Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 25, 2012

A suitcase full of books …

An irresistible challenge!  Sylvia Johnson (an Aussie who blogs about her sojourn in Sablet in France at Where Did They Go Again?) is coming home for Christmas, and for the return journey she plans to ditch all the clothes in her carry-on suitcase and fill it with books instead.  She wants recommendations for 10 Australian books, published this year (2012), for her shopping list, but I’ve made it 12 so that I could add in some non-fiction.

These are my suggestions, in alphabetical order by author’s name, with links to my reviews:

  1. The Yalda Crossing by Noel Beddoe, (UQP) a compelling historical novel set in Queensland.  See my review.
  2. The Longing by Candice Bruce, (Vintage) an under-rated debut novel and one of my favourites for this year,  see my review
  3. The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey, (Hamish Hamilton – Penguin), (who got a gong in this years Honours List), see my review
  4. The Great Race: The Race Between the English and the French to Complete the Map of Australiaby David Hill (Random House) (This will have special appeal for anyone living in France because it’s about how Australia was so very nearly ‘discovered’ by the French), see my review.
  5. Nine Days by Toni Jordan, (Text), a departure from chicklit into historical fiction, see my review
  6. The Recluse (Giramondo Shorts Series) by Evelyn Juers, (Giramondo) about the life of Sydney’s own Miss Havisham, see my review
  7. If I Should Lose You by Natasha Lester, (Fremantle Press) a powerful story exploring the moral dilemmas of mother-love, see my review
  8. The Good, the Bad and the Unlikely: Australia’s Prime Ministers by Mungo MacCallum, (Black Inc) see my review  (Trust me, this is a painless overview of Oz political history and an amusing book).
  9.  The Mountain  by Drusilla Modjeska, (Vintage) a fascinating story set in New Guinea, see my review
  10. The Inheritance of Ivorie Hammer by Edwina Preston, (UQP) a pseudo-Victorian romp that is such good fun to read, see my review
  11. Whisky Charlie Foxtrot: A Novel by Annabel Smith, (Fremantle Press) an emotional roller-coaster but also laugh-out-loud funny, see my review
  12. Happy Valley (Text Classics) by Patrick White (Text) (his first novel, re-released after many years, and an ideal introduction to our Nobel Prize winning author, see my review)

Alas, I have had to omit some wonderful books that I read this year because they weren’t published in 2012.  I’ll probably do a post about those ones over the summer holidays.

What do you think?  Any other suggestions?  Remember, the rules are that the book must have been published in 2012.

NB It’s only the tail end of November, so I reserve the right to add to this list if something I read between now and the end of the year takes my fancy!

Update 12.12.12

I knew there would be more:

The Darkest Little Room by Patrick Holland (Transit Lounge) See my review.
Montebello by Robert Drewe ( Penguin) (My review is coming soon).

These should all be readily available in Australia and you are entitled to complain to any bookseller who doesn’t have them.

Click the links on the titles above to buy from Fishpond.


  1. I havent read any new Australian books this year (too busy with my new baby :-)) but I will be saving this list to my favourites so I can find some good Australian books at a glance


    • I don’t remember reading anything the year my son was born…but then I don’t remember anything much except him and how gorgeous he was, and how happy we were to be a family. Every minute is so special, you enjoy it!


  2. This was delightful news to wake up to! Thanks so much, Lisa. The Modjeska will probably be my first stop. I’m crazy about her writing.


    • The Mountain is a great book. My bookgroup has chosen it to discuss for next year:)


  3. Great list, Lisa. Of course, I haven’t read any of them, because I think the only two available in the UK are the Carey and the White. But this list will prove useful as “ones to watch” when/if they get published abroad.


    • KIm, I predict that you will *love* Happy Valley!


  4. I wasn’t a fan of The Chemistry of Tears, but I did enjoy Natasha Lester’s book a lot. And I’m looking forward to Ivorie Hammer, after reading your review last week. I’m thrilled to see Whisky Charlie Foxtrot on your list :)


  5. I’ve only read 2 of the books on your list – now I have an even longer list of books to ask Santa for. I’m so glad you liked If I Should Lose You enough to include it on your list – I think it’s the first time I’ve been in anyone’s top books of the year!


  6. Annabel and Natasha, one of the nicest aspects of compiling a list like this is knowing that it will bring a smile to the talented authors who’ve been included. I hope that lots of my readers click on those links and buy your books and the others – and why? Because that encourages you to write another one for me to enjoy!


  7. I would probably add My Hundred Lovers by Susan Johnson, Hannah and Emil by Belinda Castles, The Burial by Courtney Collins and Sweet Old World by Deborah Robertson. Four books I enjoyed and that have stayed with me.


  8. I would offer M T C Cronin’s poems in the latest UQPPoetry Series, titled The World Last Night. I was enthralled by these poems. So easy to read and excuse the pun, so poettic. “Of life, The dream is of life.”



    • Oh yes, poetry. Good thought, Meg! Thanks:)


  9. wonderful list Lisa ,all the best stu


  10. I’m heading off to Lindfield Bookshop today, with my suitcase and my visacard. I’ll let you know how I get on :)

    I love buying books!


  11. […] can find lists by Lisa here and here and one by Sue here. I compiled a list of all the titles I could gather from lists and comments […]


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