Posted by: Lisa Hill | March 14, 2020

Autumn Book Binge 2020

The State Library of Victoria has, with perfect timing, come up with an activity to amuse us during the social distancing period for COVID_19. It’s their Autumn Book Binge 2020.

Ok, I know, there are some places in the world where it isn’t autumn.  That’s a pity, it’s a most beautiful time of the year here in Melbourne, but you can still join in if you like, and (I know I’m going to regret this, because the postage will be spectacular) for one lucky participant who blogs their reviews, I am going to draw a winner from those who complete the challenge to win my surplus-to-requirements copy of Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety.  (Readings sent me a free copy along with my copy of The Mirror and the Light, but I already had it).

You can read about the Autumn Book Binge here, and pick up your Challenge Card from any participating library, or download it here. The card looks like this:

For Victorian participants, there are monthly prizes of book vouchers from Readings.

To complete a line (horizontal, vertical or diagonal) on the challenge card, you need to read or listen to a book of your choice from any of nine book categories, and here are some suggestions:

Set in Victoria: Click here to see reviews of 162 books set in Victoria: these are some of the most recent ones.

Recent releases (books published in the last 12 months): Click here for more books published in 2020 and here for more books released in 2019.

Other lives: biography about someone who inspires you: Click here for literary bios; here for musician bios; and here for all kinds of other interesting people.

In translation: Click here for more translations, and you can also filter by gender by using the drop-down category widget in the RHS menu if you want to.

Fact to fiction (works of fiction based on true stories)

Book to screen: This was hard—I hadn’t classified books by this criteria.  I’ve probably missed heaps of possibilities because I don’t watch much film. Click here to see suggestions from the NFSA.

Beastly titles (books with an animal in the title)

Other worlds (books set in an alternate world to your own) Click here for more speculative fiction, but you can also include books from societies very different to our own, e.g. the USSR or the Middle East.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers. Click on the ANZLL Indigenous Reading List for a wealth of choices. These are IMO must-reads:

So there you are: lots to choose from!

Join in the conversation and share your book reviews and recommendations on social media, using hashtag #AutumnBookBinge.

Happy reading!!


  1. Thanks for the online link for the card. I meant to pick one up when I went to the library this afternoon, but apparently I was just very focussed on picking up my book on hold and getting out of there.


    • Good luck with winning a prize!


  2. I might steal this idea for this week’s Monday Musings Lisa – with a credit to you of course. I have had a busy time and was wondering what to do for this Monday. I have some ideas but all take more work than I will be able to do I think.


    • Steal away, the more people know about this, the better:)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Tasmanian Bibliophile @Large and commented:
    For those of us looking to do more reading ….


  4. Excellent! And I have reblogged as well :-)


  5. Damn it. I’m such a sucker for things like this… After ‘failing’ with my Stella longlist reading, I swore off ‘planned’ reading for a while. Tempting categories though… If we go into lockdown, I’m in.


    • Well, a chance to win a readings voucher, what’s not to like? I mean, this month’s catalogue was a real temptation, but after what I spent last month (I’m too embarrassed to own up) I’m just keeping the catalogue until my credit card recovers…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d never say no to a Readings voucher…


        • You know, I’ve never had one. Never. You’d think everyone would know that there is the one, perfect, fail-safe gift for me, and yet…


  6. Such a clever idea!


  7. Yes! Well done to the SLV for coming up with it.


  8. […] big thanks to Lisa (ANZLitLovers) whose post on the Autumn Book Binge brought it to my attention. I knew immediately that I had to post on it – albeit with a […]


  9. For a blogger who regularly writes posts on movie adaptions, your list of book to screen from NFSA is most informative. I must admit these are titles that I’m not familiar with as they are from Down Under. The only one I’ve seen is ‘Rabbit-proof Fence’. And of course ‘Mary Poppins’, not knowing P.L Travers was Australian born.

    There’s one movie adaptation I can think of that is not listed is Australian writer John Bryson’s novel ‘A Cry in the Dark’ (1988), based on a true event, directed by Melbourne-born director Fred Schepisi. The film stars Meryl Streep, and is a disturbing and realistic story of a mother accused of murdering her own baby when she reported her lost during a camping trip. That’s when I learned the word dingo. :)


    • Hi Arti, I think that would be the story of Lindy Chamberlain, who was indeed convicted of murdering her baby and then released when evidence was found to show that she did not. At the time here in Australia everyone had an opinion about her guilt or innocence, I cannot imagine how she would be treated today, with social media being so vicious.
      Rabbit-proof fence was a brilliant film. I used to show it to my students.


      • Lisa, yes that’s was the true event. Is Lindy Chamberlain still living today? I was a bit surprised to see the filmmaker cast Meryl Streep to play her. I guess she can be anybody and still be convincing.

        I’ve thought of another film, ‘Walkabout’ (1971) which is based on a novel too. That was an interesting one.


        • Yes, I think she is, I saw her on TV a little while ago, and was impressed by the way she seemed to have no bitterness about what happened to her.
          I find it fascinating that people have an opinion about things like this. It seems to me that the only people who could have an opinion are the jury who are there to hear both sides of a case and all of the best evidence. Even so, I’ve been on a jury, and noticed how often people picked up on different aspects of what they saw and heard, and how we had to thrash out these differences in the jury room.
          The only opinion I ever had about it was that it would be bad enough to lose your baby, but how much worse, if she was innocent, to be accused of murdering her.


          • How true. It was disturbing to watch. That was so long ago. You know, I just googled for this info. The distance between my city Calgary and Melbourne (that’s where u are, correct?) is 13,873 km, that’s 8,620 miles! We live in two different worlds and the stories we hear are so different too. Subject matters of books and films are so different as well.


            • Nearly 14,000 km! That is a huge distance, though I plan to travel it one day. (I want to do that railway journey that crosses the country).
              And yet there are so many things we have in common too, I would argue that some differences are only skin deep. The late great Kevin from Canada wrote about what we have in common in an essay here:
              Food for thought, eh?


              • You know, Lisa, the difference between Calgary and Ottawa is 3,334 km and that’s 2072 miles! Even though we are both Canadian cities, there are many differences in terms of our social fabric and political structures. But I agree with you in that we should look towards what draw us together, the commonality rather than picking out the differences. Unfortunately, in this troubling time, what’s common among us all human in this global village is the Coronavirus. Our city has declared a state of emergency just last night. Hard times ahead. :( But, let’s keep up with our virtual ties in the blogosphere to go through this together!


  10. […] Reading Month at Cathy 746, and Welsh Reading month at Booker Talk. Here in Victoria there is the Autumn Book Binge hosted by the State Library of Victoria, and you can win prizes.  If you don’t have the book […]


  11. […] has issued the Autumn Book Binge reading challenge. ANZ Litlovers has put together an excellent list of books if you’re […]


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