15 books

I confessed to being unable to play the 30 songs game today, but have no trouble following Deborah at In A Strange Land with books:

The idea is that without thinking about it too much, and within the space of 15 minutes, you name 15 books that will always stay with you. I added a wrinkle – no more than one book per author . . .

1. For Better, For Worse and For Lunch by Christina Hindhaugh – the book I wish I’d written.

2. Grievous Bodily by Craig Harrison – it makes me laugh.

3. The Sundowners by Jon Cleary – the first book from the master of story telling.

4. Here Comes Another Vital Moment by Diane Brown – A travel book with poems or a poetry book on travel – whichever it is, it’s beautifully written.

5. Night Life of the Gods by Thorne Smith – like Grievous Bodily it makes me laugh.

6. See Ya Simon by David Hill – it makes me cry.

7. Alex by Tessa Duder – if I was 40 years younger this is who I’d want to be.

8. The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico – my parents’ copy is now mine, read and re-read regularly.

9. I Am David by Ann Holm – beautifully written account of a young boy who escapes from a concentration camp which made me see the world with fresh eyes.

10. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson – a very fresh approach to a very old story.

11. The Book of Fame  by Lloyd Jones – almost poetic in the simplicity of its style and like good poetry it conveys much more than it seems to at first glance.

12. A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute – the story of a strong woman who survives against the odds, then uses her skills and unexpected wealth to help those who helped her.

13. Looking for Alibrandi  by Melina Marchetta – another feisty teenager.

14. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – I read my best friend’s mother’s copy when I was at primary school, loved it then and still enjoy re-reading it.

15. A Fence Around the Cuckoo by Ruth Park – the first volume of the autobiography. It covers here growing up during the Depression, determined to write.

I could go on very easily, but the rules say 15 so that’s it – for now.

Five by New Zealanders, four by Australians, three by Americans and one by a Canadian; eight by women, all written in the 20th century. Older books, newer books and those by British writers will have to wait for my next list.

UPDATE: Unmana is playing the book game too.

5 Responses to 15 books

  1. Deborah says:

    I almost put Alex on my list, but the thought escaped me. I love The Snow Goose and I am David and A Town Like Alice and Anne of Green Gables and A Fence Around the Cuckoo too.

    Next time I’m looking for something new (to me) to read, I will come back to your list.

    And thinking of cuckoos, back in New Zealand we (my family) always listened for the first shining cuckoo in mid-spring, and we compared notes on when we heard them.


  2. JC says:


    I started a list but then found I’m very author driven. So I could cheerfully rack up a “First Fifteen” of James Michener alone.

    Others would be John OHara, Mary OHara, Paul Brickhill, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Alan Drury, Enid Blighton, Wilbur Smith, Paul Gallico, Nicolas Monsarrat, Allister McLean, Jon Cleary, Arthur Upfield, Neville Shute, Louis L’Amour.

    I don’t think I could say that any one book consumed me all my life.. but after five decades of 3 books a week its easier to pick the authors, especially those from my early years, and the one author who has weaved a continuous thread for me would be James Michener. He’s been able to be topical from the 40s through to the 90s and fulfills my need for sagas, history and research.



  3. homepaddock says:

    Enid Blyton (who would have been 102 a couple of days ago) was one of the authors who hooked me on reading but unlike some authors, didn’t appeal once I grew up.

    I discovered Wilbur Smith and Alistair MacLean as a teenager but they don’t have the same appeal now either.

    Paul Gallico, Neville Shute, Nicolas Monsarrat, Mary O’Hara and especially Jon Cleary are still favourites.

    It’s a long time since I tried a Michener, maybe it’s time to go back to him.


  4. Carol says:

    Thank you of reminding me of several of my favourites! ‘I am David’ and ‘The Book of Fame’ are both very fine reads. I preferred ‘The Book of Fame’ to the Booker-nominated ‘Mr Pip’. It made a great stage play as well.
    I’m similar to JC in being author-driven, though I’d pick a different set of authors. It is such a great pleasure finding a writer you like and working your way though their published works.


  5. gravedodger says:

    Our english teacher brought The Snow Goose to our 6th form class in the middle of last century and it had quite a profound effect on my beliefs. When I read or hear someone, sometimes a returned serviceman, talk about war being futile I recall the sacrifice encapsulated in this story. The difference a small contribution of one of the “little” people can make to the bigger picture to achieve an awesome outcome when viewed against the possible alternative of a defeat of the allies is something to bring a great feeling of gratitude for the sacrifices to often forgotten.


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