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?

  1. Ooooh! I don’t have anything much to add…perhaps a book that would teach me Japanese in three weeks would be handy ;o)

    I am a huge fan of the Hunger Games & Catching Fire. They are beautiful, heart-wrenching, action-packed books, and girls will love them too.

    I can also vouch for anything by Robert Muchamore & the latest Cherub book is on my list. The Cherub series has great characters, it’s full of action and has a great sense of humour.

  2. chrisbongers says:

    D’oh, how could I have forgotten my pocket-sized Japanese for travellers? We are all going to need one of those in our stockings. Thanks for the reminder, Kathleen. 🙂

  3. jason nahrung says:

    I picked up a copy of Liar yesterday! Been hearing lovely things about Tallow, too. Glenda Larke, Alison Goodman and Sean Williams all have some tasty fantasies prime for Xmas stockings.

  4. chrisbongers says:

    Thanks JN, I’ve already put Alison Goodman’s “Two Pearls of Wisdom” away for someone special, but I’ll keep an eye out for Glenda Larke and Sean Williams. 🙂

  5. Eric says:

    The Hunger Games and catching Fire are such awesome books! I can’t wait for book three espicallly after the cliffhanger in book two!


  6. leemcgowan says:

    I had to pick my top ten for the year in the book shop last week. It was too hard to think about the whole year so I wrote down a list of stuff that had stuck in my mind.

    The Scarygirl Graphic Novel I think the writer/artist’s name is Nicholas Jevericus, The Enemy by Charlie Higson, Mr Stink David Walliams’ latest, Invisible by Paul Auster, Black Water Rising by Attica Locke, The Cello Suites by Eric Siblin, Wendy a picture book by Gus Gordon – I can’t remember any more of them just now. But I thought all of them were brilliant.

    I’ve heard good things about Tallow too and Revolver, Marcus Sedgewick’s new one.
    I’m rubbish at this stuff, memory is shite.
    I’m reading Lonely Werewolf Girl at the moment by Martin Millar. Loads of fun, loads of violence and dark kind of gothic melodrama. It’s great.

  7. chrisbongers says:

    Lee, I should’ve asked you in the first place! Emily loved The Cello Suites too, and I’ll add the rest to my list. xx

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