My favourite picture book this year has been Herbert The Brave Dog by Robyn Belton. It’s a heart-warming, pass-me-the-tissues-quick, true story about bravery, hope and persistence.
Another dog comes in first at the junior fiction level – One Dog and His Boy by Iva Ibbotson. This was the last book Ibbotson wrote before she passed away last year at 85. I devoured this book in one sitting and now I want everyone to read it.
My stand-out book for teens are Caragh O’Brien’s two books Birthmarked and Prized (no dogs in sight!). They jump on the dystopian bandwagon that the success of The Hunger Games has created. There is a strong, independent female protagonist in a tightly constructed action-packed drama. There’s even a little bit of romance!
My Australian adult fiction pick is Bereft by Chris Womersley. I grew up around the Bathurst area so was instantly drawn to the location and characters of this fine award-winning novel. My favourite international fiction is one of the 2010 Booker short-listed titles – The Room by Emma Donoghue. It is a tough, heart-wrenching read but ultimately rewarding.
My non-fiction favourite is a lay-down misere to the wonderful, the delightful, the inspiring Mary Delany. The gorgeous biography of Mary, Paper Garden, by Molly Peacock is full of illustrations, flights of fancy and a generous love for her subject. (see earlier blog).
Last, but not least – my favourite classic. Sophie urged me to read The Secret History by Donna tartt and I finally did so over the Easter holidays….and I loved it. Absorbing and sinister, decadent and disturbing. A treat from start to finish.