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Monday, December 10, 2012

by Clare Langley-Hawthorne

Well, it's officially moving time and for the second time in two years the Langley-Hawthorne's are moving continents. This time we're headed from Melbourne, Australia to Denver, Colorado and I can tell you that moving (especially when combined with the end of the school year, my twins' 8th birthday as well as Christmas) can be rather stressful! But as we hang on in there, I've been enjoying seeing all the 'top 10 lists' that inevitably emerge at this time of year.

It felt strange, however, watching a recent countdown of the 'Top 10 Australian books to read before you die', not because I hadn't read most of them (I had - forced to at school!) but because I realized how disconnected I feel to many of these so called 'classics'. Even the more recent books, like top-ranked Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, failed to resonate with me and I had to wonder why. Was it because I was just too dim-witted to 'get' these books or did it run deeper than that? Am I just not Australian enough to appreciate them?

So have any of you felt the same level of disconnection from your own country's 'must read' lists? If you had a 'top 10 books to read before you die', what book would be at the top? Do you feel a level of kinship to your own country's writers and books or does that rarely enter into the equation for you?


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