Philip Bray talks with Dom Knight on ABC Radio 702

Philip Bray

Last Tuesday I again did the book spot on ‘Evenings with Dom’. Usually I review a few books and Dom adds a few comments or asks a few questions. This week we did something different. We asked listeners to tell us about books which they enjoyed so much they didn’t want them to end. It was fun and interesting!

I got the idea of doing this when reading the ‘Books That Changed Me’ segment in The Sun Herald. Manisha Jolie Amin, Kenyan-born Australian author of ‘Dancing to the Flute’ included among her 5 titles ‘Mary Poppins’ which she read when 8 years old. She wrote, ‘finishing this book was like losing my dearest friend……She drew me into a world I never wanted to leave’. Reading this I immediately thought ‘yes, that’s what reading is about!’

So, what did our listeners tell us were books they didn’t want to end?

The Patrick O’Brian ‘Master and Commander’ series (20 books) figured strongly with one listener saying a friend had read them all 3 times! The detective series set in Moscow by Boris Akunin, Lawrence Durrell’s ‘Alexandria Quartet’, Bryce Courtenay’s books, ‘Cloudstreet’ by Tim Winton and Catcher In The Rye’ were others mentioned with passion. I mentioned ‘Shadow of the Wind’ which is a wonderfully atmospheric novel set in Barcelona. It is at the same time a mystery, an historical fiction and a love story. The sequel ‘The Prisoner of Heaven’ has just been published and is at the top of my ‘to read’ pile now!

What book/s would you add to this list? What book/s did you become totally immersed in and didn’t want to end? Are you one of those people who ration themselves to just a few pages a night to make a book last longer? Or are you like me and greedily gallop to the end even if it takes all night?

Let us know so we can share the pleasure of your favourites! And of course you will then be in the running to win a Brays Books Voucher, one of the prizes we are giving away each month! Just click on ‘comment’ and away you go!


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11 Responses to Philip Bray talks with Dom Knight on ABC Radio 702

  1. Gail Hewison says:

    Dangerous to be reading here as the pile of books by my bed will just get bigger and bigger. Jeanette Winterson is a writer i can read over and over.

  2. Denise Davies says:

    Thank you Elizabeth. No I don’t have a blog and I haven’t read Axelsson, must look him/her up.Majgull (what a great name) sounds male but you never know with these Nordic names.

  3. Anne Burley says:

    My all time favourite book is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. I loved it so much that I not only recommend it to friends but buy them copies to urge them to read it. The humanisation of poverty, the extraordinary characters who Mistry draws so well and with such depth, and the compelling story which had me waking up early to get a few more pages in – wonderful! Read it – it will have you re-examining your own life – in a good way!!

  4. Denise Davies says:

    When I am feeling overwhelmed by the negativity in Australia I pick up a book by Henning Mankell from the Kurt Wallander Series and instantly feel happier. The gloomy dysfunctional detective who spends his life rugged up, ruminating on Sweden’s ills (and his own), has the ability to take me to far off places and I don’t even have to fly. The interiority, the isolating snow and the non-garrulous characters are the opposite to the Australian experience so for me reading Mankell is like taking a holiday.

    • Denise, you’ve summed up the strength of Henning Mankell’s work beautifully. He’s one of my all-time favourite authors. I’ve read almost everything of his translated – the mysteries, that is, not his earlier historical fiction. I’ve also enjoyed lots of other Swedish authors, Marianne Frederiksson, Majgull Axelsson, Camilla Lackberg. Do you have a book blog where you write reviews?

  5. A recent read that changed my world was Eva Hornung’s Dog Boy. Everything about that book moved me, from the wintery Russian setting, the plight of an abandoned child, the strangeness if the dog-world he grew to be part of, to the excruciating moral dilemma presented at the end. That book exists for me like an entire world that I can dip into again just by thinking about, like Dicken’s Bleak House, Kafka’s The Trial or Tove Jansson’s Moomintroll series for children. Strange, magical and life-transforming.

    • Thanks Elizabeth, ‘Dog Boy’ is one of those books I meant to read but didn’t get to. There are lots of good things about being a bookseller, otherwise I wouldn’t still be doing it after 43 years, but one bad thing is that with a continuing flood of new books which demand my attention it is very hard to ‘catch up’ if I miss something. Perhaps I might need to miss a few Wimbledon matches and get onto ‘Dog Boy’!

      • You’re right, there are so many good books: far too easy to overlook more than a few of the best. I hope you do read Dog Boy – maybe now the Aussies have been dispatched, you’ll find the time? I’d be very interested to know what you think.

  6. queenwilly says:

    As soon as I finished The Shipping News I went back to the beginning and read it again right through. I just didn’t want to leave those characters. I was very greedy.

    I would love another story!

    • Thanks queenwilly. In similar style our staff member, Anne, devoured ‘The Mountain’ by Drusilla Modjeska and just a few weeks later is reading it again. I should get Anne to blog about it but in the meantime let me just say that ‘The Mountain’ is set in new Guinea, where Drusilla lived for some years, and is a multi-layered novel reflecting the complexity of that nation’s cultures.

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