybird, I think one of your votes was for Eucalyptus. I do hope you enjoy it - I loved it. And yes, I can recommend Clive James' memoirs too, having just read the first three volumes one after the other. I had read Unreliable Memoirs about his childhood many years ago, but then found the three in one edition on Kobo and couldn't resist getting it.

I watched American Visions, but haven't read the book. I'm glad you enjoyed it, desertblues. Robert Hughes was a great art critic and really shared his passion with his audience. He's a sad loss.
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Old 10-05-2013, 08:09 PM   #44
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Discussion thread is up here.

All this talk of Australian lit is making me realise how little I know of it. It's odd because though I hadn't read a lot of it, I always thought I at least knew a bit about it, enough for an overview anyway. But now I see that is not the case!

In regard to that top 50 list, Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of my favourite films of all time from any country, but I haven't read the book (though it's been on my to-read list forever). I've also seen the film of My Brilliant Career which is also a very fine film, but again haven't read the book. And, I've seen The Thornbirds miniseries, and I'd like to eventually read the book even if it isn't high lit.

As far as ones on the top 50 list that I've actually read, let me work it out here - hmm one plus three minus five to the second power divided by zero times eight and I think that adds up to about....absolutely none! We have had a few as nominations for both book clubs here and there though including this month, and Year of Wonders was our selection one month. I was going to read it, but was planning on reading it a little later than most and by the time I was getting close to starting, some reviews in the discussion thread led me to put it off for the moment, though I'm still glad for caleb72 making me aware of it and still think it sounds quite interesting. But as I see The Secret River is on the list, that'll be one down at least.

Like desertblues, Death of a River Guide looked especially interesting to me this month, but they all looked interesting and it was pretty hard for me to decide how to vote (and I ended up voting for more than half). The only one I was really rooting against was All That I Am, and not because it looked bad but because it was the only one that (perhaps erroneously) sounded like it might not really showcase Australia as much - not that that matters really, but Bookpossum put me in the mood for something very Australian!

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Old 10-05-2013, 10:03 PM   #45
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In regard to that top 50 list, Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of my favourite films of all time from any country, but I haven't read the book (though it's been on my to-read list forever).
Me too. I have quite a history with that place. My father taught in the school the girls came from and I shared a house with one of the founders of the current iteration of that school. My family used to go there and I always had the romantic notion of finding some amazing secret there.

I live quite near Hanging Rock now and I still love to go there and to Mount Macedon (where the school is). I don't think the place will ever lose its appeal to me.

And yet......I haven't read the book!!

Honestly, I should be ashamed.
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