Our Favourite Australia Day Reads

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Here comes the long weekend, when we spend time celebrating all the great things about Australia. Another great thing about long weekends is curling up with a good book on the beach, poolside, the sofa, or in bed!

To help you combine the two, our hard-working book team have put together their recommendations for 11 of their favourite Aussie reads. From fiction to biographies and graphic novels, there should be something here for everyone.

Enjoy!

Crimson Lake, by Candice Fox

Candice Fox rocks, according to our reviewer, Sam Bond. Absolutely all her books have been winners, from her first book in the Eden Archer/Frank Bennet series, to her ripper pairing with US bestselling writer, James Patterson. But, it is in Crimson Lake, the first in Fox’s new stand-alone crime series where this Australian writer really shows what she’s made of. Featuring not one, but three mystery threads within the one story, this beautifully written novel is addictive. It’s a gripping, addictive read that will keep you up far longer than you intended.
Read the Review | Interview with Candice Fox | Sam’s other reviews

To Become a Whale, by Ben Hobson

Set in the 1960s, reviewer David O’Brien says To Become a Whale goes past clichés to explore the great depth of humanity and compassion behind hard bitten blokes and young men growing up. It’s as terrifying as it is beautiful, following 13 year old Sam Keogh, who is taken by his WWII veteran father to work at Tangalooma, the largest whaling station in the Southern Hemisphere, to make a man of him.
Read the Review | David’s other reviews

Mr Showbiz – The Biography of Robert Stigwood, by Stephen Dando-Collins

Reviewer Glen Christie is based in Port Pirie and loves that the Port can lay claim to being the birth place of one of the entertainment industry’s most prolific producers, Robert Stigwood. He gave us Eric Clapton, The Gibb Brothers (including Andy), The Who and (almost) The Beatles. He was also behind Jesus Christ Superstar (stage and screen), Grease and Saturday Night Fever. So, what better way to spend Australia Day than with Australia’s own Mr Showbiz!
Read the Review | Interview with Stephen Dando-Collins | Glen’s other reviews

The Happiest Refugee, by Ahn Do

Both our Books Editor Rod Lewis and Reviewer Michelle Baylis have read this autobiography of Australian comedian Ahn Do. Michelle has also seen his stage adaptation & both made her believe that we can all do amazing things if we choose to look for the opportunities rather than negatives. For Rod, the book was an entertaining education about one of the hot topics of Australia politics and one he highly recommends to anyone who wants to laugh and learn about the refugee experience.
Read the Review | Rod’s other reviews | Michelle’s reviews

The Islamic Republic of Australia, by Sami Shah

Hot on the heels of The Happiest Refugee, Rod Lewis also considers this book to be mandatory reading for all Aussies. Sami Shah is an Aussie comedian and a former Muslim. He provides a highly entertaining and informative look at Islam. Regardless of whether you fear Muslims, welcome them, or don’t give its followers a second thought, this book will open your mind to the truths and fallacies that we hear. It’s Shah’s combination of wow-factor and laugh-out-loud moments that make this exposé an insightful winner.
Read the Review | Rod’s other reviews

A Long Way from Home, by Peter Carey

Our reviewer DC White had a hard time picking an Australian title to recommend because, he says, “Australia has produced so many good authors, from Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson to Ion Idriess and Jon Cleary (to name but a tiny few)”. After much consideration however, he settled on two books: Patrick White’s 1957 novel Voss by Patrick White as the most representatively Aussie, and Peter Carey’s A Long Way from Home as one of his more recent favourite Aussie reads. He describes it as a thumping good book about race and racing where things don’t go where you expect, but is immensely satisfying nonetheless.
Read the Review | DC’s other reviews

Year of The Orphan, by Daniel Findlay

Our reviewer David O’Brien is an eager supporter of Australian fiction and found Year of the Oprhan to be a remarkable, gripping sci fi/dystopian novel in which Findlay’s wonderful prose offers an incredibly deep, assured love and understanding of Australia’s outback, coupled with an equally gripping tale and characters. It’s about a young scavenger girl called Orphan who races across the desert to escape a feared being known as The Reckoner. He gave it 10/10.
Read the Review | David’s other reviews

The Salty River, by Jan Bauer, translated by Judith Pattinson

This graphic novel for adults is a beautiful and deeply personal love story based on the experiences of German travel Jan Bauer through the Australian Outback as he comes to terms with a difficult breakup. Using the expansive outback vistas to explore both isolation and community, The Salty River is full of soul, making this simple tale one of Rod Lewis’ favourite books of 2016.
Read the Review | Rod’s other reviews

Just Another Week in Suburbia, by Les Zig

Reviewer Jenna Woods describes this book as a “psychological review of suburban Australian life”. It follows a week in the life of Casper Gray, a non-offensive school teacher in suburban Australia whose life slowly unravels when he discovers a condom in his wife’s bag. Told with a combination of wit and drama, Jenna says it’s an enjoyable read that will draw you in.
Read the Review | Jenna’s other reviews

Whipbird, by Robert Drewe

For lovers of great family sagas, Reviewer David O’Brien also recommends Whipbird, set at a gathering of six generations of a family to celebrate the 160th anniversary of their ancestor’s arrival in Australia. It’s an eventful weekend of wine, revelation and challenging history that explores the Australia of right now, peering through the lens of history. It’s unlike any novel before it.
Read the Review | David’s other reviews

The Rainbow Serpent, by Dick Roughsey

Originally published in 1975, The Rainbow Serpent was reviewer Michelle Baylis’ first exposure to Aboriginal stories, as it was for many children of her age growing up in the seventies in the city. It won the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award and Picture Book of the Year in 1976. Michelle recalls her love of the colours of the pictures and the whole amazing story of creation from an Australian perspective. As she grew up, the book became the gateway for her to learn more about different Aboriginal Dreamtime/Dreaming tales. It is still as beautiful and readable today as it was then.
Michelle’s other reviews

Check out the full Glam Adelaide book review section here. 

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