Books for Australian states

Last week, Annabel Smith tweeted a link to a fantastic article, The Literary United States: A Map of the Best Book for Every State. It got me thinking about an Australian equivalent.

Strictly speaking, an Australian literary map isn’t quite as crowded (not as many states in comparison to the US). It would be nice to do an Australian one that reflected cities and regional areas but that’s a big project (and for that matter, actually put it on a map…). For the time being, here are my favourite books set in different states.

Victoria: for Melbourne, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. For regional Victoria, Carrie Tiffany captures the Mallee perfectly in Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living.

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everymans-rules-for-scientific-living Continue reading

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

A couple of years ago I made a resolution to occasionally buy books that I knew nothing about. I know, I shouldn’t strain myself, right? Anyway, the point was to seek out books that I hadn’t read reviews of; by an author that was new to me; and that didn’t have any ‘hype’. If you hang around book blogs, it’s harder than it sounds (but it’s okay, I’m coping). This is how I came across The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.

The testimonials by S. J. Watson, Hannah Kent and Deborah Moggach (who wrote the very interesting book, Tulip Fever) on the cover of the The Miniaturist were enough to prompt me to pick it up – such an odd mix of authors singing its praises.

The story is set in Amsterdam, in 1686. The city is ruled by the sea and Calvinist burgomasters (both grim and ever-threatening), and its people shun ostentatious displays – meals of cold herrings and bread while their sugar is eaten in secret; plain woolen clothes lined with the finest furs and silks.

“Founded on risk, Amsterdam now craves certainty, a neat passage through life, guarding the comfort of its money with dull obedience.” Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

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Not so many Bookish Thoughts (hosted by Christine) this week, just things I’m loving (because I’m hating exam pressure).

1. An Aussie Man Booker winner. Hoorah Richard Flanagan! (Ashamed to say I haven’t yet read The Narrow Road to the Deep North. The year an Aussie wins and all that…bugger) Continue reading

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

I’ve sat on lots of committees. Lots. I’ve seen behaviour (from adults) on committees that is quite astounding. I’ve often come home from committee meetings muttering “I could fill a book with this crap…”. And although I’m having a ‘committee-free year’, I know there will be more committees in my future because as much as they sometimes make me want to bang heads together or wish that I was spending my Monday nights at home on the couch watching Made in Chelsea, I keep going back for more (in the name of getting shit done). I suspect that Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members, is also a committee-lover. Or maybe an academic-bureaucracy lover. Or maybe both*. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from 1984 to Delicacy

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It’s time again for my favourite meme. Based on the concept of six degrees of separation, Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith have created #6DEGREES, where bloggers share links between books in six moves. Check out the rules if you want to play along. Continue reading