Books We’ve Loved posts

What I loved: How The Light Gets In by M.J. Hyland

by Annie Condon

In 1996 I began the RMIT Professional Writing and Editing course, and while I didn’t share any classes with M.J. Hyland, I soon began to hear a lot about her from classmates. Not only was she an amazing writer, I heard, but a talented editor as well. Since our student days she has published three books, one of which (This Is How, 2007) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. However it’s her first …

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What I Loved: Because a White Man’ll Never Do it by Kevin Gilbert

by Chris Dite

Sometimes publishers make bold choices. The recent re-publication of Kevin Gilbert’s polemic from the 1970s, Because a White Man’ll Never Do It, is such a choice. Gilbert, a co-founder of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, wrote the book to spark debate and encourage political organisation in Aboriginal communities. That the work still stands as relevant today, and even as absolutely urgent…

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What I Loved: The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville

by Emily Gale

My reading of Kate Grenville’s 1999 novel, the one she says brought a little-known Australian author international recognition (it won Britain’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, previously the Orange Prize), was a signifier of several new beginnings for me. It was a gift from a close friend as I was emigrating from London to live in Melbourne. This friend and I had shared a crush on Australia since we …

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What I Loved: The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

by Steve Bidwell-Brown

It’s the early 1960s and life is aglow on the American east coast. Amateur musicians are composing Beatles-inspired pop music, local shrinks are starting to prescribe medicinal LSD, and words like ‘feminism’ are sprouting in the minds of the young. Somewhere in this budding psychedelic mix is Oedipa Maas, a 28-year-old homemaker who has just been informed that her millionaire ex-lover is dead and…

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What I Loved: What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt

by Belle Place

What I Loved is Siri Hustvedt’s third novel, published a decade ago now, and set in New York, opening in 1975. It follows Leo Hertzberg, an art historian teaching at Columbia, who forms a life-long friendship with artist Bill Wechsler, after purchasing a piece of his work long before he was established. The book follows both men as well as their wives, Erica and Violet, who are both academics, an…

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What I Loved: The Complete Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz

by Bronte Coates

There’s this story about Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, that I really love. After drawing and writing strips for close to 50 years, uninterrupted except for a five-week break in late 1997 to celebrate his 75th birthday, he was diagnosed with cancer. The illness soon began to affect his ability to see clearly and, as a result, he announced his retirement. Later, in an interview on The

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What I loved: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

by Bronte Coates

One day my younger brother came home to find me sobbing at the kitchen table. I told him not to worry, that I was just reading a book and he said, why would you read something that makes you cry?

I’m still not sure how to answer that question but, thinking back on the books and films I’ve loved the most, there’s a definite trend in this direction. In a strange, masochistic way, the ability to ma…

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What I loved: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

by A.S. Patric

Revolutionary Road was an immediate critical success in 1961, and its author, Richard Yates, was set to become one of the great names in literature. Yet the novel failed to find an audience, and by the time of his death Yates was penniless and practically unknown. All of his nine books had fallen out of print. Then something extraordinary happened. An article was published in a small journal in 1…

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What I loved: It’s Raining in Mango by Thea Astley

by Kara Nicholson

As 2013 will see the introduction of the inaugural Stella Prize, the first literary prize for Australian women writers, I feel compelled to revisit one of my favourite Australian authors.

Despite winning four Miles Franklin Awards – as many as Tim Winton and more than any other writer, male or female – Thea Astley’s novels have never reached an audience as widespread as the likes of Winton or Pe…

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What I Loved: A Death In The Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

by Will Heyward

Depending on the continent on which you purchase your reading material, Karl Ove Knausgaard’s most recently published work will either be available as a novel entitled A Death in the Family (Australia and UK) or a biography entitled My Struggle: Volume 1 (US). This, I think, is unusual.

Granted, very often, for marketing purposes, books are assigned different titles in different countries on th…

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