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Thursday, 27 August 2009

Books Alive 50 Great Reads

50 Books You Can't Put Down
Fifty great reads: buy one and get your free book now.
Ends 30th of September


The Book of Rapture - Nikki Gemmell
Three children wake to find themselves in a basement room. They have been drugged and taken from their beds in the middle of the night. Now they are alone. Wher are their parents? Who can they trust? The Book of Rapture is a novel of our time, challenging our beliefs about religion, science and truth. Searing, provocative and unputdownable, it's every bit as passionate and driven as The Bride Stripped Bare. It will compel, seduce and haunt you.
The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas
When a man slaps another man's child at a suburban barbecue the effect on those gathered is profound. Divided over the event and how to deal with it, family and friends are forced to question their lives, expectations, beliefs and desires. Sex, love, marriage and parenting are all up for grabs. This award-winning novel is both a forensic dissection of contemporary Australia's aspirations and fears and a potent exploration of loyalty, happiness, compromise and truth.
The Lieutenant - Kate Grenville
Daniel Rooke has sailed with the First Fleet to New South Wales. Setting up an observatory, he begins the scientific work he hopes will make him famous. But the place proves far more revelatory than the night sky, and when Rooke forges a connection with on Aborigional child it changes his life in ways he never imagined. In this compelling novel about friendship and self-discovery, Kate Grenville returns to the landscape of her much-loved bestseller The Secret River.
Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts
'It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.' Set in Bombay in the 1980s and with the grand sweep and scale of a Bollywood movie, Shantaram is extraordinary, a rip-roaring read full of unforgettable characters, vivid dialogue, jail-house philosophy, human frailty and resilience, Sufi wisdom and street-fighting tactics.
How to Break Your Own Heart - Maggie Alderson
Amelia is 37 and seems to have it all - except a baby. But her husband, Ed, isn't interested in parenthood. A move to the country is a catalyst for Amelia to take stock: should she stay in her nearly happy marriage, or launch herself back into single life, in the distant hope of meeting someone new and having a family? With depth and insight Maggie Alderson explores the compromises we make and those rare moments when we risk everything to be truly happy.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
It's 1946. Newspaper columnist Juliet Ashton is struggling with writer's block when she recieves a letter from one Dawsey Adams, a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. They begin a correspondence and soon other society members are writing to Juliet. Entranced by their stories, she decides to visit the island, unwittingly turning her life upside down in the process. A glorious tale of friendship, love and books, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is completely irresistible.
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
A father and his son walk alone through a burned America in a future where no hope remains, but where two people, 'each the other's world entire', are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, The Road is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desparate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.
Heart and Soul - Meave Binchy
Cardiac specialist Clara Casey has a lot on her plate: her marriage has fallen apart, she's started a new job, and her adult daughters are acting like children. Then there's Declan Carroll, a young doctor at the clinic trying to make a life for himself. And Ania, Clara's assistant, whose affair with a married man has forced her to leave her Polish home town . . .Infused with Binchy's trademark charm and compassion, this story of intersecting lives will give you a satisfying glow.
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox - Maggie O'Farrell
Esme is and unhappy child in colonial India and later a troubled young woman in 1930s Edinburgh. Unable to fit into that straight-laced world, she is betrayed by her sister and ultimately edited out of the family history for over sixty years. Until a young woman, Iris, discovers the great-aunt she never knew she had. Impassioned, intense and haunting, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is a stunning imagining of a life stolen and reclaimed.
To Love, Honour and Betray - Kathy Lette
Lucy's husband has run off with her thin bes friend, and her daughter, Tally, blames Lucy. While Tally tries to find a loophole in her birth certificate so she can be put up for adoption, Lucy embarks on a quest to win back her husband that involves losing weight, getting a job and falling in lust with a much younger man. But it's not until Lucy discovers the truth about her toy boy that she really learns to stand on her own two stilettos . . .
The True Story of Butterfish - Nick Earls
With his chart-topping band, Butterfish, Curtis Holland lived the cliched rock dream, touring the States in a custom-built bus and staying in flash hotels. But no dream lasts forever, and when the band falls apart Curtis ends up back in Brisbane, alone. Enter Annaliese Winter, his 16-year-old neighbour. Drawn to her family, not least her mother, Kate, Curtis is faced with decisions he's been dodging for years . . . Butterfish is Nick Earls at his very best.
A Fraction of the Whole - Steve Toltz
After a crippling injury that cut short a golden career, Jasper Dean's uncle became Australia's most beloved murderer. After a lifetime of brilliantly impossible idease, Jasper's father became Australia's most loathed philosopher. Now Jasper is determined to set the record straight . . . A Fraction of the Whole is a tale of crime, celebrity, love, writing, loathing, labyrinths, insufficient sex, boredom, politics, madness and everything that's ever been wrong with the world.
The People's Train - Tom Keneally
Artem Samsurov, a protege of Lenin, reaches sanctuary in Australia after escaping a Siberian labour camp. But Brisbane in 1911 turns out not to be quite the workers' paradise he was expecting, nor the bickering local Russian emigres a model of brotherhood. Tom Keneally takes us to the heart of the Russian Revolution through the life of an unkown figure. Like Oskar Schindler, Samsurov was no saint, but he was an individual who played a vital role in world events.

The 19th Wife - David Ebershoff
Jordan's Mormon father has been found shot dead in front of his computer, and one of his many wives - Jordan's mother - is accused of the crime. Over a century earlier, Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young, Leader of the Mormon Church, tells the story of her own parent's plural marriage, and how she escaped her powerful husband to end polygamy in the US. The 19th Wife expertly weaves together these two narratives in an enthralling epic of love and faith.
Dog Boy - Eva Hornung
Abandoned in a big city at the onset of winter, a hungry four-year-old boy follows a stray dog to her lair. There in the rich smelly darkness, in the rub of hair, claws and teeth, he joins four puppies suckling at their mother's teats. And so beings Romochka's life as a dog. The story of the child raised by beasts is timeless. But in Dog Boy Eva Hornung has created such a vivid and original telling, so viscerally convincing, that it becomes not just new, but definitive.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - David Wroblewski
Born a mute, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life. But when his father mysteriously dies, Edgar blames himself, because his muteness lef him unable to summon help. Grief-stricken and bewildered by his mother's affair with her dead husband's brother, Edgar's world unravels one night when he sees his father's ghost, and he flees into the wilderness. When he eventually returns, nothing is as he expects, and Edgar must choose between revenge or preserving his family legacy . . .

Wanting - Richard Flanagan
It is 1839. On an island at the end of the world, a young Aboriginal girl is running through the long wet grass to get help for her dying father. Twenty years later on an island at the centre of the world, Charles Dickens is about to abandon his wife and risk his reputation in the name of passion. Inspired by historical events, Wanting is a novel about the way in which life is finally determined never by reason but only ever by wanting.

Dark Country - Bronwyn Parry
They've considered him a murderer for eighteen years, so no one in Dungirri is surprised when Morgan 'Gil" Gillespie returns and a woman's body is found in his car. Wearied by too many deaths and doubting her own skills, local police sergeant Kristine Matthews isn't sure whether Gil is a decent man wronged by life or a hardened criminal she should be locking up. But she does know he's not guilty of this murder. Because she is his alibi . . .

Short Stories

The Rip - Robert Drewe
Returning to the short story form he has so successfully made his own, the award-winning author of The Shark Net plumbs the depths of domestic existence for its epic undertow. Set against a backdrop - the Australian coast - as randomly and imminently violent as it is beautiful, The Rip reveales the fragilty of relationships between husbands and wives, children and parents, friends and lovers. These dazzling stories are crafted with incisive wit, passion and pathos.

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