Monday, 4 March 2013

Best Australian Books

     Lists of best anything are problematic because tastes and ideals vary so much. First Tuesday Bookclub recently published their 10 Australian Books to Read Before You Die and what a strange compilation it was. Cloudstreet at number one and Picnic at Hanging Rock at number ten. What lay in between was just as erratic, from South African Power of One to The Slap. Norman Lyndsay's Magic Pudding even managed to jump in there! How does that make sense.
     Lists are subject to human nature...that might mean voting for a book you read and loved as a child, so you give it a tick, even if you haven't re-read it for many years. The way a child judges a book may not be the same from an adult perspective. I really wonder about the inclusion of The Slap and if it has benefited from the recent television series. And so many brilliant works are missing.
     I admire The Secret River and A Fortunate Life,but my vote for number one would have been The Book Thief, skillful, uplifting and original. On watching Tuesday Bookclub, I was amazed to hear some of the panel being a little restrained in their praise for this exceptional novel. There is just no accounting for taste!

Here is the list. What do you think?

The way I remember We of the Never-Never is as a classic
innovation in Australian Literature.
Yet it didn't make the list. Do you agree or disagree?

10. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

9.   The Secret River by Kate Grenville

8.   The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

7.   The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay

6.   Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

5.   The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

4.   The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

3.   A Fortunate Life by Bert Facey

2.   The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

1.   Cloudstreet by Tim Winton