Books of the Year

Books of the Year 2007

Australian Book Review
Monday, 04 January 2021

This year I have read too many American political quickies, and large numbers of somewhat more satisfying detective stories. Amid the revelations about Hillary Clinton’s childhood, and the equally fictitious accounts of intrigue in Istanbul and Venice, a couple of books stand out. Andrew Wilson’s The Lying Tongue (Text) and Stephen Eldred-Grigg’s Shanghai Boy (Vintage) are ‘gay books’ that speak to themes other than sexuality, and deserve to be better known. Although ultimately too improbable, Andrew McGahan’s Underground (Allen & Unwin) evokes rather well a left-wing dystopia, centred on a Howard-like government. As for nonfiction, Tony Judt’s Postwar: Europe since 1945 (Heinemann), while telling us more about Poland and less about Spain than we need know, is a fascinating reminder of the Cold War era, evoked for the other side of the Atlantic in Thomas Mallon’s novel Fellow Travellers (Pantheon).

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Books of the Year with Beejay Silcox, Billy Griffiths and Peter Rose

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 09 December 2020

In today's episode, Peter Rose talks to writers Beejay Silcox and Billy Griffiths about what they’ve been reading during this tumultuous year. They also speculate about some highlights of 2021. For those looking for a more extensive listing of this year's finest works, our Books of the Year features more than 30 different ABR critics nominating their favourite releases.

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Best Books of the Year 2002

Don Anderson et al.
Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Don Anderson

Don Watson’s Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: A portrait of Paul Keating PM (Knopf). Gripping narrative; gripping drama. Plenty of heart; plenty of blood on Canberra carpets. Fond picture of possibly Australia’s last Labour prime minister. Sylvia Lawson’s How Simone de Beauvoir Died in Australia: Stories and essays (UNSW Press). Complex, spacious, committed, convincing, intellectually riveting speculations and reflections. And, finally, anything by Peter Temple, an outstanding crime fiction novelist who combines true grit and a college education with the smells of the city (Melbourne). Try Shooting Staror Dead Point (both from Bantam).

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Books of the Year

Sarah Holland-Batt et al.
Wednesday, 25 November 2020

After years of anticipation, I was thrilled to finally read Jaya Savige’s dazzling third volume, Change Machine (UQP, reviewed in ABR, October 2020): an intoxicatingly inventive and erudite collection rife with anagrams, puns, and mondegreens that ricochets from Westminster to Los Angeles to Marrakesh, remixing multicultural linguistic detritus into forms of the poet’s own invention. Yet for all the book’s global sweep, it’s the quiet poems about fatherhood that stay with me, especially Savige’s immensely moving elegy for a premature son, ‘Tristan’s Ascension’, with its devastating simplicity: ‘Oh, son. You stepped off one stop too soon. / Your mother has flown // all the way to Titan / to look for you.’ I also loved Prithvi Varatharajan’s Entries (Cordite), an introspective and deeply intelligent collection of mostly prose poems whose overriding note is one of ambivalence: a welcome antidote to the sea of certitude we seem to swim in these days.

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Books of the Year 2019

Felicity Plunkett et al.
Friday, 22 November 2019

Read the books of the year as selected by ABR's leading writers and critics.

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Books of the Year 2018

Michelle de Kretser, et al.
Monday, 26 November 2018

To celebrate the best books of 2018, Australian Book Review invited nearly forty contributors to nominate their favourite titles. Contributors include Michelle de Kretser

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2017 Books of the Year

Australian Book Review
Sunday, 26 November 2017

To celebrate the best books of 2017 Australian Book Review invited nearly forty contributors to nominate their favourite titles. Contributors include Michelle de Kretser, Susan Wyndham, James Ley, Geordie Williamson, Jane Sullivan, Tom Griffiths, Mark Edele, and Brenda Niall.

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Books of the Year 2016

Sheila Fitzpatrick et al.
Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Originally published in German, Albrecht Dümling’s The Vanished Musicians: Jewish refugees in Australia (Peter Lang), a fascinating compendium of Jewish musicians who found refuge in Australia in the 1930s and 1940s, is now available in Australian Diana K. Weekes’s excellent translation ...

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Books of the Year 2015

Robert Adamson et al.
Monday, 23 November 2015

Jennifer Maiden's The Fox Petition: New Poems (Giramondo) conjures foxes 'whose eyes were ghosts with pity' and foxes of language that transform the world's headlines

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Books of the Year 2014

Robert Adamson et al.
Friday, 21 November 2014

Books of the Year is always one our most popular features. Find out what our 41 contributors liked most this year – and why.

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