Travel Books: Australia

Good books I read while I was there: 

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It lives up to its epic billing. Be prepared for a long book – but I found it really interesting, offering a perspective on the political environment in England that precipitated “transportation”. The variety of different “criminals” that arrived in Australia: (some had only stolen bread). Plus how some wardens were mean, heartless pricks while others were more reasonable – and how the interaction between the convicts and their new land became the foundation for the country. Some stole and became outlaws (Ned Kelly), while others bared down and made the best out of what is a tough, and nearly impossible situation. It lays out what life was like under “transportation”, how it changed afterwards, and how that influenced where the country was headed. Far from sentimental, it reveals the cruelty endured by aborignes at the hands of settlers, plus the cruelty convicts experienced. Definitely worth a read as a primer on how Australia started.

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I like Bill Bryson. He’s able to present facts in an interesting way, turning what might be boring and dull into something more intriguing. His story alone on describing how big Australia is by describing how a Japanese cult may have blown up a nuclear device and no one really knew about it – is reason enough to pick this up. If you yawn at history, but like reading memoirs – I think this will bridge the difference without making it feel like a slog.

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This is entertaining pulp. Follows the story of two young Australian surfers learning from an older surfer off Australia’s surfing spots, and from his girlfriend who takes a liking to them. A bit dark, but thought it was a fun, breezy read.

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And here you go. Pretty self-explanatory. It lays out the case that the brains behind the band are the Youngs who keep their inner circle tight, and push away anyone who doesn’t fit in. Will probably only appeal to someone who knows their music – but still an interesting story on how three brothers from Glasgow, Scotland arrived in Sydney and built a $100 million band.

Books that are on my list

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Trip through Australia while relating how aborignes use music as part of their nomadic travel. I’m screwing up the description, but its meant to be good.

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Considered by many a classic of Australian fiction – story of two diverging siblings, set around WW1.

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Jasper Jones represents a challenge to his pal Charlie’s life. Where Charlie once saw things one way, his influence may make him consider things differently. I don’t know – that’s the gist I got from the blurbs anyhow. A coming of age story mixed with mystery.

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Australian crime fiction. Got a bunch of accolades and meant to be good.

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A series of short stories with characters from Tehran, Colombia, Vietnam and other spots – meant to be good with high praise as a young and upcoming writer.

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