Summer Reads

The State Library of Victoria has released a short list of summer reads by Victorian authors or with Victorian (Australia) settings.

1. Addition by Toni Jordan

2. Beaten by a Blow by Dennis McIntosh

3. Bird by Sophie Cunningham

4. Blood Sunset by Jarad Henry

5. The Boat by Nam Le

6. Cup With No Handles by Carolyn Landon

7. Dissection by Jacinta Halloran

8. Dreaming Again by Jack Dann

9. Flavours of Melbourne by Charmaine O’Brien

10. Growing up Asian edited by Alice Pung

11. I am Melba by Ann Blainey

12. Musk and Burne by Fiona Capp

13. Radical Melbourne by Jeff and Jill Sparrow

14. Sea of Many Returns by Arnold Zable

15. Swing by Sailor by Catherine Dyson

16. Tall Man by Chloe Hooper

17. The Time We Have Taken by Steven Carroll

18. Tom Wills: His Spectacular Rise and Tragic Fall by Greg de Moore

19. White Knight with BeeBox by Peter Steele

20. The Zookeeper’s War by Steven Conte

Many of these titles sound very good and, while I’m not an avid reader of Australian literature, I find  many of these titles very intriguing. These aren’t the typical, quintessential Australian literature where there’s the bush, desert, horses, rangemen, etc, but stories that are actually set in the suburbs and the city. These environments are actually much more familiar to many. I’m also very excited to be reading Victorian authors. I think the State Library has done a very good job in forming this list.

I’m particularly interested in Bird, The Boat (Nam Le also recently won the Dylan Thomas prize with an award worth over 60,000 Euro), Dissection, Flavours of Melbourne, Tall Man, The Time We Have Taken, and The Zookeeper’s War. The library’s website also has short summaries of all those titles.

I also hope others will be enticed by these titles too. 🙂

David Marr’s Bill Henson

David Marr’s new book, The Henson Case, on controversial Australian artist Bill Henson is due out on Friday. This will be an interesting read and I’m hoping to scout a copy although I’m suprised at the speed of the production, considering the controversy was only in May this year. Henson’s gallery showing was shut down in Sydney when some viewers complained about the subject of his photography. You see, the figures in his portraits are naked pre-pubsescent young teenages. Following the hoopla was the resurection of the age old debate of what constituted as art. Some saw the photography as art and some saw it as child pornography. Marr’s book will detail the case.

I’ve read Marr before and I think he’s a fantastic writer/journalist. He co-authored A Dark Victory which investigated the Australian government’s dealings towards asylum seekers and the infamous Tampa boat incident. He sorts out the propaganda and story weaving from the truth and it’s heartbreaking how the ayslum seekers were (are) treated. Marr goes on to document the then-prime minster’s, John Howard, historic landslide win admidst the scandal. It was such an eye opener. I can’t believe that sort of political bullshit and propaganda still exists today, and worse of all, I can’t believe I was sat back and watched it happened. Although I was a teenager at the time.