The Blue Room's Year in Books 2014

This year has been all about Richard Flanagan who bought my island to the world’s stage, along with a Chinese President’s visit, accolades in various travel publications and the continued pulling power of MONA. Not only can we provide the freshest quality produce imaginable, give any visitor unforgettable experiences, but Flanagan showcased the literary talent that resides on this isle in the southern seas. His remarkable page turner, ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’, inexplicably missed out on the land’s premier award, the Miles Franklin, to a competent but far lesser tome. His incredible offering then went on to leave all competition in its wake, winning just about every other gong going, culminating with the planet’s most esteemed prize, the Man Booker.

It is significant that three of the tomes listed below also have strong connections to Tasmania, with the authors, either now or in the past, residents here. Some of the publications awarded below had their coming out into the world in previous years, but have only been caught up with by this reader in the last twelve months. All should still be readily available. As always this scribbler welcomes similar considerations from any other peruser as at this time of year many in the media, as well as on-line, are producing similar.

10 – The Dirty Chef (Matthew Evans) – the SBS personality gets down and dirty at his farm, on the outskirts of Cygnet, after having a gut-full of notoriety in the big city.

09 – Rescue (Anita Shreve) – this somewhat uneven popular writer comes back to form with a tight, intriguing effort.

08 – You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead (Marieke Hardy) – a regular on ‘The First Tuesday Book Club’ for Auntie, this feisty lady pulls no punches in this revealing memoir.

07 – Balancing Act (Joanna Trollope) – the grand dame of the aga saga writes to a formula, but it’s one that keeps her legion of followers loyal and she is on form here.

06 – Zac and Mia (AJ Betts) – Australia’s YA answer to the phenomena that is John Green and gives him a run for his money.

05 – The Black War (Nicholas Clements) – this youthful Tasmanian academic has the final say in this sobering account of the terrifying frontier conflicts of early Van Diemen’s Land.

04 – When the Night Comes (Favel Parrett) – the ever difficult sophomore novel proves a cinch for this promising practitioner with a tale of a Danish/Tasmanian connection that involves a ship rather than a princess.

03 – One Summer in America (Bill Bryson) – a remarkable American author spins remarkable yarns of a brief period in his nation’s story.

02 – Analogue Men (Nick Earls) – for those of us battling with with the vast changes the digital age has wrought, Earls’ comedic tome tells us we are not alone as it invokes chortles of recognition from those of us of a certain age.

01 – Writing Clementine (Kate Gordon) – this charming YA novel tells it as it is growing up in the author’s (and this scribe’s) North Western homelands, with a bit of steam-punk thrown in for good measure.

writing clementine

Also enjoyed and worthy of mention were ‘Sarah Thornhill’ by Kate Grenville and Charlotte Woods’

Kate Gordon’s Top Ten Books = http://www.kategordon.com.au/blog/2014/12/29/top-ten-books

Australian authors select their favourite books of the year = http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/australian-writers-pick-the-best-books-of-2014-20141126-11u9m7.html

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