The Year of Down Under

[Addendum - Saturday, May 26, 2007:
I would love to have company in the challenge at any point in the year, if anyone is interested in joining me! I intend to pick a new country every year and undertake a similar challenge. The top contenders for next year's country (when I hope to make this a more public challenge, where it was a mostly personal challenge this year) are China, Japan, and Israel/Palestine. If you would like to join this (Australian) year, drop me a line. If you would like to join me next year, and have an opinion about which of those countries sounds most appealing, let me know. I will keep you posted!]

Greedy soul that I am, I took one look at Tanabata's "Japan Challenge" and Kailana's "O'Canada Challenge" and thought "I must get me one of those." What a delightful idea it would be, I thought, to pick a different country every year and focus on it for 12 months and 12 books. And God knows I don't have enough New Year's resolutions under way! This sort of boundless greed is how I ended up with three middle names.*

So let me declare this the year of my Australia Challenge. Let it be proclaimed far and wide. I am defining the challenge by the Australianness of the author, rather than the subject matter of the book (although ideally many of the books will take Australia as a subject or setting). I include authors who have lived all their lives in Australia, those who were born there and have since taken up residence or citizenship elsewhere, and those who have adopted Australia as their home although born somewhere else.

*****
The books that I already have on my shelf that might claim a place in such a challenge follow:

PETER CAREY
"My Life as a Fake"
"The True History of the Kelly Gang"
"Oscar and Lucinda"

SHIRLEY HAZZARD
"Transit of Venus"
"The Great Fire"

TIM WINTON
"Dirt Music"
"Cloudstreet"

MORRIS WEST
"The Salamander"

BRYCE COURTENAY
"The Power of One"

GERALDINE BROOKS
"Year of Wonders"

DBC PIERRE (Who asserts his Mexicanness over his Australianness)
"Vernon God Little"

ELLIOT PERLMAN
"Seven Types of Ambiguity"

JOAN LONDON
"Gilgamesh"

DAVID MALOUF
"Remembering Babylon"

JESSICA ANDERSON
"Tirra Lirra by the River"

*****
Other books which I might include, but do not currently own:

THOMAS KENEALLY
"Commonwealth of Thieves"

KATE GRENVILLE
"The Secret River"

ROGER McDONALD
"The Ballad of Desmond Kale"

COLLEEN McCULLOUGH
"The Thornbirds"

ANDREW McGAHAN
"The White Earth"

ALEX MILLER
"Journey to the Stone Country"

PATRICK WHITE
"Voss"

MARCUS ZUSAK
"The Book Thief"


[UPDATE: Some recommendations from LibraryThingers that I have just fetched from the library -

MARGO LANAGAN
"Black Juice"

CARRIE TIFFANY
"Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living"

DOROTHY PORTER
"The Monkey's Mask"

NORMAN LINDSAY
"The Magic Pudding"]

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Books which are excluded from this challenge because I have already read them (at least those that immediately come to mind):

MILES FRANKLIN
"My Brilliant Career"

THOMAS KENEALLY
"Schindler's Ark"/"Schindler's List"

GERALDINE BROOKS
"Nine Parts of Desire"

ADA CAMBRIDGE
"The Three Miss Kings" (sometimes listed as "The Three Misses King")

JIMMY CHI
"Bran Nue Dae" (I am saddened by the lack of drama on my To Do list for this challenge. I may add more as I do more research. Let me know if you have suggestions.)

So, all in all, I have read very little Australian literature in my life.

*****
Most delightfully, I have already finished my January novel for this challenge. So here is the list so far:

1) "A Child's Book of True Crime" by Chloe Hooper (2002)

I will keep you updated.






*In my family, you are allowed to choose your own middle name when you are 12. At 12, I had already developed a keen sense of the, um, ornate. I aimed for the most complex possible monogram, choosing McClanahan (McC.), Llewellyn (which, I liked to think, would be abbreviated Ll.), and Æmalia (Æ).

One Response so far.

  1. Hi, Ariel! I want to join your challenge. I have three of my books so far:
    The Book Thief, Dirt Music, and Cloudstreet. My email address is: piperoliveravram (at) yahoo (dot) com

    -Vasilly

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