A bucket list – 10 Oz books to read

Books & Books South Beach from miamism via flickr CC

A meme of sorts! Thanks to Snail for posting First Tuesday’s (2012) list of 10 Oz books to read before you die. I cynically add the 2012 as some of these books are quite recent and I imagine that if the experts revisited this list in 10 years time it may look quite different.

As Snail says in the comments, with a show like First Tuesday the list and the order are secondary to the conversation. Surprisingly, I have read most of them. Here’s the list. With commentary (of course!):

  1. Cloudstreet – Tim Winton – loved, loved, loved this book. Have read it twice. Great rollicking family saga with enough Winton eccentricity to make it really interesting.
  2. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak – have started this and failed to get into it. Much to the disgust of most of the members of my bookclub.
  3. A Fortunate Life – A.B. Facey – have not read this one
  4. The Harp in the South – Ruth Park – I think Ruth Park is a icon of Australian storytelling and have loved everything she has written, including this one.
  5. The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay – I’m on record at my bookclub as refusing to ever read another Courtenay novel after I hated this one so much….
  6. Jasper Jones – Craig Silvey – think To Kill a Mockingbird set in modern Australia. Too much like Mockingbird for me (loved Mockingbird, don’t like the un-originality of this one)
  7. The Magic Pudding – Norman Lindsay – of course. Who doesn’t want cake that never runs out? Until I went to Lindsay’s home in the Blue Mountains a few months ago I in fact didn’t know he was actually an artist and not just famous for writing this book (there are big gaps in my Australian education….)
  8. The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas – loved this book. Hated the characters, they are truly awful but Tsiolkas has captured suburban middle class life and I love it. Warts and all.
  9. The Secret River – Kate Grenville – I have read this, but read and enjoyed The Lieutenant first and more. Bookclub friends who read them the other way round preferred The Secret River. We agree to disagree.
  10. Picnic at Hanging Rock – Joan Lindsay – I clearly remember having to write an essay about this book in Year 9. I’m talking early 80s here. Maybe it was because it was a set text, but I didn’t enjoy it. Or understand it really. I’ve not been tempted to read it since to see if it makes more sense!

At the moment I’m reading ‘comfort books’ – things I’ve read before (some many times) so they are easy to read, easy to put down. The Harry Potter series is on the list, along with the old fave Pride & Prejudice, Water for Elephants & a few Jeffrey Archer’s have also featured. Perhaps I’ll hunt down A Fortunate Life.



3 thoughts on “A bucket list – 10 Oz books to read

  1. Did “Fortunate life” at school (HSC text) and hated it…. still do as I tried to read it in WA. LOVE “Picnic” especially after being there. I really enjoyed Merry go round in the sea, which I loved even more as an adult. Loved secret river, but prefer Dirt music to Cloud street. Just rereacing Nick Earls and John Birminham….. Zig Zag street is just down the road…… So many good books… so little time. Tried to read local as we travelled…. an eye opener in many places as you begin to look at things around you differently.

  2. I agree with your opinion of The Lieutenant- I definitely preferred it to The Secret River (which is still a good book)! The Lindsay family were originally from Creswick, quite near to Ballarat, and the Art Gallery in Ballarat has a few of the family’s works.. Norman was one of many talented siblings and Joan Lindsay who wrote Picnic at Hanging Rock was his sister-in-law 🙂 #uselessbitofinformation

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