For those whose tastes run to the literary, the crime novel to die for this Christmas is Peter Temple’s Truth. The fictional underbelly of the Victorian police, dry as the crackle of eucalypt leaves in the moment before the fireball hits.
A stripped-down, elegant and elliptical story of hard men and violence on both sides of the law, where Truth is a lovely little grey who “won at her second start, won three from twelve, always game, never gave up. She sickened and died in hours, buckled and lay, her sweet eyes forgave them their stupid inability to save her.” This writer, this book, my favourite for 2009.
Fantasy lovers aged from twelve to eleventy-seven will bask in the gorgeous glow of Karen Brooks’ Tallow: “In a world of darkness, there is one who will bring light.”
In a canel-laced city, a stolen child, the heir to extraordinary powers, is hidden and abused in the candle-maker’s quarter until her emerging powers betray her to those who would use her in their machiavellian games. Karen Brooks cannot deliver the next in this trilogy fast enough for me.
As a reward for surviving girl schoolyard politics for another year, pamper your teenage miss with the latest Luxe novel by Anna Godbersen. Set in 1899 Manhatten, this is Gossip Girl in crinolines, replete with bounders and cads, and sumptuous with scandal and setting.
Then rocket her back into the 21st century with Justine Larbalestier’s Liar … what happens when a compulsive liar decides to tell the truth… or does she? You decide. Guaranteed to keep you up all night reading. And awake the next. Wondering….
Lure teenage boys away from the X-box with Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Post-apocolyptic vision of a world where reality television is an annual kill-or-be-killed event.
My pre-teens will want the latest Emily Rodda, The Battle for Rondo, so I’m not going to fight it. I don’t even want to referee. They’ve read the first two and going by their previous attempts to read the same book at the same time, it could get ugly.
Perhaps I can separate them with a peace offering: Bigands MC, the latest in Robert Muchamore’s Cherub series for the boy-child; and for my girl-child who is about to graduate from primary school, Glenda Millard’s A small free kiss in the dark.
Finally, my non-fiction recommendation for those Dads who stubbornly prefer real life to the inventive pleasures of the novel : Australians by master story teller Thomas Keneally. The first of a three-volume history of Australia with people always centre-stage.
Which books are on your Christmas list this year?