December 2008 – January 2009

Arts & Letters

Best Books for Summer 2008–09

By Peter Craven

Alice Schroeder, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (Bloomsbury, 976pp; $49.95).

Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father, read by the author (Text Publishing, 6 CDs; $39.95).

Helen Garner, The Spare Room (Text Publishing, 208pp; $29.95).

Christos Tsiolkas, The Slap (Allen & Unwin, 496pp; $32.95).

Tim Winton, Breath (Hamish Hamilton, 224pp; $45).

Murray Bail, The Pages (Text Publishing, 208pp; $34.95).

Kate Grenville, The Lieutenant (Text Publishing, 320pp; $45).

Nam Le, The Boat (Hamish Hamilton, 336pp; $29.95).

Julia Leigh, Disquiet (Hamish Hamilton, 120pp; $29.95).

Toni Morrison, A Mercy (Chatto & Windus, 165pp; $39.95).

John Updike, The Widows of Eastwick (Hamish Hamilton, 320pp; $32.95).

Philip Roth, Indignation (Jonathan Cape, 256pp; $45).

Joyce Carol Oates, My Sister, My Love (Fourth Estate, 576pp; $33).

Chloe Hooper, The Tall Man (Hamish Hamilton, 288pp; $32.95).

Peter Costello, The Costello Memoirs (Melbourne University Publishing, 374pp; $55).

Brian Matthews, Manning Clark: A Life (Allen & Unwin, 450pp; $59.95).

Christina Thompson, Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All (Bloomsbury, 288pp; $29.95).

George Steiner, My Unwritten Books (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 224pp; $40).

Evelyn Juers, House of Exile: The Life and Times of Heinrich Mann and Nelly Kroeger-Mann (Giramondo Publishing, 352pp; $32.95).

Andrea Weiss, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story (University of Chicago Press, 310pp; import).

Shirley Hazzard and Francis Steegmuller, The Ancient Shore: Dispatches from Naples (University of Chicago Press, 144pp; import).

Penelope Fitzgerald, So I Have Thought of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald (Fourth Estate, 624pp; $60).

Manning Clark, Ever, Manning: Selected Letters of Manning Clark, 1938-1991, edited by Roslyn Russell (Allen & Unwin, 576pp; $65).

Dirk Bogarde, Ever, Dirk: The Bogarde Letters (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 536pp; $65).

Sean Connery, Being a Scot (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 312pp; $40).

Roger Moore, My Word is My Bond (HarperCollins, 400pp; $50).

James Davidson, The Greeks and Greek Love: A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 656pp; $90).

Robert Dessaix, Arabesques (Picador, 320pp; $50).

Graham Freudenberg, Churchill and Australia (Macmillan, 613pp; $55).

Julie Andrews, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 384pp; $35).

Thomas Hischak, The Oxford Companion to the American Musical: Theatre, Film and Television (Oxford University Press; 592pp; $79.95).

Mary Hunter, Mozart's Operas: A Companion (Yale University Press, 354pp; import).

John O'Malley, What Happened at Vatican II (Harvard University Press, 344pp; $45.95).

Don Watson, American Journeys (Knopf, 332pp; $49.95).

Simon Schama, The American Future: A History (Jonathan Cape, 384pp; $35).

Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America (University of California Press, 449pp; import).

Stephenie Meyer, Breaking Dawn (Orbit, 768pp; $30).

Gregory Maguire, A Lion Among Men (Voyager, 336pp; $33).

Christopher Paolini, Brisingr (Doubleday, 765pp; $34.95).

Candace Bushnell, One Fifth Avenue (Little, Brown, 448pp; $33).

Jeffrey Archer, A Prisoner of Birth (Macmillan, 400pp; $35).

PD James, The Private Patient (Faber, 416pp; $32.95).

John le Carré, A Most Wanted Man (Hodder & Stoughton, 384pp; $33).

Sebastian Faulks, Devil May Care (Michael Joseph, 320pp; $32.95).

Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautika, translated by Peter Green (University of California Press, 524pp; import).

Vergil, The Aeneid, translated by Sarah Ruden (Yale University Press, 320pp; import).

Robert Adamson, The Golden Bird: New and Selected Poems (Black Inc., 293pp; $27.95).

John Milton, The Essential John Milton, read by Anton Lesser, Derek Jacobi and Samantha Bond (Naxos AudioBooks, 8 CDs).

Joseph Conrad, Nostromo (unabridged), read by Nigel Anthony (Naxos AudioBooks, 15 CDs).

William Shakespeare, Othello (abridged), read by Ewan McGregor, Chiwetel Ejiofor and cast (Naxos Audiobooks, 2 CDs & 1 DVD).

William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (unabridged), read by Antony Sher and cast (Naxos AudioBooks, 2 CDs).

 

Peter Craven

Peter Craven is a literary and culture critic.

Cover: December 2008 - January 2009

December 2008 – January 2009

From the front page

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

Locking back down

Victoria’s woes are a warning for the whole country

Illustration by Jeff Fisher

Weal of fortune

Rebuilding the economy means government investment, but not all public spending is equal

Image of Labor’s Kristy McBain and Anthony Albanese

A win’s a win

The Eden-Monaro result shows that Morrison’s popularity has not substantially changed voting patterns – and Labor has still not cut through

The man inside and the inside man

Crime, punishment and indemnities in western Sydney’s gang wars


In This Issue

Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz

Alfred Deakin & John Bunyan

Feeling lucky

What drives economic optimism?

‘A Mercy’ by Toni Morrison

Tradition, truth & tomorrow


More in Arts & Letters

Still from ‘Contempt’

The death of cool: Michel Piccoli, 1925–2020

Re-watching the films of the most successful screen actor of the 20th century

Image of Ziggy Ramo

The heat of a moment: Ziggy Ramo’s ‘Black Thoughts’

A debut hip-hop album that calls for a reckoning with Indigenous sovereignty and invites the listener to respond

Photograph of Malcolm Turnbull

Surrounded by pygmies: Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘A Bigger Picture’

The former PM’s memoir fails to reckon with his fatal belief that all Australians shared his vision

Still from ‘The Assistant’

Her too: ‘The Assistant’

Melbourne-born, New York–based filmmaker Kitty Green’s powerfully underplayed portrait of Hollywood’s abusive culture


More in Books

Photograph of Malcolm Turnbull

Surrounded by pygmies: Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘A Bigger Picture’

The former PM’s memoir fails to reckon with his fatal belief that all Australians shared his vision

Cover of jenny Offill's ‘Weather’

Twilight knowing: Jenny Offill’s ‘Weather’

The American novelist brings literary fiction’s focus on the interior life to climate-change cataclysm

Image of Cecilia Klein, 1974

The fabulist of Auschwitz

Heather Morris’s bestselling novels ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ and ‘Cilka’s Journey’, and the problem of truth in historical fiction

Image [detail] of Agency, by William Gibson

Days of future passed: William Gibson’s ‘Agency’

The cyberpunk pioneer’s latest novel continues his examination of the present from the perspective of a post-apocalyptic future


Read on

Image of Labor’s Kristy McBain and Anthony Albanese

A win’s a win

The Eden-Monaro result shows that Morrison’s popularity has not substantially changed voting patterns – and Labor has still not cut through

Image of Patrick Allington's ‘Rise & Shine’

Shelf pity: ‘Rise & Shine’

Patrick Allington’s fable of a world in which perpetual war is staged to fuel compassion is too straightforward for its ambitions

Image of then treasurer Scott Morrison handing Barnaby Joyce a lump of coal during Question Time, February 9, 2017.

Coal cursed

The fossil-fuel lobby could not have created the climate wars so easily without the preceding culture wars

Image of library shelves

Learning difficulties

The Coalition’s political agenda is a gross infringement on academic freedom


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