Here's a list that gladdens. What Youth and "7 books you will psyche on and should totally read."
I often bemoan the fact that good writing is a dying art. It ain't necessarily true but it sometimes feels that way. The yoof, it always seemed to me, could buy a Canikon for a couple hunge, flood the 'net with images, and call 'emselves artists - easy! But unlike photography there's no shortcut to good writing: no autofocus, no colour correcting software - it's hard fucken work. And the first step toward it is to read lots and lots of great writers. So yeah, glad to see the yoof - What Yoof! - spruiking seven good books. Bit limited in scope and style but a good list nonetheless.
Will have to learn how to post a pic here. Made a bookcase a few years ago, was going to be one of a pair. The other is actually cut, just needs all the routing done, and that project stopped there, I'll pick it up again before I'm done.
I like to incorporate curves or anything into the woodwork when I can, just to avoid it being a box. Hadn't realised until I was looking at it the other day from below (it's upstairs) that it nicely resembles a 3' wave just before it breaks, painted in a deep blue of course. A surfer's bookcase.
Stu, want to direct me to instructions on uploading a photo?
Nah Batfink, it was blindboy who reviewed Barbarian Days.
Did you read 'Guns, Germs, and Steel' by Diamond? Great read. 'Collapse' is a sequel to it of sorts.
I'll look for written instructions now...
Here you go BF, written by Ben:
We highly recommend 'imgur' for image hosting (http://imgur.com/). You don't even need to register with them (although if you do, it'll help you find previously uploaded files).
Simply upload a photo via the 'Computer' link on the RH column, follow the instructions and then copy the URL provided under 'Direct Link (email & IM)'.
Then in a forum thread, wrap the image URL with image tags, ie [img] and [/img].
For example, [img]http://_______[/img]
BTW, really enjoying Barbarian Days. I'm smashing a chapter a night before I drift off.
Great read so far.
Thanks BB for the New Yorker excerpt too.
With the discussion currently on the 'What's what?' thread, this book sprang to mind. It's here in its entirety. Very worthy. And, gasp, entertaining!
"Carpentaria" Alexis Wright. Best Australian novel ever? Can't think of a better one. Inside looking out of an Australia most of us barely know exists.
"Best Australian novel ever?"
Andrew McGahan, The White Earth, no correspondence will be entered into.
Ha ha Stu I will have to take another look at that one.
'The Shiralee'- D'Arcy Niland. I remember reading it years ago and it was a pretty damn good Aussie novel. Having read neither of the above, perhaps I shouldn't comment though. Either that, or 'The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith', Thomas Kennealy.
As a result of this thread, I just read my first Tim Winton book. 'Breath' and without giving anything away, I loved it and it was a great read but I didn't come away from it feeling uplifted, quite the opposite. I thought it was pretty bloody bleak to say the least.
Also, and maybe it's just me, but Barbarian Days was great, no question about that, but his constant referencing of obscure books and authors throughout kind of grated on me. It's like 'I know, you're a bookworm, you're well read, I get it'.
Am I the only one that noticed that? Maybe I'm just being petty?
Bleakness is Winton's bread and butter.
I prefer his non fiction myself.
Give Lands Edge a read if you can....a better insight into the psyche of the West Aussie beach dweller you will not find.
Very WA centric....youd better make sure you get the version with the WA photos.
The issue with the East coast photos grates heavily.
Cheers Mr. Blowin.
Been a regular source of bemusement seeing Winton lauded as a purveyor of sunny side up Australiana. Dunno how he gets away with it, do those people read his books? If he lived away from the coast he'd be the closest we've got to Australian Gothic. If it didn't include surfing - the concept of which is too closely tied to freedom and fun - then The Turning would be his Gothic masterpiece. As it is the book manages to turn a few stereotypes on their heads.
Couldn't get into Land's Edge. Got sent a pre-release copy, was suitably excited, found a good comfy chair to settle in and read, made it about 20 pages before I put it down in frustration. It's not the Australia I know....or more correctly as that first essay digs into childhood memories, it's not the Australia I grew up in.
Maybe I'll give it another go later...
And speaking of Oz authors, I think that Andrew McGahan noses Winton out in the 'Great Australian Author' stakes. Does a fair bit of genre hopping and even got called an "unhinged propagandist" by Andrew Bolt which is a great review and should be printed on the cover of each of his subsequent novels.
Zen, if you can source 'Last Drinks' I think you'd enjoy it. It's a fictional account of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, so you'd be at least partially familiar with the plot. It's also set around the Gold Coast and Brisbane but doesn't have a hokey Mick Molloy Orstralian feel. McGahan confidently drops all those tired Australian tropes.
Sins of the Brother: The Definitive Story of Ivan Milat and the Backpacker Murders
by Mark Whittaker, Les Kennedy
One of the best researched books i have ever read ( not to be read home alone !!).....
"Captains Courageous": A Story of the Grand Banks by Rudyard Kipling
A Voyage to New Holland, Etc. in the Year 1699 by William Dampier ..not riveting but if you read between the lines it's the original pirate novel...
There are too many to mention but have a look here ......all free!
or the OZ site
Australian literature. When I hear tell of THAT, usually I reach for my gun.
Timmy Winton did wear his influences smeared all over his cardigan sleeve for all to see there in the early days. He's actually got better from Dirt Music on, for mine. Well, he's got more 'him' anyway.
So Stunts, is 20 pages your magic limit for Winton's efficacy? For both Island Home as well as Land's Edge, huh?
As for McGahan, I found Praise, well, readable. Bigged up beyond the pale. As was the other so-called 'dirty realist' Aussie stuff of the time. Better than the forgettable The River Ophelia or Ben Winch's stuff. Not as good as Berridge's Lives of the Saints.
In fact, I liked his next novel 1988. Havin' a crack. Expanding the frame. Much like his later stuff ie White Earth, Last Drinks, I guess.
Oh, and Bait!
But then, I reckon some of Oz's best and most interesting stuff has been in the theatre. Romeril, some Nowra, Sewell, Jim McNeill.
Anyone ever read any Peter Kocan? Check him out.
And Randolph Stow. Tim would concur. Actually, speaking of WA, here's a little one-off cracker - 11 Months in Bunbury by James Ricks.
Good luck finding that.
(Anyone notice the lack of women mentioned? Men's Shed myopia?)
Puberty Blues! The best surfing fiction this country has produced.
"Give someone a book, they'll read for a day...
teach someone to write a book...and they'll spend a life-time mired in paralysing self-doubt."
"Anyone notice the lack of women mentioned? Men's Shed myopia?"
Didn't BB mention Alexis Wright just three or so posts back? Called her the author of the greatest Australian novel ever. Should we kick BB out of the shed?
Also, pretty sure Chloe Hooper and Helen Garner have popped in at one point or another.
And no TT, 20 pages isn't my limit for Winton. After all I got right to the end of Eyrie before concluding it was shite.
I think Blindy and say, Cliffy E. are more car-park hangers. But not in a Tracey Moffatt stylee.
Or maybe more den (as in Mike Brady style) denizens. Soloists. Always a fan of the den.
As for you, Winton and the 20 pages, I'm only repeating what you said about both Island Home and Land's Edge.
I wouldn't write off Eyrie either. I did. Then I didn't.
Timmy is rubbing off on me.
Thanks for the recommendation(s) Stu, Last Drinks is not available on Kindle and I'm a looong way from an English book shop.
However, I might take your previous suggestion and dive into that.
Turkey I read The Treatment and The Cure years ago. I remember being pretty impressed at the time but can't remember much now. The reading list is getting pretty long but I will get around to it again.
Kocan is unique in the Oz lit world. In the lit world period. Forget DeLillo's Libra (well, don't 'cos it's great), Kocan delivers straight from the source. A beautiful writer with insights and experiences like no other. John Berryman, Jean Genet, WS Burroughs, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Baudelaire, Villon, Francis Webb! He's up there in that rarefied atmosphere.
"John Berryman, Jean Genet, WS Burroughs, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Baudelaire, Villon, Francis Webb"
No chicks I notice. Get in the shed, TT, you'll fit right in.
(I hope Sexton has swept up and Virginia has done the bogs. Sylvia doing the party pies?)
Yep, and Simone is the beer wench.
(fuck I hope Dr Olive isn't reading this)
Whoah, before we go all Pricey/Sammy/Eddie here....
Actually in all seriousness, the blokes I mentioned above were all death-obsessed people of strange and estranged mental health. What male or female would seek or wish to be considered to be a member of that club?
Then again, as Woody via Marx via Freud said:
"I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member."
I'd like to have a beer with Simone, I'd like to have a beer with Sim...
"To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul."
"Hell is other people"?
Dr Olive would absolutely rip you a new one Stu!
A surfer's bookcase
Blow me down, it worked. Finally got around to it Stu. Not a great pic, and unfortunately it was filled with crap as soon as I got it upstairs. One of a pair, although the other not finished. Something like bookcase number 6 for our place, but only my hand crafted contraptions are built to last.
Somewhere I have some good pics of it on completion and empty when I first brought it upstairs, but those will be on one of the many old computers lying around at home.
Will get around to putting them on a hard drive one day.
"Been a regular source of bemusement seeing Winton lauded as a purveyor of sunny side up Australiana. "
I didn't know that he was known as that Stu. Have only read a few of his things, but saw a fantastic documentary ABC made on him, with him, where he was reading various passages while the camera panned over classic WA landscapes.
He isn't sunny side up at all, I would have thought. More connected to the harshness and unforgiving nature, the dark heart of Australia, and also the spiritual dimension, hooked in somewhere between eastern meditation and indigenous dreamtime, the land speaking to the soul type of thing.
And that is a rather dark place, no pun intended, which I think was well reflected in Breath. Things do not 'work out for the best' in this land of extremes. More like, 'you had better be resilient here or you will be found out pretty quick.'
Nice one BF, though I think hand made bookshelves should be the sole preserve of Serious Books, not lever arch files full of tax receipts. That way you can show off two things at once: "Here're all the big and awfully important books I've read. Oh, and by the way, that bookshelf they're sitting on..."
Winton isn't cheery but occasionally I see him presented as such. Maybe it's because he's popular so people expect that?
I blame the pony-mullet
Neil Perry would disagree TT:)
Nice work BF. The colour really ties it together.
Tim Winton's perceived cheeriness would probably be due to his most famous book being Cloudstreet. A book that is life affirming, heart warming and celebratory.
Hey Stu .
If Tim doesn't paint your child hood - early adult life ?
What /who does . ?
John Birmingham !
Southey I reckon if you haven't gone through a "He Died With A Felafel In His Hand" stage in your life then you haven't really got out much.
A character-building rite of passage.
Unlike choking someone during sex as in Winton's Breath.
Winton describes - and very vividly - a limestone coast, bleached rock and white sand, everything having a washed out look like faded 35mm film. Long flat beaches, low headlands, the trees behind windswept and gnarled from much wind and little rain.
While I come from a sandstone coast, and it's nothing at all like that; not the weather, the flora, the geography, or the colour and shape of the bedrock it's all built upon.
Not too sure how you brought John Birmingham into it, though Andy is correct about that rite of passage.
Wait to you've done both together AndyM!!
Stunts, read Island Home NOW. Yes, Goddamit! Suburban swampy Perth and Albany. Actually, I found it interesting the impact the SW had on Timmy, Albany especially, when he spent bugger all time there, relatively.
But then that's part of the whole vibe of the book.
Get past that kinda clunky first essay. It's rewarding.
McGahan covers some kind of 'rite of passage' stuff in his first coupla. Dodgy jobs, goon and genital warts. Oh, and a kind of first loving or summat.
Nevermind the classics. Try Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz.
A thriller from go to whoa.
Airport thriller, PB? Spies, fast cars, double agents...?
And drugs and cheese and chicks with dicks & hairy armpits? Hang on, wrong airport. Schiphol?
Mum's the word, Stu .. and Hurwitz does good research
Mk1 - hommus and tahini everywhere.
Stains the sheets but not in the way you want.
P.S. not having much luck with the "reply" function.
Stunet said "though I think hand made bookshelves should be the sole preserve of Serious Books, not lever arch files full of tax receipts."
Couldn't agree more Stu. I've been trying to edumacate a certain person about that for 20 years now with no luck. Come on around to our place and see if you can talk the missus around. :-)
Yes, Andym, the reply function doesn't seem to work in the forums, and you can't seem to pick out quotes from other posters to reply to.
The whole thing's a shit-show. No quoting, no external links (well, for articles).
The likes of Tory Barber and Doggo, lord of the idiots, are in seventh heaven.
Sort it out for the sake of all that is holy!