It’s that time of year when the blogosphere, literary journals and newspapers are full of lists of best books of 2014.  So, for what it’s worth, here’s a list of (almost) everything I’ve read this year for pleasure.  The comments are simply whatever small note I made (or didn’t make) in my reading journal.

I rarely bother to finish (or list) a book I don’t enjoy.  I’ve reviewed some of those listed below but I only blog about books that are at least vaguely relevant to the topic of biography AND that interest and engage me.


My Mother, My Father.  Susan Wyndham (ed).  Collected essays about the death of a parent.  Wonderful.

All Good Things.  Sarah Turnbull.

Boy, Lost.  Kristina Olsson.  Very moving.

Bonkers.  Jennifer Saunders.  Terrific.  My review here.

Cadence.  Emma Ayers.  Beautiful insights into travelling.

How To Get There, Maggie Mackellar.  Good but not as moving as the first.


The Prince: faith; abuse and George Pell,  David Marr.  Damning.

Far from theTree,  Andrew Solomon.  Parents with children who are ‘other’.

The Etymologicon,  Mark Forsyth.  An awesome gift.

Flinders,  Rob Mundle.

Mr Bligh’s Bad Language,  Greg Dening.

Leviathan, Philip Hoare.

The Fictional Woman,  Tara Moss.  Thoughtful.  My review here.

Bertie: A Life of Edward VII.  Jane Ridley.  My review here.

The Examined Life: how we lose and find ourselves.  Stephen Grosz.

Dark Emu Black Seeds: agriculture or accident?  Bruce Pascoe.  Challenging, in a good way. My review here.

Raffles and The Golden Opportunity,  Victoria Glendenning.

The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh,  Linda Colley.  Fascinating.  My review here.

This House of Grief,  Helen Garner.  Outstanding.  My review here.

Core of My Heart My Country,  Maggie Mackellar.  Interesting.  My review here.

The Climb,  Geraldine Doogue.

The Wife Drought,  Annabel Crabb.  Finally – the beginnings of some solutions. My review here.

The Bush,  Don Watson.  Fantastic.  My review here.

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka,  Clare Wright.  Cheating because I’m not quite finished yet.  Enjoying it immensely.


Postcards from Surfers,  Helen Garner.

The Gardenist,  Michael McCoy.  Epiphany re garden design.  Try his excellent blog here.

The Bitterwash Road,  Garry Disher.

Wyatt, Garry Disher.  Not as good as Bitterwash Road.

The Husband’s Secret,  Liane Moriarty.

The Luminaries,  Eleanor Catton.

The Norseman’s Song,  Joel Deane.  Awful.

The Whale Road,  Robert Low.  First of an excellent series – rollicking, pillaging, viking fun.

The Wolf Sea,  Robert Low.

The White Raven, Robert Low.

The Prow Beast, Robert Low.

Crowbone, Robert Low.

That Part was True,  Deborah McKinlay.  Lovely – almost a love story.

The Signature of All Things,  Elizabeth Gilbert.  Good.

Christmas Magic,  Cathy Kelly. Comfort reading.

What Came Before,  Anna George.

Like Being a Wife,  Catherine Harris.  Short stories.

Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan.  A story about love, but not a love story.

Persuasion,  Jane Austen.  A love letter to sailors.

Sun Horse Moon Horse,  Rosemary Sutcliff.

The Wine-Dark Sea,  Patrick O’Brian.  Reread for the umpteenth time.  Huge fan of the series.

Australian Love Stories,  Cate Kennedy (ed).  Again cheating because I’m not finished yet.


Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all of you who are kind enough to stop by this blog from time to time.  It’s been fun for me so far – I hope it’s been at least a little bit interesting for you.  More to come in 2015, if not before.