Saturday, December 04, 2010

Oztralyan Bounty of Books

The marvellous Bernice Balconey has rightly pointed out that while the last list was Very Worthy, it's also Very British (well, it was a BBC list). My objection to it, upon contemplation, was the weirdness of it -- I mean, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, with Hamlet singled out? The Chronicles of Narnia and then The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe singled out? Bizarre.

Anyhoo, Bernice has gone to the trouble of making another list for a meme. It's called

Bernice's Bounty of Books: The Ozstralyan Way

Same rules: bold for read, italic for started/not finished/bits read. I won't do so well this time, but I'm still going to try...
  1. Fortunes of Richard Mahony - Henry Handel Richardson
  2. The Reading Group - Amanda Lohrey
  3. Coonardoo - Katherine Susannah Pritchard
  4. Dog Rock - David Foster
  5. The Transit of Venus - Shirley Hazard
  6. Voss - PW
  7. Children's Bach - Helen Garner
  8. Reports from a Wild Country - Deborah Bird Rose
  9. Jack and Jill - Helen Hodgman
  10. Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines - David Unaipon
  11. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow - M Barnard Eldershaw
  12. Carpentaria - Alexis Wright
  13. The Little Company - Eleanor Dark
  14. For the Term of His Natural Life - Marcus Clarke
  15. Tourmaline - Randolph Stow
  16. My Brilliant Career - Miles Franklin
  17. Peel Me a Lotus - Charmaine Clift
  18. The Acolyte - Thea Astley
  19. Cicada Gambit - Martin Johnston
  20. Fat Man in History - Peter Carey
  21. Seven Poor Men of Sydney - Christina Stead
  22. The Magic Pudding - Norman Lindsay
  23. Cloudstreet - Tim Winton
  24. Tirra Lirra by the River - Jessica Anderson
  25. Exiles at Home - Drusilla Modjeska
  26. Harp in the South - Ruth Park
  27. Letty Fox: Her Luck - Christina Stead
  28. Mr Scobie's Riddle - Elizabeth Jolley
  29. Eucalyptus - Murray Bail
  30. The Pea Pickers - Eve Langley
  31. From Little Things, Big Things Grow - Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly
  32. Merry Go Round in the Sea - Randolph Stow
  33. The Female Eunuch - Germaine Greer
  34. Come in Spinner - Dymphna Cusack and Florance James
  35. The Blue Plateau - Mark Tredinnick
  36. Lillian's Story - Kate Grenville
  37. Me, Antman and Fleabag - Gayle Kennedy
  38. Johnno - David Malouf
  39. Because a White Man'll Never Do It - Kevin Gilbert
  40. The Commandant - Jessica Anderson
  41. Just Relations - Rodney Hall
  42. A Difficult Young Man - Martin Boyd
  43. The Albatross Muff - Barbara Hanrahan
  44. Power Without Glory - Frank Hardy
  45. Pioneers on Parade - Dymphna Cusack & Miles Franklin
  46. City of Women - David Ireland
  47. Mother, I'm Rooted - Kate Jennings
  48. Five Bells - Kenneth Slessor
  49. My Brother Jack - George Johnston
  50. The Year of Living Dangerously - Christopher Koch
  51. Careful, He Might Hear You - Sumner Locke Elliot
  52. Fringe of Leaves - PW
  53. Death of A River Guide - Richard Flanagan
  54. The Spare Room - Helen Garner
  55. The Glade within the Grove - David Foster
  56. Mr Darwin's Shooter - Roger McDonald
  57. Bush Studies - Barbara Baynton
  58. The Electric Beach - James McQueen
  59. Beware of the Dog - Peter Corris
  60. I Can Jump Puddles - Alan Marshall
  61. A Million Wild Acres - Eric Rolls
  62. The Plains - Gerald Murnane
  63. Diary of a Wombat - Jackie French
  64. Nice Try - Shane Maloney
  65. Two Weeks with the Queen - Morris Gleitzman
  66. Paper Nautilus - Nicholas Jose
  67. The Lost Dog - Michelle de Kretser (heh)
  68. A Mother's Disgrace - Robert Dessaix
  69. The Seal Woman - Beverley Farmer
  70. Collected Poems - Gwen Harwood
  71. Maestro - Peter Goldsworthy
  72. A Long time Dying - Olga Masters
  73. Benang - Kim Scott
  74. The Lyre in the Pawnshop - Fay Zwicky
  75. I for Isobel - Amy Witting
  76. The Persimmon Tree and other stories - Marjorie Barnard
  77. Moscow Trefoil - David Campbell and Rosemary Dobson
  78. Caught in the Draft - Veronica Brady
  79. Weevils in the Flour - Wendy Lowenstein
  80. Vertigo - Amanda Lohrey
  81. Sugar Heaven - Jean Devanney
  82. Sorry - Gail Jones
  83. The Twyborn Affair - PW
  84. The Cry for the Dead - Judith Wright
  85. Schindler's Ark- Thomas Keneally
  86. Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living - Carrie Tiffany
  87. What a Piece of Work - Dorothy Porter
  88. Bobbin Up - Dorothy Hewett
  89. The Drowner - Robert Drewe
  90. Blue Skies - Helen Hodgman
  91. Ride on Stranger - Kylie Tennant
  92. Radiance - Louis Nowra
  93. Aunts Up the Cross - Robyn Dalton
  94. The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas
  95. My Place - Nadia Wheatley
  96. White Man Got No Dreaming - WEH Stanner
  97. The Drover's Wife - Henry Lawson
  98. Tasmania by Road and Track - E T Emmett
  99. The Aunt's Story - PW
  100. Come Back Peter - Joan Woodberry
Hmm, not too bad... quite a few gaps I'd like to fill! I would just like to say in my defence that there are a lot of writers in this list that I have read other books by.

There's a few I'd change or add. Like

The Sound of One Hand Clapping by Richard Flanagan (although he's there, with a book I haven't read)
Gilgamesh by Joan London
and (this may be howled down) Monkey Grip by Helen Garner?

Although we could debate all day whether this is supposed to be a list of things every Australia SHOULD read, or a top 100 of what Australians HAVE read (which is what I think the BBC list is). Which would make quite a different list, methinks, stuffed with Bryce and Tim and Colleen.

How did you go?


ronnie said...


I'll hang out for the bestest ever oztrayliun music list...... I'm confident I'd score better score with that one....

kazari said...

oh, but where is the book thief?
otherwise, i agree - what we have read and what we should read are quite different beasts.

Bernice said...

I'd missed the point about the BBC list being books people had read. In which case, where were the Ruth Rendells and Agatha Christie titles by the truckloads?

I wasn't thinking so much about a Bloom canon as about those books that you knew had shifted your head space, or had been about bold experiments as writers. So for Garner, Children's Bach may crash and burn but by fuck she also soared, whereas I found Monkey Grip more reportage and not that well written. The Spare Room is just simply a masterpiece.

I'd argue Flanagan is the reverse - River Guide is the bumpy but really interesting first novel; One Hand too self-aware for my tastes.

And you're right about Joan London. Forgot Susan Hampton's Surly Girls as well.

Anonymous said...

Badly! But, like yourself, I've read others by some of these authors and think some good uns have been missed.

Anonymous said...

I'd read 11. Australian book based courses at Uni will help boost the numbers... I wonder if the list should just be of authors somehow? Never read Riverguide but love Richard Flanagan's voice - I thought Wanting was lovely.

A great list tho! Something to muse over next time I am looking for something to read.

Mummy/Crit said...

bugger all. *sigh* I'd add D'Arcy Niland, Sally Morgan, Colin Thiele, HF Brinsmead, in some form or other...I got really into all those childrens' authors that went out of fashion. Ivan Southall, Eleanor Spence, there were lots at Lifeline a few years ago as school libraries cleared them out in favour of cooler new things, so I got lots.

Door bitch sez "reedi"

Zarquon said...

No Mary Grant Bruce? Oh, no. Also Midnite by Randolph Stow should be in there.

Jo said...

I dunno - these lists bring out a nasty competitive streak in me, but they're so spurious and personal really, though it's interesting to argue what should be on. I think we should go the High Fidelity way and just work out our own top 5 or ten or whatever (and what if you're so old/forgetful/unimpressed by the book that you can't remember if you've read it or not?)

Carol said...

I'm a bit shocked that I'd read so many on the BBC list and so few of the Oz lot, maybe 20 or so. Like others I'd read other books by same authors and would like to see some children's books there. And I'm sure my memory is so bad that I'm missing some I've read - doesn't mean they're not memorable, just that my memory is unreliable.

Cozalcoatl said...

About 10ish for me. I have most of Tim Winton's stuff. My first thought what was missing was " A Town Like Alice" then i googled it. Neville Shute was English newly moved to Oz...Does that count?
Arther Upfield's Boney series?...probably not great literature but fun.

I love the Drover's Wife.

Cathy said...

I had similar thoughts about the BBC list, plus I mistrust anything that starts with a line like that about only reading so many ...

Even so I've read 61 of the BBC list and only 8 of the Oztralyan list (the BBC version I saw didn't have the italic option). Must lift my game!

Sara Bowen said...

Oh dear, oh dear... I've read precisely two, and seen the film of another! That takes me down a peg, doesn't it? Not so smug now! Sara x

Mindy said...

Eight. At least three of those were PW though.

NanU said...

I haven't read a single one of them, though I do a decent 65 of the BBC list. (Which is heavily weighted toward kids classics and school requirements, so anyone making it through to graduation must surely have been confronted with a minimum.)
Is there a handful you'd particularly recommend?

Anonymous said...

This wonderful list has sent me into a tirra lirra kind of rapture with one hand tapping the eucalyptus tree outside my window while searching for Alex Miller. Thank you.