11 Books to Read When You Can’t Visit Australia IRL
Ever since the premiere of Big Little Lies, our Sunday nights have been devoted to wine sipping and gasping at every twist and turn of HBO’s newest drama, which is adapted from Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name. Of course, die-hard Moriarty fans know that the story originally takes place in an eerie Australian suburb, which only adds to the novel’s appeal. If you don’t have the cash to travel halfway around the world and experience the wonders of Australia, let your library card do the work for you. Scroll on for 11 books that take on the splendors of the Outback.
1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty ($27): We’ll take massive betrayals and devastating secrets by the truckload, thank you very much. Lose yourself in the book that kicked off the HBO show — just remember to keep the spoilers to yourself!
2. Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta ($10): When it feels like you’ve exhausted the YA section of your local bookstore, Melina Marchetta’s masterpiece will be waiting for you. Snag a copy and get lost in the teen trauma of boys, first kisses, and nuns who insist on cramping your social life.
3. Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty ($19): It’s been 15 years since this book was first published, but time has only made its message on friendship and growing up even more powerful. Told through letters, postcards, and more, you’ll giggle your way through every page.
4. The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman ($26): Take a mysterious baby, a painful secret, and a husband and wife stranded from the rest of the world, and you get this tear-jerker novel that inspired the Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander film of the same name.
5. Foreign Correspondence by Geraldine Brooks ($16): Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks is a gifted writer, and this book proves she’s been hunting stories since she was a young girl. What starts as Brooks’ search for her teenage pen pals becomes a beautiful treatise on friendship and the connections we form between strangers.
6. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion ($24): Yep, this one’s been optioned for a film too. It’s a romantic comedy based on a nerdy Australian geneticist who decides to find the perfect wife using what he knows best: data and research. Once you fall in love with Rosie, you’ll have to pick up the sequel too!
7. The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson ($19): Don’t let the name fool you. This 1910 novel on growing up was written by a lady, AKA the great Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson. Decades before YA was a thing, Richardson brought readers a serious look at what it means to be a woman on the brink of adulthood.
8. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas ($15): What is it about the Australian suburbs that makes people go crazy? This book doesn’t answer that question, but it does give you an entertaining and thought-provoking glimpse at what happens when appearances aren’t what they seem.
9. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute ($16): Who needs a passport when you’ve got a novel like this one? Follow Jean Paget as she triumphs over her POW experience in Malaya, only to return to the small city to search for the soldier who helped her survive.
10. The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood ($17): Is this the prettiest cover ever, or what? If you’re not won over by the gorgeous flowers, Charlotte Wood’s terrifying story — it’s about two women who wake up to find themselves imprisoned in the desert — will do the trick.
11. Of Ashes and Rivers That Run to the Sea by Marie Munkara ($38): This powerful memoir follows Marie Munkara as she begins her search for her biological parents, who didn’t give her up for adoption willingly. Read it and learn more about the painful history of Australia’s indigenous community.
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(Featured photo via Getty)