Friday, 5 January 2018

Lindy Jones picks her famous fives for 2017

Lindy Jones: "At this time of the year I can barely count to five, but here are some of the books I enjoyed reading this year."

Of course, when nearly half my year is pretty much exclusively Miles Franklin Award submissions, and then half of the rest is for the Summer Catalogue, you must forgive me if I just have to revisit books I might have mentioned elsewhere!

Five Books You Should Have Read Because They Were MF Shortlisted. Or Won Other Awards! So Read them!

Josephine Wilson
The Winner of the Miles Franklin. And the Colin Roderick Award. And originally the Dorothy Hewitt. All mean something: a damn fine book!

Ryan O'Neill
Winner of the Prime Minister's Award. Clever, tricksy and very, very funny.

Mark O'Flynn
This scored the Voss Literary Award. An evocative and lively portrait of an outsider.

Philip Salom
Shortlisted for other awards. Sympathetic without sentimentality: brilliant portraits brilliantly rendered. 

Emily Maguire
Shortlisted for other awards as well. Says a lot about modern society, media, women, crime, and in an involving storyline.



Five Other Novels Really Really Worth Reading. (Ok, there is SIX but the demand for Sarah Winman's Tin Man has been greater than supply!)

Jon McGregor
Not enough superlatives for this. Go with it, and be rewarded. 

Jon McGregor
And excitingly, McGregor wrote some supporting short stories, that add yet another dimension to this masterpiece.

Michelle de Kretser
Beautiful writing, sharp observations, clever and witty and sometimes quite cutting.

Alice McDermott
Depression-era New York, strong women making the best of bad situations, fine prose.

Alice Hoffman
Prequel to the wonderful Practical Magic. New York again, but in the 60s. And then if you haven't read the first, you've got another treat coming.

Sarah Winman
I'll go so far as to say this is my favourite book of the year.




Five Novels that Live in the Young Adult Section (But Don't Let That Stop Older Ones from Reading them…)

Peadar O'Guilin
Fairies are evil. Very evil. They want Ireland back, and they steal teenagers to teach humans a lesson. Genuinely suspenseful, rattling good read.

M A Bennett
Private schoolkids are evil. Very evil. And if you dare to overstep your caste or class, you're going to be taught a lesson. Scary, clever and engrossing.

M T Anderson
Aliens are evil. Actually they are arch-capitalists, so that makes them very very evil. Is this a fable? or a clever tale about the impact of technology vs artistic endeavour? Or both?

Clare Christian
Grief and mental illness make a mess of two teen misfits. At least they're not evil. And they do find their way through. Bittersweet and satisfying.

Dodie Smith
Okay, it's not new. But it's a favourite, almost an Austen in terms of my rereading it. And there's nothing remotely evil at all about it. Just lovely writing with wonderful characters.



Five Assorted Non-Fiction Books (Without Birds as the Main Subject). OK, Six!

Maggie O'Farrell
You wouldn't believe how readable 17 personal brushes with death can be. But she is a very good novelist as well.

Anne de Courcy
Anything by de Courcy is wonderfully vivid. This is about the trade in 19th century American heiresses to impoverished European nobility.

Sarah Krasnostein
Extremely moving and almost voyeuristic at times, but truly engrossing.

Alexis Wright
The circular storytelling style was as fascinating as the subject, Tracker Tilmouth, himself. 

Scott Bevan
If this doesn't make you want to take up kayaking, nothing will!

Kate Cole-Adams
What is oblivion? What is consciousness? This lyrical book explores these questions, blending science and personal experience. Won the Waverley Library Award.




Five Assorted Non-Fiction Books with Pictures In Them. (Plus a Ring-in).

Chantal Trubert-Tollu
What the husband hunters wore. And characters in Downton Abbey or Edith Wharton novels. So, so beautiful - can I try one on, just once?

Theodore Gray
I don't do chemistry. But I do when it's Theodore Gray. (Or Sam Kean: Caesar's Last Breath. So enjoyable! and there are a few illustrations)

Vanessa Berry
Look at the layers of Sydney with new eyes. Quirky and charming drawings throughout.

David Mabberley
I would argue that Ferdinand Bauer is one of the geniuses of scientific illustration. So does this book! 

Gooding, Mabberley, Studholme
Positively swoonworthy. And not many left in stock, but swoop, swoop upon this, or wait until the new year.



Five Books with Birds in the Title*

Peter Menkhorst and lots of other talented people
So, you carry the Slaters in your pocket, and the Pizzey in your backpack, and the ABG in the car. But you NEED it, you REALLY do. You can't have too many guides…

which means you should have:

Neil Hermes
A photographic guide, distinguished by excellent in-the-field photos and great information.

Peter Barry
A bit of light-hearted but educational fun. Names of a whole lot of birds from all around the world are explained.

Berndt Brunner
If there was a cure for this mania, the 'sufferers' would refuse it… 

Adam Nicolson
Puffins, gannets, guillemots and other northern seabirds. Poetic, moving and that beautiful blend of personal narrative and nature writing the English do so well.

Lyanda Lynn Haupt
If Mozart could enjoy the companionship of a starling, then maybe this detested bird has merits afterall. The (American) author sees for herself.

Charles Massy
Haven't finished this yet, and yes it's not an ornithological tome, but it has a lot to say about farming sustainably, sensibly and for more than ourselves.

*(I lied. But I did say I was having trouble counting).




Since 1968 ~ Abbey's 131 York Street Sydney ~ An Aladdin's cave for readers

Abbey's ~ An Aladdin's cave for readers

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