Posted by: Lisa Hill | January 16, 2019

2019 Indie Book Awards shortlist, and winners

Update 19/3/19: the winners have been announced and I’ve put them in bold.

Thanks to Readings Bookstore, here’s news of the 2019 Indie Book Awards shortlist.  Links on the titles take you to the Readings site where you can buy the book.  Other links go to my reviews or those of other trusted reviewers.

Fiction

Non-fiction

Debut Fiction

Illustrated non-fiction

Children’s

Young Adult

Winners will be announced on Monday 18 March, 2019. Find out more here.


Responses

  1. That’s a lay down misère for me: not a single title!

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    • No none for me yet, either, Jonathan, though I will be reading the Dalton this month.

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      • I haven’t done too well either, but then, I usually don’t for these awards…

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  2. I am not a Jane Harper fan. As best I can see, she writes (good) genre fiction set in a landscape (the Australian Bush) about which she knows nothing.

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    • Question Bill, can you say you’re not a fan when you haven’t read her? Somehow I feel to say you are not a fan of something or someone you have to have tried them? What I’m saying about her so far is that I’m not really interested to read her books – they sound a bit more genre focused than is my priority, even though, as you say, it sounds like they are good examples in terms of writing skill.

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      • LOL This one’s a minefield… People who say they like genre fiction of one type or another often say that you can’t have an opinion if you haven’t read it. It seems like a fair point (though LOL it’s often said by people who scorn Patrick White or James Joyce without ever reading them).
        But genre fiction conforms to recognisable tropes, that’s why it’s called genre fiction. So if, for example, you know that you get bored by the predictability of those tropes, no amount of skilful writing is going to rescue the book.
        (See Eaglestone on the Contemporary Novel, who says this much more elegantly than me, at https://anzlitlovers.com/2017/08/03/contemporary-fiction-a-very-short-introduction-by-robert-eaglestone/)

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        • I also thought Harper got some of her police procedural wrong in The Dry, but that’s another story.

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          • I remember…
            Woe betide an author who doesn’t get it right with the best-travelled LitCritic in the country!
            (You know, you should hire yourself out as a consultant to publishers…)

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      • I read and reviewed The Dry, and I’ve read plenty of reviews of her others. I’m a bit bemused by her popularity, but then you know I’m very literal in my readings of geography in fiction.

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        • Well then, I say you can call yourself “not a fan”. I’d forgotten you’d reviewed that. I bow in apology!

          As for being literal re geography in fiction -yes, I know. Haha.

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    • Ha! Well put Bill, but you’re a harsh critic. I don’t mind her, The Lost Man in particular tapped into some topical rural issues that beg attention within any medium. Although, I’ll let you know, there were a couple of things that bothered me in her latest, particularly about this whole turning the generator off each night. Without electricity, there’s no fans and no aircon. Without fans and aircon, there’s no sleep, and without sleep, there’s no work the next day. It’s really hot out here at night. We leave the electricity running! But she kept plunging the property into darkness and stillness each night. I let it slide in my review though as I don’t like to nitpick but she really did mention it too many times.

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      • I can’t imagine how you bear it, even with AC. We watch the weather forecast and see the heat wave stretching out across Australia and breathe a sigh of relief that we are in a patch of Melbourne that gets a cooling effect from the bay. Even so, it was when we started getting those nights when it was still 30 at midnight that made me cave in and buy AC for the bedrooms. I found I just couldn’t go to work and be nice to children if I’d had no sleep when of course they were ratty too.

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        • Our temperature range presently has been 42 to 27 degrees, but that 27 is at 6am or thereabouts. The night seems to hold a lot of heat, still in the low thirties well after midnight. But the building holds so much heat too, from absorbing it all day. Sleeping with no aircon or even fans just isn’t credible. Definitely a mood ‘enhancer’.
          But to mention this in a review requires a whole lot of waffle so I just let it go!

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          • I find myself doing this in reviews sometimes too. Let it go, I think, it might come up in comments anyway, and often it does.

            I find, because our house since the renovation is so well-insulated (roof and walls, and insulated shades even for skylights), that we can keep it comfortable inside without aircon till the late afternoon even when it’s 40+ outside. And at night, I blast the bedroom with AC only for ten minutes while I have a shower and then just with a ceiling fan, it stays comfortable all night long. But I couldn’t have done that before the renovation. These old weatherboards definitely need retrofitting against the weather now that it’s so extreme… and brick houses, once they warm up inside during an extended heatwave, can be oppressive.

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            • The houses in our neighbourhood were unfortunately built for aesthetics rather than comfort from the heat. They are brick, but the insulation is poor and there is no shading around the house, not even a standard overhang from your roof. Our roof stops in line with the edge of the house with the gutters the only thing overhanging. I’ve never seen anything more absurd, for any climate. Thankfully we have tinted windows and thick blinds but the heat pours in. Add to this level of poor design, there are no ceiling fans, just ducted aircon. Needless to say, it runs non stop for months on end. I’m glad we don’t own this house!

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              • We see lots of houses designed like that in Melbourne. It’s insane, in our climate…

                Liked by 1 person

      • No, I tend not to nitpick those things either Theresa – if they’re not relevant to the meaning/themes of the novel. I wouldn’t be reading the novel for advice on how to live in outback Australia. I’d be reading something very different for that. As I say in these discussions, there are probably similar inaccuracies in novels set in places I know nothing about and I praise the novel, completely unaware of these “terrible” errors! (Sorry, Bill, but you know how I feel.)

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        • I always think it’s important to bear in mind that novels are fiction. You could no doubt endlessly nitpick every book you read, but you’re so right Sue in terms of considering the relevance and overall meaning intended by the author. I’m a great believer too that authors should extend themselves beyond their known borders, but they’ll be less likely to do this if reviewers and readers sweat the small stuff.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the mentions Lisa! Funnily enough, I’ve also reviewed one of the YA titles, a rare occurance as I don’t favour YA. Here’s my review of Hive:
    https://theresasmithwrites.com/2018/06/26/new-release-book-review-hive-by-a-j-betts/
    There’s some excellent titles in these lists!

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  4. I’ve read Scrublands, Lisa. A first-rate crime novel, if slightly complicated. I dare not say that I’ve read all of Harper’s books and thought the first two superb; the third one is terrible!

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  5. Wundersmith is a delight, and Catching Teller Crow was good too. Nice to see high quality Australian literature being produced for our students.

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  6. As an Indie bookseller, I sometimes wonder how certain books get through the selection process for this award, but this year, I was pretty happy with the winning choices and have read, or at least looked into most of them.

    I have also reviewed (in a rather gushing way) Foxlee’s book about Lenny – http://bronasbooks.blogspot.com/2018/08/lennys-book-of-everything-by-karen.html

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    • LOL Brona, there are a couple where I was quite pleased that they *didn’t* win. (No names, no pack drill).
      The interesting one, for me, is Marcia Langton’s book. I was very excited about that book when I first heard about it because I really like the idea of knowing the history of the places I’m standing in, and Indigenous history in particular. I am sure that book will be a bestseller with tourists or grey nomads because it’s beautifully presented and would make a lovely gift or coffee table book, plus it’s educational. But I didn’t buy it, because I felt that by covering all of Australia, it was necessarily skimpy for each place if you actually want to pursue the places in detail.
      I looked at the section on Melbourne and felt that I was better off with Melbourne Dreaming by Meyer Eidelson which explores 36 locations across Melbourne. Its author is not Indigenous which means, I suppose, that it wouldn’t get published today, (it was first published in 1997 by Aboriginal Studies Press) but as you can see from my post about it (https://anzlitlovers.com/2014/11/03/melbourne-dreaming-by-meyer-eidelson/) you can make a great day out of following its sites.

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  7. Also meant to say that Boy Swallows Universe and Scrublands were Mr Books’ favourite books in the last year. He even went so far to say that Boy may be the best book he has ever read! Redemption and good men are two important themes for him and Dalton covers them in spades!

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    • LOL Brona, you wouldn’t believe the nagging I am getting about BSU! (As in when am I going to read and review it?)
      PS Have added in the link, thanks:)

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    • Ah Brona, an ex-member of my reading group (good friend but ex because she moved to the coast) feels that it is or may be the best Aussie book she has read. That was shared at my reading group’s discussion and resulted in our discussing the Great Australian Novel!

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      • Having read most of the book, I can see how people will say that. I even agree with it, despite, personally struggling with the drug stuff & occasional violence (I’m getting wussier as I get older!) Mr Books was disappointed that I didn’t power through those sections, even as he complains about how I scream and hide behind the cushions during scary movies/shows. It’s hard to cover ones eyes during the scary bits in a book :-)

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        • Talking of scary, just wait till you read Alice Robinson’s new book The Glad Shout. I’ve just finished it, and I am struggling to write about it…

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