Friday, 4 October 2013

Guest Post - by Ingrid Jonach


Date: Friday 4 October 2013

Topic: Guest Post

Guest Post – My Top Five Aussie Books 


I live in Australia, so I thought I would share the top five Aussie books that have had an impact on my reading and writing. I highly recommend you read these! There are many more I could have added to this list, so I have offered a few more at the end.

1. Brother Night by Victor Kelleher 


I credit this book with my love of reading. It is the heartbreaking story of a pair of twins – one beautiful and one hideous – who embark on a journey together to find the Sun Lord and the Night Lord. Rabon may be the beautiful twin, but he has a personal journey of his own to undertake before he can hold a candle to his brother, the monstrous (but only in appearance) Lal.

I was introduced to this story by a teacher in Year Six. I cried when I read it as a child and then again when I read it as an adult.
The author, Victor Kelleher, was born in England, but has since lived in Africa, New Zealand and Australia. I can also recommend his other books, which span the science fiction, fantasy, crime and horror genres.

2. Almost French by Sarah Turnbull 


This was a laugh out loud book for me, but I wonder whether it would be accessible to readers from other countries. Apparently it has done pretty well in the UK and it is being made into a feature film for release in 2014!

It is a memoir of an Australian meeting and falling in love with a Frenchman and it is very much a book about the differences between the Australian and the French cultures.

It is genuinely funny. Just look at this excerpt:

The trail of lime trees outside our building is still a public loo. …where else are they supposed to go to the toilet in a city where public toilets are about as common as UFO sightings?

Sarah Turnbull actually spent a lot of her school and university years in Canberra, which is where I live! I recently discovered she has written a sequel to Almost French called All Good Things, which is on my TBR list!

3. Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell 


I remember being mesmerized by this book being written in second person, kind of like a choose your own adventure book (remember them?).

For example:

There were the endless birthday nights and New Year's Eves of just you in your bed and no one else. There was the welling up at weddings, the glittery eye-prick, when all the couples would get up to dance. Sometimes it felt like your heart was crazed with cracks like your grandmother's old saucers. Sometimes the sight of a Saturday afternoon couple laughing in a park would splinter it completely. 

The result is a poetic and extremely personal narrative, even if the author is choosing the adventure. The narrative follows the story of young wife who explores her own sexuality after discovering her husband has been unfaithful. On her website, Gemmell said, “I hoped to write a book that was startlingly real-with all the messiness and magic of life as we know it.”

The other innovative thing about this book was that Gemmell attempted to release it anonymously. She was outed before publication.

4. Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden (Series) 


This was arguably the most popular series for young adults while I was growing up.

I tend to take a while to jump on bandwagons and I remember reading this a few years after a friend recommended it. I was hooked. It follows the story of a group of teens who go on a camping trip, only to discover the country has been invaded on their return. They then go into guerilla warfare against the enemy.


Well, I’d better stop biting my tongue and start biting the bullet. There’s only one way to do this and that’s to tell it in order, chronological order. I know writing it down is important to us. That’s why we all got so excited when Robyn suggested it. It’s terribly, terribly important. Recording what we’ve done, in words, on paper, it’s got to be our way of telling ourselves that we mean something, that we matter. That the things we’ve done have made a difference. I don’t know how big a difference, but a difference. Writing it down means we might be remembered. And by God that matters to us. None of us wants to end up as a pile of dead white bones, unnoticed, unknown, and worst of all, with no one knowing or appreciating the risks we’ve run.

It was turned into a movie in recent years, which I am not sure completely did it justice.

5. Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

This book is devastating. I remember crying my eyes out when I read it. It is a historical novel, based on the life of the daughter of a farmer. It is too difficult to give a brief overview of this book because it is seriously epic.

Bryce Courtenay is the same author that wrote The Power of One. He was South African and Australian (dual citizenship) and resided in Australia. He was regarded as a national institution until his passing last year while he also lived in Canberra. The next day the flag was flying at half-mast at our wedding venue Old Parliament House. I like to think it was for Bryce Courtenay (although the internet has neither been able to confirm nor deny this, despite flags flying half mast across the country).

Interesting fact, Courtenay worked in advertising before his books took off and was responsible for one of the best loved advertising campaigns in Australia – Louie the Fly.

Other Aussie books deserving a shout-out is Sleeping Dogs by Sonia Hartnett; Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein; and Looking for Alibrandi by Marina Marchetta.

Author Bio

Ingrid Jonach writes books for children and young adults, including the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France published by Pan Macmillan, and When the World was Flat (and we were in love) published by Strange Chemistry.
Since graduating from university with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing (Hons) in 2005, Ingrid has worked as a journalist and in public relations, as well as for the Australian Government.
Ingrid loves to promote reading and writing, and has been a guest speaker at a number of schools and literary festivals across Australia, where she lives with her husband Craig and their pug dog Mooshi.
Despite her best efforts, neither Craig nor Mooshi read fiction.
Find out more at

Giveaway Details and Widget

Enter below for your chance to win one of two awesome prize packages as part of the Around the World in 80 Days Blog Tour for When the World was Flat (and we were in love) by Ingrid Jonach.
There will be two winners worldwide. Each prize package includes:
•    a signed copy of When the World was Flat (and we were in love)
•    a pair of silver plated key-shaped earrings in a When the World was Flat (and we were in love) gift box
•    a When the World was Flat (and we were in love) bookmark.
The competition will run until 21 October 2013 and the winners will be announced on this page and via

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