10 Dec 2009

A good book for Pauline

Pauline needs a book to read because she's just finished David Copperfield. She wants an Aussie classic, and I really want to help her because she thinks I'm the GURU, and I really like people who say nice things about me.

See how shallow I am?

Anyhow, here's my list of 10 Must Read Australian Classics, just for you Pauline:

  1. Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner
  2. The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson
  3. Robbery Under Arms by Rolf Boldrewood
  4. We of the Never Never by Jeannie Gunn
  5. My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin
  6. A Fortunate Life by A B Facey
  7. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
  8. Voss by Patrick White
  9. The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith by Thomas Keneally
  10. True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
  11. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
(The links take you to Amazon America. If the price there is exorbitant then I've linked to Abebooks USA. Aussies should find these books easily!)

As you can see, I can't count. Actually I can, but I can't decide what title to leave out and I don't think that Pauline is going to mind having an extra book to choose from. Besides, it's my list and I'm feeling arrogant and guru-like today.

She wants to read The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes. I haven't included this on my list because I haven't read it, although I'd like to. Maybe I should ask Santa for a copy for Christmas. It would certainly rank as a modern Aussie classic, I'm sure.

Of course, I'm not really the guru of anything really, but I do like Australian literature. Do you? What would you put on your list for Pauline? Would you add anything because you love it, or leave anything out because it is the worst thing you've ever read? Do tell.

Don't forget my rule with these sort of lists though - if you add a title, you have to remove one. She already has eleven choices, and that's enough for anyone.

Even Pauline, and I'm feeling very kindly toward her today.


  1. Oh great Guru of Aussie Literature, I could not possibly tamper with your esteemed list.

    No, honestly, great list.:-) You know you are getting old when.... you have read 8 of the books on the list but you are really struggling to recall the stories! Maybe sometime in the future I will get to reread your list of goodies and then some.

  2. Hi Jeanne,
    I would add "The Squatter" by Geoffrey Dutton, and remove "Picnic at Hanging Rock" by Joan Lindsay, which I found rather shallow - just my opinion, though. I'm sure that there are many people who would disagree with me. :/

    Have a great week,

  3. Cool! Don't know that one. Off to google!

  4. Jillian - you have a face! How exciting. Sigh, You are so pretty...

  5. Jeanne, Do you mean there is a book that you haven't read? No, it can't be... lol

    Yes, I have a face, but you are the pretty one. I don't see enough of Jesus in me, yet. When I look in the mirror and see Jesus looking back at me, I'll know that I am more of Him, less of me.

  6. love your list. I haven't ever read Seven Little Australians but loved the series. Maybe something to read next year.

  7. In with Monkey Grip by Helen Garner. Out with Voss. I find White pretentious. In with The Waterlilly by Kate Llewellyn. Out with the Kelly gang. My choices are more about style than content so be warned if you haven't read them. Garner's is about heroin addiction, the Waterlilly has adultery as it's central, but unstated, theme.

  8. Can't comment on THE list but will print it out for reference.

    Just wanted to say how absolutely great it was to see Jillian's face! Ditto, Jeanne, very pretty and I'd always pictured her as somewhat ethereal so now we know.

  9. Will these books be readily available in the states? I don't think we've read any Australian books except Blinky Bill which I accidentally stumbled across in the library one day.

  10. I have nothing to add, either. I am going to be very unoriginal and say..

    Jillian! How cool to see your picture :D

    I had always pictured you as MUCH older. Not because you write that way, but because of the picture of the little girl on your blog kind of reminded me of my grandmother. (Logical thought process, eh? :P)

    Maybe one comment on the list....

    I read "A Fortunate Life" maybe 15 years ago. I still remember feeling slapped when I got to the end of the book and he made such a Godless declaration. It was definitely one of those things that stays with you.

  11. Ah yes, Ganeida, my friend, both great choices. I toyed with Monkeygrip, but removed it because of its theme and all of the swearing. I thought I would need to do too much explaining.

    Melb Uni is my alma mater. I first read Monkeygrip when the film came out in 1982. I was 19 and still at Uni. I could see exactly what she wrote about every day. I'll never forget that strange experience!

    I loved it then, I love it now. Don't know if Pauline would though!!

  12. Wow! I actually have the last one on my to read list! Interesting list, I'll have to explore and see if I can find any of them.

  13. Richele and Emily, I've put USA links to the books up for you. I meant to do it yesterday, but time got away from me.

    Looks like they are available in the States, but some are at ridiculous prices. Abe has them all preloved at a reasonable price.

  14. Oops, Lisa, you snuck in there! The USA links are for you too, of course, my friend!

  15. lol. The waterlilly is better. Llewellyn is a poet & it shows. Her writing is gorgeous! She writes about her home in the Blue Mountains & the garden she made in a way that makes me want to grab the nearest spade. Her affair is barely mentioned in passing but it is there , hence the warning. And the way she talks about food!!! With recipes. Oh my! I even considered cooking after reading one of her descriptions. The only other author I know who can make me drool over food is another Llewelyn [richard]~ How Green is My Valley.I know parts of the BMs quite well so yeah, that sense of deja vu. The Lucky Country too ~ which mentions so much of where I grew up; places I knew very well indeed gives me that same sense of watching someone else live my life. ☺

    I was a mature age student at what is now the USQ [I was all of 21]~ was accepted as a drama student, muddled up my orientation, majored in English lit with drama as my minor. Better outcome I think.

  16. Jeanne, I have only read 2 of the books on your list - 7 Little Australians and We of the Never Never. A bad illiterate Australian I obviously am. Something I need to rectify. So thanks for your list, oh mighty guru :)

    I found a Fortunate Life in the bookshop some years ago, and flicking through it, I was disturbed by some of the authors conclusions about God - it was not the time for me to read it. The bit that I read just made me so very sad. I might re-look at it again in a few years though.

    Another book I have enjoyed is King's in Grass Castles by Mary Durack. It is a biography of her family's migration from Ireland and their travels in Australia. Boring for some maybe - but I loved it, it gave me a glimpse of how families settled in to their new country, and a bit of a view of what this vast country meant to those people who moved here.

  17. Thank you so much for stopping by my lonely blog. I'm delighted to have backtracked you to yours. It looks wonderful. I look forward to reading it. Do try the Paulsen book.

  18. How kind of you to add the links, Jeanne...thank you! I confess to preferring the "preloved" books to new. I'm just a sentimentalist.

  19. Totally agree. Second hand books are so much nicer! Used bookshops are amongst my favourite places ever!!

    Older the better provided the condition allows you to actually read them...

  20. I would swap Voss for Riders in the Chariot.

    I can't do maths, so I will just add: The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay, Children of the Dark People by Frank Dalby Davidson, Bottersnikes and Gumbles by S.A.Wakefield, Poor Fellow My Country by Xavier Herbert.

  21. Thank you so much Jeanne for your list!! I certainly have some research to do and then a start to make to read! I have read a few on your list and it made me think that there were a lot of genres from which to choose within the "Australian literature" category. I think I actually have some of the books you mentioned on my shelf at home and I also wouldn't mind reading some of the others again too.
    Thanks so much for your advice and that of your readership! It is wonderful that there are so many great Aussie books out there!
    Thanks thanks thanks!


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