Sunday, 6 October 2013

Top 50 (Australian) Books to Read Before you Die

In preparation for AusReading month in November I will be posting lists of books & awards to help those of you on the other side of the world with your book selections.

The above link will take you to the master post. You can add links back to your own blog posts about your experiences during AusReading Month.

There aren't many Australian book lists that don't have Tim Winton's Cloudstreet sitting at the #1 position. This particular poll was no different! 

To celebrate The National Year of Reading in 2012, the First Tuesday Book Club gave all Australians a chance to vote for their favourite Australian book.

They counted the votes and compiled a list of the " 50 Aussie books you must read before you die." 

I've highlighted the books I've read from this list in red. Sadly I've only reviewed one of them on this blog. I'll try to add a few more as Friday Flashbacks between now and then. 

The Top 50 books were -

  1. Cloudstreet – Tim Winton
  2. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  3. A Fortunate Life – A.B. Facey
  4. The Harp in the South – Ruth Park
  5. The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay
  6. Jasper Jones – Craig Silvey
  7. The Magic Pudding – Norman Lindsay
  8. The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas
  9. The Secret River – Kate Grenville    (reviewed)
  10. Picnic at Hanging Rock – Joan Lindsay
  11. Seven Little Australians – Ethel Turner
  12. My Brother Jack – George Johnston
  13. My Brilliant Career – Miles Franklin
  14. True History of the Kelly Gang – Peter Carey
  15. Eucalyptus – Murray Bail
  16. Power Without Glory – Frank Hardy
  17. The Broken Shore – Peter Temple
  18. Monkey Grip – Helen Garner
  19. The Riders – Tim Winton
  20. The Tree of Man – Patrick White
  21. The Fatal Shore – Robert Hughes
  22. Unreliable Memoirs – Clive James
  23. The Tall Man – Chloe Hooper
  24. The Man Who Loved Children – Christina Stead
  25. The Dressmaker – Rosalie Ham
  26. The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney – Henry Handel Richardson
  27. The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith – Thomas Keneally
  28. Capricornia – Xavier Herbert
  29. Wake in Fright – Kenneth Cooke
  30. Ransom – David Malouf
  31. The Year of Living Dangerously – C.J. Koch
  32. The First Stone – Helen Garner
  33. Gallipoli – Alan Moorehead
  34. Maestro – Peter Goldsworthy
  35. The Monkey’s Mask – Dorothy Porter
  36. Wanting – Richard Flanagan
  37. Come In Spinner – Dymphna Cusack & Florence James
  38. Grand Days – Frank Moorhouse    (brief review)
  39. 1788 – Watkin Tench
  40. It’s Raining in Mango – Thea Astley
  41. Riders in the Chariot – Patrick White
  42. Carpentaria – Alexis Wright
  43. The Tyranny of Distance – Geoffrey Blainey
  44. That Deadman Dance – Kim Scott
  45. For Love Alone – Christina Stead
  46. An Intruder’s Guide to East Arnhem Land – Andrew McMillan
  47. The Life – Malcolm Knox
  48. The Watcher on the Cast-Iron Balcony – Hal Porter
  49. Here’s Luck – Lennie Lower
  50. Visitants – Randolph Stow
The First Tuesday Book Club has now changed it's name to The Book Club. They review contemporary and classic books as well as International and Australian titles. Click on the link above to see their reviews.


  1. Oh dear, I was hoping I'd have read at least one of them - but no. Still, now I have a place to start!

  2. These lists always make me feel quite inadequate as an Australian as well as as a reader! I really have a lot of work to do... ;-)

    1. I was surprised by how few I had read too Vicki. Although I have read other books by another half dozen of these authors, which is a start I guess!

  3. I've only read two of the books on the list (The Book Thief and The True History of the Kelly Gang), but then again I'm not Australian so many of these titles and authors are new to me....of course, I probably wouldn't do very well on a list of top Canadian books either.

    I'm surprised The Thorn Birds isn't on the list.

    1. Ha ha! My Canadian list would look good as long as it was full of Margaret Atwoods and Alice Munro's!
      Thorn Birds was too long ago to probably get onto many local lists these days It was popular at the time but hasn't had longevity.

  4. Anonymous7/10/13

    Wonderful list and you have saved me so much time searching for books! I don't think I've ever read an Australian writer ( mea culpa), not even Nobel Prize winner P. White. Tip for Canadian list: just finished Ru by K. Thuy, escaped from Vietnam as a child and is now a renown Canadian writer! It was breathtaking!

    1. Thanks I'll look out for that one :-)

  5. I've just finished Ransom by David Malouf and that was brilliant. I didn't realise Marcus Zusak was Australian - I guess I can't avoid reading that any longer. Thanks for sharing this list!

  6. Anonymous8/10/13

    What a great list! I will definitely be referring back to this one. I also had no idea that Markus Zusak is Australian - that gives me one book read out of the entire list. :) I have a copy of The Secret River sitting on my shelf -- must get to it soon. No Margo Lanagan? I love her writing.


    1. Yes Ellie and Lisa, Marcus was born in Sydney (but his parents were born in Germany and Austria).
      When I checked his details though, I didn't realise he was so young! Born in 1975!!
      I haven't read Ransom yet, but I've read & loved several of Malouf's earlier books, Ellie.
      The Secret River is my favourite Grenville. She used to live in my suburb of Sydney. She would pop into the bookshop where I work on a regular basis :-)

  7. This is wonderful! I'm going to have to go through this list in more detail and dive in!


I love hearing from you but I understand that blogger commenting can be a frustrating experience for many.

Make sure you're logged into your account before writing your comment, otherwise blogger will eat it. I have occasionally found lost comments by hitting the back arrow button.

A recent discussion with blogger admin revealed that the ability to post comments "is sensitive to both cookie and script filters. Your readers may need to enable (stop filtering) 'third party cookies', in their browser and on their computer. And, have them check their script filters, too. Third party cookies filtering, in a browser setting, is the most common solution. Filters are subject to update, by the creator. If the problem started a few days ago, your readers may have to look on their computers, and find out what product or accessory was updated, a few days ago."
I hope this helps. Using a different browser for a while was another suggestion.

All anonymous comments will be deleted.

If all else fails, you can contact me on my fb page or twitter.

Thanks to another increase in spam comments I have now added word verification on ALL posts.