Have some time on your hands over the festive beak?
You can do yourself a digital detox favour and put down your device and pick up a good old-fashioned book instead.
Here are five Aussie classics to start you on your way …
THE THORN BIRDS (1977) Colleen McCullough
From one of Australia’s greatest writers, this parable is an early work which demonstrates how McCullough can weave a tale which is never gets monotonous. The storyline has many facets told over three generations of one family, but the two main characters are at the centre of the book. Meggie, a naive young girl moves with her family to a sheep station in Australia’s Outback, which is owned by a wealthy aunt. As a youngster she meets a catholic priest, Ralph, who watches her grow before his eyes. As years go by there is forbidden passion, family melodrama and an ending which leaves you wanting more. This tale will keep you entrenched for a few days at least.
THE COUNTRY PRACTICE (2016) Meredith Appleyard
This book is great for those who enjoy a ‘pleasure and pain’ romance. What is great is the story is entwined with some of the relevant issues which are plaguing rural communities across the country. It is set in remote South Australia, in a town which is waiting for a doctor to service the region. In walks Meghan, a young GP who is ready to start her career, but not ready to fall into the arms of a local farmer. This is a book which will stand sand in its spine and drips of salt water on its pages.
POWER OF ONE (1989) Bryce Courtney
Written by Australian author Bryce Courtney, this book is set in South Africa, mostly in the 1940s, and it is a tale of a country filled with racism and hate told through the eyes of a young boy. Peekay is about seven years old when the story begins. He is almost a shadow around his home as family problems lead to the boy being sent to boarding school where he is bullied relentlessly. Back at home after his first year of school Peekay meets a stranger who will change his life forever. This story describes the strength and courage a person can draw on when seeking justice. A book to read if you want to be inspired.
SCRUBLANDS (2018) Chris Hammer
This is a book which takes into account the trials and tribulations of regional Australia and weaves it into a great crime and drama story. From the first page to the last, the story continues to twist and turn. The leading character is a journalist who has an ever-growing list of questions instead of answers when he covers the first anniversary of a mass shooting which happened in a little rural town. A web of secrets and lies mask the real reason a priest opens fire on his congregation – and some townsfolk will go to any length to keep them hidden. A great page-turner.
A TOWN LIKE ALICE (1950) Nevil Shute
Written over 60 years ago, this story takes the reader from the jungles of Malaya to the outback of Australia, pre and post World War II. It is the story of an Englishwoman who endures unspeakable hardship but continues to survive through hard work and a positive mindset. The story takes the reader through phases in her life – the challenges, her survival and her spirit – which all lead, of course, to romance, but it is more a story of compassion, resourcefulness and overcoming the odds. Wonderful book to have on the bedside table.