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Tag Archives: Books

Here are the top 100 most popular books, according to World Book Night 2012.

To Kill a Mockingbird -Harper Lee

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

Harry Potter Adult Hardback Boxed Set – J. K. Rowling

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

One Day – David Nicholls

Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

The Help – Kathryn Stockett

Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Little Women – Louisa M. Alcott

Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

Atonement – Ian McEwan

We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver

His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

Room – Emma Donoghue

The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Island – Victoria Hislop

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom

The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

Chocolat – Joanne Harris

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

The Eyre Affair -Jasper Fforde

Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

Dracula – Bram Stoker

Life of Pi – Yann Martel

The Secret Garden -Frances Hodgson Burnett

Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

I Capture the Castle -Dodie Smith

The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

Small Island – Andrea Levy

The Secret History – Donna Tartt

The Road – Cormac McCarthy

Persuasion – Jane Austen

Watership Down – Richard Adams

A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Brave New World -Aldous Huxley

Night Watch – Terry Pratchett

The Color Purple -Alice Walker

Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson

Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke

My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult

The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

The Stand – Stephen King

Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer

The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

The Princess Bride – William Goldman

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

Middlemarch – George Eliot

A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

Dune – Frank Herbert

Wolf Hall -Hilary Mantel

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

Stardust – Neil Gaiman

Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin

Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

Possession: A Romance – A. S. Byatt

A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami

The Magus – John Fowles

Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood

Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami

Twilight – Stephenie Meyer

The Millennium Trilogy – Stieg Larsson

Of these, I’ve read 32 . Some on there I love… The Poisonwood Bible, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Secret History, One Hunderd Years of Solitude). I do feel like some of my favorites have been overlooked  (Their Eyes Were Watching God, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, White Teeth).

Most of all, I am devastated that The Five People You Meet in Heaven continues to be inlcuded in lists like this, seven years after it’s release.  If I could ask people one question to efficiently assess whether we will get along, I would ask them if they like that book. End rant.



For someone who really isn’t up to much, I feel incredibly busy these days.


Tastevin, French, Darlinghurst – Food was disappointingly average, but the service was wonderful, and it’s location – tucked upstairs and looking over busy Victoria Street – was really charming.

Feast at McVitty Vineyard, modern Australian, Mittagong – We went here for Father’s Day lunch with Nick’s family and it was all around fantastic – good company, beautiful views, outdoor seating on a sunny deck, delicious wine and gorgeous food. Can’t say enough good things about it.


Necklace, Kitson

colour block dress, Motel



Somewhat resentful happiness:

iphone 4

Chilling with midgets:


Dan Stiles, Arctic Monkeys

Dan Stiles, Scissor Sisters

Dan Stiles, Ray LaMontagne

My brother Colin had show posters up from Dan Stiles in his house, and Nick and I both liked the look of them, so we ended up ordering some and getting them shipped to Sydney. Just had them matted/framed/hung this week, really pleased with them.


Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens

What? I said busy, not exciting.


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thick eyebrows

Or, more accurately, in my own case:

faux thick eyebrows with this awesome Anastasia brow pencil

Din Tai Fung Dumpling Bar

finished yesterday, STRAIGHT into my top ten.

Foster the People, Call it What You Want


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A Golden Age, Tahmima Anam

GRADE: C+. Okay, okay, B-.

…But only because I think you’ll think I’m ignorant. I just wasn’t that into it.

Like, if I was on a date with this book, I’d think it was lovely in a bland way, but I’d secretly be texting my friends under the table and trying to organise post date drinks.. Six months later I would be randomly reminded how nice they were and hope they found somebody who really liked them and hope they didn’t still hate me for not returning the phone calls.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Grade: A

I started to read this in middle school. Depending on how you look at it I was:

a) too dumb to read it, or

b) smart enough to know that I wasn’t really appreciating it

..let’s go with option B. Glad I waited. Adored.

Playing for Pizza, John Grisham

Playing for Pizza, John Grisham

Grade: F

It’s all about football. There’s not even a for real plot line.

I seriously couldn’t figure out why I even have this book in my possession until I realised that he usually writes the courtroom dramas, and I can get into those, I’m a Law & Order nerd.

This piece of shit ruined John Grisham for me and probs made me dumber in the process (lucky I read Great Gatsby first, otherwise I might not have understood the bigger words)

John Grisham is now in danger of falling into the lowliest category: books for peeps who don’t actually like to read. The guy who wrote Tuesdays with Morrie is saving him a seat.



Jem star rating:

I read this book in less than twelve hours – not showing off, its slim and pages are thick – but I couldn’t STOP. The prose was simple, unadorned and the perspective was fresh. It’s a series of vignettes from different points in the life of a twenty something Latina woman, raised in a posh New Jersey suburb.

Also what struck me was that this was the first time as an adult that I’ve read a book where the narrator was my age and had similar experiences to my own  – As she traveled back through her experiences, they roughly matched up with my own timeline. It was kind of like a warped looking-glass, so I couldn’t help devouring it.

Beautiful and understated, looking forward to reading it again – more slowly.

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Jem Star Rating: 2.5

I really, REALLY wanted this to be good, as I loved, LOVED The Liar’s Club.

But it kind of fell short for me. Started off pretty strong and then… ehhhh…

Maybe it’s because I haven’t read Cherry, the memoir between Lit and The Liar’s Club – but I felt like she skipped out on all the good stuff. Like, I get it, it’s about her becoming sober.But seriously, as a reader I don’t really care about her recovery path so much as I want to know the filthy details of what behaviours she needed to recover from. And you got bits of that…. just not nearly enough to make it worth it when the stories kind of peter out into Jesus talk 3/4 into the book.

To her credit, she did have a really great way of talking about her spirituality, and it didn’t make me roll my eyes as hard as I would were it someone else writing.

But also, despite her hard campaign of self-deprecation throughout the book,  there were a lot of times when I felt she was a spoiled betch that believed having an artistic talent excused selfish behavior/self-indulgence.

I think this was the exact opposite picture she was going out of her way to paint my her memoir. But I mean, seriously, anyone who writes THREE memoirs is kind of a shameless  navel-gazer by default (see: Augusten Burroughs. Direct quote: “Like cubic zirconia, I only look real. I’m an imposter. The fact is, I am not like other people.”  Kid, please.)


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Jem Star Rating:

I put off reading this forever because

  • 1) my brain is too small/lazy for non fiction and
  • 2)I know it was going to be terribly depressing, which it was.

The Tall Man is an account of the court case against a police officer following an Aborignal man’s death whilst in police custody in 2004.

As a Boston to Sydney transplant I am pretty much entirely ignorant of any of the details of  modern societal problems as they relate to Aboriginal people,  except to say that there seems to be a vaguely expressed sentiment that there certainly are some.

To be dead honest, the only time I cross paths with Aboriginal Australia is via street performers in Circular Quay, art galleries/museums, and the occasional intolerant comment about Aboriginal people and alcholoism /homelessness/ etc.

It just doesn’t come up all that often. And my feeling is that were I to raise it, I would find myself arguing with someone who would eventually say, “What do you know? You know nothing about this.” Which is, well,  true.

I mean, after five years of studying urban social problems and writing endless papers on concepts of race in college, I can BARELY speak about American racism with any sense of authority. So it seems kind of presumptuous to articulate my views within a culture I’ve only skimmed the surface of.

But, shit. Being ill-informed has never hindered my forming strong opinions before.

The main reason I think this book is incredible is the author’s storytelling –  she stays impressively detached as she lays out the events that make up the story. I had to keep checking the cover because I kept picturing the author as a middle-aged man. She breaks down the points of view of each group involved in the story, and you can’t help but see the validity in each sides’ claim of injustice. I think, as a human, you want very straightforward right and wrongs, but her writing is a tribute to the complexity of the issues.

Also, the details of life on Palm Island are pretty haunting. For someone curious about the day-to-day realities of life for Palm Island aboriginals, this painted a picture that was simultaneously grim and vivid.

I didn’t feel better after reading it, but I felt better for having read it, if that makes sense.


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