About ANZ LitLovers

Welcome to the ANZ LitLovers blog.  It started out as a blog for an online reading group, and while it still retains its role as a portal to the group, its primary function now is as Lisa Hill’s ANZ LitLovers LitBlog (ANZLL) – where you can find reviews and commentary about literary fiction, classics and (less often)  non-fiction from Australia and New Zealand.  There are also regular blog posts about contemporary international fiction with a special interest in translations, and the classics.

Lisa Hill is a keen reader who lives in Melbourne, Victoria.  Her natural habitat is a library.  (She has one in her own home.)  When not reading, she can be found buying, coveting,  sorting, re-arranging, cataloguing, blogging or talking about books, with occasional trips overseas to admire other libraries.  These activities are interrupted only by having to go to work, but after a long career in teaching she has finally found a way of combining the two by working as a primary school librarian, necessitating reading books to 16 classes a week and more buying, coveting,  sorting, re-arranging, cataloguing, blogging or talking about books.  Not any more!  I retired, at the end of December 2014. 

Lately, Lisa has also found a way of meeting her favourite authors by doing the occasional book launch and chairing panels at Literary Festivals.  Get in touch if you need someone who has, or definitely will (a) read the book or (b) know how to bring a panel together to talk about books.

The ANZ LitLovers blog won the Words category in the Best Australian Blogs Awards in 2012, and has also been featured in ‘Bookworms on the Web‘ by Jane Sullivan at the SMH.

(Just in case you were wondering if all this is really true, Lisa Hill is proud to wear the title Uber Cool History / Lit Geek)
NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber Cool History / Lit Geek.  Click to take the Nerd Test, get geeky images and jokes, and write on the nerd forum!

This blog is maintained by Lisa Hill.

Ramblings, reviews, rants and raves are all by Lisa Hill unless otherwise noted.

I aim to be transparent about the reading choices I make.  I don’t read to any agenda, I just read what appeals to me.  But I track the gender of the books I review (look under Reviews in the drop-down categories box where the ratio usually hovers around 45% female 55% male) and because it’s come to my attention that female translated authors tend to be under-represented, there’s a special subset for translated fiction (trending up from 20% female 80% male).  I also track the gender ratio of my Meet an Aussie/Kiwi Author profiles (hovering around 50/50, without any deliberate manipulation from me).  I track indigenous authors separately too.

Publishers and authors wishing to submit books for review, please visit the Comments and Reviews Policy page, then use the Contact Form below to get in touch.

Transparency statement: I belong to Fishpond’s Affiliate Program.  I receive a token commission if you buy a book using links to this bookseller, or if you visit  Fishpond via the logo on the site and subsequently buy a book from them.  Any commission received in this way contributes a modicum towards the ISP costs of the ANZLL website, towards the subscription that I pay to keep it free of other intrusive advertising, towards the exorbitant cost of posting books to my friends here and overseas and towards my compulsive book buying habits.  For more information, see my post about this.

FishpondTo support Australian publishing, links to the Fishpond Affiliate Program go to Australian editions of the books as much as possible.  This is to support local online suppliers of Australian and New Zealand books. Fishpond offers free postage on every order.

As of April 2014 I no longer have any affiliation with any international bookseller, and am progressively removing any remaining links from this site.

Please note:

The Australian Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) allows 10% of the number of words on this website to be reproduced and/or communicated by any Australian educational institution for its educational purposes provided that the educational institution (or the body that administers it) has given a notice to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) under Part VB of the Act. For details of the CAL licence for educational institutions contact: Copyright Agency Limited, Level 15, 233 Castlereagh St, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph 612 93947600 Fax 612 93947601 Email: info@copyright.com.au Except for personal use or as permitted under the Act (e.g. for the services of the Crown or in reliance on one of the fair dealing exceptions i.e. a fair dealing for the purposes of research or study) no part of this website may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, communicated or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission. All inquiries should be made to the copyright owner Lisa Hill at using the Contact Form below or as attributed on individual blog posts.

The ANZ LitLovers reading group

 ANZ LitLovers is an online reading group for Australian and New Zealand lovers of literary fiction.  Members are keen readers of all ages who discuss books and book-related topics by email.

anzll-2009Members come from all over ANZ, but gatherings take place whenever the opportunity arises.  Bookshops and writing festivals are popular venues.

ANZLL defines ANZ literature as any book of literary fiction written by a Kiwi or an Aussie, (including expats) or set in Australia or New Zealand.  The group chooses mainly contemporary literary fiction, but includes a ‘classic’ choices and occasional international titles, and enjoys friendly and relaxed chat about other books we read as well.

Members nominate books for discussion, and vote at the end of each year.   While it is not expected that everyone will join discussions for every title, all members are asked to contribute regularly to sharing their BBRLM (Best Book Read Last Month) and annual Top Tens.

ANZ LitLovers is a Yahoo reading group, and there is no cost to belong.  Membership is by invitation, but enquiries from keen readers from Australia or New Zealand are welcome any time.  If you’d like to join, contact

ANZLitLovers-owner@yahoogroups.com  or capel@tpg.com.au   (NB This is the contact email for the reading group, not for Lisa Hill at this blog.)

ANZ LitLovers Yahoo group history

kimdwyerlisa07ANZ LitLovers was founded in January 2002 by  Kim Dwyer (at left) in Noosa, Queensland, and Lisa Hill in Melbourne, Victoria.

After a long struggle with breast cancer, Kim died peacefully at home with her family on May 13th, 2005.

Kim was a very special person to us all.  We loved her warm and generous spirit, her sense of humour,
her passionate opinions about the world’s injustices, and her wisdom.
Those of us who were privileged to know her will never forget her.


Gardenias were her favourite flower.
This one blooms in Lisa’s garden in  memory of Kim.


 This page was last updated on 28/7/15

Fishpond 604x90


  1. No Gerald Murnane on the read before you die list.
    Why not?

    • An oversight, because as you know if you have browsed this site, I am a fan of Gerald Murnane’s writing! I shall fix this immediately, and thanks, Tim, for bringing it to my attention.

  2. Hi there… not sure where to let all you anzlitlovers know about this so I thought I’d post here. I’ve just released a completely new version of the 1001 Books spreadsheet which you can use to track your progress through the list. Some of you may have older versions of the list but the Full version of the new one is really something special

    It’s HERE if you’re interested.


    • Thanks, John & Sheena – I’ll certainly use it:)

  3. I have just [excitedly] stumbled across this blog and am thoroughly enjoying reading back through the posts.
    In case you should ever stumble across mine, I wanted to let you know that I didn’t steal your header idea. I just thought I was being creative.
    I’d like to think it is a case of ‘great minds think alike’ but, on reading your posts, I confess that my mind is a lot less focused.

  4. Hi Lisa,
    I came across a blog of yours enquiring about Robert Carter’s book ‘Prints in the Valley’. I am still alive. Happy to send you a biog re my books if you are interested.



    • Hi Robert, I don’t know if you’ll see this as this is a very old link, but just want to let you know that I read your book back in the 1990s and loved it. It’s a wonderful novel that should be better known. Actually as I recall it’s the only book I’ve ever read that made me miss my stop on the train because I was so engrossed. When in my early 20s I worked in rural Morobe Province in PNG for a couple of years and met young people (actually, people of all ages, including colleagues) who profoundly believed in magic. I witnessed a deeply different culture that made a great impression on me. From the perspective of an Australian, at least, I feel your novel (among other things) communicated a sense of that experience and also the extraordinary atmosphere of life there. Having come upon this link here I didn’t want to miss a chance of sharing with you my appreciation of your work. best wishes, Les

  5. Yes, please, Robert – that would be great!

  6. Lisa Hill – you amaze me. How quickly do you read and not only that how quickly do you come up with words to review them. Plus you have a ‘paying job’ as well! My mind is just overwhelmed thinking about that.

    I am new to reading books (not that I’ve never read), but my increased reading is due to joining a book club, and volunteering to help out at a book shop that opened up locally.

    Reading through your blog, I feel like a fraud, but I will perservere and not lose hope that maybe one day I can say I am a reader of books.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Goodness, Sophie, you mustn’t feel like that! The community of readers and writers is a broad church – and we all do it in our own way and at our own pace. That’s what makes the blogosphere such a great place to be:)
      But anyway, I have to confess, I’m enjoying the last week of my holidays *not* doing all the things I was going to do (weeding, ironing, cupboard-cleaning, scrapbooking the holiday photos, some work stuff that ought to be done to save my sanity next week etc etc). No, I’m just reading and writing, and occasionally walking the dogs. So you see, that’s how I get so much done, this week, I’ve prioritised it above everything else! It’s a kind of very pleasurable madness…

  7. Hi Lisa,
    In my usual tech-challenged way, I have been trying to find the post on your blog that made mention of a service you used (I think) to draw a winner. At least I think I read it on your blog but I could be totally wrong.
    I am running a survey comp on my blog (survey monkey) and didn’t think about the correct way to draw a winner.
    Hope you can point me in the right direction.

    • Hi Karen, I didn’t bookmark it but if you Google ‘Random Number Generator’ you’ll find any number of free ones. I didn’t need to download anything for the one I used, I just typed the numbers in.
      Lisa (off to visit your blog to see what your survey is about LOL)

      • Thanks heaps Lisa, it is actually at the end of the Leonard Cohen Concert Review post but I’m going to put it up again in a new post shortly.

  8. […] This review was first posted on Lisa’s blog: https://anzlitlovers.wordpress.com/. […]

  9. Lisa – I didn’t see an email, so hope you check this comments section! Could you please recommend a book on the history of Botany Bay, the HMS Endeavor and Cook? I thought it might be more likely that Australia would have a book that hasn’t been published here in the states.

    Thanks much!

    • Hello there, my friend from GoodReads! You’re right, I do hide my email to (successfully) foil (most of) the spammers though you can find it tucked away on the review and comments page policy page, (and you can also contact me directly via GoodReads any time too.)
      I’m not sure whether you’re after an historical novel or non-fiction, but I’ll go with NF first. I’ve only read chapter one of this myself so far, but I think that Thomas Keneally’s Australians Origins to Eureka Vol 1 would be a good choice. It’s a bit of a brick but not horrendously expensive and Keneally, though not a scholar, has written a very readable general history that is focussed on people. (The only reason I didn’t go on with reading it, was because I read Ch 1 on the train coming home from the Melbourne Writers Festival where I bought it last year, and then my husband snaffled it – and he hasn’t finished it yet because he’s always reading two or three other things as well, just like I am!) You can get it in the US from http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9781741750690/Australians-Volume-1 and there’s a description of it at BookOffers http://www.bookoffers.com.au/australians-origins-to-eureka-thomas-keneally/
      and a good review here http://webdiary.com.au/cms/?q=node/3029.
      Shorter, cheaper and more tightly focussed on the time period you’re interested in, and also available at the Book Depository at http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9781741668001/1788 is David Hill’s 1788 which I reviewed here, see https://anzlitlovers.wordpress.com/2008/11/20/1788-by-david-hill/
      I hope that helps:)

  10. Hi Lisa

    Just a note to apologise for my sudden departure from the book blogging scene. I plan to relaunch my site in due course focusing on just a few favourite authors – based on some of my more indepth reviews.

    I thank you for your frequent comment on my book reviews which were always much appreciated. I’ll keep dropping in to ANZ LitLovers to what you’re up to there.

    best, Tom

    • Hello Tom, that will be an interesting new focus, will it be the same website address so that my existing RSS will feed it in to my email?

  11. Hi Lisa –

    I left a note for you on librarything – just checking whether you found it. I’m leaving for France in a couple of days. A year in France. In a tiny walled village. Intermittant slow internet. Writing a book.

    How much fun?



    • I’ve more-or-less abandoned LT, it’s too clunky for me, so I’m glad you came by here as well.
      Your sojourn sounds like heaven! What sort of book will be it be?

  12. Another literary thriller, I expect. Only with asylum seekers this time instead of terrorism and de Menezes. I’ll drop you a line when it’s done :)

    • I’ll be in Paris myself later on this year, I’ll wave to you as we fly over!

  13. I’m in Sablet, in Provence. You have my email address – if you decide to attend the “Journée du Livre de Sablet” let me know :)

    • Alas, I’m only in Paris for a stopover of a day or two (just long enough to have a decent meal after a fortnight of cabbage and potato in Russia LOL) and then we fly home.

      • Lisa – we’re coming home for Noel and then heading back to Sablet, France. I have one carry-on suitcase. I plan to ditch all my clothes in Australia and fill the return carry-on with books. Ten suggestions, please – Australian authors, published last year .Literary is nice, Fc or non-fic.

        I promise to buy all books from independent Australian Booksellers (probably Lindfield Books or Pages and Pages Mosman ;) )

        • Oh Sylvia, what fun! Some lucky person gets a suitcase full of gorgeous French clothes and I get to choose a shopping list of lovely books!
          I’ve got my hands full today because I’m chairing a panel at the Stonnington Festival, but I’ll put some thought into this and will reply properly in a special post just for you ASAP.
          Two to start with, just because I loved them so:
          Whisky Charlie Foxtrot by Annabel Smith
          Nine Days by Toni Johnson
          More later!

  14. Hello from Langwarrin, Vic.
    Are you going to review The Voyage by Murray Bail?
    I do value your reviews.

    • Hello Charles, and welcome to chatting about books at ANZ LitLovers. Thank you for your kind comment:)
      I certainly am going to review The Voyage, I loved Murray Bail’s last book and this one is my next read after I finish my current novel! If all goes well I expect to finish Whisky Charlie Foxtrot in the next day or two and then I’ll be starting the Bail.

  15. what a great blog. im so glad i came across it!

  16. I look forward to reading more of your blog. I only joined wordpress at the end of last year and have been looking for other aussies on here. I love ANZ lit and think its important to try and promote our authors as much as we can. On my blog I reserve saturdays for highlighting books by Australian authors because we have great books that the world should read. Keep up the good work :)

    • Hello, and welcome! It’s always a pleasure to find that others share my love of Aussie lit and want to help spread the word.

  17. Hello! I have just discovered LitLovers and will look forward to picking up recommendations from your reviews and Top Ten lists. I am a Melbourne-based literary agent and passionate reader (I’ve just finished Burial Rites, which my bookclub rated as the best book we have read in our 14 years together). I would like to recommend Fiona Capp’s Gotland to ANZ Lit Lovers (disclosure: I do represent Fiona). However, I think Gotland is a novel that will intrigue and interest your readers. Caroline Baum reviewed Gotland recently:
    http://www.booktopia.com.au/gotland-fiona-capp/prod9780732297572.html Let me know if you would like me to send you a copy for review.
    Regards, Jacinta di Mase

    • Hello Jacinta, nice to hear from you:)
      Thank you for your offer, but I have already bought Gotland, and will be reading it just as soon as I can get to it!

  18. […] AFFIRMpress), Nicole Hayes (Woolshed Press) and Catherine Harris (Black Inc) in conversation with Lisa Hill, a definite […]

  19. Lisa: This comment is a follow-up to your comment on my blog. For some reason, I couldn’t see or respond to your comment on the blog itself, although I saw it in my notifications. (?). Yes, I originally taught Mahfouz “Palace Walk” in this course and students were appalled by the sexism. I was, too. It seemed even more pervasive than the sexism in “Things Fall Apart.” I do think Mahfouz was critical of the dad’s tyranny, but still, it left a bad taste. That’s one reason I decided to teach something different from Mahfouz. The other reason is because “Palace Walk’ is soooooooo long!

    On the issue of Kinna Reads, I follow her blog and participate in her African Reading Challenge but I had no idea she is the daughter of Ama Ata Aidoo. That is so cool. How did I not know that?

    • I think it is so sad that courses today can’t set books that are of any serious length. I understand why, but it means that students are missing out on some of the world’s great books.

  20. […] Saturday, I relived university days courtesy of my dear friend Lisa Hill who told me about a wonderful new project at Arts Centre Melbourne, in The Channel, the Centre’s […]

  21. […] find all this and more at writers festivals and recently through the generosity of my friend Lisa Hill I was gifted a ticket to the Bendigo Writers’ Festival. Bliss indeed – until the […]

  22. […] Hill: ANZlitlovers award winning […]

  23. […] I answered 10 questions for Lisa Hill, for the Meet an Aussie/Kiwi author feature on her excellent ANZ LitLovers blog. […]

  24. It is coming to something when one answers a couple of simple questions, to have one application refused. That’s what happened when I tried to join Linked In ‘Now’. Clearly, unbeknownst to me I have sullied my escutcheon, rendering me persona non grata. Oh, well. Such is life, as Ned Kelly is reputed to have said at the moment of his being hanged.

    • Social media looks easy, but it isn’t always…
      But you are welcome here, to chat about books any time!

  25. Further to my immediately preceding e-mail, earlier today I tried to send an e-mail and scan, but they went to the wrong Lisa Hill. All I need is yur e-mail address. Any hope?

    • My email address is at the bottom of the RHS menu right down at the bottom in the yada yada about copyright. I hide it there to deter spammers.
      But, before you send the scan, I’m not sure what you want me to do with it…

      • Many thanks – I shall go a’huting instanter. Re the scan – you don’t actually have to do anything with it. Well, if you are in a generous mood you can say “Well done!”: but otherwise, you know where the Delete icon is!

        • It didn’t work! The system didn’t care for [RLH: it] and refused to deliver. Oh well – it all seemed like a good idea at the time,


          • *chuckle* You left the ‘m’ off dotcom!
            PS I’ve edited your comment to remove the email address even though it doesn’t work, because a spammer would very quickly find it and fix it.

  26. […] About ANZ LitLovers […]

  27. I had to come read your about page because you post a review pretty much every single day! I thought for sure that multiple people must contribute to this blog. It just turns out that you are a power house! Do you ever have the time to read other book blogs? I love developing relationships with book bloggers and sharing reviews. I read reviews carefully and comment quite frequently.

    • LOL Melanie, I used to have a split personality when I was at work and had to pretend to be normal (though my sweet, patient colleagues would dispute that I succeeded in that). But since retirement I am free to be me, which means that reading and writing are my default activities, with normal life tagging a long way behind.
      Yes indeed I do read other book blogs, it’s part of my daily life. All the ones I’ve subscribed to (I’ve lost count of how many there are) pop up in my email inbox, and Twitter which I look at first thing in the morning after I’ve finished about an hour’s reading. I scan the emails, delete or ignore anything that doesn’t appeal e.g. crime and then head over to all the ones that intrigue me. I read ’em, I comment on ’em, I waffle on about the book they’ve reviewed if I’ve already read it, and I add the book they recommend to my wishlist at Goodreads or I order it from the library or I buy it online. I try not just to ‘like’ a review, I think if my friends have bothered to write it, I can be bothered to comment on it. But occasionally real life gets in the way so I have to be pragmatic about that.
      Then (assuming there is no real life intruding) I might go and work on a review, or read some more, or write something else. I do some French to keep up my skills. I waste a bit of time on Facebook but do not watch cat videos out of loyalty to our dog. (She’s ok with me watching goat videos and Silky Terrier videos are mandatory.) I don’t read the news because most of it isn’t real news but I do read serious journalism at The Drum, The Conversation, The Guardian, Inside Story and Eureka Street. Very occasionally I feel like being a domestic goddess and I experiment with a recipe from a new recipe book or I do a little desultory weeding of the vegetable patch. I do not shop. I do not play or watch sport. I do not watch TV except for Masterchef. Some time in the afternoon the dog demands a walk, some time in the evening The Spouse announces that dinner is ready. Some time late at night or maybe early in the morning I fall asleep with a book over my nose and recently also with my glasses on…
      I don’t suppose you review poetry? I am not brave enough to do that and would love to have some poetry reviews on this blog.

      • Lisa, you sound entirely delightful! I do SOME poetry. If it’s newer or experimental, it’s a definite no…which, that’s most stuff these days. I have a few people I contact to write reviews for me if I have someone who really, really wants a poetry review done. However, I do have a few poetry collections that I own that aren’t experimental and wouldn’t mind reviewing! Is that the kind of thing you meant, or did you have specific poetry collections you wanted reviewed?

        • Occasionally publishers who ignore my review policy that says I don’t review poetry send me collections, And because poets get so little publicity I always feel guilty about not doing anything with them.

          • Hmmm, if I read a collection, I will contact you! I am currently reading the complete Paul Laurence Dunbar, if you’re interested in having older works of poetry on the site.

  28. […] About ANZ LitLovers […]

  29. […] Hill blogs and reviews at ANZ LitLovers, and is indeed an ambassador for Australian (and New Zealand) literature. She recently reviewed The […]

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