5 Reasons To Read The First Third By Will Kostakis

It recently hit me that I hadn’t read The First Third by Will Kostakis yet and this is a huge tragedy. Why? Because this is a diverse Australian YA contemporary and it came out in 2013, so why did it take me so long to read it?! I’m glad I launched in this year, because it was stupendous. I definitely recommend it.

And in case you need more convincing, I have a glorious list of 5 reasons why you should try this book!

9780143568179What’s it About?

Life is made up of three parts: in The First Third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made. That’s how Billy’s grandmother explains it, anyway. She’s given him her bucket list (cue embarrassment), and now, it’s his job to glue their family back together. No pressure or anything. Fixing his family is not going to be easy and Billy’s not ready for change. But as he soon discovers, the first third has to end some time. And then what? It’s a Greek tragedy waiting to happen.

 

6 Reasons To Read The First Third

1. It’s about a Greek family!

I personally think this is immensely exciting because firstly (A) yay for diversity in YA fiction, and (B) Greek culture is absolutely wonderful and I was so excited to dive into more of it! Bill has been raised in Australia but his grandmother is still very very Greek and he abides by a lot of Greek traditions. I loved absorbing the bits and pieces of culture as I read.

 

2. It’s very family focused.

Of course there is romance, because Bill is 17 and kind of concerned that he’s never managed to keep a girlfriend (like, he kisses them and they run away #awkward). But the book is more focused on his Grandmother who’s in hospital for liver failure, and on Bill’s two brothers. Bill’s brothers are…let’s just say…not the best and his older brother lives in Brisbane and is NEVER around. And his younger brother is deep in a moody-angsty-teen stage. Bill’s way of trying to relate and connect them is equal parts hilarious and endearing.

 

3. There is so much Greek food.

Hello to reading about GLORIOUS GREEK FOOD! My mouth was literally watering at all the descriptions. The very first chapters is a messy and chaotic meal (with a hundred dishes in Tupperware containers) in the hospital with the grandma. It’s hilarious and delicious. Wait I’m not even sure I should be praising this book here because it made me downright hungry. Excuse me while I go devour my paperback.

 

4. It involves a bucket list.

I’m so addicted to lists. I write lists ALL THE TIME. So any book that involves a list is going to turn me into a wildly rabid fan. Even though Bill’s grandmother’s liver problem isn’t being dubbed as fatal or anything, she still has written a bucket list and demanded that Bill complete it for her. It basically involves getting his mother a new husband and getting his brothers to start talking. So, just all slightly impossible.

 

5. It really values friendship too!

Bill has an epic friend, Lucas, who is downright hilarious, gay, and also has cerebral palsy. I loved their banter and how eager Lucas was to help Bill complete the impossible bucket list — even though the way they go about it is sometimes dubious. But they were totally friendship goals. I loved them!

 

[purchase here]

Aussie New Releases To Look Forward To

There are several books by Australian authors being published in the last six months of the year that I’m really looking forward to, so I thought I’d share them with you.

The first is already out, and it’s Kate Forsyth‘s Dancing With Knives.  Set on a farm outside Narooma in NSW, Dancing With Knives is a rural murder mystery and a story about love and family secrets.

Rebecca James (author of Beautiful Malice and Sweet Damage) is gearing up for the launch of Cooper Bartholomew is Dead in early October.  Cooper Bartholomew is Dead is a psychological thriller centred around the death of Cooper Bartholomew, and his group of friends, one of which is keeping a dangerous secret.

Kate Morton (author of The Forgotten Garden and The Secret Keeper) is releasing her fifth novel in October this year and I’m so excited about it.  Untitled and simply called Book 5 for now, we don’t know what’s it’s about yet, but given she’s one of my favourite Australian authors, I’m sure it’s going to be a delicious page-turner.Matthew Reilly book cover The Great Zoo of China

Matthew Reilly is releasing a block-buster action monster-movie of a novel (his words) called The Great Zoo of China on 10 November.  China has discovered a new species of animal and is preparing to unveil their amazing find in the form of the largest zoo in human history.  The Chinese re-assure a media contingent invited to tour the zoo that it’s perfectly safe; however if Matthew Reilly is involved, you know that nothing’s ever safe.  You can click here to watch a short video of Matthew Reilly telling us about The Great Zoo of China, or pre-order it now and receive 30% off.

Candice Fox (author of Hades) featured here on the blog in January this year, and her latest book in the Bennett/Archer series Eden, is due out later this year.  Click here to read the Player Profile with Candice conducted by Jon Page.

Australian music personality Molly Meldrum has written a memoir called The Never Ever Ending Story, and is said to contain plenty of stories about some of the many rock and pop stars he interviewed throughout his career.  The Never Ever Ending Story is due to be released in November.

Another iconic member of the Australian music industry has to be John Williamson.  In the aptly named Hey, True Blue, John Williamson takes readers through his life story and his success as a singer.

So, that’s it from me, but what new Australian books are you looking forward to?

No. 1 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counted down the Top 24 Novels between 1 December 2010 and Christmas Eve…

At #1 – The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs

47.2% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie is a series of books written by Australian author May Gibbs. The books chronicle the adventures of the eponymous Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. The central story arc concerns Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (who are essentially homunculi) and their adventures along with troubles with the villains of the story, the “Banksia Men”.

The first book of the series, Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: Their Wonderful Adventures was published in 1918.

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the gumnut babies, are the protagonists of the story and are modelled on the appearance of young Eucalyptus (gum tree) nuts. The female gumnut babies, however, have their hair, hats and skirts modelled on Eucalyptus flowers.

May Gibbs based some of the characters and scenery on the plants found in the bushland of Bunbury, Western Australia, where she played as a child. The “big bad” Banksia Men are the villains of the story and are modelled on the appearance of aged Banksia “cones”, with follicles for eyes and other facial features.

Source: Wikipedia

About May Gibbs (Books by May Gibbs…)

Cecilia May Gibbs MBE (17 January 1877 – 27 November 1969) was an Australian children’s author, illustrator, and cartoonist. She is best-known for her gumnut babies (also known as “bush babies” or “bush fairies”), and the book Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

Cecilia May Gibbs was born in Kent, in the United Kingdom, to Herbert William Gibbs and Cecilia Rogers, who were both talented people. She was their second child, and as she was named after her mother, had the nickname “Mamie”. The family moved to South Australia to set up a farm in 1879 due to Herbert’s failing eyesight, the result of a boyhood injury. However, as May had caught the measles, her father and uncle went to Australia, leaving her mother in England to care for the children. On 1 June 1881, the Gibbs brothers arrived in South Australia, and began to look for the land arranged for them by a relative of theirs. Over the next few months, the brothers became disillusioned with the land. Cecilia discovered that she was pregnant again, and decided to make the voyage to Australia with her children. Despite her parents’ dismay, Cecilia and the children left, and her third child, Ivan, was born at sea. A drought in the area caused the family to move again, to Norwood. In 1885, the family moved again to a farm property in Harvey, Western Australia. When May was eight years old, she was given a pony by her father.

May enjoyed exploring the bush riding her pony, Brownie,and began to paint and write about the bush at this time. This period of her childhood, and her imaginative interpretation of the bush, was formative in the development of the anthropmorphic bush setting found in her work. When May was 10, the family moved to Perth, and in 1889 May was published for the first time – in the Christmas edition of the W.A. Bulletin. A number of return trips to England found her absent from that state, but in 1905 May was working for the Western Mail. After finishing school, Gibbs spent seven years studying art in the UK. While overseas, she published her first book, About Us. In 1913 she returned to Australia, and took up residence in Neutral Bay, in Sydney, New South Wales.

1913 also marked the first public appearance of the gumnut babies, on the front cover of The Missing Button, by Ethel Turner, which Gibbs had illustrated. Gibbs’ first book about the gumnut babies, appropriately titled Gumnut Babies, was published in 1916. It was soon followed, in 1918, by her most famous work, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. Gibbs wrote many books on the theme of the gumnut babies. In addition to her work illustrating and writing, Gibbs also maintained two comic strips, Bib and Bub 1924-1967 and Tiggy Touchwood 1925-1931. The comic strips were published in newspapers in most Australian states and also in New Zealand.

Gibbs married Bertram James Ossoli Kelly, a mining agent, who she met in 1919 during a visit to Perth. May Gibbs died in 1969, but her legacy to children lives on. Gibbs bequeathed the copyright from the designs of her bush characters and her stories to Northcott Disability Services (formerly The NSW Society for Crippled Children) and The Spastic Centre of NSW. The residue of her estate was left to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.

Source: Wikipedia

The Full List

#1 – The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs

#2 – The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

#3 – Storm Boy by Colin Thiele

#4 – Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

#5 – The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

#6 – Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

#7 – Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

#8 – I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall

#9 – Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

#10 – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

#11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 2 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #2 – The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

46.5% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

The Power of One is a novel by Bryce Courtenay, first published in 1989. Set in South Africa during the 1930s and 1940s, it tells the story of an Anglo-African boy who, through the course of the story, acquires the nickname of Peekay.

It is written from the first person perspective, with Peekay narrating (as an adult, looking back) and trusting the reader with his thoughts and feelings, as opposed to a detailed description of places and account of actions.

When his mother suffers from a nervous breakdown, five-year-old Peekay is sent to a tiny rural Afrikaans boarding school. He is severely bullied and teased for being English (anti-English sentiment was widespread amongst Afrikaners following their defeat in the Boer war). Peekay is especially bullied by “the Judge”, a cruel, avid Nazi supporter and the oldest student.

At the end of the year, traumatized from his experiences, Peekay is informed that he will not be returning to the farm, rather, he will be going to the East Transvaal town of Barberton, where his grandfather lives after the outbreak of Newcastle disease on his previous home.

On the train to Barberton, Peekay befriends Hoppie Groenewald, a guard. Groenewald shares his love of boxing with Peekay. After seeing him win a boxing match, Peekay is mesmerised with the sport and vows to become the welterweight champion of the world. However, the next day Hoppie departs to fight in a war, and Hoppie’s friend Hetty dies on the train Peekay is travelling on.

When Peekay arrives in Barberton, he realises both his academic and physical potential. He excels in his grades and fights the children of the school. He becomes a frequent winner, never having lost a match.

Peekay encounters numerous friends in Barberton, including a professor of music, Prof. Karl von Vollesteen, and a coloured prisoner, Geel Piet, who coaches him in boxing. They form alliances, and each believe that all humans have equal rights. Along with the librarian, Mrs. Boxall, they establish the ‘Sandwich Fund’, which helps to supply the families of people in the Barberton prison.

Over the course of his childhood and young adulthood, Peekay builds confidence in his boxing. He also learns that racism is the primary force of evil and builds compassion and empathy for the mistreated blacks and coloureds of apartheid South Africa. Geel Piet, who has a white parent and a black parent, is constantly the target of racism and has perfected taking more than he is entitled to from the prison system.

Source: Wikipedia

About Bryce Courtenay (Books by Bryce Courtenay…)

Arthur Bryce Courtenay AM (born 14 August 1933) is a South-African-born naturalised Australian novelist and one of Australia’s most commercially successful authors.

Born in Johannesburg, Courtenay spent most of his early years in a small village in the Lebombo Mountains in South Africa’s Limpopo province. In 1955, while studying journalism in London, Courtenay met his future wife, Benita, and eventually emigrated to Australia. They married in 1959 and had three sons, Brett, Adam and Damon.

Courtenay now lives in Bowral, New South Wales, with his partner, Christine Gee.

His novels are primarily set in either Australia, his adopted country, or South Africa, the country of his birth. His first book, The Power of One, was published in 1989 and, despite Courtenay’s fears that it would never sell, quickly became one of Australia’s best-selling books by any living author. The story has since been made into a film—as well as being re-released in an edition for children.

Courtenay is one of Australia’s most commercially successful authors. He has built up this success over the long-term by promoting himself and developing a relationship with readers as much as marketing his books; for instance, he gives away up to 2,500 books free each year to readers he meets in the street.

Despite his success in Australia, only The Power of One has been published in the United States. Courtenay claims that this is because “American publishers for the most part have difficulties about Australia, they are interested in books in their own country first and foremost”.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#2 – The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

#3 – Storm Boy by Colin Thiele

#4 – Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

#5 – The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

#6 – Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

#7 – Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

#8 – I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall

#9 – Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

#10 – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

#11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

The Novels that were LEAST POPULAR in our Most Popular Aussie Novels Survey

We’ve only got a few novels to go in our Top 24 Most Popular Aussie Novels survey….

We thought we’d publish a list of the novels that came in last 20 places on the survey – these were the least  popular novels on our original list of 124 books.

And here they are:

  • 105 – DREWE, Robert – Our Sunshine – read by 2.5% of all respondents
  • 106 – STEAD, Christina – For Love Alone – 2.4%
  • 107 – CARROLL, Steve – The Time We Have Taken – 2.3%
  • 108 – HARTNETT, Sonya – Surrender – 2.3%
  • 109 – HYLAND, M.J. – Carry Me Down – 2.2%
  • 110 – KOCH, Christopher – Highways to a War – 2.1%
  • 111 – CAREY, Peter – Parrot and Olivier in America – 2.0%
  • 112 – STOW, Randolph – To the Islands – 2.0%
  • 113 – HYLAND, M.J. – How the Light Gets In – 1.9%
  • 114 – COETZEE, J.M. – Life and Times of Michael K – 1.8%
  • 115 – MOORHOUSE, Frank – Dark Palace – 1.6%
  • 116 – ASTLEY, Thea – The Slow Natives – 1.6%
  • 117 – KOCH, Christopher – The Doubleman – 1.1%
  • 118 – MCDONALD, Roger – The Ballad of Desmond Kale – 1.0%
  • 119 – ASTLEY, Thea – The Acolyte – 0.9%
  • 120 – ASTLEY, Thea – The Well Dressed Explorer – 0.7%
  • 121 – SCOTT, Kim – Benang: From the Heart – 0.7%
  • 122 – HAZZARD, Shirley – The Bay of Noon – 0.6%
  • 123 – KENEALLY, Thomas – People’s Train – 0.6%
  • 124 – FOSTER, David – Glade within the Grove – 0.6%

No. 3 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #3 – Storm Boy by Colin Thiele

45.2% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for Storm Boy by Colin Thiele

Storm Boy is a 1964 Australian children’s book by Colin Thiele and a 1976 film about a boy and his pelican. The book concentrates on the relationships he has with his father, the pelican, and an outcast Aboriginal man called Fingerbone.

The film adaptation Storm Boy won the Jury and best Film prizes at the 1977 AFI Awards. The film starred Australian Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil in the role of Fingerbone.

Storm Boy likes to wander alone along the fierce deserted coast among the dunes that face out into the Southern Ocean. After a pelican mother is shot, Storm Boy rescues the 3 chicks, Mr Proud, Mr Ponder and Mr Percival and nurses them back to health. He releases them and his favourite one returns after being released and he names it “Mr Percival”. The story then concentrates on the conflict between his lifestyle and the externally imposed requirement for him to attend a school, and the fate of the pelican.

Source: Wikipedia

About Colin Thiele (Books by Colin Thiele…)

Colin Milton Thiele, AC (16 November 1920 – 5 September 2006) was an Australian author and educator. He was renowned for his award-winning children’s fiction, most notably the novels Storm Boy, Blue Fin, the Sun on the Stubble series, and February Dragon.

Thiele was born in Eudunda in South Australia to a Barossa German family. The young Colin only spoke German until he went to school in Julia Creek. He was educated at several country schools including Kapunda High School before studying at the University of Adelaide, graduating in 1941. He served with the Australian Army and RAAF attaining the rank of corporal during World War II and later taught in high schools and colleges.

Thiele wrote more than 100 books, which often described life in rural Australia, particularly the Eudunda, Barossa Valley, and Murray River/Coorong regions of South Australia. Several of his books have been made into films or television series, including Sun on the Stubble, The Fire in the Stone, Blue Fin and Storm Boy.

In 1977 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia, the second highest level of the order, for his services to literature and education.

Thiele suffered from severe arthritis from 1955 and in his later years left South Australia to settle in warmer conditions near Dayboro, Queensland.

On 4 September 2006 Thiele died from heart failure in a Brisbane hospital, aged 85. He was survived by his wife, Rhonda, two children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Media coverage of his death was minimal, as he had died on the same day as Australian media personality Steve Irwin.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#3 – Storm Boy by Colin Thiele

#4 – Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

#5 – The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

#6 – Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

#7 – Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

#8 – I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall

#9 – Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

#10 – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

#11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 4 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #4 – Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

38.5% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

Picnic at Hanging Rock is Joan Lindsay’s best known work. It was made into a 1975 feature film by producers Patricia Lovell, Hal and Jim McElroy, and director Peter Weir. The story is fiction, though Lindsay dropped hints that it was based on an actual event.

Picnic at Hanging Rock centres around a trip by a party of girls from Appleyard College, a fictitious upper class private boarding school, who travel to Hanging Rock in the Mount Macedon area, Victoria, for a picnic on Valentine’s Day 1900. The excursion ends in tragedy when three of the girls, and later one their teachers, mysteriously vanish while climbing the rock. No reason for their disappearance is ever given, and one of the missing girls who is later found has no memory of what has happened to her companions. A fourth girl who also climbed the rock with the group is of little help in solving the mystery, having returned in hysterics for reasons she cannot explain.

The disappearances provoke much local concern and international sensation with sexual molestation, abduction and murder being high on the list of possibile outcomes. Several organized searches of the picnic grounds and the area surrounding the rock itself turn up nothing. Meanwhile the students, teachers and staff of the college, as well as members of the community, grapple with the riddle-like events. A young man on a private search locates one of the missing girls, but is himself found in an unexplained daze – yet another victim of the rock. Concerned parents begin withdrawing their daughters from the formerly prestigious college and several of the staff, including the headmistress, either resign or meet with tragic ends. We are told that both the College, and the Woodend Police Station where records of the investigation were kept, are destroyed by fire shortly afterwards.

Lindsay based Appleyard College, the setting for the novel, on the school she attended, Clyde Girls Grammar School at East St Kilda, Melbourne, which incidentally in 1919 was transferred to Woodend, Victoria, in the immediate vicinity of Hanging Rock itself.

Source: Wikipedia

About Joan Lindsay

Joan Lindsay, Lady Lindsay (16 November 1896 – 23 December 1984) was an Australian author, best known for her “ambiguous and intriguing” novel Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Joan à Beckett Weigall was born in St Kilda East, Victoria, Australia, the third daughter of Theyre à Beckett Weigall, a prominent judge who was related to the Boyd family, perhaps Australia’s most famous and prolific artistic dynasty. Her mother was Ann Sophie Weigall née Hamilton.

From 1916 to 1919 Joan studied painting at the National Gallery School, Melbourne. In 1920 she began sharing a Melbourne studio with Maie Ryan (later Lady Casey). Joan exhibited her watercolours and oils at two Melbourne exhibitions and also exhibited with the Victorian Artists Society.

Joan Weigall married Daryl Lindsay in London, on St. Valentine’s Day 1922. The day was always a special occasion for her, and she set her most famous work, Picnic at Hanging Rock, on St. Valentine’s Day. Daryl was the youngest of a noted family of artists and writers, the most famous of whom was Norman Lindsay.

Daryl later abandoned painting to become Director of the National Gallery of Victoria. Daryl was knighted in 1956, thus Joan became Lady Lindsay.

The Lindsays had no children. They donated their Mulberry Hill house to the National Trust upon her death. It is open to the public on weekends and some weekdays. Lady Lindsay died in Melbourne in 1984 of natural causes.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#4 – Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

#5 – The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

#6 – Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

#7 – Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

#8 – I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall

#9 – Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

#10 – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

#11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 5 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #5 – The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

36.2% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

The Thorn Birds is a 1977 best-selling novel by Colleen McCullough, an Australian author.

Set primarily on Drogheda, a fictional sheep station in the Australian outback, The Thorn Birds is the unforgettable story of the Clearys, spanning three generations.

The book’s title refers to a mythical bird that searches for thorn trees from the day it is hatched. When it finds the perfect thorn, it impales itself, and sings the most beautiful song ever heard as it dies.

In 1983 it was adapted as a television mini-series that, during its television run March 27-30, became the United States’ second highest rated mini-series of all time.

The mini-series starred Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, Christopher Plummer, Bryan Brown, Mare Winningham, Philip Anglim, and Jean Simmons. It was directed by Daryl Duke.

Source: Wikipedia

About Colleen McCullough (Books by Colleen McCullough…)

Colleen McCullough-Robinson, AO, is an internationally acclaimed Australian author.

McCullough was born in Wellington, in outback central west New South Wales, in 1937 to James and Laurie McCullough. Her mother was a New Zealander of part-M?ori descent. During her childhood, her family moved around a great deal, and she was also “a voracious reader”. Her family eventually settled in Sydney, and she attended Holy Cross College, having a strong interest in the humanities.

Before entering tertiary education, she previously earned a living as a teacher, librarian, and journalist. In her first year of medical studies at the University of Sydney she suffered dermatitis from surgical soap and was told to abandon her dreams of becoming a medical doctor. Instead, she switched to neuroscience and worked in Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.

In 1963 she moved for four years to the United Kingdom; at the Great Ormond Street hospital in London, she met the chairman of the neurology department at Yale University who offered her a research associate job at Yale. McCullough spent ten years from April 1967 to 1976 researching and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. It was while at Yale that her first two books were written.

The success of these books enabled her to give up her medical-scientific career and to try and “live on her own terms” In the late 1970s, after stints in London and Connecticut, USA, she finally settled on the isolation of Norfolk Island in the Pacific, where she met her husband, Ric Robinson (then aged 33), whom she married on 13 April 1983 (she was aged 46).

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#5 – The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

#6 – Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

#7 – Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

#8 – I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall

#9 – Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

#10 – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

#11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 6 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #6 – Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

35.9% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Josephine Alibrandi is a third generation Italian Australian completing her last year of high school. She is the School Vice-Captain of St Martha’s in Sydney. Josie learns to overcome the narrow minded social and racial bigotry of people like Ivy Lloyd (Poison Ivy) and Carly Bishop. Josie reacts angrily to derogatory terms like wog and ethnic. She ultimately learns to have pride in her heritage and by the end of the novel is proud to say I’m Australian with Italian blood flowing rapidly through my veins.

The absence of her father for Josie’s first sixteen years means she has been heavily influenced by two powerful and strong women: her mother Christina and her grandmother Katia (Nonna). Josie unravels Nonna’s deepest secret, which is the adultery she committed with her Australian lover, Marcus Sandford. Josephine’s father, Michael Andretti, visits and despite Josie’s initial anger at his presence, he becomes extremely close to her and her to him.

Friends such as Sera, Anna and Lee influence Josie’s choices throughout her last year. A greater influence comes from her boyfriend Jacob Coote, and her crush, John Barton, whose suicide has a great emotional impact on her.

The story is Josephine’s reflection in her final year at high school and the narrative style is first person.

Looking for Alibrandi is a novel written for ages between 12 and above, it reveals a great understanding of what life is about. Josephine realises by the end of the novel what life has in place for her future, and what she does and doesn’t take for granted.

Source: Wikipedia

About Melina Marchetta (Books by Melina Marchetta…)

Melina Marchetta was born in Sydney on March 25, 1965. She is of Italian descent. Melina attended high school at Rosebank College in the Sydney suburb of Five Dock. She left school at age fifteen as she was not confident in her academic ability. She then enrolled in a business school where she gained useful office skills, such as typing, which helped her gain employment with The Commonwealth Bank of Australia and later at a travel agency where she worked as a consultant. This work gave her confidence to return to school and gain a teaching degree. She then got a job teaching at St Mary’s Cathedral College, Sydney in the heart of the Sydney CBD until 2006. She now writes full time.

Her first novel Looking for Alibrandi was released in 1992 to much acclaim with a first print-run sellout within two months of its release. Published in 14 countries, including 11 translated editions, Looking for Alibrandi swept the pool of literary awards for young adult fiction in 1993 including the coveted Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Award (Older Readers). Dubbed “the most stolen library book” the popular novel has sold more than half a million copies worldwide and was followed by her film adaptation of the same title released in 2000.

While writing the AFI award-winning screenplay Melina taught English and History full time for ten years at a city high school for boys. During that time she released her second novel Saving Francesca in 2003, followed by On the Jellicoe Road in 2006. Both novels have been published in more than 6 countries, with Saving Francesca translated into 4 languages. On the Jellicoe Road was recently awarded the prestigious 2009 US Michael Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature.

Melina’s fourth novel, the fantasy epic Finnikin of the Rock, was released by Penguin Australia in October 2008. It has since won the 2008 Aurelius Award for Best Young Adult Novel and the 2009 ABIA (Australian Booksellers Industry Awards) Book of the Year for Older Children, and was recently shortlisted for the 2009 Children’s Book Council of the Year (Older Readers) Award. In the USA Finnikin has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist and Bulletin Centre for Children’s Books.

Her fifth novel The Piper’s Son was released earlier this year.

The List so far…

#6 – Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

#7 – Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

#8 – I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall

#9 – Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

#10 – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

#11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 7 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #7 – Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

34.5% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

Tomorrow, When the War Began is the first book in the Tomorrow novel series by John Marsden. It is a young adult invasion novel, detailing a high-intensity invasion and occupation of Australia by a foreign power. The novel is told in first person perspective by the main character, a teenage girl named Ellie Linton, who is part of a small band of teenagers waging a guerrilla war on the enemy garrison in their fictional home town of Wirrawee.

Tomorrow, When the War Began was adapted into a feature film of the same name that was released on 2 September 2010 in Australia and New Zealand. It was written and directed by Stuart Beattie, and starred Caitlin Stasey in the role of Ellie Linton.

Ellie goes out camping in the bush for a week with her friends Homer Yannos, Lee, Kevin Holmes, Corrie Mackenzie, Robyn Mathers and Fiona Maxwell. They find a way into a large, vegetated sinkhole in a remote area of bush the locals have dubbed “Hell”, and camp there for the week. During this time they see large numbers of planes flying through the night without lights, and though it is mentioned in conversation the following morning, they think little of it, dismissing it as military planes heading back from a demonstration.

When they return to their home town of Wirrawee, they find that all the people are missing and their pets and livestock are dead or dying. Fearing the worst, they break into three groups to investigate Wirrawee’s situation. They confirm that Australia (or at least, Wirrawee) has been invaded and local citizens are being held captive by a hostile foreign force. Ellie’s group is discovered and, in order to escape, use the fuel tank of a ride-on lawnmower to create an improvised explosive. However, on returning to the nearby meeting point, they discover Robyn and Lee missing. Homer and Ellie search for them and they are met by Robyn, and they discover that Lee has been shot in the leg and hiding out in the main street of Wirrawee, the centre of the enemy’s activity. Ellie and Homer confer with the others and Ellie decides that they should attempt to rescue Lee, using a large excavator to move and protect him. After a protacted chase that sees several soldiers killed, Lee is successfully rescued and returned to the safety of Hell.

While hiding out in Hell, a romantic relationship forms between Ellie and Lee; Homer falls in love with Fi; Kevin and Corrie continue a romantic relationship started a few months before the invasion.

They decide to raid nearby farmhouses, searching for food and other supplies, and then retreat to Hell to establish a base camp for themselves. The group eventually moves toward waging a guerrilla war against the invaders and Ellie, Fi, Lee and Homer steal a petrol tanker, and blow it up under a bridge, destroying the easiest route into Wirrawee (the detour was very slow and complicated). While this is happening Corrie is shot in the back while finding food with Kevin, and Kevin sacrifices his freedom to drive her to an occupied hospital for medical assistance. This leads onto the end of the book which stops there leaving the reader wondering if Corrie will be all right.

Source: Wikipedia

About John Marsden (Books by John Marsden…)

John Marsden (born 27 September 1950) is an Australian writer, teacher and school principal. Marsden has had his books translated into nine languages including Swedish, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Italian and Spanish.

Marsden was born in Victoria, Australia and spent his early life in Kyneton, Victoria, Devonport, Tasmania and Sydney, New South Wales. At age 28, after working several jobs, Marsden began a teaching course. Whilst working as a teacher, Marsden began writing for children, and had his first book, So Much To Tell You, published in 1987. Since then, he has written or edited over 40 books and has sold over 5 million books throughout the world.

In 2006, Marsden started an alternative school, Candlebark School in the Macedon Ranges, in which he is the school principal. Marsden has since reduced his writing to focus on teaching and running the school.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#7 – Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

#8 – I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall

#9 – Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

#10 – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

#11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 8 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #8 – I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall

33.2% of all respondents have read this book

About Alan Marshall and I Can Jump Puddles

Alan Marshall (2 May 1902, Noorat, Victoria — 21 January 1984, Melbourne) was an Australian writer, story teller and social documenter.

His best known book, I Can Jump Puddles (1955) is the first of a three-part autobiography. The other two books are This is the Grass (1962) and In Mine Own Heart (1963).

When Marshall was six years old he contracted polio leaving him with a physical disability that grew worse as he grew older. From an early age, he resolved to be a writer, and in I Can Jump Puddles he demonstrated an almost total recall of his childhood in Noorat. The characters and places of his book are thinly disguised from real life: Mount Turalla is Mount Noorat, Lake Turalla is Lake Keilambete, the Curruthers are the Blacks, and his best friend, Joe from the books, is Leo Carmody.

Alan Marshall wrote numerous short stories, mainly set in the bush. He also wrote newspaper columns and magazine articles. He travelled widely in Australia and overseas. He also collected and published Indigenous Australian stories and legends.

In 1981 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation produced a nine part mini-series of Marshall’s autobiographical stories.The actor, Adam Garnett, won the 1982 Logie Awards for Best Performance by a Juvenile, for his role as Alan Marshall in the series.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#8 – I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall

#9 – Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

#10 – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

#11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 9 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #9 – Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

31.8% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

Playing Beatie Bow is an Australian children’s book written by Ruth Park and first published in 1980.

The story is set in Australia and is about a girl named Abigail (christened Lynette when she was born) who travels back in time to colonial Sydney-Town in the year 1873, where she meets Beatie Bow, a girl whose name has become part of Abigail’s local folklore. Much of the book is set in real-life locations around Sydney’s historical Rocks district.

Lynette Kirk was a happy young girl who was a cheery about her parents and life, until the day her father went off with another woman leaving her and her mother (Kathy). Lynette wanted nothing to do with her father so she changed her name to try to get everything about him out of her life. After wanting to be named after a witch she changed her name to Abigail, which her grandmother suggested.

She went down to the park with her young next door neighbours Natalie and Vincent, finding them playing a game called, ‘Beatie Bow’. After becoming very interested in a little girl that stood there watching them play (Little Furry Girl) she decided to follow her. This was after having a fight with her mother, when she told Abigail that she had been seeing her father again and that he wanted the two of them to move back in with him and live in Norway where his architectural job was located. Abigail did not take this news well – She went for a walk to cool off, when she once again saw the little furry girl and following her found that she had followed her back into her own time in the 1800s. She got tripped over by the Little Furry Girl’s father who gave Abigail the injury of spraining her ankle and causing a bruise her head.

Further into the novel the character Granny (Alice Tallisker) told Abigail that she was ‘the stranger’ and had ‘the gift’. ‘The gift’ came from the crochet on the top of her dress which enabled her to travel and heal. Later in the book it mentions that the crochet was going to be made by Granny as she had already made plans for it.

She falls in love with Judah, who was betrothed to Dovey, and realised firsthand what it’s like to love somebody but not be able to have them. This helped Abigail realise that she should not be selfish towards her parents and should let them have a second chance of a decent life and marriage. Judah and Abigail share a kiss which Beatie is able to see from the shore.

Abigail finally manages to get back to her own time, she discovers that her neighbors Natalie and Vincent are the descendants of the Bow family. Abigail also finds out that Beatie grows up to be quite a well educated lady and Judah dies at sea after marrying Dovey. After Abigail returns from Norway with her parents she meets Natalie and Vincent’s uncle, who looks precisely the same as Judah, the two fall in love and Abigail tells him the story of how she went back in time.

Source: Wikipedia

About Ruth Park (Books by Ruth Park…)

Ruth Park AM is a New Zealand-born author, who has spent most of her life in Australia. She has won many literary awards. Her best known works are the novels The Harp in the South (1948) and Playing Beatie Bow (1980), and the children’s radio serial The Muddle-Headed Wombat (1951-1970), which also spawned a book series (1962-1982).

She was born in Auckland as Rosina Lucia Park, and her family later moved to Te Kuiti further south in the North Island of New Zealand, where they lived in isolated areas. During the Great Depression her working class father worked on bush roads, as a driver, on relief work, as a sawmill hand, and finally shifted back to Auckland as council worker living in a state house.

After Catholic primary school Ruth won a partial scholarship to secondary school, but this was broken by periods of being unable to afford to attend. Later she worked at the Auckland Star before shifting to Australia in 1942. There she married the Australian writer D’Arcy Niland.

When contracted in 1942 to write a serial for the ABC Children’s Session, she wrote the series The Wide-awake Bunyip. When the lead actor Albert Collins died suddenly in 1951, she changed its direction and The Muddle-Headed Wombat was born, with first Leonard Teale then John Ewart in the title role. The series ended when the radio program folded in 1970. Such was its popularity that between 1962 and 1982 she wrote a series of children’s books around the character.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#9 – Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

#10 – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

#11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 10 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #10 – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

29.3% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

A Town Like Alice (U.S. title: The Legacy) is a novel by the British author Nevil Shute about a young Englishwoman in Malaya during World War II and in outback Australia post-war.

Jean Paget is just twenty years old and working in Malaya when the Japanese invasion begins. When she is captured she joins a group of other European women and children whom the Japanese force to march for miles through the jungle – an experience that leads to the deaths of many. Due to her courageous spirit and ability to speak Malay, Jean takes on the role of leader of the sorry gaggle of prisoners and many end up owing their lives to her indomitable spirit.

While on the march, the group run into some Australian prisoners, one of whom, Joe Harman, helps them steal some food, and is horrifically punished by the Japanese as a result. After the war, Jean tracks Joe down in Australia and together they begin to dream of surmounting the past and transforming his one-horse outback town into a thriving community like Alice Springs.

Source: Wikipedia

About Neville Shute (Books by Nevil Shute…)

Nevil Shute Norway (17 January 1899 – 12 January 1960) was a popular British novelist and a successful aeronautical engineer.

Born in Somerset Road, Ealing, London, he was educated at the Dragon School, Shrewsbury School and Balliol College, Oxford. He used Nevil Shute as his pen name, and his full name in his engineering career, in order to protect his engineering career from any potential negative publicity in connection with his novels.

By the outbreak of World War II, Shute was already a rising novelist. In 1948, after World War II, he flew his own Percival Proctor light airplane to Australia. On his return home, concerned about the general decline in his home country, he decided that he and his family would emigrate and so, in 1950, he settled with his wife and two daughters, on farmland at Langwarrin, south-east of Melbourne.

He had a brief career as a racing driver in Australia between 1956 and 1958, driving a white XK140 Jaguar. Some of this experience found its way into his book On the Beach. Many of his books were filmed, including Lonely Road, Pied Piper, On the Beach (in 1959 and also in 2000), No Highway (in 1951) and A Town Like Alice (in 1956). The last was serialised for Australian television in 1981.

Shute died in Melbourne in 1960.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#10 – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

#11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 11 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

29.0% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

Puberty Blues is a strongly autobiographical, proto-feminist teen novel about two 13-year-old southern Sydney suburbs girls attempting to improve their social status by ingratiating themselves with the “Greenhill gang” of surfers. The book was made into a movie in 1981.

Source: Wikipedia

About Kathy Lette (Books by Kathy Lette)

Kathy Lette (born 11 November 1958) is an Australian author who has written a number of bestselling books. Born in Sydney’s southern suburbs, she first attracted attention in 1979 as the co-author of Puberty Blues.

As an adult, Lette became a newspaper columnist and sitcom writer, but returned to the novel form with Girls’ Night Out in 1988 and has since written several more novels and plays, including Foetal Attraction, Mad Cows in 1996 (which was made into a film starring Joanna Lumley and Anna Friel) and Dead Sexy.

Despite her stereotyping of English people as condescending and unfriendly, Lette lives in London and is married to a fellow Australian expatriate, Geoffrey Robertson QC, whom she first met when appearing on his TV panel debate show Hypotheticals. They have two children, Julius and Georgina.

About Gabrielle Carey (Books by Gabrielle Carey)

Gabrielle Carey (born 10 January 1959) is an Australian writer noted for the teen novel Puberty Blues which she co-wrote with Kathy Lette.

Carey was born in Sydney, and was raised in an atheist, humanist household. While in Ireland in the mid-eighties she converted to the Catholic faith, becoming convinced of the importance of spirituality in everyday life. After a year in Ireland she left and lived for several years in a small village in Mexico, returning to Australia in the early 1990s.

Carey has a daughter, Brigid, and a son, Jimmy. She lives in Sydney and is a freelance writer, writing occasional articles for The Sydney Morning Herald and other newspapers. She currently works as a lecturer in writing at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 12 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

28.3% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

A Fortunate Life is an autobiographical novel written by Albert Facey and was written in 1981 (nine months before his death) and tells the complete story of his life. It chronicles his early life in Western Australia, his experiences as a private during the Gallipoli campaign of World War I and his return to civilian life after the war. It also documents his extraordinary life of hardship, loss, friendship and love.

Source: Wikipedia

About A.B. Facey (Books by A.B. Facey)

Albert Barnett Facey (31 August 1894 – February 1982) was an Australian writer, whose main work was his autobiography A Fortunate Life, now considered a classic in Australian literature.

He was born in Maidstone, Victoria, the son of Joseph Facey and Mary Ann (née Carr). His father died on the Goldfields of Western Australia in 1896 of typhoid fever and Albert’s mother left her children to the care of their grandmother shortly afterwards. In 1899 he moved from Victoria to Western Australia with his grandmother and three of his six older siblings. His childhood in Western Australia was spent in Wickepin, Pingelly, and at Cave Rock, near Popanyinning, which he writes about in Chapter 2, titled Cave Rock, of A Fortunate Life.

He started working on farms at the age of eight and had little education and therefore could not read or write. As a child he taught himself to read and write. By the age of 14 he was an experienced bushman, and at 18 a professional boxer.

On 4 January 1915, immediately after the outbreak of the First World War, Facey joined the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). As an infantryman with the 11th Battalion, he travelled to Egypt and fought during Gallipoli Campaign. Two of his brothers, Roy and Joseph, were killed during the campaign and Albert Facey was wounded at least twice. In August 1915, he was evacuated due to “heart trouble” (although the complaint was discovered many years later to have been a ruptured spleen) and invalided to Australia. While recuperating, Facey met Evelyn Mary Gibson,whom he married at Bunbury in August 1916. The couple had six children.

The Faceys lived in East Perth before returning to Wickepin six years later with their children, where they lived until 1934. Their eldest son, also named Albert Barnett Facey and known as Barney, joined the Second AIF during the Second World War and served with the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion during the Battle of Singapore, during which he was killed from a roadside bomb.

In later years, Facey began making notes on his life and, at the urging of his wife and children, eventually had the notes printed into a book. It was published just nine months before his death in February 1982.

His home in Wickepin is a tourist attraction today, while a government building on Forrest Place in the state capital, Perth, is named in his honour and is home to Perth’s main travel bureau and visitor centre. A public library in Mundaring, a street in Maidstone and a hotel in Narrogin also bear his name. The manuscripts of A Fortunate Life are housed in the Scholars’ Centre in the University of Western Australia Library.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 13 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

27.7% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

Cloudstreet is a novel by Australian writer Tim Winton. 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.

Precipitated by separate personal tragedies, two families flee their rural livings to share a “great continent of a house”, Cloudstreet, in the Perth suburb of Dalkeith. The two families are contrasts to each other; the Lambs find meaning in industry and in God’s grace; the Pickles, in luck. The Lambs’ God is a maker of miracles; the Pickles’ God is the ‘Shifty Shadow’ of fate. Though initially resistant to each other, their search and journey for meaning in life concludes with the uniting of the two families with many characters citing this as the most important aspect of their lives. As a novel, Cloudstreet is tightly structured, opening and ending with a shared celebratory family picnic – a joyous occasion which, ironically, is also the scene of Fish’s long sought-after death or return to the water. The novel is narrated effectively by flashback “in the seconds it takes to die” by Fish Lamb, or the ‘spiritual’ omniscient Fish Lamb, free of his restricting retarded state. As such the novel gives a voice to social minorities, the Australian working class and the disabled.

Source: Wikipedia

About Tim Winton (Books by Tim Winton…)

Timothy John Winton (born 4 August 1960), known as Tim Winton, is an Australian novelist and short story writer. He was born in Perth, Western Australia, but moved at a young age to the regional city of Albany.

Whilst studying at Curtin University of Technology, Winton wrote his first novel, An Open Swimmer, which won The Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 1981, launching his writing career. He has stated that he wrote “the best part of three books while at university”. His second book, Shallows, won the Miles Franklin Award in 1984. It wasn’t until Cloudstreet was published in 1991, however, that his writing career was properly established.

Winton has been named a Living Treasure by the National Trust and awarded the Centenary Medal for service to literature and the community. He is patron of the Tim Winton Award for Young Writers sponsored by the City of Subiaco, Western Australia. He has lived in Italy, France, Ireland and Greece but currently lives in Fremantle, near Perth, Western Australia with his wife and three children.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 14 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

27.7% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

Seven Little Australians (1894) is a classic Australian children’s novel by Ethel Turner. Set mainly in Sydney in the 1880s, it relates the adventures of the seven mischievous Woolcot children, their stern army father Captain Woolcot and flighty stepmother Esther. In 1994 the novel was the only book by an Australian author to have been continuously in print for 100 years.

The seven children of the title live in 1880s Sydney with their father, an army Captain who has little understanding of his children, and their twenty year-old stepmother Esther who can exert little discipline on them. Accordingly they wreak havoc wherever possible, for example by interrupting their parents while they entertain guests and asking for some of their dinner (implying to the guests that the children’s own dinner is inadequate).

After a prank by Judy and Pip embarrasses Captain Woolcot at his military barracks he orders that Judy, the ringleader, be sent away to boarding school in the Blue Mountains.
Meg comes under the influence of an older girl, Aldith, and tries to improve her appearance according to the fashions of the day. She and Aldith make the acquaintance of two young men, but Meg believes she has fallen in love with the older brother of one, Alan. When Aldith and Meg arrange to meet the young men for a walk, Meg is embarrassed after a note goes astray and Alan comes to the meeting instead and reproaches her for becoming ‘spoilt’, rather than remaining the sweet young girl she was. Meg returns home and later faints, having tight-laced her waist until it affects her health.

Unhappy away from her siblings, Judy runs away from school and returns home, hiding in a barn. Despite her ill-health as a result of walking for several days to get home, the other children conceal her presence from their father, but he discovers her. He plans to send her back to school however realises that she is suffering from tuberculosis, and she is allowed to remain at home.

In part to assist Judy’s recuperation, the children and Esther are invited to visit Esther’s parents at their sheep station Yarrahappini. One day the children go on a picnic far away from the property. A ringbarked tree falls and threatens to crush the youngest child, ‘the General’. Judy, who promised ‘on her life’ not to allow him to be harmed on the picnic, rushes to catch him and her body protects him from the tree. However her back is broken and she dies before help can be fetched.

After burying Judy on the property, the family returns home to Sydney sobered by her death. While ostensibly things remain the same, each character is slightly changed by their experience. In particular Captain Woolcot regrets the fact that he never really understood Judy and tries to treasure his remaining children a little more.

Source: Wikipedia

About Ethel Turner (Books by Ethel Turner…)

Ethel Turner was educated at Paddington Public School and Sydney Girls High School – she was one of the school’s original thirty-seven pupils.

She started her writing career at eighteen with her sister Lillian, with whom she founded the Parthenon, a journal for young people. As ‘Dame Durden’, she wrote children’s columns for the Illustrated Sydney News and later for the Town and Country Journal. In 1891, the family moved to Inglewood (now known as Woodlands[3]), a large house in Lindfield, now Killara, which was then out in the country. Inglewood still stands today in Werona Avenue and is where she wrote Seven Little Australians.

In 1896 Ethel married Herbert Raine Curlewis, a lawyer. After living in Mosman, they built their own house overlooking Middle Harbour. The house, Avenel, is where Ethel Turner spent the rest of her years. She survived her daughter, Jean Curlewis, who died of tuberculosis, by twenty five years. Jean Curlewis was also a writer of children’s books, although not as popular as her mother. Jean’s works include “The Ship That Never Set Sail”, “Drowning Maze” and “Beach Beyond” (1923). Ethel Turner died aged eighty-eight at Mosman on 8 April 1958.

Her best-known work is her first novel, Seven Little Australians (1894), which is widely considered a classic of Australian children’s literature and was an instant hit both in Australia and overseas. The book, together with its sequels The Family at Misrule (1895) and Little Mother Meg (1902) deal with the lives of the Woolcot family, particularly with its seven mischievous and rebellious children, in 1880s Australia. A companion to “Seven Little Australians”, Judy and Punch was published in 1928. Like her stepfather, the character of Captain Woolcot was a widower with six children. The book was made into a feature film in Australia in 1939 and a UK television series in 1953. A 10-episode television series was made in 1973 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Turner published a number of other books for children, short stories and poems. “Three Little Maids” (1900) is a strongly autobiographical novel about her family’s migration from England to Sydney, Australia. Turner wrote more than 40 novels. Some were about the mischievous Woolcots. Others were serialized like her books on the Cub and some were stand-alone. The children she wrote about were all adventurous and independent. They frequently got themselves into sticky situations and got themselves out of them with very little to no adult help.

Ethel Turner was awarded a number of prestigious literary awards and can easily be classed as one of Australia’s best-loved authors. The Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature is given annually under the auspices of the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 15 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

27.0% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

April Fool’s Day is a 1993 novel by Bryce Courtenay. The book describes the author’s son, Damon, a haemophiliac who contracted HIV/AIDS through a blood transfusion. The title refers to the date of Damon’s death, April 1 1991 (April Fools’ Day).

This is a tragic yet uplifting story. April Fool’s Day is controversial, painful and heartbreaking, yet has a gentle humour. It is also life-affirming, and, above all, a testimony to the incredible regenerative strength of love – how when we confront our worst, we can become our best. April Fool’s Day will change the way you think.

Source: Wikipedia

About Bryce Courtenay (Books by Bryce Courtenay…)

Arthur Bryce Courtenay AM (born 14 August 1933) is a South-African-born naturalised Australian novelist and one of Australia’s most commercially successful authors.

Born in Johannesburg, Courtenay spent most of his early years in a small village in the Lebombo Mountains in South Africa’s Limpopo province. In 1955, while studying journalism in London, Courtenay met his future wife, Benita, and eventually emigrated to Australia. They married in 1959 and had three sons, Brett, Adam and Damon.

Courtenay now lives in Bowral, New South Wales, with his partner, Christine Gee.

His novels are primarily set in either Australia, his adopted country, or South Africa, the country of his birth. His first book, The Power of One, was published in 1989 and, despite Courtenay’s fears that it would never sell, quickly became one of Australia’s best-selling books by any living author. The story has since been made into a film—as well as being re-released in an edition for children.

Courtenay is one of Australia’s most commercially successful authors. He has built up this success over the long-term by promoting himself and developing a relationship with readers as much as marketing his books; for instance, he gives away up to 2,500 books free each year to readers he meets in the street.

Despite his success in Australia, only The Power of One has been published in the United States. Courtenay claims that this is because “American publishers for the most part have difficulties about Australia, they are interested in books in their own country first and foremost”.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 16 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

27.0% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

The Harp in the South was published in 1948. It portrays the life of a Catholic Irish Australian family living in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, which was at that time an inner city slum. In 1949, Ruth Park published Poor Man’s Orange as a sequel to The Harp in the South. A prequel, Missus, was published in 1985.

Source: Wikipedia

About Ruth Park (Books by Ruth Park…)

Ruth Park AM is a New Zealand-born author, who has spent most of her life in Australia. She has won many literary awards. Her best known works are the novels The Harp in the South (1948) and Playing Beatie Bow (1980), and the children’s radio serial The Muddle-Headed Wombat (1951-1970), which also spawned a book series (1962-1982).

She was born in Auckland as Rosina Lucia Park, and her family later moved to Te Kuiti further south in the North Island of New Zealand, where they lived in isolated areas. During the Great Depression her working class father worked on bush roads, as a driver, on relief work, as a sawmill hand, and finally shifted back to Auckland as council worker living in a state house.

After Catholic primary school Ruth won a partial scholarship to secondary school, but this was broken by periods of being unable to afford to attend. Later she worked at the Auckland Star before shifting to Australia in 1942. There she married the Australian writer D’Arcy Niland.

When contracted in 1942 to write a serial for the ABC Children’s Session, she wrote the series The Wide-awake Bunyip. When the lead actor Albert Collins died suddenly in 1951, she changed its direction and The Muddle-Headed Wombat was born, with first Leonard Teale then John Ewart in the title role. The series ended when the radio program folded in 1970. Such was its popularity that between 1962 and 1982 she wrote a series of children’s books around the character.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 17 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

26.3% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

The heroine, Sybylla Melvyn, is an imaginative, headstrong girl growing up in rural Australia in the 1890s. Drought and a series of poor business decisions reduce her family to subsistence level, her father begins to drink excessively, and Sybylla struggles to deal with the monotony of her life. To her relief, she is sent to live on her grandmother’s property, where life is more comfortable. There she meets wealthy young Harry Beecham, who loves her and proposes marriage; convinced of her ugliness and aware of her tomboyish ways, Sybylla is unable to believe that he could really love her. By this time, her father’s drinking has got the family into debt, and she is sent to work as governess/housekeeper for the family of an almost illiterate neighbour to whom her father owes money. She finds life there unbearable and eventually suffers a physical breakdown which leads to her return to the family home. When Harry Beecham returns to ask Sybylla to marry him, she concludes that she would only make him unhappy and sends him away, determined never to marry. The novel ends with no suggestion that she will ever have the “brilliant career” as a writer that she desires.

Source: Wikipedia

About Miles Franklin (Books by Miles Franklin…)

Miles Franklin (born “Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin”; 14 October 1879 – 19 September 1954) was an Australian writer and feminist who is best known for her autobiographical novel, My Brilliant Career, published in 1901. While she wrote throughout her life, her other major literary success, All That Swagger, was not published until 1936.

Franklin was committed to the development of a uniquely Australian form of literature, and she actively pursued this goal by supporting writers, literary journals, and writers’ organisations. She has had a long-lasting impact on Australian literary life through her endowment of a major literary award known as the Miles Franklin Award.

Franklin was born at Talbingo, New South Wales, and grew up in the Brindabella Valley. She was the eldest child of Australian-born parents, John Maurice Franklin and Susannah Margaret Eleanor Franklin, née Lampe Her family was a member of the squattocracy.

After the publication of My Brilliant Career, Franklin tried a career in nursing, and then as a housemaid in Sydney and Melbourne. Whilst doing this she contributed pieces to The Daily Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald under the pseudonyms “An Old Bachelor” and “Vernacular.” During this period she wrote My Career Goes Bung in which Sybylla encounters the Sydney literary set. The book proved too hot to publish and did not become available to the public until 1946.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 18 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

25.1% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

Jessica is a historical novel based on fact by Bryce Courtenay. It was published in 1998 and like other works from this author covers several years in the life of the main character: Jessica Burgman. It was adapted into a mini-series starring Leeanna Walsman and Sam Neill which aired on Australian television in 2004.

Jessica is based on the inspiring true story of a young girl’s fight for justice against tremendous odds. A tomboy, Jessica is the pride of her father, as they work together on the struggling family farm. One quiet day, the peace of the bush is devastated by a terrible murder. Only Jessica is able to save the killer from the lynch mob – but will justice prevail in the courts? Nine months later, a baby is born…with Jessica determined to guard the secret of the father’s identity. The rivalry of Jessica and her beautiful sister for the love of the same man will echo throughout their lives – until finally the truth must be told. Set in the harsh Australian bush against the outbreak of World War I, this novel is heartbreaking in its innocence, and shattering in its brutality.

Source: Wikipedia

About Bryce Courtenay (Books by Bryce Courtenay…)

Arthur Bryce Courtenay AM (born 14 August 1933) is a South-African-born naturalised Australian novelist and one of Australia’s most commercially successful authors.

Born in Johannesburg, Courtenay spent most of his early years in a small village in the Lebombo Mountains in South Africa’s Limpopo province. In 1955, while studying journalism in London, Courtenay met his future wife, Benita, and eventually emigrated to Australia. They married in 1959 and had three sons, Brett, Adam and Damon.

Courtenay now lives in Bowral, New South Wales, with his partner, Christine Gee.

His novels are primarily set in either Australia, his adopted country, or South Africa, the country of his birth. His first book, The Power of One, was published in 1989 and, despite Courtenay’s fears that it would never sell, quickly became one of Australia’s best-selling books by any living author. The story has since been made into a film—as well as being re-released in an edition for children.

Courtenay is one of Australia’s most commercially successful authors. He has built up this success over the long-term by promoting himself and developing a relationship with readers as much as marketing his books; for instance, he gives away up to 2,500 books free each year to readers he meets in the street.

Despite his success in Australia, only The Power of One has been published in the United States. Courtenay claims that this is because “American publishers for the most part have difficulties about Australia, they are interested in books in their own country first and foremost”.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 19 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

24.9% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for My Place by Sally Morgan

My Place is an autobiography written by artist Sally Morgan in 1987. It is about Morgan’s quest for knowledge of her family’s past and the fact that she has grown up under false pretences. The book is a milestone in Aboriginal literature and is one of the earlier works in indigenous writing.

Recounts of several of Morgan’s family members are told. The story setting revolves around Morgan’s own hometown, Perth, Western Australia and also Corunna Downs.

The book is widely studied in Public Schools across NSW, Australia as part of an ‘Aboriginal Studies’ program compulsory for all students.

Source: Wikipedia

About Sally Morgan

Sally Jane Morgan (born 18 January 1951) is an Australian Aboriginal author, dramatist, and artist. Morgan’s works are on display in numerous private and public collections in both Australia and around the world.

Morgan was born in Perth, Western Australia, the eldest of five children. As a child, Morgan became aware that she differed from other children at her school, because of her non-white physical appearance, and was frequently questioned by other students about her family background. She understood from her mother that her ancestors were from India. However, when Morgan was 15, she learnt that she and her sister were in fact of Aboriginal descent, from the Palku (or Bailgu) people of the Pilbara.

After leaving school, Morgan commenced university. In 1972, she married Paul Morgan, a fellow student, and over the next decade she finished her studies and had three children.

Morgan is the director at the Centre for Indigenous History and the Arts at the University of Western Australia. She has received several awards: My Place won the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission humanitarian award in 1987, the Western Australia Week literary award for non-fiction in 1988, and the 1990 Order of Australia Book Prize.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 20 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

22.8% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

Told with great force, “For the Term of His Natural Life” is a narrative of great suffering – of whips, chains and man’s inhumanity. There is no attempt to soften the truth of degradation and dark cruelty in convict Australia. And yet the novel is filled with life, and peopled with vivid characters. Rufus Dawes, condemned to transportation for a crime he did not commit, is one of the most unforgettable characters of Australian literature. This is perhaps Australia’s most significant and most famous 19th century colonial novel and has found success both in Australia and abroad – it has been translated into German, Dutch, Swedish and Russian. It was serialised from 1870 to 1872 and published as a work for the first time in Australia in 1874.

About Marcus Clarke (Books by Marcus Clarke…)

Marcus Andrew Hislop Clarke (24 April 1846 – 2 August 1881) was an Australian novelist and poet, best known for his novel For the Term of his Natural Life.

Marcus Clarke was born in London on 24 April 1846 and was educated at Highgate School. He was the only son of William Hislop Clarke. He emigrated to Australia, where his uncle, James Langton Clarke, was a county court judge. He was at first a clerk in the Bank of Australasia, but showed no business ability, and soon proceeded to learn farming at a station on the Wimmera River, Victoria.

He was already writing stories for the Australian Magazine, when in 1867 he joined the staff of the Melbourne Argus through the introduction of Dr. Robert Lewins. He briefly visited Tasmania in 1870 at the request of the Argus to experience at first hand the settings of articles he was writing on the convict period. Old Stories Retold began to appear in the Australasian from February. The following month his great novel His Natural Life (later called For the Term of His Natural Life) commenced serialisation in the Australasian Journal. He also became secretary (1872) to the trustees of the Melbourne Public Library and later (1876) Sub (assistant) Librarian. He founded in 1868 the Yorick Club, which soon numbered among its members the chief Australian men of letters. The most famous of his books is For the Term of his Natural Life (Melbourne, 1874), a powerful tale of an Australian penal settlement. He also wrote The Peripatetic Philosopher (1869), a series of amusing papers reprinted from The Australasian; Long Odds (London, 1870), a novel; and numerous comedies and pantomimes, the best of, which was Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (Theatre Royal, Melbourne; Christmas, 1873). In 1869 he married the actress Marian Dunn with whom he had six children

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 21 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

22.7% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger and her younger brother are being taken by their mother to live with a foster family outside Munich. Liesel’s father was taken away on the breath of a single, unfamiliar word – Kommunist – and Liesel sees the fear of a similar fate in her mother’s eyes. On the journey, death visits the young boy, and notices Liesel. It will be the first of many near encounters. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

Awards for The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

  • 2006 – Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (South East Asia & South Pacific
  • 2006 – Horn Book Fanfare
  • 2006 – Kirkus Reviews Editor Choice Award
  • 2006 – School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • 2006 – Daniel Elliott Peace Award
  • 2006 – Publishers Weekly Best Children Book of the Year
  • 2006 – Booklist ChildrenEditors’ Choice
  • 2006 – Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
  • 2007 – Boeke Prize
  • 2007 – ALA Best Books for Young Adults
  • 2007 – Michael L. Printz Honor Book
  • 2007 – Book Sense Book of the Year
  • 2009 – Pacific Northwest Young Readers Choice Master List

Source: Wikipedia

About Markus Zusak (Books by Markus Zusak…)

Markus Frank Zusak (born 23 June 1975) is an Australian author. He is best known for his books The Messenger (published in USA as I Am the Messenger) and The Book Thief, which have been international bestsellers.

Zusak was born in Sydney, the son of an Austrian house painter father and a German mother. He is the youngest of four children. As he was growing up, he heard stories about Nazi Germany, the bombing of Munich, and Jews being marched through the small German town in which his mother lived. These stories inspired him to write The Book Thief.

Zusak was inspired to write after reading the books The Old Man and the Sea and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. He started writing when he was sixteen and his first book, The Underdog, was published seven years later.

Zusak lives in Sydney with his wife and daughter. He enjoys surfing and watching movies in his spare time.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 22 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

22.5% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for Dirt Music by Tim Winton

Georgie, the heroine of the book, becomes fascinated in watching a stranger attempting to smuggle fish in an area where nobody can maintain secrets for very long; disillusioned with her relationship with the local fisherman legend Jim Buckridge, she contrives a meeting with the stranger and soon passion runs out of control between two bruised and emotionally fragile people.
The secret quickly becomes impossible to hide and Jim wants revenge, whilst the smuggler decamps to the farthest outback to escape a confrontation. His subsequent struggles to survive in the hostile environment and, knowing that he must try to literally cover his tracks, give this book its gripping denouement.

Source: Wikipedia

About Tim Winton (Books by Tim Winton…)

Timothy John Winton (born 4 August 1960), known as Tim Winton, is an Australian novelist and short story writer. He was born in Perth, Western Australia, but moved at a young age to the regional city of Albany.

Whilst studying at Curtin University of Technology, Winton wrote his first novel, An Open Swimmer, which won The Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 1981, launching his writing career. He has stated that he wrote “the best part of three books while at university”. His second book, Shallows, won the Miles Franklin Award in 1984. It wasn’t until Cloudstreet was published in 1991, however, that his writing career was properly established.

Winton has been named a Living Treasure by the National Trust and awarded the Centenary Medal for service to literature and the community. He is patron of the Tim Winton Award for Young Writers sponsored by the City of Subiaco, Western Australia. He has lived in Italy, France, Ireland and Greece but currently lives in Fremantle, near Perth, Western Australia with his wife and three children.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 23 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #23 – Breath by Tim Winton

21.1% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for Breath by Tim Winton

Breath is the the eighth novel by Tim Winton. His first novel in seven years, it was published in 2008, in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, the Netherlands and Germany.

The novel is set in a small Western Australian logging village named Sawyer, near the fictional coastal town of Angelus, which has featured in several of Winton’s works, including Shallows and The Turning. It is narrated by Bruce “Pikelet” Pike, a divorced, middle-aged paramedic and takes the form of a long flashback in which he remembers his childhood friendship with Loonie. The main action of the novel takes place in the 1970s.

In the first part of the book, the narrator, Bruce Pike, recounts his boyhood friendship with Ivan “Loonie” Loon. As young boys, Pikelet and Loonie dare each other to perform dangerous stunts in the local river. When they become teenagers, they take up surfing and meet a former professional surfer named Sando, who leads them to new levels of recklessness. The novel explores the boys’ youthful urge to seek out the farthest limits of courage, endurance and sanity in an attempt to escape the ordinariness of their lives.

The second half of Breath is concerned with the disintegration of Pikelet’s friendship with Sando and Loonie and his developing relationship with Sando’s American wife Eva.

Source: Wikipedia

Awards for Breath by Tim Winton

  • The Age Book of the Year Award, Fiction Prize, 2008: winner
  • Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, Best Fiction Book, 2008: shortlisted
  • Indie Awards, Best Australian Book, 2008: inaugural winner
  • Commonwealth Writers Prize, South East Asia and South Pacific Region, Best Book, 2009: shortlisted
  • Miles Franklin Literary Award, 2009: won

Source: Wikipedia

About Tim Winton (Books by Tim Winton…)

Timothy John Winton (born 4 August 1960), known as Tim Winton, is an Australian novelist and short story writer. He was born in Perth, Western Australia, but moved at a young age to the regional city of Albany.

Whilst studying at Curtin University of Technology, Winton wrote his first novel, An Open Swimmer, which won The Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 1981, launching his writing career. He has stated that he wrote “the best part of three books while at university”. His second book, Shallows, won the Miles Franklin Award in 1984. It wasn’t until Cloudstreet was published in 1991, however, that his writing career was properly established.

Winton has been named a Living Treasure by the National Trust and awarded the Centenary Medal for service to literature and the community. He is patron of the Tim Winton Award for Young Writers sponsored by the City of Subiaco, Western Australia. He has lived in Italy, France, Ireland and Greece but currently lives in Fremantle, near Perth, Western Australia with his wife and three children.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

No. 24 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

20.1% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

So Much to Tell You is based on a true story, and is presented as a diary written by a 14-year-old girl known as Marina. Marina has a scarred face because she was the unintended victim of an incident involving a vial of acid which was thrown by her father. She refused to talk to anyone during her long recovery period in hospital so she was sent to Warrington, a girls’ boarding school because nothing else appeared to be working. But even after her arrival, she maintains her silence. Then, one day, her English teacher Mr. Lindell encourages the class to keep a journal. Despite the fact that Marina is determined not to make use of her diary, she cannot resist writing about some of the seemingly trivial events of her day. However, the content of her entries becomes more and more revealing over time and readers are able to better understand Marina’s world: how her friends, teachers and families create profound and lasting impressions on her psyche. Marina goes from not interacting with others at all, to opening up and socialising, and eventually finding non-verbal ways of communicating. However, as the book continues, Marina’s negative feelings towards her father fade away and by the end of the book she devises a plan which enables her to see him again. When she speaks for the first time, in such a long time, she utters her only words for the entire novel: “Hello, Dad… I’ve got so much to tell you…”

Source: Wikipedia

Awards for So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

  • Winner, CBCA Children’s Book of the Year Award: Older Readers 1988
  • Winner, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Alan Marshall Award 1988
  • Winner, Christopher Award Books for Young People 1990
  • Selected, American Library Association list of Best Books for Young Adults 1990
  • Selected, American Library Association list of Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults 1999
  • Winner, KOALA (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards) 1989
  • Selected, COOL Awards (Canberra’s Own Outstanding List) 1995
  • Winner, Young Adult Book Award (New South Wales, Australia) 1998

Source: Wikipedia

About John Marsden (Books by John Marsden…)

John Marsden (born 27 September 1950) is an Australian writer, teacher and school principal. Marsden has had his books translated into nine languages including Swedish, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Italian and Spanish.

Marsden was born in Victoria, Australia and spent his early life in Kyneton, Victoria, Devonport, Tasmania and Sydney, New South Wales. At age 28, after working several jobs, Marsden began a teaching course. Whilst working as a teacher, Marsden began writing for children, and had his first book, So Much To Tell You, published in 1987. Since then, he has written or edited over 40 books and has sold over 5 million books throughout the world.

In 2006, Marsden started an alternative school, Candlebark School in the Macedon Ranges, in which he is the school principal. Marsden has since reduced his writing to focus on teaching and running the school.

Source: Wikipedia

The List so far…

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden